Thursday, June 26, 2008

Conflict...

I don't know if anyone really follows this blog anymore, and that's okay as it never was intended to be for a "following" in the first place - all it really is, is for me to have my own sounding board to discuss with myself issues that I cannot discuss anywhere else...

but I really need some outside counsel.

It has been 76 days now (yes, I'm actually counting - does that mean something?) since I have looked at any website of any kind (G, PG, R, etc.), not even swimming suit ads, nor artistic photo sites, and no YouTube (which started the whole thing in the first place with my son finding me watching PG scenes of guys kissing), and at least that long since having downloaded anything of any kind, and that long since deleting past downloads (of pretty tame stuff I must point out). I thought after I had passed the 2 month barrier I was home free and beyond this. I was okay... (not that I really wasn't okay before - but I didn't want to confuse my family and add difficulty to an already difficult family situation - particularly with regards to my son - who by the way is fine and hasn't made any reference to that situation since then).

But I'm not okay.

I saw that Abelard posted today... and I love Abelard and all that he offers to this community. He is kind and sensitive and caring to everyone. He has become a dear and special friend. He innocently has posted a humorous ad from YouTube that I found quite amusing. It wasn't the ad... it was the YouTube links that are given at the end at the bottom as the mouse is allowed to scroll on by... I saw the one of "gay couple hottest kiss"... and just froze. I wanted to click on it and see what it was.

It's that proverbial hook.

But I didn't bite and I haven't... but the point is - I want to... and this is so stupid... I thought I was beyond this. I thought I had moved on! But come to find out, I haven't moved on at all. I've just stopped. Nothing has changed. I've just stopped.

Again, nothing happened... but I feel so conflicted inside. Even after all this time and fooling myself into thinking that all is well and I'm in control and things are cool.

I didn't click on it. I know that if I do, it will be the door opening all over again and I'm not going to do that... I have promised myself and my family that I'm not going to do that.

So, with such resolve and commitment to the promises I've made, why do I remain here feeling so conflicted? so confused? so self-loathing?

I'm really tired of the fight. I'm just really tired...of fighting...

24 comments:

MoHoHawaii said...

It's unlikely that your desire to see images of attractive men will go away, no matter how much time passes. Men are often very visual in their sexuality. It's the way our brains work. You're a guy, plus you don't get the kind of sex you are wired for. It just makes sense that images of men (G, PG and otherwise) will appeal to you very strongly.

No matter how you decide to manage this issue, setting reasonable expectations seems like a good place to start. As with diet and exercise, consistency with modest goals is always better than unsustainable gung-ho perfection.

Is there a compromise to be had that takes some of the pressure off? To my way of thinking the best solution would be sustainable rather than 'ideal.'

Good luck.

Abelard Enigma said...

The fact is, you have changed. You saw the link, you were tempted, you recognized the temptation, and you resisted the temptation. How do you think you might have reacted had I posted that 3 months ago? (I'm thinking you might have clicked on the link to watch the gay kiss video)

So, what sort of change were you expecting? That you would become straight?

You're gay! However you came to be that way is irrelevant - at this point in your life it's embedded into your very being and nothing's going to change that. The only thing you have any control over is what you do about it. And, what you are doing about it now is different than what you were doing a year ago. So, you are moving forward, perhaps not as fast as you would like, but, from my vantage point, you haven't stopped.

You're a gay man married to a heterosexual woman. And, you're beating the odds traveling down a road where many have fallen by the wayside. That's a pretty amazing feat - if you ask me!

God loves you. your family loves you. I love you. Heck, the whole mormon queerosphere loves you. The only person who doesn't seem to love you is YOU.

Samantha said...

