Saturday, August 10, 2013

Inching Out

I wanted to do this post separate from the last one, because I felt that it would turn what I intended to be a short(ish) post into a short story.  Not that it didn't turn into one of those anyway.

So, I'm gay, and not out.  But I wanted to talk about why I'm not out, just so that it would be out there and maybe not on my mind as much.

First off, have I mentioned I live in a small town?  Because I do.  The kind where everyone knows what you did three counties over before you get home; somehow without the power of the Internet.  And, being in a small town, nearly everyone is a Christian, of one denomination or another (I'm aware of 5 people, including myself, that aren't).  I'm not saying I did nothing worthy of discussing in the hallways or at the local watering hole; I'm sure I've been the topic of conversation a time or two.  But I would just prefer, for now, that there be no snap judgements made about me concerning who I'm attracted to.

Normally, I have no issue with what people think about me.  But I attended high school in this small little town, where... 3 individuals were openly gay (surprising for a small town, I thought), and you could hear the typical slurs around them (out of anyone of authority's earshot, to be sure, although I'm not sure they would have done anything about it).  But, they mostly kept to themselves, within their own groups of friends.  And, I felt I was dealing with enough in high school:  uncomfortable with my body image, hormones, random boners, etc. and didn't want to deal with any more during that time.

Secondly, I enjoy having a place to live for now.  Yes, I still live in my mother's house.  No, I have no friends that would like to allow me to stay with them.  I stayed home while attending college, which I finished a year and a couple of months ago.  I stay here mostly because I have no income.  My fancy college degree isn't busting down any doors revealing people eager to offer me a job, or even give me an interview for that matter.  I'm sure my mother would be fine with the fact that I'm gay, but I still don't want to tell her while I'm technically under her roof.

See, when I was 14, I was in marching band.  Being 14, I had no legal way to transport myself other than walking, which is not an attractive method of travel when everything is at least 10 miles away.  So, I was stuck with my mother driving me to and from practices / Friday Night Football at the school, or to get on the bus that would whisk me away to a competition every Saturday for the fall/winter semester.  On the way to one of the Friday Night Football games, (if you're wondering why all those letters are capital, it's because that was a "thing," which we heard about every morning from cheerleaders over the PA), she started a conversation.  I don't really remember what we were talking about, something involving school I'm sure, when it turned into talking about homosexuality (we may have been discussing one of my friends that was also in band).

Mom:  "Well, that was one of the things I always feared about raising you and your brother by myself."
Me:  "What was?"
Mom:  "Making you or your brother gay.  Because that's what I heard when I divorced your father all those years ago."

Little old 14 year old me, struggling with coming to terms with it myself, was told this.  I'm sure that I would still be accepted after, but... the message I got from it at the time, and still read into it today, is that she doesn't want a gay son.  For whatever reason that may be.  We're not very religious, but maybe she's just religious enough to disown me.  (Note to parents that may be reading this:  kids remember a lot of the stuff you say to them.)

Keeping with the last post, I wanted to address some statements that I've seen or heard in other places.

Why don't you just try being straight / Do you wish you were straight?

I can't say I ever tried being straight.  I mean, I can think a girl / woman looks pretty, or nice, or hot, but I'm just not attracted to them.  I mean, I've talked to girls, and been friends with lots of them, but there's never any spark or anything there when I look at a woman.  As for wishing I could be, I don't know.  Sure, things would be somewhat easier in my psyche, but then I wouldn't be the person I am today.

Well, I'm a youth minister, and a lot of the people I talk to that are gay were molested at a young age by an older male.  It makes me wonder if that had anything to do with it.

I won't say that their past experience had nothing to do with shaping who they are.  And I can only speak of my experiences.  I  was molested around age 8.  I won't say any more than that because I feel it has no bearing with what I want to say here.  Even before that event happened, I still felt the same way.  I can remember being 4 or 5 walking into a fast food establishment with my mom or grandparents, and seeing a cute guy running the cast register / taking orders and would get nervous about talking to him, even to order my food.  And I was only this way about men running the cash register.  I could order my food fine if there was a female running the cast register that most heterosexual men would rate at an 8 to 10.

Aren't you afraid of burning in Hell?

Are you afraid of being shanked by a unicorn one day?  I will say I struggled with this question for a while when I was younger; being brought up Christian and not knowing there were any other religions in the world.  But when I discovered other religions, religions I felt  I resonated better with than Christianity (I was and am skeptical of the Immaculate Conception, which I think bars me from Christianity and Catholicism, along with other points).  I guess my point is, I don't believe in the same afterlife as Christians believe in.

Anyway, I think that's all I wanted to say on this topic, thanks for stopping by.

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