Thursday, October 26, 2006

Letting go and finding my way

About a year ago I finally came to grips with my homosexuality. While I always knew that it was something that I dealt with and even sought help from professionals and my ecclesiastical leaders, I never accepted it as something that was inherently part of my life. I wanted so badly not to have to admit that I had a “different” side to me, that I labeled my self as a heterosexual who suffered from same-sex attraction as if it were a communicable disease. This “disease” I also believed had a cure. I was so far into denial, that I even criticized other LDS men that struggle with the world of problems associated with homosexuality. I saw them as weak for accepting it as part of them.

Nevertheless it was my enlightenment to learn otherwise. I threw away my pretense of perfection and began to embrace the flaws and follies of life. Suddenly I was free from worry and regret about the life that was mine. Immediately my self esteem and personal paradigm were redrawn and I finally began to live my life.
I’m not about to suggest that I was wanting to live a gay [gay having not only a social but also a political context] lifestyle nor fully give into the urges that I felt. Rather, I felt that by wading through my homosexuality, I could explore what I felt and why I felt it. Moreover, by fully recognizing my struggles as part of what has shaped me to be who I am, I would be able to transcend that which had held me down for so long. It’s a beautiful thought.

I love me. I love who I am –my personality, my hopes and aspirations, everything that I can be and want to be. I am a good man. Many good things have happened to me in my life, and I believe many more good things will happen to me.

In many ways I am an optimist with jaded edges. I am a man full of conflict –both good and bad have their way with me. I wouldn’t change a thing about who I am, and my struggles that have shaped who I am. Naturally then, where it an option, I don’t know that I would change my homosexuality as it has provided a world of obstacles have played a role in shaping the contours of my life. In essence, I wouldn’t be the same man that I am today were it not for the problems associated with my homosexuality.

Do I like that I am a homosexual? No, not really. It has provided a unique set of challenges that I have yet to figure out. Much of the time it is overwhelming. But there are many challenges that I face that I just have to live with. I’m not perfect, and I don’t expect to be nor should anyone else expect it of me.

Despite all of that, I am mourning. I mourn that I likely will never have a normal romantic relationship. I don’t see heterosexual marriage as something that I can manipulate myself into in hopes that eventually it will provide a satisfying sexual and emotional relationship. I also don’t expect myself to ever be a father. The classic family picture is not likely going to ever be a part of my world. I suppose if I found the right girl, I would be willing to give it a shot. But what a way to enter a marriage relationship! I’ll give it a shot?!?!? No, I won’t put my wife through the emotional trauma. Neither do I see a same-sex relationship as providing me with stability and long-term happiness. I guess I still don’t really know what I would expect a same-sex relationship to provide me with. Additionally, the social consequences of having an open same-sex relationship would be quite painful. My brother-in-law would only see me as an apostate pervert. He wouldn’t let me ever be around my nephews again. Additionally, what about all the people that I have known for years? I would feel that I would have to make excuses or explain myself as to why I pursued a same-sex relationship. They would shake their heads and never be able to look at me beyond my homosexuality –which I HAVE been able to do. I see an amazing person. I see the man that God has created –talented, intelligent, and full of love.

This also is saddening to me because I want so much to love and to receive love; real love. I want to be part of a relationship that is mutually beneficial. I want the feeling of being completed and complimented by another person. Is that too much to ask for? Perhaps.

Truthfully, as ironic as it may be, the people I would least be afraid of “coming-out” to would be my parents. I have great parents. Even if in some “environmental” way my upbringing contributed to my homosexuality, I have made peace them and my relationship has never been better. I couldn’t have asked for more kind, understanding, and loving parents. I am so fortunate.

I know that some claim that there is a cure for same-sex attraction. And if there is, then I have yet to find it. Whatever the cure would be, this much is true: The cure is a process. It is contained within the chapters of a full life. Learning, sometimes painfully, and moving beyond that which was previously thought of as true is the only cure I know of for any problem. Changing and breaking false paradigms is what life is all about. Whether or not my same-gender attraction goes away is irrelevant to the fact that the process of achieving and growing is what makes life worth living. So whether or not it goes away does not matter to me.

Finally, I cannot reconcile myself with the Church. I do not know where to fit in with the Church, the society. Anymore I feel like an outsider looking in. Because I have experienced so much in my life, I cannot look at humanity with an ignorant eye as so many Mormons do. I know I stereotype, but there is so much more to life than the daily doings of the Church. Good can be found everywhere –not just amongst the Mormon society.

I suppose I should clarify though. I view the Church and the Gospel as two separate entities. I have no problems with gospel doctrine. I think the doctrines are beautiful. When truly understood as it is taught, the father-child relationship as the Gospel teaches us is spectacular. God is not some distant Zeus-like being that is ready to punish us for our sins at any moment, but rather, loves us –flawed, imperfect, and completely bound by the laws of mortality. He didn’t set us here to be perfect or to even become perfect. Perfection is an eternal process… I’m ok with that. If my imperfections include homosexuality, then so be it. It is the life I was intended to live.

It's almost ironic how polarized my personal conflicts are, or apear to be. I feel so much sadness because of what can never be and yet an incredible joy because of who I am. This too may never be reconciled. I want so much to be an influence for good in a world that in many ways if falling apart. The Church used to be my motivation. I felt like I was part of something greater than myself and that I could make a godly difference in the world. But now that I have “left the Church” (mentally) I am part of no such altruistic force. I feel lost and alone in so many ways. God is with me still, but the Church is not.

Last night I spoke with an old friend. She spoke of moving to Provo and making life decisions. She said, “You know, I really have no idea why I am here. Why now at this time in this place.” I realized that I also have no idea why I am here now either. For someone who believes divinely that there are reasons why things happen the way that they do, I feel purposeless here.

Despite the tiresome challenges I face, I have hope for the future. There is a place for me somewhere in this world, even if it is hidden from me at this time. I feel like I have to forge a trail, and that in most respects, I must blaze this trail all alone –which makes the longing to love and be loved that much stronger, and the loneliness that much greater.

But I will find my way...


Kengo Biddles said...

You're alone on your path, but you have allies here. We've walked similar, albeit different paths, and any help we can give you is thanks enough.

Sir Robert Chiltern said...

It's a strange feeling to feel at odds with an institution you once fully invested in, no? I look at myself just a couple of years back and see how naively I viewed the world. I often reflect on how I judged others, even if only privately. How my perspective of struggles and difficulties in life have changed!

Unfortunately, accepting myself gave me only a short reprieve from the batterings. I realize that I'm far from determined with how I plan to lead my life, and the struggle to determine what I want to do - and what I think God wants me to do - is a constant issue.

With all of that, life can feel pretty depressing sometimes. I, for one, have decided that I need to rely on my friends more.