Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who is this boy staring back at me?

For Christmas, I received a scanner that scans slides into digital images. For someone of my generation who loves to take photos, it is not strange to find shelves filled with boxes and trays of slides. The job of converting these thousands of encapsulated memories into the digital age is a daunting task. However, with a little time on hand, I grabbed a box and found our engagement slides that we took ourselves (with a timer and running into the frame, hopefully gaining our composure before the photo was shot, but not always - some had us falling over each other, bursting into laughter and as I look back on them, those are the best and we should have used them on the wedding announcement instead of the more serious, contemplative ones).

As I retrieved each image, a flood of memories and emotions came rushing back. (NOTE: Typically, when one takes the time and is brave enough to truly look at images of oneself decades earlier, it's a scary and intimidating, often embarrassing and sometimes painful experience and reality check - but I did it anyway, and I came away feeling nostalgic and longing again for an innocence and sweetness lost). It was nearly 28 years ago next month. I was just 21 years old - merely a babe - a returned missionary of just a few months, not even a year back from all the emotions associated with that incredible life-changing experience, including an equally life-altering bromance. She was back from her mission just months as well. And here we were, arms around each other, in love! Yes, we were in love! I was in love! In my innocence I was enamored with the idea of marriage and the idea that this beautiful young lady was in love with me. She completed me. She filled me up. She was my princess, my sweetness, my dear.

I look deep into the faces of these images now and can't help but wonder who these people are staring back at me so beautifully. I was surprised to note how "hot" we look. She was radiant and gorgeous, and I was a real keeper, dare I say, a young man full of the cuteness of ripe youth that is stunning - I don't remember ever thinking that I was good looking, but the eyes and smile of this boy staring back at me, so filled with hope and purpose and enthusiasm for life, are handsome and beautiful!

And I wonder... who are these people? Who is this boy staring back at me from my past? Was that really me? Was I really that naive, that optimistic about the future? Where is that boy now? Where has he gone? The lines and wounds of age and experience have scarred and clouded the vision of hope. The youth is forever lost. I hate getting old. I don't want to admit that life is passing on. I continue to think of myself still as that youthful skinny, charming student at BYU, devoted MTC teacher, recently engaged to an amazingly powerful, confident, intelligent woman who loved me, and me in love with her (and unable to process the emotions I felt inside for other men, incapable of accepting those feelings for what they were).
Am I he? Where did he go? Who am I?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is No TV a Good Thing?

At General Priesthood Meeting yesterday morning, the Stake President had a couple of youth speak on goals for 2009. Both emphasized that this year they would not watch television and that particular goal was praised by the leadership as exceptional and phenomenal.

As I sat listening, it struck me as funny - the thing is, my kids haven't watched programmed television in years (and yes, they are teenagers). My wife (more than I) just stopped watching TV over a decade ago, and so I followed suit (more because I was building my business and working more hours than I should have and had no time for TV). It wasn't really a set policy of "thou shall not watch television" as it was just a personal choice. And the kids followed our example without protest.

The amazing thing has been that the kids have not rebelled at all. No MTV, no American Idol, - not even David Archuletta, no Super Bowl parties (it's interesting to note that even a Stake Fireside on the Book of Mormon was cancelled for next week as it would have interfered with the Super Bowl), no sporting events (except a little bit of the Olympics this summer), no cartoons. They actually see no need for watching television and fill their time with other activities and interests. Yes, they watch lots of DVDs and my son plays video games in excess (so, no, they aren't ready to be translated to a higher, more celestial sphere) but they are completely weened off of the tube.

