Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bouncing Around In My Head 30Nov2011

I'm feeling a lot better.  It's amazing how much of a different two days will make for how I feel about things.  Some devoted scripture study, talking with some friends, spending some quality guy time has really helped.  It feels like prayers have been answered and the spirit is back in my life.  I'm very grateful for that.  I feel like I'm finally feeling again.  I've been feeling more peace lately.

As an enjoyable by product, I've been having some scriptures run through my head.  I heard them during our Elder's Quorum lesson.  One of them is Mosiah 4:30.  Another is Mosiah 3:19.  Yet another is James 1:5.  James 1:5 is a recent addition.  I've been pondering over the last few days on what it means to 'put off' the natural man.  I'm realizing more than ever that I need to submit myself to the workings of the spirit.  According to Mosiah 4:30, and the recommendation of my bishop, I've been trying to watch my thoughts.  The criteria that I've been trying to apply is "Does this thought bring me closer or further away from Heavenly Father?".  I have been feeling a greater outpouring of the spirit.

James 1:5 is a newer addition to my set of scriptures bouncing around in my head.  I had a friend ask me last night "What are you doing with your attractions?"  I realized that I hadn't come to any kind of definitive sort of answer.  After talking with a second friend, I realize I haven't quite accepted the fact that having same gender attraction could be a trial or a cross.  I realize I've been trying for so long to make it 'go away'.  Something I want to focus on is learning to accept the fact that I have these feelings.  I also want to stop asking the 'Why?' question so much.  I want to know more of the 'How does the Lord want me to deal with this?'  That's where James 1:5 comes in.  The church has some very clear teachings on when the power of procreation is meant to be used and the Law of Chastity.  I've found that some things lead me into a gray area.

The big question that I had been struggling over is "Is it appropriate for me to date other men? Is it appropriate for me to pursue a non-sexual romantic relationship with a man?"  After some thought and prayer, I feel like it isn't appropriate for me to entertain or pursue romance with another man.  My thoughts told me that a romantic relationship with a man would only lead me to either pain or the desire to become sexually involved with the other man.  I've decided to follow the promptings I've received and not 'date' other men.

Of course, 'bromance' and spending time with friends is something else entirely.  I'm still going to do that!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Spirit Void Zone 28Nov2011

I've been feeling kind of odd the last few weeks.  I'm having a hard time describing it, because it's more of a lack of feeling more than anything.  I've haven't been feeling many strong emotions lately, and sometimes only the faintest of emotions.  I've also had a hard time feeling the presence of the spirit.  I'm very confused by that last part.  I recently started to partake of the sacrament again.  I expected to be able to feel the spirit more strongly.  It seemed to me like many months ago I could simply be still and feel the gentle warmth of the spirit in my heart.  Now, it feels very faint.  In church yesterday, I could only faintly feel the spirit.  I could feel it influencing my mind at times, giving me insight into what was going on.  I missed the feeling of warmth, the happiness, the peace.  Instead I just simply felt...there.  It didn't feel like emptiness.  It didn't feel like sadness.  It just...didn't feel at all.

At the same time, I've had a pretty bad headaches about once a week for the last few weeks.  The kind where I need to take pain reliever and rest to make them go away.  Saturday I had one start.  Sunday it continued.  Today, I still can feel it on the left side of my head, like someone is trying to drive a nail into my temple.  It's been accompanied by exhaustion and this strange lack of emotion.  Part of me is worried that maybe I have some kind of medical condition that could be affecting my emotions/thought processes.  Last night, I was trying to read "In Quiet Desperation" and just couldn't focus on the words.  I couldn't feel them.  I couldn't relate to them.  Frantically, I grabbed my scriptures and opened them up randomly.  I tried to read, but it was like the words simply were slipping through my mind.  I couldn't feel any kind of response to the words.  Instead I closed the scriptures and lay in my bed, staring up at the ceiling.  I felt some sadness, and tried to cry.  Only a few tears trickled out.

I am feelings something right now.  The faintest traces of fear.  Fear that I may have some kind of tumor.  Fear that I may be falling into a depression of sorts.  Fear that I'm blocking out some kind of emotional trauma.  Fear that I may have offended the spirit one too many times, and now it will never come back.  Fear that I've somehow slipped into some kind of mystical 'spiritual void' zone, where the spirit is blocked.  Although, the lack of spirit could be the fact that I've simply desynced from it.  Lack of scripture study and weak prayers may have caused me to forget how the Holy Spirit feels.  Either that, or this is some kind of strange trial.  I just wish I understood what is going on so that I can fix it.

Possible causes: I have been through a pretty emotionally stressful year.  I had a friendship that became codependent.  I had to painfully back away from that friend.  I went to the New Warrior Training Adventure, which was really helpful, yet had the work I did there criticized on the way home.  That seemed to undo everything I did do there.  I did another New Warrior event that was helpful.  I came dangerously close to doing something that I would regret with another friend.  There's been the fear over what will happen when my current contract ends.  There's been the strange chest pain that was frightening.  And now this weird headache.  Possibly, my heart has checked out.  Perhaps feeling emotions has become so much, that I've subconsciously decided to not feel anymore.

Or perhaps I've entered some strange layer of hell, the layer where no one feels anything at all.  That is a frightening thought.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Strange Dreams 26Nov-27Nov2011

I can't remember all the details of the many dreams I had last night.  Although, I find myself wanting to forget the details from the last dream I had.

In one dream, I was in a room.  A gray cat walked in the room and started to walk around randomly in it.  I had to avoid stepping on the cat or something bad would happen.

Then there was a dream that I went into the doctor's office and I was sitting on a chair.  The doctor's assistant came into the room with a large needle. He opened up a scroll and started to read off a bunch of stuff that didn't make sense to me at all.  I felt very confused and nervous.  Then the doctor said "Exile yourself from that chair." I asked "Where do I sit instead?" I ended up sitting on a bench as someone wheeled in a strange table.  Apparently it was some kind of surgery table.  It had a strange contraption near the end of it.  I knew that somehow my leg was supposed to be put in it, and it was there so that the leg wouldn't move around so much during surgery.  That's when another group of people came into the room.  One of them had a white coat on and a strange tool in his hand.  The tool had a small saw.  I knew that saw was for cutting open my leg.  I was hoping at that point that the needle contained some kind of anesthetic so that I couldn't feel it as they cut my leg open.  I felt terrified.  That's when the assistant said "Exile yourself from the bench." I asked him where I should sit, or at least I tried too.  I had a lot of questions, and I was terrified about what would happen next.

That's when I woke up.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Strange Dreams 24Nov-25Nov2011

I think I had one dream last night, but oddly, it repeated itself.  Dream deja vu?  I'm pretty sure it was the same dream at least.  It's been awhile since I've woken up, so some of the details are fuzzy now.  This is what I remember.

