Monday, July 29, 2013

Two posts in limbo

Okay, so I began a post today at work and when saving it saw I had another draft from the other day.  Interestingly they say much the same thing.

Here is the first:

Options are, we think, a good thing.  One of my lives was a philosophy graduate student.  One of the discussions I remember clearly was over options.  The claim was that having options, even ones that one does not utilize, is a good thing.  So if one lives in a major city, e.g., NYC or Washington, DC, the large number of museums is a good thing, adds something to one's life even if unvisited.

The claim wasn't that it was good for the society as a whole, but that it was for the individual.  A sort of freedom - I can do A, B, C, . . . Z.  I only have time for 3 things, but that I can do 23 other things is still a positive thing even though 20 of those things are left on the table, indeed even if they MUST be left on the table.

I beg to differ.  At the time, I agreed even though the "good" of being able to do something when one will not in fact do it seems diminishingly small.  Here with being gay and married extra choices are not a good thing.  So on Monday I chatted for an hour or so with a guy who is gay, is married, is likely to remain married, is monogamous and asexual with his wife and says he is happy about it.

This presents another option - C and I remain together and chaste as "brother and sister" - shades of my Catholic upbringing.

Sarcasm aside, there is something to be said for this option.  C and I are generally good with and for each other.  We raise the kids well together, generally get along, and enjoy each other's company.  If I were too choose this option then I would not have to break C's heart.  I don't mean to overstate, but that is what I feel I will do.  Not that I am all that, but I have a distorted sense of all of this.  I think I exaggerate my efficacy to reuse that lovely word.

But while this seems a good option, experience speaks otherwise.  Multiple options are not always a good thing. 

And here is the second draft from earlier today:

Faith is a funny thing.  The quote at least some have heard is that "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."  

On its face that doesn't make a lot of sense.  I want assurance of things that I can't see - that are unseeable?


That is indeed a tall order.  I'm not so sure about faith as we usually use the term, but I know that I am on the left side of the pictured cliff.  I cannot see/predict/know the road ahead.  I do not know if it is a good road, the right road or the best road.  I'm sounding like Thomas Merton or Robert Frost with my road talk here.  But I do know that I am at the cliff where I have been before.  I know that I don't want to leap.  I know that I am shutting down again - sex of any sort is not attractive which is never a good sign. I'm distracted at work and elsewhere.  The spice of life is fading.  I know I don't want to go forward and that there is no healthy alternative.  There is a darker steeper cliff on the other side.   
So I've hemmed and hawed for years.  I've procrastinated.  I've avoided.  But I keep coming back to the same cliff.  

The choices are always the same.   Stay where I am - married, gay, monogamous.  Or make the fucking jump.  

If I jump I might fall. 

If I don't I will just continue to shut down. 

There is only one truly viable option.

I know that when I find avenues to be gay, to be who I am, that I am content.  I am happy, joyous and free.  I got to hang around with a dozen or so gay guys tonight - chatting, joking around, sharing, no sex.  I felt whole.  I was not shut down.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Seeing penises everywhere

So I'm driving back to work from the gym  wending my way through some streets I don't usually travel because the main street is blocked.

And there is is - a neon sign that looks like a guy wearing a hat with an enormous hard on directly in front of me.

I couldn't resist sharing - so to speak.

Any thought I'm not gay is gone - I see penises everywhere.  Hell the thought I might not be gay is long gone. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Joy of . . . Anxiety

Hell of a day.  My therapist has been on vacation.  I've not seen her since before the 4th of July.  Over two weeks.  At around 9 this I started to feel

And as only anxiety can it started to cycle.  As the minutes passed it got worse.  I was able to suck it up and get a few things done at work.  I'm continually amazed that I am able to get anything done when this happens.

On my way to therapy around noon the

grew worse.  I gave the one fingered salute to at least 3-4 drivers - all justifiably of course!!  But one does not do that in this neck of the woods. 

I was barely able to get up to her office.

I've not seen my therapist for a couple weeks, and I'm still recovering from a concussion.  And C has been back east with the kids since last week.  So anxiety is understandable.

