Monday, July 14, 2014

Don't Let Them In, Don't Let Them See

Many times when I'm talking to people they ask me a common question "Are you out?"  The answer, I've found is 'kind of'.  My family knows about me, a small handful of friends know about me, anyone who reads this blog knows about me, but I still don't feel like I'm 'out'.  What drives that?  Honestly, I'm still terrified of what people would think about me at work or at church (sometimes they feel like one and the same).

I'm still scared to tell people about me.  I'm really worried about what could happen at work or church.  Would people treat me differently? Would I get persecuted?  Would I get rejected?  Would there be even less interaction between people?  Even just the attractions is the tip of the iceberg to what goes on.  All sorts of thoughts from innocent to sinful swirl through my head.  What if they knew?

Many times it makes think of some lyrics from Frozen's "Let It Go".  "Don't let them in. Don't let them see."  Many times I keep myself withdrawn from other people.  I'm afraid what would happen if I let them in close.  From the church community, I fear their judgement of some of the thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs I'm trying to grapple with and understand.  From the gay community, it's a different set of fears.  I'm afraid of their judgement of me choosing not to act on the sexual feelings I have toward men.  Many times I've referred to myself as a 'non practicing gay'.

To speak further on that frustration, physical touch deprivation is something that frequently bothers me.  It's a big challenge.  I could go to church and ask for it from other members of the church.  I fear they either wouldn't understand, or they wouldn't be willing.  Granted, the latter isn't nearly as bad as the former.  If I go to the gay community, it's a different set of challenges.

Me: "I like to cuddle."
Guy: "Cuddling leads to sex."
Me: "I don't want sex."
Guy: "Not interested."
Me: :(

Funny how the 'Cuddling = Sex' formula can show up anywhere.  It even shows up in my mind, no matter how much I hate it.  Personally I like how Cuddle Parties ( approach the problem.  They set out clear boundaries to keep everyone safe.  The events are strictly non-sexual.  Somehow I wish I could find a sense of safety with other men in my life.

I keep wondering, hoping, wishing that one day I'll find some people that may understand that (and are available for it).  Sometimes all I want is a hug.  Sometimes it's just some strong arms to shelter me from the storms or a shoulder to rest my head on.

It's more than just the touch.  Touch without any kind of emotional connection is empty.  Often times, it's led me to situations and encounters that I've regretted later.  The emotional connection with another person is very difficult for me.  I know that I isolate.  I know I have trouble reaching out and connecting.  (Personally I wonder how my medication can influence this).  Maybe if I was able to develop a stable, emotional connection with another man, maybe the touch issues wouldn't be nearly so pressing.  (My therapist and I have talked about how I jump to physical contact to try to form a connection).

Now that I've written this, I'm scared to hit the publish button.  So many people know about me.  I've found that few people really talk to me about the issue.  It would be nice to have an open and honest discussion, but am I ready to confess how I feel towards other people?  Am I ready to openly share some of the wants that I've had?  The prospects are terrifying, but if you're reading this, then I've probably hit that Publish button anyways.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Strange Dreams Night of June 26, 2014

I had the strangest dream last night.  Apparently sea salt roasted chickpeas and melatonin have strange interactions.

I woke up in a bed in my parents house, my dad came in and gave me a tray full of things made out of watermelon.  I asked him what it was for, and he said he heard I wasn't feeling well.  It was really nice of him.  Then I put on a shirt, but was still wearing my pajama pants when we all decided to go out to lunch as a family with my sister's family (Aubrey).  One of my nephews was goofing off and fell backwards with his head right next to a brick fireplace.  I asked if he was ok, and he said he was, but he didn't move, and blood started to flow from his cheek.  I picked him up and held him, then rushed him to the hospital.

The doctor was taking a look at him, and I hung around for a few hours, while she talked about different therapy things.  I realized I wanted to go home, but couldn't go anywhere because I didn't have the keys to Synthia.  I wanted to call my dad, and I realized I didn't have my phone on me.  I asked the doctor and she said the hospital had appropriated it, and it wouldn't be available for two weeks.  I was pretty upset.  I kept talking and asking, but she wouldn't relent.  Finally I left to find her director, and went wandering through the hospital.  Apparently his office was above the library, so I started walking and it was a huge spiraling amphitheater thing that went up and up.  there were all these rooms were people were having piano recitals.  One guy said he wish he didn't have to go.   Finally I got up and asked some people who were heading down what was up there, and they said more rooms, so I decided to go back down.

I walked down and my family was waiting there, and I was wearing my work pants.  I reached into my back pocket and found a random phone that I realized I could swap out with my phone.  I couldn't leave, even though I had my keys, because I really needed my phone.  I went back to the doctor, who was suprised about the miraculous appearance of another phone, so I traded it out and got my phone back.

My phone had all this tape on it that I needed to scrape off, so I went to the hospital front room and was scraping red paint off of white pottery tea pots, when a lady approached me and told me not to be doing that.  So I walked out, and found a UPS store.  I asked if they had anything to clean off phone screens, and he took me into the back and started trying to sell me on buying a GPS.  He handed it to me, and I realized he was probably on commission sales for this, but then realized I should buy something I didn't need out of pity.

Monday, June 2, 2014

North Star Conference 2014 - Nuggets of Wisdom

North Star International had a conference over the weekend.  The first of its kind!  North Star International is an organization that promotes members of the LDS church who experience same gender attraction to keep and live the covenants and commitments of the gospel. (Learn more here).  Needless to say, it is a wonderful organization.

The conference was also wonderful.  I only attended the Saturday session (had to work on Friday).  I was able to learn some great information.  Only two things have really stuck in my head. Maybe because they were some of the more insightful things that I'd love to integrate into my life.

One of the workshops talked about compulsive sexual behaviors (although arguably it could be applied to any compulsive behavior).  In talking about the cycle of compulsive behavior, the instructor talked about feelings.  Feelings are actually how the mind seeks to heal itself.  "Negative" feelings are things that we are often taught to suppress.  I remember thinking growing up "Well, boys don't cry" or "I don't want to get angry. Getting angry is bad!".  Really, anger and sadness are how my brain was trying to cope or heal through things.  Ignoring or suppressing feelings leads to disassociation (or apathy) which can lead to compulsive behavior.

Life lesson: I need to feel my feelings not ignore them (or bury them under video games).

Solitude and Community
I wish I had taken better notes during the last keynote speaker.  He was speaking about a pattern that the Savior showed in his life.  First, the Lord went into the mountains to pray. Second, He called his apostles.  Third, He reached out to minister to others.

The speaker went on to say how important alone time with God can be.  It is alone with God that we learn what our worth is.  We learn of His love for us.  He then spoke that an individual can then create community with other individuals who know what their worth is.  He said the purpose of a community was not to teach the individuals that they were beloved of God.

That hit me pretty profoundly.  I realized I was looking to other people, to community, to feel loved and wanted.  I've been looking for love in the wrong place!  It's God who can help me find that feeling of being loved.  Then, I can reach out and form meaningful friendships with other people around me.

I thought these were some interesting points.  I hope that they are able to help some of you out too.

It was also awesome to see my parents there.  They're awesome too. :)