Sunday, October 30, 2011

Is he ever going to grow up?

Since I've become a bit more active in blogging recently, I have noticed that most of my readership, or at least most of those who choose to leave comments, are fairly new to me. And so you, the new reader, may stumble across this odd corner of the MOHO bloggosphere and wonder who this Beck guy is.

I feel the need to reclarify for you AND for me, why I'm still here, why I still blog and what is my purpose for still hanging around.

I "joined" the MOHO community before it was even called "MOHO". I started searching for connections to others in my situation about six years ago soon after coming out to my wife. I was seeking support from others who had faced such situations, particularly as married gay men to straight women.

Through the miracle of the Internet I found a few loosely connected bloggers who had begun to give voice to this "predicament" of being active members of the LDS or Mormon Church, finding themselves undoubtedly gay, and how to deal with those juxtaposed ideas. Again, I found a few men who were in my situation of being married and the complexities of that situation. This intrigued me and I soon began to blog myself. That was over 5-1/2 years ago!

Most of those first timers have either gone away to better things, or have moved into different, more quiet directions than blogging on a regular basis. I understand this. I, too, have dropped off the radar quite a bit. My first few years I was blogging two and three times a week, or ten or twelve times a month on average. But now, I'm lucky to feel so inclined as to blog once a month, though I've tried to be regular. I guess I felt like I had said what I needed to say, that life had settled down for me and that I had come to accept with joy, who I am, including my gayness and fondness and deep attraction for men.

I was content to take down my blog and move on, as so many others have... particularly with the MOHO community growing to vast and large and numerous that following so many is completely impossible, and so much more difficult than when the intimacy of a few faithful bloggers used to be. I'm grateful that there are so many of you out there. I'm grateful that this "community" has come together, informal as it seems. I'm grateful for all the support and opposing as well as supportive views and comments I've received. This process has opened me to much broader thinking, less judgmental thinking, and more acceptance of others as I've come to accept myself.

But as I've chosen to physically isolate myself from other MOHOs, a choice I do not take lightly, I find myself still needing an outlet to allow my alter-ego, my hidden self, my gay voice to be expressed and to allow this side of me to have expression, even if to voice "silly" emotions, immature thoughts, or confusing messages. And so I still blog... sometimes more, sometimes less. I still do this for me, in order to receive some self-therapy through the written word and interaction of communication - a communication that is silent in my "real" world.

Thus, I am still here. Thus, I still blog.

But, dear reader, know a few basics about me:

1. I am happily married, and have been for 30 year, to my best friend, a beautiful, supportive woman who loves me deeply and I her. I say "happily" because I really do feel it. I always haven't... 20 years of those 30 were literal hell, as we pulled away from each other - or at least I allowed myself to pull away from her, but we are coming slowly back together and I find each day a bit better.

2. I am a firm believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a firm witness in my personal Savior and know He is my Lord. I accept his plan and do my best, each day, to emulate him and serve those around me.

3. I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hold a significant leadership position and find joy, peace and spiritual enrichment in that service, particularly with my connections in helping others around me where I feel I can offer help and encouragement.

4. I struggle with my testimony of all that the Church teaches and professes. I am currently really having a personal struggle with the prophetless leadership that I feel is going on, and I seek to understand why I feel this way. I struggle with the way the homosexual issues have been treated by leaders in the Church and I wrestle with personally resolving them in conjunction with the core beliefs I hold to be true in items 1, 2, and 3 above.

5. I have chosen to be faithful and completely devoted to my marriage, my family, my kids. This is my priority and I put them above all else.

6. I still desire very much to have emotional and physical touching relationships with other men. Sometimes the craving is so strong that I feel beyond the ability to cope. But the above keep me anchored. Why, because I have felt the Spirit assuring me that I'm okay, that my efforts are accepted, that God understands me and where my heart really resides.

