I am a Christian. I am a gay man. Here is chronicle of my symbolic journey west, toward adventure, challenge, mystery and ultimately peace.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm OK; You're OK (I hope)

I've often said that this blog is for me, and if anyone stopped by to read along, all the better. I throw around a lot of thoughts here, and am encouraged by comments from fellow travelers, from people I did not even know were also traveling with me. I'm glad you're here. Well, I wish you weren't necessarily right "here", because "here" can be a tough spot and often you and I would rather be "there." In any case, I thank you for the honor of sharing your journey with me.

So I take this slight diversion from my stream of conscienceness to specifically talk with my fellow travelers, however many or few of you there are. It occurred to me that I put a lot of depressing stuff on this blog. Usually that's because I come here, to my tiny piece of electronic real estate, when I need to process and think and perhaps even vomit up whatever is going on with me. So you see and read about me at some of the valleys, and not many of the higher points.

I'm certainly not done with this journey; I've actually just begun. But I pause near the end of 2006 to let you know I'm OK. Not every day is good, but most days I believe I will make it. Where I'm headed is unclear, but I will make it. And often the reason I keep blogging on those rotten days is to erect the appropriate mileposts (pun intended) along this journey of mine. It helps to recall where I've been; and a sliver of is beginning to believe that those dismal posts will eventually be a great piece of my story, serving as fuel for a light I may someday hold to encourage other journeyers and help them to believe too.

So I'm OK.

Not great.

Not 100% at peace.

But OK.

I hope you are too. And if you're not OK, that in and of itself is OK.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thinkin' Too Much

I hear this from my closest friends: "You're thinkin' too much." I do have the ability to slice and dice my thoughts and feelings into oblivion. Like those goofy Magic Bullet contraptions from the world of 30-minute infomercials, I take a simple idea in my head and pulverize it beyond recognition. I've been doing that a lot lately; thinking and analyzing and pondering thoughts until I twist myself into a nearly paralyzed state of mind.

I've been looking into my past; reminiscing about my past attractions. Or more accurately put, lack thereof. I know I've always found men more physically satisfying than women. When my mom would bring home the Sears catalog, I would always fast forward through the many pages of women in their personal items to find the much smaller section of men with strong chinlines modeling the best Sears had to offer. I even remember asking my parents for permission to be on my own at the store. They probably thought I was looking at toys, but I was really in the men's department checking out the boxes of underwear and the beautiful men gracing the packages. (Geez, this is embarrassing, isn't it?)

But...I don't recall many--or any--real live guys from my younger years with whom I desired a relationship. There was my neighbor Doug, who was a few years older than me and far more built than I ever have been. Thinking back, he was gorgeous. Sometimes our parents would take us swimming. He was beautiful. But was I ever in love with Doug? Did I want a relationship with him? Not really. But did he interest me more than my neighbor on the other side, Kim? Yep. Without question.

Why? Why didn't I feel "those" types of feelings when I was younger? I have always found men more physically attractive than women. But that hasn't always translated into emotional or spiritual or even sexual desire to be close to men. Maybe I just enjoy pictures of men, but not so much men themselves. Or maybe I'm still denying some things? Or perhaps the right guy hasn't come along yet? Or the right woman? I've held the hands of a few men, and my heart went flutter, flutter. Why? Wouldn't a woman's hand feel just as nice? I honestly wouldn't know. Perhaps being alone isn't so bad?

Yep, here we go...the Magic Bullet is at it again. And I am what is being ripped apart inside that little plastic dome.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

It has been a quiet time for me. I've been kicking around some things in my head. That only seems fitting because life seems to be kicking me around a bit too.

No big deals; just a series of small things that are hard to carry on a journey.

In case I don't get back here before Christmas, I do want to wish anyone reading along a Merry Christmas. It is an incredible thing, to consider that among mooing cows and noisy sheep, God arrived in a stable. Happy birthday, Jesus.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Peterson Toscano

I want to give some recognition to a fellow blogger and journeyman. Peterson Toscano travels the world performing his collection of self-written theatrical dramas which details his own journey through an ex-gay ministry. And though I maintain some anonymity here, I will say that I have seen one of Peterson's dramas and even had a chance to meet him and visit with him at length. He is an incredibly nice guy and I grew from the experience.

Peterson wrote something at his blog which I have revisited many many times. In his post titled The Bible and Homosexuality, he makes a compelling case that many people have not fully pondered how faith and sexuality interact, and points his readers toward God to continue working out the issues. I have begun to consider just which parts of my faith I have taken at face value without ever examining them. In my opinion, a faith worth having and a faith worth building my life on ought to be open for inspection, and where necessary, adjustment.

I just merely wanted to say, "Thanks, Peterson" for your words and the amazing transparency with which you deliver them. Drop by his blog; you will be better for the time you spend there. And I hope it does not bother him too much to find his picture here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Funny how the smallest of life events can trigger fear. I fell down some stairs. Thankfully, it wasn't all the stairs in this picture. I fell down just two stairs--or was it three? Perhaps that was part of my problem to start with. That, and the left shoe and grocery bag at the bottom landing that I had previously been too lazy to clear.

