Playing It Straight

I was chatting with a FB friend the other day who came out late in his life. He asked me if I had ever thought of going thru life pretending to be straight. He was shocked when I shared the idea had never even occurred to me.

If you’ve been here long enough1, you’ll remember I “left’ home at a very early age. I was also sexually active very early. That said, at the time I still wasn’t actually sure I was gay. When I told my dad on that fateful day, I remember just telling him I liked having sex with guys, not that I was gay. It might seem like I was dense but I had no idea what it was to be gay. All I knew were the stereotypes thrown around every day.  My understanding of “being gay” meant I had to be super effeminate , wear dresses, or want to have sex with animals or kids. And while I turned myself into a stereotype many years later, at that time none of those things applied to me. It wasn’t like I could talk or ask anyone about it. There were no cell-phones, internet, or social media back then. My small town didn’t have ‘dirty magazines’, much less gay ones. We lived so remote we didn’t even have a landline phone.  For a few years I thought I was a straight guy that just liked sucking cock on the side. I kid you not, I thought that way.

Fast forward to my early 20’s, I survived my stepmother’s torment, being thrown out on the street, M’s death, and a near suicide. These things changed me so deeply I can understand why it never occurred to me. The evolution of my understanding and acceptance of myself negated the very idea of pretending. It just wasn’t an option. I could theorize over it but that seems pointless.

My friend was flabbergasted by my story. He just assumed we all hid it when we were kids. Funny how we go thru the world projecting our assumptions. I was a bit shocked he thought all the guys in our age group hid it until we were older.  He was married to a woman. No kids, but not from the lack of ‘trying’ as he put it. He also shared with me he felt ashamed to bottom until he was almost 50. I can’t say that surprised me. Too many fellow homos carry this nonsense around in varying degrees to this day. He also shared with me the torment he lived with knowing he was living a lie. He both loved and resented his wife because of his secret. He was careful to avoid anything “too gay”, lest he be discovered.

It was a very interesting perspective to me because it was so foreign to my own story. It was a really good conversation. Anyone having to hide who they are doesn’t have it easy, regardless of the circumstances. My struggle was and is but one of many.

At this moment in my life, most of my coming out is a dull memory vs the sharp stabbing pain it used to be. And while I have wondered at times what my life would have been like had I not come out when I did, it is not from a sense of wishing it so.

  1. oh you single digits few []

Better

Today is the anniversary of my almost suicide over 20 years ago. Well it’s actually the day I chose to remember it. I never remembered the actual day but it was late April/early May. When I started looking back on it I decided to make May 1st the day to remember. Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t take the final step. Even though life wasn’t perfectly rosy afterwards, there was so much I would have missed out on. It really did get better for me.

To say it was a dark time in my life would be an understatement. I’m always grateful and humbled by the memory. I always seem to get a bit moody around the time of year w/o evening realizing it. I don’t know if it’s some sort of internal trauma clock going off or just my brain’s funny way of dealing with it. Regardless, I had a bit of a rough day today. Nothing bad, I just was overcome with the memories. The pain has dulled over time but the reasons behind it are still fresh in my mind. I always try to forget the pain. I don’t want to remember the anguish that poisoned my soul. No one should ever have to go thru that. Instead I focus on the singular moment when it all changed. When I was overcome with the pure indescribable joy that flooded my soul. I’ve always said, I touched the divine that day. Not the made-up hypocritical faux God taught in le Bible but the real thing. I didn’t find it by looking out but within. I found it deep within me. It was there all that time just waiting for me to touch it. And when I did make contact for only the briefest of moments, it was truly indescribable. There are no words for the lightning bolt of joy that was given to me in that singular moment. It washed away the sorrow, the pain, and the hopelessness. Don’t misunderstand, it didn’t ‘fix’ me. But it washed away the poison that threatened to kill me. To this day the joy is still with me. I wake up every day to that little spark that still resides in my soul. It gives me purpose and reason to continue. It drives me to push past the pain and disappointments of life. It teaches me the struggle to be better is the point.

Some might consider it odd to mark the anniversary of such a traumatic event but I don’t. It reminds me of not only where I came from but how far I’ve come. My life then and now are polar opposites in many many ways. I am not that naive abandoned little boy anymore. I grew into a man that I am proud to be. And while there is always room for improvement, the marker serves to give me renewed hope every year of my life.