The one exception for watching television is General Conference when we gather as a family twice a year around the flat screen. We don't watch the news - I can't even remember the last time the family saw a newscast (no election debates, though I did watch the election results) let alone a tv series, or even a sporting event. We don't have cable (gasp!) or a dish (double gasp!)and never have! We don't even own one of those black boxes that we're supposed to get by next month when the analog signal is discontinued, and according to my wife, there is no motivation to go get one...
I'm the exception to the rule. I did watch the proceedings of the inauguration last week, and I actually admit to having watched the Utes play in the Sugar Bowl at New Years, but without family around me. When I'm on the road and crash in a hotel room, I instinctively flip on the box and get in touch with the world of cable, flipping unceasingly through the great wasteland of channels. I can see where I can be easily addicted to the remote.

My wife has bought TV shows from the past and the kids have watched them on DVDs (I love Lucy, Gilligan's Island, Father Knows Best, etc.). And my son discovered the Fox series "24" at Blockbuster and now we are paying to know Jack Bauer - (we've worked our way through Season 1 and are halfway through Season 2 - and we like them a lot!- are they all worth the time?)

Don't label us as radical or fanatical for living this way. It's really just been a personal choice of my wife's and the kids and I have gone along and now it's a habit to NOT watch television. And there never was a rule not to, nor did we ever say they couldn't - they just didn't and don't.

At times, however, I regret it. I read several blogs that discuss shows that have a homosexual theme, and I want to be part of the queerosphere in watching such things as "Prayers for Bobby" among other shows, and be more up to date. At times, I want to be part of the heartbeat of the culture around us, including the gay scene. But, for the most part,that's just me, not them - it's not that important. So, we play games. We read together. We talk.

My mother, sisters, in-laws, friends ALWAYS have the tv on, even if just for background noise. It's always there, ever present. The kids see it contantly on, and it just isn't that important.

So, what have we done here? As our kids move into adulthood and as our influence diminishes on their daily choices, it's interesting to see them showing no signs of changing. I'm the one who regrets missing out. I'm the one who feels the desire to connect with the outside world - and especially with a glimpse of things gay.

So, I know you know I'm weird, but now you know how weird our family really is. Am I really missing anything important? Is there something out there that you can't live without seeing? Have we done well or did we mess up our kids forever?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Theory...

Since work has slowed, I’ve had more time on my hands - which isn't necessarily a good thing – which leads to more blogging. I don’t know that either of these are good developments.

The first weeks of 2009 have been tense. The emotions are on the surface. We’ve been working through some tough issues. Often, the discussions end with no real plan of how to proceed other than we both want to proceed. She subconsciously still feels partially to blame for our situation no matter how many times I’ve explained that she has done NOTHING and can do nothing to fix as there is nothing to fix. So, she goes into her mode of “showing increased love afterward” showering me with increased kindnesses and attention, extra cuddling, extra little things, extra understandings that come back to me as her trying to overcompensate for what I’m under-compensating for.

This struggle for balance, compatibility and commitment is never-ending. I don’t know how to stop her from trying to overcompensate. It actually makes things worse as I feel the difference. She’s not pretending – she’s really trying to “make things right”, but no matter how hard we try to make it right, it still is what it is and we still are who we are.

This leads me to pondering for quite a while about how we have been able to keep our marriage going now 27 years with relative strength, stability and happiness despite the issues, pressures and stress associated with me being a gay man.

I talked at length to a sage friend of this community a couple of months ago and am still pondering that precious and enlightened conversation. We talked for over 2 hours about this puzzlement and how I’ve been able to withstand the influences that are certainly all around me to stay faithful and devoted to my marriage, even with an increased awareness and understanding of the true nature of my attractions.

I argued with myself that if I were really exclusively attracted to men, then how could I have been able to feel happiness, support and stability in my marriage?

Not having ever studied human psychology, I admitted my ignorance and willingness to learn. He explained his theory and observation that a relationship’s success or failure is based on three technical factors, and each individual’s level or measurement of these factors and the dynamics that they create within the relationship.

These factors are:

1) Sexual attraction: where one fits on the Kinsey scale (for lack of a better measuring device).

