Magic Pills

I just read a blog post that has really got me thinking.  It started with a tweet on Twitter.  Anita1956 said, “Would I take the straight pill? Here’s my answer.” with a link to her blog http://tinyurl.com/aa78mp.  Here’s what she said:


The Straight Pill

Date March 13, 2009

If there was a pill that could make me straight

…..Straight in body

…..Straight in mind

…..Straight in heart

…....I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would restore all my lost friendships

…..And regain my parents pride

…..And give back my families respect

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would return me to my former ministry

…..And the admiration of the congregation

…..And the loving welcome of the church

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would replace the love I have for my wife with an equal love for a man

…..And we could legally marry

…..And we would be granted full rights under the law without fighting for them

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would mean no one would reject me for being who I am

…..And for saying what I believe

…..And for standing boldly as one who follows Christ

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill could take the world back in time,

…..Before I came out of the closet,

…..Before I said I was gay

…..Before I knew I was gay

…..Before inequality touched me

…..Before hate revealed its ugliness to me

…..Before anyone rejected me

…..Before anything was lost to me

…..Before I ever questioned God’s love for me

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking that pill would make me straight

…..And famous

…..And wealthy

…..And talented

…..And adored

…..And beautiful

…..And thin

…....I would not take it.

…....I would not take it.

…....I. Would. Not. Take. It.

I would never take a pill that would make me straight because

…....I love being who I am

…....I love being whole and free

…….I love seeing the world from where I stand

…....I love knowing God from this place

…....I love feeling passion burning in me for equality

…....I love being part of a people who are courageous and relentless

…....I love being one in Spirit with every queer youth

…………..With every gay man and woman

……………With every bisexual man and woman

…………..With every transman and transwoman

……………With every ally and friend

……………With everyone who questions, doubts and searches

…….And I love being one in Spirit with you

……………Bound in hope, and faith, and love

……………Bound in God

If there was a pill I could take that would make you straight

………..And taking that pill would end all your confusion and anxiety

……….And remove your fear that God has rejected you

……………I would not take that pill even for you.

You are gay.

…..You are not wrong.

…..…..You are not sinful.

…..…..…..You are not evil or perverted.

…..…....…..You are not unworthy.

…..…..…..…..…..You are not a mistake.

…..…..…..…..…..…..You are not to be ashamed.

You are gay.

…..God loves you.

…..…..God holds you.

…..…..…..God stands with you.

…..…..…..…..God delights in you.

…..…..…..…..…..God calls you “My own.”

If there was a pill that could make me straight

…..And make you straight

…..And you

…..And you

…..And you

…....I would not take it.

…....I would not take it.

…....I. Would. Not. Take. It.

Before I even clicked the link to her blog I answered that question for myself.  “Yes!  I’d take that pill in a heartbeat!” Being gay is one of the biggest struggles I’ve ever dealt with in my life and most of the time I feel like if I could chose not to be gay, I would.

Growing up in a “Christian” home as a gay boy is an incredible challenge.  It is made abundantly clear to you from the beginning that homosexuality is wrong, that homosexuality is a perversion, and that homosexuals are damned for all eternity.  There is an incredible amount of fear that is driven into Christian children about hell and sin and damnation and we learn from a very young age that we want to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t go there.  This results in tremendous amounts of guilt and shame.

For me, the shame was too much to bear and I denied who I was for most of my life.  I chose to believe that I was not gay, that there were other, perfectly legitimate reasons why I was aroused by the images of the male models in the International Male and Undergear catalogues I subscribed to when I was a teenager.  I convinced myself that one day, when I met the woman God had in store for me, I would be physically attracted to her and I would feel normal and complete.

I finally began to admit to myself that I was gay and accept who I was about four years ago and I said it out loud for the first time when I told my therapist two years ago.  By this time, I had read the bible, The King James version, from cover to cover and learned that what I had been told my entire life was cut and dried, well, it really wasn’t.  I learned that there were a lot of discrepancies between the things I had been taught to believe and what I determined for myself in those pages.  I learned that while the Bible is an important resource that there is more research to be done and so I did.

I researched on-line the question of whether homosexuality is an immorality, whether it’s a sin and what it means to be gay and a Christian.  When it all started, I went in search of something definitive that would tell me what I was already sure must be true:  That Homosexuality is, in fact, an irrefutable sin.  What I found instead, was a whole lot of the same rhetoric, the same answers and explanations about why homosexuality is wrong, with all of the same holes that I had yet to explain away.  The same holes that made me question the accuracy, the validity of what I’d been taught.  These holes left me with questions and doubts.  The explanations didn’t sit well with me.  They didn’t feel… They didn’t feel true.  I believe that we all, each of us, possess a spirit that is to some extent or other, in tune with the Holy Spirit.  I started to realize that the reason these explanations didn’t feel or seem right to me is because my spirit knew they weren’t.  My spirit was hungry for the truth.

So I dug deeper and I found several resources with more information.  I found resources that did a better job of explaining what the various Biblical references which are used against us might have really meant.  I found scholarly authors who had a deeper understanding of what the times and the languages were like, and how the Bible might have been translated incorrectly over the generations and centuries that have passed.  And I found a reminder that the God I love and serve is a loving God who wants the best for me, who wants me to be happy.  I finally came to accept that the thoughts and feelings and urges that I was stifling for so many years, close to 30 of them, were normal and natural and a part of me, who I am, the way God made me.

