Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I work with this guy who is..."overtly straight" to the point of being hella annoying. For example, working in the convenience store industry, we have the opportunity to see many lovely co-eds(being in a college town and all.) Anytime a female enters that has been blessed by God in the bossom, he starts salavating and points it out to me. *Quick Side-Note: I am not out to many, and I do my best to keep my work and personal life separate* I do my best to entertain his hormonal surge at that moment with comments like, "Uh huh," "Yep," and my favorite, "Hmmm...Interesting." This lack of interest is kind of my cry for him to leave me out of the loop on the "Who's Who Among Springfield Boobs."
The other day, while taking out the old magazines and stocking the new, a lady I work with was tearing the cover off a Hooter's magazine when a scantily clad centerfold fell out. She asked me if I wanted it, and without hesitation I said, "No, 'Daniel' would like that kind of thing though." *His real name is not 'Daniel'...just been reading enough Dear Abby to know you change the names! Immediately realizing that I would have outed myself to anyone with half a brain, I was horrified. Luckily, working in the convenience store industry, half a brain is not a requisite for employment. When 'Daniel' got the picture he was elated.
Later he asked me if I wanted one. Once again, without even thinking, I quickly said, "No." Then my co-work asked why, was I gay or something. I still don't know what the "or something" option was, but really wish I could have gone with that. After several seconds of dead silence, we were interrupted by a customer, thank God! Usually I am quick with responsed to hide my sexual orientation, but it's like the part of me that generally worried about what others thought had been shut off. My later response to him was, "It just doesn't do anything for me, but thanks." I did successfully evade the question at hand; however, he did appologize a few minutes later if he "Offended me."
Until this point I had not been offended. Stunned, yes...but offended, not so much. I took it as him appologizing for the insult of insinuating I was gay. Do we really live in a society where it is more important to appologize for thinking someone is gay, like it is the ultimate put-down, than it is to appologize for invading someone's personal life, especially when they try extremely hard to check their personal life at the door.
I decided to not let it get to me...but it did. It's amazing how in our culture it is not only ok, but expected that straight guys flaunt their sexuality everywhere, even the workplace, and the gay population is expected to "know their role." What role is this? It's the role of second class citizen who MUST watch making comments that could put non-gay in an uncomfortable situation. Can you imagine me taking a copy of Muscles of the shelf and asking my co-worker if he'd "ever seen a pair of pecks that hot!" Or even better, when one of my attractive male customers enters, ask 'Daniel' if he's a "top or a bottom" while biting my bottom lip in anticipation. Granted I don't have the guts to do either of those things, and also respect him enough not to. Oh well, just another thing the straight culture has to learn!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Anyone who has ever been in Love in Action, and I'm sure any other ex-gay ministries knows about re-introductions. A re-intro is where you share EVERY past sexual "sin" that you have ever committed to a loved one, friend, or anyone you wanted to have contact with while in Love in Action(yes, unless you tell your parents everything you've ever done sexually, or at least to the point that your counselor is content with, you cannot speak with them for the duration of your stay at LIA.) I didn't agree with it, believing firmly that confessing my sins to God was sufficient enough, not to mention a group of my peers, counselors. The logic behind the whole thing is that whom ever I tell is going to be my accountability, and my accountability needs to be fully aware of "what I'm capable of." So, being the obedient person I am, I told not only my parents, but 2 of my pastors, my brother, and my best friend. None of these people had any idea what to expect of my seemingly harmless "re-intro." Little did they know, everything they never wanted to hear was about to be exposed. I had to talk to these people I loved and that cared for me. I felt so alone and filthy at times, it was important to know that people loved me. Ergo, I got over the hesitation of telling them everything, so I could just hear their affirming voices. This, to me, is another example of exploiting the vulnerable. I believe this was partially(not the sole purpose, I don't think) to humilliate us in hopes that it would stop us from behaving "badly." Now, everytime my parents and I get in an argument over me making decisions for myself or I try to tell my best-friend about a choice I am making, they use what I told them in my re-intro against me. I admit I have done some horrible stuff...things that make me cringe, and at times I don't believe that they factor in that people grow and change. The things in my past do not make up who I am today. I have learned from many of these mistakes, and if anything, I believe I will be a better, stronger person in the future having had these experiences.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Depression sucks. I have suffered from depression for about 5 years now. I also have diagnosed Tourette Syndrome, OCD, and while at Love in Action, was diagnosed as Bi-Polar(Not by LIA Staff, but by Psychiatric professionals!) I stopped taking my meds about two months ago, as a protest against my mother really. Everytime I disagree with her or have any problem in my life it's the same thing: "Are you taking your meds?!? You must not be, otherwise you wouldn't be like this!" So, as childish as it is, I stopped taking them. Plus the side effects were getting me down.