I was left with two minor injuries: a bruised ego and a scraped toe which didn't even bleed. (I can hear my dad now, explaining that it shouldn't have been a big deal because I didn't draw blood.) The triggered fear, however, was far worse. Standing myself up at the landing, I gained composure, but then nearly lost it again crying. Suddenly I was reminded that I live alone, that my life is essentially about being alone and that I fell alone.

I myself was the proverbial tree in the forest--if the Journeyman falls down the stairs and no one is there to hear it, does he make a sound?

Would anyone know?

Or care?

I have a tremendous--possibly irrational--fear of growing old alone. This goes far beyond the desire for companionship. Instead it drives at the heart of wondering what will happen to me when I am too old to feed myself or manage my finances or whatever. The bottom of the stairs may be as good as it gets.

Most of me knows that God will continue to take care of me like he always has. Even so, the stair incident really scared me. Using the phone, I told one far-away friend about my fear, if only because he couldn't laugh directly in my face. I want to give God my fear, but that alone seems harder in practice than in word.

I am thankful for people who have told me I am not alone. I sure feel alone. My quiet home confirms it. I hope someday soon to remove the loneliness from the lives of other people. It is something I truly sense the Lord saying to be lately. What an honor and privilege it would be to remind someone else they are not alone.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Today I couldn't help but wonder what other people face in their lives that challenges them. The woman next to me at the library; what scares her? The artist I met yesterday over breakfast; will he recover from someone stealing several hundred dollars from his house? That guy in the white sweatshirt who sat alone at church this morning in the very back corner, avoiding every person's eye contact; what is his story?

I guess I simply long to know people better, and to have them know me. Several years ago one of the broadcast news networks aired a weekly segment in which the same reporter would go from town to town across America. He selected someone randomly from a phone book--or at least that was how it was presented. The reporter would learn their story, and I was continually amazed at what people had been through. One person lost his wife, and played the piano now in her memory. Another made kitchy lawn ornaments. Everyone has a story; I am no different.

Yet our society often prides itself on how well we conceal our stories. Don't let them see you cry. I'm just as guilty; I tell my friends things are "fine" when I know they are not. Therefore I cheat them of my story, and I cheat them of their chance to share their greatest burdens--and greatest triumphs. I rob them of their story and their chance to retell it, with all its jewels and warts combined together in some mysterious way. Bringing me even more sadness, the church is no different, as I and many others play a hopeless game of putting up facades in an attempt to fit in. I wonder how long we can keep it up?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Here's something off-topic, but it struck me anyway.

Last week during the lead-up to Thanksgiving, I could not watch a news show or listen to the radio without hearing talk of the big Thanksgiving feast, or someone's plans to "wear the stretchy pants" to allow for more food, or how long it would take to clean all those dirty dishes after dinner. Now this week, I heard a religious broadcaster talk about how she had to recover all weekend and Monday too from Thanksgiving and her wonderful meal made by her daughter.

So I thought...what about my fellow journeyers who have no money to buy groceries for a feast? What about those people who had nowhere to go or no one to spend the day with? What about the family that hopes against all hope that their lights won't be shutoff this winter?

On Thanksgiving Day, I heard of a man who went to work the day before and was killed on his way home, leaving a wife and two daughters. That family's biggest concerns are no longer how many scoops of potatoes they can scarf down, but how to even face the day without completely losing it. My heart broke.

I enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving; but I could not shake the gloom that I know other people in my life face on holidays, or on any day, for that matter. And I could not help but be sad that one face of Thanksgiving is about food and prosperity and football and--well--excess. I'm no innocent by-stander here; I participate in my own forms of excess too. I simply am thankful for a new perspective this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Wow...I've really let my blog-updating go be the wayside lately. I guess my last few posts were pretty gloomy, so I just distracted myself with other stuff. Unfortunately, that other stuff wasn't so good for me either.

In any case, I'm faring a bit better, and am gearing up for Thanksgiving with the family. It can sometimes be a lot of effort to be around them, but then I stop and consider that I have them around at all. Though they have plenty of reservations about me being gay, they do love me. I am thankful.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fitting In

I wrestle mightily with the concept of fitting in. My life already seems enough like a puzzle, a great mystery about why this piece is so oddly-shaped or how I will ever make a unified picture out of the pieces I have to work with.

Even so, I isolate terribly on the perceived basis that I am not like anyone else. I have been to church only once in the past month, because I do not feel like they would want me there if they all knew the true Journeyman. I am not like them. Friends from the past have faded away, their lives now full of carseats and family vacations to kid-friendly places and needs to 'check with the spouse' before making plans. I am not like them. My dad lives 8 miles from me, but I have not seen him in over six months. I am not like him. I struggle with the gay community too. I think there are several gay bars nearby, but I have never been to one here. There I will find people comfortable with themselves. I am not like them.