I was in a group of people.  I had to look at a man and say what things I saw in him.  I had to put it into two different categories or buckets.  I don't remember exactly what it was I said about the man.  He was taller than me, had glasses, and was a doctor apparently.  The dream went on, and then I was back in the same situation. This time, I remember making reference to his glasses.  I said "Yes, in one bucket I see clear glasses that overtake things."  The man gave me a confused look.  "Overtake, meaning you see all the details, thoroughness."  The man seemed to understand then.  I felt grateful at that time I could explain what I meant to someone for once.  Then I said in the other bucket, the glasses were dusty and didn't see much.  Apparently the man understood what I meant about that.

Then we were standing side by side.  The man smiled at me and put his arm around me, and I snuggled in close.  I can remember how he felt.  I can remember how good it felt.  Then we were walking away and he was behind me.  It was dark and we were in a line of people that was curving off to the left.  He put his hand on my shoulder, and it felt like skin to skin contact.  I was confused.  I was sure I had a shirt on.  I tried to look, but I couldn't see if I had one on or not.

Then it was some sort of side scrolling thing, with lots of platforms.  We had to unlock the entrance to somewhere, some sort of secret underground chapel.  I ran along and pushed up something that had a fleur de lis on it.  That slid something to the side, out of the way.  I then went down a very long elevator.  The stone all around me was yellowish.  Then I came down into a dark chapel, with a few bits of light streaming through some windows.  I was deep underground.  I was trying to hide from someone.  I remember there was someone in the chapel, but I don't remember anything he said.

I then went back up the elevator.  There was some kind of operation we had to do.  I felt like I was being watched, but I didn't want anyone to know I had gone down to the chapel.  I thought it was the Church of the Survivor, but I immediately thought 'It can't be that!'.  Then I was on top.  I was watching someone give a speech.  He said something particularly shocking.

Well, that's all I remember from the dream.  It was a pretty weird one, especially since parts of it happened twice.  It seems like an odd conglomeration of personal experience and books I've read in the past few months.  I'm sure there's some video game elements mixed in there too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Strange Dreams 22Nov-23Nov2011

I had at least two dreams last night.  Both of them fairly intense.

In the first dream, I was wondering in some sort of dark underground cavern.  I opened a door into a room that was flooded with water.  There were about three solid platforms and some floating boxes.  There was something that we really need from across the room.  However, there was also something lurking in the water.  As one of us tried to cross, he slipped into the water and the thing got him.  I was discussing with another man in the group different ways we could get across.  I suggested we try digging around the room, but he didn't think that was a very good idea.  Instead, I finally decided I would try.  As I stepped toward the black water, I could tell the thing was moving toward me.  I was terrified of it.

Then I was flying through some kind of jungle, and ended up falling into some water.   The water was really deep, and there were some kind of octopus in the water.  I tried to swim to the surface, but it was really difficult.  And the water was pulling me further and further away from safety.  I finally ended up in some kind of suburban neighborhood, but there were jungle vines everywhere.  I was trying to find my way back.

I was getting into a helicopter with to other men dressed in black clothing.  We were flying into another Japanese town to try to deliver something.  As we got closer to where we were landing, it started to rain like crazy.  There also was some kind of battle going on.  Missiles were flying through the air.  We landed and got out.  Our package was inside some kind of box made out of interlocking parts.  We were in the building, waiting for the rain to pass.  Apparently it was too stormy to deliver our package.  The package was some kind of sphere.  Apparently at some point during the dream I was supposed to gain super powers.  I looked out a window and could see a piece of the box our package was in.  It looked like a black puzzle piece of sorts.  The other men were talking about how we couldn't fly in the storm.  We were then on the bottom of the building.  Something big pounded on the top of the building.  One of the men I was with told me it was some kind of giant monster.  I hid behind some debris.  I was really scared of it.  I finally managed to sneak away.  Then I realized I had lost the men I was with, so I started to look for them.  Finally I found a person that told me where they were.  Part of a wall opened up, and our leader was sitting looking up at me.  He told me he managed to enlist 4 music bands to help us look for our package.  One of the bands was Twisted Sister, who happened to be sitting down at the time.  We then set out to hunt for the pieces of our package.  Apparently we had some of them, but we had to find the purple, black, and another piece of the box it was in.  One of the pieces was near a fountain so I went over there to look.  At this point, I was a woman, but no one could tell because I dressed like a man all the time.  I was wearing a pale yellow polo shirt and I walked over to the fountain.  It was surrounded by a number of small shops.  I looked through them, trying to figure out where the purple puzzle piece was.  A man started to talk to me.  He said "I haven't seen you around here in awhile." Apparently I had interacted with him before.  I made up some kind of lie. "Oh, I was busy."  He didn't seem convinced.  I kept walking past his shop, intent on finding the puzzle piece.

That last dream was complicated.  I can still see flashes from it.  Scenes that I can't remember well enough to capture into words.  There were many different people.  Some just walking on the street, some in a diner.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life Lessons Learned From Weather Patterns 22Nov2011

This morning as I drove to work, I was admiring how beautiful the mountains were with the sun shining from behind them and how the color of the clouds was changing.  Then I glanced down and saw that I would be soon be driving into a fog bank.

Once inside, I could no longer see the mountains in the distance.  At most, I could see about half a mile before everything would disappear in a gray haze.  As I drove, I realized that it would be easy to get lost in the fog.  It was difficult to see landmarks far away.  I imagined if I was walking and didn't know my way around, I wouldn't be able to find even the Walmart that was so close by.  I then realized that I knew where to go because I had driven the route so many times.  Then I thought, 'Even if I didn't know the route, there are maps.  I have my GPS.  I would be able to get to my destination just fine, even if I couldn't see the overall picture'.

That seemed oddly parallel to my life.  Sometimes, I can see clearly.  I can see the whole picture.  I can see where I'm going and what paths will take me there.  Sometimes, temptation arises and all I can see is the fog.  I have a hard time seeing into the next moment.  Making decisions becomes much more difficult.  Although, if I've traveled the roads that lead me to happiness many times in the past, I'll know which roads to take.  If I'm not sure, there are maps and other guides that I can take to help me get to the destination that I want.  I can read the scriptures.  I can pray.  I can listen to trusted individuals to try to figure out which path I want to take to get to where I'm going.

Even in the fog, I could still see the sun rise.  It struck me that God's guidance and love can penetrate even the thickest of temptations.  His love can always reach me, no matter where I am.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trying To Fit Square Pegs Into Round Holes 21Nov2011

I'm writing this post with much trepidation and fear.  As usual, it's going to be something very personal.

Lately, I feel like I've been struggling a lot with the temptation/urge to masturbate.  Sometimes, I don't even understand exactly why it is that I do it.

I can remember some of the feelings behind the most recent incident.  I had been feeling empty, lonely.  I felt myself craving some kind of connection with another man.  I struck me as ironic at the time.  

