Time for something new

Chapter TwoWe recently celebrated our anniversary. Yes, celebrated is certainly the right word, despite the fundamental contradiction of a gay man being married to a straight wife. We’ve had many happy years, many happy times. Shared heartaches and triumphs. We love our kids; we really do enjoy one another’s company; we share so much in terms of worldview and values.

But nevertheless, my heart is dark inside of me. As time goes past, fear and shame grow stronger; pain and resentment deeper. Fear of the inevitable day when my secret will be made known to people I love. Shame for my actions – unfaithful, weak, pathetic. Pain that stems from the message that I heard and embraced again and again throughout my life: that deep in my heart I was evil, broken, bad. Resentment toward those who sold me the lie that, if I was honest and sincere, that god would “fix” me. That if I found the perfect girl, if I was honest with her from the start, and if we entered into marriage with pure intentions and faith in god, that everything would work out. Well guess what? Despite finding the best girl in the word, despite my most genuine attempt at honesty, despite our sincerest faith, it isn’t working out. It’s not OK. We both live with chronic emotional pain, a  wound that won’t heal.

The truth is, even though my resentment pretends to be directed at others – my family, my church, my culture – maybe the proper target of my resentment is me. I’ve read plenty stories of gay people who grew up in the church, in families that were not accepting of gay people, and yet at an early age they found the strength to reject the messages they were hearing. So why couldn’t I have done so? Why didn’t I?

Maybe it’s time to stop blaming everyone else for choices I have made. Time to start making new choices. I  mean, I can’t change what I thought and felt and did in the past, but what I do now and in the future – that is not yet set in stone. And I would like to think I’ve made progress. Many years ago, whenever I heard the dominant cultural narrative about what it was to be gay, I pretty much accepted it without question. I willingly embraced the judgment. Over time I found the strength to question and reject those same demeaning attitudes and beliefs, if only internally. I questioned and rejected them, yet almost always remained silent, not wanting to draw attention to myself. I didn’t want people to figure out my “secret.”

As I look to the future, I’m not satisfied with that. It’s progress, yes; and I’m grateful for it. But it’s time for more; time for something new. It’s time to speak up. Time to counter the anti-gay attitudes and beliefs still too prevalent in my everyday experience. Time to get over my stupid fear that people will figure out that I’m gay, and stop letting it determine what I do and what I say. It’s time for a new chapter.

Advertisements

7 comments

  1. Good on ya, Greg!
    What’s progress without change?
    None of this means you love your wife, children, family life any less.

    The shame that religion placed on our sexual identities is an antiquated form of guilt. Free yourself from those chains.

    This world we live in needs to know that there is a myriad of relationships, successful relationships out there. The world will never know if you keep it hidden.

    Like

  2. Greg – I, too, celebrated my wedding anniversary with my wife. It was a grand time! It’s awesome to “catch your breath” during those times…the tension eases and smiles return…if only for a little while. We need more of them.

    Blessings on you and your wife, my blogging friend! 🙂

    Like

  3. Hello. I have taken time since you wrote this to absorb and figure out your meaning. I have printed it off twice. I think I understand some of what you say. I just don’t see the need for a huge change, when little changes will do?

    You and your wife do love each other and have so much in common. That is a good thing. Even if you are both attracted to the same gender and maybe your being gay causes tension, still you have the relationship and all with it. Even in same sex couples without that factor there can be problems. SO celebrate what you can both agree on, like the children, past happy memories, building new happy memories, the daily home chores and joys of building a home together. Just because one is gay and one is straight does not mean you can not have a wonderful live together. I have know several couples who have made it work. When I asked about the other partners attractions I was told they had made a deal, no matter who they slept with, no matter who they partied with, they came home to each other, their home, their life. The worked hard at that life, and it was important to both. Sex they said was just a way to make them feel good, and if it was sex with the same gender did not matter, as long as they loved each other, came home to each other. They told me it was too much like ownership of the other person to do other wise. If they felt they owned the other person in their eyes it made the person less important, less free, the commitment they made less valuable. That they still held to the commitment they made for each other, that seemed the most valuable thing in their life, and the other things just flowed like water under a bridge.

