Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Guilty Party...

"We've got nothing to hide - we just need some time to get our story straight..."




It doesn't take long to have the angst return and reality set in on you, does it?


In my last post, I was really content with the last little while, and escapism is an amazing thing - leaving the realities of life and heading out into an adventure and worrying about how to pay for it later. There is always later.


But later comes and usually sooner than later reality hits you in the face.


With the encouragement of some here, I took the step of coming out a bit more and I attended Scott and Sarah's party last night. For some, this may not be any big deal at all, but for me, it was a huge deal, and a huge step, and a huge reality call of where I am and where I am not.


First of all, I want to say that Scott and Sarah are amazing people and I am so glad to have finally met "Serendipity" who is such an incredible woman. Scott is truly blessed with such a sensitive and compassionate and sweet and loving wife. Their genuineness and empathy overwhelms me. I truly feel they are miracle workers.


Meeting everyone was such a kick. The mix of personalities, situations and circumstances - all different and varied - was amazing to observe. Yet, there was a commonality to it all as well, something that states that even though we are not on the same path, the journey is still the same for all of us. More on this and the amazing people of this community later in a follow-up post.


For now, I want to post about the burden I feel and the angst that it causes within me.


I really am not a social mingler. Talking to "strangers" in a group and becoming conversational and interesting is hard for me. Yet, get me one-on-one and I blossom and become an open book and feel more of the real me coming through. When I shroud it all in deceit and deception, it is hard for the real me to come through - I become nervous, uneasy, and reserved and observational. I hate it when this happens. For then, I start analyzing in my brain why I am doing this, why I am pulling back, why I don't show my true self - a self that can be very animated, clever, fun, passionate and compassionate.


I just hate it when this happens - and it happened last night at the party. I noted that most everyone there was pretty much "out" with nothing to hide. They were natural and open and sure of themselves in a way that spoke to honesty and authenticity and reality. I am still very closeted - though I'd like to feel that I've progressed and come out more than I really have - and as such, I am a facade, simply a facade of a person. I am not honest or authentic or real to anyone. These thoughts overwhelmed me, and the guilt I was feeling for being there under false pretenses with my family just exacerbated the whole emotional roller-coaster I was feeling inside. This guilt of deception pressed on my body and soul to the point of uneasiness that I had to leave early. I apologized to Scott and Sarah and said my quick goodbyes.




This guilt is tremendous. It is so stifling. I kept imaging what would happen if my family knew where I was and what I was doing (and what was I doing more than just reaching out to an astonishingly beautiful new family). Those thoughts lead to reflections of the state that I'm still in - one of deception. And as long as it remains in that state, I cannot escape these feelings of guilt, of dishonesty, and I cannot BE who I am inside and let others see the person that I really am inside.


This rips me apart. I realized last night that I haven't really progressed at all. It was like a cold, hard abrupt slap in the face. Despite the incredible love, the outreaching efforts to embrace and include, the bonding of blogging brotherhood and sisterhood in the flesh (which is a unique and fascinating concept in and of itself - I mean, the closeness that one can feel with a complete stranger that one knows only through this electronic media - it's mind-boggling!!) - I could not get past the idea that I am but a shadow of who I am, and I'm not progressing toward my authenticity at all as long as I continue this deceit and deception.


Both Scott and Kengo wondered how I was able to "get away". Knowing my situation, it was obvious that some disguise was used to get out of the house and sneak away... Convenient that my wife was out of town, and lying to my kids - yeah, those go down as great stepping stones for this delusional boy! They even joked that it would be good to see me again "next time your wife is out of town"... This just put me over the edge! It was innocent and real and natural and funny, but it also cut like a knife sharper than the one Scott so skillfully used in the kitchen.


It did so because it is true. I am a joke. I am nothing but a joke. This whole delusional fantasy world of being "Beck" is a joke. My marriage is a joke. My life is a joke...


And I'm sick of it...


I am not like you! I am not real. I am not honest. I am not authentic. I am not whole.


