Friday, December 05, 2008

Thomas - Part 3




I'm a wreck.

This emotional roller coaster I'm on is destroying me.

I can't sleep. I ended up dreaming (or wishfully fantasizing I'm not sure) about Thomas the last three nights. It's always the same situation. I find myself in Italy again - this time alone. I am walking on a hidden path - one time it was in the Ligurian hills somewhere , another time it was in the rice paddy fields near his home, another time it was along a lake in Lombardia, but always it was the same deserted path. All of a sudden, he is there with me - he comes out of the forest / from amidst the evening fog / from around a stone wall. I'm not shocked. We greet without affection. Things are casual between us. We talk as we walk along as if it is a normal day's conversation of the events, and as we talk, I start feeling all excited and sparkly inside. We come to a tree / a rock / a wall (depending on the version) and I finally can't stand it anymore, and I press him up against the object in mid-sentence and kiss him romantically. He tenses at first and then melts into my arms and then I wake up... and I smile exhausted but renewed.

I shared with him these thoughts. I thought it would shock him or panic him, but it did not. He's flattered and excited that I am dreaming of him in this way... AAAAGGGHHH! He wasn't supposed to react to my forward-looking thoughts that way!


I'm in a panic. I'm happy and elated one minute and confused and consumed in the next. I'm unable to work. I can't think. I'm disingenuous to you. I'm disingenuous to my wife. I'm disingenuous to him. I'm not thinking clearly. I refuse to face myself.

To make things worse, I drug out my missionary journal and started reading it this morning trying to recall the date of first meeting. I remembered that I was transferred to his city at the first week of December. As it turns out, it was 29 years ago tomorrow that I met him for the first time. He stood in my apartment bedroom door as I was still unpacking. I was shocked a bit, because I wasn't used to having members within the mission apartment, but he obviously was comfortable in doing so with the previous missionaries, and I soon accepted this arrangement as normal for him. He was single, he was our age, (and he wasn't female) and he was enveloped in all things missionary that the elders were doing - so it was good. Within a couple of days I'm expressing my "love" for him and a "bond" with him. Within a week, we are talking and sharing thoughts and feelings about the Gospel and the missionary work and it stirs my heart and I feel something more for him. And by the end of the month we've had numerous close encounters, spiritual experiences, his birthday celebration, the holidays, the New Year... and by the end of the month we've kissed. Well, actually he kissed me in a very sacred and special Italian way... but all the same, as I read my words and find, a bit amazed, that he is mentioned or discussed or something he said is written or an encounter with him is described on EVERY single page... I didn't know this! I haven't reread my words for decades... and now that I'm reading them in this new "light of day", I am overcome by how fast and how strong our emotions grow. I thought it took us several months to get to the point of arrival (I was in that city for five months), but it was very quick and very strong and we connected and all the emotions of those memories are flooding back to me anew. And I'm consumed.

I was "in love" with him when I got married, and though I told HER about HIM before we were married, and though I locked my heart and gave her the key, there has always been a chamber that was locked away for him. I compartmentalize this very easily and I feel no guilt, no shame, no hypocrisy. I feel as if I should, but I don't. I feel none! What I've given her I've given completely. What I've given or saved for him, I've done so completely as well. Each fully their portion. Both are part of my heart. Though it is still one heart, there are separate keys and separate chambers.

Some have suggested that the only way to go forward is to tell my wife everything I'm feeling, and that anything less is wrong, dishonest, disingenuous. Others have wisely counseled to not do anything in haste, but to cherish the moment and to feel the joy and the blessing of it and to be patient. I choose the sagacity of "no-haste" approach...

And to make things worse, I've been re-reading "The Glass Darkly" of savingjohngalt.blogspot.com fame and I've been consumed in JG's journey with Isaac (his Thomas), a French boyfriend that he met in London while working there. If you read his story, it reads almost as an allegory, as if it were symbolic and meant to teach. One day he appears out from nowhere into this blogging community, opens his heart to deep and heart-wrenching events that lead to his turmoil of decisions to leave his boyfriend, his lover, and return to his wife and kids in America, or to start a new life with Isaac. Then, he pulls back, leaves him, returns home, seeks forgiveness, repents, abandons Isaac for his own good, and then Isaac miraculously seeks out the missionaries and is baptized in Europe, and both end up happily on their respective paths and then the blog, as passionate and as heart-wrenching as it was, suddenly ends and JG disappears, never to be heard of again. It's like the Book of Job in the Bible. Job comes from nowhere, tells his tremendously sad story, succeeds in the end triumphantly, and then disappears, never to be heard from again. With JG, it's now been 18 months and I wonder... are they still happy in their respective choices? Did they ever get back together? Did JG stay with his family? Did Isaac find joy in the Church and his conversion?

