Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chosen acceptance...

I would guess that today's blogs in the community will be centered on the court decision of Prop 8 in California - and rightly so! Yet my thoughts go elsewhere this morning.

On Sunday, "Will" was back in town and at church. I wish I could say otherwise, but I can't look at him and not melt inside. After the meetings he sought me out and we affectionately hugged in that way that we've become accustomed - in front of everyone, including my wife and kids and his wife. My wife rolled with the punches and engaged them in warm conversation and true interests in their futures. It was rewarding to see her not be threatened by our affection for each other. It was rewarding to note no jabs or hurt feelings or expressions of doubt regarding our marriage, knowing I still have particular attraction and affection issues with him after all these years, but also knowing that I'm not seeking to go off in the sunset with him. It was just natural and good - a spirit of acceptance without feelings of threat or invasion.

And then yesterday morning was spectacularly beautiful. The rain of the previous day had washed the world clean leaving it sparkling and refreshed. The birds were chirping vigorously. The wild flowers on the foothills were bursting with new life, new color, new enthusiasm. The renewal joys of spring were surrounding us everywhere.

We hiked a couple of miles on our mountain and ended at my special rocky overlook where I go to get away from it all and be alone and meditate. I love this particular place.

Along the way, an argument broke out. The gist of the discussion centered around not having enough "romance" or "spontaneity" in our marriage. I stopped hiking, and in my normal over-reaction standard mode of operation, took offense and countered:

"Well, this is who I am. You need to accept that this is me," holding my arms out dramatically as if to say: "take it or leave it, baby!"

She stared at me and calmly stated: "But, don't you get it? I do accept you for who you are. That is why I have chosen to stay with you!"

And it really did hit me. I did not choose to be this way. It is not a choice to have strong attractions for other men, in combination with less attraction for women, and as such, less tendency to meet the romantic needs of my wife. I thought I was doing a romantic and spontaneous gesture by going on a morning hike with her, choosing to be with her instead of anyone else. And as she doesn't meet my needs, I, in turn, don't meet her needs. And as I have accepted this as our reality, she, too, has accepted me. She has not left me, as some would suggest she should have. Instead, she has chosen to stay with me.

We sat on the rock and held each other. We were alone in the beauty of the spot. As frustrated as I get with this situation I face (and concentrating so much on me and my issues and my hardships and my struggles and my reality), I realize she faces it, too. As much as I didn't choose this situation, I have chosen to stay in it. And as much as she didn't choose this situation, she has chosen to stay in it. We are in this together.

Her acceptance of Tim and Will occasionally popping into my life fulfilling some man-to-man affection quotient, and now her point-blank statement of acceptance of me for who I am, and choosing to stay with me... give me pause. What do you make of her comments? What do you think? Do you think she might accept a fellow MOHO as a friend? Will that stretch the situation beyond its point of elasticity?

Maybe it's finally time... time to let her know that we are not alone... that there are others... that maybe there is the possibility to open the window of our closet and peak out into the light - even the knowledge that this MOHO community exists. She is all alone. I am not.

Yet, selfishly, I don't want to reveal this blog to her. If I do, it will change its purpose or even lose it all together. "Beck" will be lost forever - maybe that will be a good thing (not just for her and for me, but for all who read this drivel). Is the blog becoming a hindrance and is too important?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I think too much...

I was sitting in the bathroom last night and noticed the book "Kosher Sex" sitting next to the toilet. It had been left there by my wife some time ago. Casually, I flipped it open and landed on p. 222 and started reading...

"The Talmud declares that no one sins unless gripped by a spirit of madness. This statement simply states the obvious: that if the average person were to think through all the consequences of their transgression, they would never do it. We sin because we just don't think. Like all sins, the delights of adultery don't really exist. Sure, for a few moments or even weeks the pleasure is there. But compared to the infinite misery that this is all leading to, there will be scarce memories of pleasure. Once your life begins to self-destruct and your spouse abandons you, you will wish that you kept your pants on.

"Let's say you go ahead with the affair. You continue seeing your lover and develop real passion and excitement. You will then arrive at the point where you will have to make a choice between your spouse and your lover. Don't fool yourself into thinking the two can coexist. For they cannot. Every act of love with your illicit lover is a stab in the heart of your other half.

"Whatever energy you are putting into your affair is being depleted from your marriage. The real sin is not so much a sin of commission - doing something wrong - but, rather, it is a sin of omission - failing to do something right. There is no marriage on the planet that can survive the complete redirection of love and sexual focus that is involved in having an adulterous partner. Whatever interest you are showing your lover, you are not showing to your spouse. When the reason for this is found out, spouses will bring the rafters in the ceiling down rather than allow their humiliation to continue. In every act of adultery, we hurt ourselves, because to hurt one's spouse is, literally, to hurt oneself..."

