Monday, November 05, 2012

Feeling Marginalized...

Life is a journey of connected choices. Mine has been a life "marginalized" by the choices I've made. I am forever making choices to be on the edge, on the outside looking in, never completely immersed in the middle, jumping into the fray just because it felt right, or authentic. Instead, it's always calculated, measured, weighing the consequences. That's the way we are supposed to make choices, right? The other day I watched with intense interest the FarBetween video of Mikeal and Mandi and their openness and honesty regarding the "choices" they've made in their marriage and their commitment to "make it work". I personally know Mikeal and feel an amazing love for him and for Mandi, as I know similar pain, sorrow, joy and friendship with my wife and our relationship together. It was Mandi's expressions of her pain in not being fully needed or wanted by her husband, particularly speaking of intimacy, that it hit home to me how much I have caused my wife to feel similar painful emotions of being trivialized, and marginalized in our marriage. And it pains me to know that no matter how hard I try, no matter how spontaneous and "dancing in the kitchen" I can be with her, seeking her out, telling her how beautiful she is, sweeping her in my arms and giving her a fat kiss by surprise, it still rings empty to her. She knows my natural affections and affinity remain elsewhere and she is playing the role of the supportive straight wife of a gay husband - and we both are marginalized. It was Mikeal's description of intimacy as "work" and "needing to be in another place to make it work" that rang true with my reality. His needs were being marginalized as well as he tries to "make it work". How many times have I used that phrase of doing my best to "make it work", regarding intimacy with my wife? How about every time? Yet, their choice to stay together is one where they have concluded that the reasons to stay and "make it work" outweigh those that don't. Thus, they stay together, just as my wife and I stay together. This is our choice, this is our journey, this is our path -marginalized as it may be. ***
I really wanted to attend the Circle the Wagons Conference. I am personal friends with Steve and John and email friends with Joseph, three of the four panelists, and found myself drawn to the discussion of this panel and the personal stories shared. But, you see, I couldn't go. I had other commitments, commitments to family and church that keep me from going and doing what I'd like to do. I am not open and out and free to express as they are and do. I am not the captain of my ship. I am pulled in different ways by many who control who I am as I allow myself to be marginalized. I couldn't go because I was afraid to stand up for what I wanted to do and just do it. I couldn't go because I feared being outed by my attendance at a public function dealing with gay mormons in this community of brothers and sisters. I couldn't go because I was intimidated by the reaction of some in this community that the choices I've made - marginalizted or not - would be viewed by the community at large as hurtful, threatening, and invalid. I have never intended my life, or my choice of staying in a MOM relationship as being an example to anyone that "this is what you should do - I'm doing it and making it work, and so, so should you!" But in witnessing such hurtful, even hateful comments toward the likes of Steve, made me all the more feel marginalized again, even in this community of fellow blogging brothers, a community with which associations have developed over the course of over seven years to help me to move from the hell-hole that was my reality to some sense of acceptance of my homosexuality. ***
My choices regarding my beliefs are constantly placing me in a marginalized position. Refusing to allow myself to have close relationships with other brothers, even within the realm of the church (where I once thrived with such relationships), has put me constantly on guard. And checking myself constantly has placed my emotions on the fringe. I find myself less engaging in others lives. I find myself less connected with those around me who I should be caring for even more. I find myself becoming more robotic, less spontaneous, more calculated with every move - and thus, disconnected from humanity, even spirituality. My beliefs become categorized and I find myself cringing at things being said or preached, cringing that reminds me I'm different - I'm not jumping in the fray - I'm on the side, in the margins, on the edge, I'm not like these other brothers and sisters around me... ***
This blog has become marginalized. I've witnessed this blogging community "pass me by" as I have allowed myself, through my own fear-based choices, to be pushed to the side, to see others progress on their respective paths. My staying put has in essense helped the marginalization of this blog. I don't know much more that I can say or offer here. I'm not changing. I probably never will. I will allow my life to play out the safe way, the compromised way, the easy way. I'll keep being the good boy, doing what I'm "supposed to do" because I "should" be this way. Believe me, there is nothing in this blog that says that "you should try it - this is the way, come follow me!". I don't have much more to say or offer that doesn't sound contrived. I'm neither the shining example of the married Mormon gay man who is proud of who he is and his beliefs and isn't afraid of who may know or not know, not caring of the beliefs or comments coming at him from all sides, because he KNOWS who he is! Nor, am I the shining example of the guy who was brave enough to get the divorce and freeing up his wife and kids to live their honest and more authentic life without him as the hiding shell of a man that he was, being able to be authentic with himself in return and be free from the shackles of a belief structure that has imprisoned his every choice for decade upon decade, now able to live his life as it was "intended" and "should" be lived! No, I'm neither of those courageous men, men of strength, men of valor, men of honor. I'll continue to be as marginalized as this blog has become... ***
So why do I live this way? Why do I remain the good soldier keeping up the fight when I feel marginalized in my marriage and in turn marginalizing my wife's self-worth, esteem and value as a woman? Why do I hide from the community and keep myself from being seen in the true light, even within the safety of this very community, and such events of "coming together" as the recent CtW conference? Why do I remain the functioning, seemingly strong priesthood leader in the church with the facade of the perfect marriage and family, while feeling so robotic and controlled and guarded in my every action and move I take? Why would I remain in these relationships and belief structures that keep my life so marginalized? ***
I don't hate my life, but I don't love it either. There are parts that I love, but I'm not filled with love as I once was. This emptiness is gnawing and painful and lonely. D on't pity me. I don't need anyone's pity. I guess the answer is that I keep trying to convince myself that the reasons for staying in this marginalized, heavily cloaked, chosen life outweigh the alternative... at least in my attempt to convince myself that this is right for me right here and now point-of-view. And it is my view, it is my choice, this is my path - timid, weak, afraid, calculated and limiting as it may seem to most... my choice as a pathetic, convictionless and spineless marginalized life.