So where do I fit in? I just don't see a simple happy answer here. Some might say, "Just be yourself." But I don't like myself, so why would I want to be myself? For now, I'm just the guy who gets up and goes to work, then comes home at night to watch TV, because I often feel like that is the only place I fit in...by myself, where I won't hurt someone else or let them hurt me. Even that is getting old.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bad Day

A had a pretty awful weekend. Depression reached up unexpectedly and just pummelled me all weekend long. This video pretty much captures how I felt, especially the hamster at around 2:00.

Not that I wish anyone in this video any ill will, but I do find some comfort in being able to laugh at this video. That poor hamster!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I've heard so many people say something like this after coming out: "I just had to quit caring what everyone else thought of me and be myself."

Great! So what happens when you don't believe in yourself? And you never have? What happens when you honestly cannot remember even one day when you thought, "I'm a damn good guy!" What happens when you do not have any confidence in yourself, yet you are wrestling by the one comtemporary issue which makes people go ballistic? Reality is that I do care what everyone else thinks. And the reason that I care is that if I honestly confront what I think of myself, it's ugly.

So where does self-confidence come from? Is there a tree I can pick it from? Do I buy it in a can at Home Depot? Some might say self-confidence comes from Jesus. And while I do believe that to be true, I also find such a response to be a bit too simplistic. I know Jesus; He knows me. He probably even likes me, but He is not here in a physical way to tell me that. He does not wipe away my quiet tears at night. And there are plenty of people claiming to be his representative who come into my life only to harp about how upside-down I must be for prefering men over women. Or for attending the 'wrong' church. Or for not praying enough. Or, my personal favorite, for not sowing enough seed into their ministry.

This is not a ploy to solicit comments about what a nice person I probably am. I'm tempted to not even allow comments on this post specifically to prevent that. I guess I'm just wondering today how I'm supposed to get that confidence and personal belief in myself. Just about everyone who has met me picks up very quickly that I am very hard on myself and that I put myself down frequently. So much so that sometimes I wonder if that is just a part of who I am, a guy with no self-confidence. And yet, I can find hope and excitement and worth in anyone else's journey.

I believed in other people when no one else would. Now if I could just learn how to believe in myself. That task could be far harder than anything else I've faced on my journey.

Monday, November 06, 2006

An Unlikely Philosopher

I watched this and I proceeded to cry. To me, Kermit the Frog has always been a wise philosopher.

Someday I'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The Lovers, the Dreamers, and me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I've been off the blog for a while. I have been tired. I sure seem to be sleeping a lot lately. These shorter days, now bringing darkness an hour earlier, just do not sit well with me.

However, the great news is that my sleep has been much more peaceful lately than it has been for a long time. I tend to climb into bed around the same time each night--far earlier than my friends think I should for a guy my age--and then sleep soundly for a good long while. Fewer panicky middle-of-the-night awakenings. Fewer restless nights laying in bed wondering if I will ever fall asleep. Fewer thoughts scrambling around the blender.

Quite some time ago I told a trusted companion that I could manage to get sleep, but that I really longed for rest. For the first time since I seriously engaged this journey of mine, I am beginning to experience rest. I have unpacked an incredible amount of my story over the past several months. A couple friends told me this week that they now sensed hope in me, and that even 12 months ago they were very very worried about my attitude and demeanor. They like seeing my smile, and I like seeing it too.

Now if I could just see this guy when I wake up in the morning. =) For now, that isn't happening. But it is fun to dream, especially while I rest.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


He was seated. With a sigh and a roll of the eyes, he slid a blue backpack onto the floor and sat still, careful not to disturb his neighbors to the right or to the left. The lights dimmed, the noise in the crowded room increased, and having taken his place in 16E, he tried to drown a weeks' worth of anxiousness in a can of Cranberry-Apple juice. (Once again, he wondered just how did they always shape the ice in that little tube shape?)

He was wearing a plain gray hooded sweatshirt, ironically described as the closest thing he had to a dog. That sweatshirt from the sale rack at a grocery store went everywhere he travelled, was always comforting, never passed judgment, and had been present for most of the significant events of his life. He pulled the hood from his back so that the gray fabric almost covered his head, like a collegiate monk. All the emotion he had tried so hard to squelch or deny expressed itself in silent tears. No sobbing, no noise, just tears. And then more tears. And then yet more tears. Perhaps this time, they wouldn't stop. Being faithful once again, his gray hoodie sopped up the salty tears. In 16E, there was no one else to notice, or to wipe them away.

He thought back on the week, brimming with memories of birthdays and dancing and hockey and the ocean and ice cream and harbor seals and pizza and burritos and fireworks. He thought of friendships, and more importantly of friends. He remembered how they had become acquaintances, then friends, and now they were brothers. Brothers banded together by a struggle none of them had sought and few others understood, but yet one in which they continued to journey each day. In 16E, he was by himself, but he was not alone.

