Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Ins And Outs Of My Ins And Outs

Well, I suppose it's about time I got to talking about my SSA in detail here. Not painstaking detail, mind you, but enough that you can get a feel of where I've been in regards to my own thoughts and feelings concerning it. This will be a short summary, and I'll probably go back and talk about certain aspects of it later on.

First of all, let me just straighten out some terminology here. I often times refer to myself as gay or homosexual. By definition, homosexuality means "sexual attraction to, or sexual relations with, members of the same sex." My current sexual experience is limited to mere attraction, but that's still my primary sexual attribute and thus means that, for all intents and purposes, I'm gay. By all means, I don’t mind people who'd rather use other terms to describe themselves, but I don't really like the idea that my calling myself gay is, for the moment, unhealthy. It doesn't mean I identify with the gay lifestyle or gay culture. I call myself gay in the same way that I call myself selfish, greedy, and proud. It's a fact. It's not a desired one, but it's there. I guess it's just me calling a spade a spade.

Now I'm not going to start off by saying when I "found out" I was gay. To tell the truth I'm not too sure. I do remember some instances when I was around 11 or 12 when I'd see a guy on television and think, "Wow, he's cute!" Then, almost humorously, there would be another voice in my head that said "What!? He's a guy!" And it wasn't too long after I realized I liked guys that I started denying it. Not just to other people: I mean to myself. I just ignored it, and not because I thought that by doing so I could make it go away. I wasn't concerned with making it go away. I didn’t want to give it the credit of existing at all.

You might ask why I did this, but I barely know myself. True, I did grow up in the south and hatred toward homosexuals was definitely something I saw, but I don't think that was the reason. I don't think it was because I thought it was a sin, either. Homosexuality was barely addressed in church (if at all) and mom and dad never spoke of it either. I suppose the main reason I didn't like to acknowledge my SSA was because it was just one more thing -- one big thing -- that made me abnormal. I had a history of being picked on at school: It happens when your vocabulary is three grade levels above those of your peers. I didn't want more fuel to add to the fire.

So of course I became a divided individual. I would see a guy at school and think he was gorgeous, then pretend I didn't. I'd look at the girl sitting next to him, try to concentrate on her until I thought I felt attraction, and then say to myself, "Of course you like girls, see?" It simply didn't work. My same-sex attraction needed an outlet, and it found one in the beast that is pornography.

I'm not going to go into that period any more than I have to, one because it's still a fresh wound and painful to think about and two because I don't want to offend the sensibilities of any readers. Let's just say that it was sinful, and even more so because I wouldn't acknowledge it. I would simply go to the computer when no one was home, have my look-see, and then end it without a prayer or a thought of guilt. After all, in my mind I was straight: Why in the world would I look at gay porn?

One night, actually at the start of this summer, I just seemed to break. I can't describe it any more than that. I don't know what it was. It might have been a prayer, a catharsis, an epiphany, I just don't know, and I don't want to sound too dramatic about it, either. I just seemed to crumble under my own emotional weight. The fact that I had been betraying people -- my family, my friends, my God -- just crashed down on me like a ton of bricks. I couldn't breath, couldn't stand up straight. It was just me, alone in my bedroom in a heap and crying out for strength and forgiveness. I didn't find it immediately, either. I went to bed a huddled wreck, but when I woke up I had some resolve. My gayness was going to start entering my thought processes. It had no other choice.

Of course, I didn't know where I stood in regards to my faith. Was I going to be an openly gay Christian, as I knew there were? I knew mom, dad, Rusty and Libby would accept me as that. When I told Rusty, he openly told me that that was what I should be. He saw no problem with a gay man, living with a monogamous partner, being a member of the church. At that point I'd yet to really make up my mind about it. He brushed off my half-hearted objections and we didn't talk about the subject any more. He himself seemed to be proud of how accepting he was. I know that sounds awful of me to say that, but that's the vibe I got. Of course I'm glad he was accepting. It's a hundred times better than the alternative, and I'm sure he's prayed and meditated about the subject a lot since then. As for our relationship, it's like nothing's changed. We're back to being our regular, joking, rough-housing, brotherly selves. Believe me, I'm grateful for that more than I can express in words.

As for myself, well, I discovered the Christian gay blogosphere! I've always been more of a Biblical conservative than Rusty, so I had a hard time accepting the belief that homosexuality wasn't a sin, and I didn't. I found a lot of great ex-gay/ex-gay friendly blogs: Disputed Mutability, Willful Grace and Everyday Thoughts Collected being the main ones. I also found some gay Christian blogs, and I was pleased to see that, for the most part, there was little animosity between the two, and there didn’t have to be. I found a wealth of well-expressed opinions from some truly Christian people, and it inspired me to make my own opinions. (It also defeated that pornography dragon once and for all. How could I go to a site like that after reading a Willful Grace post?) After some praying and some serious thinking, I made the decision that I would commit myself to following God's will, whatever it would be, even if it felt like He had dealt me an unfair hand in doing so.

Of course it's all still really hard. Temptations are still there. I'm not any happier than I was before, but I'm whole. I am one person, one person made in the image of God. That knowledge still amazes me. I'd been told it since childhood, but I've only just started to understand it. I know that a lot of people out there think that I'm wrong, misguided, etc. I encourage them to comment on this blog. I'm going to college, after all. This is a time for me to grow and come into my own. I want to learn, share and become more like Christ. Becoming straight is not the goal, but simply a step on the road there.

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