Saturday, January 20, 2007

Am I ever happy?

I got an email from a person who had been reading my blog and he posed the question: Have I ever felt happy?

I've been thinking about this all day. The simple answer to that question is: Yes. All things considered, I am satisfied with my life. I have a good job that has enabled me to support my family without my wife having to work outside of the home. We have a nice home in a nice neighborhood. We have four wonderful children and are now grandparents. While I do have a few regrets and things that I wish I had done differently, there is little in my life I would change if I could.

I suppose my overall satisfaction with my life doesn't always come across in my blog. That's because this isn't a blog about my life in general. This blog is an outlet for me to explore my feelings about being married, Mormon, and gay. The order I list these in is deliberate. Being gay is not what defines me; it is just one aspect of who I am. First and foremost I am a husband and father. But there is a part of me that is not compatible with other aspects of my life: I'm attracted to men. So, while I am generally satisfied with my life overall, I have this inner conflict which I must deal with. And, sometimes this inner conflict boils to the surface where I'm no longer happy, but, instead, I may feel sad, frustrated, angry, etc. It is my writings about these feelings which tend to dominate my blog space.

Saying that I'm satisfied with my life overall may seem odd coming from a person who takes antidepressants. I do suffer from clinical depression. While I believe being gay is a major factor in my depression, I don't believe it is the only factor. I have straight siblings who also suffer from depression. The Psychiatrist that prescribed my medication determined that I am 'biologically predisposed' to depression (whatever that means).

So, a corollary question might be: Am I always happy? To anyone reading this blog, the obvious answer to that question would be: No. These are the times I tend write about in my blog. The truth of the matter is, when I'm feeling happy and satisfied with my life, I don't really think much about my blog.

Being gay is not the only challenge in my life. I'm also subject to all of the normal challenges that everyone else has to deal with. While we live fairly comfortably, there are times when finances are a challenge, particularly in this phase of my life where we have college, mission, etc. to pay for. I love my children and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world; but, there are times when I am frustrated with some of the decisions they make. My wife and I do have the occasional arguments and disagreements; although, they are actually quite rare. We get along well and are very compatible with our likes and interests. Not only is she my wife and the mother of my children - she is also my best friend.

But, being gay and married is a challenge that most people do not have to deal with. I recognize that other people have their own unique challenges, some of which may be more difficult to deal with than mine. However, one thing different about being gay is the general lack of understanding and support. It's only been in the last 20 years or so that homosexuality was viewed as something other than a disease or deviant behavior. It was just a couple of years ago that Texas repealed its anti Sodomy laws. Being labeled 'gay' as an adolescent is brutal, regardless whether it is true or not. Homophobia is rampant within our society, particularly if you live in a conservative area as I do. And, most unfortunately, homophobia can also be a problem within the LDS church. For this reason, I choose to remain silent and suffer alone.

I look forward to the day when I can stand up in Fast and Testimony meeting and talk openly about the challenges I face being married and gay and the strength I gain from it. But, alas, today is not that day.

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