Saturday, May 3, 2008

Coming Out

It's been a few weeks since I last wrote. And quite a lot has happened. With regard to "coming out" (it feels odd using that term) I wasn't even entertaining the possibility of it, but because of Calvin, Aaron, Jake, and now Michael (another friend I recently met), I came to the feeling that it would be good to talk to my two closest friends about it. Both are girls and I dated both and loved them both-and still do. As a side note, we didn't kiss-I haven't kissed a girl since I was jumped by one at the age of 15. I also talked with my bishop about sga and tried to talk with my little sister (we're really close) but that didn't go quite how I was hoping.

The first person I told was Hill. She is on the other side of the country finishing her masters. I had some "Thank You" cards and I decided-quite quickly-that I would write the card to her and tell her the "rest" about me. Now, Hill and I have a great past and some very extra-ordinary memories with each other. We spent a month on the road together, and for anybody that's been on long road trips, they know how much takes place. We became better friends than I could have imagined. Well, in the middle of studying for a final, I decided to write it cause I was in one of those really reflective and deep-pondering moods. When I started to write, it really felt like it was coming from deep inside me. It took me about 4 hours and a few times of putting my head down on the table to hide the tears, but I got it done and I was really happy with the outcome. I'll include the text of the letter later. I called her and asked her if I could share "that thing about me that I said I could never before have imagined sharing." I had told her that there was such a thing about me that I just couldn't imagine sharing with somebody. She said "yes," I said "why," she said "when," and I said "well, I wrote the letter and I'm putting it in the mail collection box right now." A couple of days later, I was really starting to wonder if I shouldn't call her up and ask her to not read the letter. I WAS TELLING HER THE I WAS ATTRACTED TO OTHER GUYS!!! It made me feel so gross. Well, in the middle of the day, I got a text from her that said "I love you Robert. More later." (I saved it on my phone.) I immediately knew that I had a true friend there. She called me and we talked forever (the good kind of forever). I remember her telling me that she took the letter and sat on the steps of her apartment in the sun and opened and read it. She said that the whole time she was reading it, she kept on thinking: "I love this boy." In the letter I said that I am still the same Robert that I've always been-I have the same dreams, goals, desires, and passions to do great and effective's just that I'm trying to figure out how to allow myself to be a better me. She said that she totally saw that. Two other things that she said that meant the world to me were these: "I was really surprised at how little it shocked me," and "I still love you and everything I learn about you makes me love you more." Wow, what a good first coming out experience.

Then, a day later, I traveled up to Rexburg, ID to camp a night with Addie. Addie and I had a really interesting relationship in that so very much of our pasts were similar and because of that, we identified so well with each others experiences and feelings. When I got to Rexburg, Addie had another friend with her, and we chatted and had fun setting up camp and making the fire. As soon as the friend left, Addie and I gave each other a really good hug and started eating hot dogs...not exactly related events, but sequential. I really don't quite remember why I started-if there was some thing that kinda triggered me-but I just started to tell her what had had been happening over the last four weeks. I told it to her like it was a story, and in telling her about those four weeks, I had to include (for clarity purposes) some of the kinds of things that I had experienced that lead me to the situation preceding that fateful Monday night at the Matis'. I do remember that I couldn't look at her while I was talking and I had to say it all as if it was another me talking-one that, once started, wouldn't stop. It was my first time doing this in person. I knew that Addie was a specially understanding person and safe and non-judgemental, so I really believed that she wouldn't disengage our friendship because of this. To my great relief, she told me that she was grateful for me having confided in her and that she was honored that I felt such a way about her that I could do so. Addie told me that she hadn't ever learned anything about me or my past that hadn't made her love me more, and she said that this was no different. I told Addie that I will be a father and husband someday and that I know that Heavenly Father knows what's going on and that if I do what is right, I'll end up in the wonderful place that he's planned for me-even though and even perhaps because doing what's right is going to be so hard (I don't mean refraining from a homo relationship, rather, I mean the experience and process of dating and marrying a girl). Addie and I spent the whole next day enjoying each other's company and being glad to have spent the night together.
I drove back Saturday night and on Sunday, I asked my bishop if I could come to him after church to get one of the new bar code temple recommends. He was good with that, so I went up after priesthood and waited. Well, the bishop seemed pretty busy and he asked me if it would be ok for me to do the interview with the first counselor. The interview went well, and because of this new development, I could honestly say that I was living a chaste life. Yesss!!! But, I still hadn't talked with my bishop about "it." I almost just left to go for an interview with a member of the stake presidency, but thinking about telling Michael, Aaron, Calvin, and Jake that I backed out kept me there. I waited till the bishop had nobody left and I asked him if I could have a few moments...I had a couple questions to ask... Because I had come out twice in the last 36 hours, I was able to clearly and quickly tell him "what's new in my life." The first question that anybody would ask you after not seeing you for a while (he had been my bishop a few months earlier and now I was back). I'm sure that it wasn't the answer that he thought he was going to get. I made sure to tell him what it had been like to come out and have friends in this (I felt better, more capable and ok to have the the Spirit, healthier, a little more afraid, and quite unsure of what to do about it all). I also told him about the things I had truly learned by the Spirit and uncompromisingly knew (that Heavenly Father will always take me in as long as I am willing to come to Him; that if I do the things that He helps me to know that I should do, I'll be where I need to be-where he wants me to be; and that because of Christ and his sacrifice, someday, way out there, I can become right enough to live in Their godly presence). And thirdly, I made sure to tell him that I want to find out how to move forward and, as my patriarchal blessing tells me, be a father and husband someday. My bishop is a stud-a really great man. He said that he was glad for my attitude and for the way that I was working on understanding what was going on. He gave me some things to look out for, especially regarding the new friends that I was meeting and their attitude toward the gospel and the church. Most of all, he helped me to finally feel that I really was ok. That I was an ok person, that I was ok and going to make it, and that I was ok and worthy for the Spirit to be in my life. He really just brought me round to where I need to be in thinking about myself. "Wow," I was thinking, three in a row and each one very good.