I didn’t take this information lightly, and I didn’t set out to find justification for me to behave in a way that was not morally right.  Honestly, I set out to prove, once and for all, that what I was taught my whole life was absolute fact and that I had to continue to suffer until God saw fit change me and make me “normal”.  I resisted the things that I read that told me that I was OK as a gay man.  I resisted the urge to rejoice at the affirmations that I found because surely, as my mother would have told me were she involved, I was “possessed of the Devil”, I was “being deceived.”  Surely it wasn’t possible that I could, in fact, be gay and be acceptable in God’s sight.  But the evidence mounted, the case was made over and over again… and my spirit?  My spirit was at peace.  I stopped hurting.  I started healing.  I told my four closest friends.

I still struggle with the internalized homophobia that I was raised in.  I still struggle with accepting myself, but now, it’s because I’m programmed this way, not because I really believe that there’s anything wrong with whom I am.  I have to believe that as time moves on, I’ll struggle less and less and be more and more content in my life.

What I really struggle with, though, is the shame.  Not shame because I think there’s something wrong, but shame because I’m so sure everyone else will.  I get anxious when I write something like this because I’m sure that someone will read this and tell me that I can’t be both gay and a Christian.  (Of course I can.)  I’m afraid someone will read this and begin to scrutinize me and my behavior in a different way now that they know I call myself a Christian.  (I’m not living my life for those people, but no one likes to be judged.)  The truth is I hold myself up to the measure my mother has set out for me and I know I fail miserably.  Most days I’m OK with that.  I know I will never measure up to her expectations and I know that most of her expectations are unreasonably high anyway, but part of my internal programming is to see her expectations as those of all Christians and I assume I’ll be judged and condemned by all of them for one reason or another once they learn that I call myself one of them.  (I don’t really call myself one of them and I suspect that will make for another lengthy blog post in the future, but the terminology is the same even if the intent is different.)

The shame that I struggle with has crippled me with regard to coming out to my family.  Not a single member of my family knows that I’m gay while I have to believe some of them may suspect.  It is with this knowledge that as I bring this post nearer to its conclusion and prepare to press that “publish” button I am shaking and feeling genuine anxiety about putting this information out there for the world to see.  You see, my Twitter account updates my Facebook status.  My brother is my only immediate family member who is on Facebook.  I post links to my new blog posts on Twitter which means they’ll show up on Facebook as well.  It is not a stretch to think that my brother will actually see this post and because I am such a coward, this is how he’s going to learn the truth.  Will he say anything to me?  I don’t know.  Will he tell other members of my family?  He might.  Am I disappointed in myself that I can’t just say it to them?  Of course I am.

So if such a pill existed that could make me straight, would I take it?  I’m afraid that is not as simple a question as I first thought it was.  I’d be inclined to take it.  I’d never have to worry about telling my family the truth.  I’d never have to worry about facing the internalized doubts and fears that persist.  I’d never have to worry about having to tell people in my daily life.  And I’d never have to worry about trying to learn how to date as a gay man, or find someone that I could happily spend the rest of my life with.  Life would certainly be easier if I were straight.

On the other hand, maybe taking that pill would be like turning my back on everything that I learned in this process; that God did not make a mistake when he made me; that I am gay because that is how God intended it; that there is nothing wrong with me just because I’m gay; and that God loves me every bit as much today as he did the day I invited him into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior and the only thing that has really changed is, now, I know the truth.

If there was a pill that I could take that would make me straight, would I take it?  I’m sad to say that it would be a tough decision to make, but in the end, No, I would not take it.


———————————————————————————————

My special thanks to Anita, author of the blog that started this, first for writing the post to begin with and second, for granting me her blessing to re-post it here for all to see.

It’s Just Emotions Taking Me Over

big-edenLast night I watched another gay themed movie I recorded to my DVR, off the Logo Network, Big Eden.  I didn’t really know anything about it other than what I’d read in the very brief description on my DirecTV programming guide.

henry

Henry, Big Eden

sampa1

Sam, Big Eden

Big Eden is the story of Henry Hart an out artist living in New York City who is about to have a gallery opening when he receives a call from a friend in his hometown informing him that his Grandfather who raised him had suffered a stroke.  Henry abandons his opening to go back to see Sam, who he calls “Sampa”.

dean

Dean, Big Eden

Not long after arriving back in Big Eden Henry finds out that his childhood friend – and unrequited love – Dean has moved back to Big Eden after his divorce, with his two young sons so that his parents can help him raise his children.

pike

Pike, Big Eden

grace

Grace, Big Eden

Henry is introduced to Pike a Native American man who operates the local general store.  Pike is known to be very shy, but Grace, the friend who notified Henry of Sam’s stroke asks Pike to assist Sam and Henry by picking up meals from the local busy body widow and bringing them to Sam’s house for the men (apparently Henry can’t cook).

