Friday, July 25, 2008

I don't know. What do you think?

I took a really well-placed vacation. Three weeks - one on the bike in Montana with my family and two in Alaska with very dear friends. I decided that it would be a complete hiatus from all the things that were on the table in my mind. It proved to be a little more difficult to clear that table than I had expected, but I did it. I relaxed everything, including my responsibility and guilt mechanisms. Wow, has this been helpful. It's like there's this wall and I'm pushing on it with all my strength and I won't give up till I push through. After some time, while I was still pushing with all my strength, the force that I was applying to the wall was a quarter of what it was when I started. So I stopped and stood up from my slouched position to re-evaluate if, where, and how to push.

Now that I'm nearing the end of the trip, I'm allowing stuff back onto my mind's table one issue by one. I've come across some questions and I'd like to write them (this helps like talking things through with somebody) and possibly hear some others' thoughts on them.

1. I am still ashamed and sick for experiencing same gender attraction. When I talk with anybody about this, I feel so gay. I would never want anybody to feel offended that I associate so many negative feelings with that term, but I can't call myself gay and not be very offset and upset with me. I'm really ashamed for these feelings and attractions. I know that there is a difference between attraction and action; nonetheless, I still feel this way. This needs to change, but how is it done. Sometimes, I think that I need to set this right to before I work on moving forward; and at other times, I think of this snag as being something that is slowing me down on my attempts to move forward and that I just need to detach the snag and let it take care of itself. The feelings of shame and guilt are potent and very unsettling, so I don't like to linger there. When I talk with some body about it, I feel dirty afterward. When I see an attractive guy, I am reminded of these desires and I feel dirty. I don't like to feel that way and I feel it constantly. That's a big part of why I've liked this vacation so much. How does one fix this...make it so that they don't feel wrong about it. I've read the church pamphlet "God loveth His children" and I've talked with the Matis' and my bishop, and in spite of all they've said, I can't get past the anger of being this way.

2. I was on a walk tonight and I realized that I feel like I went too far in coming out to myself. I've been allowing myself to say that I'm gay. I don't think that I'm going to say that anymore. I'm going to stop it at saying that I experience strong same-gender attraction - sga - and that it's really an obstacle for me. When I'd say that I'm gay, I felt like I was saying that I experience these attractions and not only am I ok with it, but I'm accepting of it and even allowing it. This is totally a result of my definition of the word, but all-the-same, I think it'll be helpful to change my language for now.

3. Relating to the first question, should I fix things or change or correct something before I try to move forward, or should I just move forward? If I try to do the former, then I feel like I'm starting on the way to be stagnant; and like stagnant water, I start to rot. If I do the latter, then am I setting myself up for disaster down the road for not fixing the problems or am I saying "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down!"?

As a concluding remark, clearing the table in my mind has been a very good experience. Relaxing my responsibility and guilt mechanisms has been equally wonderful. I can't do this all the time cause usually, there are important decisions to make and relationships to be responsible in and people to be responsive to, but the hiatus has been effective in helping me to find that I can be...experience sga and not have my family know and still have an amazing relationship with them. With sga being kicked from the concerns table, I was able to feel so there with my family and with the people in Alaska and not feel distanced. Hooray. I also realized how much I love the people I know in the sga community whether in person or through blogging.


Abelard Enigma said...

I am still ashamed and sick for experiencing same gender attraction ... This needs to change, but how is it done.

It took me years, literally, to get past those feelings. Realizing it's not all about sex was a bit of an epiphany for me; and, pondering the non-sexual aspects of being gay has helped me accept it.

There is the age old question "if there were a straight pill - would you take it?" As recently as a couple of years ago I would have answered "Yes" without a moments hesitation - but now I'm not so sure.

Being gay permeates every aspect of my life - not only who I am physically attracted to, but also my likes, my dislikes, my personality, my talents, etc. If you take the gay away then what would be left? Would I be like a piece of swiss cheese, empty and incomplete?

For example, I've worked with the youth in the church for most of my adult life. In particular, I always seem to be called to work with the Teachers quorum in some fashion. I relate much better with 14 & 15 year old boys than I do with people closer to my own age. I am often able to reach boys, and build a relationship with them, for whom other leaders have thrown up their hands. I think it's because I love these boys (not in a creepy way) in ways that straight brethren either will not or can not allow themselves to.

Samantha said...

Something to think about:

You feel and experience nothing that Christ did not also feel in Gethsemane. He understands personally what you are going through--every part of it, from the feelings of attraction, the yearnings for companionship and the desire for oneness to the resulting feelings of guilt and lack of self-worth. He also knows how to teach you to live with who you are, understand the beauty of your creation, and become the person he knows it is possible for you to become. And he and our Heavenly Father love you like crazy. And just because everyone should be told frequently that they are loved, I think you should ask how much they love you next time you're on your knees.