So, after a week or so of thinking about how good it everything had turned out, I thought that maybe it would be ok for my little sister (who lives in the same complex as me) to know...maybe then she wouldn't rag on me so hard for not being married. It's gotta be known how much she pushes this! Well, while were in the car driving, I asked her something, and it all went like this: "Do you love me?" "Of course I do, I love you sooo much." "Will you always love me, no matter anything?" "Yes!... What's going on?... Are you moving?... Did you start to date another girl?..." "No, no, hahaha. I was just wondering. you really want to know why I never married Hill or Addie?" "Yes..." "Well...(now there were quite a few pauses here)sis...I don't know why...well...ever since I can remember...I've, well...I've been attracted to other guys and not girls." ...[silence]... Then my little sister BUSTS out laughing and saying "b__ s___! b__ s___! hahahaha!" and she just kept laughing hysterically, and not the nervous laugh, but for real laughing. I tried to say that I was serious and not joking, but she just thought it was funnier and funnier. So, finally, I said, "Haha, but I really had you going. Ha ha ha." Then she pulled out her phone and dialed up mom and dad and she told me that I had to play the same joke on them! Yeah, so that didn't go too well...I didn't play the "joke" on my parents and my sister still thinks I was being funny.

I guess, that'll just mean that I'm keeping it to the two close friends that I've told and be happy with that. Kind of a count your blessings thing. At least, that's the plan for the near and not-too-distant future. All in all, coming out was so good. I think it does two things. It helps you to understand that you're not as bad of a person as you came to believe yourself to be, and it allows you to honor your true friendships in that you include your friends and allow their help and love and support to lift you from being so far down. Hopefully, you find out that they still love you and think well of you in spite of this thing.


SNAYJ said...

Sorry, I am commenting on everything tonight. Dude, it was so good to read this. I remember you telling me about the experience with the girls, and your sister. However, I have to agree with Hill and Allie, spending time with you and getting to know you. The more I get to knwo about you and your past, present situation, and future desires, the more I come to love you.

Kengo Biddles said...

"I love you Robert. More later."

What relief you must have felt. And welcome to "the Family." Cheering for your success...

Some Like It Hot said...

Such a feel good post. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad everything went well for you.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this was a really interesting read. I've recently begun working through my SGA issues. I had read blogs of people with the same struggle and there wasn't a whole lot of positive stuff to read. It kind of sucked. Anyway, I came across your blog and it inspired me to finally confront my problem. I talked to a counselor yesterday, and that was the first time I've ever come out to anyone. I'm going to an SGA meeting tonight to come out to some more strangers (it's funny how I feel comfortable coming out to strangers). Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your blog has helped me to see that I can live a normal LDS life. After talking to the counselor, I felt so much relief. This is no longer a deep dark secret, but something about me that I'm confronting. All in all, I just wanted to say thanks. This has helped me a lot, and I look forward to reading more of your posts. I'll let you know if I ever start a blog. Thanks!

Robert said...

Anon - Thank you for commenting. I really appreciate it. If you do someday start a blog, I'd really like to know. It's an up and down experience...coming out and confronting same gender attractions. Telling the right people really changes things and makes it more managable. I really wish you the best in your efforts and trials. Find and hold to good friends. All the best to you.