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

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year That is NEW

New Years may just be my favorite holiday, perhaps because it is among the most frivolous. New Years marks an arbitrary passage of one year into the next, and that’s about it. A change in the calendar. A lengthy day of college football. An attempt to remember to sign checks with the right date. (But does anyone really use checks anymore?) Anyone who uses a calendar—and I think that is just about everyone—participates. It’s an “all play.” We all get a fresh start.

Last year, I happened to be walking around my town on New Years Eve. There were people everywhere, impeccably dressed to the nines, ready to party and dance. I guess I had no idea so many drop-dead gorgeous people went out in expensive clothes clubbing all night for New Years. My New Years had tended to involve cocktail weenies from a crock-pot, some Pepsi in a plastic cup and a few friends watching Dick Clark--and now Ryan Seacrest--drop the ball in New York.

Three years ago, I spent New Years alone. I honestly just sat in my tiny apartment and watched the ball on my little TV, not wanting to face anything or anybody. As 2004 ended, I was really coming aware of being gay. I felt so alone, so flawed, so toxic that I did not want to see or do anyone. I still stayed up ‘til midnight; I saw 2005 come in on 13 inches of TV, alone, laying a borrowed couch. And even in my extreme sorrow and depression, I found hope in a New Year, a new set of days which hopefully meant something good.

There is something really hopeful about New Years. It gives everyone the opportunity to close out a less-than-ideal year and start in on a new one. No one gets exempted from New Years, though it seems each person has his or her own way to observe this passage of time. For some, there’s a great celebration of the wonderful things that happened in 2007 and keep building.

For someone else, there is the chance to start over. When the calendar flips from 12/31 to 1/1, we are back at the beginning. There will be another January 1 and another January 2. There will be a new February 1 and April 13 and July 29 and November 11 and December 25. There is something very fresh and new and even unknown.

So I toast you all, fellow journeyers. Happy New Year.

(Oh yeah, and if anyone needs to get me a late Christmas present, here’s an idea…)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Merry Little Christmas

Here comes Christmas 2007, and I just might survive it this year.

Christmas—and the entire holiday season for that matter—drives me up a wall every year. First off, the weather starts to deteriorate. I realize this is not Christmas’s fault, but I dislike the cooler weather that comes with the season. Second, the days get shorter and shorter. I go to work in the dark; I come home in the dark. It’s depressing, and I mean that quite literally. Although today, the 22nd of December, is one of my most hopeful days of the year because the light pendulum finally starts swinging toward longer days beginning today.

This year, I became completely baffled by how some Christian organizations deal with Christmas. I guess there’s a war on Christmas, and Christians across the country are now called to defend Christmas. Huh? I missed the part of the Bible where the followers of Christ were instructed to defend days. I am no expert here, and I’m too lazy to look it up, but didn’t Christians essentially hi-jack a winter solstice festival and attach the birth of Jesus to it? Shouldn’t the folks whose more earthy holiday got overrun be boycotting or protesting the Christians for taking it away?

Even more strange to me, there is supposedly some connection between a business using the word Christmas in its advertising and whether Christians should shop there. What’s with assigning public pressure or praise on retailers like Kohl’s or Lowe’s or Old Navy for the presence or absence of the word Christmas in the Sunday sale flyer? I do not care if Target uses the words Christmas or holiday or anything else. I do care if Bath & Body Works is selling great-smelling candles at a discount or if I can find a great deal on fleeces. Otherwise, not so much. The spiritual health of my community or country or even the individual citizens therein should not rest on how a department store advertises. AND IF IT DOES…then things are worse than I had thought. And now this week, now that Christmas is very much here, the same people who want to see Christmas advertising now say that we’ve let Christmas get too materialistic. But you just spent the last month demanding that Christmas be materialistic.

If anything, I would love to see all the stores advertise holiday sales rather than Christmas events. That would allow me and my Christian brothers and sisters to reclaim the Christmas moment to remember a very humble beginning of the mystery of God becoming a fragile person. I dislike how a small baby born to an unlikely virgin in a Middle Eastern barn has become attached to a multi-month-long marathon of stress, shopping and overeating. Give me a Christmas of small wonder and peaceful moments and leave the commercialization of the season be a holiday.

It is in the quiet between all the parties and food and gifts and shopping and crock pots and parades and candy canes where I find God. I find him saying, “Journeyman, in your quiet, you honor me. I know you are down. I know you struggle to keep up with the season, and you get confused by all the crazyness of this time of year. I know you hurt because you have unanswered questions and being with family and friends is really hard, even moreso now. But I am here. I came.”

Each time I hear this song, I stop and listen. I am reminded that even if my Christmas doesn’t look like anyone else’s, even if it is little or gay or merry troubled or light or golden or muddled, it still is Christmas. He came.



My friends, please...Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still Here

"Hey Everyone," the writer said, wondering if anyone was really left now that he has virtually abandoned his own blog.

I'm still around. Thankfully, I have made a couple steps forward. I have also been churning some ideas lately for some new blog posts, which I hope will materialize soon.

In any case, stay well folks, and treat yourself well.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sending Up A Flag

It's been bad lately. Really bad. I want to surrender.

I would guess I have some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, since I get really cranky and depressed each year as the days get shorter. Or perhaps I am just allergic to cold and snow, which would be a bad thing considering where I live. For the past six weeks, it has taken all my energy to get out of bed in the morning, show up for work and eat.

My self-esteem is back in the crapper. That statement, of course, presumes that my self-esteem must have left the crapper at some point. Given what I know about me, I just truly cannot imagine why anyone would think anything of me. Even on Thanksgiving, I pulled back from virtually everyone I know, because I would rather not tarnish anyone's Thanksgiving with my toxic presence. If I had my choice, I would hang out at home quietly today alone, hands occupied by some leftover ham pizza and a TV remote.

This pointless essay about self-pity could go on and on. Enough!! I will spare you the whole thing; you all know how the rest goes anyway. At this moment, this early moment on Thanksgiving morning, I am thankful for this group of people who have come by here looking for me. This band of men and women I have never met who kept asking where I had gone. I'm still trudging. Perhaps someday I can trade my white flag of surrender for a flag of pride. But not yet.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pictures

I've been thinking about pictures today. In fact, I put pictures in my blog posts more often than not. Today, I think I'll just leave them out, as if their absense drives part of my message.

Over the past few days, I have looked at some beautiful pictures of men. Oh man, beau-ti-ful!! This thing called the Internet connects millions of people at a moment's notice, and allows us to communicate in ways that boggle my mind at times. But it also brings pictures with it. Lots of pictures.

I'm not always certain what to do with my browsing of pictures. I'll honestly tell you that I find G-rated photos probably more appealing than the full out XXX version. I want to see someone's face, to see their smile and their eyes and their demeanor, if that's even possible to capture with a picture. (Can you photoshop something as vague as demeanor into a picture??)

So I'm left with this uneasy feeling as to what to do with pictures. Some friends of mine tell me I'm way way way too hard on myself about looking at "those kinds" of pictures of guys. And I am quite hard on myself, because I don't know that it's something God would want me to do. They tell me that most people look at those kinds of pictures. And I wonder if that really is true.

Then I think about what goes through my mind when I look at these pictures. It typically is not, "Boy, I'd like to do all sorts of things to that guy." I don't regularly get the stirring down below. Instead, I find myself appreciating the beauty I see in the male form. And I hear in my head all those things I heard my straight college friends say about straight pictures, about how God created the female body and it should be enjoyed. I do not question that so much, but I know that I personally have all those thoughts about dudes and images of dudes. Strangely, it gives me a small amount of comfort to know that while the object of my interests may be different from a majority of society, that the feelings that accompany those ideas are quite similar.

