Saturday, September 04, 2010

Dear Wyatt:


A letter to Wyatt (and anyone else who has "moved on"):

Dear WYATT:

Why are you still here? Why are you still caring about me? Why haven't you moved on? Why do you keep hanging around? Why can't you give it up and leave behind the angsty Beck?

We've been "together" following each other for 4-1/2 years now! Can you believe it? It's been that long - spring of 2006. It's incredible to look back at all that has happened in those years, especially for you... You've changed! You've moved on! You've chosen a different path. And you've blossomed and bloomed into a different creature.

I remember the "Elbow" of over four years ago who wrote of his love for the church, his love for the Gospel, his all-encompassing love for his wife. I remember how you expressed those loves with amazing passion and incredible intensity and unfailing firmness and absolute assurance.

You've been able to put the church, and your marriage, and the Gospel, and your past all behind you as you've branched out in a completely different direction. I know it wasn't easy, but I watched you do it with great envy and awe.

I commend you for facing your fear, and congratulate you for not avoiding your true self, for seeking your true "vibrations" (as you so fondly and uniquely use that word).

Why I'm focusing on this particular series of posts of mine on my blog right now is because it was a natural extension of the exploratory process of a form of yearly self-evaluation and part of that is how the church has affected my life, where it is the "evil church" that has gotten me into this situation of being in a MOM in the first place; it is the "evil church" that has kept me hidden from my true self, ashamed and fearful of who I am and who I am attracted to.

So, as a natural evolution of the previous posts, I decided to spell out for myself the role that the "evil church" has played in my life. That's where this recent discussion came from.

I'm not really placing blame here or not taking responsibility for my own actions. The "evil church" did not MAKE me have difficulties in my youth. Nor did it MAKE me get married. Nor did it MAKE me do any of the things I've done. But, my fundamental beliefs did. Yes, I have done them willingly, but maybe naively and ignorantly.

Whether you accept this or not, the church has and continues to influence my thoughts and feelings in profound ways (and that includes both the good and the bad - the results being "mixed") and thus, it has influenced my actions, or even lack of action...

And yes, avoiding the truth of myself, and facing myself. Maybe I'm really afraid of being me. I am afraid! Maybe it's just easier to AVOID it all.


You're right. I'm not Super Gay Mormon Boy! I'm still avoiding... I'd rather stay in my comfort zone of marriage, family, job, and yes, church, than discover the real me. I'd rather sit here and angst over the "what ifs" and linger in the past of the possibilities of what would have happened if I ran off with Thomas before either of us made the "awful mistake" of marrying women. I'd rather live in the drama, and enjoy the wonder of what it would be like to be "gay" then just being ME and letting what happens happen... I'd rather speculate what my needs are as a closeted gay man than face the reality of being one. You're right! I'm a no-good coward! I refuse to leave my closet. I'd rather live in the shadows. I'm more comfortable bemoaning the "poor me" syndrome of self-pity than self-embracing the honest truth.

But again, I have to ask you: why do you care about me anyway? Why are you still here checking up on delusional never-authentic, always-avoiding Beck? Why are you still here? If you've moved on, why are you still looking back and reaching out for me lagging behind you?

Don't get me wrong! I love you! And I love that you DO CARE enough to keep staying and reading and sharing and commenting and trying to influence me for the better, throwing me your wisdom and insights... but I can't help but wonder why?

When is it going to be obvious that I'm not worthy of your time, attention or concern? Because, I'm still here struggling to stay on the path I'm on... I can't run off to the other side of the planet and be a free spirit! At least not right here and now. I can't leave behind the commitments I've made! I'm not ready to leave my marriage, my family, my kids, my job, my religion... if that is avoiding the inevitable, then I guess I'm still avoiding the inevitable. I may be grasping at a false hope... but I still believe.

I still believe in my marriage. I still believe in my family and kids. I still believe in my life as it now is structured. I still believe in my religion. I still have hope. And yet, I now accept that I am gay. I have not embraced my gayness and that is still a source of frustration inside me that keeps me clueless, adolescent, and unrealistic. It keeps me from fully "vibrating" and holds me back from embracing the fulness of my life, but I don't angst over feeling the attractions and accepting them for what they are - amazing, wonderful feelings. Is that hope of somehow finding another way that makes this all work really all that hopeless?