I'm living in a blogging-consumed fairy tale world. This isn't real... It isn't happening... I am still who I am... I haven't bought my ticket... I'm not going to... But deep down I keep thinking about Annie (Meg Ryan's character in Sleepless in Seattle) where she stares longingly at the Empire State Building and can't help but wonder if he is really there waiting for her... and she has to tell her fiance' "Walter, I have to go".

I know that if I do go, something like the scene in my dream will come to pass (as Damon has warned) and I'll want it do and I'll desire it to and I'll see to it that it does happen and he will be willing and waiting... I am convinced that I will always be in love him, no matter what, even if we never see each other again, just as I am convinced that I will always love her. This is my reality, not necessarily my destiny.

AAARRGGG... this is getting so ridiculous!!!!!!!!! Just shoot me now, please, I beg of you!

When is this eternal adolescence going to end? I really am a serious person. I am not so gaggy and hopelessly romantic.
I really want to curl up and disappear...

15 comments:

Damon In CO said...

Beck-

I'm sorry if I've contributed to your angst...although when I re-read my comment to your last post I suppose it could make anyone angsty.

Take a deep breath and be still.

The good news is that you don't have to do anything right now. You can take your time to figure out what needs to be figured out.

He's not here and you aren't there. Although I am a proponent of talking to your wife it is true you don't have to do anything right now.

It's a lot of emotions to deal with all at once. Emotions that have been bottled up for a while and now to know that Thomas feels similarly is challenging.

For the first time you're being faced with an actual possibility and not just a fantasy. But you don't have to worry about doing anything right now.

Luckily you have time to sit back and decide what you want.

Love you, Beck

~Damon

Beck said...

DAMON said: "...For the first time you're being faced with an actual possibility and not just a fantasy..."

That's what makes it so aggravating... this is not a fantasy or a figment of my imagination (even if I'm acting immature like I'm imagining things) as this is dealing with another man, a real man, a mature human being, a real person! If I love him, I need to be respectful of him as well and not use him for my personal soap opera dramatic stimuli to give my life purpose and meaning and feeling.

*sigh*

John Galt said...

I received your email that sent me here. I haven’t been on any of these blogs for a very long time. And now, reading your blog makes me sad. The last thing I wanted to see is the photos you've been posting. I don’t see any sign of a fight in you. You seem to have already given up. You’ve lost sight of reality: who you were before you were born, all that you have been given and promised and the royal Priesthood that you hold. I don’t blame you, because I was there myself. The exhilaration you’re feeling is universal and it’s addicting. But in the end, it is empty. Wake up brother. It’s so hard to see the chains Satan is using, I know. But they are real. Your memories are fictional romance, and anyone that tells you of happy days ahead with your gay Italian lover is lying. It’s all a lie Beck. Don’t let them fool you. You’re holding on to a dream. It’s not worth it. Take down all of these photos and start fighting again. For me, I could not fight and keep my blog going at the same time. I was living out in my blog what I was trying to fight in my life. That is why I stopped.

As for me, I cannot tell a hundredth part of my story over the past 18 months. It has been full of miracles. Being a dad and a husband, and having the Spirit back in my life outweighs anything I gave up. And in reality, the only thing I really gave up was sex with my man. Because Isaac and I are still brothers. But now, in the Gospel. He has a strong testimony built on his own experiences and answers - he received his Patriarchal blessing last week which was wonderful, and will go through the temple in January. And most importantly, we're both keeping our covenants. And everything else we miss doesn’t compare to what we have now.

Peace & Hope are under-rated.

Life has twists and turns that none of us expect Beck. Have HOPE brother. And stand up and fight. Revelation 21:7

John Galt

Anonymous said...

