Thursday, November 24
I remember once overhearing a conversation among a group of LDS women - singles and leaders from my YSA ward. A woman mentioned that she knew someone who had just broken up with a guy who was attracted to other men. The responses of the other women were telling.
"Don't ever date someone like that..."
"She got herself out of a bad situation..."
"Promise you'll never marry someone who is gay..."
Something inside me broke that day. I had never realized that being gay was seen as a liability in some circles of the Mormon dating world beyond the simple fact that it made dating hard for me.
That experience was years ago.
Someone asked me if I'm at all interested in girls. And I just realized today that I still feel deep shame, and honestly, unworthiness related to that same issue.
But I don't know how to work through it.
There's a girl I know that was part of that conversation. I've had the desire to ask her out before. I didn't. She had a steady boyfriend, and while I'm an awesome guy in most fields, I feel woefully inadequate when it comes to this. Anyone would be a better option than I would... and she had plenty of options. She still does. Years later, she has another boyfriend, and I still haven't ever asked her out or even mentioned that I had wanted to.
Maybe that would be a good thing to do. Just mentioning it doesn't sound as vulnerable as asking. I could mention it.
But vulnerability is what I'm going for. Is putting myself out there so awful? What's the worst that can happen? I've already rejected myself as wholly undesirable, and I know my entire story. No one can top that.
And being ok with vulnerability is what I'm trying to achieve inside myself. While it's unlikely that anything would come of the conversation from a dating perspective, the authenticity (= courage to live boldly and have courage) gained on my part would be a huge boon regardless of result.
But where is the feeling coming from?
And here's me being vulnerable here.
I think it means that I have a ways to go in accepting myself and loving myself.
I know lots of guys who are paranoid about their family or friends learning about their sexuality... or at least their friends who are also gay. Those I've tried to befriend kept me on the fringe of their lives - sometimes mutual friends are inevitable and they'll make up a story about how we met, but usually they'll go to great lengths to isolate me from ever meeting people in their other lives.
I know the feeling. I've felt, at least somewhat, the same way. I remember being afraid that people would learn I was gay and facing enormous, looming, unknowable-but-awful consequences... supported by a few bad personal experiences and some awful stories.
"What if it goes away? What if I can deal with it by myself? Why do I need to tell anyone? Won't it just make life harder?"
This isn't a post on coming out. That's a personal decision between one person and God, not between me or anyone else.
But I think that (breathe, David... it's going to be ok) this realization that I feel like a second-class citizen in the dating world means I am still at odds with being gay.
It means that, somewhere inside me, *I* honestly think that being gay is shameful. That it's a liability. Even though I'm upfront and candid with family, friends, and the world about being attracted to guys, even though I've seen how much it has influenced my life and been a mortal experience that has shaped me, I've still bought into the feeling that it's an unsavory part of who I am... and that I'm less valuable as a person (or more specifically, as a potential dating or marriage partner) because it is something I face.
I didn't want to say that. It actually took me a few minutes to even write the last sentence because "sucks" feels like gutter slang to me. I don't say that when I speak. But it's also the only thing that hit the feeling. It's depressing, frustrating, angering, stupid, and a handful of other emotions all crushed into one.
And it's even worse because, likely, if I'm feeling that way, there are a lot of guys out there who feel the same way. And maybe even some who are reading this post and feeling the soul-crushing, gut-twisting shame that I felt while writing it... and wondering just like I am how to get out of it.
I don't know.
But I do know some things I can do to work through it.
I can make the commitment to treat the people in my life like the awesome people that they are - and to never, ever hide myself or them because I'm afraid of someone finding out about me.
I can talk to this girl (or call / write her) and share my thoughts. Not this whole post, but the thoughts I had about asking her out and how feeling second-class made it take so long to share them.
And I can ask God to help me really believe that I am worthwhile, and even spectacular, with all the things that I carry in life. Learning to love myself more is a process - not something I'm going to ever "reach"... but God *does* love me fully, and He can help me along the path to believing more in me.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 8:23 PM