I am a Christian. I am a gay man. Here is chronicle of my symbolic journey west, toward adventure, challenge, mystery and ultimately peace.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
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
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
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.