Saturday, July 12, 2008

"You're so 18th Century!"

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

-- 1 John 1: 8-10

I have sinned. I have fallen off the wagon. I am not perfect. I have failed in my attempt to be perfect.

I do not feel it appropriate to share details of the nature of my "sins", but suffice it to say that I was on the road this week, alone, in a hotel in an out-of -state city. It is not good to be alone, especially with confusing hormones raging like a teenager. I have slipped up, have done some stupid and silly things, have lost part of my resolve, and have indulged in vain and frivolous things. I may be excused, some may say, because I should never have tried to go "cold turkey" or to have made a resolution that was all or nothing, knowing that someday I would fail and fall (even though the "cold turkey" approach was my immediate reaction to a situation where I felt if I continued on the path I was on, I would lose everything I had, but most especially the love and affection and relationship of my wife, and particularly of my son). I may be excused, others may say, because of my attractions that have bubbled up in recent days like the volcano ready to erupt, and such things are bound to happen for a gay married Mormon guy so closeted and closed off of any possible way of letting off the building pressure and steam. If I keep such a tight grip on the lid and don't give myself any slack, I'm certain to explode.

Others may be disappointed that I fell, that I lost my resolve, and that I'm not living up to my potential or the example I make myself out to be. They may find my recent arousals and subsequent ventures into self-pleasure as not heeding the warning signs of too intimate of touch, or of allowing curiosity to get the best of me.

Others still, may see this as a bunch of crap and that I'm choosing to live a life of self-imposed conflict, confusion and delusional dishonesty - in other words, a life that is "so 18th Century! I mean, really, why would anyone choose to live like that?"

All I can say is that I am not perfect. I never claimed to be. I'm not the poster-child of the MOHO MOMs. I never set out to be an example with any special knowledge. I've been very honest in my shortcomings, immaturity, and lack of progression. Maybe I've been too honest, as to cloud my thinking and blur my vision, obstructing me from seeing correctly the amount of progress I have truly made, and the amount of integrity I still have in my possession despite all this angst and confusion. I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have been given - no, it's more than that - what I have been blessed with. I refuse to tear down or throw away that which I have created, including marriage and kids, church and testimony. It's been too long down this particular road. I'm too committed. I can't turn back. But I also refuse to throw away these other parts that are very much a part of who I am and still need exploring - they are poorly understood and very confusing to me - still after this 4 year journey now of open dialogue with myself about these parts of me - these parts that long to be loved, understood, sexually complete. I thought I would figure them out after 4 years - or nearly five decades for that matter. Come to find out, I still am not the master of my universe, for they master me.

If you are proud of me that I've sinned, that I've allowed myself to break for a moment from my 18th Century existence, please understand that I am not proud. If you are saddened by my lack of resolve, please understand that I am not saddened.

I just am...

P.S. Don't misread my comments here. I am by no means equating "being gay" with "sin". Nor am I equating my "attractions" with "sin". In the last 4 years of coming to terms with these feelings within myself, I have at least come to realize the fallacy of such equations!


J G-W said...

You have been blessed. Life is a gift, whatever the struggles.

Advice gets dispensed far too easily on blogs. I'm guilty of it too.

I'm grateful for your perspectives, and your willingness to share your struggles (and be "naked"!) Thanks to your blog and what I've learned from reading it, I think I'm a wiser person, with fewer easy answers about what should be done by a person in your situation.

I also feel honored to have met and to know you as a person. You will always have my respect and love! (And hugs, when we have a chance to meet again!)

Beck said...

"...Advice gets dispensed far too easily on blogs. I'm guilty of it too."

I know that for the most part, we give advice to sincerely help. I take all advice on this blog in that spirit.

"...I think I'm a wiser person, with fewer easy answers about what should be done by a person in your situation."

I can reverse the statement back to you! You have opened my eyes and understanding and compassion for those who've taken a different road than I. No, the answers aren't easy, and never black-n-white.

(And hugs, when we have a chance to meet again!)

I'll demand it! :)

Thanks, Jon, for being out there. This isn't just a mutual adoration society here - I really love you, too!

One of So Many said...

As long as you aren't a serial killer I really could care less. You are far too amazing.

Robert said...

I was texting a moho friend earlier this afternoon who was having a hard day. Time and ice cream...those are the things I need when things are particularily bad. That, and, when I'm ready, words from friends.

