Food for Thought, Fresh from UT (!)

I'm finally back from Utah, and a lot has happened. I hardly know where to begin!
  1. I got to know myself a little better while away, and was able to look inward. At last I was able to accept the fact that I really am gay.
  2. My uncle (a highly intelligent physician) and I had an uncomfortable conversation in which he attacked homosexuality using beating-around-the-bush terms to which I couldn't really respond. At one point he said that "sometimes people say they're born...a certain way, and I don't buy it for a minute. They may have a genetic predisposition to something [homosexuality], but the choice is theirs. Just like alcoholism. It's a genetic predisposition, but it's first triggered by drinking alcohol. Have you ever met an alcoholic who hasn't tasted alcohol?" First of all, alcoholism is different from homosexuality precisely because of the "trigger choice", i.e., one has to make a choice to experience the full effects of alcoholism, while the full effects of homosexuality (as well as bi- or heterosexuality, for that matter) are felt without any chosen action being taken. Secondly, while of course I understand that most gay people don't choose to be gay in any way, I am unsure if the same applies to me, or if my uncle's opinion is, in my case, fitting. On the one hand, I have sometimes felt attractions for women; have I chosen to be gay by drowning out these attractions for women in "experimental" attractions for men? Or is it that I felt the most confused when I was trying to muster my heterosexual attractions, and now that I have finally accepted my homosexuality, these other attractions (or illusions of attractions) have fallen away? This suggests that it may have been a choice, and yet, perhaps it was my subconscious reaching for another future, and finally my self-acceptance has put that futile reaching to rest. Is that it?
  3. There is the possibility that while I feel and know that I'm gay now, that may not be the case for the rest of my life, especially as I begin to settle into adulthood. I do feel gay on an internal level, but still, teenage hormones change and develop, and maybe this is premature. On the other hand, straight kids can date the opposite sex without fear that their orientations will change, which sometimes happens. Then why couldn't gay kids have the same opportunities and confidence?
  4. I felt, on three separate occasions, impressions that my road entails pursuing a gay partnership, and that God approved of me as He made me. But there was doubt in my mind: was this genuinely personal revelation, or simply my own emotions?
  5. ...And then there are the implications of leaving the Church and, to some extent, possibly my (extended) family. My short life has, so far, pretty much revolved around the Church and my family, and I can't even begin to imagine life without either. They have been the framework of my life; without either, I would lose a huge measure of community and support. While there is, on the other hand, the LGBT community, I am quite conservative and felt uncomfortable the one time I wandered into the SLC Pride Center. Perhaps this is the result of internalized homophobia, but I still feel like the bat in an African legend: in the animal war between birds and furry animals, the bat, being neither, was fought by both (and, we can assume, was uncomfortable with either group).
  6. I was so distressed about the mere prospect of losing my church and/or family--along with the domestic stress I have already begun feeling in the days since I've gotten back--that I finally called the Trevor helpline and got some words of comfort. It's not that I'm suicidal, but I do admit that I carry around a death wish, e.g., 'Wouldn't it be nice if that tree would fall and crush me?' or 'If only that car would ram me and end all this', etc. (By the way, I'm feeling better now, though, as usual, every day is a struggle to some degree in our house!)The counselor fellow encouraged me to think about the future, which we discussed in some detail.
  7. ...And it was while talking about the future that he said, "...and you'll have a beautiful boyfriend who loves you to death!" This was a bit of a shock to hear outloud. I've given a lot of thought to the idea of a boyfriend, but to actually hear it expressed as a real possibility, an actual future, that was something new entirely. It made me consider what I really want out of life.
  8. At the end of the day, it's about what Heavenly Father wants for me (thankfully, I have not lost my faith in and love of God in this process). And here my thoughts inevitably flow to my Patriarchal Blessing. I am still not completely sure about what to think of this. I feel just a little bit uncomfortable trying to bend it around, and yet...
  9. ...The thought came to me that I must be an honest person if I am to be able to look myself in the mirror. I have the utmost respect for all of you in mixed-orientation-marriages--often entered into without the realization that it was such--but for me, personally, in my individual circumstances, I think that marrying a woman would be dishonest. Again, dishonest for me--I recognize that it's different for everyone, and there's a different solution for each person. But I don't know if I could call myself an honest man if I were married to a woman. Perhaps this is because I know that, if I did marry a woman, I would probably make the (very personal) decision to remain largely closeted. Just knowing myself, I don't think I could do a straight marriage whilst out.

I know this is a long post. I'm sort of having a rough time, I have to say, between my fears and insecurities in this department and the troubles and problems in the family department. It gets to be a bit much--I'm quite unhappy right now, and I don't know if that's because of the things I've posted above, or my unsurety of the future, or our domestic troubles, or what have you. I sometimes wonder, is my eternal soul in peril here? What if I've got it all wrong? Could I really leave the Church on the basis of my little ideas and feelings?

I'm not a gambler, and this is one bet I couldn't afford to lose.


Bravone said...

Thanks for the update from your Salt Lake visit. I admire you for thinking through the issues that you have and for being honest with your feelings. I think it's admirable to admit that you/we don't have all the answers.

My faith has actually increased as I admit that I don't understand everything. It has caused me to rely more on the Lord. I am glad that you have not lost your faith in God. If you continue to nourish your spirit, you will be more confident in the decisions you make about your future.

I don't believe that, in most, if not all cases, sexual orientation is a choice. I think that we can choose what that means to us and how we live with our orientation.

I'm not sure that at your age you need to worry excessively about marriage right now. I would leave your options open and seek to be the best self you can be. Seek to be at peace knowing that you are a son of God and that he loves and approves of you.

Living in the past is unproductive. Trying to live in the future is impossible and brings angst. Only living in the present do we have real power in our lives. Be grateful that you have come to understand your nature now and love yourself for all the good characteristics that often accompany being gay. Live now as best you can. Be happy now, enjoy high school. Stay close to your spiritual nature.

You are an amazing young man. You are such a strength to your family. You don't have the ideal family situation right now and have pressures and responsibilities that one your age shouldn't have to deal with. You are doing terrific and have the love and respect of your family and your peers. You have my respect. I have confidence that you will make correct choices and grow in ways unimaginable from the experiences you now face. You will be better than the average man, no doubt.

Frank Lee Scarlet said...

Thank you so much, Bravone, for your advice and help. I really needed that! And thank you for the reminder to live in the present--I can get so wrapped up in my anxieties that I forget about all the good things in life. Right now, I am going to try to do what you suggest--enjoy life, keep the faith, and find peace.