Hooray, I've finally reached the last of my several "thoughts by a tire swing." As I've said before, these are all topics that have been heavily on my heart since returning from the Exodus Conference in mid-July. Early one morning, several weeks ago, I went to the abandoned tire swing in the woods behind my house and simply thought about all these issues. Prayed about them. Since that day, I've maintained once-a-week "getaways" where I get up uber-early and go somewhere to just spend an hour in the Word and in prayer. The past two weeks I've gone to McDonald's for breakfast (their hashbrowns = ) en route to this park where I walked Annie many-a-time long ago.
In these getaways I've been taking the time to work on my Scripture memorization. Nothing overly complicating - just taking the time to thoroughly go over three or four verses each week. I've been saving these verses in a Word document and need to do a better job at looking back at them and "refreshing" throughout the week. I think a good idea would be to look at that file the first time I open up my laptop each morning. T'would be a good start to any day. There have already been instances where I've called these verses to mind in times of frustration or doubt. And it's been so amazing. If you're not making the effort memorize Scripture, I highly encourage you to take a day or two of memorization each week and make that added effort to hide the Word in your heart. The Word is so alive.
Regarding community, I've now attended two Sunday morning small groups for "singles / grad students / young professionals." It's growing on me, but I still feel like a major outsider there. Throughout my entire life it's just always taken a lot of time for me to plug deeply into a new environment (Exodus, for example). The same group meets Sunday nights as well, and I'm thinking I should try this out too. So much of me is sighing inside, saying, "What's the point of all this? Really?" But I need community. I just do. I can't go through the motions at church any longer. And it's just depleting.
I mentioned before that I suddenly realized praying to Jesus felt awkward to me. This thought scared me at first - I'm a Christian, and Christ is awkward to me? What? But over the last several weeks, I think God has been reminding me of the deeply personal work of His Son. He paid it all for me, knew my name eons before I was ever conceived and born. And despite knowing all the crud I'd put myself through, He still chose to bleed for me. And, well, for a guy that hasn't had many solid friendships in his life, to see the kind of sacrifice Jesus made for me is so indescribably amazing. Thank You, Jesus.
And that brings me to the last big issue of my post-Exodus life: sharing my struggle. While at Exodus, I truly felt God confirming in my heart that - one day - I would write something for the entire world to read regarding my personal struggle with same-sex attraction (not just behind this pseudo-mask here in XangaLand). As far as when this moment will occur, I honestly have no idea. It might be in twenty years, might be five, might be one. No clue.
But before that happens, I definitely want to tell at least one other person first - namely, my best friend, "Catherine." Yes, a...a...girl. A girl who isn't my mom or my sister, both of whom now know of my struggle. A girl friend - the first friend I'd share this with.
The reason I want to tell her so suddenly? Well...she already knows. I'm positive. She's an investigative person, and when she found out I suddenly went missing for one week back in July, she had to find out why. She knows I went to Chicago that week, and well, she's flat-out told me on several occasions that she thinks she knows where specifically I went. And I absolutely believe her; it'd probably explain a lot to her as far as why I've never "made a move" in our complex relationship. Up until now, I've always just shooed the conversation away when she's gone this route.
The reason this is so heavily on my mind and heart right now is because in just two weeks, the two of us - just the two of us - are planning on making a roadtrip to my glorious homeland, Pennsylvania. She needs to take a certification course up there and she'll actually be staying with me at my grandparents' house (so yes, it's like she'll be meeting and staying with the "great in-laws"...honestly, how are we not dating?). And since Exodus ended, I've thought that this roadtrip would be the perfect time to talk to her about my struggle. Just me, her, and the open road. But, I just don't know. She'd be the first non-family member to know, and I just don't know if I'm ready to take that step yet. At the same time though, she already knows, so what's the big deal then? Ahhh.
When I told my siblings about my struggle just before the conference, I thought for sure I was done telling people about this secret for YEARS. And lo and behold, here I am, wrestling with this decision yet again.
I truly do love God's sense of humor.
As far as telling friends about your struggle, I assume you guys have mostly told other guys and not gals. Have any of you had experience with telling lady friends though? And if so, any wisdom to impart? I'd gladly take any advice here. And certainly I'd appreciate your prayers. The fact that I may or may not have romantic feelings for Catherine only complicates matters more.
haha at your last line. Two (because I like calling people by their Xanga names), I think you are very right about community. It takes me a while to feel at home at times, but without community, life becomes darker and less useful. I am trying to also integrate myself more into a community...it is slow and irritating, but an investment I must make.
Two, about the sharing thing--I think it might be best to do so near the time when you have reached Pennsylvania? It would be hard to tell her while at the grandparents house, but telling her right away when you get in the car may be tough. A friend of mine once confessed his porn addiction to me while we were on a car ride together...it is a good place for confession, ha. I'll pray for you that God will guide you on this choice.
The second person I confided in was a girl at my college that I knew from our Christian fellowship group. She was very supportive and encouraging, but at the time it was supportive in coming out as gay. When I later sought support in seeking freedom from homosexual behavior, she wasn't of the same mind. But I've told other women along the way in my adult life when it was relevant to the conversation. The fear subsides over time if you are living for the Lord and there are reasons for sharing. As with anything, follow the Lord's leading. If He has purpose in your sharing, then it is for the greater good.
I've told every girl about my struggle that I began to date. Okay, so that's only been 2. Well, I've dated 3 girls, but the first one I had no idea what was going on with me, so never told her. But the other 2, I did. And the first girl I told I thought I'd marry someday. She broke down and cried when I told her, which made me feel absolutely terrible. The second girl I told seemed okay with it, but our relationship kind of drifted away.
