Monday, October 17, 2011

Jumbled Emotions

I'm sitting at work this morning with a bunch of mixed up emotions.  This weekend was interesting for me. 

During the week prior, I was feeling a bit low.  I was (and am still) dealing with a cold, feeling distant from friends, not confident in my relationship with my wife, and the omnipresent stress about finances.  So I goofed and looked at images I should not have a couple of times.

With that low, I wasn't excited when my wife suggested going to the temple for our date night, which we've not had in awhile.  I've never found temple nights to be the best date nights because you're not actually spending very much time with your spouse, but it is a nice break from the kids in any event.  So, I suggested doing initiatories.  They are shorter, so we could spend some time afterwards going to dinner.  I have not also done them in a long time.  I actually found myself feeling the spirit some.  What was surprising about that was that I don't usually feel much at the temple.  I know I'm supposed to, but haven't found the temple to be as inspiring as other members find it.  I've always enjoyed baptisms for the dead, but the other ordinances just leave me with so many questions about why.  So listening to the initiatory words, I was left with the impression that that ordinance is about hope for something greater.  That resonated with me.  Other stuff still didn't, but that's okay.  I also found myself missing the old way where the ordinance was performed with more touch.  The new way is too p.c., too sterile, but a lot of our worship methods feel a bit on the sterile side to me.

Saturday morning, I helped with an emergency preparedness drill.  It was tailored to meet the last power outage we had in Southern California, where no traffic lights were working and cell phone towers were jammed.  We had to walk, bike, or use motorcylces.  I biked.  My cellphone was dead too because I had forgotten to charge it the night there was more realism for me.  It was a beautiful morning and was able to figure out where some people in our ward live.  Mostly, we're surrounded by the grandparents in the ward.  The other families with kids don't live so close. 

When I got back, my wife went to the stake center to donate blood.  She has to fill out information before donating blood.  One of the questions was whether she had ever had sexual contact with another personal who had had a homosexual relationship.  She came home in a funk.  She told me about this question and how she actually hesitated in answering.  I never have even come close to physical relationship with another guy.  I've never even flirted seriously (high school drama does not count...everyone flirts with everyone of any gender because that's just what you do for laughs).  Then to top it off, her iron was a little low, so she couldn't donate.  Of course, this all comes out right before I'm to head out the door to LA to go to a support group meeting, which I hadn't been to in half a year. 

I went to the meeting anyway, even tough I know there was a part of my wife that wanted me to stay, to not have to need the company of other men like me.  I met up with a new friend beforehand, whom I had invited to the meeting.  It was his first time.  That was nice, no pressures, no judging, just enjoying some good food and company while I gave him the lowdown on how these meetings go.

I enjoyed the meeting.  It was about surrendering the things that impede personal growth and letting God in to restructure your life.  For the first time, I enjoyed a discussion about labels.  Most of these guys in the group stay away from calling themselves gay.  They prefer the term SSA.  To me, that's so clinical, too much like a disease.  I don't feel diseased.  I'm attracted to men--that's being gay.  I'm not ashamed anymore of that term.  But what I liked about this presenter is that he admitted at one point he did identify himself as homosexual to help his understanding and ground his reality.  Then he's moved away from labels except to say he's a man.  That concept I like.  I'm a man. 

What kind of things do I want to surrender to God?  I don't know.  My wife wanted to know as I talked to her last night about the meeting.  She gets frustrated because I don't speak in these emotional terms.  She wants to know how things impact me.  I don't know.  I'm still pondering, thinking.  She still claims I'm a closed book to her.  I don't come home to her and complain.  I don't talk a lot about my attractions, pains, loneliness because there's not a commonality with her on these issues.  I don't want her judging, and I don't want to keep reminding her how different I am than who we all thought I was.  What I want is quiet acceptance and support from her.  She wants me to divulge all, and I don't do that.  Even here, or with friends, or with anyone, I edit.  I keep a lot to myself.  Admittedly, talking with her has become somewhat easier.  She doesn't immediately go into a sad place when we talk.  Still, when we talk about my issues, I don't think either of us really feels great. 

I wonder if I'm not capable of deeper level of intimacy with her.  Could I achieve a greater level intimacy with a man?  I have no idea.  I know when I'm home, I feel more at peace and comfortable.  That peace is usually gone when we talk about me being gay.  Last night was hard because she pushed on whether I had looked at any porn recently.  I admitted I had, without telling her how recently.  She thinks she's entitled to know every time.  Others have advised me that I don't need to tell her every time I fall so long as I'm improving.  I don't know, but I know I really don't like talking about it.  It hurts, I recognize there's a part of me that doesn't want to completely give it up so that I can have that outlet from time to time, and it forces me to realize how ugly I can be sometimes.  All the joy goes out of my face, and my wife sees that, thinking she's hurting me but won't let up either.  So last night was silence going to bed but wrapped in each other's arms. 

This morning, I woke up feeling awful.  I've been sick, so not sure if it's coming back or this is a physical manifestation of the shame I felt last night.  Writing this helps some. 

I'm hoping to find some purpose in all this mixed up emotional mess.


recover and thrive said...

if I can that would be awesome to see some of your notes from the meeting! I did like that label of 'man'. I had never really thought of that as being a label, and it was refreshing. I could not really understand how he labeled himself as straight, but like he said labels can be there to help us gain confidence or growth, etc., and can change from time to time, and if it works for him - then great. I did feel for you when you said your emotion at the circle, and hope that you can communicate with me if needed and if it feels right, but I'm always one for trying to communicate with my spouse, I know it can be incredibly hard especially when guilt or shame is involved. so many comments for this post, but not enough room.

Crisco said...

I didn't get the "straight" label either, but he is married.
The one event I forgot to include in this post was that I also spoke on Sunday morning. I like to think I can give a good talk. It was on the 13th Article of Faith, the youth theme for this year. That has a lot in it, so my talk had a lot too. The one comment afterwards that made my day was when one brother said it was hopeful. He had just had his house burglarized and was down.
Before my talk started, my friend and now my bishop complimented me on my shirt. I was wearing this great blue shirt that I think brings out my baby blues. I don't wear white every week to Church--kind of boring. I like color. Anyway, I was surprised about how little that compliment impacted me. I sometimes wish I would get a compliment from a guy, and then when I do, it seems to wash over me. Maybe I anticipate things too much so that when they happen they are non-events or disappointments, but that could be a post for another day.

Andy said...

Just read this post. The emotions you describe with your wife, the wanting to know all the details... it could easily be my wife.

One big issue we both hang up on is my friends. She says I can have gay friends, but then she wants to know every detail, every conversation, every move I make before I make it. She's sad that she can't be everything for me. I'm sad too.