-- Shmuley Boteach

My thoughts started spinning: Though my previous musings- eternal and ad nausea - of having a boyfriend, a bromance, an affectionate friend have never crossed into the desires for a sexual partner (though some may argue I'm naive enough to think that line will never be crossed), the message here is still strong. It is a sin of omission, not commission. I may never do something "wrong", but I may fail to do something "right". And my interests, as long as they are focused on my wanttabe boyfriend or bromance (for whatever understandable reason why - especially in a mixed-oriented marriage) cannot be focused at the same time on my spouse. And to hurt her is literally to hurt myself.

Maybe I think too much...

Monday, May 18, 2009

I want to know...

My childhood best friend came with his family to visit us yesterday. This guy was my best friend in Kindergarten and remained so through college. We camped out together, and did sleep-overs in our backyards. He was my high school locker partner. We car pooled together. We group dated together. We were roommates together in college. We submitted our mission papers together. We received our calls together. We were in the MTC together. We were together at our respective weddings... you get the picture.

Over the years, we've drifted apart. He moved across the country and so I saw him sparingly. We would write each other or he'd call on my birthday, but not a lot of face-to-face visits. Then, when I lost my father last year, he was suddenly there for me, comforting me. And several months ago, he moved his family back to Utah - still not close by, but a lot closer.

Anyway, our families spent Sunday evening together and it was fun getting caught up on the last 30 years and reminiscing on all of those good times back in school and college and mission days. In most ways, we haven't changed. Though he's now a new grandfather and is greying at the temples, he's still the same lanky, skinny kid I came to love and count as my best friend all those years ago. And yes, he is straight and happily married and has no clue of my attractions. And no, I never pushed our relationship back then - for many reason - but primarily because I didn't know / wouldn't accept who I was at that time. And no, I have no intentions of letting him know. I see no point to it.

What is amazing is that we still have a feeling of "best friend" friendship that has spanned the space of decades. And as we embraced, it was warm and good and of value beyond measure.

Contrast this with my current thoughts and actions of meeting and becoming a kind of "best friend" with a fellow MOHO, who knows I'm attracted to men, and who I know is attracted to men, and all the layers of feelings and emotions that come with this different kind of friendship. As we embrace, it is warm and good and of value beyond measure...

So, what's the difference? Why do I have no qualms about the one, and I'm scared to death of the other? Is it just the safety net of straight-gay verses gay-gay that underlay our relationships? Why should there be such a difference? Why am I so confused? Both are based on friendship and nothing more. Both are based on covenants and commitments to families.

So why am I happy and feel content with one and uptight yet very excited and coming alive with the other? Why is there such a difference? Should there be a difference? Aren't all friendships good? If I know who I am and am committed to my values, should there be any concern? Am I ignoring the alarms going off like an annoying fire alarm that isn't signaling a fire, just a battery warning chirp? Can't I have both? Or is one destined to become too complicated while the other will always remain safe? Am I liking the idea of this new friendship because I like this guy for who he is, and he for me, or do I like the idea of liking a gay guy who likes me because I'm a gay guy and I like him because he's a gay guy and that is what is the basis for the friendship?

I guess this is really a rehash of the same past questions I've constantly asked myself and with which I constantly place myself, (in most ways "Becknesses" never change) but recycled now with a new wrinkle - not one of one of my hot young men where I'm the mentor / teacher willing to teach and counsel and advise, nor one of a long distance love affair with a wonderful and sympathetic man in another country - this is one where our respective gaynesses are out there to each other and we like it... The last thing he wants is to destroy my commitments to my family. The last thing I want is to destroy his commitments to his family. Yet, I still want and desire to "know" something more that only this friendship can bring... Is it possible to "know"?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

All that I am...

"All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother..."

-- Abraham Lincoln

My elderly mother fell a few years ago and broke her hip and lower back. She was in the hospital for months and endured painful physical therapy for many months after that. She stopped driving and stopped walking outside her home, and even inside she'd use a walker and slowly and painstakingly move from room to room. My father took care of her every need. She became very dependent on him for all of her needs, not only physical needs, but emotional, social and spiritual as well. By no fault of my father, she became so dependent on him, that in many ways, she began to shut down and stop trying to live and "be".

Then one day, about a year ago, my father suddenly died, and he was gone. Her support, her safety net, her means of transportation, her shopper and bookkeeper and caregiver, and cook was suddenly gone. His passing was of great concern for our family. Not for him, but for our mother that was left behind, left alone, left to carry on.

At first it was almost too much to witness her suffering as she tried to assemble the courage to "go on". To see her too timid to leave the house, to go to church, to even talk to neighbors was painful, indeed.