I can either back off and step back out of this "Beck" world and revert back to the "don't think about it" denial persona, or I need to step out and beyond this facade and face reality and be a complete and whole persona of who I really am. But this living a fine line between the two - it's just a facade... it's just a joke.


The gig is up. I can't do this anymore...

37 comments:

Sean said...

Beck,

I don't know really what to say but I feel like I should comment.

I think that you have progressed a lot even though it may not seem like you have. You are in a different situation than most of us here. You are married and have kids for one thing. It's not really fair for you to compare yourself to us that aren't married because like I said, we are in a completely different situation than you.

I personally believe that it's ok that you were overwhelmed by the party. I used to not get overwhelmed in those situations, but now I do because I feel like I don't get along and/or that I feel like I'm not like most of the people in the room. I've kind of backed away from everything when I used to be involved in it and that's ok. You can have the friendships here in the blogger world but do you need them in real life?

You're a great guy and don't think you haven't progressed. We all progress at different rates because of our situations we are in.

If I were near you, I'd give you a huge hug and tell you I love you, but I'm not so I hope knowing that I love you will suffice.

Sean

HappyOrganist said...

hmm.. You went to a party (or somewhere) w/o telling your wife? Not that that was a bad party or anything (sounds wonderful). Am I right? Is that what the situation was? (or part of it anyway?)
I always feel really really bad (can make myself ill, literally) when I'm either dishonest or even thinking about being dishonest. Even if it's not really that bad - and even if it's for the BEST of reasons.
It's just hard for me to go against myself like that.
So if that was your issue (in part or whole), experiencing a lot of anxiety 'cause you felt you were being dishonest. - then you sound like a healthy person. ;-)

MoHoHawaii said...

I'm so sorry you feel overwhelmed. I think you're great. I'm a Beck fan, both of this blog and of the person behind it.

I would have liked to spend more time with you and talk in more depth. A party format limits how much you can do this. (I do better 1-1 as well.)

I understand your stress, but I hope you can cut yourself some slack. You're navigating a difficult course and you are doing it with integrity. As far as secret lives go, popping out to meet some bloggers over fruit punch is not the worst I've ever seen. :-)

Grant Haws said...

I have to say that there were moments at the party last night where I would be talking to someone that was completely out and felt so weak. My big hurdle is telling my parents and so when I would hear others talking about how their parents knew, well, I felt ridiculous. And I felt like a big fat liar when I thought of all the times I had told half-truths or blatant lies to them. And I can only imagine how much more this is felt when you have a wife and kids who don't know.

I think you're stronger than you think you are. It was good to meet you last night and it really was surprising to see how close you could feel to people you had only known via the blogosphere.

I don't know what to tell you other than that, but I just wanted you to know that you're not alone.

santorio said...

i spend most of my day keeping my thoughts and reactions to myself: at work i can't really tell my customers/colleagues what i'm really thinking about their actions/prospects. it's the milk before meat approach. i tell them what they need to know to attain their goals. this sounds terribly condescending but it's reality. sometimes these "secrets" build up and i just can't keep them inside, so i blurt out something, and immediately regret it. there's a limit to transparency

Damon In CO said...

Oh Beck! You are again, too hard on yourself! We all move at our own pace for our own reason. You will know when to make your next steps...whatever that might be. Just don't ignore those internal urgings!

Wish I could have been there to visit with you.

I will tell you when I finally came out it was an amazingly liberating feeling. Being honest about me and not feeling like I had to lie anymore.

My entire life I worried about how it would affect those I loved but mostly I was afraid they wouldn't love me anymore.

I realized that if they didn't love if I came out then they weren't worth making myself miserable to protect them and I started coming out.

I believe it will happen when its right, if its right and you will feel it if you listen.

For me I just stopped being scared. And coming out made me feel genuine and my life started to fall into place.

I realized when I wa in the closet I couldn't really love myself completely because I thought there was something about ME that would bring people pain.

I realized it was really something about THEM that would bring them pain...not me.

As good as it was for me I also realized that I needed to do it when I was ready and not before. I firmly believe in listening to yourself to decide when its time.

