Saturday, June 15, 2013

Learning to Love Again

Well, I feel like this is something of a streak, here... two posts in six months :) This post is gonna be a three part novel.

Part 1: Just a follow-up on the last guy.

Total cluster f*ck. I don't like to use that word, but there is no other phrase to describe it. In case you're wondering, putting together two guys with commitment issues is a terrible idea. I'd get serious, and he'd pull away... then he'd get serious, and I'd pull away. Finally walked away from that. I think some people are better off as friends. As handsome as the guy is, that was arguably the most dysfunctional thing I've ever experienced.

Part 2: Speaking of commitment issues...

It turns out that I have commitment issues. Depending on how you look at this last "relationship," I've either bolted on every single guy in my life, or I've bolted on all but one. I don't want this to be the focus of my post, but it was the impetus (sadly, as you'll see there's more in life to talk about).

I just had a date today with this guy... a year older than me, attractive enough, taller than me (that's hard to come by), driven, successful (doing residency program right now), considerate, attentive... seems way into me. And as I'm dropping him off, I've got this neon "RUN!" sign flashing in my head. Met up with college track kid a few times - Run! Pilot - Run! Research guy - Run! Construction guy - Run! Sports writer, announcer, rugby player, choir teacher, lawyer - Run!

Every time. And it kills me. It kills me because these seem like legitimately good guys. To be honest, the guy I was complaining about in my last post? I know, deep down, that I would've bolted if he had pushed for things to be more serious.

But I got to thinking about it harder today after dropping off this perfectly nice guy. He's just looking for someone to connect with... someone he can take care of, and who can take care of him. There's nothing wrong with that - it sounds perfect to me... in theory... so why do I bolt every time someone gets close? Why do I close off?

On one hand, I think I'm scared. Honestly, on some level, I think I truly believe that all guys will eventually hurt me. And I can trace that idea back to its roots, but it doesn't help much. On the other hand, I feel like these guys are out of my league - I wonder why they don't try for someone better? But on the third hand (lots of radiation where I come from), I don't necessarily know that I'm interested in them. I think I push myself into something because I should be interested in the guy... not necessarily because I am interested. I'm at a loss here. And I'm tired of hurting people. I'm thinking I should jump out of the pool for a while.

Part 3: I came out.

I'm ashamed that this wasn't my impetus. I told my mom and brother that I'm gay. I told my brother first to use him as a litmus paper of sorts... I figured if he fell out of his chair, I'd know to be a little more delicate with others, since I'm not exactly known for delicacy with my family. Then, I told my mom. She's been trying to push me for a while into going back to church. I didn't want to, and she was doing dumb stuff like giving the missionaries my new address to visit me so that everyone else in the damn ward knows where I live now, too.

But mostly, I didn't like feeling like I was withholding a part of myself... I didn't feel like I was being honest, and that made my relationships feel disingenuous. And then I read this quote on my Bloomberg one morning--it always has a quote of the day when you log in. I usually find that stuff to be hokey. But this one was by Andre Gide (who knows who that is?):

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

Genius, right? And it made me realize that I valued sincere relationships to the extent that I was willing to disclose that part of my life and risk ruining my "relationships" with people. So I called my mom... I got far enough into the conversation as, "Give me a minute to get everything out and explain it. Mom, I'm sorry... I'm gay-"

She promptly interrupted me. "What? What are you sorry for? You have nothing to be sorry for. Honey, how long have you known? I feel so bad that you've been carrying this all by yourself for so long..."

I can think of five times that I've cried in the past five years. I just never do it. I don't get emotional. But this was one of those times. Hearing her say that made me break down. I'm not sure I've ever cried that hard before. We hashed it out a little more later when I was up to visit. I told her I wasn't angry at God or the Church, that I didn't feel abandoned or alone. She confessed that she struggled with feeling angry at God after I had told her - she said she was angry because she felt like I've had to fight so much in my life that she thought I didn't deserve to have this placed on me, too.

I've known for so long, and I've tried so hard to make it go away. I felt ashamed, felt like I just needed to be more faithful... and I was convinced it would do irreparable damage to my mom if she ever found out. Until that day, I've never been completely honest with someone I love. I turned being gay into a monster. It lurked behind every interaction, it isolated and consumed me. 

But to hear her react like that... It floored me. I was letting her down! She didn't miss a beat. 

I feel underserving of having people that good in my life. I'm skeptical of unconditional love- I was skeptical of unconditional love... I took my deep, dark, evil secret and drug it out into the light of day to face judgment... but she never took her eyes off me. I'm so thankful. I've told her over and over how thankful I am. For the first time in my life, I felt ok--truly ok--with all of me.

I haven't told my dad and stepmom yet, but I'm not so concerned about that. One of my best friends from school invited me out for his sealing, so I told him, too. His response? "I kinda suspected for a while, but I didn't think it was my place to say. I love you, and you'll always be one of my best friends." I ended up coming for the reception.

I know some people will have problems with it. But the people I love? It turns out they didn't love me because they thought I was straight. It turns out I should've given them more credit. And me? When I look at myself in the mirror, I don't see a guy holding pieces together and trying to save face.

I see me.

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