This week marks 2 years since I began telling people I was gay. Honestly, it feels like so much longer, but my journal does not lie. This time two years ago I had moved from such a feeling of despair and anxiety to elation. Everything seemed new and different and I was beginning to love myself. As chronicled here, other unforeseen events unfolded which put a damper on my high spirits. In addition to my internal struggles I faced changes in my external circumstances. I began a full-time job, moved out of my college apartment, and became a full-time adult.
Time allows you to look back and rewrite history. Events that were trivial are sometimes blown out of proportion and things that seemed like the end of the world become silly. I refuse to look back and make statements about how and what I was feeling, because too much time has passed. Those feelings are best left to the entries of the past; snapshots in time capturing my ups and downs and hopes and fears. Looking back there are certainly things I wish I would have done differently and emotions I wish I could have avoided, but I made it through.
The thing I've learned the most over the past two years is how unbelievably powerful fear is. I'm not one to say that fear is bad or that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That's nonsense and I've been respectful of the importance of fear ever sense seeing this episode of Batman when I was 11* (only somewhat joking). The problem with fear is when you allow it too much space. Coupled with anxiety it can and will make your life a living hell. Daily I fight to keep fear in its rightful place (helping me make intelligent decisions) and have been rather successful. So many things I once feared such as being alone forever and never being happy have simply not happened. This gay thing has turned out to be rather manageable. It's my vices (over consumption #1) that cause me real trouble.
The other thing I've realized, but have been hesitant to admit, is how much my prior beliefs caused me to hate myself. I don't know if I've actually phrased it like that before. I used to say things like I "thought being gay was a sin" and that I "prayed and prayed for change" which are both very true. However, I think to protect myself and what religious convictions I was holding at the time, I shied away from stating that my beliefs were destroying me. Certainly an obsession with a wife and kids compounded the problem, but one of the primary drivers was my conviction that God could and would heal me and that I just needed to keep on fighting my "lust"**. Now that I've let go of that I'm much more whole. I'll try to elaborate this in a later post.
I hope wherever you are that spring has sprung. The weather is stunning here and I found myself enjoying lunch al fresco this afternoon. You should do the same!
*It's odd how certain things from your childhood can have a lasting impact. I recently used a quote from Captain Planet in a work email "the power is yours!". Also, I am certain my sense of humor was strongly shaped by the Wayside Series of books.
**I didn't think my attraction to guys was homosexuality. I preferred to call it a lust. That seemed much more manageable. Just a few prayers and a bit more worship music and it would all be taken care of.