At church that day, a man had actually initiated contact with me.  I was walking in the hallway when the man started to poke me from behind.  I turned to see who it was.  It was a man that I had asked to give the prayer soon after I moved in (part of my calling).  We had kind of talked a few times.  I am attracted to this man.  Finally, we ended up shaking hands, and exchanging a few more friendly pokes.  Before priesthood started, I ended up sitting near him and we talked a little bit more.  We sat with a seat between us, and he had his arm on the back of that seat.  I could see that his hand was less than six inches from my shoulder.  I wanted, desired, craved to be sitting next to him.  I wanted his arm to be around my shoulders.  Basically, I wanted to feel loved by him.  I wanted a connection to him, although I didn't quite realize it at the time.  I was too busy thinking he would be weirded out if I sat in the seat right next to him.  I walked away feeling like I wanted more connection, like I wanted to hug the guy.  

The rest of the evening was pleasant.  There were some fun and challenging games of Magic: The Gathering with a friend.  There was snuggle time with the two kids from the family I live with.  I even finished playing Dungeon Siege III.  When I finished the game, it was a little after 10.  I noticed that I felt lonely, empty inside.  The game was beautiful.  The story was moving.  The end of the game showed me a series of scenes of all the people I had helped during the game.  I felt moved.

I was still stuck with that feeling of loneliness and emptiness.  Various fantasies rushed through my head, but I pushed them away, trying to stay connected with the feelings of loneliness.  Eventually, I succumbed to the temptation to masturbate.  It happened again the following morning.

That morning, I had a flood of ideas come to my mind in relation to what had happened.  I remembered a scene from the movie Apollo 13 where the scientists had to come up with a way to fit a square peg into a round hole...or something like that.  I realized that I was trying to fill a round hole, loneliness, with a square peg, masturbation.  And it wasn't working.  It isn't working.  I've often thought that addiction comes from trying to fill up a hole with something that can't fill that hole.  Another idea that came to mind is from my therapist.  He told me that if I slip up, I don't fall 'all the way back to square one'.  I'm trying on the new idea that when I slip up and make mistakes to tell myself 'Hey, maybe I wasn't as far along as I thought I was, but I'm not back at the beginning'.  It's an idea that gives me hope.  An even more profound idea that I'm trying is 'I am human.  I can make mistakes.  That's OK.  I'm hear to learn.  Life is a process.  God is going to love me through this process'.  It's funny how the idea of 'I'm going to love myself, even when I make mistakes' can help translate to my relationships with others.  Even if other people 'make mistakes' in my eyes, I can still love them.  After all, that's what Christ would do.

As for the loneliness, even with the new ideas of loving myself, I still have that round hole.  I just need to go find a round peg to fill it with.  I just don't have any idea what the peg is supposed to look like.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Strange Dreams 19Nov-20Nov2011

I can only remember some parts of the dreams I had last night.

In one dream, I got a tweet from a friend.  I remember it came on a piece of paper.  It said "Remember, you were the one that wanted to end it..."  It was referring to our friendship.  I remember feeling upset by reading it, because I knew it was partially true.

There was another dream where I was either watching a movie, in a movie, or reading a book about something.  There was a male otter that was traipsing through the woods.  He ran into a female otter that teased him.  At one point, the male otter was at one end of a hollowed out log, and the female otter came up behind him and scared him.  He fell out.  Then she went away and said they should meet again later.  She made spidery noises as she left, and he didn't like that.

Then the male otter started homeward.  Another female otter was walking through the woods, giving off clouds of a scent.  She was looking for a mate.  She saw the male otter leaping through the trees and called him down.  They talked for a moment, and then she asked him to do something.  She wanted him to cut himself, or throw himself onto a knife.  The male otter agreed and set it up so that her guard couldn't attack him while he did it.  He leaped into the air and onto the knife.  It cut him in the middle of his abs, and apparently it wasn't bleeding enough. The female otter smelled the one drop of blood that spilled on the ground and started to talk as if something was wrong.  She never got around to stating exactly what was wrong with the blood.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Strange Dreams 15Nov2011-16Nov2011

I had two dreams of note last night.

Dream A
I was in a house that I lived in, in a rural sort of community (houses were really spread out).  A woman was taking the kids out to go shear sheep together.  Apparently it was a pretty big thing in the town.  As I walked up to see the kids, suddenly a man joined me.  I recognized him.  He was a man from the house that I lived in.  He was with his two kids.  He had a thing of something like wool draped over his neck.  It was about two inches wide.  Apparently it was made of nubbin'.  It was something they used to attract the sheep.  The sheep would wonder over and start to bite/suck on the ends of the nubbin'.  Then the people could shear the sheep by punching them and little blocks of wool would come off of the sheep.

Suddenly, there was a whole crowd of people looking to this woman for direction.  The whole town had come.  I was the only one who had forgot my nubbin' so I told the man I lived with to go on ahead with the kids and I would run back to the house to try to find some material to create my own.  The crowd was really thick, and I had to push my way through.  On the way, I saw a man I recognize from work with a little girl.  He had his hand pulling the little girl into his legs.  I felt envious of the little girl.  I wanted to be in the little girls spot.  A little further on, I saw another man that I recognize from the ward.  I felt frustrated for having run into so many men that I felt attracted to in the crowd.

Finally I was free of the crowd and back at the house.  I remember asking where the nubbin' was, but no one seemed to be able to tell me.  I searched the house.  Then I wanted to change my clothes into something cleaner.  I remember taking off a hunter orange shirt that I own and tossing it to the side.  I started to change while talking with my mother.  Finally, I thought I was done changing and I stepped out onto the small front porch the house had.  I felt an odd sensation, and asked my mom if I was naked or if I had clothes on.  She looked at me and said I had nothing on.  That's when I looked back inside and realized I had completely undressed while talking with her.  That's what I get for being distracted.  I walked back in and started to dress again.  I noticed my undershirt had a number of lines drawn on it, in all sorts of different colors, green, black, yellow, etc.  I looked in a red plastic bin and saw that my orange shirt was there.  That was the dirty pile.  So I grabbed another hunter orange shirt, exactly like the dirty one, and put it on.

I finally dressed and was in the kitchen of the couple that I shared the house with.  They were having an argument.  The wife said something like 'If you have a best friend, you need to hold on to them forever!' That's when I remember thinking to myself 'She doesn't know that something's happened, and it's not like that anymore.'

Then the back of the house was open, and there was a freezing rain/hail falling.  I remember feeling occasional cold prickles on my skin where it hit me.  It seemed to be able to find me even when I was inside the house.  A man in a white vest was gesturing for us to come out and gather wool.  I shook my head and said it was too cold.  It was winter outside!  It would be madness to be out collecting wool in the cold.  The man made a gesture like he was cold and mimicked putting on a coat.  Finally I decided I would put on a coat.  As I walked into my room, I looked down and saw some nubbin'.  I reached down and put a strip of red/orange nubbin' around my neck.  I thought it was too small, so I tried with another piece.  That was too small as well.