2) Libido: how strong, moderate, or weak one feels sexual desire, sexual energy and sexual needs being met. (Note: Wikipedia gives one definition of it as “psychic energy”, that personal something that goes beyond sexual desire, but as intriguing as those thoughts are, for the sake of this argument, I’m defining it more in the traditional sense of sexual desire).

3) Maturity level: how mature and committed one is to the success of the relationship.

He gave examples of someone like myself who is a 5+ to 6 on the Kinsey scale, but who may have a moderate to low libido and a high maturity level of commitment then there is a balance that counteracts the apparent dead-weight of the sexual attraction issue. If I were a 6, with a high libido and a low commitment level, then obviously the relationship would never have survived.

This theory does not apply only to gay men. As I’ve extrapolated this to a straight male in a heterosexual marriage, who may be a 1 on the Kinsey scale, with a high libido and a low level of maturity, even though he’s attracted to his partner, the relationship may still be less successful considering the other two factors.

I’ve thought about this a lot. I would agree for the most part I, and I would assume other men like me, have a high degree of commitment and maturity to marriage, my libido is not off the charts, and yes, I am a 5+, that it balances itself with my wife’s 0 to 1 Kinsey scale, moderate libido and very high maturity / commitment level. As a couple, our combination, for the most part, works together and finds a sense of satisfaction and happiness.

It is when either she or I desire more of the sexual energy from the other in ways that the other cannot reciprocate that throws this three-legged stool off balance. Our respective desires ebb and flow like everyone and we are on cycles of “needs” that should be met by our partner and when she “needs” me in ways that I cannot honestly satisfy without pretending, or when I have “needs” to be with another man (who sweeps me off my feet and carries me away), and not my wife and no matter how beautiful or voluptuous or sexy she makes herself for me, it does nothing to meet those “needs” – then the relationship suffers. I may desire to satisfy my needs by looking it elsewhere, and become depressed, disillusioned and dissatisfied in the process, and she becomes destroyed as a woman, having failed to excite her man, and thus it must be her fault – and then there goes the self-esteem, self-abuse, and self-worth and no matter what maturity level or commitment level there may be, can do nothing to overcome the wobbliness of stool until those libido levels level out and settle down.

I guess this is where the honesty of the relationship kicks in. If we know how we don’t meet each other’s needs in some ways, but make up for them in others, there may remain some hope for the future? But even though she knows that I prefer men and that she doesn’t excite me as she’d like, and as I know that she doesn’t excite me as I would like, and we have this knowledge firmly planted in front of us, it still ain’t easy when the libido and attraction issues accentuate leading to a nasty head-on collision.

Like our decoratively carved Indian three-legged stool in our parlor, there is an instability factor. If a heavy-set person sits back on it, the back leg breaks, taking too much of the load. Thus, I would add another component to the stool, a fourth leg that helps to keep it in balance even if that one leg goes off the charts and cannot be satisfied or complimented within the relationship – and that is a friendship or compatibility factor. Somehow because we are “best friends” and are very compatible in our desires and wants and goals in life and into the future, it goes a long way in that stability factor.

And carrying the stool imagery a bit further, maybe an over-arching factor that ties in with all of the other legs – which might be envisioned as the seat portion that bridges the legs and adds comfort to any wobbliness or instability - is a LOVE factor. It may not be the in love factor that attraction and libido bring to the relationship, but maybe an intangible something that brings comfort and support… maybe this has more to do with the maturity factor, but it’s less measurable and more ethereal.

Some may argue that men like me should never have attempted marriage (and I’ve seen many examples of the prevailing attitude of the gay community at large who think it so irresponsible to do so) and that to do so is only asking for trouble and eventually hurts both partners and ends inevitably in disaster.

Well, my answer to that is that is hindsight. I can’t go back. I didn’t know then what I do know now. I am who I am. This is my life. I am committed to the choices I’ve made and I’m trying to do my best with what I’ve been given to bring a conclusion that leads not just to happiness but true joy!