I wish you well. One thing is certain--each life is an incredible journey. Thank you for sharing with us a part of yours.

Kengo Biddles said...

Coming to terms with SSA/SGA is a lot like the grieving process. It takes time; it takes willingness. Just because you have feelings/attractions doesn't mean you're acting on them, and doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong when they initially come up.

That, like every comment here is advice--take it or leave it, but know that you're not alone in this process, and that there are others of us out here that are rooting for you, all the way.

Sean said...

Thoughts on your second remark: I have been there and done that. I still refer to myself as SSA with some SGA because like you, I don't like the definition of gay. I believe that it can be really debilitating and cause someone to become so engrossed in the definition that they might even start acting according to that definition.

I'll respond to other questions later cause I've got to head.

Cadence said...

dude I think you suck, you went to ak im sooooo jealous... owell I have a sweeter bike then you...?!?! I think im gonna do the yellowstone circle next weekend... but let me know if you want to do something whenever...

Jack said...

Welcome back my friend...welcome back!!

Beck said...

For years I would associate negative feelings (even getting sick thinking about it) with being "gay". But, like Abe, I have come to accept that "gay" does not have to mean a sexual thing or a particular "lifestyle". For me, SSA or SGA still sounds like I have a disease. I don't have a disease. I just am! And I'm slowly learning to accept that I like who I am, that God loves me for who I am, and that I can be happy too.

I hope that you can be happy, too.

P.S. Congrats on the vacation road trip. I'm going to Alaska for the first time next month. I can't wait!

Robert said...

Abe - As embarassing as this is, I have to admit that I haven't really thought about any of the aspects of being gay. I've just kind of experienced them and not thought about it, just hated liking it. The ones that are at the fore of the experience are sexual, but I like your epiphany. I'm going to think about those other parts. Right now, I'd take the pill...I think.

Samantha - Thank you for the reminder. It's funny how as basic as those thoughts are, I need to be reminded of them sometimes. You know how sometimes, you feel too much like you've wasted what Heavenly Father has given you and because of that, you feel like it would be offensive to Him to pray and ask for something? Like if your parents had bought you a car time and again and you wreck it time and'd feel totally out of place to ask them even for money to go to the movies. Make sense? I know that I should never not pray, but... Anyway, thank you for your comment. Thanks.

Kengo - Time and effort, both inescapable and necessary. Sometimes, I forget one or the other and the result is great disappointment. If I forget one, it's usually time. If I neglect one, it's definately effort. I think that it means that I need to live in a way that I can be happy with myself (where I am, who I am, and what I'm doing) as I am now. Sometimes, I remember that, and I find it easier to be positive. I had let that thought slip from my mind. Thanks for your comment. It brought that back to attention.

Sean - Isn't it interesting how little nuances in how somebody defines a word, regardless of Mr. Webster, have such an effect? It'll be fun when we get to hang out some more. I've got your number. Have fun man.

Cadence - Sweeter bike? What's your bike? I've got a v4 cruiser. Just wait till you hear the stories from AK and you'll think I suck even more. You'll be jealous. We'll ride soon.

Jack - I'm really happy to be back too. That was a ton of fun the other day. We definately have to go shooting and hiking again.

Beck - I am able to be happy a lot. More and more month by month. Of course there are ups and downs and sometimes, I get really frustrated thinking that I'm never going to get anywhere, but you guys help alot with that. Well... a few co-workers just came in and I gotta go.


Anonymous said...

Hey Robert...I just love this "Maybe we’re not supposed to fix every broken thing in life. Maybe, we’re supposed to do the most possible good with what we have. Maybe, these broken things are the very same things that will enable us to achieve greater levels of service that would otherwise be impossible. Maybe, we’re not all supposed to have the “traditional” life here...or maybe it’ll just happen a little later on. And along with that, what can we hope to become without learning to deny or control our passions…ourselves? Please don’t think of me as trying to preach. The only person I’m trying to teach here is myself. Otherwise, I’d be bordering hypocrisy. Maybe, we should just do what we can, find happiness where it is now, and hope (sometimes blindly) that the rest will work out according to some/the divine plan…"

Anonymous said...

That thought has helped me. I e-mailed some advice.I hope you don't mind. You are so lucky to have this network of support. During my life, I have never been able to sit by a fire and gain support from SSA friends. What a power that is to have a boys night out. Especially here in Utah with my life its a don't tell world and you are left to hang out there alone. Hope to kick back someday.

Anonymous said...

....Let me know if you have issues with "never tell" & "getting married" Lets hang out in the desert next Summer. I found this interesting/funny >> u said " therapy made things that I didn't like bigger" ....I want that therapy making things bigger...just kiddn. Be Good.