Monday, December 04, 2006

Man Vs Self

Learning to undo years of self loathing was a painful but liberating process. But the tables have turned. I used to really love my life and my goals and who I wanted to be and what I believed I could become, but hated myself and was afraid of my SSA. I knew that the only way I could ever become the person that I wanted to be was to somehow let go of all the pent up energy, fear, self loathing, and shame. I finally did it and I was free.

However, now as I look at my life, I hate the direction it is going. I have lost my goals, my passions, my beliefs, and I don’t like what I am becoming. But I love me, I have accepted me and I wouldn’t want to change who I really am.

I find that I no longer hold myself accountable for my actions. I consequently victimize myself. I make poor choices and then just
ify them and say, “Well, I can’t blame myself for this because my set of challenges is unique and God cannot judge me for this.” I am not happy.

In the end it is just a fight against myself.

In my last post Elbow commented that I am at a cross-roads and that it is an exciting time for me. Well, as exciting as it may be at times, I am overwhelmed by indecision. It seems like I am trying to regain some sort of a direction for my life again and I can’t seem to get it right. I have made peace with myself, with who I am but I have not yet made peace with my life. My path is so cloudy and unsure and I am used to making decisions and just going for it and being at peace with it. But now everything has changed. Every choice I make it seems leads me to even more unhappiness and dissatisfaction with my life.

It would seem that in order for me to unconditionally love myself I had to sacrifice my happiness. How bizarre! Shouldn’t loving yourself bring complete happiness?

I spent some time out on the “scene” this weekend. I was reminded again of how repulsive the gay lifestyle is to me –that I don’t want to live out my pornographic fantasies as my life. I don’t identify with the gay lifestyle. I identify with heterosexuals and the heterosexual lifestyle. My closest friends are all straight and many of them married. The gay lifestyle is nothing more than a fantasy for me that I live out on an occasional weekend and return to my heterosexual world with disgust for my fantasy. My fear is that because I no longer have a base from which to draw personal strength from (as the Church once provided for me), that I will eventually try to make my fantasy my reality and that I will be left without a real life –a life without meaningful relationships, family, and ultimately making a difference in this world. I’ve said it before; I was called and created to make a difference in this world –to really do something special, to become someone. But my fantasy has begun to dismantle my goals, hopes, and dreams into a life of vanity and self serving attitudes.

7 comments:

Scot said...

The concept of loving or hating yourself repeatedly strikes me as difficult to understand; to me, such emotions are what one sends out. So take the following with a grain of salt.

If that means one doesn’t experience regret, or shame upon an error then I’d not consider it a healthy state of mind, not one that will bring happiness. "Loving yourself", in that case, would not make near any human happy (and those it would, aren’t looked on too favorably :-)).

On top of that, a unique set of challenges will spare you from no one’s judgment, human or supernatural. A “pornographic fantasy” that causes you “disgust” sounds particularly like something you’d regret, or should, something people or possible supernatural forces will judge you by.

I hate to feel as though I’m being blunt with strangers, but I fear others might not and I’m in a better position to do so without being attacked by my gay bothers :-). Simply, it seems to me you should stay out of the “scene”. What you think of as a “gay lifestyle” sounds like a lifestyle that would very likely bring you sadness, and it seems you don’t respect those you’re hanging out with. If you can only be “gay” in that way then I’d hope you could find a way out of it, but you should also know what you’re calling a gay lifestyle is far from the lifestyle of many gays.

Regardless and I’m sure you understand this, but I’d simply not act without reconstructing a base, particularly when you see each choice now leading you to unhappiness.

Anyway, I hope I wasn’t too preachy, but you do cause one to worry :-).

Sir Robert Chiltern said...

It is a strange paradox that in finding and accepting yourself it destabilizes the base on which you've built your whole life. The problem, it seems to me, is that as a Mormon you're not supposed to be happy with that aspect of yourself. Not that you're supposed to hate yourself either, but it's supposed to be a trial, a difficulty. To accept it and find a measure of peace sort of flies in the face of that. It's quite the conundrum to both love yourself for who you are and view yourself as having a huge life-altering problem.