And so, this leads to the subsequent “So what?” Or the “what’s next?” And that leads nicely into the “So what does she want?” Or, the eternal “what do I want?” questions…

I’d be interested in your thoughts regarding this theory…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Time for Fear or Fearlessness?

There is a scene in the movie “Defending Your Life” where the Albert Brooks’ character just lost his job and his wife asked for a divorce right before he was to take a trip to the Orient, and instead of fearing the loss of income and the loss of his family, he decides to go on the trip anyway – spending the rest of his life savings.

When he goes to the counter at the airport terminal to get his seat assignment, the airline agent says that he’s been booked in seat 27B.

He says: “So that’s as in: between “A” and “C”?”

She says: “Yes, sir. It’s a full flight and there are nothing but middle seats left.”

He: “No, no, no… Can’t you do something for me here?”

She: “Sorry, sir…” She pauses as she scans the computer screen seating chart and then announces a discovery… “There is, however one seat remaining in the First Class Cabin”.

He: “How much is it?”

She says after several computer clicks: “that would be $3,500.00 for the upgrade.”

He says after a short pause: “I’ll take it!”

Yesterday, I was put on hold for my last remaining major project. A pending lawsuit has stopped the project from proceeding for the time being. So, that leaves me with no choice but to seriously scramble for a new project and new income… Or maybe a career change? The pinch of the economy has been tightening tighter and tighter for the last six months. Financing new projects is essentially impossible. Anyone related to the construction industry knows what I’m talking about. It just adds another layer of stress to this game we call life. You see, I’m personally being sued (erroneously) on another project, with even another one pending – yes the attorneys out there are still well employed – and my wife is keeping the thermostat at 60 degrees and telling everyone to wear more sweaters and gloves – it makes typing on the keyboard a bit of a challenge, but otherwise, we’re getting used to it… Am I panicking? Maybe not as much as I should, but I probably should if this downturn doesn’t turn up pretty soon. It did keep me up from about 2AM to 5AM tossing and turning... So what did I do today? I fearlessly cranked up the heat and went ahead and made reservations for tickets for a special family trip this summer right after school is out. Whether this becomes the last-chance-time-together-special occasion that I plan it to be, because two of my kids are graduating and moving on into adulthood, or because I will be broke and bankrupt and unemployed and never able to take such a trip again, remains to be seen… I should be screaming with panic.
For now, I'm relatively calm, but it's interesting how much I determine my worth and value my purpose for existing based on how well I provide for my family and how successful I am in my career. To think that my self-worth and purpose are determined by my sexual affinity and attraction - pales in comparison to failing as a provider for my family and meeting their needs.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-- MLK

Friday, January 16, 2009

A couple of awkward moments of a queer mind...

Recently, I had an discussion with a fellow MOHO where he shared about a straight coworker commenting to him how inferior a man's body is to "a woman's beautiful curves" and how it is so "voluptuous". I was puzzled for I had thought that straight guys were envious and covetous of the straight lines and wash-board abs and well defined muscles of a great in-shape guy. Is that not true? Do straight guys really not notice and don't see the amazing beauty of a really fit guy?

I mean, I can still recognize the beauty of the female form, though it doesn't make me tingle all over, but don't straight guys get off on admiring the beauty of the male form?


What's strange, is the day before this conversation, my wife and I were hugging, trying to bond, and she whispered something like:

"Don't you like that I'm curvy and round? Or would you prefer me more angular and square like guys?"

At this point, I didn't know what to say... Her comment really took me back. In one sense, it is good that she is trying to relate with me and understand me and appreciate my gayness, but in another sense it shows her vulnerability and her longing for me to appreciate and love and adore her for who she is - a woman and not a man. But this is all good, right? It was one of those awkward moments, however, where a guy knows that if he tells the truth, he'll be in trouble when his wife comes in modeling a new dress and asks if it makes her look fat - and so, I just kept hugging her, while I think of what "angular and "square-shaped" guys look like, and eventually I smile and whisper:

"I like you just the way you are".

