Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not so bad

The Great Outing is going well.  Mostly, amazing support and affirmation.  Some concerns and questions from a few.  But generally, it's going very very well.

I'm still adjusting.  After so many years of a "double life" of sorts, it is a challenge to bring those lives together.  And,  I realize how my "lives" need some congruence.  This is a challenge.  I am feeling that the once-hidden life can't go on the way it did.  I'm out, now.  And, I am out.  So, no pretending, no hiding, nothing that might endanger my job.  It's a call to some new, honest, authentic behaviors.

This brings up a lot of new questions:  How do I feel about getting into a relationship?  What about monogamy?  What about playful friends?  What about celibacy? 

I'm going to take the time to discern this new life, just as I've taken the time to discern how, when, in what way to come out. 

In working with my "constituents" (or "customers"), it is painful when some of them cannot accept me as gay.  For a (very) few, I am suddenly not good enough. Well, so be it for them.  I've listened and tried to be non-judgmental, non-anxious, and not get angry.  Even though some have expressed some old, out-dated, terrible things - all the old stuff about "recruiting", immorality, suggesting that I chose this.  No logical, fact-filled argument will convince anyone.  It is, in a sense, a matter of conversion of the heart more than the mind.

Here's hoping.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Relaxing into Outness

Forgive my absence, dear friends, from your blogs.  I've not taken the time (or had much to give) for blog reading.  I miss you, your lives, concerns, and posts.  But I shall get back into reading more.

I am sitting in the midst of this new-found "outness."  How odd it feels.  Not quite sure what to make of it all.  After so many years of such careful language, conversation, and action, it seems odd not to go with old patterns.  Then again, maybe I don't need to "change" but only relax.

 Things at my place of business, within my organization, seem (so far) to be going well.  One customer has left, and I expected they would do that.  I hope they will find a new place to "shop."  There departure was stated to me personally, with respect and kindness, if disagreement on the Issue. (The Issue is questioning whether or not gays should be in this line of work.  And, I'm gay. So).

Others have spoken very kindly and supportively to me of my courage to do such a thing.  So, there I stand, talking with one of my constituents/customers all about the fact that I'm gay and just came out.  OMG.  I've never rehearsed such a conversation.  Never imagined it.

And yet.  Here I am.

And I've put an HRC sticker on my car.  Hah!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Out! - Why don't I feel better?

Today was the day.  It went well; very well.  Amazingly well.  I was surprized.  My "district manager" was surprized (really surprized).  So, why don't I feel better?

After all these years in hiding (partly, anyway), I know it will take some getting use to.  And, not all of our "customers" or constituents were there to hear about it.  And, a few who are struggling with this news didn't speak up.  there will be fallout.  I know that.  At least now it can be talked about.  I can talk about it.  We can all talk about it.

I've not tried to portray myself as any kind of saint, but I haven't confessed all my sins, either.  It's not appropriate and no one's business, yes.  But I don't want to mislead anyone.

There is a rejoicing and a gladness in the affirmation and support I received.  But there is not sense of victory or triumph.  Honestly, I'm kind of numb.  Standing in front of a hundred or so people and making a public statement that "I am a gay man," did take some courage, and a lot of energy.  But still . . . .

Maybe it will come later.  Maybe the sadness I feel for my ex-wife (who isn't getting all this affirmation and support) will lessen.  I miss sharing things with her.  And I am sad (and profoundly sorry) for the pain I have caused her (and still do).  I know she must find other means of support than me.  It can't be me.  I wish I could.

And I have come to see how very devastating this has been for our girls, too.  Yet, we have stuck together and working it through.  Oh, it will be better.  But now, this weight hasn't lifted, but changed.

Not coming out party yet.  But soon, I hope.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Step by step, grace

Grace continues to be showered upon me.  It is beyond what I might have imagined.  My entire board has expressed complete, total support.  Unwavering.  I thought surely there would be some who balked or had serious questions or reservations.  But no.

Caution:  there are two board members not there.  One I think will be supportive, the other, I ain't so sure.  But so far . . . . .

Many thanks to all for your support.  One sad, sad result of my being more publicly out, the blog may have to go.  Ironic, isn't it.  I'm still pondering that.  Maybe I'll appear anew.

Slowly, by steps, carefully. 

Saturday, January 09, 2010

OMG: today was the day

I did it.  Still more to come, but I did it.

I came out to my board members today.  With the help and facilitation skills of some friends, I came out.

There were four who could not be there.  We'll clue them in later.  And carefully.

Of those there, each and everyone voiced loved, support, encouragement.  We don't care if your gay.

They said they will stand with me and coming out to our constituency.  They are willing!  And they don't want this to distract us from our core mission.  They want to move on but know there will be some reaction to deal with.

I cannot tell you how overjoyed, relieved, awed, and supported I feel right now.  Grace happens.

Monday, January 04, 2010

OMG: this is the week

It is going to happen.  Well, at least it looks that way (he said, with a note of doubt in his voice).  Yes.  Well I always want to hold out the possibility that somehow, it will all go away.  That I will wake up tomorrow as someone else, or in Neverland, or on another planet.

Dost thou note some anxiety in my voice?  Thou wouldst be right.  There is a lot of anxiety.  But it will happen.  In a modern day version of Caesar's "The die is cast,"  the email has been sent.

The email in question is setting up the "board meeting" for my non-profit group.  It's our annual "retreat" / planning day /  team building event.  It is this Saturday.  This week.  January 9th.  And I am going to come out to them.

Three folk who have been accompanying me on this journey will be there to facilitate, to help the board folk understand, to coordinate reflection and prayer on all of this.  To help us all have conversation and dialogue; to help us listen and speak; to hold my hand (as needed).  These three (two men, one woman) are well respected, well trained, and (as it happens) all straight.  That's a good thing in this context.

Because of the peculiarity of what I do and who I am (other than gay) makes all of this a very big deal.  I could lose my job (eventually - but not immediately.  The non-profit with whom I work is, well, peculiar, and the board can't just fire me.  It's all too complicated to explain).

If you are a praying kind of person, I ask you prayers for this meeting on Saturday, January 9, from 9 till 5. or so. Or, send good thoughts, energy, best wishes, large sums of cash, or whatever.

This sums it up for me, right now. 

    I have no idea where I am going.
    I do not see the road ahead of me.
    I cannot know for certain where it will end.
    Nor do I really know myself,
           and the fact that I think I am following your will
           does not mean that I am actually doing so.
    But I believe that the desire to please you
           does in fact please you.
    And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
    I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
    And I know that if I do this
           you will lead me by the right road,
           though I may know nothing about it.
    Therefore I will trust you always
           though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
    I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
    and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

A prayer by Thomas Merton, from his book Thoughts in Solitude
© Abbey of Gethsemani