Be patient with yourself.

I love you Beck!!!

~damon

Captain Midnight said...

I'm so sad you left early! I was hoping to meet you there since yours was one of the first moho blogs I started reading. Does your wife know about Scott and Sarah? I know this is oversimplifying the situation a whole damn lot, but it seems like it would be good for your wife to meet Sarah and everyone else. Remember, don't be so hard on yourself :)

Sarah said...

Beck--

Now that you've seen in person how compassionate and over-sensitive I am (not that you didn't already know), this blog post is tearing me up inside. I am sorry if we pushed you to come when you were not yet ready, but it was SO good to meet you--just ask Scott--I couldn't stop talking about you to Scott after everyone had left--what a great man you are, wonderful hugs, and how awesome it was to finally meet the man that I felt like a already knew so well.

So, instead of worrying that it was bad for you, think instead how good it was for me and others who got to meet you. Try some selflessness for once in your life. ;)

And if you can't ever handle the guilt of coming again, I will cherish the memories of your being here. We can meet instead one-on-one, or two-on-one, or hopefully, eventually, two-on-two.

BTW, you have a beautiful family. Thank you so much for sharing your photo with me.

Scott said...

They even joked that it would be good to see me again "next time your wife is out of town"... This just put me over the edge! It was innocent and real and natural and funny, but it also cut like a knife...

I'm so sorry that I said anything that hurt you. I know that you know that I didn't intend the comment to hurt, but I also want to assure you that I didn't mean it as an innocent lighthearted joke. What I meant was: "I understand that your current situation makes it difficult for you to do this sort of thing very often, and I look forward to the next time circumstances are such that you can make it here again."

Like everyone else has said, we each have to move at our own pace, (and I understand that better than I did a few months ago, when I was way pushier than I should have been) and I'm just glad that we were able to enjoy your company last night.

What Sarah and I want more than anything is for everyone who comes to our home to feel comfortable being themselves, no matter who that "self" is. We've been thrilled with the diversity of the people who have come--from active LDS to inactive to ex-Mormon to never-Mormon; from closeted gay to out to straight; from single to dating to married (same- or opposite-gender). We hope that nobody ever feels like they need to be someone they aren't just to fit in. If you're a married gay Mormon who's mostly in the closet, then that's who you should be, and that's who you should be comfortable being.

We love you, Beck--no matter how much separation or integration there is between the "authentic, honest" Beck and the more cautious real-life ______. Just keep being who you are and taking life at the pace that works for you.

Alan said...

Beck:

What Scott & Sarah said.

Ezra said...

Beck:

What Alan said! LOL

I'm bummed that everyone got to meet you and that you're all up in Utah together. I pray that you'll be able to come next month because I'll be there and I'd love to give you a big hug and tell you how much I love you. How much we all love and value you.

Take care Beck

El Genio said...

I totally understand these feelings. Each week I sit in church and listen as they belittle those on the "opposite team." Then I get to return home to the parents who gave over $1,000 to prop 8. And the mere thought of even trying to come out to anyone is doing a real number on my nerves.

In the end, only you can make the decision on what to do - but there are two things I am sure of. The first is that there is no easy choice, and the second is that there is no "universal right answer." Not fun, I know, but there it is.

Tobin Michael said...

@ Sarah:
In addition, Sarah, to your great sensitivity and compassion for everyone, please do not forget ALL of your humility. Geez, nothing like tooting your own horn.
Tobin Michael Ivans

Ron Schow said...

Beck

I think most or all of us at the party last night had different degrees of feeling awkward. It was not just you. We all are part of a culture that has made it difficult to navigate around issues of our sexuality. When so many who are strangers come together there is a period of time when we can easily stumble around trying to figure out what we have in common. With people of good will, as with the group at Scott and Sarah's last night, it is ok to feel a bit lost and others can easily understand, but again, I think most of us can relate to how you felt because we felt it also.

I hope upon reflection you will consider that your being there last night was very much an exercise in honesty. Your culture has generally refused to accept part of who you are. You are working mightily to achieve a reconciliation. But at this point in your life it is not possible to do all that "in the blink of an eye."

