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Friday, May 30, 2014

Defending the Indefensible?

I came to the conclusion the other day that I want to start seeing a therapist. I haven't ever gone to one before, unless you count the last four months of my mission. To make a long story short, my mission president almost pushed me over the edge, and I asked to go see a counselor. He set me up with someone from LDS Social Services. Being that I was still naive in how things work, and due to the fact that I was still desperately waiting for the straight fairy to touch me with her magic wand, I never was fully honest with the guy. He had me sign some document the first time we met that said that he had permission to share what we discussed with my mission president, so I realized it wasn't a safe place to share all of my "issues."

Anyhow, today I had my first appointment. It wasn't a real therapy session, rather it was an interview. I met with a therapist and she ran through a bunch of questions: Do you or have you ever felt suicidal? (No) Do you ever have feelings of worthlessness? (Yes, sometimes) Any drug/alcohol addiction? (No) We eventually got to the whole part about being gay and Mormon. I ended up telling her a little about what it means, as well as experiences that I and some friends/acquaintances had while at BYU under the Honor Code. I explained that part of the Honor Code was that we agreed to help others abide by the Honor Code by turning them in. The look on her face was priceless! She couldn't believe it. And here's the kicker...I found myself sort of defending it. I realized afterwards that there were several things that she asked about, and often I would answer and then I felt this need to explain, justify, and/or defend my answer. 

She asked if I had ever been a victim of abuse, either physical or sexual. Well, I've NEVER admitted this to anyone before, but yes, I was molested by my uncle when I was 6 years old. and later when I was 14. When I admitted this to her, I started to give her my reasonable explanation for why I never did anything about it: It was a long time ago, my uncle was only 17. He was a kid too. She asked why I haven't told anyone now that I'm an adult? My excuse: I don't want to burden someone else with that story. It would be like I'm trying to seek attention. Oh, and to be completely honest, I did not mention the time when I was 14. Why? I don't know, I just didn't. Weird.

Boy, this therapist must realize I'm a gold mine of craziness, huh? (I'm saying that while laughing...) Why am I defending the indefensible actions of others? Why am I excusing it? I'm more than certain that we'll address this as I attend my sessions. It's been a rather interesting day as I have dissected what we discussed. The rational, well-educated side of me is thinking I'm some kind of nut job, but even now, I don't want my uncle to get in trouble. I don't want to tell my family because it'll just cause drama. Another long story short...he just got out of prison. He's my dad's brother, he has no one. My dad won't have anything to do with him since the first time he was sent to prison in 1986 (this was his THIRD stint in prison. Both my grandparents are dead, and my dad's sister has also cut off contact from him. My mom has been befriending him via e-mail because she feels sorry for him. Last week he e-mailed her and said he was feeling suicidal. My mom, being the wonderful peacemaking person that she is, talked with him. Apparently he's doing better.

One thing is for sure, there's a lot up here in my head...our brains can really do a number on us. There is a part of me that is very excited to start talking about all of the crap going on up in my head, but another part of me just wants to forget about it and bury it. You know, "turn it off. It's the neat little Mormon trick! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nice to meet you (again)?

Last week I had quite the interesting experience. I was attending a conference for work in Los Angeles, and as a part of a program that we are involved in, I had a required meeting to attend. At the beginning of the meeting we all had to stand up and introduce ourselves and say where we worked. During the introductions, one of the people who stood up was a principal from a school in my old district. Later after all of the introductions, the leader felt it would be great if we spent some time working in groups. The best way to divide everyone up was by geographic area, so being that I am in Las Vegas, I got lumped in with the people from California, Utah, and Arizona. I ended up sitting next to that principal.

The funny thing was that as soon as I sat down I got that "I know him" feeling. Now I usually have a very very good memory. Of course that's diminishing a bit now that I'm about to hit 44, but still, I am really good at remembering people. I started talking to the principal, I'll call him Bryan, and I was (so I thought) covertly trying to figure out how I know him. He is a little feminine, and he set off my super powerful Gaydar in a major way. Being that we're relatively close in age, I figured that I knew him from my days at BYU. The conversation was very friendly, and I got the impression that he was trying to figure out who I was too, but about ten minutes into our conversation, he started to become distant. I felt like he was suddenly trying to end the conversation. Finally, he physically turned his back to me and started to focus on another group's conversation. THAT'S when I figured out who he was...he was someone I "knew" when I was a student, and when I say "knew" I mean it in the way that Adam knew Eve. (Just being honest folks!)

As soon as I put this all together I started to think about why he was trying to avoid me, and then I noticed it, on his left hand...a wedding ring. Being the stalker that I am, I quickly Googled him. He's married with two kids.

I can only imagine what was going through his mind. I assume he realized who I was, and being that he is married, he was embarrassed and/or ashamed. I thought about it for the rest of the day, not to relive the experiences we had, but thinking about how our paths led us to such different situations in life. I mean, we all have our own lives to live. We all have to live with our own choices. I just wonder so many things about him. Was he worried I'd out him? Was he worried I'd say something to embarrass him? Does his wife know that he likes men? Is he happy? Is he one of those married men who cheat on their wives with other men?

I've known many gay men who have married women. I know some who were counseled to get married by their Bishops. One of my BYU professors was married to a gay man. He finally divorced her. It was really painful for her. At one point her Bishop in Provo threatened to take away her temple recommend and write BYU to inform them that she was responsible for the divorce because she emasculated her husband which encouraged his homosexuality.

I have a very close friend and colleague, Paul, who I (and everyone else) assumes is gay. He got married about 6 years ago and they now have three kids. He seems happy, but I always wonder. He's never said anything about being gay, but he has a part time job in addition to teaching that has him around many gay men. I assume they all think he's gay too. When we worked together apparently many of the students thought we were a couple because we were such good friends. (The nice kids we taught opened up one of those Facebook Groups where they slammed teachers...a few of them posted it there asking if we were "gay together." Kids...)

I always knew I couldn't marry a woman. I just couldn't. It didn't have anything to do with the sex part of it. I mean, no, I couldn't do that either, but I just couldn't do that to another person. I was never attracted to any girls. If I ever look back at the girls I thought were pretty, it was really because they had a hot brother. I suppose guys like Bryan, Paul, and the many other men out there who like men who are married to women could be bisexual. I'm not one of those gays who believe that bisexuals are just lying to themselves. I am genuinely curious, and in the case of my friend, I'm concerned. I want him to be happy...I really hope he is.

On a lighter note, tomorrow I'm going to the live finale of RuPaul's Drag Race to see my girl, Bianca Del Rio win the crown!