Friday, June 25, 2010
A window to the past / "the envy of guys"...
Digging through a box in the back storage room of my office, I stumbled across three notebook journals that I wrote my senior year of high school and my first year of college. I had forgotten that I had kept these journals and remembering those trying times, I was scared to read them, but I had to.
Have you ever had that experience? These writings are over thirty years old! I haven't reread them ever. It's like a time capsule that has been discovered, and of course you have to read and discover what was going on - particularly this being a recording of my inner thoughts and feelings. What was I thinking? What was I feeling?
As fascinating as it was to reread my own words, I am sad for the boy that I'm rediscovering. I realize that instead of imagining a journal full of hopes and dreams of the future, of dating girls and partying with friends and having a fun and carefree last year of high school, I find a troubled boy, a boy that is too self-reflective, one that feels different and alone and worried and confused. I find a boy that is hung up on his "envy of boys". This was a different and more naive time and place - at least in my isolated and very sheltered world - a place where thoughts of being "gay" or really knowing what that even meant were not even contemplated. That is how I saw myself for years to come... I was not gay, I was just "envious of boys". And I beat myself up for having these feelings. And I was ashamed... Is this just normal adolescent "not fitting in" angst? Or is this something more?
At the risk of personal embarrassment, I have pulled just a sampling portion of a few entries and summarized them here for you to look into the past and see the boy that I once was. This is the first of maybe a couple of posts - covering the senior year. If you get through this post and care to respond, I am interested in you sharing your thoughts of what you observe from these words penned from this scared and oh-too-serious 17 year old's hand... and what they say about me today, now 33 years later.
Kevin is my best friend. He is my faithful and enduring friend. He’s my locker partner for many years. We’ve gone on dates, sat at games, walked and talked and shared things together. But after a certain point we stop. I don’t want to stop! Oh how I want to get closer and be close. How I wish I could confide and tell him everything inside me – open and out – and then have him understand the real me, turn around and then do the same thing. I really don’t think this will ever happen.
...I find myself being so jealous and envious of the guys at school. So many guys are so good looking, with muscled chests and full beards. I’m so skinny and am so ashamed of my body, and all I can grow is peach fuzz. And I ask myself: Why not me? I have thoughts of becoming more manly, more masculine and more like them. I don’t know what to do with my thoughts.
...Life is made of countless decisions and choices, like grains of sand along the foggy beach, and each choice must be made surrounding the complicated age of 18. Wouldn’t it be great if life could end then without facing myself and my future… when and where to work, when and where to go to college, who to date, when to apply for a mission, who to marry, what occupation, and I wonder why my feelings are so different from other boys… I am totally bewildered on where to turn for help. Help me, please?
O how I wish that love would swell and bloom, grow and overcome my home, not merely love and peace, but true caring, feeling and understanding so that I could open up to my family and let them know me better…
O how I wish that I were six-and-a-half feet tall, towering over other guys, with broad shoulders and big biceps, and not feeling so inferior and different.
O how I wish that I were worthy, honest enough, chaste, charitable with the true love of Christ, to be able to share and live with Him, to feel his spirit, his perfect body, his love.
O how I wish that Christmas would always last with the real meaning of giving and understanding.
O how I wish that I could relate with other people better, particularly guys, and speak easier with no pain or shaking nerves.
O how I wish that I were better…
...I am ashamed of who I am. I regret how skinny and underdeveloped and pussified I really am (I’m such a puss!) which calls indeed for immediate changes in my values systems of my goals...
...I still have a problem of envying other guys, those who are stronger and taller and so beautiful. Indeed, my values are low in this area and I need, again, to strengthen my mind, to control “it”, to keep these feelings within grasp, when fleeing down the road of an incorrect or lustful, or envious “thought”.
...Why do I do this? It’s an envious sin that I got into the habit with and I don’t know how to satisfy myself and being content with who I am. I know I am weird, but maybe I need psychiatric care to cure my problem. I have brought it to the Lord countless times , but I don’t seem to have the required self-control of my mind to keep these thoughts and others of ill-quality from creeping around in my mind – this thing in my head that is supposed to realize right from wrong – and all I feel is that the answer, at least for now, is not now.
Do you offer any advice? I only talk about these things in here, not a soul as I know to this point knows about my feelings about this subject. That’s why some of these entries are on this subject. I am so ashamed…
...As I said, I am so different from the other boys of this ward. I mean different looks, different acts, different wants. Thus, I don’t hit it off that well, but I am trying to relate, but I don’t . I’m just different. My hair is different. My way of dress is different. My attitude is different. I try to be proud of the way that I am and realize that I am this way because that is the way my spirit is, that is the way I am made. I am me!
...I notice how my moods have varied, how at times, I’m in tune with the spirit and then at other times I’m in tune with an evil influence, straight from Lucifer in person. What I need is more self-control, self-mastery of my body and mind, to always be the guiding pilot of my affairs of my life. If I but stay worthy, if I but keep the commandments, if I but keep myself and my feelings and desires under control, I’ll be able to live out my calling, to be a missionary, a father, a leader (as mentioned in my patriarchal blessing), and will live a full life.
...I still have recurring dreams and thoughts about being more masculine. I imagine myself stronger and manly and the envy of other guys. I can’t get rid of these thoughts. I dream of Kevin. I want to be closer to him. He is such a special guy. I don’t know what to do. I must admit that I get a lot of enjoyment out of these thoughts. These wicked thoughts live in my mind and the enjoyment comes from the devil.
...Help me to be worthy to receive thy help with the right attitude. Help me to think of others, to lose myself in the service of others that I might become a happy person. Indeed, help me to be happy and choose thy way, to have clean thoughts and not these wicked thoughts, and to have clean actions and to repent seriously of my weakness of envy that I might someday be able to dwell with thee in the Celestial Kingdom and find eternal bliss.
...An interesting thought struck me today which helps me a lot with my hang-up of envying guys. The thought was that when you ask for something from the Lord and you don’t get an answer (I have never got an answer about why I have these feelings that I shouldn’t have), maybe it is because you are having him do all of the work. You must give and meet him half-way. I thought about this and realized that all of this time I had been ordering God to take this away from me, leaving none of the work for me to do… Interesting! So, what do I do now?