The movie has a rather predictable element to it; a love triangle between Dean, Henry and Pike and an unsurprising outcome with Henry and Pike falling in love.

There were several things about this movie that I was surprised at how I felt and reacted to them.  To start with, Henry has never told “Sampa” that he’s gay.  It’s never really explained why this is, it’s just clear that Henry is afraid.  It seems as if everyone knows the truth except for Sam, or does he?

Henry is asked at one point, “Do you really think he never figured it out?”  And that question is answered in a scene late in the film when Sam confronts Henry about what his plans are.  Henry came back to Big Eden to check on Sam after his stroke, and stayed for a year.  Sam tells Henry, he’ll be “joining” Henry’s Grandmother soon and he’ll need to know what to tell her.  After Henry attempts to avoid the conversation, Sam says to him, “You won’t tell me who you really are.  Why?  Is it shame?  Did I teach you to be ashamed?  ‘Cause if I did, I did a terrible thing.”  Henry responds by bursting into tears and laying his head in his grandfather’s lap, allowing the older man to comfort him.  After Sam dies, Henry says to Grace, “I never told him.” to which Grace replies, “Well.  He knows now.”  I was a little confused and maybe slightly annoyed that no one pointed out that clearly Sam already knew.

It is clear from the beginning that Pike is attracted to Henry and wants a relationship with him, but Pike has always been a very stoic and quiet man, easily rattled and embarrassed, unable to adequately express his thoughts and feelings.  For a time he seems almost to dislike Henry as he avoids contact.  Day after day, Sam and Henry invite Pike to join them in the meals that he brings and he declines.  Then one night, Henry is out and Sam invites Pike to stay.  Finally, Pike accepts.

After just a few days of delivering meals to the men which have been prepared by a local widow, it becomes clear that the meals are not very pleasant tasting.  Pike takes a book entitled “The Joy of Cooking” from his lending library and studies it.  The next day Pike prepares a delicious meal and delivers it to the men.  The regular invitations are extended, the usual declination given and Pike returns home where he himself eats the unenjoyable meal provided by the widow.

As the movie progresses it becomes clear that Pike has feelings for Henry which he does not know how to express.  Many of the peripheral characters begin to see what’s happening and attempt to help.  Eventually, Pike comes by with a meal for the men but Sam is asleep.  Henry invites Pike to join him and after a few attempts to escape, Pike finally agrees.  They have a very pleasant conversation and a friendship grows.  Naturally, as must happen in such a story, Henry does not see what’s happening.  Henry is learning more and seeing more of Pike but does not understand Pike’s feelings.

Midway through the movie, Sam has a medical episode and has to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  Henry spends the night at the hospital with Sam, awake all night.  In the morning, Dean comes and takes Henry home.  It’s been clear that there is a relationship developing between the two but it’s slow and awkward.  Until this moment, you’re not really sure what is going on with Dean.  After returning to Sam’s house from the hospital, Dean offers to cook some eggs for Henry and while he is cooking there is a moment of vulnerability and tenderness when Henry places a hand and then his head on Dean’s shoulder and places his other arm around Dean.

dh-kissDean pushes the pan aside and turns toward Henry.  The two embrace and there is a brief kiss before Dean turns his face away and they hug.

“I can’t,” Dean says.

“I know,” is Henry’s reply.

“I want to.  I just can’t,” Dean repeats.

“I know,” Henry says again.

There are a few things about this movie that affected me.  The first is the relationship between Henry and his “Sampa”.  It is so clear to the viewer and to everyone else in Big Eden that Sam knows Henry is gay.  There’s even a scene when Henry is away at a town picnic so Pike stays and shares dinner with Sam.  After they eat, the two men go out by the lake outside Sam’s house to watch the fireworks.  They’re still outside when they hear Dean’s truck pull up to drop Henry off.  Pike and Sam observe what might be construed as a tender moment between Henry and Dean but but is in actuality more a push-me-pull-me exchange about the nature of their relationship.  Sam looks at Pike and says, “I’m sorry, son.”  He knows that Pike has feelings for Henry but they both assume there’s something there between Henry and Dean.

I struggle on an almost daily basis with the idea of what it would be like to tell my family that I’m gay.  The situations are different.  Henry was just afraid with no real explanation as to the reason why.  I come from an extremely conservative fundamentalist Christian family which believes that homosexuality is a sin and to be gay is to be damned.  I do not share in their sentiments and do not have any guilt about my orientation, but being able to tell them the truth and to explain my beliefs to them is a far more difficult proposition with very unpredictable outcomes.  I watched this movie, and particularly the exchange between Sam and Henry about seeing “Grandma” and I thought, “Just tell him!  It’s clear he already knows and it’s obvious he will accept you!  What have you got to be afraid of?  Do you know what a precious gift this is?!?

I imagined what it would be like to be in a position of knowing that what I have to tell would be graciously and lovingly received without any judgment or condemnation, to know that I could be open and completely truthful about myself and my life with the people who are supposed to matter the most.  Unfortunately, I live with the knowledge that very much the opposite is true.