So what do I do with the pictures? Even the ones on my computer screen right now? Eliminate them? Enjoy them? Moderate them? Censor them? Thus ends my really odd ramble cleverly disguised as a blog post.

Take care, good friends. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Coming Out Day, 2007

Happy Coming Out Day, everyone.

Once again, I find myself uncertain what to do with this day. I'm really glad organizations like the Human Rights Campaign put together a Coming Out Day. It does create an opening for people like me to come out, or at least to assess where I am and where I am going with respect to being a publically out gay man.

(I even saw a rainbow this morning, as my work publically recognized Coming Out Day. I'm not so sure the people here would all affirm me, but it is reassuring to have a job at a place which recognizes and celebrates days like today.)

Like last year, I still find the Coming Out process a little awkward and unnecessary. It's not that I think I should live in the closet. Spend about two minutes here or at a bunch of other blogs and you'll see how much pain and anguish that causes. It's more that I have no earthly idea why I need to have this awkward conversation that may or may not go well to express to someone else that I find guys attractive.

Recently, I spent some time with some friends from the past who I haven't yet discussed Coming Out with. I wanted to tell them--or at least some of them--but I found myself wondering how to start the conversation and/or what to say when it happens. Again, it isn't that I'm requesting advice here, but more that I don't know why it has to be such a big deal. They didn't pull me aside to tell me they like the opposite gender. Likewise, they didn't sit me down to explain how they like Coke more than Pepsi or why they use their left hand instead of their right. They are my friends; my friends that I love and who love me. BIG DEAL if you have some this trait or that. Yet society has almost placed this obligation onto GLBT people to Come Out, as if we should be pre-identified or something. Rant over: Really folks, I find today to be more of a celebration than an obligation, and I'm not as sour on it as it appears. I'm just sharing, and perhaps even longing for a new day. A day when I am out of the closet. A day when "Coming Out Day" isn't an annual event assigned to particular spot on the calendar. A day when "Coming Out Day" isn't as necessary as simply Being Day.

To reassure you that I find Coming Out Day to be a positive, let me share something else than happened today. A thing called PRIDE. Honestly, today, for the first time that I can honestly recall, I wondered what my life could look like if I was PROUD and comfortable with who I am. I thought about Coming Out, and joining so many other gays who have broken down the obstacles for me. I want to be associated with people like Nate Berkus, the interior designer from Oprah.

Or Dale Levitski, the self-proclaimed big gay chef from Top Chef. Dude, you are so funny, and I sure was pulling for you, especially after you declared that the "queer eye guys have nothing on me." Thanks for coming back to cooking, and in so doing, thanks for giving us a chance to know who you are and what you're about.

Or Chad Allen, who I distinctly remember finding extremely cute during Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and who has wrestled with and found peace with the dual identities of gay and Christian. Thanks for raising money for AIDS research, and for doing so shirtless, Chad!!

And there is one other group of people with whom I want to be grouped. They are people that I probably have never met, and may never. They are people who stop by here and check in from time to time. They are authentically on their own journey, figuring things out along the way and encouraging the rest of us to keep on trudging. To guys like Steve and Warren on the shores of Lake Superior and Dave in Cleveland over on Lake Erie, thanks. And Peterson--who to my knowledge doesn't live on one of the Great Lakes--your unique humor and the form in which you deliver it is amazing, and your blog profound. You all kept me going by lifting me up, and by letting me read your stories in the "Blogosphere." (I realize naming a couple people in a blog entry is dangerous because I risk leaving other people out. Just go check out some of the blogs in the right column. There's some great reading and profound wisdom just one click away.)

I'm not sure I will come out to anyone today. At one point, I had even considered making today the day I threw back the veil of anonymity on this blog by posting my name and picture on it, but I can't do it just yet. As for the future, we'll see how things go. But just considering being out, however that ends up looking for me, is starting to sound pretty good.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dark Closet

This morning, I opened a closet door (a literal one, not a figurative one), flipped on the light switch, and after a little burst of blue light and a quiet puffing sound, the light bulb went out.

I tried to select clothes as well as I could in the dark. I'm already challenged enough in this department, and certainly didn't get any fashion sense when the gay card was issued to me. I wish Tim Gunn or the Queer Eye guys would stop by and help me out.

And it dawned on me like a light bulb (a figurative one, not a literal one) that it's dark inside this closet. Hmmmmmmm......

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Calming Down

I got myself calmed down a bit from the last post. It wasn't easy or pretty, and I spent the better part of a weekend wandering through the valley of loneliness. And I got some good sleep, which for me is often is 80% of feeling better. That said, I am really quite happy to have gotten that blog spot written, because those were feelings and ideas I have been fighting with for a long time but hadn't been able to actually put to words until last week.

My counselor and I had a long talk about these feelings, and after a time she encouraged me to hang in there, and to work on focusing on those times when I truly am content and happy. I am beginning to realize that I am a pretty good guy, for the most part, who happens to find men attractive. And some of the temptations and struggles I face are quite similar to any other guy, but they manifest themselves differently and have different objects of desire.

I am praying for the day when I can be proud of myself. I'm awaiting the time when I can think of myself as a guy who likes guys and not collapse in shame. And honestly, I'm getting there. It's not as bad as it used to be. Life is a journey, right? And I am the Journeyman, right?

Thanks to everyone who reads and writes comments. You each put such thought and wisdom into what you leave here for me to read, and I am floored that some of you would write to someone who you haven't met (probably), and who hasn't revealed himself yet.

Take care, my friends.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm just wondering when things start getting better, or when the questioning stops, or when the uncertainty evaporates.

Without fanfare, or an outline, or even a sense of where this post will end up, here are my thoughts today.

There have been several times over the past few weeks that I have questioned everything.

Maybe I'm not even gay. Maybe I just like pictures of guys, and wish I had a body like theirs. Yeah, I would love to work outside without a shirt, but I can't put my friends or neighbors through that!! LOL Maybe if I quit surfing gay porn and jacked off to something "straighter," I would be different. Maybe if I actually wanted to be with a guy, then I wouldn't be the sexual novice I am today. Maybe if I knew which rug really could bring together all the colors of a room, then I would fit the mold a little better.

Besides, the load of being gay just seems like too much to bear. Maybe I am gay, but honestly, the crazyness that being gay brings with it is enough to push me right back into the closet. I don't want to get lambasted by John Hagee or James Dobson or somebody with a sign. I don't want to endure any more lectures from long-time friends who, immediately after giving me said lecture about how wrong it is to be gay, then won't talk to me at all. I don't want to be the weird sheep of the extended family who just keeps getting older but hasn't ever had a girlfriend. I don't want to be alone, knowing that my thoughts and lack of self-confidence put me into a prison that I wouldn't want to put anyone special through the trouble of breaking into.

Then today, I stumbled onto an interesting website from Joe Kort called Straight Guise. After looking around, I have a lot of respect for Joe and his writing style appeals to me. Even so, now I figure I fall into one of these categories of a straight guy who thinks he is gay for some other reason. It reset my whole damn mind. It's not Joe's fault; it is simply me being me.

Then again, put a picture of Salma Hayek in front of me, and I'll probably show a bit of interest and evaluate that she is beautiful. Show me a picture of Nick Lachey and you'll have my attention. (Isn't it obvious? Salma only gets a link; Nick gets a picture.) Yet I don't find myself drooling all over myself hoping to have wild jungle sex with a cute or hot guy. I just find them attractive.

(Complete tangent: I wonder how many times a mention of John Hagee and a shirtless picture of Nick Lachey have been in the same blog post.)

