Recently (try, like, 8 hours ago), I found myself fumbling for answers to questions I've become somewhat of an expert at avoiding. Questions that serve as stinging reminders of what I don't know and what I'm scared to find out.
"Would you consider doing therapy?"
I successfully attended 2 whole sessions of counseling at BYU and found it more cathartic than transforming. In retrospect, it was nice to hear my struggles regurgitated so neatly. I suppose I found counseling cumbersome because I never really went in thinking, "I'm gonna walk out of here with a new outlook, a new motivation to change my behavior and situation," rather, I walked in the doors because I thought it'd be good for me. I have been dreading change and so appointments with my Bishop or a counselor tend to be lacking something imperative: desire. Therefore rendering them fruitless. Until I find that desire to really change something therapy would be ineffective.
"Would you feel comfortable spending the rest of your life with a woman?"
Comfortable? Sure. Content? Possibly. Fulfilled? Probably not. I have dated girls, made out with girls, and somewhere along the way have even felt sexual arousal in the company of a girl. Those experiences assure me it's not impossible for me (and this is something all homosexuals cannot claim) to be in a relationship with a woman. The only thing stopping me is... me. I've only been out for a year. One year out of nearly 23. I justify this postponement of "trying" to date girls by telling myself that I owe it to myself to embrace this side of me wholeheartedly, even if it's just a "phase." I recognize that the danger in this is becoming too comfortable living this way and never wanting to go back. That's kind of where I am right now -- I don't want to go back.
"Why have you decided that your sexual orientation determines who you are?"
I am completely aware that being gay does not in any way define me, but it's definitely a large and important part of me. I have many other qualities and traits that shape who I am, but I'd be lying if I said my homosexuality hasn't been dominating my lifestyle for the past year. It's changed how I dress, how I talk, how I think, how I socialize, how I dance, how I look at others, how I view love... And I've never felt freer. But that freedom comes at a price -- I've lost another part of myself, and admittedly, it's the more important part. I've forgotten who I really am, that is, a child of God, blessed with an incredible family, creative mind, and loving spirit, allowed such opportunity and experience in this life. I know I've been the source of such terrible sorrow for my Father in Heaven because I have abandoned Him in my attempts to discover this part of myself. This part of my existence that has now begun to consume my every waking breath, thought, and action. The only thing harder than turning my back on God will be facing Him again.
"Who are you?"
Attempting to answer this question literally brings me to my knees, fists pounding the floor, face buried in the carpet -- I don't know anymore. I'm more alive in many ways than I ever have been, but also deadened in many others. I love myself more, but hate myself in new ways. I long for a life of love, family, fatherhood, but cower at the thought of failing it somehow. I doubt my ability to achieve. I doubt my ability to change. I fear once he leaves I'll do something stupid. I am terrified of living alone. I'm trying not to lose the one thing that makes me happiest. I am not eating much because I'm so worried. I am afraid to admit that I am wrong. I am longing to feel the Spirit again, but am too weak to do what it takes. I am a boy, sitting at work, doing everything humanly possible not to breakdown in front of so many nameless faces. They don't know me.
But neither do I.