The real irony is that I suspect that most if not all of my family knows, or at least suspects that I am gay, so it would not come as a surprise to them, yet I’m certain they’re also hoping that I’ll never accept it, that I’ll never act on these feelings.  I’m sure they think that as long as I never act on the feelings and I never say “I’m gay” to anyone (including myself – too late), then it won’t really be true and I won’t be damned.

The second thing about this movie that affected me was the general existence of the character, Pike.  I could relate to him, in a lot of ways.  In the real world, I also tend to be very shy and socially awkward.  I don’t really know how to talk to people I don’t know very well.  I’m very awkward with my feelings and don’t really know how to communicate them effectively or productively.

The third thing about this movie that affected me, which actually relates to the second, is the scene I described between Dean and Henry.  When it’s finally clear to everyone that there is an attraction and feelings between the two, when they finally kiss, and then Dean backs away, saying, “I can’t,” a part of me screamed, “Why not!?!  What are you so afraid of?  Do you know how lucky you are to be loved?  Why be so afraid of your feelings?

And then I began to think about myself.  I began to think how I can’t relate to him after all.  I can’t think of a time when I have felt a powerful attraction to a person.  I can’t think of a time when I was just so overcome by passion that I wanted to rip our clothes off and make love, right then and there.  I can’t think of a time when I was so distraught, or was with someone else who was so distraught and in need of comfort, that the most logical course of action seemed to be sex.  I can’t think of a time when physicality was —

Well… I can’t think of a time when physicality was not a terrifying prospect.  I can imagine that, assuming I somehow found myself in a situation like Dean did, that I’d react very much the same way he did, assuming we even got as far as a kiss.  I can imagine I’d be just as afraid to act on my feelings.  And it makes me angry.  Why should I be so afraid to act on my feelings.

But the thing is, I’m inclined to say I don’t have feelings.  I’ve only been “in love” once and it turned out not to be real.  It fell apart at the first sign of trouble.  And I haven’t dated much in the 15 years since.  I’ve thought a bit lately about the relationships in my life and how I’d feel if they ended.  With the exception of my friend Eve, I don’t really imagine being terribly upset about the end of a relationship and I already know that relationship is going to end so I have time to prepare myself… I hope.

I’ve thought about what my reaction would be if one of my parents died.  I don’t think I’d have much of one.  I don’t think I’d be terribly upset.  I think I’d be relieved in a lot of ways.  I’ve thought how I’d feel if one of my siblings died.  I don’t expect I’d feel much differently.  I’d be a little more upset if CPA Sis died because she’s the only one I’m really all that close to.  But if Ex Con Older Brother died, I wouldn’t even feel like I’d lost anything.

What I’ve determined is that I don’t feel strongly enough about anyone, or anything, to have a strong reaction.  “I don’t feel anything” I thought.  “But wait.  I can be very emotional and passionate when I feel like I’m being mistreated or abused… So I’m only capable of experiencing negative emotions strongly?  That sucks.  And it doesn’t help my case any.  I’d like to date.  I’d like to fall in love and share my life with someone.  How do I do that if I don’t feel positive emotions?

You know, I was beginning to wonder how I was going to bring this post back around and this is it:

I don’t feel positive emotions.  I don’t feel attraction or affection and certainly not love.  So if I somehow found myself in a situation where I was so affected by and attracted to a person (male or female) as Dean was in this movie…  I’d have to be all over it.  I hope that I would not let that moment pass by.

Miscellaneus, Meandering Introspections (With A Song And Dance To Boot – OK Maybe Not A Dance.)

I’m stuck. I feel completely bogged down. My mind is cloudy. There are so many things that I want to be doing. So many things that I need to be doing, but I can’t seem to make any progress. Part of it is that the things I need to be doing I do not want to do.

I’m at work, of course. That’s where I should be in the middle of a Monday afternoon, but work is the farthest thing from my mind. I really need to get out of this job. I get absolutely no satisfaction from it whatsoever. There’s a lot of busy work that I could, of course do, but I’m just not interested in it. I have tasks that Douche Bag has given me to do, but I know he hasn’t thought of them again, and honestly, if they’re not any kind of priority to him, why should they be to me? Some of what he’s asked me to do, shouldn’t have been put on me in the first place, but as usual, he’s completely out of touch and doesn’t think about what he’s doing.

My mind is just full of random thoughts about what I want, where I want to be, how I want to change, what I’d like to be doing.

Last night I lay in bed, wide awake until about a quarter two, just staring at the ceiling and wishing. Wishing I wasn’t alone was a big part of it. Not just not lonely, but really not alone. For the first time that I can recall, I had this longing to be held. To be wrapped up in a pair of big, strong arms. Leaning back into a smooth, hard chest and listening to a deep, soothing voice whisper into my ear, that things were going to be OK. It wasn’t a sexual thing, although, I’m sure it would have lead to that. It was just a need to be taken care of and to know that I was not alone in life. Not alone in my world. That I was not going to spend my life that way. I felt so small and weak in those moments. So alone and unwanted and powerless to change it.

I spent some time this week-end, trying to think of ways to change my life. Things that I could do to try and find some fulfillment. All the things that I thought of, lead to feelings of fear and anxiety. Sickness even. I feel so overwhelmed. So desperate.