If along the way, I blog about things that seem silly, stupid, repetitive, naive, or adolescent in nature, if I go in cycles or circles and you seem frustrated with the lack of progress, well, join the club. This life is a life of repetition and cycles. I am a work in progress. I may not be making the choices that are best for me, still living deeply in a closet, cloaking my thoughts and feelings and attractions in a facade that may seem fake, or lacking authenticity to some who may choose otherwise, and see my choices as folly.

So be it. I recognize my alter-ego I allow to give expression in this blog may be pretty silly, immature, or adolescent, and I need a good dose of authenticity and grown-up-ness. But, please, gentle reader, recognize that I am more than just this one side of me who, like a giddy school girl, longs to kiss a man... I am a whole and real person. I try to be as real and authentic as I can. I hope you can accept me for who I am.

Until I can come to the "unity" of my two lives withim myself, until I can find a way to bring it all together into the "real" world, until that time, I still need you. I still need your feedback. I still need love and support. I still need a good slap on the head, or a blunt wake-up call. I still need this community and its support for me. I hope, as this community has evolved to the numerous bloggers, with very view reflecting my exact predicament and circumstance, that there still is room for one like me in it. I sincerely hope so...

Thank you for listening and understanding. Like always your feedback is gratefully requested...

now back to the silly blogging...


Trev said...

Ha ha, thanks for the overview. From my relatively brief time following your blogging I had gathered most of your points, but a couple were somewhat new to me.

I think there certainly is room for you and your blog. Like you express, I also enjoy seeing and reading so many different points of view and situations. It helps me to understand myself better and to have a better handle of the reality of all the stuff out there.

One thing that's impressed me about the "mohosphere" is how everyone generally seems quite encouraging in the comments regardless of where individuals stand in the Church or their testimony or their "outness" or whatever. I really appreciate that mutual encouragement, and I don't know if you get some comments or private correspondence that are more negative than what appears here, but I think it's awesome that you and your wife are doing so well, that you're committed to your family, and that your committed to your blog as a way to express your "inner schoolgirl," ha ha.

I enjoy reading your blog and find it, just like most other thoughtful, humble Moho blogs, quite inspirational. Keep up the good work.

Larry said...

Thanks for your brief history and reasons for your blog. I respect the love you express for your wife and family, and I'm happy you enjoy those relationships.

Although I have never been married and don't have a blog, I follow many of the "MOHO" blogs from time to time, and can relate to the feelings and frustrations expressed.

The thoughts, reasoning, searching, approaches, decisions and experiences of others give me fuel to draw upon as I try to make sense of my own life and experiences, and seek for greater meaning and direction in my life. Truth be told, sometimes I find the blogs helpful, and other times I wonder if reading them takes me away from the more important duty of thinking through these things for myself.

Anyway, thank you for your thoughts. You seem to be a very conscientious and good person. One thing I have wondered while reading your blog, though, is why you include the eye candy photos? They seem to tear you apart from the direction you want to go, if you are really not wanting to flirt with temptation. I know you tend to beat yourself up, so I don't want to give you something else to beat yourself up about, but I wonder if the process of searching for pictures, and longing for what others have, is counter productive. If it is part what makes your blog therapeutic for you, then by all means don't stop, but it seems to tug you in a contradictory direction. Best wishes, Larry

Beck said...

TREV: Most ALL blogs in the "mohosphere" are quite positive and supportive. That is what I find most helpful is the encouragement to keep going, even by those who may be taking a different path. With our differences, we can still be kind and caring and that is what I have found throughout the last six years.

Thanks for understanding the need to express my "inner school girl" side of me that otherwise is expressionless. Most in my real world would suggest that that "inner girl expression" should be wrapped up in a bottle and tossed out to sea and never be found again. I did that for twenty years or more and it didn't make things better. I tried to keep her bottled up and all I got in return was destructive inner angst.

There does need to be a way for us to express ourselves, even those parts of us that others would rather wish never existed. But they do, and so here I am...

Beck said...