None of us really reveal totally who we are to everyone we meet. People who do that do not have appropriate social skills. We all have to decide in various situations what is appropriate here and what is appropiate there. But within the range of appropriate some are more open, others are not. We are all individuals.

Parents do not generally explain everything to their younger children, or even their older children. You have good reasons for being careful with your children. Just because you are going somewhere doesn't mean you are dishonest if you don't explain it fully to your children. I remember when I would ask my dad where he was going at times, and he didn't want to explain, he would say, "I'm going to see a dog about a man." That meant he was not going to take the time to explain his activities to me at that moment or that it was none of my business.

We all decide, on a daily basis, who we are going to be more transparent with and who we are not. Intimacy is about deciding who we want to open up more to and then gradually revealing more and more. And even spouses who generally share the most intimacy will have some things they may chat with a friend about or a parent about, which they may not be able to discuss with their beloved.

I believe Scott and Sarah are creating a wonderful environment of acceptance and inviting others of us to be a part of that process. You have something to offer in that setting, Beck, as we all do. I hope you will continue to look for ways to be more reconciled, but please give yourself some time.

Let's all keep working together. I think we can create a kind of virtual ward out of the bonding that is going on right now on your blog and other blogs and in the home of Scott and Sarah and perhaps with time other homes and other settings. You need to be a part of this Beck. We need you and you need us.

Hugs.

Bravone said...

Beck, I am not sorry I encouraged you to go. I agree with Ron's comment that going was an exercise in honesty. You are making steps to come to terms with the inner you. It is hard, and social gatherings are difficult for me too. I was terrified to go to Scott and Sarah's first party.

I think the difference for me is that I am able to take my wife with me. I don't say this to make you feel worse, but she understands that I need these types of associations. They are healthy outlets for my need to feel the love, association and acceptance of other men.

It has actually been healthy for our marriage. I don't need to hide from her and we now share friendships. Associating with others, she feels less threatened.

You will get there. You are awesome. You are loved. You are needed. You have made tremendous progress.

Ti voglio un sacco di bene.

Scott said...

"Geez, nothing like tooting your own horn."...

@Tobin: Sarah was quoting Beck from the original post ("Scott is truly blessed with such a sensitive and compassionate and sweet and loving wife.") and in fact turned one of the positive traits that he attributed to her ("sensitive" into a liability ("over-sensitive")

Having lived with her for nearly fourteen years now (and having known her for more than half my life) I can assure you that humility is not something that Sarah lacks. :)

Philip said...

Beck,

I use to facilitate a group for gay/bi husbands and every once in a while a husband would comment that the meeting was the first place that he had ever felt like a normal human being.

Some of these husbands later revealed that that sense of normalcy left them soon after the meeting was over.

Though none ever told me this, I truly believe these husbands discovered after a while that they no longer had to be at the meeting to feel normal.

What I am trying to say is that what you felt at your first party is somewhat akin to what these husbands felt at their first meeting and it's going to take you a while to internalize that sense of normalcy that will bring forth the openness and honesty you witnessed in others.

Probably the biggest difference between you and some of the people at that party is a few months.

Trust me, you'll see.

Then there is the issue of lieing to family.

I hope you can work something out with your wife so you don't have to make up excuses in order to attend another party or find other safe outlets to be yourself.

I had a huge problem with lieing to my wife. But, when I was honest with her, she felt so threatened that she put obstacles in my way to keep me from coming out in any way, shape or form. Ironically, staying in the closet caused me so much mental anguish that I almost destroyed myself and by extension my marriage while coming out saved me and my marriage.

I know it is counter-intuitive but coming out may be the best thing you can do for you and your family.

Regards,
Philip

Scot said...

Oh Beck, here I was selfishly wishing we had more time to chat before you stepped out, never realizing you were going through that.