Then the leader woman, who wore a dark red shirt, was in our house.  She said we had to go and collect wool or something bad would happen to us and the family.

Dream 2:
Someone at work had figured out a cool thing to do with glass.  He used a metal implement to engrave the outside of the class.  Then, if we put it in the kiln for about an hour, the engraved parts would turn black from the dirt in the heat.

If someone created something new and cool at work, they would get a small coin as a reward.  I didn't have a coin, and a number of other people did.  They were cool.  I remember thinking, well, our company is cooler than Novell.  Then I remember seeing a whole crowd of the employees.  I could see which ones had coins.  I could see that those that didn't have coins envied those that didn't.

"Everyone is always envying what they don't have." a voice said to me.  I turned to see the glass that my co-worker had engraved earlier.  Now, it looked like a round, black and orange Jack-o-Lantern.  It slowly rotated, floating in the air as it spoke to me.

"I am over hundreds of years old.  I have been watching."

Wake Up:
At this point, I woke up, sat up in bed, feeling confused and afraid.

So many elements of this dream come from my current life.  The co-worker and the guy from my ward from the first dream are people I've felt attracted to multiple times.  The feeling of being frustrated by running into attractive men is one that probably carried over from my conscious mind.  There are times in my waking life that I want to cover my face and just scream for how frustrating it is.

I find it interesting that both dreams involved me looking for something that 'everyone else' had, at least where 'everyone else' was all the men I encountered in the dream.  I sometimes feel like heterosexually attracted men have 'something' that I lack.  Sometimes I just generally feel like other men have 'something' that I lack.

And the rural community looked like the hill near where I live.  I've looked at them many times.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Double Binds

Many times in my life, I've felt like I've been stuck in something called a 'double bind'.  To explain, I'll give an example.  I was at a nephew's birthday party and my brother-in-law's father came over to talk to me.  He knows that I am single, but not about my same gender attraction.  He asked me what I did.  I replied that I was working.  He asked me if I had any plans.  I replied with 'Not really'.  At this point, little alarms were going off in my head.  I was starting to get a sense of fear.  He was treading dangerously close to some very sensitive areas.  He then asked if my mission president had talked to me about things to do after my mission, or something to that effect.  At this point, I felt torn between two extremes.  One was anger.  On one hand, I wanted to lash out and tell him it was none of his business if I was married/dating/engaged/whatever.  On the other, I just wanted him to leave me alone.  Finally, I got up and walked away, ending the conversation, leaving in the middle of another of his invasive questions.

Perhaps another example: ideally while growing up, a young boy will learn how to be a man from his father.  His father is mean, angry, has a temper.  His mother tells the boy 'Don't be like your father!'  Or the boy himself decides he doesn't want to be like his father.  He develops a sense of disconnection and loathing from manhood and masculinity.  He will find that he will grow older and begin to share physical/emotional/behavioral characteristics with his father.  He may be stuck between choosing to accept the fact that he is male, accepting that he is something that he has loathed all his life, 'becoming his father'.  Or he can tell himself a lie, that he isn't male.  That he's something else.  He is stuck in a double bind.

Today, I find myself in a double bind of sorts.  On one hand, I've had thoughts and desires to act out sexually with other men.  On the other hand are the teachings of the church, a church I know to be true.  I  have felt deeply in my heart that the church's teachings are true.  As such, I feel that acting out sexually with another man would be a sin in God's eyes.  I'm in a double bind.

Truth of the matter.  I have more options than the two extremes.  There's more than just complete and total avoidance of connection with men and engaging sexually with another man.  I can connect with other men.  I can develop close relationships with other men without them being sexual.  There is another option than the two that are presented to me.  I think that sometimes it is a tool of the adversary to try to get me to choose between two extremes, when there is a way to satisfy both ends of the agreement.  My biggest struggle seems to be in trying to find ways to walk that middle path without erring on either side of the line.

I don't--wait I do! 9Nov2011

I had the most interesting realization last night on the drive home from my support group.

I've always wanted a 'gaming buddy'.  Someone to hang out with and play video games with.  Something I've complained about is how no one at work wants to be my friend 'outside' of work.  Well, last night I realized that two different men at work have expressed a desire for me to join a game called 'League of Legends'.  One of them is actually really interested in the fact that I started it up and 'friended' me.  We were going to play this week, but there were some technical issues and it didn't quite work out.  The other man doesn't know that I've actually joined up with the game.

I find it ironic that I am oftentimes blessed with want or need, but I can't see it.  Reminds me of lyrics from a song that say: "The sun is in your eyes. The sun is in your ears.  But you can't see the son, ever in the darkness."  I feel like the Lord is answering my prayers for more friendship with men.  There's also the fact that people at work and at church seem to be more friendly and warm than normal.  I am grateful for these things.

Paired with this realization that I am more blessed that I acknowledge or am grateful for, is the tendency for me to 'beat myself up' or think negatively myself for not being more aware of my blessings.  The adversary does like to come in and try to disrupt positive things.  For now, though, I think I will enjoy this idea of having two new gaming buddies, and ignore the lie that I am 'bad' for not recognizing it sooner.

My Strange Dreams 9Nov2011-10Nov2011

I remember I was in some kind of military unit.  I had just discovered I had super powers, the ones I always wanted.  I could absorb electricity.  If I had more control, I would be able to launch it at people.  For now, all I could do was run really fast. While I would run, electricity would start to arc across my body.  One of the guys in my troop commented that I was sparkling and I freaked out and said "Oh no!  I'm turning into Edward!" Then I wondered if the creator of Twilight would allow me to use that in my movie.  We were chasing down some trucks, and caught them.  Apparently to damage the people with my powers, I had to run up and touch them.  Later, we were going on a flying mission and the military had created a special flying machine just for me so that I would destroy it by touching it.

Then I had a dream I was in a sacrament meeting.  They turned the lights down and started to play some kind of weird Christmas movie and sing some really strange Christmas music.  Apparently, some people thought it was sacrilegious.  They opened up a divider, and there was a group of people sitting facing the other way of the people watching the Christmas movie.  There was a line of people standing, clapping their hands, and singing about how the current Christmas program was a thing of Satan.  I turned to my mom and commented on how their song had an atrocious melody.  Problem was, I couldn't hear the Christmas movie any more.  Frustrated, I finally got up to sit closer so I could hear it.  That's when I noticed I was sitting in my underwear in church.  I felt so embarrassed, but no one seemed to notice.  When the credits of the film started to roll, I darted to the back of the room, where somehow the row of chairs had turned into a grassy field.  I sat down and put my pants on.  Then I moved and sat next to my mom and put my arm around her.  She started to talk to me, asking me what I was doing.  I just said I was putting my arm around her because I loved her.  Apparently she thought I was trying to put the moves on her and then we ended up kissing briefly.  When it was over, I thought of how strange it was to be kissing my mother.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One Thousand!

