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 Many times I keep myself withdrawn from other people.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."
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 (http://www.cuddleparty.com/) 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.