Here is a little of my story. I lived in Europe for a number of years. There I met and fell in love with a member of my same gender. It was never planned. We worked together in the church through a calling, got very close, very bonded, very fast, similar to what you recount between Thomas and you. Our relationship moved to the same point yours did- we kissed, and it was very passionate and very exciting. And, we made out OFTEN at every possible chance. The irony was I had just become engaged to an individual in the states the EXACT same time as my budding new relationship developed in Europe. I left Europe a few months later, to return to the states. I was SO unhappy in knowing I was getting married. To someone I did not know, or love, or even respect? And, I was leaving the person with whom I was madly in love, because they were my same sex? It was awful. Like yours and Thomas' story, my true love came to witness my marriage. That was one of the most awful days of my life- and leaving after the wedding to be with someone other than the person I truly loved was torturous and so awfully painful. I tried making the marriage work, but I could not live the lie any more. I knew I would kill myself rather than stay and live the lie. I went back to Europe for a brief period of time Our relationship now becamse fully sexual. We loved each other so completely, so devotedly. We so mutually cared for the other's happiness and well being. I came back to the states after a few weeks, left my so-called marriage, and tried picking up the pieces of whatever the heck was left of it. I thought my love in Europe felt the same way about me as I felt. In the end, after a few years, seems the feelings were NOT completely mutual, and they went on to remarry. Whether it was because of THEIR ambivalence with being a gay member of the church that led them to remarry, or they did not ever love me, like I had THOUGHT I experienced is still unknown to me. It has taken me a very long time to be able to put the relationship behind me, the one of my true love. But, the truth of the matter is my love was not returned. I was not honored, or loved, or cared for enough that they could stay with me. I guess my bottom line of this story is this: you may just get what you wish for. You may have joy and happiness with it. But, then again, you may not. You might open up a whole other can of worms that you did not even know existed out there. You might end up doing yourself more damage than you ever thought possible. Being in love, loving someone is euphoric, almost addicting. It IS addicting. To touch someone and be with someone you love so much is like getting hit with electricity EVERY time you make contact. That can feel pretty darn good. And, exciting. Passionate. Loving. Endearing. Wonderful. Exciting. So, there you go... my long-winded "part of my story"... LOL

Pieces of Me said...

Bec k:

As my soon to be ex-husband would say, “It’s a shit sandwich.” Neither you, nor your wife, nor Thomas can experience feeling “whole” & “complete” without hurting or destroying something very valuable. So all three of you are left in a state of being and feeling incomplete. And the bottom line, it’s just not fair, and it never well be, at least in this life time. Sometimes I wonder if part our disappointment comes from the fact that we expect life to be fair and it never is. We want the “happy ever after” and instead we are left with challenges, trials, and injustices.

I understand the longing you are feeling. Last summer and into early fall I had an emotional affair with a married man. I met him on-line, and we had this immediate connection that neither one of us expected. We were both in very difficult situations and used each other as a sounding board, as well as a source of support. Most of our communication was emails, but I did meet him personally a few times, and even kissed him. Both of us fell in love. It was wrong, we both knew it, but yet neither of us could deny what we felt. And much like gay adolescence, we both felt 17 again, with butterflies and everything. He shared with me things about himself that even his wife after 30 years of marriage does not know. Needless to say his wife found out about “us” and a trip to their bishop was involved. The bishop told him he either had to give up me or his Church membership. He gave me up, the Church and his family were too important to jeopardize, and I completely understood and accepted that. But I STILL love him and I know he STILL loves me, there was too much of connection between the two of us.

Again I am not saying what I did was right, because it was not and I continually ask for repentance of my actions, but I did learn a lot from the experience, and it gave me some much needed strength in my life. I am glad it did not go any further than it did, and actually had his wife not found out about “us” it probably would have….but there will always be that longing, knowing that he completes me, at least in my fantsay world, I have a feeling reality would have been a lot different.

Neal said...

Beck,

I thought of this song when I read your post:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBx9a71BZq4

What might have been and what actually HAPPENED are two entirely different things. One is fantasy and the other reality. You have a wife, children, the Gospel, a life...

We all have loves, crushes, whatever you want to call it that ended in what "might have been". Cherish that for what it is, but live in the reality of what actually IS.

Regards,

Neal

Beck said...

JG: First of all, thank you for responding so quickly. I am truly honored that you would. You don't know it, but you are one of my heroes!