He considered himself wildly blessed for knowing those brothers. That idea naturally led him to ponder how much those brothers loved and believed in him, which made him cry all the more. He envisioned them standing behind him, cheering him on into the scary darkness. The tears returned, staining his face all over again. In 16E, in the dark of night somewhere in the vast sky, he loved them back.

He had finally gone west.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Escaping Shadows

I took some time off recently. Some time off from my normal life which includes long hours and commuting and blogging and paperwork and the like, all those ordinary things which take time and get in the way of my own personal growth and journey.

It was a peaceful, refreshing time. Time to wander and to wonder. I looked at myself in new ways. I took risks. I challenged myself, even in small ways that would make an ordinary person laugh.

I want to write about it, and I will. But to continue writing about my journey, I will almost certainly have to remove at least one layer of the anonymity I've maintained here. Not that I will completely out myself to the world, but at least a couple potential readers will be able to put this idea with that fact and have an idea just who the Journeyman is. My gut tells me they know by now anyway. And so today I post my own photo. Granted, it's an extremely safe start, but it is me, and any reader now knows without a shadow of a doubt that I do indeed have two ears. It is a small step, maybe even silly. But that is my journey, a series of small steps.

I'm OK with this idea. Yes, it scares me. Yes, it could be embarrassing. But yes, it's worth the risk. I place my trust in the hands of these fellow journeyers, asking only that they respect my space and my journey as I have retold it here, anonymously. I have spent much of my life living in shadows, head down, nose to the grindstone, not mapping out a journey so much as stamping out a dull daily existence. Hopefully, as a friend unexpectedly told me recently, this is the start of me not just living life but experiencing and embracing it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Things to Ponder

There are a couple thoughts I want to visit in the near future...I guess I'm placing them here as a reminder to myself that they are worth exploring.
The first is a profound post by a Blogger named Eric at Two World Collision.  He writes about himself in a beautifully honest way, struggles included.  So many pieces of his story ring true for me.  (I'd link it here, but I'm still learning how to do that.  For now, just find his link over on the left and start reading.)
The second is about fitting in.  For most of my life, I have felt like I do not fit in.  I didn't fit in at my Christian grade school, where I was the only kid in my class with divorced parents.  I didn't fit in at church, where most other kids were from a wealthier family.  Now I feel trapped between the church and my sexuality.  Neither one seems to want me if I embrace the other.  Where can I fit in?
Things to ponder soon...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Coming Out Day

So today is National Coming Out Day. I came out to absolutely no one. I feel like I should have. Perhaps the secretary who always has a smile, or maybe the woman who always has candy at her desk or the guy at the next table at the library who I've never met and and who could probably care less.

Last year's Coming Out Day did something in me. I opened my local newspaper to find picture of a tired man, his back up against a wall, his knees pulled up, his hands supporting his head. It's the image that inspired my own blog photo. I was that guy. Tired. Worn out. Sick of crying. Emotionless. Completely lost as to what to do next. My hands holding up my head in a vein effort to keep me from sinking lower. I didn't feel alone anymore. If that ficticious guy could feel that low, then I wasn't so hopeless.

But today, when I guess I was supposed to come out to somebody, I was left wondering why I have to come out. Why does any gay man have to come out? I'm not advocating staying in the closet, and I'm not saying I will always be in the closet either. Thankfully, there are some trusted friends and family that already know.

I'm asking why society demands that I announce "I like men" and yet does not require a corresponding "Girls are hot" proclamation from my straight counterparts. Am I supposed to tell everyone like it's some tag around my neck? Is it like applying a bright pink label to me? It's almost like posting a "Beware of Dog" sign in my yard, except mine says "Beware of Gay." Must I declare, "Oh, I'm gay" when I don't hear an extraordinary number of straight people Coming Out about their sexuality? Why must gays endure this gauntlet called "Coming Out" where I could lose family or friends or even the respect of someone who hardly knows me but feels anointed by a religious broadcaster to proclaim the "Truth in Love" to me?
Or maybe I just want someone to "Ask Me" instead of me having to "Tell Them". Or do I have this all wrong? I'm realizing I'm pretty negative about the Coming Out experience. Is there a positive side I'm completely missing here?

Friday, October 06, 2006


Today I thought about my Grandpa. I saw my Grandpa at least once a year. Even as a small boy, I would travel on the airlines, decorated with a huge red button that designated me as an Unaccompanied Minor. Each trip, a flight attendant would give me a set of wings; over the years I had a collection of identical wings pins from the airline I always flew. I kept them, small symbols of my annual trip across the Midwest.

Sometimes my Grandpa--he was always more a grandpa to me than a grandfather, and I cannot quite explain that except that it makes sense to me--could meet me at the airport, but not usually. More often my Grandma would pick me up and we would drive to my Grandpa's work, because he could not get away. He wanted too, of course, but he could not because of his work ethic. I would find a spot to sit and I would watch my Grandpa work in the hardware store he owned on Main Street. I watched people come in and ask questions about hoses and bolts and windows and paint. He was the wisest man ever, and I was his grandson.

