Monday, September 29, 2008

I challenge you to comment on a non-angsty post!

In this blog, I tend to emphasize my "angst" as I "struggle" with who I am. As I've come to accept who I am, this angst level has decreased. This blog has been, for the most part, an expression of that angst above and beyond all else in my life. I suspect, as such, for those who view me only through the eyes of this blog, you might suspect me as always being angsty. This isn't so... for the most part, I'm at piece and am comfortable being me.

In this blog, I also tend to shy away from testimony bearing, and the thought came, that maybe some may question my spiritual convictions. I often don't blog about these things (because I have several ways to express myself in other contexts outside the blog, whereas my gay issues have no other contexts but this blog), and maybe that isn't good. Yet, when I have blogged about them, I typically get zero comments or feedback. In other words, DICHO nailed it when he said that my "angsty" posts generate more discussions to the point of increasing his jealousy of such banter.

So to make a preface even longer, and at the risk of receiving no comments, I want to share something that happened yesterday in church...

Is it appropriate to cry in Church? I mean, there are those that gush each and every Sunday and you just want to say "get a grip on reality, man!" I mean, real men don't cry, right? And men who tear up at the drop of a hat (I'm a sucker for a good tear-jerker movie), should be shot and put out of their misery, right? Sometimes when you see a certain brother or sister come to the podium, you know the tears are going to gush and you hang your head in embarrassment for them. (I've been known to wear my emotions on my sleeves, but sometimes those emotions are also cynicism, skepticism, and frustration). But, when was the last time you had tears swell up in your eyes in all three meetings of the block? It's been a while for me.

1. In priesthood, we were discussing the meaning of testimony, and the spirit triggered my mind to the countless testimony meetings I held, conducted, and observed while serving in a Branch Presidency at the MTC. I was prompted to share the incredible experience of seeing new elders and sisters pour into our branch every other week and "seasoned" elders and sisters pour out and onto their missionary service eight weeks later. The thought of remembering this flow of missionaries through the doors of the MTC flooding tears of emotion in me that are still very tender and precious. How many times did we welcome in a group of missionaries in a kickoff testimony meeting and undoubtedly there would be one or two or more elders (typically not sisters) who would stand and say they weren't sure of why they were there or what they believed, but that by putting into practice the principles of the Gospel, eight weeks later would stand and bear testimony with heart-felt conversion and tear-filled personal conviction. As I shared this with the quorum, tears swelled up in my eyes and in my heart of the feelings I still have of those experiences of testimony some 25 years later.

2. In Sunday School, I was teaching my little class of "misfits" and we came across the scripture in D&C 18 where the "worth of a soul" is discussed, and the "joy" that comes from touching another for good. And tears swelled up in my eyes as I shared a personal experience of the "joy" that comes from just "one soul" and how my life has been blessed by being a part of just this "one". It wasn't planned. It wasn't scripted. It just happened and my little class of "misfits" and I all started tearing up together.

3. In Sacrament Meeting, I sat next to a young, recently widowed sister who has the most beautiful voice. I hadn't spoken with her for some time and so we chatted for a bit and reconnected. The meeting was powerful, but the spirit was felt more strongly as I felt her pain, her joy, her loneliness, her strength, as she sang the hymns with me. By the closing song, I was in tears again (count them - three times!) and had to stop singing as I listened to her voice express her spirit and her struggle and her pain and her joy and her testimony as she sang. After the closing prayer, I reached over and gave her a big hug and told her: "I don' know that you realize the feelings of the spirit that I have felt as I've sat here with you and hearing you sing". She broke out crying in my arms and we held each other for a moment.

Sometimes, I'm judged as an emotional boob. Sometimes, emotion is confused with the spirit. But, yesterday, I felt the spirit confirm within me that God loves me, that triggered memories are "tender mercies" from Him, and that we are here to touch each other for good, because of our "struggles" that make us who we are.

Now that this gaggy and sappy post is over, I'm inclined to hit the delete key as no one will comment anyway, and I promise I'll return to my normally cynical, skeptical, and angsty self.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A very typical form of selfishness...

In Northern Lights, I recently read this quote in one of the comments:

Have you explored the possibility that the cause, when found, will turn out to be a very typical form of selfishness? … If one could even experiment with the possibility that selfishness of a very subtle nature may be the cause of this disorder, that quickly clarifies many things. It opens the possibility of putting some very sick things in order. … Consider this: One cannot procreate alone. And this: One cannot procreate with his own gender. These are absolutes. And there is a third: One cannot procreate without yielding or giving. … I repeat, we have had very little success in trying to remedy perversion by treating perversion. It is very possible to cure it by treating selfishness. -- Elder Boyd K. Packer

I am familiar with this quote, but had forgotten it and now that I've reread it, I am concerned with it still being quoted, particularly with words such as "cause" and "disorder" and "very sick things" and "perversion" and "cure" and "treating" - all of which seem to be in contrast with more current speech from the Brethren.