And if so, why do you (any of you, not just Wyatt) care?

Love,

Beck

17 comments:

Ned said...

On a much more trivial note, Beck, where do you get these amazing photos? And do you think the guy at the top of this entry has some procedure to make his lips so fat?

Beck said...

What?!? Don't get me off the subject! I want real answers here!

I don't know how he gets his lips so fat. Maybe genetics, mayb botox... the amazing photos come from my "collection" of past years. Seeing that I don't "collect" anymore, I still have a limited archive (those that I haven't deleted) from which to pull as suits my mood.

I like guys staring out at me. I like looking into their eyes.

But now, let's get back to the point and have answers to the questions I posted, ok? :)

robert said...

Its such a good question...the internet offers so many things to so many people and I, for one, find love in the human condition. This is not to say that I am in love with your angst, but it has a poignancy and a sobriety which rings true to me. As such, I wonder if things will ever change for you. It is an evolving story. On one side, there lies your Church and all that it stands for and on the other side is an opportunity to be someone entirely different.

I fear that if you choose to follow your sexual orientation, you may discover that being a previously closeted older gay man might be as joyless as any other state of identity. You may have to face your desire for younger men with the exact same lamentation that you now have...They aren't interested.

Perhaps as part of the human condition, we always imagine things will be different if only we...fill in the blank.

The best we can hope for is to continue our own evolution, to love ourselves more deeply and to allow this love to be seen and experienced by others. We don't need a religion to tell us how to do this, it simply is what we do if we stay awake to who we are.

If I knew you in RL, I'd jerk you out of Church in the middle of some meeting, kiss you long and hard on the front steps and suggest we take a walk in the park and grab a latte...well...perhaps.

Wyatt said...

I'm here because, honestly... it's a little selfish: I love seeing how far I've come. I love feeling worthy in contrast to your current state. And I love knowing that even though you choose something different than me - you're still expanding and learning all you need to learn.

“Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy."
-Henry Miller

I love you, "Beck" and I love your story; even if it different from the one I chose.

Beck said...

ROBERT said: "...it has a poignancy and a sobriety which rings true to me. As such, I wonder if things will ever change for you..."

I hope it rings true because it is the truth ( or at least as true as I can perceive what is happening inside me). I use the blog to bring these things to the surface that otherwise hide deep inside.

But don't think that I am always this angsty. I'm doing fine. But, you ask a good question - will I ever change? I don't know. I doubt at this point in my life that I will change much. I don't desire HUGE change, just tweaking to allow me to feel more free and expressive and allow these parts of me deep inside to have an "expressiveness" on the outside... that's all.

The grass seems greener on the other side, but the fact is, who would want an angsty 50-something guy with baggage of family and kids? None of my 20-something infatuations would. Not even my 50-something Italian buddy on the other side of the world. So what's really out there and who's out there to embrace me? And is it greener?

It's pretty green in my home with my wife and kids and family and extended neighbors and job and all that goes with the "perfect" life. Sure, it isn't perfect, but it does have its perks.

An older (and getting older though I try to act young and deceive myself that I am still a young kid at heart) gay skinny fart like myself is not fresh pickings for anyone out there... right?

Yet, the idea of you grabbing me on the portico of the church and slapping a big wet kiss on my lips and taking me off to get a latte next Sunday does sound quite intriguing!!!

You up for it? :)

Beck said...

WYATT: You use the word "worthy". That has thrown me for a bit of a loop. How has following me through the years made you feel "worthy"? I need more explanation.

You feel validated maybe in your choices you've made? You feel entitled to the freedom you've gained? Help me here...

I do appreciate your love and expression of love. Ultimately, that is what I feel from you. I always have from day one. I have felt a closeness and understanding from you, and that you sincerely care for me and want the best for me.