My life, being as crazy as it is right now, didn't need the added pressure of depression, so I decided to make an appointment. It was sooo difficult to do because I literally have no ability to follow thru with even small tasks, an effect of my depression. While in the doctor's office, I had an overwhelming sense of fear and disgust of myself. There was a few ladies in there and they were really in need of some major psychiatric services(Not to judge, I mean they were in the shrink's office!) I couldn't help but wonder...am I one of those crazy people? Maybe I just hide it better. I feel really crazy right now. I cry over the smallest things, I have no zeal for anything, and I have been having a lot of obsessive thoughts...even more than normal.
While the doctor(actually she was an RN something or other...good enough to write scripts, basically) was asking me crazy, I got frustrated. She was asking me the fluff questions: are you suicidal, are you hearing voices, etc. Not once did she ask me what's going on with me, what the root of my depression is, etc. She asked me if I was suicidal. I hesitated because I didn't know how to answer that question honestly. I am NOT suicidal, BUT I have thought lately(a lot) that things would be easier if I wasn't around. I told her this, and she didn't even suggest counseling. By the end of our session while she was walking out of the room, I asked her about it because I know I need something, not just meds. She said "Oh, that's a good idea. I meant to suggest that." I ended up suggestion my own place to find counseling and she said it sounded good. She didn't give me a name, number, or anything. For someone like me who is struggling with feelings of hopelessness and having difficulties following thru with simple tasks, it really sucks to have someone you pay to help not show genuine(or any other form) concern and notice I'm crying out for help.
I ended up calling my mother, whom I haven't talked to civily in weeks. She worked for the Missouri Department of Mental Health for 14 years or so. I was desperate for help. She also suffers from depression and can empathize. She pointed me to a few different places, and I am still trying to get into a real psychiatrist and find a counselor whom I can talk to about this stuff in my life. I know that I can't give up right now. As corny and cliche as this may sound, I am in the fight of my life. I am not a quitter, and I hate to lose. Quitting is not an option, and regardless or who is for or against me right now, I have to be for me. I have learned that at times I am going to be the only one on my side, cheering me on.
This post has turned out to be long, but it feels a lot better to put my thoughts and feelings into words.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's amazing to me how much misinformation was presented at Love In Action. So many things that were taught concerning the psychological aspects of being gay I have found are wrong. I am taking a Psych class and doing a lot of studying. John Smid is just plain wrong, and I am concerned about the people currently going thru the teachings. What can we do to let people know the truth? As taught by Love in Action, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
Has anyone ever tried to sue Love in Action? Someone suggested that to me recently. I am not a big fan of the whole "sue crazy" nation we live in; however, having gone through a program that claims to be a religious organization/church, and denies providing psychological services(correct me if I have that wrong.) I think it's fair to say that I was damaged going into LIA, and came out even more so. I was the prey of a predatorial group, seeking weak, wounded individuals who are deeply in need of having a void filled. EVERY person in LIA that I can remember had just recently hit their rock bottom before deciding to attend the program. God, I feel like a fool. So naive and childish. What can I do though. It's in the past, and I have my future ahead of me. Would suing LIA put an end to this, or at least bring about awareness? I wish I knew that they didn't promise "curing" of homosexuality before I went and thrusted myself into debt. The admissions people didn't mention that once. They just made it sound as if God would take away all my problems thru them, and them alone. Does anyone have any ideas, suggestions, or comments?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hey all. I'm sorry I've been slacking on my posts. Ok...slacking is an understatement. With work, school, family, dating, etc. my life has been crazy. I am currently trying to get back to some normalcy...whatever that may be.
I have not talked to my mother in almost 3 weeks. I came out to her for the 4th time, and she didn't take it well. She told me that I only think of myself. I reminded her that a major reason I went to Memphis and attended Love in Action was my wanting to please her. She, in turn, cut me off. For example, I put my high tuition for Love In Action on credit, with my parents promise to pay for it when they sold their home. They were making payments for me; however, after telling them that I was going to live my life for me and pursue happiness and be myself, they stopped making the payments and told me they will not pay for something that didn't work. So...here I am, in college and working full time with a mountain of debt. I have been overwhelmed with this, but honestly, there is nothing I can do. I've been thinking about selling my story to someone and trying to get a Lifetime movie made or a book written. Anyone have any suggestions?
