Saturday, February 23, 2008

Validation...


Whether I want to admit it or not, I need to feel of value, I need to feel needed and wanted and important and relevant. I need to be valid or validated. Is this an ego fetish of mine? Or am I that insecure?


Recently, I spent a lot of time and energy going after two different projects. Each was with a client that had known and worked with me before. Each was doing a project that I am completely qualified, even over-qualified to do and I felt very comfortable measuring up to the task of the presentation, the interview, the jury selection and the award of the projects. The problem was, they were in two different states and would require substantial travel and time commitment away from home, and would drive me crazy in trying to figure out how to do both of them at the same time - basically they had the same magnitude of scope and schedule.


My wife told me I was crazy to go after both projects. I really don't need the work, but I felt this overwhelming need to prove to myself that I was worthy of and valid as a professional by being accepted by these respective clients. Why is that? Why was it so important to prove to myself that I'm needed, and wanted, and valid? Why do I need constant validation to assure my personal worth?


As it turns out, I was awarded one of the two projects. Actually, I should be happy that I didn't get both, (and as it turns out, my wife's prayers were answered in my not getting both), but I immediately went into a withdrawal and emotional let-down over the project that didn't select me. Why wasn't I selected? What did I do wrong? Why was I not viewed as being "of value" or of "worth" to them? It was a real ego blow! I felt unwanted and unworthy.


Why is it so important to be "accepted"? Why does it hurt so much when I'm not? Why do I need such self-checks to "know" that I'm all right, instead of inherently just knowing that I'm okay with myself without external rewards or awards or recognitions?


We all need to feel needed and wanted and "of value" to others. We seek for grades and recognitions at school. We are trained from an early age to accept and desire praise and to be worthy of the love and admiration of others, of our parents and family, of our friends. We seek confirmation of the spirit to feel the Lord's love and praise and support in our lives. One of the YW values is "individual worth".


A couple of scriptures come to mind regarding "sparrows falling", or "hairs of our head being numbered" (Matthew 10:29-31) as well as "the worth of souls being great" (D&C 18:10). The Lord is constantly reminding us of our validity, of our godliness, of our potential, of our capacity to be like Him. And yet, I constantly feel like I don't measure up. Oft times, I fall short of the mark. Sometimes, I just don't get the job.


Again, I didn't need the job. Getting the job would have been the worst thing for me. I have no man-power to perform and receiving the job and then not being able to perform would be even worse. It would be detrimental on my health, on my family-life, on my spirituality. I know this - and yet, I wanted it - just to know that I was "loved" and "wanted" and "praiseworthy" of another client.

Now how sick is that?


I've always tried to "measure up". I've maintained the list, and checked the boxes...


- I'm an eagle scout, not because I loved scouting (I hated it!!!), but because it was expected of me to earn the award.


- I'm was a straight-A student for the most part, not because I was smart, but because my parents expected nothing but the best from me and I felt a drive to prove that I was worthy of their respect and praise and did everything I could to "get that 'A'" not because I wanted to learn or loved learning, but because I wanted to please them.


- I went on a mission because I had a testimony, yes, but I also went because it was expected of me, and I didn't want to disappoint anyone, and I wanted to feel of value for doing what I should be doing. (Actually, the one time I really felt human and full of the spirit, and connecting to people was toward the end of my mission when I really didn't care what the mission president thought of me, or what leadership position I held, or how many baptisms I had, or how many discussions I taught, etc... it was when I just felt the spirit and did what my heart told me to do!)


- I married my one and only sweetheart because I miraculously fell in love despite my attractions for men (that were mostly hidden and non-cognitive), but I also married her because I was "supposed" to do this, and it would lead to other blessings and "acceptance in the kingdom", thus leading to validity as a man, as a priesthood holder. I wanted to be included, to be part of the team, a participant in the plan, taking the steps that lead to more validation... of family, of friends, of God...


- I was always an outsider, the different one. I wasn't the most handsome. I was the nerd. I was uncoordinated and always the last to be picked on the ball-team. I'm a home-body. I'm a loner. I'm an overachiever. I'm envious. I don't like myself. (I know, I know... time for a "poor Beck" shout-out!)

- Rarely have I been accepted by men. I have felt different and isolated from them, envious of all that they are and all that I am not. My eagerness to stay on the "straight and narrow" because I should be doing so as it was and is expected of me, may have suppressed my attractions at times, and allowed me to stay in the closet for so long, and allowed me to live a "straight life" as a married family man for as long as I have - all, for the most part of seeking acceptance, normalcy, honor, sustaining from the Church, from my family, from God.


- I am not accepted as a gay man in my daily existence. I hide it. I hide myself. I'm not included. I'm apart. I desire intimacy that I can't have. I seek for touch that is forbidden. I can't cross over because I'm "good" and it "wouldn't be praiseworthy".


- It continues even here. I blog, at times, for acceptance and validity and personal-worth from this blogging community. I seek inclusion. I desire comments and search for connections and self-validity as others value my experience.


It's all sick!!! This whole existence of mine, including this blog, my career, my family life - it's all for "getting the grade" or "checking the box", or "being obedient for the reward" or "receiving the project"! It's for others, for wrong reasons, for impure motives... all in the name of "validation"...