I suppose there's not much I could add to the great show of support and advice here. I can certainly understand, by witnessing it so many times, the way the double gay life could eat at a person, even though you did nothing but socialize with people in person you already knew digitally. I just hope whatever you mean by being fed up with it will ultimately result in a positive change for you and yours, and that you continue to use on this community to whatever extent is helpful.

Anyway, I was very happy to finally meet you.

UTMOHO said...

Beck,
I wish I would have come earlier to the party I have been dying to meet you. I hope that one day you can find the strength and courage to come again. Just remember right now you are at a point in your life of being closeted all of us are or have been there some longer than others. We can always find support within our Blogging family. Take care

UTMOHO

Beck said...

SEAN asks: "You can have the friendships here in the blogger world but do you need them in real life?"

Interesting question. I do enjoy and feel a need for blogger friendships and I feel a need to reach out and help others as I can through this blogger world, but there is something to real life associations as well.

Two concerns overwhelmed me: 1) I was still closeted and that made me uneasy and unsure of myself while others seemed more sure of themselves, and 2) I felt guilt for lying to my family and attending under a cloak of deception. Neither of these had anything to do with the wonderful people that were there.

I know I shouldn't compare my situation with others. We are all different and I realize and appreciate that even more. I hope to be able to get past my own selfish feelings and be able to throw myself into the lives of others instead of hiding out as a lying lurker.

I would love to meet you and give you a Beck hug in return!

Beck said...

HAPPYORGANIST: I am new to you and am curious how you came upon my blog and what you think about it? As for being a "healthy person", if that means one who has an overactive guilt-gland, then I guess I fit the bill...

MOHOH: The issue wasn't feeling guilty for being there "popping out to meet some bloggers over fruit punch". This is not the worst thing ever seen or done, nor do I consider it sinful or regretful in any way for being there. Just the opposite!

However, the cloak of guilt and deception were what was getting to me.

I was thrilled to meet you! You are one of my heroes! Thank you for embracing me so openly and genuinely. I'd like to continue this off line...

GRANT: It was great to meet you. I wish I were less reservered to be able to reach out to you more. It is amazing how we quickly we can feel for each other.

SANTORIO: Yes, there are limits to transparency and there are appropriate times and measures for that transparency. I'm just letting this get to me too much that I'm not more transparent than I want to be.

Beck said...

DAMON said: "For me I just stopped being scared. And coming out made me feel genuine and my life started to fall into place."

I'm still terrified. How does one "stop being scared"?

"I realized when I was in the closet I couldn't really love myself completely because I thought there was something about ME that would bring people pain.

I realized it was really something about THEM that would bring them pain...not me."

That's easy to say, but hard to believe. I feel it is true, but I don't know it is true, even reading your testimonial - this resolution is so counter-intuitive. Why is that?

"As good as it was for me I also realized that I needed to do it when I was ready and not before. I firmly believe in listening to yourself to decide when its time."

I appreciate this. There isn't a prescribed time and manner, and the time does have to be right, but I am still stuck living on the edge of it all and I can't keep doing this, but probably will...

Thanks for beating me up for beating up on myself! :)

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT: No, my wife does not know about Sarah and Scott or any bloggers. She doesn't know that I blog, and for my own selfish reasons, particularly for self-therapy and blatant honesty of an alter ego, I have kept this community from her. For me to bring her into the circle will make me give that up, something that I should eventually be able to do, but for now, I am not in the position or place to do. My unwillingness just adds to the complexity of the dilemma. It isn't so simple.

I am intrigued that such a blog as mine has value and has touched you. This means a lot to me, and encourages me to stay around even when I contemplate why I should...

I will try to not be so hard on myself - it's a bad habit of mine.

Beck said...

SARAH: It wasn't "bad" for me. It was very GOOD for me! It has opened my eyes and thoughts and placed me in a position that I wouldn't have thought possible had I not attended. So, please don't think that it was bad. The uneasiness was internal, not anything anyone said or did. You were all wonderful!

As for the "selflessness", I appreciate the comic twist and will try to look on it that way. I guess because I am still so unsure of who I am, I don't know how to give selflessly to others as I have done in other situations.

