Saturday, October 24, 2009

My journey

It would be hypocritical of me to not blog about where I am in my journey - my proposed theme for October 2009.
  • How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a different era. Except for small geographical pockets, like San Francisco, people just weren't open about their sexuality. There was a gay student union in my college which intrigued me - but I was investigating the LDS church at the time. I sometimes wonder how different my life would be had I gone over to the gay student union rather than the LDS church. I most certainly would not have married. It's quite possible that I'd be dead by now. That was before AIDS came into the public consciousness. A lot of gay men from that era died from complications due to AIDS.

It was almost exactly 3 years ago (fall of 2006) when I finally sat myself down and said "self - admit it, you're gay." I've known I was different from other guys pretty much my entire life. I knew that other boys were more interested in girls than I was and didn't have the same fascination with men that I did. But, in my mind, that didn't make me gay. This "male attraction" I had was my cross to bear, the thorn in my side, a dirty dark secret I was prepared to take with me to my grave.

All of my early journey experiences are chronicled in this blog - including telling my wife that I'm gay a few months after accepting it myself. So, I won't repeat it here.
  • Are you happy with where you are? why or why not?
I can't say I'm happy at this point in my life - but it's not because of my homosexuality. I suffer from clinical depression for which I've been taking antidepressants for several years. I'm currently unemployed and unable to find a job. My wife and I are entering a new phase in our lives - the empty nester phase - and I'm not sure what to do with myself anymore not having children around all the time. Add to that my spiritual crisis I'm going through concerning my membership in the LDS church. Yes, being gay probably is a factor - but I don't think it's the major contributing factor to my current state of well being.

That said, while I can't say that I'm happy at this point in my life - I'm also not super depressed either. I'm just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
  • Where do you see yourself in the future?
That is the $1,000,000 question. I don't know where I'll ultimately end up - but I have a pretty good idea for where I'd like to be.
  • I'd like to be 'out'. Not that I plan on telling everybody I meet that I'm gay - I just don't want it to be a secret anymore.
  • I intend on staying married to my wife
  • I'd like to have platonic, non-threatening to my wife, relationships with other men
  • I'd like to be involved helping others on their journey
  • What roadblocks do you have and/or have overcome?
The biggest roadblock I've overcome was just accepting the fact that I'm gay.

I think the biggest roadblock I have now is that my closet is increasingly becoming stuffy and stifling. As I wrote earlier, it's not that I want to go around telling everyone that I meet that I'm gay - I'm just tired of having to keep it a secret all the time. I'm fed up with having to watch everything I do or say around others lest they suspect 'my secret'.

Unfortunately, the decision to come out of my closet is not mine alone to make. When I told my wife that I'm gay, I effectively dragged her into my closet. Anything I do in this regard will have a tremendous impact on her as well - and I need to be sensitive to that.

Also, while I would like to be honest with my children regarding my sexuality - the thought of actually sitting down with my children and telling them that I'm gay terrifies me.
  • What advice do you have for others following a similar path that you have?
I believe fidelity in a relationship is of paramount importance. That's not to say that all mixed orientation marriages are destined to survive. But, if you are heterosexually married and want to pursue a same sex relationship then please formally end the relationship you are in before starting another. The same holds true once you are in a same sex relationship - remain true.
  • What advice do you have for family and friends?
When a friend or loved one 'comes out' to family and friends, they are signaling that there is a secret part of themselves that they are ready to share. Unfortunately, for many of the straight family and friends, the knee jerk reaction is to not want to talk about it. The sexuality of the friend or loved one becomes the elephant in the room - something everyone is acutely aware of, but no one wants to talk about. When a friend or loved one 'comes out' then let them know that you are always there for them. That doesn't mean you have to agree with the choices they are making. There is a big difference between acceptance and condoning - you can accept your loved one without condoning what they are doing. You should also not stand in judgment of them - it's OK to share your feelings and discomfort; but, don't feel like you have to constantly remind them. We all make choices that we believe are right - but that others might see as wrong. And, sometimes, you may just have to suck it up and do things you are not comfortable with - such as welcoming the partner of your gay loved one into your home. But, it's OK to set boundaries and rules for acceptable behavior in your home - just be sure to be consistent in your rules governing your homosexual and hetrosexual family and friends.
So, that's it in a nutshell - that's where I am in my journey.


Aaron said...

Hey, I came across your blog quite by accident and it is a priviledge to be able to have a glimpse at such an important point of your life. It is my honour to be reading this really - a side I don't see too often. I didn't understand Mormonism before let alone into one that's married, with children AND gay.

Here I am, sitting in a couch admiring the amount of courage and bravery you put into acknowledging your sexuality, your identity and most of all, yourself. I understand that you have a lot of work to do, still, and this journey is at a path that meet millions of others, but as you deliberate and deciding to choose, I hope its all for the better for YOURSELF and that you realise I am behind you, 100% all the way.

Thanks, mate. Thank you.

J G-W said...

Abelard: Thanks for this idea, and thanks for sharing this. I want to post my own "Where I am in my journey" post, especially since, having finally finished my book manuscript, I feel that I have arrived at a significant milestone in that journey...

For those of us who have been following your blog, your answers to these questions aren't news, but it is always helpful to think through questions like this and answer them... Both for ourselves as well as for others.

Quinn said...

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy have a set topic each month, thanks!