    What they tried to each the young me was it was so much more important to respect each other and to have an honest commitment than to try to own the other as a pet or a possession. To have the other person free to express themselves made the expression of love and caring between them more important and more powerful.

    In your post I detect two things I think. One is anger at the way you were taught to see gay people and therefore your self. You hate that view of your self forced on you. The other is the fear you may have missed something out there exciting and wonderful because you don’t want people to know the feelings you have, your attraction to men.

    Both are solved by the same thing, not caring what others think regardless of their age, closeness and ability to affect your situation. As long as you and your wife are comfortable with your actions, no one, NO ONE else matters. Even the children really as all children are embarrassed by their parents at some point no matter how their parents act. As long as your wife is OK with it, dress as you wish, say as you wish, be as you are, just know that you have to be willing to face the consequences face on and say ” yes I did that or I said that and that is how I feel”!

    You have not missed anything of importance in not being out in my opinion, just different kinds of sex with different male partners. You have time for that and time for the cuddling and holding of and with another male, which you will find is far more important, memorable and longer lasting than the sex. The other thing that seems to scare you is others opinion or what they may say if they knew your secret, you are attracted to men. Well let me ask you , if you changed that secret to another, like you like hot sauce on eggs or you think dress pants are dumb, any thing, would you care what people thought of YOUR opinion. See the opinion of others matter only as much as we give them that power. Your wife’s opinion would matter greatly to you, someone you rarely see wouldn’t matter hardly at all. You simply have to say, today my wife and my opinions are the ones I care about and if you other people don’t like it, go get stuff because we don’t care that much. We like you, but we are people also and entitled to the same respect we gave you with your opinions and problems. You are not more important than us and you do not matter more. So if you treat us with respect we will treat you the same, but if you disrespect us , we will cut you from our life. That is how it will be, because we believe in each other.

    Sorry this got so long, I hope you don’t mind. If you want to edit it or take it off your blog I will understand. I simply had no choice but be what I was, and because of the childhood I had, standing up and being the person I am with the desires I had was not a problem. I accepted the hurts and angers, the joys and the wonders, and I simply called it my life. I bet you can do the same, especially with your wife walking it with you. You do not need to feel that you must tell everyone things that are not their business, just don’t shrink for answering honestly if the questions come up, and it is OK to tell people those questions are out of line. Just as you wouldn’t ask personal question of others, they shouldn’t feel free to do so of you. many many hugs for both you and your wife, and great blessings for your children.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scottie – thanks so much for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully. Loved this thought: “I just don’t see the need for a huge change, when little changes will do.” So true!

    > In your post I detect two things… anger at the way you were taught to see gay people and therefore your self… [and] the fear you may have missed something out there exciting and wonderful…

    You nailed it!

    > Both are solved by the same thing, – not caring what others think

    I think this is right, or at least nearly so, and I’ve definitely made progress. I’ve gotten to the point where I really no longer care what society thinks, what the church thinks, or even what most of my friends think. But there is a small number of people whose opinions I do care about. I don’t think I can just decide to stop caring, but I think the “little change” in this case would just be to not let that control me. I’ve also been wondering recently if I’ve given them too little credit – these are people who love me, so why not give them the chance to show it?

    Again – thanks for your response – no need to apologize for the length!

    Like

    1. I think you have already got to the solution and you were kind enough to let us go along on the journey with you. Every thing you said in your reply to my long comment is most correct. You should be congratulated, your doing much better in a hard situation than most could do. Many simply give up or go into life long hiding, never realizing all they could be, both to themselves and to their family’s. You really have thought it out and I hope the best for you. Many hugs

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s