You need to know that our meeting has changed me inside. I look forward to more one-on-one / one-on-two, and even two-on-two connections in the future.

SCOTT: I was hesitating whether to put your comment into my post for I know you meant no ill from it, but as I took it, it just emphasized the pathetic nature of my situation. I'm glad you're not taking offense for none was intended.

I would love to "be myself". I have small insights of what that means, as I've seen glimpses of myself from time to time where I let all inhibitions go. I hope to someday jump up on your dining room table and shout to your rafters that I AM WHO I AM!

Thank you both for your love.

HappyOrganist said...

Beck, Your blog was part of a ring I was looking at, that's all. ;-) Seemed like a good bunch of people who would be more interested in my story (the story I wanted to tell on my own blog) than, say, other lds people. (or christians for that matter). Well, that's not true exactly.. There was one (maybe the most entertaining) element of my own experience that I thought would be appreciated (at least to some degree) by some of this crowd.
That said, I think it's funny that I have not even dwelt that much on that particular part of my story. Oh well.

I have not looked through your blog a great deal, but it did seem interesting. Doesn't it bother you at all to put so much of yourself out there into the world (in public like this?) even if it is anonymous, in a way. It seems strange. How do you handle that?
On the one hand, I'm the kind of person known for telling my life story to a total stranger on the street. And in another way, I've felt lately "what am I doing? I can't share this - or not this much with anyone." Hence my plan to begin a new blog.
Yes.. how do you do it? I would feel guilty, myself, about sharing so much of myself with anyone who was not my spouse. (that's not me judging you - that's me saying what I'm like).
I don't know about being 'overly' guilty. I guess a qualified psychiatrist would know more about that (be a better judge).
I do like talking to therapists, though. They've heard a million people's stories - they can actually say "yes, that's normal to feel that way." or what not.
Very helpful (to me anyway).
So far as I've seen, I enjoy your blog. (and wonder how you do it).
heh
thanks! ;-)

Beck said...

ALAN: A lot of these feelings are the same I felt when I met with you. Not a lot of progress since New Years Eve, huh?! But, I keep stepping out and keep up the fight.

EZRA: Thanks for your kindness. I look forward to meeting you.

EL GENIO said: "...there are two things I am sure of. The first is that there is no easy choice, and the second is that there is no "universal right answer." "

That sums it up nicely. I feel your pain and know it's not easy and there is no universal right answer! So now what?

TOBIN: I'm not sure that you understood my conversation with Sarah and Scott. These were my words to her, and if you were there first hand, you wouldn't accuse her of "tooting her own horn". Never was there anything from either Scott or Sarah that said: "Look at us! Aren't we great for being so kind and generous and selfless! Aren't we the best people ever?!"

RON: You know where I stand and I sincerely appreciate your encouragement for me to hang in there. Your kindness and interest in my "voice" is still something I'm struggling to understand. I'm not at the position you'd like me to be, and until I can get there, if ever, I find my "voice" of less value to the greater cause you and others seek to do.

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Yes, I do view this as a step along the path of "honesty" that you and Ron are pointing out. I see it and feel it.

I do not feel bad about you pressing me to go, either. In fact, I'm grateful for your encouragement. It put me over the top to commit. I see it as good.

But as I read about your comment of your wife, it makes me wonder if maybe I'm not wanting my wife to be there because I'm still uncomfortable with who I am (even though Beck says otherwise) and am embarrassed for her that she has to be with someone like me. That shows how ill-prepared I still am to face this thing with her, if I can't be truly comfortable with myself except in my closeted form of who I am. This is a harsh reality to the fact that progress is very slow in coming...

PHILIP said: "I hope you can work something out with your wife so you don't have to make up excuses in order to attend another party or find other safe outlets to be yourself."

Yeah, me too. But as stated above with Bravone, maybe I'm not ready to have my wife with me just yet because I'm still not completely comfortable with being out myself. And until I'm at that point of assurance and comfort, how can I expect her to be assured and comforted by me?