This is more of a status update on the blog than anything.

About 16 days ago, I wrote my first blog post here.  I honestly didn't expect it to be read so much.  Yet, at the same time I hoped it would become wildly popular.  What actually happened is somewhere between totally ignored and everyone knows about it.  As of today, the blog reached 1,000 page views.  That's right, 1,000.  I'm pretty excited about that.  I think the most exciting moment of the blog so far is when it got 207 views in a day.

After starting this blog, I had two other friends start blogs (A Man in a World and My Life).  I've also seen other people who have linked my blog in their site.  Thanks for all the links!

As for the future, I plan on continuing posting about music that I like and life experiences.  I have a planned series of posts entitled "Names I Have Gone By".  Assuming the series of blog posts goes well, I plan on starting to post in my name, rather than using the anonymous name Simon.

I also plan on starting an e-mail account for this blog, for any users that may want to contact me on a "more personal" basis or for people who don't wish to leave public comments.

Thank you all for reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Strange Dreams 7Nov-8Nov2011

I was in a dream, and I had to kill a person who was a necromancer.  They warned me that if I was getting attacked, I should hide in the cage unless he was using lighting.  If he was using cold, I needed to cuddle into the chest of cuddliness.  There were some other explanations on how to avoid each of his magic spells.  When I found him, there wasn't a cage or a chest anywhere nearby.  Somehow, I ended up in his house.  He didn't want to fight me, and wanted to talk instead.  I would try to start using my own spells on him when his back was turned, but he always seemed to turn around right as he was doing it.  At one point, I was watching a movie with him and some of his room mates.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Small Rays of Sunshine 6Nov2011

After writing the post on self disgust, I went into a pretty black mood.  I don't know where it came from.  Maybe I've been ignoring that self disgust so much that it all overcame me in a wave.  Maybe writing up that post made me feel black.  It was hard to think straight, or even think at all.  My emotions seemed to be highly dampened.  I felt depressed and just felt like I was caught in a mire.

I went to church anyways.  I think that was a good choice.  I remember praying during fast and testimony meeting for help.  I wanted to overcome the feelings I had.  I didn't like feel miserable or trapped.  I didn't like feeling stuck.  I hate feeling stuck.

Finally, just before I had to conduct the music of Elders Quorum, I felt something warm and light inside.  I was so grateful for a break in the cloud.

I was driving to a family dinner, and I felt worried.  I was planning on telling my two older sisters that I had same gender attraction.  I reminded myself that my sisters loved me and that my family loves me.  Then I felt another overwhelming wave of warmth and light inside me.  I thought to myself "Isn't it nice to have a break in the clouds?"  The thought arose that this wouldn't last forever and I ignored it.  Instead, I simply wanted to enjoy the warmth and the light for as long as it lasted.

I told my sisters and they were both understanding.  One came and wrapper her arm around me and hugged me in close.  They both had questions, well, one had a lot of questions about what kind of therapy and work I was doing.  It was a very positive experience.  I actually enjoyed that time with the family.  The chaos of having 8 nieces and nephews running around, crying, shouting, screaming, and playing.  I helped washed the dishes.  The food was excellent.

The experience of telling my sisters was so positive that I started to wonder why I hadn't done that before.  I immediately stifled that thought.  I knew that if I entertained the "Why did I wait so long to..." thought, that I would simply get upset and disgusted with myself again.  I didn't want to feel that.  I instead wanted to enjoy how I was feeling at that moment.

When I was leaving, feeling happy, the thought came again that "This doesn't last".  I again tried to ignore that thought.  Now that the black mood has passed, I can see that pessimism was heavily involved.  When I feel bad, I think I'm going to feel like that forever.  My pessimism states that my life is a sea of black with some brief moments of light.  When I feel happy, my pessimism states that it won't last.  In fact, it says that when I wake up, I'm going to be all grumpy and in a bad mood again.

Well, that was partially true.  Although, I think I realized that again this morning.  I need to look at, and celebrate what is good in life.  For instance, I was totally tickled pink by the fact I had a loofah in the shower this morning.  Later, I was amused by the fact that I could see my breath this morning.  I looked back at an experience that seemed 'negative' and saw that I learned to trust in the Lord more because of the experience.

Instead of looking at something and thinking "What's wrong?" I can think "What's right?".  Instead of looking back and saying "What was I thinking?" I can say "What was I learning?".

I am grateful that Heavenly Father answers prayers.  I'm also grateful that he responds to fasts.  I was actually fasting that my family would be understanding and open to what I had to share.

My Strange Dreams 6Nov-7Nov2011

I had a dream that I was in some kind of fast food place.  They were serving strips of fried chicken.  I had some and liked it.  A friend of mine came up and talked about how some other food item was really good, but I thought it would be gross.  Suddenly the chicken strips in the warming area turned into that item and I wouldn't order it or eat it.  Then a number of people I knew showed up and one of them told me to listen to this guy explain something, because apparently we could understand each other.  I didn't understand the guy at all as he started to ramble on about some kind of computer project.  I yawned and leaned against the wall.

Then I had to defend some kind of messenger as he ran through a city.  I climbed up on one of the buildings and was shooting down that the guys that were shooting him.  Apparently, I could jump of buildings and glide, but it wasn't working.  Every time I would jump off a building, it would hurt my ankles because my feet would get caught on the building.  The bad guys would flash red when I pushed a button.  I zoomed in to start shooting one of the bad guys and suddenly my dad was watching me.  I felt embarrased that I was doing what I was doing.

Then I was at a friends house who was cooking breakfast.  He had a small toaster oven.  He had some kind of cake thing.  One half was spiraled and the other half was layered.  Apparently the layered half was pancakes.  The friend wanted me to move closer and I thought that I could move in, but I would have to check the internet out first.  Then I realized that I couldn't move out of my current place while I was looking down the stairs toward their basement.

Friends showing up in my dreams is a fun occurance, especially when they act like I remember them acting.  The second dream is rife with gameplay elements from Infamous.  I've been playing that game pretty often lately.  I find it odd that other games I play haven't showed up nearly as frequently as Infamous.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Self disgust

This is definitely not a post to read on an empty heart or an empty soul.

I find that I think and feel things that make me feel disgusted with myself.  I look at my thoughts and actions and I often feel a sense of condemnation or demonization.  I judge myself pretty harshly at times.  I find that it often starts with me condemning a thought or action, and then morphing into me condemning or looking down on myself.  Then, I feel disgusted at myself and any hope for changing goes out the window.

There are a lot of things I can think of that cause this reaction in me.  Some of them could possible be innocent.  Some of them could deserve some changes.  Others possibly are sinful.  I'm honestly so close to them, and so accustomed to condemning then, that I throw them all into the sinful bucket just to make things simpler.  Then I begin feeling ashamed of them.  I tell myself that if the people around me "really knew" what I was thinking or feeling, then they wouldn't want to be around me.  They would hate me, despise me, fear me, and ultimately, they would be disgusted with me like I am disgusted with myself.