The source - the only antecedent I was able to figure out was therapy or, rather, the fear of going.  Just in the two weeks I was able to put away, to pretend, to not talk to a person.  Sure I've done a half dozen blog post since the last therapy session, but therapy is the only place where I am able to look another person in the eyes and say, "It sucks, but I have to leave my marriage for my own sanity."  Sure you all know that, but I can't know you're paying attention; I can't know you're listening; I can't look you in the eyes and see that you don't see something, someone horrific.  One of the revelations of therapy today or, perhaps, a re-revelation is that I have a butt load of internalized homophobia.  I don't fear/hate/despise that anyone else is not straight, but I sure hate/despise/fear that I am.  It's gotten better over the last few years, but it does rear it's ugly head when I realize I am leaving C.

But saying in therapy is a good thing.  Well not really, but is is helpful and necessary.  For the first time in a long time I cried in therapy.  I've come very close many times recently, but was able to show it more today. 

I am back on track as a result.

Of course, it was exhausting.  I left therapy and went to the men's room and cried.  I went out to eat for lunch and read How to be Gay  by David Halperin.  I'm not that far into the book, but like what I see so far.  I realized on the way home from work a few minutes ago the message I've gotten out of the book - fuck them all.  I am who I am.  I am the sort of gay man I am.  All you all can shove your expectations that I'm straight, that I should not like twinks, that I shouldn't like other bears, that what the fuck ever.  Ah that felt good.  Now no one is really putting much of that on me other than myself, but it still feels as if it is coming externally.

Today realize:

  1. I'm gay.  That's a good thing, albeit inconvenient since I'm married to a woman.
  2. That I will live with integrity in a manner that makes sense to me and mine (and fuck your expectations).
  3. That I have to move in the next few weeks to coming out to the kids.  They will continue to love me even though I fear they won't.
  4. That I have to then move to talking with C.  That this is necessary.  That it sucks and breaks my heart.  But I cannot return to the place where the anxiety and depression and suicidality return like they began to earlier.
  5. That I need to continue to make gay contacts and that meetings seem to be a good place to do that right now. 
  6. And most importantly I realize as I reread the post before publishing it - find another person I can look in the eye and say I have to leave my marriage and that hurts like hell.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I got the most appropriate email on Manhunt the other day.  I know, shocking!! 

The email was simple - "So what are you looking for man?"  Okay, I know, the email wasn't all that appropriate if your mind is on sex only - which was probably the case here.

But it made me think - what am I looking for.  I've been on Manhunt, Grindr and CL a bit more than usual recently.  I've also been emailing/chatting via them more than usual.  There's one guy in particular that I've traded several emails with - another married guy.  Am I looking to hook up? 

The answer is complicated - yes I am and no I am not.  If you will, I want to want to hook up.  I want to have that freedom and ability.  I want to jump ahead 12 months in the process.  Or rather I want to set up the process sot that it jumps ahead by my actions.  I don't want to have the "hey honey we have to separate/divorce" conversation with C.  But the "hey honey I'm seeing Joe who I met on MH or CL" would be an even tougher conversation.

My choice is to then avoid m2m sex until things are settled with C or to hook up on the DL.  I'm not sure I could survive the DL long.  Hell once I finally figured out I was gay I had to tell C in less than a month in part because I couldn't lie.  


Therapy on Thursday - discuss just this to help me figure out "what I want man".
Keep authenticity in all areas.
(And still check out the eye candy online)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I am (no longer) alone

I used to think I was alone; that there was no one out there who was the same as me.  I was different than everyone else; there was something fundamentally wrong about me. 

The result of that sort of thinking was isolation - isolation in a closet first imposed by society and then later of my own making.  I was successful in accepting and developing a closet.  So much so that I thought that there was no closet.  This was life, it sucked.  The theology of my youth was typically Catholic - life is a valley of tears, don't expect to be happy or even content. 

That sort of thinking is so very damaging to my psyche.  It corrodes everything it touches and it touches every part of my being.  The inevitable result is depression and despair.

I am not alone.  Today alone two blogs I read touched on this.  Michael-in-Norfolk describes his stay in the closet here.  It is mine as well.  There were enough signs over the years that I was gay that it should have been obvious.  I listed some of them in a previous post.  The one that sums it up best for me is the second.  I vividly remember crossing the street with a friend when I was 19 or 20.  My friend said, "Hey did you see those girls checking us out."  I did not.  I did not notice.  Girls were not and never had been on my radar screen.  I know they should be, but they weren't.  My rationalization - I wasn't like my friend who would, as we said rather uncharitably, fuck a snake.  I was morally superior to him. 