You know Beck, there really is nothing wrong with wanting to look. I think we all feel that. A difference, though, is that you feel guilt or agonize over the desire to look. Something to remember--

The feelings of attraction we have are god-given. They aren't evil. Ours are just a little different from the norm. To believe your desire to look at what feels desirable to you is evil is only going to make that desire more compelling. In truth, if you simply say, "Yup--there it is again. Something I'd like to see...heck, something I'd like to do, but I won't, because I've promised me/God/my wife/my family/whatever, that I'll stay away, and that's just how it is," then let yourself sigh a big sigh and go kiss your wife on the cheek, you'd feel much less anxiety. I'm guessing that the more you allow yourself to feel without judgment, the less intense your angst will be. Also, someday if you can tell your spouse your feelings and impulses without hurting her, that will help a lot. Until then, it might be good to find someone who will just let you talk about the compulsion, reinforce your self-worth, and support your choice not to indulge--Abe just might do that, you never know. :)

Bottom line--every spouse has something that pulls him/her from the person they've married. It's part of life. Learning to accept our flaws and work beyond them will only happen when we can believe that it doesn't diminish us to experience those urges, and we are stronger every time we continue in our chosen paths.

End of lecture. Next time you post, if you'd rather not have one, just let me know. I'm not offended when told to hold my tongue.

Beck said...

MOHOH: I know my desires aren't going to go away - I just wish my judgmental attitudes about my temptations would go away. I thought I had progressed past this point.

To take your point of view, I'm afraid I'll open the door and dive in with both feet... I'm not in a place to do that safely.

My sustainability is abstinence.

But, thanks for your words of kindness and encouragement. I respect and love you and your concern for me.

Beck said...

ABE: I guess I didn't see that I had changed - I was still seeing nothing but angst. Thank you for pointing out the change. You're right - I would have clicked and thought nothing of it.

I wasn't expecting to be changed to be straight. I've gone past that. I don't even want to be straight. I just want to lose the angst and get it behind me once and for all.

Thanks for loving me and pointing these things out to me. I'm a bit blind today and sometimes you just can't see very clearly in front of you when all you feel is angst.

Beck said...

SAM: I really, really am tickled that you replied. I hunger for your "lectures" and I hope you will never "hold your tongue".

You've hit the nail on the head. I've got to get past the guilt and self-judgment.

I just thought I had.

I'm going to go kiss my wife and give her a hug!

Thanks... and please lecture away!

santorio said...

there are two ways to define addiction:
1. increasing need for the stimulus--a previous level just doesn't do it any more
2. interference with normal activities--family, job, etc.

you identified the latter and took corrective actions.
so what if your eyes still linger on that hot guy crossing the street?

we all walk along a cliff, some closer to the edge than others. i'm a little farther from the edge than i was a few months ago. i should inch myself more towards the center, but it's such a great view....

-L- said...

Yeah, I hear you. Youtube has become my drug of choice after getting off the porn. It's true. I don't talk about these issues online anymore as I saw how cruel people could be, and that I personally wasn't able to shake off betrayal. But, if it helps I'll bring my personal situation in here. We got web filter software (k9) and it will block youtube. There are plenty of worthwhile things to watch on there, but nothing that I can't do without, and it's better for me to avoid temptation altogether right now.

Kengo Biddles said...

FWIW, an addiction to pörn is comparable to an addiction to some hard drugs...it takes 7 years to _really_ get over it. But in the meantime, be pleased that you had the strength not to, acknowledge, as MOHOHawaii says, that you have desire to see attractive men, and that it likely won't go away, but you can choose where you go from here.

I love you Beck, I think we all do.

playasinmar said...

It's neigh impossible to avoid attractive/sexualized male images. Even PG movies have Prince Caspian.

Is it enough to just avoid willingly searching it out or must you never encounter it ever again?

Additionally, is all this repression leading to a spectacular rebound?

MoHoHawaii said...

I like the way playasinmar put it. If you starve yourself, eventually you're going to binge. Better to just regulate things to a moderate level. For example, maybe you stick with G rated stuff but let yourself masturbate if needed to take off the pressure. It's really a matter of making realistic accomodation to your situation. There has to be a little give and take or someday you might just freak out and go somewhere you don't want to go.

Silver said...

Of course we still follow your blog! You are thee blogmeister and my mentor. I must confess that I was first lured into your blog by the provocative pictures and the wonderful aestheticism. Your creativity and artistic expression resonated with me.