I will share a few of them here.

I feel disgusted that I will sometimes choose whether or not to do something with a friend based on the fact of how entertaining it is.  I feel disgusted that I find sitting and talking boring.  I feel disgusted that I always have to be 'entertained'.  I feel disgusted that I choose video games/reading over interacting with people around me or getting enough sleep.  I feel disgusted that the drive to play a video game is stronger than the drive to listen to people or invest in friendships.  I feel disgusted that I would rather play a video game rather than go to family events.

I feel disgusted with myself when I realize that the one reason that's driving me to be someone's friend is the fact that I feel attracted to them.  I don't always act on the drive, yet it is usually there.  If there is an attractive man, I want to be close to that person.  I get jealous if someone else seems to have a good relationship with them be it joking, talking, or just seeming to enjoy each others presence.  I feel disgusted that I'm so jealous at that.  I feel disgusted if I see a picture of an attractive man, and I immediately want to know the person or be their "best friend".

I feel disgusted with myself with how often and how much I want touch.  I feel disgusted that it's not only that I want touch, but that I want touch from men I feel attracted to.  I feel disgusted that if a man who doesn't fall into the "I'm attracted to you" category offers touch in some way, it feels funny, or I feel myself cringe inside while receiving it or it doesn't quite 'hit the spot' so to speak.  I feel disgusted that I see attractive men at work, out in public, wherever, and I find myself wondering what it would be like snuggled up to the man which his arm around me, or how it would feel if I were to give him a hug, or how it would feel if rubbed my shoulders, or whatever else it is.  I feel disgusted that I fantasize about being touched by attractive men.  I feel disgusted that those fantasies can go sexual so quickly.  I often think that if the man knew I wanted whatever kind of touch it is I happen to be thinking of at the moment, that the man would withdraw from me or be afraid from me.  The fear of being rejected over it only serves to heighten my shame at the time.

I feel disgusted with myself that I like looking at pornography or pornographic material.  I feel disgusted when I find myself endlessly looking through pictures of an attractive man trying to find a picture where he's shirtless.  I feel disgusted when I find myself imaging what a man would look like with his shirt off.  I feel disgusted that I quickly scan a new man's body to find out if I'm attracted to them or not.  I feel disgusted that I like the way a man's body looks.

I feel disgusted that I masturbate.  I feel disgusted with the thoughts that lead me up to it.  I even feel disgusted with the feelings of tiredness or loneliness that prompt the temptation to masturbate.  I feel disgusted with myself during and afterward for how I feel or what I'm thinking about.  I feel deeply ashamed about the fact that I do it.

I feel disgusted that I don't like everyone, or even worse, that there are people that I don't like.  There are some people that I wish wouldn't interact with me, or that they would interact with me very rarely.  I feel disgusted that I feel that way.  I feel disgusted that I don't have the courage to step up and tell them to back off.  When I do step up and express my wants, in whatever way I can, I feel disgusted that I did so.

I feel disgusted that I feel lonely and unloved, even though I am surrounded by people who love me.  I have a family that loves me.  I know it.  I can see it in their actions and their words.  My father has expressed many times how he and my mother love me.  Yet, I feel disgusted that I feel empty inside when he says that.  I feel disgusted that I'm so numb to the love that I craved so much growing up.  I feel disgusted that I am so detached from the people around me.

I feel disgusted that I struggle so often with the simple spiritual things. I feel disgusted that I often forget to pray or study my scriptures. I feel disgusted that I forget about fasting. I feel disgusted that I resent going to church. I feel disgusted that when I go to church, all I can think about is my loneliness and my despair. I feel disgusted that I am too afraid to try to befriend the men in the ward. I feel disgusted that I'm not a regular home teacher and that I hardly know the names of the people I home teach currently.  I feel disgusted at how easily I forget that I know and have felt that God loves me.  I feel disgusted on how easily I abandon faith or hope when times get rough.  I feel disgusted that I always think I have to do things 'on my own' without God's help or with help from anyone else.

Ultimately, I feel disgusted for who I am, how I feel, what I think about, what I do, and what I say.

I feel disgusted that I've worked on overcoming some of these things, but that they still come back.  That I'm still detached.  That I still don't know how to set clear boundaries.  That I still feel so angry or lonely.

I hope by continuing to write this blog, I can learn more about myself.  I hope that I can share my struggles.  Hopefully it will help all of you that may feel similar things to me.  I hope that by sharing this I can overcome the shame I feel.  I hope that I can possibly learn to allow the people I love in closer into my life where I can feel their love and I can truly love them in return.  Yet, as long as I continue to feel disgusted with myself, I will continue to struggle with the loneliness and anger that comes with it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sanity Loss 4Nov2011

I was introduced this year to a board game called Arkham Horror.  It's a board game based off the H.P. Lovecraft universe.  Characters in the game have both health and sanity.  Health loss makes sense.  People get hurt when they go on adventures.  What about the sanity loss?

In the H.P. Lovecraft world, there are monsters that are so horrific or so alien, that looking at them assaults the very person's sanity, slowly driving them insane.  Also, horrific events occur that challenge the character's sanity.

The sanity loss mechanic is definitely an interesting one.  It's also used in video games like Amnesia, Penunmbra, and Call of Cthulu.  When the characters in those games are exposed to various horrific things, then they will lose sanity.  There are various effects of the sanity loss including blurred vision, seeing things that aren't there, hearing things that aren't there, etc.  Basically, they go crazy.

Personally, I think the whole thing is fun, entertaining, and at times, horrific.  I think it adds a nice touch to games.  The ability for a game creator to invoke fear in a person is an art.  I'm not talking about being startled.  I'm talking about fear like paranoia and panic.  The kind of fear that leaves me feeling unsettled, even after it's intensity has gone down.

It reminds me of the last time I played Resident Evil 5 with a friend.  On a related note, I never play Resident Evil 5 by myself because the game is creepy.  As we moved through an underground facility, we kept getting glimpses of an odd creature.  It usually was just moving out of view, climbing on the walls and ceilings.  We found documents describing something called a 'Licker'.  A creature with an abnormally long tongue that was blind.  It stalked its prey relying on its other overdeveloped senses.

We continued on through the facility.  I was already feeling the affects of adrenaline, because I remembered fighting these creatures on a previous play-through of the game.  After passing through a section with cages full of live animals, I saw a section with some glass.  There were two Lickers inside.  They immediately broke the glass, and one of them started slowly advancing on me.  Nervous, but sure I could sneak around the creature.  I slowly backed away, thinking I could loop around and completely avoid fighting the creature.

I forgot something as I finished the loop.  The other creature.  Out of nowhere, the creature leaped at me.  I screamed, and directed my character to run to the exit.  Unfortunately, the exit was a door that required a few seconds to crank open.  Me and my friend were trapped.

