Friday, October 19, 2012

Finding courage and expunging pride

Alright, so I kind of mentioned this yesterday, but it took me all of three hours of being home from vacation to remember how difficult and tricky life could be.

While I was on vacation, I made a very concerted effort not to think about gay stuff. It came into my mind as frequently as ever, but I tried really hard not to think about it.  One thing that certainly helped was how difficult it was to be where I was. I spent my month in a Spanish-speaking country where it was hard to understand others or make myself understood, so lots of my energy was spent thinking in Spanish and trying to understand out the language better.

If you believe Maslow's hierarchy, which I sometimes don't, you know that if your more basic needs aren't being met (food, water and sleep), then you don't have the time or energy to think about higher needs (shelter, clothing, feeling appreciated, meaningful work). In that respect, my need to understand and be understood by the Spanish speakers around me superseded my religious or emotional needs. Being away was a great time to do something that had nothing to do with Mormonism or homosexuality, and yet was constructive because I was learning a new language and culture.

However, there were moments, even over there, when it was difficult to ignore my sometimes-dualistic feelings towards the LDS church and towards my orientation.

I caught myself thinking about guys I was attracted to back home, about girls I wished I was more attracted to because I felt like I should love them, about my mission prospects and whether or not I wanted to serve. I went to the sessions of General Conference and felt each commandment to strengthen my testimony and deepen my conversion, and I felt motivated to serve a mission soon so I could avoid the influx of 18-year-old guys [how much would it suck to have a senior companion five years younger than you?].

But with every prick of the Spirit to do better, be more, try harder and become converted, I had this little, petulant voice in the back of my head saying, "But I don't wanna!"  I had this image of this attractive, successful gay man in my head, this idea I've been toying with, and it's hard to let go of it. It's hard to look forward to a life that involves a lot of self-denial. But then again, it's hard to let go of those promptings and write them off as mere ideas or fleeting thoughts.

There's so much pride in my heart right now. It's hard as a rock and I have almost no desire to be "good." Even though I feel like it might be right, I still want to fight it. I'm becoming an enemy to God and to my own spiritual well-being and I'm finding it hard to find the courage I need to stop it (it would behoove you to watch that linked video. I think I'm going to start watching it every day).

I've probably said this before, but the biggest problem is the lack of clear distinction in my mind between fact and fantasy. I can imagine this universe in which homosexuality isn't a moral issue, in which God and the LDS church don't care who you are attracted to as long as you make sure you're loving others, not fighting them.  This world where I'm happily married to a man who loves me and makes me smile and who I love too.  Hell, in these daydreams, I'm even fashionable, designer underwear and all. And I start to believe this fantasy and apply it to real life. I assume that every guy I meet is attracted to me and that it's okay to flirt a little, that I'm not pushing the boundaries on what's appropriate because homosexuality isn't an issue.  And then I remember that the way I'm living (or want to live) is in direct conflict with what has been presented to me as fact for the better part of my 23.5 years and I have to try and reconcile or diminish my newfound desires with my old knowledge.

So yep. There you have it. One day back and I'm still a nut case.  I should stop that.

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