Now, despite the new cleaner and somewhat austere look, minus the pretty pictures; I stay because of your insight and honesty. I really just want to hear how you are doing and to benefit from your golden thoughts. Pretty pictures or not, I like your blog.

I also noticed you visited my blog. I appreciate the support. I have to confess that my wife was disturbed to find that I had been back at searching some of my old sights for inclusion in my blog. In the process, she now knows I have a blog and I might be a bit restrained in how freely I write as a result. She knows the power that even those “soft” nude images have on me and where they lead. I know on some level that she is right. It starts there and then leads down old roads that I shouldn’t visit again. The adrenalin rush and the lure into deeper and deeper links tells me I’m still an addict.

I spent six hours on Saturday alone; completely alone with my computer in an otherwise empty building. I’m proud to report I didn’t stray once. It crossed my mind but, I didn’t open that door. It’s taken three years but, it’s a better life without the endless search for the most beautiful man. I like myself better this way.

I do however relate to MohoHawaii’s insight. It doesn’t pay to starve the senses. There has to be some expression lest my Mt. Vesuvius starts building up her next eruption. Boy have I been down that road before!

I don't offer you great wisdom or solutions; just empathy and the knowledge that you don't walk alone.

Beck said...

SANTORIO: I am not one to ever pass up the "great view". Falling off the edge to get it, however, is what I'm talking about. If you read my previous post, you know that I always enjoy "that hot guy crossing the street".

L said: "...it's better for me to avoid temptation altogether right now..." Isn't that always the better thing to do? I recognize the temptation itself (or being tempted) is not the problem here - or even something I can do anything about - but avoiding the temptation altogether seems to be the right thing to do.

Perfection is impossible - and beating up oneself when one doesn't meet those levels of perfection is just as bad as caving to the temptation - which is what I'm trying to deal with here - but, shouldn't we all be striving for perfection? doing the best we can? Why is there such an outcry out there for not even trying?

Thanks, -L-, for still being out there!

Beck said...

KENGO: seven years? I don't know that I can go seven years! But, thanks for your encouragement anyway. I love you, too.

Beck said...

PLAYA said: "Is it enough to just avoid willingly searching it out or must you never encounter it ever again?" YES! It is enough to be at the point where I don't willingly search it out. I know I will always encounter it - and even enjoy the view - it's the seeking it out at the detriment of my family that I'm trying to avoid. And going cold turkey in that regard seems to be the only way to go.

"Additionally, is all this repression leading to a spectacular rebound?" I hope not. I've had the volcanic eruption sensation before and I'm sure I'll have it again. I've been there. I'm well aware of it.

MOHOH: "There has to be a little give and take or someday you might just freak out and go somewhere you don't want to go." A warning that I do hear and certainly understand - at least to a point. I haven't gone off the deep end yet, though I've felt like diving in, and striving to be in the right place and circumstance and keeping family first has served me well. But I appreciate the words of caution.

Moderation in all things is a great goal.

And masturbating to g-rated images... now why didn't I think of that? :)

Beck said...

SILVER: I'm actually surprised to find out that my site attracted you because of the provocative images. I wasn't trying to be provocative as I was just trying to express my new-found coming-to-terms-with-being-gay gig.

And yes, I have consciously, or subconsciously toned it down a bit (somewhat due to the detrimental affect it had on other members of this community) - though I feel I'm still the same and am still who I am. I'm glad you've come to appreciate that even if the images have become "austere".

I'm seriously trying to keep things in moderation - spending hours "searching for the perfect image of the male form" can become all too consuming - and I don't want to go down that road. Don't get me wrong - I love the "search" and I love finding that "perfect male", but it always ends with me feeling empty, never satisfied, and always seeking to find more... what kind of life is that? There's got to be more!

I love the spontaneous view on the street - at the airport - at the store - wherever... I'm not shunning these innocent and wonderful opportunities of eye-candy - but I don't need to actively search 'em out.

Speaking of volcanoes - my goal is to be more like Mt. Etna than Stromboli or Vesuvio. Vesuvio has been quiet for decades - sometimes barely steaming. Stromboli is in constant eruption mode. But Etna is quiet and then erupts and then steams and then is quiet then erupts, but never to the utter distruction explosive force as Vesuvio is famous for... I'm not going to be taking this resolve to the point of wiping out all life forms around me!