How could I tell her that I think those more angular and square-shaped guys are hot and electrifying? I mean, she knows I do, but I still can't say it (or should I?) But, I don't want her to look that way... I want me to look that way!


I wonder if we'll ever get to the point in our marriage where I can have her sit with me at an airport terminal watching the parade of male humanity walking by and rate the guys WITH her and debate what is male beauty. I mean, could that happen?


Anyway, with those thoughts on my mind, virtuous or otherwise, I took them into the temple yesterday to do Initiatory. I love doing Initiatory as there is something about being directly spoken to face to face, eyes to eyes and being instructed and blessed with amazing promises and eternal potential that we all have. So, the officiators are all 70-somethings, bald and grey, and I found my thoughts wandering through a couple of cycles thinking what they must have looked like some 50 years ago... and for the most part, I thought this was a terrible thought to have in the temple, and I tried to concentrate on what I should be concentrating on, but they kept staring at me directly and intently and I couldn't stop the thought - so I gave in and concluded that one of the men could have been pretty hot in his day. No, I wasn't hitting on him or trying to get a pick-up in the temple with an older man, but I was having an awkward moment of thoughts that could have imagined him being a catch. Was that inappropriate? Should I admit such things? Oh well, they are what they are...


I don't know where I'm going with this other than to say that I'm warped and strange and queer and I do notice and continue to be attracted to the amazing beauty of the male form, and yet I'm laughing it off and not beating up myself for allowing such mind-wanderings. I mean, should I?

Monday, January 12, 2009


In my recent wanderings through the Internet (while I should be working, but am too depressed), I've come across a new movie (at least it is new to me) that has caught my eye, heart, and thoughts. It hits really close to home and I want to see it... I need to see it... I need to find closure on so many issues...

The movie is "CIAO" about an email bromance relationship between an American guy and an Italian guy, and they express their romantic desires and plan to meet, only the American dies and his best friend discovers their emails and plans for a rendezvous. (For those who don't know me, this is a screenplay right out of my warped and frustrated fantasy world - I'm not sure if the writer didn't tap into my dreams to create this movie)

It is currently playing in San Diego. Why is it always in San Diego? Why don't I live in San Diego? I guess living in Zion, the good flicks don't come - they just slide into your neighborhood Blockbuster unannounced.

If I knew how to link it to YouTube I'd show the trailer, but I don't so you'll have to just go there yourself if you're interested.

I'm a hopeless, pathetic romantic that longs for such bromances, especially with one particular Italian.

If anyone has seen this film, I'd appreciate a review... otherwise, I'll just go back into my fantasy world.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Have you ever been "in love" with anyone?

I've been in a funk all week... it has a lot to do with the fact that I've faced the reality that I've never been "in love" in my life. Sure, I thought I was "in love" with my wife up until this week's discussion with her. Sure, I've been infatuated with many men, but never truly "in love" other than in dreams, fantasies and desires for a few men in my life, but never really "in love".

This was exacerbated yesterday when my wife and I were discussing our teenage daughter and her "friend-who-is-a-boy" and how she thought our daughter was falling "in love" with him, and I just couldn't accept that she would be making college decisions and future choices based on a teenage infatuation.

My wife stared at me and said: "... you really don't get it, do you?"

ME: "What don't I get?"
SHE: "Our daughter is in love."
ME: "No she's not..." I rebutted, refusing to accept it.

and then my wife slammed me good: "I realize you aren't "in love" with me, but... have you ever been IN LOVE with anyone?"

It stunned me, particularly with all that has been going on in my mind. And I didn't say anything and abruptly stopped the conversation. It cut me to the core. And as I think about it, I wonder - Is she right? Have I truly not been "in love" with anyone?

I'm "in love" with the idea of being in love with my wife being in love with me...

I'm "in love" with the idea of having Thomas openly show his love for me...

I'm "in love" with my boys that continue to shower affection on me...

But am I truly "in love" with anyone?

