So Roy and I meet. I tell him the story about how I thought I would have to tell him what a nut I am, but that when I saw him the closet door opened. Again. Maybe a little wider this time.
My chat with him is anti-climatic in one sense. He is not much help - it is outside of his experience and I appreciate that he doesn't try to BS his way through. In another way it is productive - I realize Roy is cute.
I leave unsatisfied and not knowing where to go/what to do.
Back in the closet we go.
This time it's a lot shorter.
This time I try a different track. In searching the LGBT Center in a nearby city I see a group that is for married men who are gay/bi/questioning and decide to give it a try. One has to contact the facilitator first and I do.
He emails back their guidelines - sensible ones - confidentiality (my biggest worry at this point - I use a bogus email and name in this first email), no picking up, don't come drunk . . . He suggests I call him.
I do. We chat. I decide to go (next meeting is soon).
I tell him the story thus far - the fear, confusion, desire not to hurt the family - not to fuck it up. Two things stand out - he is speaking from experience, that helps. He points out the obvious and easy to forget - confusion is normal in this situation, everything is for now, i.e., there is no reason to make long term decisions. Indeed there is every reason not to make them at this point.
I emphasize to him (and therefore to myself) that hiding in a closet so deep that I don't see who I am is not helpful in the long term. Sure maybe it served some purpose when I was 8 or 9, but not now.
I feel both heavier and lighter.
That's the short story and brings me to the present.
Yesterday I got out of work late. The wife and the kids are away at her father and step-mother's. I naturally begin to search the internet for someone to go and be, perhaps to look (but not touch :-) ). On the way I stop at a bookstore to look through the gay and lesbian section. There's a book with a lot of Tom of Finland in it (so to speak). It all but jumps off the shelf.
Instead I pick up a book by Mel White - the gay minister who used to work for Jerry Falwell. It's autobiographical - the forward is by his ex-wife. In paging through I laugh and want to cry. The pain, confusion, sadness and desire to not be where he was is all to familiar. He talks about getting that tingly feeling when he sees a cute guy.
On reflection I realize I do not remember that feeling but twice - once with that husband of my wife's friend where I feel like a giggly school girl and another time at a Dunkin' Donuts where the cashier is so very cute - to young but cute and I am convinced that he noticed me notice him.
Anger then comes. I have been robbed of this by the Falwells of the world who create an atmosphere where being gay is reviled and indeed by my own complicity in keeping myself in the closet. While I am no where as desperate, I can understand the story in White's book of a young man who White is convinced is gay. Some time after they meet the young man disappears. Later the young man's father comes to White bawling. The son, Jeffrey is in a mental hospital. He castrated himself.
I understand the desire to be normal at all costs. To be like the other boys. Instead, I realize I like other boys ;-). I all but cry in the bookstore - good Irish Catholic boys don't cry ever.
After the bookstore I look for the night spot that caters to gays and lesbians - I'm not sure if I'll stop or not. I don't, but because I can't find it rather than out of choice. Here in the sticks gay bars aren't open on Tuesdays I guess!!
Going home I'm teary and angry. I've been robbed, I've robbed the wife, I've been fundamentally dishonest about everything; my life itself is fundamentally dishonest. I think of the fact that I love my wife, but never remember the giggly, sweaty palm sort of feeling. Rather it was safe; it was secure. At some level was I saying to the world hey - I'm not gay I have a wife. I know a bit dramatic and overstated, but there is part of me that buys it or at least fears it it true
Much of today I am simply numb - remember that Pink Floyd song on the Wall - Comfortably Numb - I thought I caught a fleeting glimpse, but then it was gone (or something like that). That's how I've lived life - Comfortably Numb - I have had a few glimpses, but chose in some sense of the term, of something, but chose numbness (the closet) rather.
Focus now on going to the Men's Group. I have to lie to go and have already set the lie up. That sucks. But right now that's what I am holding on to. I don't expect answers quickly, but do hope for them.
The facilitator of the group mentioned patience as well - I am fucking tired of being patient.