I appreciate you respecting the path I take, but I also request that you keep encouraging me and following my story. As I noted to Robert above, I may not change as drastically as you have, but I have changed inside. I am a different person from 4-1/2 years ago when we started this gig. I am more calm about who I am, and I have come to accept that fact, at least for myself inside. And all I'm seeking at the moment is being able to be more honest about myself to give it an expression and face in the real world, to be a bit more alive, and "vibrant", and to share my affection and love for others as the real me and not the pretend me... and do so in maybe subtle ways.

I'm not in a position to leave my wife, my family or the church. But I am trying to position myself to be more open with myself and take steps to not hide feelings or emotions or expressions of who I am for fear of someone not liking what they see. And if I can do that in a way that eases the angst and gives balance to my being, even without a major change of events, it will be a good step...

So I still need your encouragement and love.

MoHoHawaii said...

I'm here because, inexplicably and against my better judgment, I care about you and would like to see your burden eased.

Beck said...

MOHOH: I'm sincerely sorry that I exasperate you and cause you to care against your better judgment. But know this: I truly respect your advice, wisdom and opinions as I know they come from your heart and from your passion to help. And I'm most grateful that you haven't given up on me and are still hanging around checking up on me - even if it is inexpicable why you do it.

Thanks!

Wyatt said...

Following you throughout the years has made me realize that it all comes down to guilt/shame vs. love/worthiness. You don't leave your wife and you don't leave the church because of guilt and shame, which means you don't feel 'worthy'; worthy of self-love, worthy of the love from God/Universe/Higher Power etc... If you felt worthy of God's love and didn't define being worthy as a conditional state then you would have more leverage with your choices and more agility to bask in how you want to live your life.

You staying in a marriage that is inauthentic and filled with lies to accommodate her emotional reaction, is out of fear.

I guess the term 'worthiness' came to mind when I thought about the contrast of how I used to feel and how I feel now. And your story has made me realize and understand that a feeling of worthiness is always flowing to you/me/everyone -all day everyday.

It's all about acting on that worthiness and making choices and evoking those feelings the help you remember your wholeness.

Pieces of Me said...

Beck:

Here is my two cents for what it is worth...….You and Wyatt have both faced similar choices about what to do once you found yourself married and admitting that you were gay. Wyatt chose one direction and you have chosen another. You represent to Wyatt a choice he could have made, whether he wants to admit that or not. I am not talking about choosing to be gay, because I don’t think that is a choice, what am talking about is whether or not to act on those feelings. It has been my experience that once a man has chosen he wants to act on those feelings, he then believes it is the ONLY choice and those who chose not to act on those feelings are simply denying their “authenticity.” When in reality there are two choices, and both choices have good and bad consequences.

Whether or not Wyatt wants to admit it, you remind him, HE had a choice. When he sees your angst he can then “boost” himself up that he is not suffering your agony because he made the “only” choice you can make if you are gay. But the reality is just as your choice causes you angst and it also brings you a lot of happiness, by being a wonderful dad to your children, something Wyatt can’t understand because he has never had children, and I suspect probably suffers some angst that he is not a father, and does not have the joy that relationship brings. And let’s face it, if you want to be an active part of your child’s life you really have to live with your child’s mother. I am not saying you can’t be a good dad divorced, I am just saying you miss the tender moments, and bits of joy that parenthood brings daily if you only see your kid every other weekend. And even when your kids are grown, you still have a history with your wife, and I can tell that you deeply care about her, even if it is not in a romantic way. You have a deep bond based upon this shared life you have together. Again, while it is not ideal, for either of you, if you did not get some degree of satisfaction from this relationship you would have left years ago, regardless of the Church.

The bottom line for both you and Wyatt is you BOTH had a choice, and BOTH of you made the choice that is right for YOU.

Wyatt said...

Dear 'Pieces of Me':

I completely recognize I had and still have a choice. There is always a choice. I could still marry a woman again if I wanted to.

And 'authenticity' can and always will be achieved not based on the specific decision, but on how that decision is executed and the intention behind that choice.

I just want to point out that you are misguided in your thought that I have angst from not being a father. I have sperm and I can find a womb. And I will exercise that ability when I'm ready.