I had to be morally superior.  The alternative was that I was gay.  My logic then continued - Since I am not gay (self-evident, fundamental, irrefutable premise), there must be some reason that I did not notice the girls and want to get in their pants.  If I am morally superior to Mark (the friend), then this offers an explanation.  Therefore, I am morally superior to Mark.  Twisted, backwards logic - arguing from the desired conclusion that I am not, cannot be, must not be gay.

Yet, I always knew that there was something more and different than that.  Before I came out to myself I avoided thinking of this incident (and yet thought of it regularly) because there was the feeling in the back of my head that something wasn't "right" about my reaction, that I should have at least noticed the girls.  

Then I realize years later that I am gay.  What to do?  Why, I have the perfect solution -  I should just stay the course and pretend it is not the case.  I can be gay, but not do gay so to speak.  After all I have a wife and children, life should be grand. 

Cameron reminds me here that that is bullshit.  My staying in a self imposed closet is no better than the closet I was in for years when I didn't know/acknowledge that I am gay.  Indeed, the self-imposed closet is worse since now I know what the problem is.  My solution when I try to stay in this closet is much like Cameron's man #1 who says, "I'd die and make it look like an accident before I'd do this [come out] to my family." I nearly tried that.  I had the road picked out - very dangerous cliffs, 150-200 feet into a river.  If I had an "accident" especially in a work vehicle, the problem would be solved.  I wouldn't have to "do this" to my family; I wouldn't have to live with the pain; and they would be provided for. 

That is the insanity of the closet.  I am not alone in that either.

But more importantly, I am not alone in finding a solution - acceptance that I am a gay man.  That being a gay man is, for me at least, incompatible with being married to a woman.  Sure that sucks, but life really is not a valley of tears.  It is a path that leads through joy, through grief, through suffering, through contentment.  My job is to act with integrity, to be authentic, to be who I am.  When I do that.  When I accept who I am and am in the presence of others gay men who do the same, I then feel whole in a way that I have never felt before with the exception of holding and caring for my children.  When I accept who and what I am it is like coming home, except that I never had a home before.  But now I do.  And I am not alone.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Efficacious Rambles

I love the word "efficacy" and its adjective "efficacious."  No particular reason - I just like the sound.  Well perhaps I'm a bit of a snob in that I can can use them in a sentence.  Like "Anti-depressants are efficacious because they have an effect that affects my affect.  

For the past few days at work I did not demonstrate efficacy.  I have hardly done anything work wise.  But my affect was good.

Yet, the days were far from a total loss.  On Thursday, I spent 2 hours at lunch with our assistant pastor and came out to her.  The congregation is thinking of coming out publicly in support of full membership for LGBT folks.  In practice, it has done this for years; it currently has out and partnered LGBT people in leadership positions.

It's interesting that when I googled for images of efficacy or efficacious I got many religious symbols - Jesus, people praying over people, the Buddha.  Some of my discussion was about the efficacy or rather inefficacy of prayer.

But I digress.  I think that part of the reason that I haven't gotten a lot done recently is that I am spending a lot of mental energy on coming out.  First it was whether and if so how I should come out to the assistant pastor.  Then it was reflecting on that.  C and the kids are away - so I spent a good bit of Friday thinking about going to a gay AA meeting.  It is continually amazing to me how much time and energy I spend on this.  And then I remember how much energy I must have spent all those years of being a total closet case - as opposed to the partial closet case I am now.

The difference now versus past times is marked however.  Instead of agonizing about it and then not taking action I followed through.  The results were typical - the pastor was supportive, I felt more real after the conversation, more genuine.  Dare I say more authentic.  The meeting was good.  I knew a handful of folks from the "mostly gay" meeting I regularly go to.  This too was a coming out for those who didn't know I was gay.  The result - a warm welcome.

This business of coming out is hard work.  It seems insurmountable at times.  But then I remember and reflect on the alternative.  It really does get better.  It really is so much better.

Monday, July 8, 2013


I spent some of the weekend feeling trapped.  It's been a while since I've felt it that strongly.   By trapped I don't mean the sort lost in a maze in the picture directly below.  Here one might be trapped, but there is plenty of space in which to move around.  There might even be alternative paths to explore ; there might even be hope of a way out down one of those paths. 