But, this post isn't to argue these points (as they've been argued at length on NL and other blog posts) - instead, it is to address the underlining principle of selfishness.

Abelard says that my real problem is that I "want my cake and eat it too". Well, if that isn't the epitome of selfishness, then I don't know what the word means. I mean, when I say that I long for a hug-buddy, a bromance, a platonic boyfriend on the side, while still sealing my heart to my wife and remaining faithful to covenants - isn't that ultimately the most selfish want or desire you've ever heard?

I've been missing my "cake eating" of bromances lately and feel longings for these relationships while I'm sitting here at home trying to strengthen the emotional ties of my marriage. Isn't that self-centered or selfish?

Which leads me to question the true intent behind my "friendships" with these recently married young guys. Of course I love them and want the best for them, and I would do anything to help them and encourage them to be their best selves - but I also want their intimacy. Isn't that selfish?

Feeling bad about the distance of time and location and circumstance, and longing for some connection, I individually wrote four of them the other day, and to my pleasant surprise, three of the four wrote me back wonderful, warm, welcoming emails, expressing their desires for me to be a bigger part of their lives. I can portray that my motives are extensively altruistic, yet, none of them know (though they may suspect) of my ulterior motives. So, again, isn't that the definition of selfishness - seeking contact to ease my longing gay heart?

I've blogged about this before, but like all things in my life, I just spin my wheels and come back to the same place where I was before... * sigh *

Maybe, as much as it pains me to say it, in a certain sense, President Packer has nailed it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Longing fingers...

Over the course of the last few months, my friendly bromances have dissolved as they've transitioned into the world of marital bliss. After all, who needs a best buddy, best confidant, or best mentor when you've got a wife, right? Though it's to be expected, and rightfully so, it still is painful and lonely on this other end. I know they are still very dear friends, but it never will be the same.

Out of the blue, (it's been a few months now) "Tim" showed up with his wife at church yesterday and came to my class. I had a hard time thinking. My heart beat irregularly and I don't think I was breathing properly. I couldn't look at him directly without wanting to burst into tears. So, I didn't really make eye contact as I once did. I didn't hug him as I had. I got caught up in other conversations at the end of the lesson and as the corner of my eye caught him slipping out, I grabbed his arm and let it slip down through my fingers... I thought it was okay as we'd connect after Sacrament Meeting. After the block, I saw he and his bride coming toward me. Our eyes met and I freaked out inside. They were stopped by another couple and my inside wiggles were interrupted by a brother who asked me to assist in giving a sister a blessing... Of course I said "yes", instead of saying "No, I can't right now... Can't you see that I've got to have my bromance hug and kiss with Tim?" As I slipped up the aisle passing them and the other couple, trying not to make eye contact or a "Beck" spectacle scene, he unexpectantly grabbed my arm from behind. I jumped with joy at his strong touch, though I didn't stop and my arm slipped down through his fingers.

By the time I resurfaced, he was gone!

Our bromancing hugs have turned into "longing fingers" slipping down outstretched arms. What's next - a wedding announcement of his son two decades from now?

I know that relationships change over time. Situations and people evolve. We aren't static creatures - we are dynamic and ever changing. But, knowing that doesn't ease the longing that I still feel, still crave, still need.

In the last post, JGW points out the following about my pathetic situation:

What is unique to your situation is the wondering, "What if??" What if I had explored this aspect of myself? Would I be happier? Would my relationship be better?

And I think that's why you keep pushing these boundaries... You're still wondering. You still haven't answered that killer question to your satisfaction. Once you have answered it, the boundary testing will be done.

I can't help but wonder the "what ifs" between me and these bromances. I can't help but wonder what it would be like had I explored this aspect of myself. I can't help but long for knowing that answer.

Because of my boundaries, I never have explored these options, and I've sought for answers at a "safe" and "controlled" distance; i.e. 1) with a mission friend who became a lover that was inevitably a continent away and I allowed to die of AIDS, 2) with many a missionary in the MTC who saw me as teacher instead of brotherly lover, 3) with several much younger dear men who viewed me as an older brother, confidant, and mentor of sorts - the sage advice giver and comforter, never an equal romance seeker, and now 4) a waiter flirtation on a cruise ship on the verge of "sexual harassment" taking advantage of my elite or "superior" position of authority - talk about desperation.

And as such, I know and have come to learn nothing about my quest for personal satisfaction of the "what if" questions. I am left longing, wondering, questioning, and thus still desiring to push the boundaries to see if I can "know" without really knowing.

I attended a wedding reception of a dear friend's son over the weekend. It was beautiful. When I came to the reception, I was very curious about my friend's other son, who is gay. How was he to be treated? Where would he fit in? Would he have his partner there? How would they be assimilated as a couple? Earlier in the day at the temple, he obviously wasn't there - excluded symbolically and literally from the "eternal family unit". At the reception, however, he (whose honor and namesake this blog is) was there with his partner, both dressed in the family wedding garb in seamless harmony and unity with all other siblings, spouses and partners. It brought such peace and relief...

but then, as I sat and observed the couple, I couldn't help but wonder "what if?" and "are they happy?" and "what if that were me?" The longing to know returned. I wanted to corner them and interview them and ask them these deeply desired questions, but I couldn't. It wasn't the time or place to have a therapy session with closeted "Uncle Beck".