It’s not the depression, Per Se. I’m not in the same place I was in February when I had to take time off of work and attend an Intensive Outpatient Program to try and get my feet back under me. It’s hard to explain how it’s different, just that it is. I feel more like I’m on the verge of something and if I could just figure out what the next step is…

I’ve really enjoyed keeping this blog. I’ll admit that some entries have been better than others and I’m sure this one will end up at the bottom of the heap, but maybe if I can write out my thoughts I can begin to pull back the veil a little. The blog has been fun. I’m finding that I really enjoy writing and it’s something I would like to be able to do more of with more talent. I’ve often longed for a form of employment that doesn’t require a 9 to 5 scenario and that doesn’t require me to go to an office for a specified period or on a specified schedule. Something that allows me to work at my own pace (more or less) and is fulfilling to me. Oh, and something that pays well. I feel like writing could be that thing. But I don’t know what to do with that thought.

I’ve done some (read: not a lot of) research on the subject of writing classes but everything costs a lot of money. I’ve thought maybe I could just try submitting some random pieces to some newspapers and/or magazines but really I don’t know what that process entails, or whether they’re interested in such things. I don’t know the legalities of it all. Does my work belong to them if I sent it to them for consideration without prior arrangement of compensation or conditions? Do they want only things that are topical? And if so, how do I know what to write about and send them when I don’t know how publishing works, and, at least in the case of magazines, a few weeks will pass before current events are written about I could be perpetually behind the times.

I’m tired of working for a manager and an employer who doesn’t appreciate me. I realize this is a common affliction but I’ve never had it this bad before. My job is not important. It’s not important to me, certainly, but it’s not important to anyone else either. Douche Bag rarely pays attention to what I’m doing. He asks me to perform tasks that should be handed off to Unsvelt Girl Who Runs or most recently Fantastical Engineer and then the only time he pays any attention is when he’s complaining or “yelling” about something. It’s not that he’s abusive or hateful. It’s that he’s oblivious and ignorant.

There is absolutely no appreciation shown for my work. And I suppose, you might say my paycheck is appreciation enough, but you’d be wrong. It’s not appreciation enough. Don’t get me wrong. Appreciation without the pay check wouldn’t be enough either, but both are really needed in order to be gratified.

I don’t want my job to be my life. Unless it’s something really great and exciting like, writing best selling novels, or being a big movie star. And even if it were, I’d still want time away from the work. I’d still want friends who really want to see me, spend time with me. I’d still want to be somebody to somebody.

Somebody to somebody… I wonder if that’s really what this is all about. Just one real connection to make all the other shit in my life more tolerable… I’m thinking now of the song by Christina Aguilera:

“Somebody’s Somebody”

Watchin lovers walkin’
Hand in hand they pass me by
Wish I was one of them
Wish I had somebody
Wakin’ up beside me
Looking into my eyes at night
I want a love to call my own
I want someone that I can hold
Want someone wanting me
Wanna feel how it feels to be

Somebody’s somebody
Someone’s someone
Some sweet lover’s lover
I wanna be that one
Someone faithful to someone faithful
Someone kind to someone kind to me
Somebody to somebody who loves me
Who loves me

Spending all of my time
Spending all my time with me
Where is that someone who
I can give my time to
Searching for that lover
With the love that will change my life
I want two arms to hold me close
I want the thing I need the most
Somebody needing me
So I can feel how it feels to be

Somebody’s somebody
Someone’s someone
Some sweet lover’s lover
I wanna be that one
Someone faithful to someone faithful
Someone kind to someone kind to me
Somebody to somebody who loves me
Who loves me

What I’m looking for
Is someone to love me more
Than I’ve been loved before
With love so right
What I need to find
Is someone to hold me tight
What I mean is I want to be

Somebody’s somebody
Someone’s someone
Some sweet lover’s lover
I wanna be that one
Someone faithful to someone faithful
Someone kind to someone kind to me
Somebody to somebody who loves me
Who loves me

Somebody’s somebody
Somebody’s somebody
Somebody’s somebody
Somebody’s somebody
I wish I was
Somebody’s baby

God, I hate the way I’m sounding right now. I’m not a needy person, or at least I never thought I was. Come to think of it, Green M&Ms mother once told me she thought I was needy, right before she physically assaulted me (there’s a story for another time). But that’s the only time I can remember anyone ever defining me that way and I don’t think it’s true. I’m also not a clinger. I don’t need to hang all over my significant other at every free moment of the day. ‘Course that may stem from the fact that the public displays of affection I’ve been a part of previously never did feel quite right, and any consideration I may have had to public displays of affection with someone who would feel right (a man) were verboten to say the least and more likely to be dangerous. Before now anyway.

No, I’m not needy and I’m not clingy and I’m not desperate, at least not in the way it’s usually stated. I’m not the type to latch on to any man who’ll look my direction, just for the sake of having a little physical contact. I want a real, lasting love with a man who will wake up beside me. Who will look into my eyes at night. Someone who will be faithful, who will want me. Someone who will change my life. I do want two arms to hold me close and I’m beginning to think the thing I need the most really is someone who needs me, because it’s not just a one sided proposition. I need to be held and loved and taken care of. But I need to do those things for someone else, too.