Gay BYU Student said...

I know how it can be to feel like your base is falling apart, or even to flirt with the idea of not having one. I think the key is to decide what you do believe so that you have something to rely on. You can still have your doubts about the church while deciding that you believe in God, have a certain level of morals, and don't want a certain lifestyle.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't let your doubts destroy your base altogether. If you don't like the gay scene, then decide now to not be a part of it. Like Scot said, there are lots of different lifestyles (both gay and straight) and you can decide that certain ones are not for you.

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Scot-
Thanks for your comment. Please be blunt. I wouldn't want you to be less than honest. You're right, being happy with life and loving one's self are not dependant variables.

Here is where I am at and what I feel at this time. I am aware that life changes and that my current paradigm will one day change as the seasons of life change. Please elaborate on what you mean by "On top of that, a unique set of challenges will spare you from no one's judgment, human or supernatural."

The truth is that as of late I have not really held myself accountable for my actions... I do as I please without regard for how my future might turn out. This is one of the reasons why I think so many of my goals have "evaporated" into nothing and I feel so aimless in life right now.

And you are right, the gay lifestyle that I describe is of course only one face of many, however, it is a large, prevalent and important one to consider. I also want to correct you in saying that I DO respect those that I hang out with that are gay. I completely understand that they may pursue whatever it is that they feel is best for them and I will not condemn them in the least for it. And I REALLY hope for them to have satisfying relationships. We are all different and for some a same-sex relationship very well can work out for them, but for me, I have my doubts. The same goes with a heterosexual relationship... I have my doubts that that would work for me as well. When I say that it is repulsive, I mean that the lifestyle as I saw it was sickening for me... But please don't think that I thought that the people I associated with and do associate with out in the gay community are repulsive. No no no... If there is one thing I believe in solidly with all my heart, it is in the infinite value of the human soul. We are all equals, Mormon, gay, pope, murderer, anorexic, thief, mother, waiter, actor.... no one person is more valuable or less valuable. I really REALLY believe that. How can I judge someone else who has just as much value as me? However, I can judge for myself that which can, cannot, may, may not, will or will not bring me lasting happiness and satisfaction in my life. But I have no say for anyone Else's actions.

I have a scale and on one end there is the attraction to the same sex and on the other there is my identity... I don't identify with gay men, whether monogamous or promiscuous. I don't feel like I fit in with the gay men I have met, and whats more is that I don't feel like I could ever maintain a long-term relationship with another gay man. This is the equation that I have been trying to break down.

If I can't have a same-sex relationship and I can't have a straight relationship, then what is there for me... Bestiality??? (Just kidding) My point is that I don't know that I was made to have a same sex relationship because emotionally I don't connect. And on the other hand, the attraction with a woman is minimal, but I emotionally connect as a straight man would in a traditional sense. I become the provider, the leader, protector, and bread-winner.

SO where some things may evolve to work out for some gay men that they have a monogamous relationship with another man, then so be it. But as for me, I can only speak my heart and I feel that such would not bring me the lasting companionship and romance to fulfill my life. I am not saying this because I am "denying" some part of me or living a lie. I have lived a lie about my same-sex-attraction before. I am being more honest with myself that I have ever been before. Believe me... if I felt a romance relationship of ANY kind would work out for me, then what would stop me from taking the bull by the horns? I have owned up to my life. It is what it is and I am only the captain of the ship... I don't get to make the ocean. I don't like being lonely. I would love to have someone who could balance me out and make a difference mutually in each other's lives. I am saying that I have not yet found any such person that can make such a relationship work for me and my life.

Identifying homosexuality and homosexual characteristics covers a broad spectrum of different types and personalities and shades... no two gays are 100% identical. This is why science cannot come to a conclusion as to the causes of homosexuality in any concrete formula like one can with a chemical formula or a math equation. There are just too many variables from person to person.