The fight was a blur.  I vaguely remember firing off the most powerful weapons I had, running around, yelling and laughing hysterically.  When it was over, I was at the door, opening it as fast as I could, laughing my head off like a mad man.

The question is, had I lost sanity?  Sanity is the ability to think and act rationally.  Because my fear had overpowered me, I had, in a sense, gone temporarily insane.  Once the fear started to dissipate, I still felt unsettled and jumpy.  In fact, when I left my friends house, I looked up and checked to make sure there were no monsters about to jump me from above.

While playing a Dungeons and Dragons game, one of my characters fell into a cage of sorts.  While he was trying to get back up, he heard the approach of something.  It sounded like footsteps, and jangling keys.  I was feeling scared.  The creature did show up, and look at me.  The way the DM did it, only served to heighten my fear.

One night I was coming home and walking up the stairs to my condo when I heard a strange noise.  It sounded like chains jingling.  The sound reminded some part of me of the sound of those keys jangling.  I felt a sense of panic as I hastily searched for my key, unlocked the door, and darted inside.  I half expected something to start pounding on the door after I locked it behind me.

Today at work, I had another experience where it felt like I loss some of my sanity.  A man came over to visit with one of my co-workers, who wasn't at her desk.  One of the guys next to me started to talk to man, who is apparently studying to become a paramedic.  The things the guy was talking about left me feeling unsettled and scared.

When I got up to use the restroom, I noticed that things seemed...odd.  The light seemed to bright.  Things seemed to intense.  I felt a vague sense of paranoia.  My mind kept projecting half-ghostly images onto blank surfaces.  The man next to me at the urinal scared me, although he did nothing.  When I realized what was going on, I said that I had suffered some 'sanity loss'.

On a related note, last night I had to drive home really late.  When I get really tired, and drive, my eyes will start playing tricks on me.  Sometimes, they blur and refuse to focus for a few moments.  Other times, it looks like something is there, in the corner of my eye.  When I go to look at it, it's gone.  Honestly, it probably is exhaustion.  Needless to say, the experience is unsettling.

I've had many experiences in my life that have left me feeling horrified.  There's been experiences where I've been paralyzed by fear before, and I lose the ability to think rationally.  Sometimes I wonder if I've lost something permanently in those experiences.  Sometimes I wonder if I've gone a little more crazy in the head each time one of those happens.

Perhaps a visit with the therapist is in order, at least, if the voices start talking to me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Music That Speaks To My Grief - You Were Meant For Me

Today's song is another of the three songs that helped me process through my feelings after I put my cat Taz down (for the first one click here).

Today's song is "You Were Meant For Me" by Jewel:

I hear the clock, it's six a.m.
I feel so far from where I've been
I got my eggs I got my pancakes too
I got my maple syrup, everything but you.
I break the yolks, make a smiley face
I kinda like it in my brand new place
I wipe the spots off the mirror
Don't leave the keys in the door
Never put wet towels on the floor anymore' cause

Dreams last so long
even after you're gone
I know you love me
And soon you will see
You were meant for me
And I was meant for you.

I called my momma, she was out for a walk
Consoled a cup of coffee but it didn't wanna talk
So I picked up a paper, it was more bad news
More hearts being broken or people being used
Put on my coat in the pouring rain
I saw a movie it just wasn't the same
'Cause it was happy or I was sad
It made me miss you oh so bad 'cause


I go about my business, I'm doing fine
Besides what would I say if I had you on the line
Same old story, not much to say
Hearts are broken, everyday.
I brush my teeth and put the cap back on
I know you hate it when I leave the light on
I pick a book up. Turn the sheets down.
And then I take a deep breath and a good look around
Put on my pjs and hop into bed
I'm half alive but I feel mostly dead
I try and tell myself it'll be all right
I just shouldn't think anymore tonight 'cause


Yeah... You were meant for me and I was meant for you.

Listening to this song still brings tears to my eyes.  It reminds me of all the hopes, dreams, and expectations I've had in life that just haven't happened.  It speaks to me on the pain of loss, and also of the pain of holding on to things that are lost.

Honestly, I never expected our cat Taz to go the way he did.  I also thought that he would live another few years at least.  Honestly, I dreamed that he would never go away, that he would always be there.  Finally, he started to have bladder problems more and more frequently, and ultimately we decided that he should be put down.  To speak more accurate, I feel like I was the one that decided that we should put him down.  Sometimes when I think about it, I wonder if it was the right choice.  Sometimes I feel like I chose to kill him, a thought that feels me with grief and shame.

The time after Taz was put down was difficult.  I kept expecting him to be in one of his usual places, or for him to show up meowing, demanding that he be given more food.  This song reminds me of that time.  I would go about my regular life, smiling, and "doing fine" while really inside I was grieving the loss of a beloved pet.  Things just didn't feel the same for a long time afterward.  Dreams and memories really do last a long time.

On a related note, I've found that I often have dreams or fantasies about what friendships will be like in the future.  Sometimes I set up some really high expectations.  Many times those hopes, dreams, and expectations aren't met.  When I'm reminded of those dreams and hopes.  I get filled with feelings of loss, loneliness, and grief.

One example of this is with a guy I grew up with.  He befriended me when we first moved to Utah.  He was my best friend for many years.  It felt like we did so much together.  Time passes.  We both went on missions and to college in other states.  It felt like we saw each other less and less.  I felt like we had grown apart.

I decided that I needed to tell him about the fact I experienced same gender attraction.  I honestly hoped that he would understand and be loving and supportive.  I hoped our friendship would become something much closer.  Instead, all I remember from that conversation is him saying that he knew I wouldn't "do something like that with him".  It was disappointing to say the least.

Recently, I've done some work around it, grieving and surrendering the way things used to be.  Perhaps our friendship won't turn out how I wanted.  The dream I had may not come true.  By surrendering the dream, I can make space in my life for other men.  By letting go of the old friendship, I make space for the new ones.  I still hold on to the golden memories of the time that we spent together and the jokes that we shared.

Time can heal many wounds.  Time will ease the pain of loss.

Dreams last so long.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tests, Touch, Therapy 2Nov2011

I've been feeling more positive, at least since yesterday night.  There's been some interesting events in my life that may have changed things.

First off, touch is a very powerful force in my life.  Based one what I've learned about myself, it's the primary why I feel that I am loved by another person.  I've "known" this for years, but I didn't actually acknowledge until I went to Journey Into Manhood and later read 5 Love Languages.  This is an important fact for the events I'm about to share.

This morning, I had to do a stress test for my heart.  I felt pretty nervous.  The technician prepped me for the test, which involved rubbing of my skin with some gel and hooking up more wires and electrodes than I think I ever want to see again.  I sat and watched my heart rate, which was in the high 90's to low 100's.  That's pretty high for a resting heart rate.  Like I said I was nervous.