I’ve always heard people say that you have to be happy by yourself before you can be happy with anyone else. I’ve always chosen to believe that because it’s easier than facing the feeling that no one wants me. But I don’t believe that. In fact, I kind of feel like, you need to have an emptiness, albeit just a little bit. You need to be lacking in some way. You need to have a whole in your life, in your heart, that can only be filled by a significant other. Not by any random other. Not by a just-for-tonight other, but by a significant other who will be those things you need him to be and for whom you can fill the empty places as well. To quote a movie (and up the cheese factor a bit) you need someone who will “complete” you.

Maybe a lot of my emptiness is about being without one special person in my life who will mean everything and to whom I will mean everything. Maybe if I had that special someone to share my life with, all the trials of the day would seem like less of a burden because I’d know there was someone waiting for me at home. Maybe I’d be stronger and more able to face the rest of my fears if I had someone who was in my corner, rooting for me all the way. I don’t know.

So I lie in bed and I think about this conundrum. I need a man in my life. I need someone who will be all these things for me and for whom I can do the same… But how do I meet someone to share my life with when I don’t meet people at all? When I’m afraid of meeting people. When I’m literally scared sick of even the thought of exposing myself to situations where I might.

Insightful Therapist (I talk about her often enough, I decided it was time she had a kitschy nom de plume) has suggested a few things that all amount to social gatherings. I made the mistake a year or so ago of telling her that I thought my drinking was “a bit out of hand”, and she’s been on an AA kick ever sense. She thinks that going to a meeting such as that would be a good opportunity for me to learn that there are other people in the world who have had similar experiences as I. And that I can find other coping mechanisms besides drinking (I thought that was what I paid her for.) She’s also suggested a coming out support group. Something I have considered, and honestly since November 4, I’m more willing to do, but I’ve come up with exactly nothing as far as information and resources on the subject. I’m sure I could probably ask her for something but if I ask her, that kind of puts me on the spot to follow through.

But even in looking for the resources to consider the possibility… Sick to my stomach… Every time. I don’t really understand why it is that I have such a physical reaction to the fears that come up around this. If I’m rational about it, I know nothing physically harmful will happen and I might gain something from it. But there is a lot of emotional damage that could be done. A lot of harm to my self esteem that could come from it. And then you add the bonus fear and shame of having to publicly confess to something that I’ve kept locked away inside me for so many years (“I’m an alcoholic” or “I’m gay”) and it becomes too much for me.

So to those of you who’ve made it this far into this post, I apologize for the self-pittying, mopy, drivel. I didn’t really set out to do that… Then again, I didn’t really know what I did set out to do. For those of you who’ve gotten this far, and have an opinion, I’d honestly like to hear it. Please leave your feed-back in the comments, and if you have any resourses you’d like to share, I’d be grateful for those as well.

It’s Just Sex, Right?

I never knew how much fun blogs could be.  There are a lot of different types of blogs out there and I admit that many of them do not hold any interest for me.  I’ve happened across a lot of blogs where people take pictures of the food they have in restaurants and write a journal entry about it.  I have only one thing to say about that.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I have read a lot of blogs where people take trips and write about what they did.  Often those are the same blogs as the ones mentioned above.  I guess the difference between good ones, and bad ones of these blogs is whether the author is really a writer.  If you can write something with a lot of artistry and beauty in your use of words, it barely matters what it is you write about.  On the other hand if you write like you’re writing a Dick and Jane book (See Dick’s lunch.  Dick had good lunch.  Dick cleaned Plate.  Jane had good lunch too.  Jane not cleaned plate.)  (I guess that sounds more like a Tarzan and Jane book, but you get the idea) then your blog isn’t going to be interesting to read.

Some people write their blog entries as a blow by blow report of what they do.  I usually skip over those pretty quickly.  It’s like reading my own writing…  From the 7th grade.  A good blog will recount a tale, or an event, or an experience, but in a way that is interesting and attention grabbing.  It’ll provide all the pertinent facts without boring you with unnecessary details and time tables.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  Back in April I went with a Green to Las Vegas.  Now I could recount the trip thusly:

Our flight was scheduled to depart Oakland International Airport at 9:36 a.m. but didn’t actually leave until 9:50.  We landed in Las Vegas at 10:47.  After we got off the plane we went straight to the bathrooms.  After we finished using the bathrooms we went to the luggage claims and found our carousel.  At 11:37 the luggage started coming out and after a few minutes my suit case came down the shoot.  I grabbed my suit case and we waited for her suit case to come down the shoot.  We waited and waited but it never came out.  Then we went to the baggage office to find out what happened.  They checked the computers and the piles of luggage outside the office, and called the baggage handling area to find out if anyone had the suit case but they didn’t find it.

So Green was pretty unhappy about her suit case not showing up and was worried that they wouldn’t find it.  We gave the lady in the office a description of the suit case and told her we where we were staying and gave them Green‘s Cell Phone Number.

Then, we walked outside to where the shuttles were, found the ticket office and bought our tickets and found our shuttle.  We had to wait in the shuttle for about 20 minutes before the shuttle driver decided their were enough passengers to make the trip.

