Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me

Posted by Picasa This is the picture I've been trying to load on to my last post. Leave it to Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006

Not like you. Not like me. And that's OK

I have long liked the movie Pleasantville, and only recently did I realize it’s all about coming out, in a way. Even though the movie may seem to focus on what would be considered a kind of racial stereotyping, it certainly fits for me in coming out.

I suppose one of the facts about being human is that we tend to like to be around others who are somewhat similar to ourselves. It’s the “people-like-us” syndrome. Keeping things nicely uniform, maintaining certain standards, upholding particular moral teachings. All these things are good. But they can have a dark side, like anything else.

I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I always have. That has been part of my hard battle with the “people-like-us” syndrome. The other part is the fact that I am queer. And, now that I see that it is a fact and not some defect or bad choice, it magnifies my anger with the “people-like-us” syndrome.

(Now that I am in my early stages of coming out, I must admit: all I really want to do is be with others who are like me. I want to be with lots of hairy men, rubbing fur together, dancing and getting really sweaty, and . . . . . Well, you get the picture.)

I see nothing wrong with wanting to be with people of similar taste, touch, smell, etc. But when we set up our likes and desires as the standard of behavior for everyone else, it becomes a choke-hold on others. A demand that you should “be like me.”

It may get to the point of becoming a mind set that says “if you aren’t acting like me, looking like me, behaving like me, thinking like me, voting like me. . . . . . then there is something wrong with you.

Another angle on the “people-like-us” syndrome is really more insidious: All you have to do is be-like-me. The answer to your problem (read: MY problem with you) is to be like me. Think, act, behave, love. . . . like me.

Back to my ADD: for decades I beat myself up; “why can’t I be like other folk. Why can’t I stick to what I’m doing, follow through on projects, remember to do things, or plan ahead. Why can’t I be like other people.” A lot of years, a lot of pain, a lot of self-loathing. Why can’t I? Because I am different. I am not like other people. My brain does not work that way.

Of course, the same self-loathing, the same kind of questions arose in my soul regarding my deep attraction to other males. “Why won’t this go away? Why can’t I stop these feelings? What am I doing wrong? Can’t I get it right? Why don’t I seem to be like everyone else?”

Over the years, I have been asked by others (particular my grandmothers, who whined me into submission), “Why can’t you be like other children.” And, over the years, as I tried to think in a straight line (no pun intended, but it’s a pretty good one), plan and work like everyone else, be a good straight (not queer) little boy, and big boy and young man.

Prayed over, exorcized, years of therapy, many years beseeching God to make me straight, convincing God that God got my imago Dei all wrong. Tears, fears, guilt, shame. You know.

One of my big beefs with the Church right now is this constant chant to “just be like us.” All you have to do is. . . . .
That’s all. Oh.

To accept that there is nothing wrong with me. To accept that this is me, and I like me. This feels victorious!

We all got issues. We all got problems. I’m not claiming perfection here. But in accepting myself and denying the demands of others to conform, I am able to accept others even more easily. And, it also allows me to focus on what real problems/issues I have.

Is it any reason I’ve always loved rainbows?

(Thanks to Kelly for the picture and challenge. The picture is posted above, as a separate post.)

Friday, June 16, 2006


I am such a pleaser. I "just want everyone to be happy." Oh, how I can hear my mother saying those words as if that were the point, the goal, the reason for life. Make everyone happy. Don't rock the boat. "Son, now, don't say anything that will upset somebody."

So, I haven't. I don't. And I regret it. But to disabuse myself of the idea that I will die if I upset someone is difficult. Convincing myself of the truth has not been easy. It is a struggle I've lived with, and it seems the struggle will continue.

To "talk big" or "bark loudly" doesn't mean I've learned to bite.

I have to work all weekend. Shucks. Again. I'm getting a little squirrely and need to take some time for myself and go for a walk in the woods.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

One to Hug

I don't have many friends, hardly any. But I have one friend who is gay, and he knows my secret. He has been very supportive of me in this process, acknowleging how painful parts of it are for me.

And he gives great hugs! He let's me talk and he let's me hug him and squeeze. It means a lot. No, we haven't "done it", nor do I plan to. I don't want to mess things up with sex. One day, I'd love to, but not now. It's important for me to be faithful to present commitments. I am a married man.

But he let's me hold him, and smell him, and rub my hands on his back; and that means so much. I can hold him authentically, not having to be concerned about "will he get the wrong idea." I have always loved to hug, and I hug a lot. But with men (straight men) I get concerned that I might hug too much.

I know some other gay men, but I am not out to them. Though they probably have figured me out. This friend is one with whom I can be real. Thanks be to God.

Cheers, Joe.