Most days this is how I feel - trapped in a maze out of which I have to find a safe path. Most of the time I believe there is such a safe path, that I have found it and that I have begun to walk it - gingerly at times, but still walking.

But over the weekend I felt a different kind of trapped - the sort of trapped I felt when I first came out to myself and C.  I felt a suffocating hopelessness. Perhaps this was related to our recent anniversary, perhaps not.

This sort of helplessness is pictured below.  In it there is no person who can be identified.  The person has lost his or her identity.  Indeed, one can't tell if the person is male or female.  There is no hope here.  There is no way out.  One is trapped like an animal.

Fortunately, the moment was fleeting.  I am not trapped like an animal.  There is a solution to the maze.  I am working on the solution.

But it was interesting to reflect how a few years ago I felt trapped in that second, more oppressive, manner most of the time.  More importantly, I need to remember that this second sort of trapped can return at a moments notice.  It begins to recur when I put myself back in the closet and close the door pretending that being gay doesn't exist or I can just white knuckle it - hang on, know I'm gay, but not act on it.  Perhaps there are others who can successfully use these tactics, although I doubt it can work for anyone in the long run.  When I remember this I am better able to stay the course.  Even when the path I am on seems difficult, it is obvious that it is better than the alternative.

1. Still have to reconnect.
2. Still have to communicate more with C
3. Keep remembering that the closet is for clothes, not for people
4.  Come out to another person this week

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wedding Anniversary

My 27th wedding anniversary just passed. I should say our wedding anniversary just passed. 

No, the picture is not of the cake we had.

C pointed out that for the past few years we haven't done anything, even exchanging cards.  Yes, that included the 25th anniversary.  But this year I went out and got a couple of presents - a pair of earrings and a piece of artwork for her work.   Fortunately, one of the kiddos dropped a "I know what daddy got for your anniversary" so she wasn't flat footed.  I've been thinking all day about the whys and if I sending mixed messages.

First the why.  Mainly I think the why this year is that I feel good and feel good about our future.  Not our future together, but our future.  That is a shift.  I also value C and our relationship.  She knows me better than anyone else.  And despite my occasional whining she has been there for me over the years and through coming out.  We have grown up together and helped each other through some tough times. 

Am I sending mixed messages?  Undoubtedly.  Part of the reason is that I am ambivalent about separating.  I still do not think it is a good idea.  It is, however, the best idea.  Really, it is the only idea that seems to have promise of working in the long run.  Part of it is that I do truly value C as I noted above.  And part of it is that I still just haven't told her my intentions.  Nor is this the time to do that. 

I suppose the next thing to do in therapy, God help me, is to explore just that.  Between the therapist taking next week off and C going to visit family for 10 days it will be a bit before I am able to let C know what is going on in my head. 

So, added to the list from last time is:

4.  Talk to therapist about when is a good time to let C know that the marriage is over.  (Note, it took several corrections to remove all words of hesitancy like "let C know I think that marriage is over.) 

I don't think I can make it to 28.  That fills me with sadness and dread (mostly at telling her) as well as hope and even some joy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

100th Blog entry

This is my hundredth blog entry.  The blogosphere is a wonderful place.  Thanks to the poster who put this on her blog a couple of years ago.  Perfect for the 4th of July.  (Happy belated Canada Day to  Buddy Bear and other gorgeous men to the north. )  I started blogging in April 2009 - about 50 months ago.  So on average pretty pathetic - 2 posts a month.  Of course that includes 2010 when I didn't post at all and 2012 when I posted once.  Those odd years will get you every time.

Buddy Bear has me a somewhat concerned about the long term viability of using Blogger.  See his post on backing up on WordPress. We'll see how that all develops - especially if folks start disappearing from blogger. 

I am in a reflective sort of mood recently.  As I reflect over the last 99 posts I realize what a contribution the blogs have made to me on my journey.  It has been an opportunity to pause and reflect.  Writing something down, especially when others can see it, causes me to pause and reflect on what I am saying and meaning.  Blogging has caused me to be more reflective and intentional.  At times to get feedback from men who have walked the same path.  Most importantly, blogging helps me remember - remember the insanity (and ineffectiveness of suppression), remember the pain and the fear and the "overwhelmedness."  I can forget pain so very easily.  Looking back helps me remember where I've been and why I don't want to return there.