We were the first stop on the trip and we got to our hotel around 1:00.  Then we walked inside.  Then we went to the front desk.  It didn’t make any sense because they did not have a clearly marked line.  We didn’t know where to go and we though we were in line.  Then an employee came over to us and offered to help us find a line and we got in line.  Then we got to the counter and then we checked in.  We asked if they had any upgrades available.  Then they showed us the options and we chose a room with a “strip view”.  We were excited because we always wanted a room with a strip view and we never get one.  After we checked in we went to our room, but we were disappointed because the view was not of the strip.

Boring, right?  I felt like a little kid while I was typing it to the point that my rhythm of my typing even became very staccato.  Dah dah dah dah DAH.  Dah dah dah dah DAH.  Dah dah dah dah DAH.  Boring!

I could however have told the same story thusly:

Green and I absolutely love Las Vegas.  We are always looking for an excuse– er, opportunity to go.  This year we decided to go in April as a joint birthday celebration having chosen this time because it falls rough in the middle of her mid-March birthday and my mid-June birthday.  Right between our birthdays, but better yet, before the weather there turns to full blown summer and the sun feels as though it will incinerate you where you stand.

We were expecting a great trip, staying in a new (to us) hotel, the MGM Grand, and tickets to Zumanity, the Circ du Soleil show we’d been itching to see for several visits.  After our first visit to Las Vegas, a New Years trip that had a departure time scheduled for 6 something in the morning which we missed resulting in a six hour lay over in Fresno International Airport (and if you’ve ever been there, you know what a joke that is) we learned our lesson and booked our departure for a more reasonable hour.  Our flight was delayed taking off by about 10 minutes but fortunately, as they so often do, the pilots made up the difference in the air.  But the “adventure” was not to end there.

Upon deplaning in Las Vegas we made a b-line for the restrooms because sadly, the very public restrooms in a busy airport are favorable to a cramped, Southwest Airlines jet bathroom, and then headed on down to Baggage claim.  This is always a dicey time because you never know if your luggage is going to make it or not.  Fortunately for me, after just a few revolutions of the carousel, my suitcase came down the shoot just fine.  But as the crowd was thinning and the frequency of the bags passing by slowed, it became apparent that there was a problem.  Green‘s bag was nowhere to be found.

Green immediately began to worry about not having her suit case and not having any of her clothes or toiletries and whether she’d be reimbursed if her suit case never showed up and the $100+ flat iron she had inside was lost to her forever.  We went to the baggage office where we looked at all the unclaimed luggage sitting around but none of it was her’s so we went in to file our claim.  The attendant did her due diligence and searched the computer, the unclaimed bags and called the baggage handlers, but sure enough, Green‘s suitcase did not appear to be in Las Vegas.

The attendant immediately began the process of opening a claim and tracking ticket and we provided her with the necessary information of how to contact us when the suitcase arrived, while answering all our questions and doing her best to reassure Green that they’d make it right with her if the bag didn’t turn up.

Once that was completed it was time for the jaunt to “the strip” where we were to check into our hotel.  We got out to the transportation section and found the booth to buy our fair on one of the many shuttles to the strip, but unfortunately we did have to wait about 20 minutes till the driver felt he had enough passengers to justify the trip.  And while we waited we were fortunate enough to get to listen to the drivers gangsta rap music he had playing over the speakers…  While he was no where around.  Thankfully, the MGM Grand is one of the first stops and we weren’t on the shuttle for long.

Walking into the lobby of the hotel we were immediately impressed with the grandeur and beauty of the place but as we approached the front desk we encountered our next obstacle.  There was a mass of hotel guests waiting to check in, and no clearly delineated line.  We must have looked pretty lost because pretty soon a woman wearing a blazer and a golden name tag came over and asked us to follow her while she lead us to what looked like the next most expeditious line.

When it was our turn to check in, which really did only take a few minutes, we asked the front desk clerk if they had any upgrades available.  They did and she showed us what our options were.  We chose a suite that was on the 18th floor – we prefer to be higher, but all the higher ones weren’t non-smoking – and that had a “strip view”, however when we got to the room we were sorely disappointed because what they consider a “strip view” is a sliver of the back of the next hotel over and a sprawling view of the rest of Las Vegas proper.

Now, I admit, the second version has more words, more paragraphs, but isn’t it more interesting to read too?

I read a lot of blogs, and I hope a lot of people will read mine.  I just hope that mine fits into the better written, more interesting to read, category.

“““““““

Now to the real point.

I do read a lot of blogs and I admit that I’m greatly interested in the blogs of people who write about sexual encounters, be they real or fiction.  They’re usually interesting to read and exciting and quite often get me going.  I believe another term for these entries is “stroke writing”.  But I also admit that I can only suspend my sense of reality so much and I’m often shocked and disturbed by some of the behaviors people write about.  Many accounts of random, anonymous sexual encounters, unprotected bareback sex (I do only read the gay ones) and other forms of complete irresponsibility and frankly, I don’t know what to think about them sometimes.  I wonder, “Do people really do these things?”  “Is this really a favorable way of getting what you need?”  “Do these people not regret or feel ashamed about their actions?”