My Grandpa's first name is my middle name. And so when I write out my name fully--first middle and last names all together--I see his name. I have my Grandpa's name. But I no longer have him. He died many years ago. I cried as a pallbearer when I carried his casket, yet I was the proudest man in town. I still remember standing at the cemetery on the most glorious of fall days, the wind blowing gently but firmly as if his very spirit was still mussing with my hair and loving me at the same time. It was in that church cemetery that I realized I have my Grandpa's name.

Grandpa never knew that I am gay. I don't know that he even considered the idea, or would have found it acceptable that his oldest grandson liked men. But he would have kept on loving me. My cousins and I, we were a troubled bunch. We dragged more problems through our grandparent's house than we would care to remember. We always found refuge with Grandpa. He would sit and talk with us, or extend his hand in a friendly wave, or raise his voice into something of a cheer, like a man would when toasting his friends over a friendly beer, though I do not think he drank. He loved me.

I miss you, Grandpa. I wish I could talk with you about my life now. I would cry if I could talk with you, just like I am crying right now. We would probably sit at your old kitchen table and drink small glasses of orange juice. You would tell me you love me, no matter what. Even if it cost you your reputation, you would remind me that I am your grandson, and nothing could change that. You would convince me to keep journeying.

I want to make you proud, Grandpa. After all, I have your name.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I simply need to acknowledge all of you leaving comments. I appreciate you.

Lately, I have not had as much to say. That will no doubt change, but for the time being my train of thought seems to be derailed. I am hanging in there; I hope to be back soon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I managed to get away for many days, to physically get away. I enjoyed it tremendously. It is so refreshing to be away. I'm not as ready to give up any more.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Being Safe

I'm sitting at my desk, my head in my hands, just like my profile picture. I just want a safe space to process. I have cried more over this than I care to talk about. I simply want to cry and have someone care, to cry and not have to be alone. To say something and not be preached at. I'm ready to give up.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I've only been in a few gay relationships, and they all went horribly wrong. As for being with a girl, I've could count the number of dates I've had with woman and have fingers left over. What I do recall about one gay relationship I was in was being held. For all the doubt I have about my own sexuality, I know without a doubt that I loved being held by a man, and likewise holding another man.

Mitchell held me. He would stop in my apartment, sit on my old brown couch, and hold me. And if the mood struck us both, I would hold him. It didn't really matter; we just enjoyed being close. There might be talking, there might not. Usually we just sat. It wasn't even all that sexual, but I would invariably get hard, simply because I was comfortable. Oh, how I loved it. I haven't seen or heard from Mitchell in 2 years. The failure of that relationship still serves as a reminder of how broken I am inside. I'm not so much broken over Mitchell; instead I hurt because I don't believe I will ever be whole enough to adequately love someone the way he deserves to be loved.

Holding is such an intensely intimate experience for me. I well up inside and catch my breath when I see portrayals of gay men holding each other. I wept watching Brokeback Mountain, watching Jack and Ennis cuddle in their tent, and later during their all-too-infrequent visits after they were married. Does that make me gay? I fall asleep at night holding a blue pillow to my chest, imagining the beauty of my warm breath falling onto the back of the neck of the imaginary man I love. Of whispering 'I love you' into his ears. Of wrapping my arm around his chest and pulling him close to me. I am a hopeless romantic, probably more hopeless than romantic.

I want that: to be held and to hold. Yet someone with a conservative religious background told me that wanting to be close to a man is simply a sign of my underdevelopment as a masculine man and is all the more evidence that I should 'pursue healing' through an ex-gay group. I cannot imagine why wanting to love someone else--as impossible as that now seems--requires me to pursue healing. I almost got the impression that this person would be happier if I would drive downtown, find a prostitute and sex her right up. Grunt and moan and pretend her boobs turn me on. Somehow that would be better than wanting to lovingly hold a man?!?!

I guess I just don't get it. I don't even get me. I met a guy the other night; he seemed very nice. We exchanged numbers. Now I'm scared stiff to meet him again. I feel that broken and confused inside. So hopeless that I'd rather just be by myself. Why can't I have more comfort meeting guys? Isn't that what being gay is all about? Feeling comfortable to meet a man? Being excited to go out and form new friendships? Instead, it just scares me.

I may have found God the other day; I just wish I could find me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Peeking out

What an unexpected moment over the weekend. I cracked the closet door open just a bit more. While attending a lecture related to Christians who also are gay by two affirming straight people, I glanced around the room. My eyes just about popped out of my head to see someone I knew, someone from the last church I attended, a church I left when all my homosexual feelings came bubbling to the surface, a church at which I no longer felt welcome.

I figured I could dodge Mary, pretend like I never saw her in the crowd and hide in the restroom for a while until she left. But I reconsidered. Mary was always very kind to me, but hardly someone I would have pegged as gay-friendly. And just to complicate matters a bit, I was her son's youth group leader for his entire high school career. I've always feared the day when news started to spread my old youth group students and parents that I am gay. I assumed most either wouldn't believe me or would regret ever letting their kids near me.