Ultimately, I'm tired of the uncertainty. And it seems like the very presence of uncertainty should be a pretty good sign that I'm not gay. After all, aren't most gay guys pretty certain they are gay. I mean, there's not a lot of doubt on this point, right? So why why why do I run around in circles and isolate myself and continually get stuck here? I know some of you readers have been through this with me before, and some of you are rolling your eyes because I'm back in this spot again. Just bear with me, OK? Thanks.

Friday, September 21, 2007

When you're buried, at least you have less chance of falling

I feel buried lately.

Work has been absolutely out of control, with me working lots of "bonus" hours over the past six weeks. Then there's the helping hand I have been giving my friends with whatever they need help with. The computer that won't work, the dishwasher that leaks, the garden that needs tending, the forms that need to be couriered from here to there.
But I also feel buried emotionally. I feel that at times I intentionally make myself so busy so as to avoid the quiet, those moments where thinking and struggling mix, those times in which I grow. After all, if I'm going at break-neck speed helping everyone else, collapsing into bed exhausted after going, going, going all day, I feel less pain. I can't spend time worrying about myself, or blogging, or thinking,...

...or growing.

I realize now that keeping my head down and plowing forward is a coping strategy I have employed for years. If I can just stay busy, perhaps helping other people, then I won't have to look at myself. And I wonder if that "selfless" principle is not so much an abundant love of the people in my life as it is a example of how my low self-esteem ranks me dead last on my list of things to care for and nurture.

But it does hurt less. I can't fall from a high place when I'm already buried.

So I am trying over the past few days to discover those things which mean something to me, those things to which I need to devote time and effort and love. Perhaps even those things to which God calls me.

Apologies to ya'll for the long blogging pauses, and especially to Dave who has been worrying about me. Get yourself well, buddy. I hoping to keep peddling, to keep moving forward, and to keep growing. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ready to Rest

I am worn out. (Insert large sigh and exhale here.)

Once again, I'm here apologizing for not blogging. But honestly, life has been absolutely on fast forward lately. I would LOVE to get some rest.

For now, just be sure that I am still continuing the journey, and I hope to write about it more soon.

Hopefully soon, hopefully.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Remember (Part 4)

Today is completely random. No big long stories to tell, just tiny little things that I figured every young boy thought growing up. Of course, none of this EVER was verbalized. The questions simply wandered around in my head, much like they do today.

I remember wondering why game shows never had male models. If the Price Is Right was going to give away a sailboat, why keep showing that busty Dianne in a one-piece? Maybe a shirtless guy in some board shorts would be nice.

I remember watching Miss America pageants and wondering when the male version of said event would be aired.

I remember actually seeing a clip from a male beauty pageant on a show like Entertainment Tonight. All those cute guys with great smiles and matching black and white speedos. Wow!!

I remember watching the summer Olympics, one of the rare times when this young boy, growing up with rabbit-ears TV in the country, could actually see swimming. Oh, those guys were so cute.

I remember not ever getting enough of watching Greg Louganis. (Maybe I had just an ounce of gay-dar, even back then.)

I remember being in junior high and visiting the metal shop owned by one of my Scout leaders. In his office, tacked to the wood paneling, was a pinup calendar of some lady wearing dental floss draped over a car. My reaction: Nice car. My second reaction: Why are the rest of the guys going nuts over that?

I remember church camp, when I had a really cute counselor. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name. Also unfortunately, he completely crushed my spirit me when he needed to borrow my flashlight, but couldn't remember my name, so he called me "Chubs."

I remember venturing into that one back-room at the video store and trying to rent straight porn (because I hadn't given much thought to being gay yet and I thought all guys watched porn), but leaving the store empty-handed because I didn't see any box covers that I thought would have enough "guy footage" for my taste.

I remember driving down Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood years and years ago and thinking, "You know, here are some of the places I've seen on the web." I prayed to God that the people giving me a tour of LA didn't notice.

I remember a youth pastor once explaining how important it was to not look at a girl's breasts. I should "bounce my eyes up," to look away from her breasts and concentrate on her face. Until that day, I hadn't ever looked at a woman's breasts in that way.

And lastly, I remember *loving* December because all of the new calendars would be in the stores for me to look at while my mom was Chrismas shopping. One word: Chippendales.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Life Happened

I feel kinda bad that I haven't been blogging lately. First, I miss the connection to some of you other bloggers and readers. Second, I've short-changed myself by keeping a lot of stuff inside rather than working through it in this written forum.

But blogging has taken the back seat to this thing called LIFE. Things have gotten goofy around my work and I've little time or energy left by day's end.

Sorry folks. I hope to rejoin the blogging world soon. I do kinda miss you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Remember (Part 3)

I remember my neighbor Daniel. He lived next to my dad, and so I didn't see him very often, maybe every other weekend and a few extra days during the summer. But I remember him nonetheless.

Daniel was a few years older than me, and he was beautiful. Me...I was the portly younger kid who wore "husky" size jeans and was quite ordinary. Daniel didn't come into the house all that much, but he did water ski with our family all the time. I even remember that he took to it right away. For months and months, I wiped out behind the boat unable to even get up on skis. Daniel got up on his first try and skied half-way across the lake.

Though I wasn't completely aware of it at the time, Daniel looked fine in a swimming suit. Smooth chest, abs, pecs, winning smile. He had it all. Plus, he was always really nice to me. As a pre-teen, could it be possible I wasn't aware of how much I liked Daniel? In the house on the other side of me was Karen. She was always nice too, but I really didn't care so much to keep track of her or her business. Daniel, however, I liked it when he came over.

Somehow or other, all of us were playing the famous childhood game of catch known as Pickle. I was a lousy thrower, catcher and runner, so I wandered around the game much more than I actually played it. There was no expectation that I could competently play the game, but I was welcome to be around.

This particular day, somehow Karen and Doug and their friends decided to play Strip Pickle, which made absolutely no sense to this little kid. I remember them telling me I didn't have to worry about losing, so I just did my normal wandering. But once Karen had gotten out 3 times, our little entourage went between the our houses and Karen got really really nervous. Before I knew what was happening, both on that day and in life, she unbuttoned her shirt and flashed the boys with her bra. Really, I've never seen anything happen so fast. I didn't think anything of it, other than I had never seen a girl without all her clothes before. (And given how quick the flash was, I probably still hadn't.)

Later, however, Daniel got out 3 times, and I realized Daniel was about to show Karen and the rest of the girls his penis. Panic struck me, because I had been on Daniel's "team," but again, they all assured me I didn't have to do anything. And right there, right then, Daniel unzipped his pants and showed Karen and her friends his dick. This was no flash, folks. Daniel put it on display for a while. And I stared.

Nothing happened in me. I didn't want to have sex with him, I didn't have a boner. (Who knows if I was even capable of one then.) I didn't think very much of it at all, I guess. But I did feel a bit more of a man that day, perhaps in the same way my straight counterparts feel when they've first seen the flesh of a woman.

I'm not even sure why I put this story here. But I do remember. Maybe somebody can tell me what it means.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Remember (Part 2)

Stop #2 down Journeyman's memory lane involves this guy: Jim Palmer. I believe he was a major league baseball pitcher. I posted a picture of him yesterday near the bottom of my post. There, he's looking quite stately behind a neat little podium giving what is probably some inspirational speech to an adoring crowd. Here, he's burned into my memory as "The Underwear Guy."