But I’ll be honest.  They affect me.  And sometimes, when I’m feeling really lonely, and I’ve had a little too much to drink (read: an extra bottle) I think, maybe…  Maybe I could give it a try.

Such was the case this past Friday night.  Halfway through my second bottle of wine and leaning toward my third, I’d read all the “stroke posts” and looked at all the sexy pictures on my reader and I was horny, and feeling lonely, and not as inhibited as I normally am.  So I turned to Craigslist.  I knew I couldn’t be the predatory one, and I knew I couldn’t drive, or “travel” as the post authors always say.  So I posted my own ad, something I’ve never done before.  The post was something about being “newly gay” and needing a teacher, both of which is true.  I put down that I needed to be taught about gay lovin’ but that I would have to be convinced because I was frightened.  And I attached a grainy, unclear, cell phone picture of myself, naked and sprawled out on the floor that was taken some time ago while I was drunk and Green, my former room mate, was trying to get me to bed.  You couldn’t see my face, and I was not trying to hide my physical appearance.  I was saying “Boys, this is what I look like and if I actually see this thing through and you come over here, this is what you’re going to find.”

Almost instantly I got two e-mails from guys who had seen my post and suggested they might want to teach me.  I was emboldened by the vino and I thought, hey this is great.  I replied to the e-mails with answers to their questions and questions of my own.  Still figuring that there was no harm in pursuing this.

One of the guys dropped out after a couple e-mails but the other guy was serious about moving forward.  He was ready to take down my address and head on out and that’s when reality struck!  In an instant my head cleared and the fear took over.  My mind was racing!

Oh my God!  Is this serious?  Could I really do this?”

“Crap!  The house is a mess.  I need to clean the bathroom!  I haven’t changed my sheets in months!”

“I don’t know anything about this guy and while that may have sort of been the point, it’s really risky!  Plus as ‘anonymous’ as I’d like to believe it is, it’s not really ’cause if I do this he’ll know where I live.  He could very well be genuine and sincere, but he could just as easily be coming here to case the joint.  I don’t have a lot that’s worth stealing but I do have some.  For that matter, he could be a serial killer and I would have invited him in.”

“And it’s sex.  Really sex.  Not just I-contemplated-it-while-jerking-myself-off sex.  And that would change everything!  There’s no going back from that!”

And so, I contemplated it while jerking myself off.  And then the “need” had passed and I turned off my computer and went to bed.

The next day I felt like shit!  Two and a half bottles of wine will do that to you, but it wasn’t just the hangover and the headache and the diarrhea and the shakes.

I was ashamed.  Still am a little bit.  I’m relieved ’cause I didn’t follow through. I know I’m still safe.  I know I still don’t have any diseases.  I know that I haven’t opened myself up to be a victim of a crime.  Yes I could still get robbed.  It’s part of life.  Yes I could still be attacked on the street.  That too, is a part of life.  But I didn’t invite a complete stranger into my house and tell him to take a look around and see if there’s anything he’d like to come back for, uninvited.  And I didn’t open myself up, figuratively and literally, and make myself as vulnerable as a human being can be and risk a life changing result from an “anonymous donor”.

Yet, I can’t help being ashamed of myself for having gone there in the first place.  Sex should be a wonderful thing between two people who care for each other.  Right?  That’s certainly a lovely sentiment and I’d like to feel like I can apply it.  But let’s call a spade a spade.  I’m not a social person.  I don’t meet new people and I haven’t got anyone in my life so the likelihood of meeting someone I can feel a connection with and start a relationship with is next to impossible.  Meanwhile, I’m still human.  I’m still male.  I still have needs that need to be fulfilled.  And it is just sex, right?

This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in some semblance of this situation.  I’ve been on Gay.com many times.  I’ve had on-line chats with local guys while looking for a little “inspiration”.  But inevitably, it always goes the same way.  They don’t want to just talk about what they’d do.  They want to come over and do it.  And it’s always the same thing with me.  I’m horny.  I’m probably inebriated (only time I have the nerve to do anything sexual.)  I’m naked, with my cock in one hand and the computer mouse in the other and I just want to get off.  And then I start to wonder whether I should take it a step farther.  And then they say it!

“Can I come over?”  Cue the thunder clap and the lightening bolt.  The scratching record.  The sudden silence of the crowd.  The dramatic “plot thickens” organ music.  And suddenly it’s not a game anymore.  It’s not just fantasy, or what ifs.  it’s not just masturbation.  It’s an opportunity.  An opportunity for something, I actually really do want…  sort of.

And in an instant, I’m overcome.  I’m sick to my stomach.  I’m shaking.  I instantly go from the “could I?”s to the “how could I?”s.  All the blood drains from my body.  Where I was hot and bothered, now I’m frozen and terrified.  I’m weak and shaking and, eh’hem, everything goes limp, to jelly, turns soft.  And I chicken out.

And in spite of all this, I can’t really decide if I think that following through would be a bad thing, and make me an amoral person, or if I think it would be a perfectly natural thing to do and I’m way over-thinking?  And it doesn’t really matter because like it or not, my sub-conscious won’t let it happen.

Yes, I’m relieved, because I didn’t follow through.

But I’m also kind of pissed.

‘Cause I didn’t follow through.