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

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


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!