Your thoughts and comments here trigger lots of emotion within me more than I can express within the limitations of this response.

I need to take some time to reflect upon your words... Again, thank you.

Beck said...

ANON said: "...I guess my bottom line of this story is this: you may just get what you wish for. You may have joy and happiness with it. But, then again, you may not. You might open up a whole other can of worms that you did not even know existed out there. You might end up doing yourself more damage than you ever thought possible..."

I very much am aware, despite my words describing my passion, that there are unforeseen consequences to the choices we make, and that is why I am being cautious and careful with what my next steps may be. The 6,000 miles give me time and space to not be hasty or irrational in any decisions.

I very much appreciate that you opened up and shared your story. I need to hear it and understand it and learn from it as I evaluate my own journey. Thank you for doing so. I know that took courage. I feel the pain and anguish in your words and I'm touched by the suffering you've felt. I see where you are coming from and ache for your happiness, and I understand why you are throwing out our cautionary advice to me.

"Being in love, loving someone is euphoric, almost addicting. It IS addicting. To touch someone and be with someone you love so much is like getting hit with electricity EVERY time you make contact. That can feel pretty darn good. And, exciting. Passionate. Loving. Endearing. Wonderful. Exciting."

It is! It makes one feel so alive! It makes one feel human. The experiences of this life, the purpose of our loving hearts, is to fulfill the measure of our creation, to know the joys and sorrows, to not be past feeling, but to be able to feel. I am feeling this electricity you describe. It is euphoric, addicting, intoxicating... that's why I shouldn't take too many journeys behind the wheel right now in my intoxicated state of euphoria.

Please keep sharing. Please know how grateful I am that you felt comfortable enough to share.

Beck said...

PIECES said: "it’s just not fair, and it never well be, at least in this life time. Sometimes I wonder if part our disappointment comes from the fact that we expect life to be fair and it never is. We want the “happy ever after” and instead we are left with challenges, trials, and injustices..."

What comes to mind is a quote from the movie Princess Bride: "Life isn't fair, princess, and anyone saying differently is selling something".

I know it isn't fair. But I still control the situation. I still control my heart. I still am in charge here.

But right now, for a moment, I'm cherishing the feeling to know that I can feel alive. And I can see the good in these feelings. Sure, I can say "Why me?" or "Why now?" or "Why Lord couldn't this have happened in a different sequence?" or "Why do I have to love both a man and a woman?" Or "Why am I so selfish to think that I can?" Or "Why was I given this capacity to love? Wouldn't it be easier just to not care at all?" Or hundreds of other whys...

But for now, for this moment, I am grateful for these feelings. I am grateful to feel alive and whole and happy and confused and anguished and euphoric and depressed! It's okay. I can still thank God that I'm alive and that I CARE and that I want to RISK my sensitivities on others and I want to share my passion with others and I want to be human! I thank God that he has given me this gift to feel, to learn, to experience, to struggle with choices. I thank God for my wife! I thank God for my family! I thank God for bringing Thomas into my life, not once, but twice, and to still care and feel and love.

I know it isn't fair. That's why it's so hard. If I didn't care so much about the players in this play, it would be easy. I'd just go do what feels good and to hell with any of the consequences. But, it isn't fair, it never will be, and that IS life.

God judges us not by what we have been given, but by what we do with that which we've been given.

Thank you, also, for sharing your story. I see your pain and loneliness and anger and frustration and unfairness and inequality and injustice, and I pray for you and ask the Lord to comfort you with your choices that ARE within your control and to help you to see the BEST you can be... that is my simple prayer for all of us.

Beck said...

NEAL said: "We all have loves, crushes, whatever you want to call it that ended in what "might have been". Cherish that for what it is, but live in the reality of what actually IS."

Yes! Thank you! You get it!

Cherish the love for what it is! Cherish that I feel this love! Cherish that I want to feel this love and to be loved! Cherish that this has happened and that there is someone out there who feels the same way! Cherish the miracle that this love is! Cherish that hearts do not age and weaken with time, but remain eternally young! Cherish that relationships mean something and aren't fleeting, but can last for decades, even beyond this life! Cherish that eternal relationships are not bound only between husband and wife, but to all our brothers and sisters! Cherish the fact that what I give of myself to others comes back tenfold! Cherish the fact that I have been given a heart that can love another man! I do not curse such a thing - but I count it as a blessing! Cherish the fact that nothing but goodness and kindness and tenderness has come from such love for another man!

