Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stagnant or Resting

I worry that I am stagnating. 

This is not an unreasonable fear.  I have moved very slowly through the process of coming out into a place where I know I cannot be married.  To put it another way - I know I am not moving too fast.  So the question about the few weeks is:  Am I stagnating or just resting?

My knee jerk reaction is that I am stagnating.

I've noticed a tendency over the years.  I will often be hard on myself when there is no cause to be.  And I will often cut myself a break when I need a boot in the ass.

In this case I think it is the former.  I am poking around looking at living arrangements.  I am helping take care of the kids and C.  I am doing what I need to take care of myself - I am back on meds for depression at least for the next bit.  I am trying to take care of things at work - but am VERY distracted. Perhaps most importantly I've done some heavy lifting.  I've told C that we can no longer be married - a couple of years ago I would have bet I would never be able to do that.

I am in other words doing the things I need to do.  At this point I am coasting or resting in order to recuperate from the recent heavy lifting and to prepare for even more heavy lifting.

Truth be told - I am looking forward to being able to just be.

Onward and upward.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Doing vs. Being

I've been a little caught up in how things are going to look when C and I part ways.  What will I do?  Where will I live?  What does this mean for me when I am older?  Lest you think I'm completely self-centered I worry about this for C too, but naturally spend more time on myself.

I don't know the answer to any of these questions.  The questions scare me; that I don't have a clue as to the answers scares me.

It dawned on me as I began my acupuncture appointment that I am not asking the right questions.  Now these questions are important - I need to live somewhere.  I need to know what my relationships will look like, etc.  But they are not at the crux of the issue.  They are not the reason I started down this path.

I need to integrate who and what I am into my life.  I need to be gay in a way that is authentic to my lived experience.  For me that does not include, very unfortunately and disappointingly, being married.  So the questions I need to ask don't revolve around whether I'll live next to C, across town or in P-town.  Instead they are what does it mean to be gay.  What will it be like to be able to be gay, to be authentic.  How will it feel not to be lying to yourself.

The being and the doing both have to be addressed and integrated.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I work with a Jewish guy.  Over the course of the 18 months or so that I've been working where I currently work we've gotten to be friends.  I've told him more than once that our mothers must be sisters.  Mine is a good Irish Catholic woman and his is a good Jewish woman - both in many ways wonderful, but also very good at throwing guilt. 

Even though that I have long ago walked away from Catholicism I still am a guilt-catcher - if there is guilt in the air I get it, even if no one is throwing it in my direction.  It seems to be in the DNA - my son can do much the same.  We're working on it with him.

Right now I am not quite paralyzed by, but certainly affected by guilt.  C is, of course, in a good bit of pain.  Her marriage of 27 years is coming to an end.  And I've been a good husband to her and for her.  Not perfect, but we've been good with and for each other.

My reaction the seeing the pain is to feel guilty.  The guilt and not wanting to see C in pain lead me to wondering if we can somehow stay together.  C's pain would be alleviated as would my guilt.  A couple of things came together in the past half day or so.  The first is that I realized last night that C will be okay.  This is big and painful.  But in the end it will not destroy her.  My guilt and shame over the past few years blew all that up to be significantly out of proportion with reality.

The second thing is a re-re-realization that I cannot stay together sanely.  And thus separation is better for C and better for the kids as well as myself.  I cannot be if we are together.

Both were confirmed by C this morning.  Last night she had texted saying she was sad.  I feel responsible for that sadness - she is not throwing guilt; she is letting me know what is going on.  C noted this morning that her feelings were all over the map.  That at times it was all overwhelming and at times she thinks we can do this.  I noted that I feel responsible for her pain.  She noted that in my action there is no reason for this feeling.  She is right.  The responsibility and guilt I feel is misplaced; it is inappropriate to the situation. 

Guilt is a wasted emotion.

In my case here guilt has and could lead to staying married and continuing on the cycle of depression I've been on. 

I have a friend, who I think would be shocked and dismayed to know I'm gay, who likes to say guilt is a wasted emotion.  He is right.  If I have done something wrong, it needs to be rectified; I need to do something to change it, to make it right.  Guilt may be helpful in initiating that process, but that is about it.  In my experience it quickly gets in the way.  If I didn't do anything wrong, then guilt is inappropriate.  It may indicate something in me or something in someone else, but it is not an appropriate emotion.

  1. Breathe
  2. Remember guilt is a wasted emotion
  3. Remember C will be ok - you are not the be all and end all
  4. Remember the cycle - avoid repetition of it

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Life

Life is amazing.  It seems to be able to survive all sorts of difficulty.  I've always been amazed to see life sprout through the cracks that we people put in the way - sidewalks, walls.  A little dirt, a little rain, a little sun and something is growing. 

I've been under that concrete sidewalk for so long.  I've seen the light for quite a while now.  But I haven't always moved toward the light.  Indeed, sometimes I've been repelled by it.  However, now I feel the breeze and I can feel the rain.  I have begun to sprout through to new life.  What a long strange trip it has been.

Now I know that the struggle is not over.  Parts of the next months will be excruciating.  Life can be painful, sometimes unfairly so.  But I am squarely on the path in a way that I don't think I ever have been before.

The goals for today are:

  • Keep breathing - I notice that this is easier now
  • Keep my gay contacts going - have coffee tomorrow night with a friend; call another today.
  • Keep letting C know where I am/how I'm feeling while treating her with kindness and compassion.  In other words proceed with mindfulness.
  • Try to focus better at work.  Today has been better so far.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The times they are a changin

October 1st.

C and I both bailed on work this morning.  Last night was a rough one.  More tears.  More pain.

I feel the guilt of being gay and causing harm to my family, but it is different now.  I know the guilt is false, unhelpful, and counterproductive.  I do not stay there overly long.

I do feel the pain.  I see the pain in C.   And I anticipate the pain that I will see in the eyes of the kids.

But we are committed to continuing to move forward.  Therapy yesterday was rough, but we know we need to have a plan.  C knows for certain that I cannot live with something like the status quo.  And we are committed to doing this as well as possible for ourselves and the kids. 

All the options we are considering include different living situations for each of us. 

When I can pause and put the pain aside, real hope starts to seep in.  As C has noted I haven't always been that fun to be around for the past 4-6 years as I dealt (or didn't) with being gay and married over the past bit.  I've been miserable and it has shown in my interactions with others including the kids. 

The hope is that now that I can simply be who I am I can settle in to a new life, a different life that is more integrated.  It is not a life that will exclude C or especially not the kids, but it is a life where I am.  Where I am able to just be.  Where I am able to be whole and authentic.  Where I do not have to hide.

That gives me hope.  The nice thing is even in the pain of all this I see that hope starting to come to fruition.