I am also dating again. I'm not really worried about finding a relationship anymore. I think it's because I still feel the burn of my last. I'm just having fun, building friendships first. I actually have a date this evening. It's strange, after going thru a program like Love in Action where the homosexual lifestyle is villified so much, to be slowly stepping back into it.
I talked to my dad last night on the phone. He is being very loving, not supportive; however, I am not expecting him or my mother to accept me being gay. He told me he was operating under the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy. I did tell him I'm seeing a guy last night(slight embellishment, but needed to see where the line is for our talks...needless to say, I found it!)
I will try to do better at this whole posting thing!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Attention all blog readers: This post is going to be slightly out of the norm of what my blog description might lead you to expect. But today is a day of great saddness and yet quiet triumph for the United States of America. With great anticipation and expectation we watched the Olympic opening ceremony in Torino, Italy with our eyes and hearts fixed on the team in red, white, and blue. Today, however, a nations heart was broken. Michelle Kwan, America's sweetheart in figure skating, regretably had to withdraw from the 2006 Winter Olympics due to a horrid groin injury. I can't say that I am surprised with all of the trouble that Michelle's groin has given her as of late; however, I can say that my heart is with her. In exiting one of the greatest sporting events in a world's history, Michelle takes not only her skates back to the U.S., but a nations full respect, gratitude, and adoration with her. Michelle, if you read this, please know that you will always be our American Idol on Ice. With grace and elogance that few on earth possess, and a cache of stolen hearts in your possession, good luck Michelle, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for you.
Now the hardest part. Shifting my full-on support from Michelle Kwan to another American Skater. I enjoy Sasha Cohen and have the utmost respect for her; however, my eyes are fixed on Emily Hughes, 2002 Olympic Champion Sarah Hughes' younger sister. I don't know if she has what it takes to steal the Gold; however, she will have all eyes on her while she tries to fill her sister's incredibly large "Golden Skates." Good luck Emily and Sasha, and may God Bless Michelle Kwan.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Break out the black! Today would mark my two year anniversary with the preacher; however, that option left when he decided to break up with me for a woman 8 months ago. Am I bitter...kind of, I can't lie. But in the last few weeks, I have felt a huge liberation. I sent him an email telling him that I no longer agreed with the teachings of Love In Action and that I had fought the assimilation being forced on me. I told him that as much as I would have loved to NOT have same-sex attractions, I still did. I asked him point blank if he still had attractions, how he was doing, etc.
The response I got back was the final straw. He said he was sorry that I was struggling, he would pray for me, and that Nathan Bell told him, "If we ask God to take away our homosexual feelings, we are asking him to take away our freedom to choose." I thought about this for a long time. Honestly, it sounds like bull to me, especially if God wants us to be "straight" and same-sex attraction free. I don't have the answers. I just like to think critically.
So today, marking a dark day in my past, I have set up many things so that I do NOT contact my ex. That is probably the most unhealthy thing I could do at this point. I am doing my best to have a complete split, which is the hardest thing in the world to do. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I live in Missouri. Actually, I live in Springfield, MO, the religious Mecca of Missouri. Thank the Lord for the Universities here, otherwise, I would be in ex-ex-gay Hell. I moved here for college and the cost of living is cheap. Many people I have talked to do not understand why I stay with Christianity when so many Christians don't agree with the "lifestyle" if you believe, unlike myself, believe homosexuality is a lifestyle.
I actually came out to my mother last night for the 4th time I think...the 1st time since going through Love In Action. It was rough. She didn't yell or scream, although it was over the phone. She got off the phone to cry I think. I called her again today, and the conversation was not as great. She compared my struggles to that of a pedophile! Says that I'm "Not special...pedophiles are sex addicts, too." I was baffled. Didn't know what to say...is there a way to respond to that? I have cut my parents off. I don't think it is healthy to keep in contact with them right now. I told them specifically that I am NOT looking for them to accept me being gay. I am asking them to not judge me or preach at me. I guess it would be too much to ask them to accept it. They've known for over 4 years though, and they haven't really budged. That's probably because I kept budging and taking being gay back.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

What do you do when someone you are sharing a very intimate moment with slips up and says someone else's name? Well, I had no idea what to do. He didn't realize it at first, until I used my name a few minutes later in the third person. I realized at that point that hookups are not good. You have to know someone before you can be truly intimate with them. I felt like a fool and a little bit slutty. But I have to step out of my shoes and step into his...he must have felt 10 times more stupid than me! We finished our 'intimate' get-to-gather, and parted. He was never heard from again. I almost feel like I get close to someone only long enough for them to make an exit plan.