Hopefully, you share so much of yourself with others because you've experienced the strength and comfort in reading about others' vulnerabilities and weaknesses, as well as about their strengths and testimonies.

That's powerful and insightful about your character and integrity where you said that you "I refuse to tear down or throw away that which I have created, including marriage and kids, church and testimony." I don't have a marraige or kids, but I think I can empathise with the resolve to never retract the things that I know...spiritually.

I tell myself: "I haven't failed in falling, I fail if I can't pick myself up and try to move farther forward." I'm sure you do something of the sort. I guess I just wanted to share that I really appreciate your openness and I find strength and comfort in connecting with what you write.


Scot said...

Ah Beck, so very complicated. It's a problem beyond my education, but you've my respect, warm regards and a wish I could help.

(P.S. Heck, in the 18th they were still setting us on fire. You are well a part of this century, Utah at least.)

Silver said...

"I refuse to tear down or throw away that which I have created, including marriage and kids, church and testimony."

This life is about choices Beck. We have our freedom in what we do each day and our daily choices and preferences shape us over the years.

I would venture that you have chosen well in many if not most instances. Hold on to the knowlegde and confidence that you are good, acceptable, honorable and now; authentic.

Thank you for your honesty, authenticity and vulnerability. You are not hiding. You really are not in that closet. You are out there and real. You are just cautious, careful and I believe, wise. You have built a good life. I honor you for that. There is far too much to lose, far too much of value to go causually off in pursuit of things trivial. Your risks are calculated, cautious and metered. You explore the fringes but, you don't lose your sanity. You're walking unknown territory and you should watch your steps. I've known some who didn't and the results were some severe injuries.

Beck, you are a good man and what you have is worth protecting and keeping. You carry a burden but, it's a burden justified by a "greater good". There are a lot of us who walk with you. You are definitely not alone. Thank you for being real. I've "fallen off the wagon", just like you, so many times. If it can help you, please remember the rest of us aren't perfect either. In my case, far from it.

I'm often tempted to think I'm "special", "different", "exceptional". In reality, am I? Life is a struggle for all of us. The natural man struggles. Does it matter if he's OSA, SSA, SGA, MOM, MSM, MSW...all different lables for "mortal". Life is full of all sorts of labels and struggles. Is mine more "special" than the other guy? Does it give me "special" permission to mess up?

In your post you mention "integrity". I think that nails it. It's a powerful word, "integrity". In my eyes, you still have it. That is important and it doesn't require perfection, just honor and self respect and acceptance.

Anonymous said...

hugs to you...I enjoy them tons; very much like you do!

Beck said...

OOSM: Thanks - I needed that!

ROBERT said: "I just wanted to share that I really appreciate your openness and I find strength and comfort in connecting with what you write..." For an old fart like me to be able to connect with a young buck like yourself says a lot. I appreciate your comments and it helps to know that my openness, though it makes me feel naked and vulnerable, means something to others (is that too presumptuous of me?). I do receive value in sharing. In my day-to-day life, there is no sharing of such openness.

Beck said...

SCOT: WOW! Receiving respect and warm regards from such an example as yourself! Thanks.

I feel like I'm being praised for being human here. Didn't I screw up? Oh wait, that's my 18th C self speaking... :)

SILVER: You say I'm honest and authentic. Yes, in my blog I'm honest, but in life I'm not very authentic. The two still don't go together. I don't feel whole or authentic at all. I feel like I'm playing roles in a play. It's Sunday so the script says that I should be faithful and active and perfect Peter Priesthood. In my times alone, the script says that I should be someone totally different. Where is the authenticity in that?

Beck said...

ANON: Hugs back to you! I will never turn down the opportunity to give and receive hugs from anyone. I live for them. This one aspect of my life is "authentic" across the board no matter what piece of the puzzle I'm currently holding at the time.

Next time, don't be so "anonymous". How am I to hug you if I don't know you?

Scot said...

"I feel like I'm being praised for being human here."

Well then, maybe you'd be surprised at how many inhumane humans there are ;-). You're not one of them, mistakes and all.

Public Loneliness said...

Im the former ANON and I've created an idenity. I'll work on a blog at some point. Thanks for the warm reply.


Beck said...

Welcome to my world, PL. I hope to learn more about you soon. I think I know what "public loneliness" is all about...

Robert said...

No Beck, that's not too presumptious at all. I'm pretty glad that I've got an old fart to read about...his thoughts to ponder.