As the event wrapped up, I made a bold decision, to go talk with Mary. I truly did want to greet her. What I was less interested in was the inevitable "Why are you here?" comment. For my entire life, I've let my life happen to me. This night, I planned to take one small bit of control. I would talk to Mary, and very factually explain that I was there for myself. It wasn't my brother I wanted to relate with better. It wasn't a youth group student I needed to understand more fully. It wasn't my 'friend' who came out to me. I was there for myself. And come hell or high water, Mary was about to find out I was gay.

We chit-chatted for a while, and I found out Mary was there with her mother because Mary's brother had come out to them as a gay man a few years ago. They simply sought to understand, to love their brother and son. I then told Mary that I dealt with all this as well. I was in my own process of coming out. Mary was understanding, and for the next 30 minutes was on the verge of tears. I don't know why, but perhaps it was the idea that this issue called homosexuality had come to her family and now to her church. She said, "Journeyman, you are such a man of God. To think you dealt with this alone, while you poured yourself into my kids and set such an example for them...that's incredible, even tremendous."

I wanted to interject what a horrible sinner I was. I wanted to say, "Yeah, Mary, but I look at gay porn. And I don't have much self-control. And I feel like a fraud." But instead I just said, "Thanks, Mary." I just took the compliment as a small blessing from God and quit trying to fight it so badly.

I told Mary that I had left the youth group and her church because I was dealing with my homosexuality. I didn't get pushed out; I left voluntarily. I actually didn't tell anyone why I left until months after I disappeared. She said, "Journeyman, I know you left because you were gay. I don't blame you, given the prevailing attitudes at my church. But someday I pray you are welcomed back, precisely because you are gay. Those students need you; they need to know that whatever they feel inside or who they are attracted to, that God loves them."

I had unexpectedly faced a challenge, and I had taken control and dealt with it honestly and openly. I had found love. I had found God.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Daily Show

I laughed out loud watching this. Incredible! Then I shed one tear on the inside, knowing just how serious the implications of this type of attitude are.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Garlic Bread

I know I'm down again, because I'm eating terribly. Last night I ate a third of a loaf of garlic bread. That's it. Skipped breakfast; Skipped lunch; ate a hunk of garlic bread for dinner.

Now I am still celebrating my small victory involving coming out to my friend, and I still delight in knowing I'm just one more tiny step out of the closet. Even so, I sometimes get so down on myself. And one of my sure signs of being down on myself is not feeding myself well. Perhaps it's like a punishment I dish out to myself. Today, I haven't eaten breakfast or lunch.

Yesterday a friend sent me a lengthy text message. It actually arrived in 4 separate texts because it was so long. And in that text message, he explained how I wasn't a good friend and that I had ripped on him recently and he was going a different direction and that I could talk to him in the future if I ever felt like it. My reaction: Grow some balls and give me a damn phone call if you want to say something like that. I don't deserve to read that in a text message at midnight when I'm sleeping.

So here I am...hungry but really not feeling like eating. Disappointed in myself, because I obviously disappointed someone else. And wondering if it's all because I am a fag.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More Out

Whew! Somewhat unexpectedly, I told yet another friend I am gay. I didn't plan it all out or make a big to-do of it. I simply decided it was time to send a quick simple e-mail, and not to spend days and days pondering how it should be worded or what approach to take or whatever. My close friends tell me I think too much. This time, I didn't fall into that trap.

The details of this friend and why him now and all aren't all that critical to me. I simply know I had peace when I sent off the e-mail last night. Then the reply came back this morning. I wasn't all that sure I wanted to open that reply, wondering if there would be support or fire-and-brimstone. So I stopped, took a deep breath, and muttered some unintelligible prayer asking for peace of mind before double-clicking his message to me.

And that peace continued. There was understanding, love and acknowledgement of me and of my journey. I feel like someone stands by me, that someone I thought might hate me actually does indeed love me. Thanks for an understanding friend. I needed that today.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Taking a breath

My whirlwind picked right up again yesterday. I could hardly work because my mind was going so fast. I finally got up, walked to the nearby grocery store and sat outside in a cheap plastic green chair in an attempt to let the light wind clear away a few of my scrambled thoughts. Didn't work!

But thankfully I was able to see my therapist for a regularly-scheduled appointment last night. I told her everything. About my bookstore experience, my feelings for him, and my general down-ness, if there is such a word. My therapist looked me straight in the eyes with more seriousness than I have ever seen from her, and simply said, "So you've taken a step back. So what! You've made so many steps forward that this was bound to happen." And I think she is right. I have gone forward from where I was several months ago. And this week I had a few stumbles. It's going to happen in any journey; mine is not exempt.

