Elbow: November 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Intimate and Connected

Human connections, relationships and emotional longing that ties us to another person is one of the most intense experiences of life. To be a friend to be a father, a cousin, a grandchild and a son are some of the most important roles that I have played and hope to someday play. And as I type the word “play” I’m hit with the idea that I don’t just fulfill role and it’s duties but that the embodiment of actually “being” that which our role alludes. I want to embody the true essence of what it means to be a son and what it means to be a brother just as I want the rest of my family to take the roles that they have been allotted.

The intense experience of being connected with someone intimately and romantically is a gift and can be an intensely spiritual experience. Why is celibacy an option for anyone? Why is there a need to make the parameters that someone’s life void of human contact and intimate romantic connections? Why do we fear that need to merge our lives with someone we are compatible with? How is it possible that we reach our full level of progress on the earth without the companionship of another human being that is committed to every aspect of our journey?

I know that it is not good for man to be alone. I also know that relationships are hard and complicated, but the joy of having someone touch your hand and run his fingers through your hair and to just reach over and grab a guys butt is an amazingly rich experience.

I have a lot of intentions to set for myself right now. I’ve just ended a marriage of three years and it will be awhile before I am committed to giving my heart away to someone, but I have every intention of fulfilling my gifts and experiences on the earth. I want human connection. I want to passionately hug someone I am in love with. I want to go to bed next to a man that is good and kind and beautiful. I want to have kids and raise them with someone that will grow old with me and give me fire for life and intensity for growth.

I know that there is power in human connection. The Church knows that there is power in human connection. And the Lord knows that the gift of emotional intimacy and romantic relationships is to be enjoyed on this earth and in this life for all of us because happiness in this life means happiness in the next. If you are miserable here and think that all you have to do is hold out for when you die then you’ve wasted your probationary state and you spend a lifetime trying to hold out just to realize that happiness was for the taking all around you.

A friend of mine just entered in a relationship with a guy who he has been getting to know for quite some time. He was embarrassed to tell me that they were boy friends. I was so happy an overjoyed that I couldn’t listed to all the excuses he wanted to give me. He said he was happier than he had ever been in his life but that he was waiting for the bad thing to happened when everything comes crashing down. And the beauty of it all is that he isn’t going to have to wait for something bad because he has decided to be happy and to enjoy someone’s company that he is in love with.

He went to talk to his bishop about it and his Bishop said that as long as not a lot of people knew about it and that the stake president didn’t find out that he would allow him to stay in his calling and that he wouldn’t try and punish him because the Bishop felt it important that my friend continue to go to church every Sunday, regardless of who he was in love with. And when my friend started to leave the Bishop’s office the Bishop asked if he was thinking about marriage and my friend looked puzzled and asked why and the Bishop replied that that is what dating is for, for marriage and that it isn’t good for man to be alone, so if he’s going to date a guy and he’s in love with him he should think about marrying him.

I think that’s a little hard to believe, but I know my friend is telling the truth considering he went into tell the Bishop hoping that the Bishop would call him to repentance so that he could continue his self inflicting guilt ridden spiral of shame. But no such luck. The Lord gave my buddy the opportunity to claim the intention that he had originally set, to be happy and to be loved and to be fulfilled.

I truly believe that it’s that easy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Religious Closet

My mom called me the other day wanting to know what I was doing and how I was living my life. She said that my little brother who is now 19 years old and planning on turning in his mission papers next month (who doesn’t know I’m gay but just knows because of the way that my mom has been acting in conjunction with my divorce) has been asking questions to my other siblings if I’m gay. My mom is concerned about this because she doesn’t want anyone to know, and she’s trying to make sure that it is kept a secret. She thinks that I should be more careful with whom I hang out with. She mentioned that he and my brother-in-law were looking at some girls butt and he asked “Do you think Elbow likes girls butts or guys?” And of course my mother heard that and was mortified and when she told me over the phone I couldn’t help but laugh really hard. I thought it was funny. And if you knew my little brother you would be able to picture him saying it and the tone he were to use. He's just a funny and charming kid.

My mom couldn’t even believe that I was laughing and told me that it was a very sensitive subject. I keep forgetting that she’s only known about this since I was 23 and that I guess she needs more time to process the fact that I’m gay. She told me that when I tell my little brother that I should make it clear to him that I’m still obeying the commandments and that I have a strong testimony of the gospel so as to soften the blow.

I’m uncertain now as to how to proceed with all of this. My little brother knows I’m gay, it’s obvious by the way he asked about my friends and about what I’m doing. He’s okay with it. He’s supportive and he loves me and he is probably just waiting for me to say it because he pretty much knows, but I’m not sure how to tell him that I’m not going to Church anymore, and while I love the gospel I’m not participating in a Church that makes me feel marginalized.

So now I know that I have to come out of the closet all over again, except this time instead of saying “I’m not straight.” I’m going to have to tell my family “I’m not living the way that the Church wants me to and I don’t have a testimony of how the Church says I should live my life.”

I think telling them I’m gay was easier.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Part II

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Torrid In Context

A good friend of mine called me the other day and it had been awhile since I had heard from him. I asked him what he was up to and he said that he had just had a torrid affair with a guy for four days. Now mind you, this friend is a little on the loco side and he tends to be dramatic and to flare things up a bit. He told me the details and mentioned that the guy he was hooking up with wouldn’t tell him his last name but that on the way to the airport he looked at his ticket and later googled the guy and found out that he is some pastor from a huge Christian congregation. So he calls me back to tell me that I can’t mention this to anyone because the guy is really freaked out now.

