Saturday, October 13, 2007

And Then There Were 6...

I realize that I have done a lot of posting this week- I guess I've just had a lot on my mind. Now I think I'd like to put down a little bit of my history so you know what I mean when I say that I'm coming out for the second time. Midway through my senior year in high school, I finally gathered the courage to tell my friends and family what I had known for quite a long time. I started by telling my most liberal friends, which was the easiest and most reassuring. Then when I felt like I had enough moral support, I came out to my parents- my mom first and then my dad. They were pretty devastated. I had always grown up being taught that homosexuality was a horrible thing, which I think is true for a lot of children in Christian families. My family, though not LDS, are very religious and morally driven people. So once my parents knew, I started being less careful about who found out that I was gay. And of course, like all juicy news in high school, the word about me spread furiously. I was pretty well known at my high school since I was involved in choir, band, drama, and leadership activities, so even a lot of the underclassmen could enjoy the rumor. Unfortunately my younger brother, who was a freshman at the time, found out from someone else before I could tell him myself. He confronted me about it one day on the way to school- I remember him telling me that he thought it was gross, but at the same time he let me know that he was still my brother and that he loved me. That whole year and for much of his sophomore year as well, he had to endure a lot of teasing from classmates about me being gay. I still feel guilty about what I put him through, but love him so much for how he handled it. My mom told me that he always stuck up for me and would just tell people to shut-up if they said anything derogatory. What a stud!

Anyhow, I was out and excited about my new prospects; I was looking forward to going to college and dating guys. And then just when I thought that my world had already been turned upside down, Luisa and another dear friend of mine, Skyhawk, invited me to listen to the missionaries and go to church with them. You see, while I had been coming out I had also been going through a religious crisis. I wasn’t sure if I even believed in God anymore, but I wanted to find answers and to know how my homosexuality could fit into my spiritual beliefs. I admit it, I used to be kind of anti-Mormon- at least doctrinally anyway. Many of my good friends were Mormon, but I had always thought that they were kind of loony. So against all odds I ended up joining the Church about 8 months after I had come out (I’ll save the details for another time- it’s a very long and complicated story). A month after I was baptized I went to college where no one knew about me being gay. I just started over and decided not to talk to anyone about it ever again. My parents assumed that the gay thing had just been a “phase.” This was just over four years ago.

You can imagine that I was worried when I started my mission a year after having joined the church. I mean, 24 hours a day with other guys for two years straight? And I have to sleep in the same room and see them undress and act like it’s not awkward for me? But Heavenly Father really blessed me and my temptations during the mission were limited- it was like my sexuality was turned off so that I could focus on missionary work. I finished the mission sure that when I started school again, especially now that I had transferred to BYU, I would have no trouble dating girls and getting married within a year. Exactly one year ago today, I was released as a missionary- and here I am.

It didn’t take me long after I had come home to realize that my attractions toward guys had not gone away, as much as I wanted to deny this. But I was determined to make things work, so I started going on dates with girls when I got here in January, and in June I started dating a girl seriously. We just broke up last weekend, which is another story and one that I’m not sure I want to post. In short, it was a pretty painful event- I told her about my SSA and everything. Having a relationship with a girl, rather than suppressing my homosexual feelings, has only made them more obvious until they have become something which I cannot not keep to myself any longer. I am tired of hiding and lying and faking, so for the past few weeks I’ve been telling (and in some cases retelling) some of my closest friends about my dilemma. Apart from meeting moho family and family friends, I talked to Luisa, who had known about my SSA in high school and has been so patient and loving- she is my voice of reason when I am feeling confused. I also told another dear friend, Falula, with whom I have been the best of friends since I started college. She is a fellow convert and a true light and joy in my life. I don’t know where I would be without her! Then of course I talked to my late-girlfriend- I guess I’ll call her Wendy- and I’m still not sure how that’s going to turn out. Needless to say, after four months of dating, it was a huge blow for her. I also came out to a couple of my mission buddies- Ricky, who was one of my favorite companions, and Tito, who was never technically my companion, but we were just as close as companions. Today- oh, in about an hour or so, I’m going to lunch with another favorite mission companion, Ken, and I think he’ll be the last person I come out to for now. And I guess that makes six- six people outside the moho world to keep tabs on me- to help me be sure that whatever ends up happening, I’ll have plenty of support. So to Luisa, Falula, Wendy, Ricky, Tito, and Ken- thank you for being understanding about something that a lot of people can’t handle, and thank you for being so caring. I love you all!


Remus said...

I so empathize with your story. I'm not a convert, but in a way, I was anti-Mormon until I came to a spiritual awakening of sorts my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. When I came home from the mission, I thought that everything was going to be just dandy. i would get married and have kids and follow the gospel as best I could. But, alas. It is not so. I try to live the gospel, but the feelings of SSA never go away. And my life after the mission has been dealing with that and where the church fits into my life.