Elbow: Realizing That It's Not Worth It

Friday, March 23, 2007

Realizing That It's Not Worth It

The conflicted angst I’ve been going through in these past four years is not only getting tiring, but detrimental to my soul. Feeling the heavy weight of my stress reminds me for some reason of a Mormon pioneer man pulling a handcart and physically feeling the burden of the trial that he has chosen to bear. Has anyone heard the Church philosophy that some Church leader said once about the pioneers looking at our trials and feeling like the trials that we face in this day and age are far more challenging than what the pioneers had to go through? Even though they died by hunger and that physically they were tested with sickness and conditions of strenuous torture to get to the Salt Lake Valley, the things that we go through currently far surpass the trials that they experienced.

Well, that’s bull shit. I don’t think the pioneers would say that. They’d probably be very upset to hear that what they went through wasn’t as hard as what we go through now. How do you tell someone who lost all 6 of their children to death and disease, who has to pull a hand cart with a bad leg and one hand because the other hand got bit off my a bear that their trials aren’t as hard as what the Mormons are going through in 2007? It sounds absurd.

Nonetheless, this post isn’t about the pioneers, but metaphorically I see myself as a Mormon pioneer man pulling this cart and then realizing that it’s not worth it. I want to walk away from the handcart, kick it as I throw my hands in the air and let out a huge sigh of release. Pulling a handcart in the snow and mud for what? All this just to get to the Salt Lake Valley? You can’t even drink the water because the lake is full of salt and not to mention that it’s a freakin’ dessert. And in 200 years it will be full of tourist skiers and shopping malls anyway. And I don’t want to break my back so that a bunch snowboarders can get a couple of slopes in before they can hit the nearest Starbucks for a non-caffeinated soy latte steamer.

Lately for the longest time I’ve been feeling doomed to conflict and destined to suffer with these feelings of gay Mormon angst for the rest of my life. I’ve thought a lot about being unable to shake off this turmoil and about feeling this way as a father and 60 year old and taking this with me to the grave. And I don’t want to feel like this for the rest of my life. I don’t want to feel like this for the next 10 minutes. And the only thing that has kept me going has been the desire to have kids someday.

Last night I laid in bed and for quite a while before I fell asleep, and I realized that if I feel conflicted and full of confusion as a husband then that’s not good for my kids, and that I’ll be a dad that doesn’t have control over what he wants. I don’t want to be a dad. I don’t want to have kids like this. My dreams of having my own children and raising them, involved me being competent and satisfied with my own self. And I’m not there yet, and I won’t be there until I make some changes…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh babe, is it possible to find what you are looking for? i truly think, although i'm on the other side, that as i get older these things don't matter as much. i mean to say that some of these intense feelings mellow a little.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Forester said...

Anonymous is right. These feelings do mellow quite a bit. I remember being in college at the University of Utah. Feelings of SGA were almost palpable. The concentration of men, many of them Mormon, was overwhelming. I'm with you about Mormon guys, they are hot. It was so difficult for a few years, and still is, but it's nothing now what it was like then.

The first few years of my marriage were great. I went into the marriage with strong straight desires and emotions, but they didn't last long. I was and am still attracted to my wife, but I too had a gay boss. Luckily he wasn't Mormon and he wasn't that hot. But I was so curious about his lifestyle, not just the sex, but everything that comes with it. I've since learned that lifestyle is not for me. I would have been happy for a few years as a gay man, but eventually I knew I would want to be married and have children. Try and look at the whole picture, not just the here and now.

I have three children now and an incredible wife. When things get rough, they are my hope. Our youngest girl has been the saving grace of the family. She is now two and has been the sweetest thing. If she hadn't come along, I'm not sure we would have had more than two kids. Don't get me wrong, the decision to have kids must not be made lightly. There is no reason to rush into it. You have many years ahead where you can have kids. Make sure you are comitted and stable in your relationship. This doesn't mean everything has to be perfect. There will always be struggles and problems.

I'm so grateful I have made it this far, looking back over the years. There were a couple of years where I was traveling every month for work, sometimes every other week. Some of those places were difficult, especially when I would travel to Salt Lake (I've been in Vegas for three years). There have been some close calls, but I have had divine intervention. Or I was at least too scared to risk it all.