The ultimate conclusion that I have come to however is that I don't want to have cheap sex. I want to be sexually fulfilled and emotionally fulfilled at the same time. Being callous and shallow toward sex will only serve to damage me and those who participate in such sex with me.

Thank you so much for your comments. I hope this gives you a better idea of where I come from and perhaps some opposing reflections on your end.

-Cas

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

From Scot to Cas

Thank you for the detailed email, Cas. They are my favorite kind :-), and, yes, that explains a lot. I hope you don't mind if I parse your email; there's a lot on which I hope to comment.

"Please elaborate on what you mean by 'On top of that, a unique set of challenges will spare you from no one's judgment, human or supernatural.'"

These discussions, for the sake of politeness, are necessarily vague and so I've no real idea what is actually going on, nor should I :-). I'm simply saying we aren't going to be spared consequences by being gay. Personally, I don't believe gay sex or relationships, for example, are morally good or evil, but how they're used may be and being gay no more save us from judgment, from our peers family or supernatural forces, than, say, being left-handed would excuse stealing a pair of left-handed scissors (ug, it's early). There's the very real facts of who did what to whom, the very real emotional and familial consequences, not to mention diseases.

"I do as I please without regard for how my future might turn out."

To me that sounds as though short term fixes, pleasures, are being put before the long term. I'm just saying, in the end, you may not actually be doing as you please after all, and I think you're right as to suspect that may be why the future is now vague.

I'd think hard on what would really please in the most satisfying way throughout your life, as you seem to be doing. Often the moral answer is that answer. I mean, as you know, you don't want to create tragedy for some woman in ignoring your orientation or yourself in following it; both would cause you and others great sadness.

"I also want to correct you in saying that I DO respect those that I hangout with that are gay."

An instance where I'm glad to be corrected :-). But still, their lifestyles don't sound respectable and that's what makes me think they should be avoided; though I certainly don't know.

"When I say that it is repulsive, I mean that the lifestyle as I saw it was sickening for me..."

Maybe I could understand better if you explained what the lifestyle is? As it's seemed you've been describing something illicit or sexually reckless.

"We are all equals, Mormon, gay, pope, murderer, anorexic, thief, mother, waiter, actor.... no one person is more valuable or less valuable."

Here is where we might not be seeing eye to eye. I'd say a human life can be measured BUT only in human life; aside from tradition and superstition, that's how we decide items of morality, and justice. For example, a thief is judged less deserving of the full measure of his life, because he tends to take the same from others. As I commented a while ago, to me, life means what it says. Sure, there's an immutable, priceless value in the consciousness of human thought, but on top of that are human actions upon other immutable priceless lives. For example, of value in my life, around my kids, I'd rather have a Mormon than a thief; I'll make that judgment against the thief.

It would take a good long while to go over my thoughts on ethics. For now, I'd just like to point out that this isn't a "Mormons are more valuable to the universe or God than thieves" sort of statement. There, I'd agree, they all have the same worth. It's about their value to humanity, and for that reason we lock up thieves but not Mormons :-)..

I know being judgmental is a problem, but as soon as you qualified any goal as favorable, you've created criteria by which others may be judged. Even the Golden Rule requires such judgement.

However, I can judge for myself that which can, cannot, may, may not, will or will not bring me lasting happiness and satisfaction in my life.

Here's a goal, and in making it you'll at least need to judge those by who gets you there or who does not. They have an added value in regards to that goal.

I have a scale and on one end there is the attraction to the same sex and on the other there is my identity... I don't identify with gay men, whether monogamous or promiscuous.

I've felt similarly, but, unfortunately Cas, here it doesn't matter how you feel to the universe. You're a gay man if you're sexually attracted to men and are a man. You'd identify with yourself right? ;-) You are the proof.

In fact, if you do actually make it into a gay relationship, I'd see you as having great potential to change the gay community into something more healthy and accepting of gays such as yourself.

