Monday, May 16, 2016

Falling in Love

For the past year, I've been focusing on getting healthy.  I can say I'm health-IER, but healthy habits take a long time to catch on to.  I'm an emotional eater, so as you could imagine, trying to eat healthier has uncovered some new and different emotions I didn't even know were there.  Granted, it's been physically wonderful.  I no longer feel achy in my joints, my arms don't hit my sides when I'm walking and I'm much more alert in the mornings that I used to be.  And running?  It's actually fun!  However, some of the emotional baggage is still there, and I'm working through it.

In my posts, I tend to talk about the "big picture" kind of stuff, like the Church in general or the LGBT/SSA faithful Mormon community in general.  I even get rather passionate about defending the Church and the apostles.  But I haven't spent too much time on what it's like to be me...a typical day in the life of Alex.  As a part of getting healthy, I've seen a need to be more authentic, not just on-line (can't get much more there...), but in my real, in-person life.  I'm not seeking for advice, nor for pity.  I just want to share what it's like.

I've mentioned several times that I have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because of circumstances surrounding me, I had to gain my own testimony of The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  I feel like I understand the main purposes of marriage and the law of chastity.  It's simply a truth that I've accepted and I feel like I understand why it's that way.

I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships on my journey in reconciling my sexuality and my faith.  These connections are no accident, and I know that God meant for us to be in each others' lives.  I have one friend I've gotten close to.  We just hit it off.  Our interests are similar, yet different enough (it might be a while before I watch some of his scary movies!).  And something I value very much is our mutual testimony of God's eternal plan, including that of eternal families and the way God has organized man on earth.

Since I have a testimony, and since I strive to keep the commandments, I thought, for some reason, that I'd somehow be exempt from ever falling in love.

That hasn't been the case.

There came a time where, with a certain amount of heartbreak, I realized, "This is probably where a heterosexual couple would probably start thinking about marriage."  The thought just hit me all of the sudden.  Some pieces started coming together in my "aha" moment.  I always thought I could separate emotional and spiritual intimacy and never have to deal with the romantic and sexual desires.  But now I understand; I can now see how all of it is "supposed to" work together and point towards the marital union and procreation.  This revelation indeed tugs at the heartstrings.  I've started to notice married or dating heterosexual couples a little bit more.  I see them holding hands in the Celestial Room, kissing each other hello or goodbye, or simply putting their arms around one another at church or at a movie.  It never used to bother me, but now there's a little sting to it.  I'm comfortable with non-sexual, physical affection with my guy friends (and yes, it probably would wig some people out), but my heart sinks a little when I realize that it probably will never have the same meaning as with heterosexual couples. 

I used to deny this analogy, or at least try to explain my way around it, but to be honest, it is almost like a straight guy falling in love with a woman, but never being able to "go all the way."  I probably would marry a man if it made sense biologically and spiritually, but it doesn't.  I just know it doesn't work that way.  While this is a heart-wrenching experience, I'm also grateful for the ability to recognize these feelings.  They help me more fully understand the feelings that lead towards marriage and family in a typical, heterosexual situation.  I just happen to have those feelings largely for men instead of women.  I sometimes carry some shame around the fact that I fell in love with someone (and that I have a crush on a lot of men...).  I sometimes wonder if I did something wrong or if I haven't been faithful enough, but I'm learning to just accept it.  It is what it is.  I didn't choose these feelings, but I can choose what I do with them.  I could ignore them, which hasn't served me well in the past, or I can bridle them and act on them in the bound the Lord has set.

I actually do not know where to go from here.  Nothing is for sure, and no path is clear.  I do know that sometimes we have to take a step out in the darkness before the Holy Ghost can shine the way.  I know some people believe that there are only two options for gay members of the Church if they wish to remain in full fellowship: that they either have to fake their way in a heterosexual marriage, or that they have to live a lonely life as a single person.  I do not believe this is true.  I know plenty of gay men who have married women who genuinely love their wives and have some great sex, and yet they still have needs for emotional and spiritual intimacy with other men.  Even straight guys need other guys...I just think it's to a greater extent for those who experience SSA.  As far as singles go, I don't think we have to be lonely and miserable if we're single. 

I've been reading about friendship a lot lately, and how it has been far too outweighed by marital/romantic love in our culture.  Friendship is something that can be elevated, celebrated and recognized.  I even think the celibate partnership option might work for some.  Aside from potential temptations, I can totally imagine the possibility of a life partner while waiting for and working toward all the blessings of exaltation.  I feel like I have options.  Some of them might look edgy for Mormon/Christian culture.  I'm certainly not going to sever relationships with people I'm attracted to.  Avoiding these relationships might be the first "go-to" suggestion, but maintaining these friendships actually helps me refrain from acting out in unhealthy ways, even if it is at the risk of falling in love.  I'm just doing the best with what I've been given, and it's ultimately between me and the Lord, regardless of what others might think, say or do.  I have hope for a future in the gospel (or at least I try to).

This last Sunday, I was once again grateful to be reminded of where my priorities should be in life.  I was reminded of my covenants, and the safety to be found in keeping them.  I was reminded that I am not a lone, and that I have a Savior who understands my situation.  I was reminded that He will "never, no never forsake (Hymns, 85)."  I know He is the ultimate priority.  He is my Number One, my Before Anyone Else.  This knowledge doesn't solve everything, but it sure brings me peace.

1 comment:

  1. Alex!!! 1st, I can't even imagine how difficult this must feel for you, and I hope you know I look up to you so much. 2nd, did you remove your FB profile? I was going to look up a post of yours and I couldn't find you on FB or Instagram AT ALL! I hope everything is all right!