E L B O W
Elbow: My Duplicitous Self

Friday, March 16, 2007

My Duplicitous Self

There’s something wrong with me, and there’s been something wrong with me for sometime now. I always thought that the problem within me was due to my homosexual tendencies, but now I’m realizing that that homosexuality isn’t the underlying problem. It exacerbates it yes, but deep down within the layers of my subconscious motivations, there lies the true issue of my duplicitous self.

What I’ve just recently realized is that I am afraid of me. I have fear living inside of me, I have it breathing down my neck, and it snowballs and expands to the point where I can’t do anything about it. And that fear has brought about two separate identities within my psyche. To combat one, the other persona was created subconsciously, to be in opposition with what the other wants. Each identity fights long and hard for what it is desperately trying to avoid. It is the fear of fruition that drives my two selves to be at constant battle with one another. And as the stakes are raised, the fight within me rages with more intensity.

There is the persona of Elbow that wants validation from a higher power that wants to live righteously and follow obediently the commandments that have been laid out. The other identity seeks after the experience of connection and intimacy with masculinity. But both are driven by fear. I’m tired of living in fear. I don’t care if I ever go to the temple again. I don’t care if I ever go to Church again. But ask me again in ten minutes and I’ll tell you a different plea, I’ll say how much I see the true power of Sabbath day worship and I’ll find myself feeling so overwhelmed by desires of goodness, that I’ll forget that I even wanted to leave the Church.

I’m screwed up because my version of being a good person is not being attracted to men. When I think about repentance I think that the path to wholeness is paved with straight thoughts and sex with my wife. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING GOOD AND RIGHTEOUS! So why does my brain think that sometimes? And then there are other times when I think “wow, I’m gay and I’ll always be gay and therefore I shouldn’t be with my wife.” And the an hour latter I’ll be feeling like I miss her and I want to dedicate my life to her and I’ll be committed being anything she wants me to be.

The feelings that shift within me at warp speeds are so at odds with each other and so polarized that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand where they are coming from and where they are going. These feelings that I experience are so strong, it’s not just ideas and thoughts, but true heartfelt convictions that change at the drop of a hat. I feel so torn sometimes, and then there are other times when I feel so peaceful. My mind, my heart and my desires are all playing very frustrating tricks on me. I want to be constant, I want to be consistent. I want to feel something and continue to feel it. I’m tired of vacillating. I don’t want two identities of my own persona at odds with each other.

One minute I’m me, and the next minute I’m the second version of me, but both sides of me are never really able to get anything done because it’s all mixed up.

7 Comments:

Blogger My Best Is All I Have said...

Elbow,

I find myself having the same swings all the time. From my view, take your experience and add 10 additional years of duplcity. Then look at the other older faithful LDS guys on here and add another 10-20 years. It doesn't appear that the swings ever go away.

I don't know what the solution is. I wish I did. How could I be happy with a life of loneliness and celibacy as a faithful gay mormon? On the other hand, how could I be happy living a life that I know the Lord doesn't approve of? Both of those questions are answered with some derivation of the concept of "misery".

Do we then just shrug our shoulders and say, well I might as well be miserable but faithful to my testimony. Or do we say, I might as well be miserable but not lonely. Neither choice is very appealing in the perspective of this mortal existence.

I just read Elder Oaks and Wickman's interview on SSA. I didn't finish it with a lot of optimism for overcoming SSA. They didn't say that I could just go dip myself in the river Jordan seven times and it would go away. They outlined the path as a very tough one to follow. But it is our path to trod. Our challenge in life is not with SSA, it is for us to individually figure out what it takes for us to submit our will to the Lord. "If it be thy will, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." We have to figure out how to really be like Jesus. Not the fluff you learned in primary about being nice to other people, but of kneeling in Gethsemene knowing the suffering he would have to endure and still being willing to do it.

I'm sure that we knew we'd be facing these problems when we were in the pre-existence. Although, I wonder if someone tricked me into signing up for it. ;P

3:30 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Living life as an honest openly gay man and seeking to love and be loved by another man will not automatically make you miserable.

Continuing to believe what the LDS Church teaches about homosexuality, on the other hand, just might.

You're right about one thing, Elbow. Fear has a very firm hold on you right now.

4:35 PM  
Blogger MoHoHawaii said...

When I came out I too was driven by desires for "goodness." The stress of it was killing me. In the end I had to give up goodness for authenticity. It was a matter of saving my sanity and maybe my life.

The irony is that after I dropped goodness as a goal and tried for authenticity instead I became a better person. I became less judgmental and certainly more empathetic. The quality of my personal relationships improved a lot. It was like night and day with my family on this score. My parenting skills improved.

Of course, what worked for me may not work for you.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

Your wrestling match is exhausting to watch! The suspense of who's going to win is killing me! :)

Talk to me, man! Email me! Do something! Don't take this wrestling match alone!

8:58 AM  
Blogger Stephalumpagus said...

I'm not gay, so I suppose my advice isn't the most credible in this situation. But I do have a lot of gay friends--in and out of the Church. My recommendation for you is to make a decision and stick to it. Really think it out, write down the pro's and con's of each decision. Then decide whether to leave the Church or stay in it. Once you've made your decision, stick to it. Later in life, if you don't like the choice you made, it will never be too late to change. This is a really hard decision. I wish you the best of luck.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Mormon Enigma said...

Elbow, we all have our opinions, which are varied. But, I believe we all love you, and all any of us want is for you to be happy. We will support you in whatever decision you ultimately make - as long as you feel it is the right decision and feel good about it.

But, please do something! This is killing you. If you want to talk to someone (via email, phone, etc.), I'm sure any number of us would be willing to lend a sympathetic ear.

7:59 PM  
Blogger -L- said...

I was thinking the other day that I've ranted at you on your blog more than perhaps anyone else. (But still not too much I don't think!) It has kind of scared me off of saying what's on my mind on several of the other blogs. I don't know when people just want to be listened to and reassured or whether they're actually looking for advice...

But, in case you are looking... ;-)

You need some clarity and counseling is the best way to get it. Bless our little hearts, we bloggers don't have the expertise to really do it justice when the situation escalates to the level you're describing.

I know I've said it ad nauseum, but it's still true.

The other thing I've said more than once is that I think marriages' fates shouldn't hang on an individual's vascillating fear-inspired personal searching, but on a shared effort to address problems that affect you both. You are already married. Of course, I realize things may be different for you depending on your wife's mental status (all the more need for a professional). She should be on your side no matter what, and you shouldn't be afraid to expect that of her.

9:28 PM  

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