Monday, July 19, 2010

Reap a habit...

"Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

So, when does one's action (or inaction) become a habit that can affect one's character and maybe one's destiny? Is it a month? two months? three months? A year? I remember hearing something about being committed to something for three months and getting through that period will establish the "habit".

Well, it's been three months now since I went cold turkey on my journey into the world of Internet eye-candy (note: if you're not up to speed - I'm talking the PG-13 hot guys on non-adult sites). Three months without a hiccup. Three months without those guys staring back at me. Three months of temptation, but not succumbing to those temptations. This is a goal that I have set and I still feel good about this goal. I set it in April thinking that I'd try the cyber-celibacy for three months.

And I made it!

So now what?

So is it a habit? Am I there? Did I make it? If I made it this long, can I keep it going?

And how has this changed me? Some changes I've noticed:

1. I feel more confident in myself, more in control.

2. I don't need the "hot guy fix" (hgf) to make it through the day. I can do it without the morning and afternoon HGF.

3. I have much more time to be more productive in my day. I'm actually getting more work done in a quicker amount of time. I haven't worked late into the evening for some time now.

4. I'm feeling less guilt, adjusting my "habits" to better match my goals for my life as a whole. Thus, I'm more at peace (as peaceful as an angsty guy can be).

5. I'm becoming more comfortable in liking the beauty of real guys instead of the super-beautiful cyber-images. I will always like the view!

6. I'm spending more time with the family instead of lurking in the basement (not sure if it's quality time, but at least it's "more" time).

All that said, I know the HGF is still out there to be had. It's ready within a click to come back into my life. And I still want it. The desire is still there to "enjoy the view" and "partake" more freely. I really want it! After all, I'm still a frustrated gay active-and-believing Mormon guy in a MOM with all the associated complications. I would be lying if I said the desire wasn't still there. Yes, it's there, and most likely always will be.

But just as a long time ago I committed to be faithful to my wife and not have a sexual relationship with another man, I've now chosen to be HGF-clean. And if I've made it three months, why not another three, and yet another three?

The other "habit" I've made now 10 months is no longer having meetings with fellow MOHOs behind my wife's back (more on that in the next post).

Is this crazy? Or should I just cave to the cravings and justify it by saying that it's no big deal, that I'm a gay guy with needs, and this is a pretty innocent, adolescent, non-damaging way to deal with those needs?

It's probably crazy... but hey, I'm okay with that. I'm doing good. I'm happy. I'm not shaking with sweaty hands and suffering from headaches and anxiety attacks. And I'm not going to beat myself up if I fall off the HGF wagon.

It's all cool.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -- Aristotle

So then, why do I feel so delusional?


Sean said...

Keep up the good work and don't look back! I hope that all is well with you. Here is to another 3 months! Good luck buddy! :)

Sean said...

first i like how the other Sean spells his name. to quote a dear friend a rose by any other name is... well, not a Sean :)

ok, Beck one of the first things i learned is that there is no right answer. my solutions wont necessarily help you and visa versa... though at sometimes they might.

how you deal with your habits are right for you because you found the solution yourself. you chose it. you solved it on your own. no one else owns your problem or your solutions. that's a powerful thing to know.

so as they say in say in the country i'm not from "Good on ya, matey"

Mister Curie said...

It sounds to me like you have some great reasons to avoid your HGF and that you've noticed some major benefits from your HGF abstinence. Yet, your questioning suggests to me that you are experiencing dissonance between your beliefs and your desires. Is there any way to reconcile the two?

Beck said...

SEAN1: Thanks for your encouragement and friendship!

SEAN2: I don't know that what I'm doing is the "right answer", but it was a goal I chose and set for myself and I've achieved it. So, now what?

MR CURIE: You've got the point of the post! As much as I've found some benefits to my choices and abstinence, there remains a dissonance between my beliefs and desires - something that has not been reconciled. I thought by now there would be more of a reconciliation between the two and here I sit still questioning, still unsettled, still not unified.

My beliefs and desires are not on the same page (and not with just this issue). I'm trying to curb my desires to be within my beliefs to find a greater sense of peace. There is peace, to a degree, but really this post is about the doubt and confusion that still remains within me that I thought would diminish or even go away all together...

So, is the only other choice to curb my beliefs to be within the realm of my desires?

marriedtoamoho said...

Does this mean I should curb my desires for an "angsty gay blogger" fix?

Rex said...

Beck, like others, I don't have your answers. I think what you're doing is just the very thing that we should all do. The only way to find out if something is a good thing to do is to try it. You tried it. It paid off. The benefits are apparent to you.

On the other hand, just because a strict "diet" has been beneficial doesn't mean you have to starve yourself the rest of your life. You're training yourself how to eat healthily. So, as you learn the lessons, you can let go a little and see what you can handle. Feeling for our way is the only way to find our way.

I've never been much for 2-D images. Porn or even non-erotic pictures have never done much for me. I like to be in the presence of a warm human being.