My doctor came in.  When I saw him, I felt a brief stab of nervousness and anxiety.  I feel an attraction toward my doctor.  He came in, smiled at me, gave me a brief pat on the shoulder and looked at the ECG.  Honestly, I did like that the doctor gave me a pat.  It felt reassuring.  Then he listened to my heart, while putting one hand on my shoulder.  When he finished, I glanced at the ECG and my pulse had gone down to 68.  After he moved away, my pulse quickly moved back up to the 90's.

I found it interesting, but I did notice I felt a good deal calmer when his hand was on my shoulder.  I have noticed at times when I'm receiving healthy, appropriate touch from men, that I relax and start to feel sleepy.  I am typically a pretty high strung person, and at times I feel desperate to be loved.  I'm probably pretty close to exhausted most of the time, and when I finally feel loved, I let myself feel that exhaustion.

I'm guessing part of the fact that I'm feeling so well is also due to a therapy visit.  My therapist and I talked about a few different things, and he was able to give me some good homework to do.  The most challenging is to define what real masculinity is.  At the end of the session, he gave me an even longer hug than normal, and was restating the homework that he gave me.  I found it very reassuring.

To follow up with the therapy visit, I had a nice long talk with a friend on the phone who is a fellow same gender attraction struggler, and then a visit with another friend.  It was wonderful to connect and feel understood.  It was also nice to exchange some good healthy touch with another friend.

Anyways, back to the medical test.  I went 14 minutes with the Bruce protocol, which is apparently 4 minutes longer than other people go.  My doctor said my ECG looked excellent, and I have a 99% that I don't have any heart problems.  The technician said I held the record for the longest person to do the test.  I feel pretty proud of that although I'm feeling tired still.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eternal Frustration - Body Shame

This post is a difficult one to write.  First, I want to give a disclaimer on this post.  Some of things I will share will be very emotionally charged for me.  They may even trigger strong emotional reactions in you as well.  Please, take care of yourself.  If it's too much for you, please stop reading and find a trusted person to talk with, go exercise, or do something to help yourself process it.

Again, this is difficult for me to write about this.  The thing I am about to share is very personal.  I am afraid of how this information will be used.  I have a fear that this information could be used to exploit me or to take advantage of me somehow.  I also fear that men who read this, and know me personally, will withdraw because they may think I'm attracted to them.  I'm also afraid those will start asking me if I am attracted to them.  I've thought of writing this post many times, but today seems like the day to do it.  At this point, I'm glad that this blog is still under an anonymous name, although that could change in the future.

Today, I want to write about something that has been a large frustration for me in my life, at least ever since I remember being an adult.  The worse part about it, is that I largely can not do anything about it.  Hence, why I call it the 'Eternal Frustration'.

The issue is body image.  It relates to how I look at my body, all aspects of it.  At least since Junior High school, I remember looking at the other guys in my gym class and comparing myself to them.  I've struggled with a perception that my body isn't masculine or that it isn't a mans body.  Sometimes I feel like I've been eternally trapped in a boys body, even though I am an adult.  I've felt physically inferior often to the men around me.

I've worked on my body shame.  I've done some pretty deep work and processing.  Yet, it still keeps coming back.  I guess no matter how much work I do, my body still won't look like what I think an 'ideal' male body should look like.  I can change how I think about things, but the moment I begin to compare myself to other men, the old idea of my body being 'unmasculine' will resurface.  That comes along with a sense of inadequacy and inferiority.  With those, comes along feelings of attraction toward men I feel have more masculine bodies.

To step deeper in the realm of fear, I want to speak of different areas of the body.  I could feel inadequate in these areas, or they could be areas I notice about other men.  Again, take a look at the disclaimer at the beginning of this post.  This will be brutally honest.  Some things may come across as being vague, mostly because attraction, for me, doesn't always follow an exact pattern.

One of the first things that I notice about another man is usually his overall size and body shape.  I'm not a big man myself by any stretch of the imagination.  I have a small frame.  I'm of average height.  I am not muscle bound or overweight in any way.  I've found when another man is taller, bigger than me, or has broader shoulders than me, there is a possibility that I'm going to be attracted to the man.  I've discovered that this sometimes shows up when I'm subconsciously trying to find a father figure or a protector.  Because I've always struggled to connect to my father, I find myself attracted to men that seem to fit my idea of the father I want.

If for some reason I judge another man as being strong, I can feel attracted to him as well.  I've found from helping people to move, or in other situations, that I can't quite bring the same strength to bear that other men can.  This leads me to feeling inferior or inadequate as a man.  I've noticed that I also try to appease or befriend men that I perceive are strong.  One reason for that is that I want to feel safe with them, because otherwise they would be dangerous.  Another reasons is so that they can keep me safe, because I judge that I can't defend myself, or keep myself safe.  It's an extension of my desire to find a 'father figure' or protector of sorts.

Something that I don't always notice, is the size of men's hands.  I judge that I have small hands, that my hands aren't masculine and that they are boyish.  I also judge that my hands are weak, and that they don't have as much strength as another man.  When a man has bigger hands, I judge that his are more masculine or more powerful than mine.

Now to speak on things that feel even more charged and scary for me.  It's something that seems to come into play pretty often.  I find myself drawn to men that I judge have big, masculine, or powerful chests.  Honestly, it's an area that I feel very inadequate in.  I am somewhat of a late bloomer, so I didn't have very much muscle in general until I was in my 20's.  By then, I always found myself admiring any man that had any kind of definition in their chest area.  I judge that to be something very masculine, and something that I lack.  I feel myself drawn to men like that.  This same thing also applies less frequently to another man's arms, and even more rarely to another man's legs.

Related to a previous post, I feel drawn to men who have chest hair.  I feel like I don't have much, or more accurately, I feel like I don't have enough.  This extends to body hair in other places like my stomach or my arms.  I judge that I either don't have enough, or that I don't have the right kind, or etc.  Hence, I have a draw to men I judge have 'enough' or more than me.

My area of deepest shame is around my penis, or more specifically its size.  Personally, I feel I've done some work around this.  This area of the body seems to symbolize for me manhood and masculinity.  It feels like the crux of everything it is to be a man.  I honestly do feel ashamed about it, and I even feel ashamed that I feel ashamed about it.  I try to push it so far out of sight that it's not the first thing I think about when I consider my body shame, although it definitely is one of the more important points for me.

Body shame has been a tricky beast to tackle for me.  I've tried working out or doing specific work and processing around it to change how I think about myself and my body.  I've found that ridding myself of it completely has been tricky.  It always seems to come back.  I find myself slipping back into comparing myself to other men.  Hence, I call this the 'Eternal Frustration'.  No matter how many weights I lift, I'll never be able to grow another few inches, never be able to have giant pecs, or never be able to have arms as big around as some men's legs.  I believe my challenge is learning to accept what I've been given, even though I may admire what another man has.

Easier said than done.  Always easier said than done.