I just started a new job, and the first day was very interesting. I found out that my manager, who happens to be a pastor of some small Apostolic church, also "Hates Fags." Well, we are all familiar with Fred Phelps and "God hates fags." When I came out to my parents the first time at the age of 16, my father conveniently left pieces of paper around and the website(godhatesfags.com or something) as the homepage on my computer. Should someone who is so obviously prejudiced be hiring people? Shouldn't a company have guidelines as to whom can be in charge of major things like that? It is not right that I am afraid of my manager finding out about my orientation in order to protect my job. My manager doesn't know about me, and it will stay that way because I believe that my personal life and work life are to be autonomous.
Next, why are people so ignorant. I know that is an age old question and all, but really...give me a break. To be so ignorant and full of hate to say something like "God Hates...." anything shows that we are not dealing with a full deck of cards. God is synonymous with love, right? John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the WORLD..." not that he loved the religious leaders. Jesus made it clear he didn't like religion. He disliked the religious crowd, and prefered hanging out with the hookers, drunks, and other sinners.
With all of this evidence and knowledge at arms reach, we still have churches who preach love the sinner, hate the sin YET they condemn everyone who doesn't conform to religious norms. I soooo wish Jesus was walking the earth today. Jesus did NOT conform to religious norms by any means! The church of today would have been looking for a much more religious savior, and probably would have shunned Christ.
I am scared of God. I went through with Love in Action because of many reasons, but mainly because I "Knew" that homosexuality was the ultimate sin that was ultimately punished by eternity in hell. I don't believe that anymore. I don't know why I am attracted to guys, but what I do know is that God is a God of love and forgiveness, NOT a cynical God who tries to have people fall through loop-holes. I don't know if you're born gay, if it is psychological or what...but I do know that I did NOT choose it. Who would choose something that so many people see as the ultimate perversion? Why do so many Christians see me as a pervert and a sinner when I am pursuing my attractions just the same way they are pursuing theirs?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Growing up I was raised in a pretty conservative family home with dysfunction running wild. I went to church at a Baptist church, that was anything but open minded. I became a Christian at the age of 8 and after that began going through all the motions a good little baptist boy should. This is the time when I started noticing my attractions to men, give or take a little time. I was so young that I never thought anything of it.
Back to my family...my dad was an alcoholic and my mother is just plain neurotic. I came out to my parents at the age of 16 after they found out about a relationship of mine. To say the least they didn't take it well. I was called an F-ing Faggot, pervert, and told I was going to hell. I was threatened to be kicked out of the house at 16 and disowned. Needless to say the fear got to me, and I took back the coming out. I didn't know that you could take that back, but actually you can! Who would have thunk.
From the time I was 17 until February of my senior year I "laid low" with my attractions, just doing random hook-ups to meet my "needs." Being from a small town I had to lay low. On February 9, 2004, I met someone who would turn my life upside down. He was an Assemblies of God preacher. I thought he was trying to "save my soul" after seeing that I went to Iowa for the Howard Dean campaign. Turns out he was not trying to save my soul, but rather, he was trying to hit on me, and he was very successful in doing so.
We met at a local restaurant in my hometown and drove for 30 minutes before the "Purple Elephant" in the car was identified. I asked him if he was gay and he said yes. We turned around and went home to his place, watched a movie, and ended up having sex our first date. Turns out this pastor of a small country church was hiding some rather big skeletons in his closet, or should I say his baptisimal!
We started being very close after that and officially started dating about a month later. He told me in that month period that he only wanted to be "friends with benefits" because (paraphrased) being in a relationship would mean he is gay. He was 23 and in the heart of the Bible Belt, was very conflicted. I could totally relate.