I'm at a point right now where I am comfortable with my sexuality. I have a great, loving relationship with my wife and kids. Yes, there are times when I am attracted to guys, but things have mellowed over the years.

I really like the replies and posts from Beck and SG. They have insight that rings true as well. I hit a really hard spot two years ago in my life with extreme depression (not from the SGA) but instead with my career. I'm still trying to figure that one out, but it has helped to get on some great medications. My doctor knows about my same gender attraction and he has been very helpful. Keep pressing forward. Do what you believe is right and things will be okay. Whatever decisions you make, you will always have friends here and you will always be a good person - no matter what choices you make.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

Sometimes these feelings mellow with time, but as an old fart, I will testify that I still feel times when they intensify. It may have more to do with never having fully acted on these feelings... But was this denial worth it?

Is it worth it to look back and realize I never fully embraced what I secretly yearned for for so many years? And for what?

Is it worth it to look back and realize I never really took my hands off the handcart, and am still pushing forward through the snow-laden high prairie of Wyoming? And for what?

Is it worth it do look back and realize I've created and been a part of a pretty damn great family? And for what?

Is it worth it?

Only you can decide.

P.S. Thanks Forester for your kind words! I may not have a clue what I'm talking about, but I mean well... :)

7:59 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

"Ultimately... I love the gospel. I know that the Church and it's culture are far from perfect, but there is so much sweetness around the feelings that I have for the gospel. I feel His goodness and know that He is real. I know that there is meaning in all of this, and I truly feel blessed to be brought up in the church.

There is a quote from a church leader (I can't remember who it was) who said: "God is our Father! All the love and generosity manifest in the ideal earthly father is magnified, beyond the capacity of mortal mind to comprehend, in Him who is our Father and our God. His judgments are just, His mercy without limit, His power to compensate beyond any earthly comparison." I have complete faith in the fact that Heavenly Father loves me and will take care of me. He knows what I struggle with, and He knows that I don't have any answers to what I am faced with. I simply take comfort in the hope that He will be merciful and generous when it is my time to stand before Him.

And to end this entry I want to include this quote that I think is one of the most beautiful that I have ever read. This quote speaks to me in so many ways because what I feel the gospel asks me to do, is exactly what Richard G. Scott is saying here: "When you push against the boundaries of experience into the twilight of the unknown, the Lord will strengthen you. The beauty of your eternal soul will begin to unfold." —Elder Richard G. Scott (Ensign, Nov. 2003, 41). Amen!"

-- Elbow, 3 Feb 2006.

You may hate me for this, but just thought you should read one of your archive posts again... :)

6:07 PM  
Blogger Mormon Enigma said...

...pioneers looking at our trials and feeling like the trials that we face in this day and age are far more challenging than what the pioneers had to go through?

I remember reading that once in the Ensign. But, I don't think it was a article written by a general authority. Although, since it was in the Ensign, I suppose the church leadership implicitly endorsed it.

What I got from the article was that the pioneers endured physical hardship whereas the hardship we have to endure is more mental in nature. Whether one is worse than the other is a topic for discussion. IMOHO, I don't think a Mormon pioneer could survive in our modern society any more than we could survive in their society. I think to compare the two is apples and oranges.

...if I feel conflicted and full of confusion as a husband then that’s not good for my kids

I'm very impressed that you are thinking that far in advance. I think worrying about how good of a father you will be is normal (even for straight dudes). So, part of your angst may have nothing to do with your attraction to men.

I sometimes wonder if I should have ever married and had children. But then I look at my (now grown) children and realize that I must have done something right. Somehow, they survived having a father who has inner demons he has dealt with his entire live and has to take antidepressants just to cope. Not only have they survived, but they thrived and have grown into well adjusted and competent adults. My family is much more close knit than either my wife's or my siblings are. And I can't imagine a life without them.

I'm not saying that you should just go for it and have kids. If you do have children, you need to commit yourself to be in it for the long haul. But, it may not be as hard as you're thinking it will be. And there are rewards that you need to consider.

7:50 AM  

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