This morning I laid in bed, once again lamenting to the nearby white and blue pillow that I wish there was someone there to hold and to love. When I got out of bed and took a shower (Ohh...I LOVE showers; what a wonderful gift showers are), I dried myself off and looked in the bathroom mirror hung just above my oversize sink. I looked right into my own eyes, past the little spots from a mirror not cleaned often enough and past the stubble on my own face accumulated from not shaving. I asked that man in the mirror to be the man he was created to be. I asked God to help me be that man. And given that I like small goals, I asked God to help me be that man and love that man for just the next four hours. It seemed like a humble and attainable goal.

I took a breath, smiled at the man in the mirror, and walked to my bedroom in search of matching clothes. I set out on a quiet quest to be everything God created me to be for the next four hours. To be a good employee; to be a loving friend; to be a gay man; to be a wise encourager; to be a faithful journeyman.

So from my tornado of paralyzing thought, I have emerged a few days later as the comtemplative man in today's picture, walking the beach with thoughts of greatness. Oh, I know there will be more bad days. They may recur. Today, however, I choose to breath fresh ocean air, feel the sand between my toes, hear the birds calling overhead and wander on in search of my journey.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Calming Down

OK. I think I'm OK. I am calming down just a bit. Wouldn't it be great to be calm like this guy? Or perhaps even better, to be the one he lays on, guarding his thoughts and his sleep in quiet tenderness? Knowing that you love another man so much that you want to hold him until he stops crying and falls into peaceful rest on your warm skin?

So...yeah...I'm thinking straight guys don't have thoughts like that so often. I question myself so much as to sometimes cause my own confusion.

I guess I just get really high-strung at times. My thoughts move faster and faster until they become a blinding tornado that I feel trapped in. So now with a blog to write in, I tend to come here and vomit it all up. I'm hoping this is better than simply holding everything in, a pattern I have followed for far too long already.

I wonder if I was just testing myself, or checking myself, when I was in the bookstore the other day. I wondered if I could possibly get aroused by a picture which included a woman. Guess what? I suppose I can. Which proves what? In my mind, perhaps very little. It proves that a sexually-charged picture can make me sexually charged. And that would make me pretty darn normal.

Had to get a post in today due to some gentle prodding from the North Woods Guys. They are pretty amazing gentlemen. But most of you already know that since nearly all my traffic comes from their blog. LOL And many many thanks to those who left comments. You are incredibly wise men; I appreciate your insight and your encouragement in my journey west.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Beating on myself

I'm at it again, administering my own regular mental beatings. I just don't understand myself very well, I guess. Most of me wants to just crawl into bed tonight and never wake up. The whole "Am I gay?" question has reared its ugly head again.

I spend way too much time on the Internet, looking at porn sites or accessing chat programs. That is basically the current extent of my sexuality. Sitting at a keyboard, finding attractive or muscular men, and masturbating to it. Yet there are so few real life people that I am physically or emotionally attracted to. I wonder if I could be a straight guy who likes gay porn. Or an asexual guy who doesn't want a relationship but turns to the Internet? Or a gay guy who is so hopelessly down on himself that he is certain there is no relationship of any sort in his future, ever. Is it possible to be attracted just to pictures, but not necessarily to real life guys?

To make matters even worse, I went to the bookstore today. I pulled a straight illustrated How-To-Have-Great-Sex type of book off the shelf and paged through it. I got aroused. I put it back. I then found a similar How-To-Have-Great-Gay-Sex type of book. I got aroused, but not as much. I put it back. I drove home in a fog, almost trembling. What the hell is wrong with me?

I actually do not get very much enjoyment out of seeing a naked woman. Or was it the guy in the sex book I was attracted too? Or just the basic intimacy of two people, no matter their gender?


I hate this. I hate my life. I hate my confusion.

How can I one day post about him and then three days later say, "I don't even know if I'm gay"? Or "Maybe I just like gay pictures, but not gay guys"? And why do I keep returning to my little computer in search of guys to chat with and have a sexual experience with? Please help me. I'm slipping away.

I know I'm new to the blog-o-sphere. And I know I'm writing more for myself than for input, but I'm asking for a bit of input this time. Does your own journey hold some advice or wisdom for me?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006



Try as I might, I cannot stop thinking of you. I cry over you. I dream of you. Over and over and over.

The time we spent together, though short, was wonderful. My words were few, but my heart was full. When you first hugged me, I felt wonderful, and I wanted you to feel wonderful too. I could have stood there all night, hugging you. When you walked around your car to open the passenger door for me, I melted. When you took my hand, I did not want to let go. When you kissed me, your face lit only by the quiet moonlight of the night, I was both lost and found at the same time.

You held me, and I held you. I cried as you held me, but could hardly explain why. I fell asleep in your arms, or maybe you fell asleep in mine. I suppose I cannot quite remember. There was peace.

But now? You are so Far Away. Every time Nickleback's newest radio release plays through my car, you are there. I imagine dancing slowly with you, with my head on your shoulder. But I cannot leave my head there, because I want to see your eyes too, to watch your face and see your brilliant smile.