LARRY: I find the "eye candy" therapeutic. There is something about total suppression of my homosexuality that is self-destructive. I have found that the "eye candy", though opposite of my overall intentions, is self-healing in a way. It keeps me from taking myself too seriously, and it allows for a safe expression of what my alter-ego is feeling. I'm a visual person, and I have had a tradition throughout my whole life of having my blog have a visual component.

Again, it's about expressing that which has no other visible expression in the other parts of me. For one who is compartmentalized (any closet dweller is well versed in compartmentalizing) this is the compartment for safe "eye candy".

I'm simple and yet complex. This self-expression pushes the edge sometimes, but the other parts of me try to reign it in all in good taste.

It is not done to be a trigger in others or in myself. I try to do it in "good taste". It has become part of "Beck" and who he is as part of the edgier, gayer me.

I intend no offense. Thanks for the question and observation.

Larry said...

No offense taken. Visuals are nice in a blog. They break up the monotony of words, add variety, and are sometimes better than words at expressing the feelings of a post -- so I can understand. Thanks for answering.

Beck said...

LARRY: I would add that they are an expression of the silly, adolescent side of me that I have never allowed to "grow up"...

Anonymous said...

"Silly emotions, immature thoughts, or confusing messages."

I think not. Your emotions are heartfelt, if sometimes painful. Your thoughts come from years of introspection, anguish and plain old hard work. Your message is clear (do you recognize it?)

Crisco said...

I always appreciate your thoughts even though they come less frequently than they used to. Your voice should be heard.

Beck said...

ANON: Do I recognize the message? Particularly the message of 5-1/2 years of blogging? I hope so... Like I said, it does become repetitive as I'm not all that good at listening to myself, but I hope progress is being made...

CRISCO: Good to see you here commenting, and thanks for still being around. I appreciate your voice, too... and it's comments like yours that help me to think there may still be value for our voices to not be lost by the overwhelming nature of this MOHOsphere.

GMP said...

WOW. Passionate post. I honestly believed everything you wrote, which can't be said of a lot of the gay Mormon blogs I read. I feel the same way about your bullet list, except I'm still awhile away from the number one.

Thanks for the silly posts and the questioning posts and the other kinds of posts. Know they're appreciated.

PNWReader said...

After happening onto your blog last year, I went back and read it from the beginning. Though I can't say I know you well -- and at this point, I truly wish I did -- I feel at least familiar with where the shelves and rods are. I'd recommend the exercise to anyone new here. The cedar smell is quite pleasant.

Beck said...

GMP: Sincere thanks to you and knowing that you can appreciate the passion and honesty.

It's a pretty amazing thing to be so vulnerable to complete strangers, sharing with the universe what I can't dare share with my next door neighbor. What a strange twisted world we live in as bloggers.

Beck said...

PNW: Why did you do that? Why did you go back and read my entire blog? I haven't even done that. I've thought about it a few times, but never have done it - often it's too hard. But I need to take the time to see if I've changed at all, or if I'm the same confused afraid of his own true self's shadow of a guy.

As you came to understand me through that moment of temporary insanity when you read the entire 5-1/2 years, what did you come away with as you became familiar with the shelves, the rods, and the cedar? What have you learned about me that maybe I don't know about myself? What have you discovered that you'd like to tell me?

I'd really like to know...

recover and thrive said...

I was just thinking today how crazy it is- the amount of gay mormon blogs and the amount of gay mormons! its pretty amazing, and I can't even put words to it - but I remember when I started a little over 5 years ago (with a different blog) and it was a tight community! its so interesting to read other perspectives now, but I do miss how tight it was. Its nice to still blog from time to time, I've come and gone and come again, and its therapeutic I must say.

Beck said...

R&T: We were tight! I'm not saying that others aren't "tight" now, but with so many, it just doesn't feel the same. Yet, seeing so many being supported by something starting out so quietly and humbly is quite amazing, indeed.

I'm glad you're around and still blogging. It is therapeutic and that, too, is why I'm still here.