So my experiences haven't been that great. So just pray about it, man. If she truly wants to be a great friend with you, then this would be a test of that friendship. I dunno, that's all I got.
Definitely feel you on the community aspect. I need to get away, and find a community. Away from here, my hometown, away from family. The thought still scares the living daylights out of me. But I need to do it.
let'd see... the first girl i remember telling is now a lesbian, and i do believe she felt that way about herself when i told her, tho she remained silent because she saw how tore up it had me and she wanted to play the good friend and just listened. the second girl i told, she was supportive, tho both of those istances, i just wasn't sure wtf i was or whatever... i told an ex after i broke up with her, then i told the girlfriend i had after her, but told her it was behind me... the last girl i told, well she was still interested in me, despite my ssa...
i do see myself telling the next girl i date, whoever that ends up being, but probably not right away. yet, with as open as i percieve myself to be about it (my xanga is linked to facebook, so anyone could at least read all about my exodus experience and sort of surmize if there's any instance where i'm indirect about it)
this does remind me of something one of the group admins (ask me who if you want) told me a while back. he was talking to a woman about it. she told him that we struggling men ought to give women more credit... i'd say we ought to give mature, godly women more credit, at the very least. i mean yes there are those who just won't get it, but are willing to be supportive, but i'm sure there are so many godly women that will show you grace and love, or even be willing to help you in your walk. and from what you've told me about catherine, i'd say you are close enough with her that she may want to do that for you. but, i can't say for sure.
love ya man, you're always in my prayers.
ps, i'm diggin the new pic. it's not as dark but there's still a hint of... something mysterious or hidden. that's what i loved about the pic you had up when i first got into your blog. very ..furtive, perhaps.
The first human being I ever told that I struggled with SSA was a girl and she's the one who signed me up for this xanga account (she's the reason I've known Jeff, Van, and Brian for two and a half years now). She used to post on here too (CocoonedButterfly), but doesn't anymore now that she's married.
She and I were actually off and on in a relationship for about five or so years, but it was about a year or so into our friend-lationship that I told her about my struggles. She really pushed me in a lot of good ways. Pushed me to find men that I could be accountable to, pushed me to work at a summer camp where I first met the first men who I would tell about my struggles, and pushed me to tell the first men who I told about my struggles. She was super supportive and I am SO thankful for telling her. It has really opened up so many doors for me and has helped give me the courage to tell so many other friends.
There are a couple other non-family girls who know in my life as well and it's always interesting telling them, but use your discernment. Obviously if you're thinking of a relationship with Catherine, it would probably be a good idea to tell her. When I started seeing a girl over a year ago, I made sure I told her when stuff started getting a bit more serious just because I felt that she deserved to know (also, I wanted her to know why things were moving so slowly). We did end things back in February, but we're still on good terms and I do not regret ever telling her. She was so supportive of me. That's the thing... I would take to heart what Kevin said: Give Godly, Christian women the credit they deserve. This could be a good step for you to have someone in your "real world" know about this (plus, you think she basically already knows, so you're not really telling her as much as clarifying for her... AND if you think she knows and she knows you better than anyone, chances are you're right. I'm pretty sure that's the way it was with me too, haha). I'll be praying for you though, it's always scary telling someone for the first time.
Hey man, just stumbled across your blog and wanted to send you some encouragement. Personally, I come from a non-christian household so I never have been able to fully tell my family what I struggle with, as I believe they won't understand that I don't identify as gay, but rather as a son of God. Only three of my close friends know of my struggles, two guys and one girl, all three solid christians. In my experience, the girl has been the most comforting and encouraging out of the three (Neat story, she actually had a prophetic dream that I would reveal a burden to her some day. she spent many years patiently being my friend waiting to help me when the time came.) I dunno man, only you can make the decision, but it helps letting a friend know, it really does. Chances are they will still respect you and love you. If they are Christians, they will learn to respect and love you even more, because you are being honest with yourself and your life. Wishing you the best man. God bless.
@GreekPhysique - @carleton1958 - @joeliustook - @rusty0505 - @LittleDrummerBoy4Christ - Thanks for all your comments guys, and for sharing your personal experiences in this area. Much appreciated! I guess what really makes this tough is that I have had and probably still do have certain romantic feelings toward her. So I'm not sure if I should make this one big epicK conversation where I discuss all that fun stuff as well. I'm leaning toward NO on that one, but I guess it depends on how she responds to the whole SSA thing. Prayers for wisdom would be huge right now.
@Stephen - Thanks for your words as well, and thanks for stopping by my site! Feel free to comment or message me anytime.
You seem to hold readers in suspense often, so I'm sure you are tempted to hold back in this situation, too, but if your friend has probably already figured out about your SSA and she is as close as I think she is, you really should tell her now.
I will share a little of my own difficult experience. I dated a girl for 6 months and we shared an intense but Christ-centered friendship. I put off too long telling her about my SSA until we actually started talking about marriage. I knew I should not hide it any more, so I told her the whole truth. She said that she had already felt like there was "something missing" in the relationship, and that explained it. She was not able to keep waiting until that "something" was there, so she wanted to end the relationship. I told her we should pray first, so we spent a week apart praying and thinking about our relationship. During that time we both were absolutely convinced that we were not meant for each other.
A few months later she started dating my best friend and they eventually married. I was best man at their wedding....
Tom, tell her now and see how she responds. Um, don't be surprised if there are tears and drama, especially if she has feelings for you. You both need to face this and deal with it. It will be worse if you procrastinate. If she is supportive and wants to talk about your feelings for her, you should be ready to talk about that, too. I doubt you can hide that either.