I don't feel like I fit in with the gay men I have met, and whats more is that I don't feel like I could ever maintain a long-term relationship with another gay man. This is the equation that I have been trying to break down.

And I think you're doing a great job of it; I'm sure you'll figure it out too. But look, most my friends are straight; in fact I used to tell people we were homophobic when they'd ask why we had no gay friends. But none of that matters; eventually we found our place

My point is that I don't know that I was made to have a same sex relationship because emotionally I don't connect. And on the other hand, the attraction with a woman is minimal, but I emotionally connect as a straight man would in a traditional sense.

To me, an emotional connection is more something you build from the raw material of found sexual, intellectual, and moral compatibility, and as far as personalities go you can have women far more masculine than the average man.

But I know I'd be in error to discount your sense of your own experience here, as I don't honestly know. I'd just ask that you consider the ease with which one can "build" with a female in our culture as compared to with a male. The help, encouragements, social constructs, religious traditions and so on go a long way. It's extra work for gay men from the start that could make it seem easier the other way.

"I become the provider, the leader, protector, and bread-winner."

So what? (You told me I could be blunt ;-)). I'm the provider, the leader, protector, and bread-winner. I don't know how much of my blog you've read but I'm obsessed with that role, to the point of tracking and hoping to kill wild animals with merely a flashlight ;-). It's funny as, out of our neighbors, we probably live a more traditional lifestyle than near all of them.

Is it that that idea still bothers you? I may be going on a wild tangent here but I remember being disgusted at the idea of a "normal" life with a man as it upset my sense male and female roles that had been taught to me throughout my youth. Turns out things aren't so simple, and old habits and tastes do die in the face of evidence.

"I am saying that I have not yet found any such person that can make such a relationship work for me and my life."

I certainly hope you can and soon, be they XX, or XY (or maybe you should look for the intersexed ;-)). I don't know how long you've been looking but I remember it seeming hopeless, and it does suck. I'd just advocate not jumping either way without working out another base, something on which a possible emotional connection might be forged.

The ultimate conclusion that I have come to however is that I don't want to have cheap sex. I want to be sexually fulfilled and emotionally fulfilled at the same time. Being callous and shallow toward sex will only serve to damage me and those who participate in such sex with me.

Amen.

Anyway Cas, you're an impressive guy. Here's to hoping your troubles are short lived.

Scot.

Chris said...

I don't feel like I fit in with the gay men I have met, and whats more is that I don't feel like I could ever maintain a long-term relationship with another gay man.

Cas, I don't know you, and your dialogue here has been with Scot, but I want to comment if you don't mind.

When I was younger, this is very much how I felt. This is how I felt even just a couple of years ago. But here's the rub? How did I know? It was all just going on in my head. The gay people I knew didn't know I was gay. And the "lifestyle" that I knew was fed to me largely through media. Personal observation was only a part of it. But the biggest thing for me was this -- I had never even tried to have a relationship with a man.

So as I read your comments here and your exchange with Scot, I find myself wanting to ask, respectfully, this series of questions:

1. Do any of the gay people you know know that you are gay?

2. Have you considered that your inability to fit in with other gay people -- or with straight people for that matter -- might be the result of being still very uncomfortable with yourself and your own still emerging identity?

3. Have you had a relationship with a man? If not, how do you know that you are incapable of having one?

4. Have you considered that you are still young and your ability to have a long-term relationship with anyone is something that you are still learning how to do?

Of course, none of this is my business. But when I read your posts, I remember how much I tried to figure this all out in my own head without having any actual experience to draw from.

Sully said...

I agree with many of your thoughts and feelings. As I learned to accept and love the entire being that I am, I actually found my base crumbling, as well. I no longer viewed my SSA as a trial, and it simply moved to being a part of who I was. I am currently trying to figure out how to put everything in its proper perspective so that I can maintain my testimony while finding peace within same-gender attraction.

Thanks for sharing.