When I want to be a dad, I will do so with my husband and we will be excellent fathers sharing in all that fatherhood and parenting can yield and it will be delicious and special.

It's interesting you assume that fatherhood can only be achieved or enjoyed through one type of relationship. That's false. Same-sex couples have the same joys and trials as other parents do.

Scott said...

Here's what I've come to believe regarding CHOICES (as discussed by @Pieces and @Wyatt):

It's true. Us married gay men can choose to focus on our marriages and stay with our wives and try to sublimate or suppress our natural attractions and desires. Or we can choose to end our marriages and search for a man to love and enjoy intimacy with. (There might be a range of other options that combine elements of each of these, but for our purposes let's focus on the main two options).

The problem is (as I've come to see it, at least)...

We can't "choose to stay" just once and have it over and done with. This is a choice that needs to be made over and over again, every time we see a hot guy or get overwhelmed with loneliness or go through a gay "pon farr". We constantly need to reinforce (to ourselves and to our wives) that we've made this choice.

On the other hand, (from what I've observed), those who choose to "be authentic" can feel that their choice is final, and the choosing done. This may not happen immediately (in my case it was quite a few months between initially "making this choice" and actually feeling like the choice was firmly and finally made), but this sense of completeness and finality can be obtained.

This doesn't necessarily mean that one choice is better than the other (and some might even argue that making the latter choice is really just "succumbing" to the "natural man"--though I don't personally believe that). But it does mean that one choice will bring more peace and less angst than the other.

robert said...

@Scott. You make an insightful comment regarding "succumbing to the natural man" This must be some cultural value judgment from LDS doctrine which places nature at odds with god. I am always fascinated by the concept of the earth as a "fallen world" as expressed in LDS theology. My visceral response to such a concept as delivered in LDS and other Christian theologies is "why would anyone be convinced to believe such a notion?" Is life really meant to be some lousy excuse for a "heaven" we do not know? To me, taking this "belief" as fact could arguably lead to suicidal ideation...and apparently this has been and continues to be the case.

Beck said...

Regarding choices, we all have to choose. I'm not sure the choices are all or nothing... maybe that's my problem. I want some of both, or somewhere in the middle.

To be authentic, do I have to choose to give up my marriage, my family and kids, my "heterosexual ideal" life, my beliefs?

To be true to my commitments, do I have to choose to not have any relationships (even non-sexual MOHO ones) or give expression in any shape, size or form to my attractions or gay side?

Is there not a possible choice that I can make that allows a bit of both? Or in and of itself, the middle of the road is neither hot nor cold and so is spewed out?

We get into these "all or nothing" debates. Yes, I've chosen differently from Wyatt, and still find some angst as I revisit my choices each and every day. But, I'm happy with my choices... I just want to be a bit more content with being who I am. I don't fault Wyatt, or Scott, or MOHOH or Robert, or anyone else for their choices - I have no problem in placing each of them in their unique situations and understanding why they are doing what they are doing - and I'm sincerely happy for them. Did they give up certain things (other than the angst) when they chose what they chose? Of course. With each choice there are trade-offs and weighing those is the challenge.

Can Wyatt still be a father and know the joys of parenthood? Of course, and I strongly hope that he will, as I've seen his passion for children and his enthusiaastic desire to be a father.

Can Scott continue to be a father of his children and be intertwined with their lives? Of course. If anyone can, even with separation or divorce, then he can.

Are they "free" from the church and all its "baggage"? Are there regrets? Or are there celebrations for doing so? Those answers remain personal to each of us, no?

Is there some lurking to see what is happening to those who choose a different path than we? Is there the "what if I had done that" kind of curiosity going on? I think so.

I think there is a lot of rubber-necking going on. We like to see what others are doing and watch their success (or failure) and celebrate or cry with them. I know I like to follow Wyatt (and those who have chosen like him) because I like to see the "what if" factor and help evaluate my own choices and learn from him and others and celebrate and cry with him and them.