The lying is the bottom line stomach knot I can't get over. It's a defense mechanism to keep her at a distance from all of this - whatever "this" is.

Whether I am shielding her or using her as a crutch for my own insecurities, I don't know. But your counter-intuitive testimonial is still hard to totally grasp and embrace.

SCOT: I selfishly wanted to really talk to you more! You are one of my true heroes and I felt so grateful to receive your warm and excited embrace. That means a lot to me.

"...I just hope whatever you mean by being fed up with it will ultimately result in a positive change for you and yours, and that you continue to use on this community to whatever extent is helpful."

What I mean by the "gig is up" is that I can't go on living the double gay life. I've declared this before and done nothing about it. I'm still here. I'm not going anywhere, I'm still trying to reach out and become more honest and authentic, but to play the double life role has to stop. And until I stop, it will continue to eat at me, and not let me be the "me" I want you to truly know and allow me to truly know you.

Thanks for supporting and understanding confused guys like me.

UTMOHO: "I have been dying to meet you. I hope that one day you can find the strength and courage to come again."

Wow! I'm flattered. You embarrass me. Thanks for your kind words and I look forward to meeting you. I want to find the strength and courage to come again.

"Just remember right now you are at a point in your life of being closeted all of us are or have been there some longer than others. We can always find support within our Blogging family."

I forget that. I see others at the party as being fully out and forget that at one point, in one form or another, they were once closeted, too. Thanks for that reality check. Instead of worrying about not being out, I should be relying on the combined wisdom of how others have dealt with their own situations of once being closeted.

Beck said...

HAPPY ORGANIST: I do put my real thoughts and feelings out there in this blog for the whole world to see, and yet I don't share these same thoughts and feelings with the people I love and cherish the most. It is an odd dichotomy that is hard to explain. The ability to do so has come from an insatiable need to come to terms with being an active LDS married man who is very much attracted to other men.

In essence, my blog has become, good or bad, a form of self-therapy. It is selfish in nature. It is meant to help me come to terms with how to live this life I'm in. And this circle of blogging friends, is a great source of support and strength.

This little corner of the blogging world that you've stumbled into is an incredible diverse community of active Mormon, ex-Mormon, non-Mormon, married, single, coupled, mostly gay men, and some gay women and spouses that lend wisdom and encouragement to each other. In one form or another, as diverse as we are, we all have the Church and our attractions to the same sex / gender as a common tie - a tie that despite our different paths, binds us together in a brotherhood and sisterhood that is amazing to witness. I rarely see such "community of saints" inside the Church as I've seen here. The compassion and empathy and charity toward all is incredible.

Stick around for a while and click on the various links to these people in this comment trail here and you'll quickly come to learn of the amazing stories behind these blogger names - most of which put themselves out there for the whole world to read and learn from.

There are no "memberships" and no "rules" of this community. It just has happened. I've been here over three years and have found it the most amazing experience. What a trip...

If you're interested, I invite you to come along for the journey...

Sean said...

That can be a reality. Just let me finish the MCAT this Saturday and then we can chat. :)

Beck said...

SEAN: That would be awesome! Best of luck with your exams!(or as Italians say: "In bocca al lupo" which interprets literally - "in the mouth of the wolf", which means "good luck"!)

drakames said...

Beck,
Like Sean, I'm not really sure what to say, but I want to say something, just to let you know you aren't alone.

I am not a social person by nature. I never have been. Like you, I do better in one-on-one situations. And like you, I'm really not "out." I don't use my real name in this blog world. There are only three people in my personal life who know the truth about me.

Scott and Sarah has been amazing to me. I haven't met them in person and have only gotten to know them through their posts and the comments they leave on my blog. I've found them to be so understanding and I appreciate their willingness to open their arms to me.

While I haven't been to one of their parties, I hope to maybe get there one day. I would love to meet them.

The one thing I know is that this is a process. I have a lot of ups and downs, but I don't know that there's any other way to go through it. And on my down days, it's difficult to see any progress at all. Those are the days when I have to rely on the reassurances of the people around me that progress has indeed been made.

