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.

14 comments:

Scott N said...

[[HUG]]

I'm happy to talk (or just listen) any time.

Beck said...

BIG HUG, back my friend. I know you understand, and even if you don't completely, you are accepting of where I am just the same.

Beck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Danes said...

But... the church is true...right?

Philip said...

Why?

I don't know about you but for me the conflict has to do with wanting to be a good person more than wanting to be an authentic person even though I know being authentic is not a choice but a need.

In my gut I KNEW I eventually could get to a good place in my life if I left but I FEARED my wife wouldn't be able to.

I know her and don't think my concern was overstated.

And when the kids were young I feared what would happen to them if I wasn't there to take care of them.

But now that the kids are grown up and on their own I stay because leaving would mean her being alone probably for the rest of her life.

So it's always been about love and the unknown and me not wanting to be a bad person.

I guess I rather be unhappy than risk ruining other people's live in pursuit of my own happiness.

But as you point out - by marginalizing her affections, I have messed up her life anyway.

Yikes!

Regards,
Philip

Derek said...

Beck,
I feel exactly as you do. You're not alone, and its relieving for me to see that there are others in my situation. It's a tough path to take, but hopefully in some way we can help carry each others burdens.

Anonymous said...

Reading your post gives me mixed emotions-on the one hand, it answers many questions I have fought to uncover for some time-almost dying in the process. On the other hand, it is disappointing in that by refusing to reveal yourself to the person you loved, what you may not have realized is that they probably (I would imagine) loved you so much that there is nothing you could have said or done that would have changed that. But you let it slip away-you made the decision for the both of you-and now they are gone. Hopefully your writing (which is outstanding btw) will help another avoid the same situation. You seem to have a lot of talent-I'm sure you have great things ahead.

naturgesetz said...

Even though I'm not married, what you say about being cautious, rather than open, avoiding outing myself, rings true to my experience. Two comments.

Sometime back I was on a retreat and my retreat director suggested that by constantly looking over my shoulder I was cutting myself off from good things. I think it's a matter of finding a balance between needing to be in the closet (and you may need it even more than I do) and permitting oneself perfectly legitimate friendships, perfectly legitimate contacts, and perfectly legitimate emotional support. (Even heterosexual men don't spend all their time with their wives. They get emotional support being with their buddies.)

The married guy who is out and proud and the guy who has set his wife and kids free (so he can be free) may be "shining examples" in some ways, but it seems to me that it takes mores strength and courage to do what you are doing and what Philip is doing. You guys have my deepest admiration because you are doing the right thing for all the right reasons, rather than taking one of the easy ways out offered by those "shining examples."

Philip said...

We are not shiny examples. At least I'm not. And it is too simplistic to say the guys that got out took the easy way out. Some did. For others, it was very difficult but they felt it was the right thing to do for all concerned. Some of those that got out are better ex-husbands now then they were husbands then. If I could say that I have overcome the many problems I faced and am now on the other side then I would be more inclined to give myself more credit. But I struggled then and I am struggling now so I can respect that my decision is not for everyone.

Regards,
Philip

Bravone said...

Caro Beck,

I love you brother. Being more public can be difficult at times, but I have lived so long in the closet, doing the right things for the wrong reasons, living so incredibly inauthentically that I feel I damaged my soul. I can't live that way anymore. Coming out and allowing myself to be vulnerable has come with a price. Some have lost respect, some have distanced themselves, some disagree with how, as a gay man, I choose to live my life.

However, I am so much happier to no longer be living behind a facade. To truly be known and still be loved and accepted by those who matter most to me is incredibly liberating and fulfilling.

Each of us must do what we feel is best for us and our loved ones. I respect you for living as you feel you need to. You're a good man and a dear friend.

Ti voglio bene,
Steve

Crisco said...

Every few months my wife breaks down with her insecurities. I just let her vent and then say sorry and that I don't know what to do. I can't take away her fears, doubts, and insecurities. They just are because I'm gay. I want something she can't give me, but want what she can. I can't deny everyday is good to be with her.
I would have loved to have gone to the Circling the Wagons conference, but that would have been a serious commitment, leaving the family here in Southern California and then not visiting my parents or old friends in Salt Lake because they don't know about me. So I didn't even say anything to my wife about the conference.
Sometimes I wish I lived in SLC to have that opportunity to make friends with other gay mormons. I feel isolated from all these dialogues and projects going on. Of course, part of it is to protect the family. I have a very uncommon last name, and my career is taking me slowly into the public spotlight, where having a controversial personal life would not be good. So, I keep out of the spotlight on gay mormon issues.
I'm glad you still post from time to time. It's good to hear where you're at. I should do the same. I haven't posted anything in many months.
I have my email posted on my blog if you ever want to drop me a line. One day we should introduce ourselves properly.

J G-W said...

Beck - believe it or not, I actually did think of you at the conference. I remember thinking that I wished you could be there and -- knowing your situation -- knowing you could not.

Please rest assured, you were not at all marginal, in my thoughts at least.

Love, John

GeckoMan said...

Beck, Yes, we live marginalized lives. However, I think of the quality of love this has evolved in my life, the empathy I have gained for others, that may not have developed without the dilemmas we face. For those of us who have chosen to 'Bloom where planted,' we have mixed blessings and sorrows, but I hope we have joy and greater knowledge as well, in the larger scheme of things. I love you, brother Beck.

Ken Biddles said...

I love you, Beck. I resonate with so much you have said, but I find hope that this struggle, being the good soldier is with it. It's what keeps me chugging as my life gets harder.