Thanks man.

Silver said...


Do you really want to be someone "totally different"? Think about what that would mean...I think you are content with many aspects of your current life. Isn't the SSA aspect just asking for some expression and isn't that what the blog achieves? That's what I mean about authenticity but, not necessarily "coming out" to the community.

In my case the SSA cries out for expression, to be shared, to have the understanding of close friends who also share my "angst" if you will. I find a great deal of healing in sharing this with close friends who carry the same burden or have lived in silence for many years as I did.

Is it possible to find the middle ground where it doesn't require "total" change but, rather an adjustment, an expression, a sharing by reaching out to a new community? I find that it helps and that I find validation and acceptance among very good friends. Yet, it is still difficult to manage, inconvenient, awkward at times and a bit risky. It isn't ideal but, it is better than being alone. My feelings get hurt, there is disappointment, there are desires, hopes and other emotions that are hard to manage at times. I often want to give into the natural man and be someone "totally different" but, I know that isn't the answer and it won't really satisfy. For me, fellowship is an answer, it helps but, I still hurt, need, regret, hope and wonder, what if?

I'll carry this struggle into the next life. I don't expect it to heal or to find lasting answers here. I just hope to share with friends who understand me and can walk with me. I try to accept myself as I am and to know that I'm good enough for Him as well, that He accepts me even with my blemmishes.

I wrote more about feelings similar to this on my blog "Am I Out Yet".

Sorry I'm so wordy. I'll try to be more brief!

playasinmar said...

"I'm not the poster-child of the MOHO MOMs."

Heh, yes you are.

Beck said...

SILVER said: "Isn't the SSA aspect just asking for some expression and isn't that what the blog achieves?"

Yes, but right now in this current state of mind, it's not enough. It wants more expression. It wants to be heard and seen. It wants to be "out there". The blog is great and it serves its purpose, but I don't know if it's enough. I'm obsessing right now. I'm in turmoil. I'm off the wagon and falling.

Fellowship is a huge answer. Loneliness feeds on itself and makes my thoughts much more dramatic than they really are.

Beck said...

PLAYA: I can think of Abelard, or Kengo, or Forester, or Silver, Parallel or Gecko, or OOSM way before myself...

I'm just a screwed up piece of confused humanity - not thinking to be emulated by anyone, least of all myself.

Stay clear of people like me. We never grow up. We never mature. We never find our way.

Beck said...

P.S. And who can forget the "great -L-". He's the greatest poster child of MOM MOHOs... always constant, always together, always confident, always believing, always there.

robert said...

I believe I made this original comment on Forester's blog regarding the 18th century. I have had alot to say on this subject and refer others to that blog for any clarification.

I am an elder of the gay tribe and somewhat disappointed that the efforts we made in the 60s and 70s to light the path for others through our own struggles and experiences with discrimination continues to sag around the edges.

Nonetheless, I see the dream you had about your son to be enormously prophetic. I also urge you to change one thing about your life, and it is this:
You said-
"still after this 4 year journey now of open dialogue with myself about these parts of me..."

Find someone else besides yourself to talk to about these issues. It is essential to your well-being, as well as, that of your family. I am happy to speak with you about all of this. I can and will help you...and, no, I don't think you destroy your family by being honest. In fact, duplicity is hardly a righteous state for the heart. Because I currently reside in Vietnam where I work with street kids, I may not be the best person for you to dialogue with...but you really need to dialogue with someone who can assist you to develop a deeper understanding of what it spiritually means to be gay. Sex is a small part of gay identity and is made only larger by denying it. There is so much more to being gay. Just ask! I honor you and pray for the best.

Beck said...

ROBERT: You intrigue me. Your comments at Forester's blog are fascinating. There are aspects of us being gay that are not just sexual but very much more of a "spiritual" nature. I am convinced of this, too.

Whether my dream is "prophetic" or not, remains to be seen. But, I agree that my need to express myself and be "authentic" has more to do with being able to be "me" than it has to do with "coming out". I love to be free to express my sensitive side - to connect - and I want to not be afraid to do so. I refuse to be "18th Century" in my expressions and feelings, but that doesn't mean to be sexual - for as you state it is "only a small part".

Thanks for your encouragement and understanding of someone like me. Being the "elder" that you are, you may see me as oppressed and stuck in an endless duality of lies and deception. I hope you see "authenticity" in my efforts of trying to bring together all of me.