About the same time as the girly porn incident I describe in Part 1 of my tale, I saw this picture. I can still recall the place, a hair salon on the 2nd floor of an old building that still stands today. Next to the color television complete with rabbit-ear antennas and tin foil on a flimsy TV cart was a stack of magazines that I began to flip through. Why a pre-teen boy was leaving through magazines waiting for his mom to get her hair done on a summer morning is beyond me. It would have been much more logical for me to watch "The Price Is Right." But there I was, and there Jim was. I stared and stared and stared, then stuck one finger in the page while pretending to keep flipping, but my finger bookmark gave me quick access to return and look some more.

In the weeks that followed, I remember seeing him laying out on billboards around town. I remember leaving through magazines at home, searching for another ad and promising that once I was grown up and could buy my own underwear, I would buy the Jockey brand. But alas, I never did buy those Jockey briefs. LOL

That incident, however, gave birth to the idea that I could look at displays of underwear at the store in hopes of catching some very nice looking guy on the package. Able to navigate the department store on my own, I would ask my mom if I could walk around for a bit on my own, perhaps to look at toys. Once safely out of her sight, off to the men's underwear section I went, amazed that anyone could look so beautiful and even taking in the sight of mannequins dressed in only tighty whities. Ugh...it's almost embarrassing to think that I found the mannequins interesting. They were plastic, for crying out loud.

Even so, the Sunday advertisements followed, where I realized several things: (1) The guys underwear section was typically just beyond the midway point of any weekly sale insert. (2) The guys got significantly less space. (3) I could look anytime I wanted in the Sears catalog always stored underneath our living room couch.

Once again, I feel foolish now, but not really because this happened or that I found excitement (no, not that type) in the men's underwear section. More because that would have been a sure tip that I was a little gay boy, but that thought never entered my simple mind. I wasn't consciencely denying that I had attractions to these guys. It was more that I figured this happened to all boys. Everyone must like the guys underwear pictures, but we were all too scared to admit it. It wasn't until years later--perhaps decades--that I learned the truth, that most small boys thought it was gross and spent their time a few pages to the left, in the bra section of the Sunday inserts.

Some people will say I simply wanted to look like these guys. They would be right. I did want to look like them, but I was also fascinated in a way I could not explain at the time. And even today I have a hard time explaning myself. That's part of why I feel so confused here sometimes. I'd like to know that what I feel is more than attraction to a picture. I think it is, but far more of my memories revolve around pictures than around actual real boyhood friends.

I guess I'm a little melancholy today. Remembering is tough, and sometimes painful. I'm glad to do it, and hopeful that someone will understand. Still, it would be nice to have a memory about a real guy than about the Sears catalog or the mannequins at JCPenney. It might make me a bit more sure of myself.

More journeying to come, my friends...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Remember (Part 1)

One of the parts of my story that doesn't make any sense to me is that I spent a lot of my life not really being aware of being gay. Some people can say that they knew when they were 6 years old that they were gay. I can't say that. I didn't have a serious conversation with myself about being gay until I was well beyond 25 years old. From reading previous posts here, you might even think I STILL don't have it figured out, and you'd be partially right. But then, a lot of my development seems to have been behind the norms.

I thought I'd take some energy and go back in time, thinking and trying to remember. I'm not certain how long this will go on, how many blog entries I might have on remembering. I suppose it's simply my first crack at a series. And it is my true hope that someone will read along and identify with something, or perhaps even identify with me.

I can remember getting the mail one day, and based on which house we lived in at the time, I had to be 12 or younger. In the mail was a over-sized envelope with all sorts of warnings about censored material and age requirements and the like. I guessed it was dirty pictures or women, something that I honestly can't recall being exposed to before then. I can remember not really having a strong desire to open the enticing envelope, but I was more curious than anything. What was all the fuss about? And perhaps I should look at what was inside the envelope so I would avoid it in the future. (Kinda justifying my case, I guess.)

So I hid in the house, and opened the forbidden envelope. And inside were a few more glossy envelopes and as expected, naked women. I'm guessing, though I guess I really don't know for certain, that most preteen boys would be lost in amazement, excited about the gold mine they had intercepted between the mailbox and the house. Me? I was simply bewildered. And to be honest, kinda freaked out. I didn't like what I saw; I might have called it unpleasant. I didn't get it, I guess. All these women in various suggestive poses and leaving nothing--and I mean nothing--to the imagination. My thoughts were not, "This is wrong; I shouldn't be looking at this." It was more like, "Ick. Girls are yucky." Perhaps I thought they all had cooties; all I know is that I was not interested, just confused.

Now I had to dispose of the evidence, so I took the pictures and ripped them up, stuffing the bits of paper back into the original outside envelope and hiding them at the bottom of the trash, somewhere underneath moldy leftovers thrown out from the fridge.

Perhaps I was shocked, or scarred, or not old enough to know what I was looking at. In any case, it did nothing for me, and still wouldn't. I can honestly tell you that to this day I still have yet to endure one of those "young boy" rites of passage, leafing through a Playboy magazine. No interest. None. Zero. I guess I really could read Playboy just for the articles.

Tangent: I do sometimes watch Girls Next Door on E! It's a show about Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends at the Playboy mansion. I think it's more funny than anything. And I wonder if sometimes I watch simply to test myself, wondering if I'll be at all attracted to or aroused by this slightly racy fare. I have concluded that the women are beautiful, but that they look best in clothing, and that I wouldn't ever care to be all that close to them. Tangent ended.

I have no idea what the hell this all means. Maybe all boys get confused and somewhat disgusted when they first run across girly pics. Or maybe just the gay ones. And I suppose I'm in that latter group, especially based on the other two memories I have from that same time period. This picture is a small teaser.

And I want to end this by saying that I really appreciate all of you read my blog and that leave comments here. The idea that you stop in, read, process and sometimes respond to my thoughts is completely amazing to me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Frustrated

This pretty much sums it up lately.

Frustrated at work.

Frustrated with finances.

Frustrated with too much free time.

Frustrated that when I try to plan something, 18 other things happen that derail me.

More than anything, Frustrated with myself.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Staying Ahead of the Wave

Whoa! It got a little quiet in here.

I think I feel lately like this surfer. I'm staying ahead of the wave, but just barely. And one false move and I will be swallowed. It's been a very busy time for me, which can be good because it keeps my mind occupied. A couple of days of time away are my reward.

I'm OK though. I really am. The journey is brutal, but at least for today, I'm able to make something of it.

Happy 4th!

Monday, June 18, 2007

One out of Two isn't bad

After a lengthy conversation with myself, during which I alternatively won and lost several times, I went to the gay pride celebration near me. Overall, I felt OK. I met a few people I knew (no surprises, though!). I really wanted to learn more about one organization with a booth, so I spent all my extroverted energy at once talking with someone I didn't know named Eric.

I didn't arrive with anyone, and just to calm any inquiring minds, I didn't go home with anyone either. LOL I just summoned some courage to go, and found that I survived.

Gay Pride...I think I at least one of those two words apply to me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crushed

I'm just needing to keep mulling over what I wrote yesterday. Once I re-read my post, I realized it sounded a bit more dismal than I had intended. I'm not typically dragging my tired self around whining about singleness. I just know that I am quite introverted and that I enjoy my time alone. Probably a little too much, and so I choose to stay by myself in situations when I should be a bit more social. I suppose it makes joining the gay community hard when I'm not very outgoing. But I also know this has little to do with the gay aspect and much more to do with fear of joining a new community. It could be a new gym, or a support group, or a alumni association; I'm just not comfortable in new groups or any sort.

Someone told me yesterday of a crush he had from way back when on another guy, and how hard he had fallen for him, etc, etc. That reminded me that I can't recall most any time when I had a crush, male or female. That really bothers me. Wouldn't this puzzle called my sexuality be more clear if I had had some sort of undeniable crush at some point? I was just on my own; I never thought much about dating or having someone special in my life or whatever.