Yes, I have built a love for all things good in our marriage and friendship and relationship and there is much good in it. But, since I am not "in love" with her, but am in this relationship to the end, will I ever find out what it feels like to really be "in love" with anyone?


What it comes down to is that she loves me in ways that I can't love her. She is ashamed of this. She is ashamed that I am gay. She is ashamed that I have these affections and attractions for men. She is ashamed of me that I say I cannot change. She is ashamed that she has married a gay man and wants to keep it hidden and quiet from everyone else, including, and especially our kids. She is ashamed that I have this problem and I don't see it as a problem. She is ashamed that I have an affinity for those who have chosen to pursue different paths than the Church's prescribed path. She is ashamed that I am incapable of love. She only hopes that in the eternities things will be better.

In reality, as I told Abe in an email, I should be angry with her because she is ashamed of her husband for being who he really is and facing it for the first time. I should be angry with her because she cannot accept this thing within me that I did not choose nor seek out. I should be angry with her for wanting to hide me back in the back of the closet.

But, how can I be angry with her when I am ashamed of myself as well. Sure, I'm bold and beautiful in this blogging community, and I've come a huge distance from hating myself to completely accepting this reality within me, and seeing no need to be "cured", etc., but in real life I don't hold my head up high that I am gay. So if I am still ashamed publicly of who I am, how can I expect her to not be ashamed of this part of me as well?

I simply can't...

And so, as I remain ashamed, I simply can't be "in love" with anyone...
because I can't love myself!

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Greek Tragedy continues...

By now if you can't guess, the first week of the new year continues to be a difficult one for our marriage as all of our emotions of the "coming out" event of four years ago, reboils to the surface and we stir the pot one more time.

On Saturday we went for a hike in the mountains above our house. The snow was fresh and clinging to every branch of every tree and the sky was crystal clear and brilliant blue. We took pictures and enjoyed each other's company and felt at ease with life for a brief moment.

When we returned, I noted that she left her journal open on the bed. I do not make a habit of reading it (how hypocritical is that when thinking of this blog being kept from her?), but emotions were high and the air was thick with tension and it seemed almost like she was leaving it more casually than usual for me to "stumble across". I did read just a few words that sliced my heart in two:

"...feeling sad about my marriage, but I love him... he's my best friend and dearest companion - he's just not my lover."

Ever since my "coming out", she has desired to "change me" in order to make me more attracted and in love with her. For a time, we were better (in fact better than we had ever been before in our two decades of marriage prior), but we've fallen off the charts of late... I feel I'm still "in love" with her, that I'm her "lover" in the way that I can be, but it obviously is not enough to give her the assurance she needs.

With this on my mind, I tried to be more intimate on Sunday morning and she said things like "you don't have to do this for your heart really isn't in it" which just frustrated me even more... this led to a lot of tears (thank heaven we had late church) and some serious discussion about her saying things like:

* I'm terribly in love with you but I feel it unreciprocated...

* This is all a tragedy...

* Don't you see the hurt you've caused me?

* I've realized you aren't going to ever change in this life...

* You are hanging on because it's your obligation and duty...

* We have to endure for the sake of the kids...

* There is no solution...

* I have to have faith that the next life will be better...

* It still hurts knowing that you'd rather by with a good looking young man... You really don't desire me, and I can't do anything about it...

* I should have realized you were the way you are. I watch your eyes and see you light up around your boys...

* I don't want the kids to know - this is our burden and we need to keep it between us... Do you realize how hurt they would be if they knew?!?

* Why did I ever fall in love with you? Why can I not stop loving you? It would be so much easier if I didn't love you...

I said thing like:

* I'm tired of lying or telling you that it's going to change. It isn't going to change...

* You have done nothing. This isn't your fault... Nothing you have done has "caused" this. It just is.

* Yes, I am attracted to men - always have and always will...

* Yes, I know I've caused you hurt and pain... But, don't you see the hurt and angst and pain this has caused me?