So there are different ways we can portray ourselves. I for one can only give so much information about myself through this blog without going overboard and loosing the focus of why I have this blog in the first place. I’m struggling now with how to be honest and how to share what I need to share and most importantly I want to be an advocate for men and women who are struggling with their sexuality and who are searching for safe ways to explore their sexuality.

I’m so many things that my readers haven’t seen. I’m probably a lot quieter than people would expect. I’m probably a lot younger than most people would assume I look and I am a lot happier than my blog reflects.

For so long I used this blog to vent frustrations and to outsource my angst and anxiety about my marriage and about my confusions. Now I am looking forward to a life without the same relationship struggles and anxiety provoking situations because I’ve done and taken the steps necessary in order for myself to progress away from that type of learning and to move into a deeper more enlightened way to live.

I choose happiness, I choose honesty, I choose life, I choose heart, I choose spirituality, I choose embracing, I choose zeal, and I choose me.

I may have some road blocks along the way, but as this blog progresses I want to share my stories, not for the narration of my life, but for a way to parallel the knowledge that you can be gay and you can be spiritual and love and be loved by God all in the same breath. I want people who read this to perhaps have a desire to focus more on the healing power of relationships and the permission to love regardless of gender roles or societal norms.

My Heavenly Father looks on the heart and my heart is full and it is grateful and it is whole.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Legally Over

The divorce is final and I should be happy perhaps, but I'm not. I'm also lacking in saddness as to say that there's a feeling too complex to put into words. Thomas Hardy once said: "the sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes." I'm ok with the scar. I'm content with the knowledge that nothing is a mistake. I feel a little emptiness and a lot of openness.

Looking back is hard to do. The dissection of the past three years is impossible. Future pursuits provide a lot of peace and currently I'm in a state of wholeness and contentment. "This happiness consisted of nothing else but the harmony of the few things around me with my own existence, a feeling of contentment and well-being that needed no changes and no intensification" (Herman Hesse).

I find myself wanting to hold on and wanting to let go. A tug of war with myself. Possibly I won't ever find the strength to walk away from the rope long enough to comprehend what the last years of my life reflect. Listening to the past requires a great deal of strength. Luckily I have the strength and I'm open to the lessons that I need to learn. I can look back as much as I can look forward and I see nothing as important as what is happening right now. But the truth of the compartmentalization of time is that there is no future and past without the present and so on and so forth. I can't rememeber or forget the past without seeing it in my present and my future.

I'm thankful to my Heavenly Father for the blessings I have. I'm very mindful of what I've been given and what I have taken away. I once remember myself sitting in sacrament meeting feeling weighed down by my struggles of sexuality and choice. I promised myself that I wouldn't give up on the gospel and I haven't. The Church is no longer something that I prescribe to, and in order for me to live the gospel more fully and completely, I had to let go of the organization of the Church.

Whatever the cause or events that led to the end of my marriage, I'm aware of the feeling that guided me to where I am now and I can't judge that. I feel happiness and sadness just as always, but I'm evolved into something that I wasn't and I'm glad that I feel closer to what my whole self will eventually reach.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Possible Identy Distraction

The position I find myself in is one that very few people can relate to. For most gay Mormon men the desire to marry a woman is very strong and the fact that I’ve done that sets me apart from most of the gay men that I come in contact with. Being divorced is something that I can completely hide from my identity as I come in contact with various people. They either assume I’m gay and or notice that because I don’t have a wedding ring on that I’m single. And then I could be very honest and when they ask if I have a boyfriend or a girlfriend then I can say “I was married and now I’m not” and then they assume I’m straight and that’s ok, but then again it doesn’t feel honest to me to let then assume I’m straight because I’ve done that my whole life and I really don’t like how it feels. I want people to know that I’m gay and that I’m proud of who I am and feel whole and complete in every way.

The more people I meet it becomes apparent that they assume so many different things than what is actually the truth. Most people assume I’m straight, or at least they as if I have a girlfriend which is probably the polite thing to do, so I can’t tell if they think I’m straight or just don’t want to feel embarrassed if they were to ask if I was gay and I got offended. Either way it’s not important. They can assume what they want but it is very interesting to me to see what people project onto me.

There is this kid at work who is gay and is in his early twenties and when he first met me he asked if I had a girlfriend and I told him thanks for thinking I was straight but no I didn’t. I then let him know that I was gay, but I felt really comfortable with him considering that he is obviously gay and I felt he had a sincere interest in getting to know me. He’s now constantly asking me questions about gay relationships and about what he should do in the relationships that he is forming or with guys he is dating and I think it’s so funny because I have virtually no experience in the world of gay relationships but he’s assuming that I have a lot of ‘street cred’ in the gay world because I’m 28 and out.

And then there’s the part of me that thinks it would be interesting to tell him about my life and how I’m getting a divorce from my wife of 3 years. But there’s more to me than that, and there’s more to me than my sexuality and there’s more to me than being gay.

I feel like I’m starting to understand what it means to be misunderstood. I feel like people like me and they like be for all the right and true reasons, but at the same time it feels like the older I get the more I know how valuable my true friends are because they’ve been with me from the beginning and they know me and they are continuing to get to know me as opposed to people who feel like they have me cornered.

I appreciate the openness and honesty of my peers and friends respect the fact that I am fluid and that I have a journey to continue on, and they realize that I am more than many parts that make me whole, but I’m also the possibility of my many options and opportunities.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Gay Mormon Perspective

My buddy Clark from the blog The Stripping Warrior gave an interview recently that I think is both brave and insightful. Not only is he one of the most giving and intelligent friends I've ever had, but his dedication to advocate for other men and women who are in the Church struggling to find something to connect with is inspirational.