In fact, not so long ago someone said, "Everyone has crushes." I beg to differ. Not me. Perhaps I had crushes and have completely forgotten them, or that my poor self-esteem prohibited me from even considering a crush, or that I have just pushed away intimacy of any sort. I don't know.

So I come across a picture like these two hotties. And I imagine how nice it might be to wrap my arms around another guy, or to be held. It's exciting to me, and I even can tell you I think about something like this FAR more than I think about sex. But I cannot think of any guys from high school or college who I had a real-life crush on. Those ideas make this picture more of an idea in fantasy than something I think might actually happen to me.

I can think of one singular time in my life when I truly got flustered over a guy. Of all places, I was eating a burrito at a counter by myself when this very rugged guy in jeans and a blue shirt walked in unaccompanied. He was about my height and just looked good, his stubbly beard was beautiful. How exciting was it for me to peek to my left as he ordered and watch stealthfully from behind as he ordered. I was truly speechless, kinda fumbling by now with my napkin and praying to God I wouldn't be ridiculously obvious. I truly couldn't stop staring.

Of course, he came and sat down right beside me. By now I've managed to drop rice all over the floor and I'm futilely trying to be interested in the magazine I had been reading at my counter. I wanted so badly to say HI or something, anything. But doubt came, my fears resurfaced, he was out of my league. My one crush...there at the burrito place; I didn't even know his name. I lingered for as long as I thought I could, then picked up my stuff and went on my way, resealing myself back into my insulated world.

Hmmm...That was a bit of a tangent, I guess. Something of a daydream. Anyway, I'd like to have had one crush at some point or another. I'd like to think my world is composed of more than touched-up photos of hunky guys I can add to the blog. Crushes are just foreign to me, I guess, and that leaves me just a bit crushed.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Be good to yourselves.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Loner

I've always been a loner. I am certain that if someone came into my neighborhood asking about me, they would say I was the quiet guy who had some nice flowers out front but generally kept to himself.

I was an only child and grew up in a rural setting. There were no best friends or sidekicks or buddies whose house I could wander into unannounced whenever I pleased.

Often, I imagine my future, and I am sure that it will be me alone, and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's not so much that I want it that way as that I just figure it will be. I'm quite shy and would just wet myself from fright if I ever wandered into a gay bar and got hit on. Not that I'm all that concerned about getting hit on. Or of me hitting on anyone else. I wouldn't know what to say.

Besides, I'm so much more about a great conversation than anything physical that I'm certain much of the crowd would find me boring. Last summer a friend dragged me into a bar where we watched the cutest go-go boy; he was adorable. (Something along the lines of Steve Sandvoss from Latter Days.) He was not the most muscled guy there, but he was certainly the nicest, in my book. When he got done dancing, he walked out still shirtless and smiling. I thought to myself: "I just wish I could walk down the street with him and talk. Find out more about him. Laugh a bit." There was no fantasy of a "happy ending" or a passionate naked wrestling match. Just a hope of making a friend--one who looked damn fine in swimwear!!

Why do I even write about this?? I guess because it feels both counter-cultural and yet cheap at the same time. I mean, I'm not looking for a hookup or a big sex fest. But I also understand my physical draw to attractive men. And layered over all this is a sense that I'm quite broken and confused inside and that I'm no catch and that I'm so uncomfortable with myself much of the time that even if someone did show interest in me, I'd *have* to question their judgement. (And when you have no gaydar--I mean none--that's not so helpful either.)

And so I drift more toward being a loner than anything. It seems less likely that I'll be disappointed that way. It seems less likely that someone will criticize me if I just stay on my own. It seems less likely that anyone will notice that I feel guilty for being attracted to guys if I just work alone. It sucks, and I'm trying to work toward undoing some of this fear. I even made some really basic plans with some friends tonight just so I wouldn't be home alone tonight. Small steps, I guess, on what seems like a road thousands of miles long.

Kinda scared. Kinda frustrated. Kinda stuck. (Happily no longer sick!) Kinda disappointed in myself for another loss in the porn battle. Kinda sure that my life would be perfect if I just preferred women. (And realizing how irrational that thought is.) But trying to understand and work through it all in the meantime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sick

Leave it to me, the guy who hasn't been seriously sick in years, to break that streak in a most unmistakable way. I went on vacation, and noticed not more than 5 hours after leaving home that I was getting sick. I tried to be valient, but two days later I finally gave in and headed to an ER to get some help for an infection. I spent the rest of my vacation trying to get better from the inside of a hotel and felt quite good as I was leaving for home, until...

While flying home I thought, "Why am I getting the sniffles?" Of course, that's because I was about to get sick AGAIN with something else. I am blessed with good insurance and the ability to take care of myself, but I still say being sick sucks.

For a while I was stuck, then I was sick. God, could I just please be neither of those??

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stuck

Looks like the furball got stuck, even in spite of KJ's sound advice. I haven't taken the time to process a few things, and I'm heading away for the weekend.

But to those of you who embrace prayer as a part of your life, I would ask for your support. I'm tired, I'm a bit cranky, I do feel stuck, in many many ways.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wow

Wow! Put something referring ex-gay in the blog and watch what happens! There are some amazing comments from lots of differing perspectives, so thanks for chiming in.

The long weekend got me mulling over a nasty 'furball of thought'. I'm still processing it, but when it comes up, I sense it may not be overly pleasant to look at. Even so, it is my journey, and I find that the more honest I can be here, the more I learn about myself. The journey continues.

Monday, May 21, 2007

An Ex-Gay Therapy Badge?

Hello Blog. We haven't talked in a while. But then, you know how things have been for the past two weeks. A lot of happiness, some big milestones accomplished, an unhappy but not-as-bad-as-it-used-to-be couple days and the ever-present lots of thinking.

Today, I'm thinking about ex-gay stuff, and reparative methods in general. I once sought therapy for my attractions, but I could hardly say I was 100% committed to the cause. I did it to make some other people happy, in hopes that they would dislike me less if they knew I had done something to be other than gay. I went about 4 times, and consistently felt like I was being almost herded into saying I liked some guys because they had qualities I did not. That said, my therapist was an extremely nice guy. I have no doubt he was doing what he thought was best, and that he truly cared about me.

Very quickly, I learned the right answers, much like a Sunday school class. I knew the pat things to say to make the therapist happy, to pass the test that I wasn't even taking. I have always been one to get A's, to regurgitate information that I knew would produce a satisfied educator. So ex-gay therapy was sort of interesting, because I had done so much reading on it head of time that I knew what was coming.

And also, I wasn't in a big hurry to be straight. If I really look inside of me, I know that I'd like to wake up next to a man that I love. I want to share life with him, especially the ordinary parts like buying groceries and vacuuming out the car. And then there is simple physical attraction; I just don't have very much interest in the female form. Can I evaluate that a woman is beautiful? Yes. Does a woman's body interest me physically? Not really. I didn't see how therapy was going to change that, nor did I have an absolute self-mandate that I come out straight at any cost. Yes, it would be much more socially comfortable to hold hands with a woman in public and have a typical marriage and family and look the part. Things would be easier, but I didn't want it. I didn't want a physical or romantic relationship with a woman--I never have. I simply want the social comfort of conforming and not being different.

I prayed that God would make me straight, but quite half-heartedly. I wanted to hold a man, and be held by him. I went to therapy, but didn't give it 100% of my effort. I certainly cannot say I did everything in my power to be straight...like so many gay people have said.