* That doesn't mean that I don't love you!

* I don't know how to show you or convince you that I love you more than I already am... obviously it isn't enough...

* I have made my choice and it is to stay with you. I want to be with you. I am here and not going anywhere...

* I'm willing to be more honest about it. I'm ready and prepared to talk to the kids if you want me to...

* This is like a great Greek tragedy...

We ended it with this exchange:

ME: So, knowing the way things are, had you known completely what you know now, would you have still married me?

SHE: (long pause)... I don't know. I guess I would have anyway because I love you so much. I just wish you loved me as much...

ME: I want you to know that I wanted to marry you. Even with these attractions (that I didn't fully understand at the time), I miraculously fell in love with one amazing woman. I fell in love with you! You turned my head around! You filled my heart! I wanted to marry you - not out of obligation or duty. I still want to be married to YOU.

We hugged as we cried together...

All day we brooded about our annual discussion... We put on the good facade for the kids and the ward and fulfilled our callings (though I felt no spirit in the meetings and my lesson didn't go well as I was so internally conflicted and distracted with other thoughts - there really is something to the saying: "without the spirit, ye shall not teach"). I sat in Sacrament Meeting dreading the testimonies of gushiness. I started to cry and I did all I could to not make a spectacle of myself, but to no avail as my daughter noticed "something is wrong with Dad". I darted out of the meetings at the end and unlike my typical gregarious self, I didn't talk, hug, touch or reach out to anyone. Will and his wife were still there and I didn't care. I didn't want to see anyone, especially him at this time. I just headed to the car to try to gain some control.

All day I was trying to figure out how to tell her about the MOHOs and I see it coming soon in our next "discussion", but when she said that this needed to remain "our burden" exclusively between us, it shut down my motivation to tell her otherwise that I had sought out and found a resource of help with similar minded folks like us... but it didn't happen, at least not yet.

So, the Greek tragedy plays on... There is no happy ending... It's just a recycling of the same broken record... We just endure and carry our burdens.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Looking over my shoulder...

Today marks the 4th anniversary of the longest day of my life - probably not as long as Jack Bauer's - but just about. It was four years ago today that I told my wife everything about my attractions. In some ways, that seems so long ago and in such a different world than here and now, and yet in other ways it feels like yesterday.

Though at the time I didn't see how, we did survive and we have become stronger and better in many ways that were unforeseen. That said, it still is difficult to discuss without the pain and emotions recurring from that first revelation. Even though I never hid the fact that I had a thing for guys - it's obvious if you just watch me a few hours - it was never stated in such black-and-white terms like it was on Jan 2nd 2005.

Was that the right thing to do? Why am I still doubting? Are we better for it - yes. Do I regret it - no. It needed to be said. We were on the road to inevitable divorce as I had pulled so far away from her that I was unable to reach out to her. This "issue" gave a name to our problem and brought us back together, much stronger than before - so, no, I don't regret it.

But, ever since then, I feel like I'm living my life constantly looking over my shoulder, and constantly wondering what she is thinking as I linger longer with Tim, Will or any other attractive male. I am living my life constantly wondering what she is thinking... and I'm tired of it. I've tried to be as faithful as I can be, never giving her a reason to not trust me, but my fantasy feelings inside me trigger the guilt and that guilt makes me suspicious and then I fear and then I hide and then I revert to pulling back and away from her and the cycle continues... the previous post being an example thereof.

