Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Truth shall make you free (John 8:32), PART ONE

I don't even know where to begin tonight. Let me first say that the term "coming out" does not appeal to me at all. To me that sounds like you're announcing that you've decided on a lifestyle. I recognize that that is not how everyone uses it, but that's what it makes me think--so by my definition I can't think of myself ever "coming out" because I don't plan on ever living a homosexual lifestyle. So, I'm going to simply say "telling people that I'm attracted to men." Telling people has not been in the plan at all. I have unfortunately seen too many cases where those who reveal their attractions to others get shunned. I am by nature generally optimistic, and I thorougly believe that latter-day saints are getting better at being loving and understanding of those with same-gender attraction. However, I also recognize that we're not all the way there yet and may have a long way yet to go. That is only one of several reasons that I don't plan on ever openly telling people about my struggles. I'm not saying my solution is the best for everyone, but it is what works for me. I have to add that I've felt as of late like I should someday tell my parents. That is a terrifying prospect for me. Don't get me wrong--my parents are both incredible people and I'm sure that if/when I tell them that they will be completely understanding and love me just the same. But I also know that it will change the way they see me--that simply can't be avoided. It doesn't mean they'll think less of me, per se, but they will think different of me, and I don't want to have drama attached to me! If I ever tell them it will be because I want them to understand me better without having to see me as a different person than the one they've always known. I guess my biggest hesitation is that I love them too much to dump such an emotional burden on them. I don't feel like it would necessarily serve to make mine lighter, so why burden others for no reason? Anyway, we'll see where that goes. Despite my many excuses for not telling them, I just can't ignore the little prompting to do so. Ultimately, if God wants me to share this burden with them, I will.

However, tonight I am absolutely emotionally divided about the idea of letting people know, because--completely unplanned--I just happened to have my first experience telling someone about this issue. My mind is still reeling from it. I was betrayed by my emotions and wish I could undo it, even though it went okay overall. Here's what happened:

Besides starting this blog and announcing, albeit anonymously, that I have SSA, this week has brought a whirlwind of homework and other time demands. A friend I work with this evening noticed that I was kind of out of it today and seemed especially stressed. He was picking my brain to find out the cause and I don't know if it was the spirit or what or even if he was just kidding when he asked, but he just directly asked "Do you like men?" Whether it was a joke or not, recent circumstances and experiences caused my emotions to betray me, a tear to come to my eye, and a timid but exasperated "yes" to escape my lips. That of course launched a very, very long conversation I was not prepared to have. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I don't want to have that conversation ever again. Don't get me wrong, now. My friend was actually very caring and compassionate, but in his zeal to help me he started a 15 minute lecture telling me I needed to go see a psychiatrist and get pills to fix me so I'd stop being attracted to guys. That nearly destroyed me emotionally as I largely argued in vain that there weren't magic pills to cure attraction or make me fall in love with women. He insisted that it's all just in my head and therefore curable. Luckily, I finally got a chance to speak again and helped him understand a little more that it isn't that simple and there's no easy off-switch. Of course, I swore him t absolute secrecy and he was actually very kind about all of it in the end. Overall, it didn't go as great as I would have wanted a first "telling" experience to, but it most certainly at least went much better than I've always horrifyingly imagined.

As that friend might now be reading this blog (though I charged him strictly not to follow it, lest his presence clue others as to my identity), I hope he knows that I'm grateful that he was kind about it and still my friend. Nonetheless, like I said earlier about my reservations about telling my parents, when news like this comes to light, it ALWAYS changes the way that others see you. I know that even though my friend doesn't think less of me, he will now forever think different of me and I can never get that back.

Anyway, I hope that if I ever have to tell someone about it again besides through this blog that it isn't for a very long time.

I'll end tonight with the scripture for this post. I'm still chewing on it mentally and will probably comment a lot more on it in another post tomorrow. It's from John 8:32 and says:

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

I think the greatest burden of my struggle is the feeling of constantly breaking the ninth commandment. I've been telling people for a long time that I'm attracted to girls--even specific ones (always dishonestly)--and even today reassured a friend jokingly that I'm absolutely straight, knowing full-well that it was a full-blown lie... or is it? I'd like to think that since my actions have been to refrain from any relationships or pursue my attractions that I am in fact straight, even though I'm attracted to men. I intend to never have sex with anyone besides my future wife. Doesn't that mean I'm technically heterosexual, as I only (plan to) have sex with the opposite gender? Nonetheless, I continually feel dishonest and sometimes I do blatantly lie about myself. This blog has helped my soul see ways the truth truly sets you free, but tonight's conversation left that dilemma murkier.

For now though, I need to go for the evening. I'll keep chewing on that scripture and conclude my thoughts tomorrow, so be sure to check back.

My best,



1 comment:

  1. I can honestly say that knowing someone's sexuality doesn't much change by view of them anymore. It did a little the first couple of times because it was a new experience, but not much. My friend from high school is the same great guy he always was. So the slogan "It gets better" applies here too. In college, a lot of people are meeting SSA people for the first time, but as life goes on, it'll be less and less of a novelty. If you look at statistics, there are likely more homosexual people in the US than there are Latter-day Saints.


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