But now, a year has passed. And a miracle has happened! My mom has learned that life does go on, that she can be independent again, that there is a lot that she CAN do, and that she wants to do them. She has become more talkative and open to others, reaching out to neighbors and friends in ways that she never did when Dad was around overseeing things. She has embraced her finances and personal affairs, has donated generously to causes that she cherishes and seeks to help, has started assembling her family history, has returned to church and embraced new callings, has rediscovered her grandchildren and has refocused her energies on them. She has adventured out into social gatherings, stayed overnight several times in our homes (even those with many steps), and though it is hard still for her to walk without assistance, she now desires to do many things and is hard to hold down. She has changed her hairdo and become excited to learn new things. She is determined and is becoming again a person of hope and wisdom and love. She is relearning to "be"!

I honor my mother (as only any good son can do). I look to her example as one to follow. I have shut myself off, in many ways, from life and from truly embracing what it has in store for me, and the opportunities to feel and know and grow around me... and I have not found it in my heart to let her know of the inner thoughts and workings and desires of her son. I have not found it the right or appropriate thing to do. At this point in our lives and in our relationship, she doesn't need to know about my attractions. She doesn't need to carry this with me. But as I see her change and come alive again, as I see her gain strength and courage, I can't help but think of John G-W's elderly grandmother who became his greatest advocate, and not think that maybe there is still a "right time" to let her truly know of what is in my heart, of my burden, of my journey in hopes that I, too, in some way, can follow her and learn to "be"!

Happy Mother's Day...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The perfect ending to a beautiful afternoon...

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful.

I went for a walk-n-talk into the foothills with someone who is becoming a great friend. We were able to be free to talk and be ourselves and not worry about the facades we hide behind. It was a lot of fun to just "be".

At one point, facing each other, standing in a particularly meaningful spot... he gave me a "kiss"! The perfect ending to a beautiful afternoon...

Monday, May 04, 2009

A night out with the Prophet...

I went with President Monson and his wife to Utah Symphony's presentation of "Bravo Broadway" on Saturday night!

Okay... really I went with my wife and had an incredible time (one of the advantages a woman has of being married to a gay guy - both love the Broadway show tunes equally! :)) and yes, President Monson and his wife were there as well. They were sitting in the best seats in the house and I had a straight and direct shot to observe them throughout the evening. He certainly enjoyed the production, leading an enthusiastic standing ovation at the intermission as well as the conclusion and the encore! My wife felt very uneasy and quite uncomfortable for him, that the divas were so skimpily dressed before a prophet of the Lord, and my response was, noting his eye contact and head nods to the performers as they took their bows: "Well, from the looks of it, he sure enjoyed the view!"

I was intrigued by his presence, and wondered what he was thinking. I know he enjoys show tunes as well and it was fun to see the "man" enjoy the evening out with his wife.

There was a number from Ragtime that really touched me that I hadn't heard before. I was familiar with "Wheels of a Dream" from the same show, but not "Back to Before". It is a song about a woman who begins to see the world differently after years of living under the control of her husband, and now seeing things differently, cannot find herself going "back". I couldn't help but feel the words in my context, a man who for years has been happily married, the perfect Mormon family, under the control of the Church, the ideal good-soldier fitting the pre-established mold. And now that I see myself differently, and it is hard to fit into that ideal anymore. It is hard to look at the Prophet across the Hall, sitting there enthralled, and I not see him with different eyes, changed eyes, cynical eyes, no longer eyes I had seen him before. It is impossible to put things back in the box that is now opened. It is impossible to go back in the closet and say "just kidding" about being gay. It is nearly impossible to go "back to before".

Some of the lyrics:

there was a time our happiness seemed neverending.
I was so sure that where we were heading was right.
life was a road so certain and straight and unbending.
our little road with never a crossroad in sight.
back in the days when we spoke in civilized voices-
women in white and sturdy young men at the oar.
back in the days when i let you make all my choices.
we can never go back to before.

there was a time my feet were so solidly planted.
you'd sail away while ! turned my back to the sea.
I was content,a princess asleep and enchanted.
if I had dreams, then I let you dream them for me.
back in the days when everything seemed so much clearer.
women in white who knew what their lives held in store.
where are they now,those women who stared from the mirror?
we can never go back to before.

there are people out there unafraid of revealing
that they might have a feeling,or they might have been wrong.
there are people out there unafraid to feel sorrow,
unafraid of tomorrow,
unafraid to be weak,
unafraid to be strong...

there was a time when you were the person in motion.
i was your wife. it never occurred to want more.
you were my sky, my moon and my stars and my ocean.
we can never go back to before.
we can never go back to before!

Now that I see things so differently - everything viewed through different lenses - I wonder if I will ever be able to go back to before... And if I can't, then what? Should I even want to go back? How do I go forward?

I wonder how President Monson would answer these questions...