Tuesday, April 12, 2011

About Me

As has been said, I'm GMP. Since age is variable, I'll just say I was born in 1989 and let y'all do the math. I am currently a student, but that might change someday too, I hope. I'm a faithful, worthy member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and am proud to be a Mormon, at least most of the time. Currently, I am trying to get out on a mission, a milestone that seemed unachievable at times but lately has come within my view and now feels closer than ever. I love cars with a passion that shouldn't be bestowed on objects; it's sad, but my best love letters and poetry are directed at some of the cars I've owned. Currently, I'm a BMW man, the older the better.

I also have the fun distinction of being gay. I'm not going to call it an affliction or a suffering, although at times it feels like it is. I've never acted out sexually with another man (or woman, for that matter), but my drive definitely lies within my gender. I first became cognizant that I was gay when I was 11 or 12, but looking back, I know that my attraction to men started before I can even remember. I was much more attracted in a humanistic sense to the guys in my classes, but it wasn't until I hit puberty and those attractions became sexualized a little that I understood who I was in that aspect.

I went through most of high school without anyone knowing, at least not officially from me, that I had same-gender attraction. Rumors occasionally spread about me and a few of my guy friends, and one of my best friends with whom I had a falling-out did all he could to convince the school that I was in fact gay, but no one ever received confirmation from me.

In high school, I also was introduced to pornography and masturbation, which only brought on guilt and paranoia that further isolated me from my friends and family. It wasn't until I got into college that I felt the need to let people into my circle. I told my sister first. She was exceptionally supportive and has ever since been a great source of perspective and faith. In that initial conversation, she encouraged me to see my bishop about my worthiness issues and to be completely honest with him about the nature of the pornography I consumed.

That conversation with my loving bishop started the journey towards mastering and commandeering the decisions I made. I have been blessed ever since with kind, compassionate, and loving bishops who have helped me. I still struggled with pornography for another two years after that, but every time I had a relapse, coming back to church and maintaining the proper perspective became so much easier as my successive bishops and I talked about the Atonement. Suddenly, it wasn't me against them, it was me, my bishop, and Jesus Christ against them.

After a few years, I decided it was time to tell my parents about my proclivities. Ever since I became aware of what made me me, I was terrified to let my parents in on it. I saw my mother when her children sinned; she took everything so personally and assumed it was her failure. Her sadness in our sin wasn't an attempt to guilt us. It was more of a pathetic, ignorant impeachment on herself. That sounds harsh to say, as she is and always has been an empathetic, supportive mother, but oftentimes it seemed like she was trying to make her struggles more important than ours. In any case, I was driving to work one day when I decided that I would tell her. My mind turned from hoping never to tell her to knowing that she needed to know in about five minutes. The suddenness of the turnaround is what really convinced me to do it. I knew that the change of mind was really a change of heart.

After work, I called her and asked for an hour of her time. After I asked her to recognize that she had no hand in this and it wasn't a decision anyone made, I dropped what is now known as "the bomb" among my sister, mother, and trusted friends. She was as supportive as I now know I should have expected, but one comment she made scared and angered the hell out of me for a second. She told me about how she's always had inklings about her children and the struggles they'd one day face. She said that she first thought I might grow up to be gay when I was 7 years old and got in trouble for giving a hug to another boy on the playground. For whatever reason, I was infuriated that she would sexualize my 7-year-old self and interpret my affection as something immoral. I was also upset that she never warned me or brought up the subject, especially after such depressing rumors were spread about me in high school.

However, and by the grace of God, those feelings quickly passed and we were able to talk frankly and openly about the prospect of a mission, my previous problems with pornography, and marriage and family issues I'd have to face in the future. Since that conversation almost a year ago, we haven't brought up the subject once, except when she casually and supportively asks about my mission progress. I'm glad she doesn't bring it up, because I know she doesn't understand it; still, I'm glad she knows and I know she prays for me and seeks learning on the subject and that moral support is invaluable.

Life is a horrifying, awful, enlightening, strengthening, and awesome experience. The ways in which I've grown have been so poignant. Daily, I feel like I'm on the end of my chain, and yet, the chain never breaks. I often feel like I'm treading the mirror's edge, but if I fall, I know there'll be Someone to pick me up.

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