I would like to think the same is true of those who follow me. I hope some can see the good from the bad (instead of just saying - there goes angsty Beck again) in what I do and celebrate and cry with me.

Are there trade offs? Good and bad? Weighted averages? Indeed.

All I want is to be able to choose my path... and enjoy the ride with others who love me because of OR in spite of my choices.

Beck said...

ROBERT: Life is meant to be enjoyed, to be cherished, to be passionately lived. Life is God-given and should be deemed good and sacred and holy.

"Natural man" to me does not mean that nature or this earthly life is evil or should be shunned. This life is to be treasured for the knowledge and experiences learned, the relationships gained. I celebrate the physical beauty of creation, of the miracle of life. I seek beauty in all things, including the physical beauty of human life. Natural man does not look upon any of these things as evil.

My view of heaven is in the beauty of this world and life.

But in a scriptural sense, natural man implies our desires (selfishness, pride, arrogance, superiority, etc.) as being "natural" and not "God-like".

Where that theology enters into my thinking is whether I lump being "gay", or even if I lump my "attractions" as being something non-Godlike and thus "natural" and something to be overcome. I'd like to say that I'm past this, that I love my attractions, that I don't feel ashamed of them, and I honor them not as "natural" but as "God-given". In some senses, I'm there, but my fear of my fellow man and of my self keep me from embracing that philosophy completely. Thus, is it the pride, or arrogance, or superiority, or selfishness (in other words, my "natural self tendencies) that are holding me back from such embrace instead of the other way around?

robert said...

"... but my fear of my fellow man and of my self keep me from embracing that philosophy completely." This seems to be the most plausible explanation to me.

What is not love is always fear. If we look more deeply into arrogance, pride, etc., these too are all fear based "reactions" to a given condition. As such, they are, actually conjoined to fear based thinking. We are often filled with pride, because if we weren't...it would be an admission of inadequacy.

I recall many years ago when I came out to my parents, they reacted with utter fear..."You have to see a psychiatrist!" they plead and other such nonsense...Some years later, I learned from them that their fear had nothing to do with me or god or anything other than the simple fact that they did not know what to tell their friends. They were embarrassed! Plain and simple.

I was put through "hell", because THEY were uncomfortable. I was something to be explained...abnormal.

I think normal is completely overrated if not completely unobtainable, and I think organized religion (unlike personal spirituality) does little to dispel the myth.

If the "natural man" is not Godlike, then what attributes belonging to God should we emulate?
Humility, compassion, loving our fellow man? None of these qualities stand in judgment of sexual orientation. Quite the opposite.

Cultural constructs and literary interpretations are what breed fear and judgment on such issues. Why does the Bible use the term "flock" to describe followers?

In some sense, I cannot love you enough, Beck. I cannot break into your world and give you a lover's embrace. Not because I am unwilling, but because you may not accept it.

That is fear, as well...and how embarrassed I would feel if you did not.

Beck said...

ROBERT said: "If the "natural man" is not Godlike, then what attributes belonging to God should we emulate? Humility, compassion, loving our fellow man? None of these qualities stand in judgment of sexual orientation. Quite the opposite..."

You're right. There is nothing that stands in judgment! Just fear! Just fear! And fear is opposite of love.

You said: "In some sense, I cannot love you enough, Beck. I cannot break into your world and give you a lover's embrace. Not because I am unwilling, but because you may not accept it..."

You use the conditional phrase "may", which implies that just as I may not, I may accept your lover's embrace. So isn't it worth trying? Isn't it worth the risk?

You say you can't because you're afraid of being embarrassed by my rejection.

I have dreamed of being swept away by someone who wraps me in a lover's embrace and takes me away from it all into the sunset. I feel there are moments when my fear is gone and I'm ready to live that dream. Am I sending out so many vibes of fear that the dream will never come true because no one like you will do it because they fear I'll reject the advance?

Fear! It all comes down to fear.

Thanks, Robert, for the thought, even hypothetically. I would like to think that I'm not beyond hope from which to be worthy of risking rejection!

At least you're still here following me (watching the Beck train wreck disaster). I am grateful for you and your wisdom.