Saturday, August 19, 2006

Coming to terms part 1

Like everyone else here, I was always keenly aware of my attractions to members of the same gender, but I always brushed them off thinking that they'll go away. For the last few days I've been thinking of going through the journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

I remember being in 9th grade, looking over at a boy in my history class, then suddenly having this overwhelming feeling of general attraction to this young man. I brushed the feelings off, ignoring them as quickly as they came, but that moment was one that started a journey that lasted over 5 years until coming to acknowledge this attraction in my life. Soon after that I feel into the lie that is pornography. I was able to rationalize these feelings by saying to myself, “I’ll stop liking men as soon as I repent of all the horrible things that I’ve done.” I got into a horrible cycle of self-loathing, quasi repentance, fake spiritual high, and then back. All while having the fa├žade of being the perfect “Mormonboy” (my first blog’s name)

The next moment that was pivotal in really discovering this aspect of who I really am happened when I was in the Hill Cumorah Pageant shortly after graduating high school. I got a text from someone who mentioned a porn site that I should visit, it was obviously, I replied immediately, saying that through my marvelous spiritual experience I decided that I was going to go straight. It wasn’t a complete lie at the time, since I did just develop a ridiculous girl in my cast team.

A few months after I was in the pageant, I was home—working in a department store. I remember it very distinctly- I was standing behind a cash register in the vacuum department. Thinking about a Myspace profile I saw the night before: it was of a gay RM, who had left the church and put of revealing pictures of himself. Of course I was on the search for not-so-good material when I came across that…but at that moment I felt as though I had no choice.

I was thinking that I’d lie to go out on a mission, come home, go to school, and last as long as I could in the church, end up leaving it by the time I turned 30. And be extremely bitter to everything I loved as a youth. I remember the second that thought hit me. I instantaneously started to build hallways, stairs, rooms and locks to hide that conclusion from myself. It worked for about two more months.

My life at that point was falling apart. I was making an exorbitant amount of money for someone who was barely 18, and I still wasn’t happy. I’d hit a wall, spiritually I was dead, I was stressed out, my manager and I had many a disagreement. In a moment of extreme clarity I called the company I worked for and quit. It was two days after Christmas 2005.

I spent the rest of the holidays with my family, resting, relaxing, distressing from working a very busy Christmas season in retail hell. After new years my parents went back to work and I spent the rest of my time taking care of things around the house, and slowly becoming addicted to the BYU 100 Hour Board.

On January 6th 2006 I read a question on the board that was answered by a writer who left a link to MasterFob’s essay “Getting Out, Staying In.” Clicking that link sent me on an adventure that has taken me to where I am today. Until then I didn’t know that someone could experience homosexual attractions and still be a member in good standing of the LDS Church. There I learned of Ben and his marriage to his wife Jessie, the struggle he went through, acknowledging his attractions yet choosing to not live a lifestyle that was in accordance with his natural inclinations. The thought was so foreign to me that I was completely blown away!

At that moment I was able to instantaneously reconcile all of my attractions to the same gender, because it didn’t matter as matter as long as I never acted on them!

Stay tuned for part to in Coming to Terms, about me coming out


Elizabeth-W said...

I have to teach RS next week, and the lesson is on the Nurturing Marriage conference talk. I google'd the topic, and eventually got to you. Just thought I'd let you know I've enjoyed the distraction from my lesson for a bit by reading what you've got to say, and wish you luck in figuring this all out. It's a really tricky thing. Faith is that, that 'going to the edge' thing.
I think it is very interesting that you have finally figured out that you can be orthodox as long as you're chaste--it's true for all of us, regardless of who we're attracted to. My sister is 31, straight, and single. Will she marry in this lifetime? Maybe not. In some ways it is similar.
Again, best of luck to you!

Samantha said...

Ending a post with a TEASER???? That's so unfair...

Waiting to hear more...still waiting...waiting...took a potty break...waiting again...answered the phone...still waiting...WILL THE WAITING NEVER END????? AAARRRGGHGHHH!!!

Loyalist (with defects) said...

I am glad to be walking the journey with your ATP.

Until a few days ago I wouldn't even have guessed that there were other men experiencing my same issues but being loyal despite the obsticals.

I have some of the most unbelieveable feelings of peace over the last few days just knowing that you are here as wellas all the rest who blog on this issue.


-L- said...

I really liked MasterFob's essay too. I started my blog before I ever found it, but I think ol' Fob has been a great example.

I think we all get lost in the "hallways, stairs, rooms and locks" that we create for ourselves. It's a part of life that we have to order our views in some way, and making it work can be pretty traumatic on integrity (but that's me just getting distracted by myself!).

Your description of cycling through repentance, self-loathing, and fake spiritual highs sounds so familiar. I thought for a long while that my problems ALL stemmed from pornography. Now I have no doubt that although porn has been a horrible influence on me (and has contributed, I believe to my SSA), my problems extend way outside that one area.

Anyway, thanks for a throught-provoking post.

Elbow said...

I love you man. Thanks again for the insight.