So, while everyone else blogs and stews over gay marriage, Proposition 8, and the Church, I'm still here, still wondering, still placing my ill-advised, inappropriate and immature attachments to the wrong relations. I'm a slow learner. I've got my heart with my wife and I should be emotionally hers and hers alone. But, this weekend still shows how slow I learn... I'm still longing.
How do I get out of this self-destructive cycle?


Anyone up for a new bromance? I'm available... Be advised, that to qualify for a bromance with Beck you must:
1) Be at least 20 years younger than me.
2) Be really cute.
3) Be either engaged to be married or be a waiter.
4) Be very open to the idea of guy-to-guy affection, but hopelessly straight.
If you meet ANY of the above criteria, please call: 1-800-555-BECK.

Monday, September 15, 2008


It's amazing how we can be so invisible to those around us.

I was on a cruise ship last week and we had a set table for dinner every night with the same waiter and "water boy". Obviously, those at the table developed a rapport of sorts with the waiter as we came to know each other and look forward to the experience of another meal of gluttony. (Really, I hate cruises. This was my first and probably my last - toward the end of the week it felt so wrong, so excessive, so over-the-top, so self-centered, so gluttonous - but I digress. However, truth be told, what really bothered me was being told what to do, when to do it, and being held prisoner to someone else's rules and schedules... AAGGHHH!).

Where was I? Oh yeah, the nightly dinner event... It became interesting to me that no one at our table (there were four couples), took note of the gorgeous water boy. He was a twenty-something Indonesian beauty with the most beautiful smile and deep engaging eyes. I was instantly mesmerized by his smile. It was genuine and sweet and had a sense of innocence. He spoke very little English and did not engage in conversation as the waiter did. He was polite and attentive, but non-obtrusive.

The first night I smiled at him as he poured the water (and since none of us were drinking alcohol, the need for water and attention to our table kept coming) and he smiled back. The second night, we smiled together and our eyes connected. The third night he watched me arrive at the dining room and our eyes and smiles connected before we even sat down as I noted he was following me eagerly. The fourth night I touched his arm and thanked him, and he lingered a bit. The fifth night I put my arm around his shoulder as I came to the table and greeted him with a brief, quick hug. The sixth night we hugged each other openly and I put my arm around his waist. The seventh night, our last night, we were talking around the table about needing to tip the waiter and I mentioned to not forget the waiter's assistant, and to my surprise, everyone looked at me confused of who I was even referring to. I called my friend over to the table, calling him by name, and introduced him to the table to seven people who hadn't even taken notice of him.

I was flabbergasted. How could they have not seen this beautiful male specimen serving them? How had he been so invisible to them and so noticeable to me? Didn't they note his engaging heart-melting smile? Weren't they attracted to his sweetness? How could they have not seen his beauty to have had their hearts pound faster every time he came to our table? Were they so consumed in their own gluttony to not even take notice?

At the end of the last night, after the others had left, I wrapped my arms around him, gave him a big hug and a kiss on the forehead (in the infamous "Beck" way) and slipped him a big tip and thanked him for being so kind. I don't know if I was too forward, if he was taking advantage of me for that tip, or if he was just a genuinely kind person that connected with me. I felt it from him. You know what I mean. He engaged me back. When our eyes connected, he didn't turn away.

Now, as much as I may have gone further and looked him up and found his room, etc, I did not. I never intended anything of the sort. I just enjoyed the connection with another man. It was brief and innocent.

But, two points that baffle me...

1) how was it that I was the only one who "saw" him?

2) how come I'm still thinking about him?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I am having a really hard time figuring out how to articulate how things are going. It is too simple to say that things are going "well", as that really doesn't mean much, but it's true - I'm feeling at peace with my relationship with my wife right now.

Our time away was very timely and I came to a realization of sorts that revealed to me that she is not nearly as worried about my "attractions" or my "sexual performance" issues as I am. She is much more worried about where my heart is. As basic as this seems (and it feels silly to blog about because it is so basic), this revelation has brought peace to me. As long as I want her in my life, and as long as we are emotionally connected and my heart is hers, the other issues (that seem so enormous and insurmountable at times in my mind) aren't as disastrous or deal-breaking as I may think they are.

This doesn't change the fact that my desires are as strong as they've always been - I still want and need a guyfriend, guys-who-are-my-friend-in-an-intimate-bromancing-way - and I need to keep in perspective those desires (which are real and not going away) while still giving my heart to her.

This paradoxical situation hasn't changed. But somehow, we've progressed where the angst has decreased a bit in our relationship as we've moved to a new understanding of each other's needs.