Cherish the fact that my wife knew about me and my passions and loved me even more because of them and still married me anyway! Cherish the fact that she still loves me even more today! Cherish the fact that I am in love with her, a woman, the only woman that I have felt like this in my life! I thank God that I was given this woman to be my companion and that my heart opened up enough to see her goodness and kindness and tenderness and love, and I felt it and took the risk and married her despite my feelings for him!

Could it have been different? What if I can come out sooner? What if he truly knew how I felt three decades ago? What if I never opened myself to her and the possibility of love with a woman? What if I had been more aware of my SSA feelings when I returned from my mission as I am now - would I have ever allowed myself to be married? And if not, what would have become of me? Would I have had children? Would I have known the joys and treasures and preciousness that they are to me? Would I have known a happier existence with him? Could it have worked out culturally, intellectually? Would he have been bored with my provincial American ways?

I can drive myself crazy with such questions. But I can also be grateful for the blessings that come from all of this!

J G-W said...

Beck -- I'm reading all of this and taking it in, and thinking much of you. Can't think of much to say except that I love you and will keep you in my prayers.

Beck said...

JGW: That's okay... you don't have to say anything really - just knowing you're out there is enough.

Sarah said...

Beck,

As I've been reading through all of this, I have been trying to put myself in your wife's shoes. I know you are trying to figure out how much to tell her. If Scott figured out that he was in love with a man that loved him in return, I would want him to be honest with me about it. I trust him and hope that he would never keep something like that from me.

But I also get a glimpse of how much knowing that would hurt. I am already worried that something like that will actually happen someday! Knowing that it has happened would make that nagging "What if?" in the back of my head even louder and harder to ignore on a day-to-day basis. I'm not sure how I would handle it.

However, I have handled everything so far with Scott coming out, etc., better than I ever would have imagined myself to. So maybe if it ever does happen, I will again have the strength to handle whatever comes my way.

But despite the fact that I think it would hurt to know such a thing, I THINK it would hurt much more to find out about it later and wish that I had been trusted with the information early on. I am SO incredibly grateful for the fact that Scott is completely honest with me. In many ways, knowing that he will always tell me everything brings me great comfort, so maybe that helps to counter-act any possible hurt.

Is this making any sense at all?

I think back to the first week of July, when he was blogging and emailing and I knew nothing about it. I felt a distance between us. Nothing had happened with us to cause this distance, that I knew of. I was confused. I kept asking him if something was wrong, and he kept telling me no. He left early and came home late and didn't seem to want to talk to me when he was home.

Then after he told me EVERYTHING, including the fact he had a blog and a bunch of friends that he emailed, we instantly grew closer and closer. Of course it was hard, and there were questions and turmoil and angst, but the more we talked, the more everything just felt peaceful and okay. I didn't know what the future would bring, but I knew it was okay.

I think I've rattled on long enough, but when I finally figure out what to say to someone, it just kind of flows out of me and I can't really explain it. I think it is a spiritual thing. I hope I'm right and that this is inspirational for you in some way.

I think of you and pray for you often.

Hugs

Sarah

robert said...

As I ask my son when he is drawn into adolescent fantasies involving the women in his life, have you bought your Hannah Montana tickets yet? Somehow, this helps him.

Beck said...

SARAH: I really do thank you for posting your comments and perspective here - it always gives me a different view of the situations and often the view of the spouse that I don't consider as much as I should.

I do feel that as "Beck" (my gay self) and I become more acquainted and familiar with each other, and as we work things out in a controlled way (where he's not overriding my choices or decisions and where I'm not suppressing him or imprisoning him, forcing him to do harm and damage to me), and we keep our feelings for Thomas at bay and within proper perspectives and we come to a peace about each other and our relationship together and become one, is it really essential to burden my wife with all of this unnecessarily if it can be solved internally? Sure, she's my help-meet and partner in this together, and I do need and am seeking to get to the point where all can be in the open, but does it necessarily have to be?

It leads back to "what I really want" and part of that is in not hiding "Beck" from her much longer, but presenting Beck to her in a way that is loving and supportive and not destructive and painful...