Soooo...do I not qualify for the gay Christian club? Am I supposed to go through the experience of the ex-gay and reparative ministries before I have the credentials to be a normally-adjusted gay Christian? What if for once--for one damn time in my life--I decided that I really knew that I am more attracted to men and actually tried to work that out in a Godly way rather than conform once again to what so many in my conservative surroundings would love for me to do? Do I have to have the ex-gay therapy badge to be authentic? Or accepted? Or do I just get to stand up for myself and say "I really don't want to go. It seems a bit silly and unnecessary to me"?

Do I have to prove something to myself? Or can I just trust myself, using the beautiful discerning mind God placed within me?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Chemistry

I saw this ad on TV a couple nights ago and laughed so hard I nearly fell onto the floor.



Of course, I know nothing of the website it promotes, but what a funny concept.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Odds and Ends

I have been quite hunkered down in work and school lately, so my time has been limited. (Note: I'd like to say I'm quite the hunk, but that would be oh-so misleading.)

I simply want to say thanks to the many many people who stop by here from time to time and leave comments. They really do mean something special to me. To think that you took time to browse, read and write really astounds me. And I appreciate the encouragement.

I am just me, writing my thoughts down more for me than for any reader, but glad to have you along for this goofy journey.

Blessings, my friend. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Big Deal?

I was thinking pretty hard the other day. I was sharing some of my lingering anxiety over my sexuality and my mis-handling of it with a trusted friend. He asked me a revealing question: Did I feel all that anxiety and guilt when I'm surfing porn? And comparitively, did I feel the same anxiety and guilt on the few occasions when I actually experienced closeness with another man? (And I'm not using "closeness" as a ephemism for sex. I truly mean closeness, nothing more.)

I recalled those times when I held a man, or he held me. I remembered how peaceful I felt inside. We could just be close, and quiet. I might gently run my hands over his shoulder, or look into his eyes. Or he would touch his nose to my scruffy beard. Really, just those sugary things that I find amazing about closeness to a man. Maybe closeness would even take the form of a long deep conversation, or of wiping away a large single emotional tear.

All the anxiety I write about here and all the confusion and the unending questions and the analysis. For a few fleeting moments, it would be gone, chased away by the tender care or even the physical warmth of another man.

And as I reflected on those few-and-far-between moments, I wondered why some people seem to stake their lives upon making gay people feel bad. Is it really that big a deal? For me to experience one bit of closeness with another guy? We're not having sex, we're not even kissing. And though I really like this picture, all my clothes and his also are still ON.

We're just enjoying a moment of mutual peace and quiet. At that instant, I'm not clamoring for acceptance or marriage benefits or marching down the street with a bullhorn. I'm simply finding a peaceful spot for myself, and it happens to be with another man. And some want to paint me as the herald of the downfall of America, as the twisted fore-bearer to the Virginia Tech shootings, as the guy with a disgusting lifestyle.

WHAT'S THE BIG DAMN DEAL???

"This" is what you're upset about? This closeness that happens in private. This intimacy where I actually understand what it is to be loved and cared for, where I catch a glimpse of God's tender embrace? And you want to make my life miserable? Call me names? Point at me and laugh? Roll your eyes? Move away? Be silent?

It's the one spot in my life where I find peace. Where my thoughts do not race. Where guilt and fear do not govern my life. Maybe it is a big deal after all, just for different reasons.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

On vacation

I'm back. Of course, who knew I was even gone?

I took myself on a vacation (ironically, I went west. Of course, to get home, I had to go east again.) Getting away was good for me. I got some thinking done and made some courageous moves for me. Nothing major, and nothing I feel like diving into here at the moment. But still, I shed some tears, experienced some openness and honesty with myself and some friends and went outside my comfort zone in some major ways. All in all, I am proud of myself. And if you have read this blog for ANY length of time, you know how un-proud of myself I typically am.

There is a lots perking in my mind again. So hopefully I'll take the time to come here and work through some things.

And for whatever reason, there has been a definite uptick in the number of hits on this blog. So no matter what brought you here, welcome. Feel free to walk with me for a while. I typically do not bite, and welcome the company.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Distractions

It's another one of those slop-fest kind of days. I've had so much on my plate lately that I've really been going at full speed for work and school and the like. Not much time to spend on me, which has been good and bad. Good because I get to focus on something other than me. Bad because busy tmes seem so much like a distraction, a balm, almost like a pain-killer to what churns inside me.

I've stayed away from the porn monster for about a week now, and that makes me proud. I would say it makes me happy, but I'm not so sure that's the case. I would LOVE to spend some time looking at some built guys on-line or on a DVD, but I know where that usually puts me, and the frame of mind that I have after looking. So I'm staying away from that for now.

I feel so different. So different from everyone...gay or straight. I have a very hard time accepting love from people around me because I convince myself I am not like them. That I am different, unworthy, or whatever. I know, I know. Someone is reading this and thinking, "Journeyman is at it again, on one of his down days." Even isolating. Yep. I just want to know that I'll come out of some of my confusion whole, and loved by my friends, and loved by God.

What a random post today!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Trouble

Yesterday was not a good day.

I really got down. And when I get down and I'm bored, my on-line trouble roars its fiercest threat and rears its ugly head highest. I started surfing porn again.

I wonder if deep down I either don't believe there is anyone out there for me or if I just feel so alone with my feelings that I medicate them with porn. Some days I just long to experience my sexuality; but I don't have the balls to actually hookup with someone. I even wonder if I should hookup. I mean, at the very least, I would be with someone else instead of taking care of business all alone.

And after the porn, I feel so guilty inside, so gross, so ugly, that I just want to fall asleep and not wake up. I feel so inadequate and unlovely and so certain that I'll be alone. Is it possible I take all those feelings of ugliness and pour them onto my sexual orientation, rather than the inappropriateness of its expression? I mean, maybe I layer all kinds of guilt onto myself for being gay, when really it's just that I don't handle my sexuality in a very healthy way right now. I've been known to mutter to myself, "I wouldn't feel this bad inside if I was straight." Could that be true?

History shows I'll snap out of this funk. But for this moment, I just don't feel so great. I want to be held; I want to be held my someone who loves me and cares for me and may not even say a word until I'm ready. I want him to hold me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring

Lazy. I've gotten lazy about my blogging again.

But, in my defense, spring is arriving. Spring is my very favorite time of year, when grass turns from brown to green and things hidden underground begin to push their leaves and flowers upwards. I love it. Thank you, God, for spring. And for things which grow and become new.

Speaking of growing, I tripped across this fascinating blog entry at Pam's House Blend. I truly can't tell you much about Pam or her blend, so I issue a mild disclaimer that "all views and opinions are not necessarily those of the management." Even so, I enjoy the blog.

In this entry, Pam talked with Joe Murray, a former columnist from the American Family Association (AFA). I wince a bit when I hear about the AFA, because I find much of their talk unfair. I occassionally listen to the AFA's daily half-hour round-table discussion about family issues and get so terribly frustrated. I sometimes have to force myself not to listen because I get condemned as a gay man during nearly every episode.

Anyway....Joe Murray has left the AFA and wrote an editoral about General Peter Pace's recent comments on homosexuality. Among other things, Mr. Murray strongly questioned the AFA's intense focus on homosexuality. That's quite amazing, given that he once worked for the AFA. So Pam interviewed Joe Murray to more fully understand his views and understandings on many issues, among them homosexuality.

It's a long read, but a truly intriguing one as well. Take a look when you get the chance. My appreciation goes to Joe Murray for explaining himself quite thoughtfully and to Pam for providing the forum for this thoughts.

Take care, my friends.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dialog


Or it is dialogue? I'm never quite sure.



I simply want to say thanks to those of you who read and include such insightful comments. There is incredible wisdom out there in the blogosphere. I'm simply glad to be learning from it.