So, now I find out that my sister has started to "chat" with Thomas - yes, my Thomas all the way over in Italy - through her Facebook account. In some ways, this Internet is an amazing miracle, but how small does the world have to become? Thomas had mentioned to me that she had asked him to be her "friend". I didn't think much of it as my "face" is not in that "book", but when she told me that they were "talking" I started to flinch inside and my stomach turned with pangs of guilt and I couldn't help but have two reactions:

1) Why was she making this connection right here and now? Though she knew Thomas - I had introduced them years ago when he was first married - she hadn't talked about him or made any reference to him for decades, and now, just as I am reconnected in a whole new level of our relationship, she comes on board my ship? This makes me jealous and envious... He's my friend, not hers, so "go find your own friends", sis. I mean - shouldn't I be glad my sister is making friends with my dearest friend? Shouldn't I want that? So why I do fear this and feel guilty? Why do I feel like she's just caught me with my pants down... (when she did tell me, I just stared at her cold faced, as I tried desperately to not turn white with panic. She wanted me to be excited and I just mumbled something and tried to change the subject - I didn't know what to say - even though I have nothing to hide and I've done nothing but come to love him as more than a friend and that love has lasted nearly three decades - is that something to be ashamed of or afraid of? So why was that my immediate reaction? What a way to live *sigh*).

2) What will he tell her about us? Though I trust him completely with the level of intimate thoughts I've shared with him and he with me, it still twings my heart and makes me begin to panic and look over my shoulder. I am convinced he will keep my confidences, as I swear to keep his, but just the idea that they are "talking" makes me fear and feel vulnerable. Obviously, I am not "out" to my sister - though she probably has been given enough information over the years to put it together if she wants to see it - and right now I feel no desire to complicate things by being "out" to her or to any of my family as I see no purpose for such revelations to complicate my own relationship with my wife and kids... but now this creates a connection I thought I was safe to avoid.

This gay guy absolutely loves the macho Buorne Identity films. But as I think about it, I feel like I'm Jason Bourne, clinging desperately with my fingertips to a building reglet reveal, constantly on the look-out, looking over my shoulder for the next surprise or attack of someone knowing my true identity. Or maybe I sympathize with Bill Clinton who was constantly worried about the next "bimbo-eruption". Either way, I'm hiding something and I'm constantly looking over my shoulder for fear of being found out...

Scot mentions that this is not the way he'd choose to live his life. Well, it's a hell of a way to live and again, I'm tired of feeling guilty for just being ME, and consistently looking over my shoulder...

I'm so tired...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Number 12...

Yesterday, I found myself sitting in the lounge area of the South Visitors' Center on Temple Square. This space has meaning for me. I've found it to be a place of meditation where I can go occasionally and find a bit of peace. It was where I've gone for solice after coming to terms with the passing of my father. Typically, you can sit and stare out at the Temple through the large view windows and be left alone without harassment from the Sisters to take one of their tours.

This time, I was meeting another of the MOHOs for the first time. But, my previous appointment ended sooner than I thought and so I came early and had some time to contemplate what I was doing here. I was secretly meeting someone at the base of the Temple. And as I thought, I felt uneasy about the way my life is going, and a need for a new direction and more focused purpose. I pondered over my "what I want" list and realized this current path of my clandestined or stealthy personality is no longer the path I want.

It felt a lot like being in "An Affair to Remember" or "Sleepless in Seattle" where I started observing others that passed through the lobby and I wondered to myself: "Is that him?" or "I wonder if that good looking guy is him". I wondered if he was really going to come or if he was detained. I had forgotten to bring with me his number, but I was sure that he would come, so I waited for his call. And as I waited, and as I contemplated my current path, and as I stared out at the granite temple spires against the cold New Year's Eve sky, I realized that this isn't the life I want.

Maybe it's just the season of feeling a bit melancholy. Maybe it's the economy and the downturn in my business and the associated stresses that come from instability. Maybe it's the New Year and the desire to do better and be better. I want to be more real and less fantasy-based. I want to not be so secretive and hidden, and instead be more honest.

I need to change.

Happy New Year!

P.S. The actual meeting was brief but great! Number 12. He did show and was very nice and we shared a warm embrace. I wish I had had more time or was more willing to give more... (my wife called during our visit - I fibbed a bit about where I was - and felt even worse for doing so, hating myself for putting me and others into my warped make-believe world). But that will be for another time, I'm sure.