I was downtown yesterday in a public event where there were lots of great looking men around. I did not even try to ignore them. I soaked it in, loved every moment of it, and don't feel bad about it. It's at least as much about how I feel about myself as it is about how I feel about them, probably more.

It's like a plank on a log, a teeter-totter where you can't see the balancing point. You have to move to one end and then work your way back to being balanced. It may tip the other way for a moment, but that's when you know to back up a little. Just the fact that you're willing to question yourself and take extraordinary steps to feel your way in the dark tells me you're going to be fine.

Mister Curie said...

Perhaps it would be helpful for you to try and identify where your desires are coming from and/or what they indicate. You might be more able to identify ways to satisfy those desires or the underlying cause for those desires. Also, what are your conflicting desires and what desires are the most important to fulfill (what is your hierarchy of desires)?

Wyatt said...

Yay! Good for you!

See - all it takes is hard work and dedication and you can be almost normal and slightly disconnected from your desires and conceal major parts of your personality. It's awesome!

MoHoHawaii said...

If you see a volcano that's emitting lava slowly and safely, is it a good idea to go up the mountain and block the flow?

Just a thought.

P.S. Your previous post about the hunky irrigation guy makes a lot more sense now. :-)

Beck said...

Why is curbing some desires seen as such a negative step? Or am I reading some of you wrong?

Why can I not make choices of limiting my exposure to certain stimuli and do so voluntarily and willingly and with no beating up myself mentality if I slip and fall or if the volcano erupts again?

Why do I have to give into my desires completely? Is it all or nothing? Can't I decide the balance that is right for me?

My intent is not to pat myself on my back and make me sound "holier than thou". This post is a reminder to myself and a self-evaluation of what a self-imposed three month abstinence did to my pysche and life.

My point is, I'm still desiring the same thing. But some good things have come of it. The biggest issue is that my desires are more focused on "real people" now than "2D images", and my desires for the hunk are not going away. But there is some peace amongst the turmoil. And the turmoil is that my beliefs and my desires do not add up. That's the bottom realization... and I don't know how to justify one over the other.

I know that total abstinence will lead to some kind of volcanic eruption that I may regret, and so moderation is the key. But the bigger point is that my belief system and my wired desires do not connect. And I don't know how to resolve that.

But give me some slack. At least I'm calm and rational and not convulsive or out of control of my emotions and feelings.

Beck said...

WYATT: Your sarcasm is regrettable and not helping! I'm sorry that you can't see any good in my choices. But remember that they are my choices.

Ned said...

Dear Beck, I don't know what to say other than you are a dear one, and when I think of all the hugs you've given to others, I hope you know that there are many out here in the mohosphere who would hug you this very night if it were just possible. But since it is not, I will leave you these words and the music and spirit they evoke:

God be with you till we meet again;
when life's perils thick confound you,
put his arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
till we meet at Jesus' feet;
till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

Beck said...

Thanks Ned. The hug is felt. The song triggers some kind of finality between us and I don't intend or "desire" that to be the case!

MoHoHawaii said...

I know that total abstinence will lead to some kind of volcanic eruption that I may regret, and so moderation is the key.

That's just the point I was trying to make. (I apologize if it seemed that I was ragging on you. That wasn't the intent.)

Beck said...

MOHOH: No apology needed... I was the one that was a bit testy last night. Thanks for the clarification. Moderation is the best path forward. Recognizing that these desires will not be diminishing in the forseeable future argues that one like me who has chosen not to act on said desires, needs to keep things in perspective. If not, I might find myself attaching myself to the next hot guy I see! :)

Ned said...

When I first wrote that comment, I only included the stanza about with "put his arms unfailing round you". Then on the preview it looked lonely so I put in the chorus, but didn't realize that might trigger "some kind of finality between us." That was not my intent, and like you it is something I do not desire.

So let me share with you some other verses we both appreciate and which look ahead with hope and optimism. As you may know these were written as a loving memorial from Alfred Tennyson to his college buddy Arthur Henry Hallam. To me it is an affirmation that they are in our hymn book (#215) along with the works of Evan Stephens, a likely "family member".

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

J said...

I've been a bit of a stranger around these parts for a while and it's good to see you're still around. I'm making a goal today to give up "eye candy" for three months. Thanks for the push!

Wyatt said...

I'm sorry... I'm so confused: Help me understand what's wrong with "eye candy"?

The only conflict that ever really truly exists is because your life has caused you to expand and you're not taking the expansion. It's not about eye candy or sugar candy or abstaining from being you.

Life. You. Love. Desire. Caresses. Images. Allowing.

It's all perfect. You can't hold it back.

Beck said...

J: Don't do it because of me. Do it because you feel the need to do so in your life. But, hey, it's worth the experiment to see the results? No?

Beck said...

WYATT: I never said that eye candy was "bad". It's actually really good!

This was (is) an experiment in restraint... something I'm exploring to decide whether there are reasons to hold back, to ease off, to be in control of oneself and how one spends his time and focus.

Life isn't one big self-fulfilling party!

Or is it?