Thank you. I miss You.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Romantic Chats, even at gay.com

I could just about cry. Yesterday I did what I do so often when I'm home alone. I long for a bit of company. I long to express that part of me that has so few other means of expression. I logged onto gay.com and went into the Cyber room.

Usually I don't find many people there interested in chatting. It can really be hit or miss. But yesterday, it was very different. I started chatting with someone from another part of the country, and there was a little tiny spark. A hit, if you will. Sometimes in the cyber room I find myself chatting in ways that I would never actually act. I play a role or whatever. Not yesterday. I was myself. I was completely myself. Everything I typed into my chat window was something I have imagined doing. Yes, things got X-rated. But still, it was one of the most beautiful chats I have ever had, hands down.

I am very much a romantic. I long to hold a man, to kiss him softly, to experience intimacy on every possible level. It simply seems right to me, and when I think in those terms, I get an erection. (Never get that reaction when the object of my affection is a woman.) And as this chat progressed, I simply wrote what I would do with someone I loved dearly. And my chat partner responded in kind. Gentle touching, quiet kisses, periods of simple silence, of getting lost in the depth and simplicity of another man's eyes, erotic nearness, passionate care, physical enjoyment.

Is it so wrong to want to hold another man? Or to be held by the same? Am I nuts to acknowledge the reality that pictures like this one speak to me on a very very deep level, whereas images of male-female couples do not? I long for this, yet most of me believes it will never happen. The rest of my life will be marked by chats at gay.com. After the big 'climax,' I will clean myself up, then crawl into my queen sized bed--ALONE. Leaving only my sheets and my pillowcase to witness my tears, as I let die all those dreams of being with a man who I can love, a man who loves Jesus, a man I can serve and spur on to his full potential, a man who loves me. A man with whom I can fulfill my fantasies, and I his.

Or is the ultimate sadness not in my dreams, but in the way they are currently handled, as a fantasy at a computer screen, rather than as a piece of my journey of adventure as I figurative head west?

Crying once again...but looking west through my tears...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Tough comments over breakfast

This morning I ate breakfast with two friends, one who knows I am gay and one who does not. As we were talking about future vacation ideas, the "knows I'm gay" friend said she would like to support AIDS research and prevention by riding in an upcoming bike tour. The "doesn't know I'm gay" friend replied, I have better things to do that bike with 5000 homosexuals. It would be like having a target on my back. Me, in tight spandex? With a bunch of gays? They'd all be after me. I don't think so.


Stunned into silence, I hardly knew what to do next. So I just let the comment die on its own, not saying another word. There were so many choice responses. Like, Don't flatter yourself. or What the hell does that mean? or As if people riding to stop AIDS don't have anything better to do or any more maturity than to check out your package.

I guess what makes me most upset was that we had just all been in church together. And I didn't stand up for myself, or for all the other gay men and women out there to break down a stereotype. Should I have said something, no matter how uncomfortable the result? I honestly don't care that he insulted me personally. But he hurt my brothers who are gay. Brothers whom I love. Brothers that I know so well, who are so much more as gay men than what this friend has made them out to be.

Why does this road have to be so hard? Why must I fight battles that involve ignorance and unkindness?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Like a blender

My thoughts over the past two years have been nothing short of a blender on one of those high settings like 'Puree' or 'Pulverize'. It just seems as if I've come so far, yet my thoughts and feelings bounce around inside my head and will not stop. That's why I'm here, scribbling my ideas on a blog. If you're reading along, great. But really, this is for me. It's my spot to jot down some thoughts in hopes of finding peace.

Will I find peace between being gay and being Christian? Should I go participate in the local Exodus group? Will I find a partner? Can I be comfortable in my own skin, gay or not? Will that pillow I clutch every single evening while I dream of gently holding a man, his skin next to my own, ever be more than a pillow? Does my family accept me like this? Can I really set foot in my church with feelings like I have? Will my friends consider me second-class because I don't fit their mold or follow the well-worn script they have been through of finding a spouse, settling down, having children, and discussing which baby monitor is really the best?

For as long as I can recall, I knew I was different. For only the past two years, I have discovered why. Male forms, male companions, male smells, male touches. I simply prefer that over a female. Does that make me gay? It is a question that to many seems so basic and obvious; it is a question I have wrestled with for two years now. Before that, I just ignored the issue altogether. Honestly. I figured all guys did double-takes at beautiful men in board shorts at the beach. But once my princess walked into my life, once I courted the woman of my dreams, my preoccupation with men would fade away and I'd become interested in breasts.

Many days it is like being an infant all over again. Having to understand new ground rules that can be so cruel, especially in a conservative part of the country. Wondering if I can ever learn the 'gay game' well enough to play it...terrifying. So for now I just hope I can come out on the other side as a more whole man. But for now, I'm just trying to keep up with the blender.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Looking West

It's a start. To open my eyes and look west.

This is my story, the record of my journey, the chronicle of a man coming to grips with his sexuality, his faith, his world, his family and his own self.