Monday, August 27, 2012

In which I bear out most of my shit

(There isn't going to be a "light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel" moment in this post. Skip if you're looking for something uplifting. Also, adult language. Hope you can deal with it, because today, I really just don't care)

Today, for the first time in months or possibly years, I sobbed.

As I mentioned before, it apparently isn't just my struggle with pornography that has led me to doubt and wonder if the Church was true. I've been clean about three months of pornography, which is likely the longest I've ever been since I started looking at it at age 17. There's still work to be done, but from a strict obedience standpoint, I'm doing better than I have in years.

And yet...

For the last few months, I've been unhappy. I haven't been sad per se, but I have been unmotivated, lazy, obstinate, depressed, willful and unpleasant. I attend parties and get-togethers, put on a happy face and make jokes, laugh till I cry, make lunch plans with old friends, the works. I go to church and hear the speakers express uplifting words, I see the good examples of those who serve faithfully in their callings, I even participate insightfully in Institute and Sunday school. But underneath it all is a cold, black core of a man who has become bitterly jaded and unhappy with his life.

I saw all these areas of improvement, ranging from reading my scriptures more to eating less red meat to working out better. I tried to get stronger and build myself into a man. I bought a bicycle, thinking going carbon neutral would help. I brushed my teeth better, polishing those pearly whites to a sheen they haven't seen in years. Hell, when I was in the shower once, I looked down and thought, "If that were bigger, I'd be happier."

But the plain and simple fact of the matter is that since about the time pornography stopped being a scapegoat, I have felt alone and forsaken. There have been brief moments where I see empathy and love in the world all around me, but for the most part, I am lonely. I crave the presence of the Spirit but I feel it retracted from me. I pray for little miracles to help me see that I'm not alone in this world and they seem to go unheeded. I feel like I'm talking to the wall whenever I pray and I think that no one is listening. It's been a deeply frustrating three months, three months that I thought would see the Spirit and blessings of the Lord pouring out on me as a reward for giving up pornography but instead have been filled with spite, jealousy and bitterness on my part. I even tried to punch a hole in the wall underneath one of my posters, but apparently I'm so weak that I couldn't break anything but the skin on my fist.

For the first time since these feelings started coming, I talked them over with someone today. Last night, as I struggled to fall asleep amid the anger and bitterness I felt towards my Heavenly Father, I texted my brother, who is faithfully trying to live the teachings of the Gospel, asking if we could talk. He returned my call this morning and we spoke for awhile. As the tears started to flow from both of us, we tried to figure out why this life is so hard, why God has chosen us to live these lives with thrilling highs followed mere minutes later with painful lows. I told him how I felt like God had forgotten me and to my surprise, he agreed. He said that God had indeed retracted from my life because for whatever reason, I need to do this alone. I need to be tested and tried and I need to do it without His help. He said he felt the same thing often and while he may not understand completely the breadth and scope of what I'm dealing with, I can see that he understands the underlying emotions.

And then the praises came. He told me how strong I was, how godlike I was and what a good person I had always been. He told me how much he loves and prays for me and how much he looks up to me. And again, I felt nothing. I saw none of myself in those words. I never do. Whenever people praise me for being so wonderful and brave and faithful, all I can think is that they are just saying that to be nice. I feel none of that, no bravery. All I see is this scared little bitch cowering under his covers, wishing that he were braver. He told me I was my own worst critic and I gave myself too little credit, but his words, and the words of my bishop and parents and friends who have said the same thing, have always sounded a little syrupy, if well-meaning. They still do. But whatever. He loves me and I appreciate the efforts he made.

We hung up the phone and I went to take a shower before being overcome with a poignant sense of, "Who gives a shit? What person in this universe gives one single fuck about me and what I do with my life?" I couldn't even look myself in the mirror, I was so ashamed. I turned on the water so no one would hear me and crumpled to the ground and sobbed. Sobbed with every muscle in my body, sobbed like it was going out of style, sobbed until my ears ached and my stomach was sore and my forearms were bleeding from the prints of my fingernails. I prayed for some time, just hoping that I'd feel some kind of presence from above. I offered gratitude for a brother who cared enough to cry with me on the phone for an hour, for friends in real life and friends I'd met through this blog and friends I knew were praying for me. And then I was done. I was done crying. I had offered my last ounce of energy and I had nothing left. I lay on the rug for a few more minutes, got up, got in the hot water, and was done.

I don't know what's going to come next. I still feel crushingly alone, in spite of all the people around me and in my life. I know there are those of you who send me encouraging texts and e-mails, who call for no reason just to chat, who pray for me and love me and who hope that I find the thing that will leave me with lasting joy.

But I have to admit, I don't know where to find that joy. I feel like every avenue for happiness is closed off to me, that my life is just one huge long detour from stopping point to stopping point with no clear destination in sight. I feel very little joy in the journey and I see very little light.  God is not in my life today and His presence is missed. Nothing feels right, no decision seems like the correct one. It's all just darkness. And probably some dragons. I'm sure I'll be okay, but I just have no idea how or when. Kinda ready for it to be my turn though.


  1. "I have been unmotivated, lazy, obstinate, depressed, willful and unpleasant. I attend parties and get-togethers, put on a happy face and make jokes, laugh till I cry, make lunch plans with old friends, the works. I go to church and hear the speakers express uplifting words... But underneath it all is a cold, black core of a man who has become bitterly jaded and unhappy with his life."

    I hear ya on that. That sound a lot like my life recently.

  2. I have so much that I want to write, but nothing that might not sound glib or cliched, no matter how true they may be.

    I guess all I can really offer is the thought that you are not alone. I don't believe God ever leaves us completely on our own. Finding that ounce of warm sunlight in our lives can sometimes make all the difference in our day.

    I was watching a show a few days back about drug rehabilitation and the people had this to say:
    Rehab Coordinator: There's a light at the end of the tunnel
    Junky: It might be a train coming

    I thought it was funny. That light that we are told about, we're never really told what it is. We presume its better than the dark tunnel, but who knows.

    I love you mate. It pains me to think that you could be in any kind of pain. My suggestion is look in the mirror and try to see those things that your brother sees in you. He's not making those things up. They are there. I've seen them.

  3. Man. I totally know how you feel. I'm not here to give any stellar advice, but just to let you know that in those things you describe (shame, addiction, deep pain and sadness, resentment towards God, etc.) you are not alone. In the process of working through my own sex addiction (homosexually oriented) I am finding many of those same things, and it's all I can do to pray that God will help me--and all of us.

  4. I read this, and I know you are in a different place now (based on more recent posts). I hear you. I can relate to not being able to receive praise. TO feeling unmotivated, and definitely to feeling cold, dark, bitter, and jaded.

    I hope you are able to discover things to help you out.

  5. Came in by way of NS.

    GMP, I appreciate all what you've said. Really, I can relate to much of it, in all the "colorful" choices of words, too. It helped me to think on the progress I've made, although I still get hung up on the things I still want to be better but aren't yet.


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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