Typically, I've shied away from responding to comments. But today there was just some neat stuff in the comments section from my last post (which was more an spiritual tantrum complete with emotional vomitting) that I wanted to write about.

Pomoprophet starts by writing about honesty and asking what our church might be like if we were all this honest. I agree that we would all be disgusted. Imagine how many churches could even endure such honesty without ripping apart. Perhaps a different definition of "church" helps here. My best friends, the ones I let on the inside of this ridiculous struggle, are the ones who had ugly problems themselves. There is the married couple who was once headed straight to divorce court, but almost no one knew. There was my friend who told me about his own porn battle. Not that he has licked the problem, but I've looked up to him ever since. There's the girl who was shunned from church because she wasn't a virgin, but really is now living her life as one. We're the outcasts, the collection of people Eric blogs about, the real ones, perhaps even the survivors. I'll march with you anytime; I have to believe Jesus would have too.

eXnihilo encourages me by saying, "Keep your chin up, you're doing fine." To which I say, "right back at all of you, dear readers." I so often fail to see the progress I make, but I would cause you deafness in one ear reminding you that you are OK, that you will make it. What a mess I have so often, but I'm so appreciative that you'll not ignore the disaster but love me in the midst of it. I find God in that kind of love.

And KJ. Dear KJ. How many times have you extended a virtual hug to me? All of you readers--go back and read his comments. Right now. Stop and read them. I'm so glad being gay is more than an erection when provided a certain stimulus. (That's the message I get from the world. And possibly from the traditional church.) It is the ability to fall in love with the someone of the same gender, and I know that has happened to me. It's not something I've discussed much here, and most times those love relationships have ended in excruciating pain. The reasons they ended had little to do with being gay, and more to do with misplaced priorities. I blamed my pain on being gay; perhaps it was just that I was human.

Contining...you are but one evangelical gay boy who finds himself on the cusp of a new thing that the Spirit is breathing. That's an astounding reality. Thank you for a word picture that illustrates it for me, KJ.

Have a happy weekend. I hope to.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ugh!

I'm summoning my "title" Blogger picture for my post today, because it is exactly how I feel. The past 2 hours of my life, the past couple months, maybe even the last several years, I just want to hang my head. And be warned...this post is probably going to head a lot of directions at the very same time. (How appropriate...it's just like my mind.)

I've got a porn issue.

I want it to go away.

But it doesn't.

There. I said it. Or at least I wrote it down.

I just spent a while looking at gay pornography, and I'd like to gouge out my eyes to match that empty feeling I have in my heart. In fact, I honestly feel sick right now. Falling into temptation once again, without the discipline to stop it.

Reality is that I enjoy the male body. I always have. I find the female form much less attractive. There have been times I see a nude woman and I actually involuntarily scrunch up my face. Many years ago, I remember rushing into the 'backroom' at the local video store. I watched straight porn...always checking out the guys. I stood in the room; I saw all the box covers, 98% of which were women, and wondered where all the covers of guys were. And on the few occassions when I did rent straight porn, I would make my decision by attempting to figure out which videos would have the most guy screentime. And yet EVEN THEN it didn't occur to me that I was gay. That is SOOOO aggrevating!!!

What is it with me and not clueing into being gay for such a long time??!!?! Maybe for a long time I'd rather be clueless than gay.

My freshman year of college, I was hanging out in a common area of a girls' dorm. Someone was passing around a magazine. The exact title escapes me, but it was something like a Seventeen. The girls were looking at a full-page ad featuring this muscled sweaty guy with black curly hair wearing a smile and a speedo. The girls laughed at how gross it was. I laughed along, and the magazine made its way around the room, its last stop at my lap. I said, "Ewww" as well. Then put my finger at the page and sublty laid it in my lap. When no one was looking, I re-opened the magazine and took a look. Beauty! I looked a second and a third time, but obviously was not careful enough. Jenn, the tall girl with the blonde hair, said to me but for the whole room to hear, "You've looked at that guy three times now." I was mortified, but I didn't even consider that I was gay. Maybe at the time I would rather have been mortified than gay.

Even before that, I remember the summer day after 8th grade that I visited my out-of-state cousin. She had posters in her room, something I never had. And above her bed was an another sweat-soaked adonis on a black-and-white poster. It was a PG-rated poster, but the guy was taking off his jeans, obviously not wearing underwear. The caption read, "Not all men are created equal." I could not stop looking at it. I wanted a poster like that, but I didn't know I was gay. Maybe at the time I would rather have been obvilivious than gay.

I like looking at guys. I don't like looking at girls. Period. Does that make me gay? Does my interest in gay porn over straight porn make me gay? Does my desire to hold and be held by a man make me gay?

Lots more to follow folks. Be prepared. I don't even know if this made sense. And I cannot believe I'm writing this, even anonymously.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Letting Go

Boy, I've really been letting the blog go lately. Go nowhere. If anyone is left reading, my apologies. It's been a busy time lately, with lots to think about.

I'm hoping to be back soon. In the meantime, be good to yourselves.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Progress


Good news! I've been making some progress lately with my life.

Bad news! I've had so much to think about lately that it all gets jumbled up sometimes.

Nevertheless, I took great joy in my own laughter last night. I was watching The Family Guy on TV because I do not always care pomp that is the Oscars. And while I cannot actually remember any punchlines, I did laugh out loud several times. And that's something I haven't done in a long long time. It's as if my spirit is just a bit lighter and that God has lifted some of the burdens off my life of late.

For that I am very thankful. Now I just wish I could be a little more disciplined about stopping by here to process and work out my 'stuff.'

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love, Springer Style

What a train wreck. I actually watched a bit of a Jerry Springer rerun the other day. Wow...that's quite a show. Unfortunately, turning it off proved harder than expected. At first, thoughts of "What foolish people" and "Give me a break" ran rampant through my mind. I kept considering how I would *never* end up on the Springer show and that anyone who did should just keep quiet about it.



Then I thought a bit more. I still think the Springer show is a bit of a circus. But those people are someone's kids, someone's neighbor, someone's co-worker. I doubt anyone ever planned out their life thinking, "You know, I hope my life is such that I get on the Springer show. That's my new goal." It just happened, first with a small bad decision, compounded by another and another and suddenly that very regular person is now qualified to be a guest on Springer.

Springer guests are Someone's Loved Ones too. God loves them. God sees the mess, the hurt, the fighting, the drama, the stripping, the shouting, the train wreck that is Springer. And he looks through it all to find those kids of His that He loves.

Imagine how much love God has for someone on Springer.

Just as much love as He has for the neat and tidy family down the street.

Just as much love as He has for the regular factory worker.

Just as much love as He has for the pastor of a thriving church.

Just as much love as He has for the struggling Christian trying to make sense of His life.

Just as much love as He has for me.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Collide

There's just some neat stuff on YouTube. Where do people learn how to make these compilations?



I've always liked this song, Collide. So mellow, so relaxed, so easy to gently nod your head to the beat.

And then there's Brokeback Mountain...I remember going last winter. I remember how even buying a ticket at the movie theater was a challenge. Being alone, walking up to the mall box office and quietly asking for a ticket. I walked in the theater and the place was packed...with straight couples.

Once the film was over, I walked to my car and started the 15 minute drive home...in complete silence. No radio, no CDs, and hardly any traffic. Just me and my tears. It moved me so much. I wandered into my home and just sat, saying and doing nothing, but still crying.

I wondered if the tears would ever stop. Watching this clip made me cry again. The good kind of tears, I think, because I know I'm making progress. Slow and steady progress, with the hope that one day my life might collide with someone else's.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Updates

Well, I haven't been blogging here all that much. But, I'm still around. I've been doing a tremendous amount of thinking...