Thanks for following - I hope you still will. We need to get together and talk...

Ron Schow said...

Beck

I have heard it explained like this.

You can hold a soccer ball under water for a long time, but the more deeply you hold it, the more strongly it will pop out when you let it go.

With respect to holding the ball under water so long that it is no longer inflated, you can, in fact, in some cases completely destroy the energy which is there. In those cases, perhaps you need to ponder whether sexual energy is a sign of our creativity, the life force. Do you want to completely destroy it?

Beck said...

RON: I'm afraid this is being taken out of context... I don't want to destroy this sexual energy inside me. I don't consider my sexual desires for fellow males being even a bad thing! I've accepted them for what they are and I love loving the view. I don't want to suppress to the point of destruction my creative "life force".

I just want to keep the personal resolve to not ACTIVELY PURSUE the search for those perfect images at the detriment of my family. I want to keep this resolve. By doing so, do I "destroy the energy?"

Silver said...

Oh how many times I've made this same resolve only to come back around and "window shop" the internet again. I wish I believed that it would really be over this time. I had a recent slip back down the slope, told my wife and suffered the consequence of her disappointment.

Thankfully her reaction is better each time. Our communication is better now. We are both more frank and honest with each other. My surrender is more sincere. My resolve stronger each time. My activities are more moderate and my desire is better. It has been a long process but, I find joy in progression not perfection.

I love myself and forgive myself for my imperfections now. It isn't an easy path but, a better one. I don't wallow in shame now but, accept a healthy dose of guilt that moves me closer to harmony with my values.

It is truly a journey, not a destination. I am always striving but, never quite arriving but, His grace is sufficient and His love sustains me. I now accept it and that has made all the difference.

Beck, my summer is nuts and work is unbearable right now but, let me get through the next little while and we'll talk. I plan to stick around.

Silver

Damon said...

Beck-

You need to give yourself a break! You are doing an excellent job.

I really think that you need to prepare yourself for the idea that these desires...for men, to view those types of videos may never leave you in this lifetime.

You may always fight these desires. However, you are making the correct choices not to GIVE IN to those desires.

If your goal is to rid yourself of the desire you may be frustrated constantly forever. Rather, be pleased that you have made a conscious and successful effort to overcome the desire.

Zachary said...

Beck:

Thank you for your blog and this post especially... as someone who is only recently starting to process same sex feelings rather than supress them for so long, its comforting to find someone who has the exact same struggles and emotions I do.

Thank you.

Beck said...

DAMON: I'm not trying to "get rid" of these desires. I have long come to the conclusion that these desires will be a part of me for the rest of my life.

Instead, I am trying to control them, manage them, understand them. It is my angst level that I'm trying to control. And I'm trying to like myself - though that seems a hard thing to do. And along the way, I don't want to hurt my family.

Not too much to work out, right? :)

Beck said...

ZACKARY said: "Thank you for your blog and this post especially... as someone who is only recently starting to process same sex feelings rather than supress them for so long, its comforting to find someone who has the exact same struggles and emotions I do."

Zackary: Thank you for being brave enough to come forward and to comment and to share. It isn't easy, but it's well worth it as you come to terms with these things. I welcome you to this community and hope you'll comment more in the future. You're not alone!

Sean said...

My dear Beck. Skermishes are not lonely battle fronts far from home and friends who care, empathise, respect and love.

In the immortal words of The Bard "He that shall live this day and see old age will yaarly on the vigil feast his neighbors and say, "Tomorrow is Saint Crispian," Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, and say "These wounds I had on Crispin's Day." Old men forget, yet all shall be forgot, but he'll remember with advantages what feats he did that day. Tehn shall our names, familiar in his mount as household words, Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, be in their flowing cups freshly remembered. This story shall the good mand teach his son, And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered - We feiw, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. Be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition. And gentlemen in England and now abed shal think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap wiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day. (Henry V; Act IV, sc. iii)

Once again Dear Friends, into the breach!