I should have gotten that job... then I wouldn't have worried so much about being so invalid...
When will I ever be happy with JUST BEING ME!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

Be careful what you wish for...

video

Sometimes, I feel like I've spent my entire life "wishing" for something that I can't have, shouldn't have, or once I do have, wish then that I didn't have... In living a life like this, it is always based on longings and cravings, on regrets and guilt, and not on what is right before my eyes - the life that I am living but don't want to live...

I've longed for the "gay life", the romantic attachments of man-to-man relationships. I've regretted that late in life my choices and my personal enlightenment of my gaydom have robbed me of ever having those attachments now (as I'm too ancient in gay years). I've felt guilty for having such longings and as such spent too much of life beating up myself. And as such, I've missed some of the real joys that are right in front of me, and been foolish enough to not see what I do have.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

il miracolo d'amore...


Recent comments point to the fact that for most gay men, it is unthinkable to be in love with, and married to a woman, particularly for more than a quarter century, and be so happily (for the most part) and faithfully:

... it's difficult to understand why someone would choose to stay with a woman when their desire lies with men...

... people who are gay... would find a way out of the marriage so they could pursue the life they desire...

... There are gay people who will look down on you, it's true...

...hmm...does accepting your gay mean no possibility of falling in love with a woman?

...The odd thing to me is that there are extremely few remotely like you, Beck...

I know I'm odd. I know I've never been stereotypical or easy to peg. I'm unique! And, yet I ask myself why? Why couldn't I "fit in" with either the straight or the gay communities? Why am I lost between the two, thus, not "fitting in" to either? Being unique makes things interesting - life isn't predictable.

I don't need to explain how gay I am. My blog has done that for nearly two years now. I am exclusively attracted to men! I am not somewhere in the middle. I'm at the end of the spectrum, completely attracted to the male species. And yet, the miracle of it all, is that at one point very early in my naive post-mission life, I was available to the idea of falling in love with a woman - and a very special and wonderful woman came into my life and we fell in love. Love is an amazing thing. It puts blinders on us. I was smitten like I never have been before or since with this woman. And the amazing thing was, she was smitten with me and was willing to commit to me, to support and sustain me, to make me the best I could be, to complete me...

As I look back on it now, I recognize the miracle of it all. It never happened before. It has never happened since. I certainly have fallen for guys, had crushes on guys, been infatuated with guys, been in love with guys, but never another woman. Just her! Just once! How does one explain this? Why did it happen to me just this once?

And you know... the funny thing is (and I know it is hard for those who cannot understand me in the first place) I'm still in love with her! I told you I was weird, odd, unique. In reality, we are all unique. Our package we've been given, our experiences and circumstances are uniquely ours and no one elses - all the more reason to not judge each other, but to learn to love and appreciate and embrace our uniquenesses.

As much as I continue to love guys and would longingly love to be in a relationship with a guy, I must stop and realize - I have a TRUE LOVE right here and now. It is real! It is alive! It's a miracle!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ilk upon the landscape...


I know I'm naive. I know I'm sheltered. I know I'm insecure...

I seldom, if ever, adventure out into the blogging world at large, to see what others may be saying about the gay "situation". But the other day, through a link with Northern Lights, I got onto a site that was discussing, among other things, about the "ilk" that is a gay man who won't accept that he's gay and chooses instead to be faithfully married to a woman. It made me wonder if within the gay community at large such perceptions by other gay men of men like me ademantly view us as "ilk" - something to despise and be disgusted by.

Is this true?

I have a friend / acquaintance who is gay, who helped me come out to myself. He was once married but eventually shed himself of that burden to be free of those ties that kept him from being who he was. He skillfully showed me the steps to my "exit" from my own marriage and predicted that within a year I would be heading for divorce. Here I am now three years later, still married, still hanging on, still keeping keepin' on... He has since given up on me... and in a round-about way, showed disappointment in me, though giving lip service support to my choices.

Now, I know that those that I follow in this corner of the MOHO queerosphere are almost always kind and supportive of those like me, with the understandable layers added with the Church and its teachings, but it made me wonder if even in this corner, especially among the young and upcoming generation that is "out" and "open" moreso than I would ever have dreamed, really feel the same way - that we who are faithfully married are really considered "ilk" upon the landscape of the MOHO community? I mean, are we really just "tolerated" members of the community who really don't count, because deep down we are still in denial? And with that denial we can't truly be considered valid? Or taken seriously?

Just wondering...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lines of honor...


Last week we took the family to Rexburg to participate in the open house of the new temple there. We weren't alone in thinking the last day of the open house would be a good time to go and to have a special family time together. The place was packed and the lines and wait were long, but it was well worth it. As much as I hate "church architecture", the Rexburg Temple is really quite stunning and aesthetically impressive. The finishes of Israeli tile and African wood trim, the brilliant chandeliers, and the original murals on the walls all add to the beauty of this building making it a uniquely inspiring space. Oh yeah, and there was a sweet and serene spirit present as well...

Friday we took the family to SLC to participate on the last day of the viewing of President Hinckley. It was a very cold, crisp, but sunny winter's day - one that we spent two hours outside in line, and then two-and-one-half hours inside for a total of 4-1/2 hours working our way through the incredibly respectful and reverent lines with fellow saints. Had we gone on Thursday it may have taken us as little as 20 minutes... But, the investment of time and effort seemed more valid and the offering of respect seemed more valuable with the passing of each hour. 4-1/2 hours seems impossible to phathom with small children with no food, no distractions, no books - and yet the miracle of it all was how peaceful it ended up being and well worth it - to honor and say farewell to our prophet dear.