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.
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.