That summer I took my first vacation. The preacher and I went together. On our way to Florida, we stopped at a small church where he preached and made some money for our vacation. Our relationship had grown to be very enmeshed and full of fun and excitement. We were attached at the hip. We were doing just great, and then I experienced for the first time, another gay guy paying extra special attention to me.
A local law enforcement officer in town came to my work and told me he knew about me. I instinctively denied it to protect myself...he DID have a gun! Later I gave him my number, which initiated a brief affair(don't know if I can use that term, but I will anyway!)I told my boyfriend, the still-preacher at that time, what I had done. He forgave me and we tried to mend the our relationship the best possible, but it seemed to only go downhill from there.
In August I went to college which brought its own difficulties to our relationship. For the first time in 6 months we were apart for more than 3 days. We ended the relationship for a little while and I started dating a Junior. He was very model like and I had NO idea why he was with an average Joe like me. He was an interesting character. I am a very masculine acting guy, and he was a theatre major...draw your own conclusions. He was a party-going, wild-child while I was and am to an extent very conservative and quiet. He also didn't work and was from a very middle class family. He always seemed to have a lot of cash though(although he never offered to buy!) After that relationship ended for irreconsilable differences, I was chatting with a guy who said he knew my ex from college. He actually had just paid him a couple weeks back for "escort services." Yes. I was dating an escort...aka...a male whore. I also contracted scabies from him, which was a major ordeal.
A month or so after this I started dating the preacher again. We had no problem picking up where we left off, or so I thought. He had went to the pastors of my church and told them he "struggled with homosexuality." They sent him to a weekly Exocud ministry meeting and a class called Living Waters. He would try to apply the ex-gay material to our relationship, and I did NOT like that. He was trying to diagnose our relationship as emotionally dependent. In hind-sight, he was VERY right, but I got VERY offended.
At the end of May 2005 we went on another vacation to Kentucky. There we mended some of the problems we were having. There he asked me to "marry him"
Ok, I was very shocked. I brought up the obvious that we couldn't get married and tried to play my shock off with that. But he was serious...or so I thought. We got back from Kentucky, and 2 days later the unthinkable happened. The boyfriend of 16 months(minus off time) broke up with me because he couldn't be a homosexual anymore(geez...didn't realize it was that easy.) I was horrified, wondering what I could do to resolve this. Being a "fixer" I knew there was SOMETHING I could do to change his mind. There wasn't. He was resolved.
A week later, my Pastor called me into his office. I went curiously, not knowing why he wanted to see me. The unthinkable happened, yet again. The youth had found a text message I sent my boyfriend. (For clarification: I didn't go to my boyfriend's church, I had a different pastor, my boyfriends OLD senior pastor also his mentor) So, natuarally I lied to my pastor, left quickly, and tried to fix. I called my ex-boyfriend and we decided to come clean. I thought I could still get him back at this point, so this mess gave me a reason to contact him and talk. That night we met at Pizza Hut and told my Pastor everything. After that we were forbidden to talk, but we did anyway. My boyfriend then told me about a program he was refered to called Love In Action. My life was nearing a huge crossroads.
July 16, 2005 I got in my car and drove to Memphis, TN. I arrived at the Love In Action house. I was horrified! The people were very nice; however, I hear they are nice in cults, too, but I digress. That day I entered safe keeping, which meant I couldn't talk socially for 3 days. We also went over the rules of everything you could not do. For example, it was forbidden to give each other hugs, talk on the phone, and definitely no masterbation. You name it and there was a rule for it. I went originally thinking to myself, "he'll take me back if I just do what he wants." However, I couldn't see the illogical thought process that was occuring.
After 2 months at Love In Action, I had seen and heard it all from people who've had sex with animals to pedophiles wanting to change their ways. I decided that after 2 months the program had nothing more to offer me, so I left. A week later, I hooked up with a guy who had been kicked out of the program for not complying with the program norms. After hanging out for a few hours the "unthinkable" happened...Two ex-gays who enjoyed each others company had sex with one another. I felt so guilty. I had just spent $7,000 to get "fixed" and learn tools to assure I wouldn't be with men again, and it didn't happen! Was I broken? Did I just totally have no control on my attractions? I still don't know the answers to those questions, but I think I am getting closer...or maybe just becoming more cynical.
At this point, you know where I have been over the last several months. The remainder of this blog is going to be dedicated to different stories of things that happen in my crazy life, with some being detailed and quasi-graphic, but only truth. I will take time to express how I feel on certain subjects as they come up.