Monday, April 19, 2010

How Can I Expect Them to do in Four Months What took Me Eleven Years.

Eleven years. That is the time between when I first allowed the thought, “Am I Gay?” and when I finally got the courage to tell my parents.. I still remember, I was on my mission in Virginia, and Elder S. and I were wrestling. There was an incident, (yeah, you know what I’m talking about) and I was mortified. I told the mission president at my next interview, spent time wondering when I would be condemned to Hell, expecting the mountains to fall on me. After I finally got it out, our lovely old president, hugged me, said he loved me, and set up an appointment to see a counselor with a LDS Family Services therapist. The counselor had dealt with this before. We had about a two-hour meeting, in which he asked me a series of fifteen questions to determine if I was gay. Afterwards he pronounced me straight. I met with him several more times. I went on my way, enjoying the mission. I remember my eyes constantly scanning for hot guys. I remember during a windstorm worrying about dying condemned. I continued to be frustrated by my urges and preoccupations.

I came home, went to I-Y and yo-yoed between being happy go lucky RM and basket case waiting for a house of cards to fall down. Truth be told I wasn’t really doing anything heinous, but I felt it, every time I checked out a guy, and when I went to interviews. I didn’t always label it gay, in fact I started to call it OCD. Obviously I always thought about guys because of a mental disorder.

I dealt with several Bishops and therapists during my time in Rexburg. They had differing takes on what I was experiencing. It didn’t help that I didn’t use language that conveyed romantic feelings. While their takes were different, their love for me was a constant between them. The Bishops, confused as they were, cried with me, and saw my eternal potential. We muddled through the confusion together. I’m grateful for their friendship.

The counselors also had different ideas, but the key I took from them was to continue building good things in my life. Don’t obsess over that lack of female attraction. Build a life, filled with love and service. While I haven’t done that perfectly, I think it was inspired advice.

Now this isn’t supposed to be a full review of my past decade or so on this earth. Eventually I moved to Provo, and still went back and forth on the whole, gay vs. OCD debate. Depression was huge, I saw more counselors. Finally, almost a year ago to the day, I posted a question on the 100 Hour Board at BYU. I told of my loneliness and despair, and wondered how I could go it alone. From that I was led to NorthStar and the Matis firesides, and have made some good friends that I can rely on.

And I have begun to confide in friends and families of my struggles. First I told my best friend from high school. Then my parents, and then Dan, a great friend I have written about before. As in the past their responses have been different, but supportive nonetheless.

Which finally brings me to the point of all this. My mother called me today. She is a great lady. Telling her and my dad was one of the best things I could do. She has been pushing me very strong to get married. And I want to get married so badly. When I see my nephew and nieces I ache for the chance to have a family, and I know she aches for me too. I have gotten to the point where I just agree with her marriage pep talks and leave it at that.


Well today she finally came to the realization of something that took me eleven years to come to. She had been reading a book by Shari Dew, and realized that Sister Dew isn’t the “typical Mormon”. But she has steal led a life of faith, and has been an example to so many in the world. My mom said, “Jake, if you don’t get married you can steal live a life of good, filled with service and love.” It meant so much to me. To see my mom has come to the same place that I am after only four months of dealing with my same gender attraction. I haven’t given up on marriage. Ty’s recent engagement give many of us hope, but I have realized if it comes it’ll be on the Lord’s time. And so has my mom.

So often we are frustrated when those who know about our same gender attraction, or homosexuality, or whatever word you use to describe it, don’t immediately come to the same realizations and attitudes that we have. This is folly. It took me, seeing hot guys, and wanting them daily, eleven years to come to terms with it. How can I get frustrated when it takes those I love some times to grasp it. How can I get mad at them for having attitudes that I had in my own life. How can I use my same gender attraction as a wedge between the dearest people to me on earth, because they, who are not constantly reminded of the trial, take time to get used to it? I could withdraw hoping they would see my withholding of friendship as a sign and take their lumps, swallow their pride, and conform to my worldview, or I can continue to love them. Build on the common life we have shared, and show mercy to people who struggle like I did for eleven years.

I choose to keep the connections open. I love them, and we can disagree without being disagreeable, keeping those bonds of loved that formed in the womb, and on the knee, and in the backyard, strong.

I doubt I’ll ever regret doing so.

5 comments:

  1. I totally relate to your mission experience. I also had a mission companion that I wrestled with, and it was a highly enjoyable experience.

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  2. Wise decision. Someday they may come to a clearer understanding of what you are experiencing. You may encourage them to attend the "Finding Joy in the Journey" fireside June 27th in the church by the IF temple. There will be special breakout session for family and friends. Fred and Marilyn Matis will participate in that session and Ty will be the keynote speaker.

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  3. Very good post. It's true that sometimes people dont really understand our real situation because they dont have first hand experience. However, we should keep loving them and as you said, "keep the connections open".

    Anyway, I wonder how come ur first therapist said that u were straight after asking a series of question? Do you think that he lied to you just to conform u?

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  4. This is a good post. I want to be this mature.

    -Waldorf

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