...about how far I've actually come in the last few years, but how far I have yet to travel.

...about the warmth of being close to another man, of having such peace that I could fall asleep next to him.

...about how to work on my extremely introverted ways of interacting with other people.

...about how to be more authentic.

...about why I pull back so severly at times.

...about porn and why I view it.

...about who to come out to next, if anyone. On one hand, I'm worn out from some people knowing and others not and keeping track of who is who. On the other, how do I bring this up with some people?

...about what those same people will think of me if they know I am attracted to men.

...about finding a new template for this blog. (I'm open for suggestions.)

...about my readiness for a relationship, and my hopes that I could really serve other man unselfishly, making him the best he could possibly be.

...about how my Bible goes unread for long periods of time.

...about how I never give a second-glance to a beautiful woman. I know when women are beautiful, I just have very little physical attraction. (Could they please just leave their clothes on?)

...about how I wish I could lose some weight.

...about the discipline in my life, or lack thereof.

...about if my sexuality is one big unachievable fantasy that I made up.

...about what God thinks about when he sees how I conduct my life.

...and lastly, about how to continue moving westward, toward peace and comfort and resolution.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Proud

Being a sucker for ballads, I really like this song. I always have; it really speaks to me. It's a question I find myself subtly asking people in my life. Sometimes I imagine asking God the same thing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Compared to....


Good news: My weekend ended up being pretty darn good.

Really, it was quite un-extraordinary. I woke up; I joined a few friends for breakfast; I tended to some cleaning; I walked around a shopping mall; I went to church; I met someone for coffee. Boring stuff, compared to what the gay male life is supposed to look like, or so I'm told.

And right there, in that very last sentence, is a tricky phrase.

Compared to.

I'm beginning to understand the kind of trouble I get into when I start using the words Compared to. Compared to my high school friends, my life does not exactly look like their lives, which are full of diapers and baby bottles and school assemblies. Compared to other gay men, I'm not quite as comfortable with myself. Compared to other Bloggers, I don't post as much. Compared to some guys at the gym, I am a weakling. Compared to my classmates, I'm a little slower to learn than they are.

So what?

Why must I always compare myself to someone or something else to understand myself? (Beware, I'm in a moment of clear thinking. There undoubtedly will be future posts detailing how I am comparing myself to someone else.) Could I say instead that I'm working toward a level of comfort with myself and call it good? And maybe even call it getting better?

Comparisons are a killer, especially because I nearly always use a comparison when I'm comparing myself negatively against someone or something else. Like, my clothes are not as nice as their clothes. I rarely compare myself positively. Like, I really listen to people at work more closely than other people. I suppose I am learning that this comparison thing is another of those instruments I use to beat on myself. When I compare, I usually come out on the bottom, and I cognitively do not see large benefits from continuing to do that. I'm not sure I can turn off this behavior right away, but perhaps at least recognizing this is a start.

My therapist would be so proud of me.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Weekend


For years, I have found the weekend to be a difficult time for me. There was a time when I actually hated Fridays, because I knew the weekend was arriving. Often, that meant going home Friday night and being by myself, followed by a Saturday of being by myself and a Sunday of the same. What made Sunday all the stranger--or more cruel--was the trip to church when people would ask me how I was. I would lie, like most people do, and say how great my mood was or how busy I was all weekend long. When I crawled into bed Sunday night, I knew I was going back to work on Monday. And even if I was at work, I would not be by myself.

I almost never call anyone to make plans. I'm just not that type of person. Not having a lot of great ideas hampers me. And those times when I did have the balls to call someone, I got turned down anyway, which made me realize two more things: (1) That other person obviously ALREADY had something to do with themselves, which put them ahead of me already; and (2) maybe I'm not all that enjoyable as company anyway. It's sad that I would rather not ask than ask and get turned down.

So as another weekend looms, I am a bit sad. I'm by myself, which honestly leads to all sorts of temptations. That's when I have trouble with porn. That's when I start to chat inappropriately. That's when I pull the blanket over my head and will the time away, hoping to get back to Monday. I think of people making plans to go clubbing, and I realize that I'm not going with them and I really wouldn't want to anyway.

Some people suggest doing something--anything--to get over this. I'll try to at least buy groceries or get a library book or something to force me to be around people. I guess I just wish I could have a good weekend, or at least not a bad weekend. I know I should meet people or join a club or something. I know! It's just that when mild depression visits, those things that I know don't even make sense.

And I wish I could have more courage to enjoy friends and life. It's getting a bit lonely here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reward?




I'm guilty; I've been watching The Apprentice. For me, it's like a train wreck: I don't really want to watch, but when it happens I can't help but observe.

For those who have not partaken of The Apprentice, the reality contestants on the show form teams and compete in tasks to win the approval of Donald Trump. He generally kicks one person from the losing team out of the contest. The winning team players are safe from elimination and typically get some sort reward.

The funniest part of the most recent episode was the reward, a trip to the Playboy mansion. I suppose there is a legitimate reason to the contestants there, as Hugh Hefner is an incredibly successful businessman. But then Hugh throws a huge party complete with busty woman batting around a beach ball in the pool. Even NBC's website says: "For their reward, Kinetic goes to the Playboy Mansion to meet Hugh Hefner and hang out at the swimming pool with some of Playboy's special... assets"

The problem: Of the nine winners, there was only one straight male. Maybe he had a good time, but the other eight (7 women and 1 gay man) must have been thinking, "I cannot believe I'm here pretending to enjoy this party on national TV."

This sounds like something that would totally happen to me, and I would be seen on TV wondering, "Do you have anything in a male model?"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Laying Here

I seem to have little to say lately, as I continue to sort and sift through my thoughts. So I'm borrowing a bit, as I've seen other bloggers do, to express myself when I can't do it so well myself.

Several months ago I stood outside on a beautiful day helping a friend set up a sound system. This Chasing Cars song was the first he used to test his sytem, and it moved me so much that I had to walk away and mask that choked up feeling which came. I love laying around. I love quiet. I would love to do so with someone special, and find that within the quiet I'm having the greatest of conversations.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The S Word

I feel so Stupid. I mean, I feel first-class dumb.

I'm simply tired of the war that wages in my mind about my sexuality. I read a lot, and I sometimes cringe when I read stories of people who knew since they were 5 years old that they were gay. That is not my story. I didn't know. Or maybe I denied it for most of my life? Or maybe I'm just totally confused? Or maybe I'm bisexual? Or maybe I'm asexual? What the hell?

How can I be so confused? How can my mind be so tied in knots? All I can think about is how Stupid I am. I just keep thinking and thinking and thinking. People tell me it will get better. People tell me I will just know. I say I'm too dumb to know. I don't trust myself.

And so I pull back from everyone and everything. I don't even talk any more with a few guys that I once actually had interest in. Each time I've had some interest in a guy, I've had my heart handed back to me in pieces. I've begun wondering if it's just punishment from God.

But then who could blame those guys? I know what I bring to the table, and it is nothing. I would actually pity the person who ended up with me, because I know that I could never adequately love them the way they deserve to be loved. I want to be loved, I want to love someone else. But I would question the good sense of anyone who loved me. It's a Catch-22.

I walked through the store yesterday, watching hundreds of people know who they are and what they are about. My friends seem to know. They smile and laugh and date and stuff. And then there's me; I'm just trying to get by. I'm trying to buy groceries and cook for myself and show up for school and work without totally breaking down.

I wish I could understand my feelings. Some days, I wish I had feelings. I wish I wasn't so Stupid.