But walking through that pain is the only thing that has worked.  A few months ago when I restarted therapy the therapist had me take a depression test - I scored about a 37 if I recall correctly.  I think I downplayed at least a few responses - my real score might have been higher.   She was immediately concerned.  She would check in each week to see how I was doing self-harm and suicide wise.  She'd contract with me to make sure I'd be okay until the next week.  She began to talk of meds.

I took the test the other day.  I scored an 8.  I am normal.  Well, almost :).

The only thing I can attribute this change to is walking through.  Walking through the fear, anguish, and pain.  I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but the pain and anguish are real.  My experience is that the longer it festers, the more intense it gets - think of aged cheese.  But it truly is a festering, a creation of pain that does not have to be as intense as it is.  That is, some of the pain has been caused by my reluctance to face it.  However the speed at which I have moved is both something over which I now have no control and has been good/healthy in the long run.

6 years ago and then 4 years ago when I came out to C I wondered if I should leave simply because I thought I would leave anyway in the end.  At this point I respect the process.  I didn't bail; I didn't run away and hide.  I tried and proved to myself and, I think, C that this is a lot more difficult than I thought.  Buddy Bear thanks for the encouragement in my last post.  I still will push back and say that the situation is not fair.  So what?  I was never guaranteed that life would be fair.  In fact, in so very many ways it is not.  Fighting that is like fighting a rip current or where I grew up a riptide. As one is moving quickly out to sea, the temptation is to try to swim directly to shore.  After all the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  The results of the seemingly rational choice is exhaustion and death.  Rather the truly rational choice is counter-intuitive; one swims just a little to the side.  And thus escapes. 

Life is not fair.  Being married and gay is not fair.  Okay - but what do I do about that.  Today I choose to swim to the side and stop trying to do the impossible.  I choose to make a path that is as best as it can be for those I love, but cannot and will not choose one that leads to my destruction.

Goals for the next couple of weeks (therapist is on vacation):
1.  Coast - Stay Calm and Carry On.
2.  Keep some communication going with C.
3.  Reconnect with a friend locally and have some fun while C and the kiddos are visiting family.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Turtles All the Way Down

There's a small benefit to the lack of sleep that I'm getting and streaming through Netflix.  On occasion I bump into a show or movie that has some relevance to the situation I find myself in.

Recently, I found Awake which was cancelled after the first season.  Spoiler Alert - I will be giving away the ending if you care.

The central character, Michael, appears to have been in an accident with his wife and son.  At that point his reality appears to split.  In one his son has died; in the other his wife has.  He flips between them regularly; indeed each time he awakes he is in the other reality.  The shrink in each one tells him this is real; he ought to realize that and get on with normal life.  He is grief stricken at the possibility of loosing either reality and relieved that both his wife and son are alive, albeit in different universes.

That too me seems analogous to the situation I am in.  I have two realities.  A gay one and a married to C one.  They cannot live together.  If Michael "chooses" one reality, the other must die.  For me too if I choose one reality, the other must die.  If I am gay, marriage (for me) to a woman cannot be. If I am married to C, then I suppress being gay with negative consequences.  Both cannot, at least for me, in the same reality.  To try to do so is insane and certainly leads me in the direction of insanity.

There is a false hope that I hang on to and that (BIG  SPOILER ALERT) the last episode of Awake indulges in.  My hope is that magically all will change and I can some how live gay and monogamously married to C.  The last episode has shows us that Michael is in the reality where his wife has died.  In the final minutes of the show he is talking with the "real" psychiatrist.  She applauds is choosing reality over the dream of the other reality.  He ponders that perhaps that was a dream within a dream that he is currently in.  That perhaps he can choose both.  As the shrink is saying to him it's turtles all the way down the action pauses.  (I thought something was wrong with Netflix and/or my connection).  Then a door opens.  Magically, Michael is in a reality where both his son and wife are alive.

There is no magic solution. 

The subtitle of the blog comes from Lou Reed's album Magic and Loss

I want some sort of magic solution to make things right.  Iwant life to be fair; I want people to get what they deserve and rail against injustice, real or perceived.  When evil still happens I can easily say that say life is not good. 

I ask myself what's good. 

The answer:  "Life's good, but not fair at all."