While playing a game the other day, another player dealt me a pretty nasty blow, that left me in a rather crippled position. Rather than stick it out to see if I could still somehow manage to scrape through the game, I opted to leave at that moment, mostly because I wasn't enjoying the game all that much (being behind in a game can make me irritable at times). At the time, I thought of how manly I was at speaking my mind and cutting my losses. Afterward, I felt very guilty for leaving the game the way I did (in a huff). Somehow, it made me feel like how I approach life: if things get difficult, there's a good chance I'm going to simply give up on the thing, even if it's something good for me. Friend gets married, I give up. Too hard to continue interacting with them. Friend moves away. Give up. Too hard.
I'm saying this, because I feel like I've 'given up' in a sense on my healing journey. I'm exhausted. I'm worn out. I regularly engage in numbing and isolating behavior I build emotional walls between me and the people I spend time with. Two years ago and two months, I went to Journey Into Manhood. I was regularly talking with people. I had a good friendship with another man forming. I was participating in a community, reaching out to other men. Giving, growing, and learning. I was connecting and getting my male to male needs met. I was even starting to feel sparks of attraction toward a girl I've known since elementary school.
Fast forward a year. I was barely even talking to this friend. I had deeply distanced myself from him. I was slipping into depression. I had given up on our friendship because it had become very difficult and painful for me (I was overdependent on him). Fast forward another year. I came close to acting out with a good friend of mine. I acted out with four other times with men. I nearly gave up going to church multiple times. My depression worsened and I started taking medication. I grew very isolated. I've become bitter. My same gender attraction has become very strong. I feel a sense of shame as I compulsively check out people to see if they are attractive. I struggle daily with inappropriate thoughts that are highly distracting. In short, I almost feel like I've given up.
On a surface level, I try to look confident, as un-needy as possible. I try to appear aloof. I often get snappy. I'm nearly always tired. Inside, I just want to cry, or act out, or have the nearest object of my lust hold me and help me feel loved. Guilt and shame seem to be with me nearly every waking moment. I struggle with feeling connected.
I feel like I'm stuck between two choices: continue to resist (and struggle with acting out), or simply give in. Honestly, the latter is highly undesirable. I know there is at least one more choice: open up. Start to connect again and let the wounds heal. Forgive, and let the poison seep out. It...it feels very difficult to open up. Two years ago, it was very natural, if scary for me. Now, it is so terrifying I clam up at the thought of doing it.
On the bright side, I've also felt a stirring in my breast. I've felt the Spirit working on me. I've had moments where my selfishness abates and I feel genuine pain, empathy, and caring toward other people.
It means I haven't quite given up yet, despite how hard the journey is. Still, I'm afraid of opening up and being vulnerable. Almost mortally afraid. I know it can hurt again.