If you ever decide to take another crack at the MoHo party, let me know. Maybe I'll join you and we can be "closet buddies." :)

Good luck. Hang in there!

drakames said...

P.S. As far as the "leading a double life" goes...I find that the more comfortable I get with the blogging community, the more awkward I feel around the people I see on a day to day basis. The duality is difficult and very heavy to carry all the time.

What keeps me going is focusing on my objective, because it's different in each situation. My objective online is to be myself and discover acceptance and understanding. My objective with my family is to stay a part of my family, because that is more important to me than telling them to truth right now.

Don't know if that helps or makes any sense, but there you go.

Bror said...

Well, when I finally make it to Scott and Sarah's party, I hope you are there. I want to meet you in person. From what I read in your post you sound pretty "normal" to me.

Damon In CO said...

Beck,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. So in response to your questions…

How do you stop being scared? It’s a tough question. First you have to identify exactly what your fears are. I was afraid of not being loved and hurting those I did love. I realized that if those I loved stopped loving me because I was gay, then I wondered if they ever loved me to begin with. If my friends and family stopped loving me or ostracized me for being gay then was it worth my being miserable to prevent their misery?

Also I should clarify I don’t know that I actually stopped being scared, but I was less afraid of outcomes. The real motivating factor was that I decided I didn’t want to live a lie. The pain I was going through was much worse than what I thought the consequences of coming out could be.

I also had a purpose. I knew what I wanted out of my life at that point. I didn’t want to grow old , in the closet and single and wonder what might have been…wonder if I could have been happy. I wanted to give myself an opportunity to actually seek out my happiness. Having and understanding your purpose in coming out will make all the difference. If you have no purpose then you’re not sure why you’re coming out or what the benefits of coming out could be.

On to the counter-intuitive idea that in coming out you don’t bring pain to loved ones they cause it in themselves.

I look at it this way. I didn’t choose to be gay, I just am. Given that fact and many others I am responsible for building my life, finding my happiness and making my place in the world. I am responsible for me. My friends and family can choose to love me as I am or they can allow their prejudices, their self-righteousness to be a source of pain in their lives in regards to me.

I will say I had to be in a place where I was willing to accept a bad response to my sexuality. The idea that I was going to be honest about myself had to be more important than their reaction. Knowing why I was coming out and having an idea of the benefits helped me get to a place where I was willing to accept the worse case scenario.

I think I initially felt like I was causing the pain because I was the one to break the news to them. What I have discovered is that my friends and family love me anyway. I haven’t lost anyone because of my sexuality. I also KNOW now that I am loved unconditionally.

So I hope that helps. Like I’ve always said each of our situations are unique. I was/am single and without children and a spouse. I was dealing with only parents and siblings.

Good luck Beck, love you!

~Damon

Beck said...

DAMON: Your response to my questions have been on my mind. I need to think more about why I'm so afraid and why this is such a big deal to come out. I need some time to ponder and this is good material to ponder over. Thanks for caring enough to reply to my questions.

HappyOrganist said...

Beck, I hate to be silly (I know I am), but haven't you *been pondering this for 3 years?
I probably don't understand.
;-)
cherio!
- Joylin

[btw - that is meant with much affection. kinda hard to tell in text..]

Beck said...

HAPPYORG: I guess you've observed that I'm a slow learner. I don't adapt to change very quickly and circumstances keep me pretty anchored in port constantly trying to move out to sea, but something holding me back...

It's not that I haven't thought of what Damon is advising - but I need to ponder AGAIN what he's saying.

I'm glad I can be a source of irony for you.

HappyOrganist said...

;-)

it's a change of heart. my father says that watching someone change (repent) is like watching grass grow.

I don't know if you are talking about repenting (i know everyone's gonna kill me for even saying that). but i don't care. I realize that may be entirely unrelated to what you are talking about. but I like the analogy of watching grass grow. People change (and as I've said before, I believe we all get cooler as we age. But it is usually really really (and painfully) slow - even imperceptibly so.
But it turns out something wonderful in the end. !
- JL