The Way Things Work…

Reading Alexander’s posts a few months back about his coming out started me thinking about my own journey. [You can read his story here in parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.]

I’ve been piecing this post together since then. “The Way Things Work” seemed like an appropriate title as that is what I was attempting to figure out. Actually, I still am.


There is no manual for figuring out your sexuality…

People around me who get to know me, or are just curious, tend to ask me—as probably a lot of us get asked—how I could be gay?

I have attempted many times to write my version of events as seen through my eyes. I’ve yet to be able to do that in any coherent manner. So I’m going with what I have.

The recollections of my past are just murky pieces—faint flickers, really—that I cannot seem to piece together in any logical (to me) order. I remember…

…having feelings that I knew were “wrong” according to everything I had been taught my entire life by my family unit and their chosen religion—the Church of Christ. These teachings were reinforced by 8 years in Church-run schools, then 5 years in a Church-run college.

…secretly watching porn when I was a teenager (thanks to the adult channels on the huge-ass satellite dish—this was before the Internet was a consumer-grade appliance after all) and always wishing they would show more cock. Instead they always showed boobs and twat. Rarely would I catch a glimpse of a cock. But when I did I knew that was what I wanted even though it was “wrong”.

…stealing my father’s porno mags (go Hustler!) and cutting out the occasional pictures of men in them. Scrapbooking, anyone? My parents later found these when they searched my room while I was in high school.

Note the mental conflict these last two caused even at a non-gay level—my father, the “devout” Christian who had his porn stashed under the seat of his VW bus and all the porn channels on the satellite. ["Do as I say and not as I do..." is apparently the example he tried to live by?]

…having “feelings” for some of the male authority figures in my life. I do not remember ever having “feelings” for anyone my own age or of the opposite sex… always older men. And always authority figures: a teacher, a coach, a friend’s dad, etc.

…knowing what I was feeling on the inside contrasted against what I saw going on around me on the outside: dating, girlfriends, sex. None of which I had while in high school or college. All so easy to “explain” away.

Some memories are less flickers and more like explosions. Brilliant points of light in an otherwise dark sky. I remember…

…my mom asking me if I was gay while I was in high school and me telling her “No”.

…the first time someone told me they were gay. While driving home from Arkansas to Florida for a holiday break in college, I was carpooling another student to his home and somewhere along the way he outed himself to me. I fucking freaked out. I don’t think he and I spoke the rest of the way (short of directions) to his house.

…downloading gay porn while at [a Christian!] college, feeling guilty about it, and deleting it. Over and over again.

…at 23 years old, getting the nerve to actually meet someone “to see how this all worked”. I was scared as hell through dinner. We went back to his house. He put his hand on my knee, then started kissing me. IMMEDIATELY the switch was thrown and I knew exactly where I was supposed to be.

Even though at that moment I knew how I was, there were (and are) still many things I had to work through to know who I was.

As always there is more to this story, but that is going to be another post…. And probably in another three months I’ll have it written.

Until next time...
Erik

10 thoughts on “The Way Things Work…

  1. Thanks so so much for baring your soul.
    Although we all have different paths to where we are now, in many ways they are the same.

    I got married, had two kids, did the church-mini van-”normal” thing for 16 of my adult years… yet, I wasn’t me. Now, I am me, which is gay, partnered, still involved with my kids AND out.

    Thanks for being so transparent

  2. This makes me reflect on my own journey. I often wonder how things might have been different if there were someone to listen and understand back then. Free from the fear and guilt that seemed to be even bigger than the desire.

    Thanks for sharing. Thanks for giving other young people who may be reading the opportunity to grow into their true selves.

  3. Funny how many of us had the strict religious upbringing. Church of Christ…wow, you guys wouldn’t even allow musical instruments during your services. :) I was raised Assembly of God. We were the holy rollers. Years of denial, secret crushes, dating as many women I could to “straighten” myself out. I tried everything. It wasn’t until I got to grad school of all places and let loose. The first time I was approached by a guy I went home with him. I know, I’m such a slut. But I knew the minute he kissed me that I had been missing this all the time. Of course, I fell madly in love with him and just KNEW he was “the one” for me. I never spoke to him again after that. I learned quickly what a one night stand was.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Great post! For a homo…

    Just kidding! That was pretty much exactly how I came out too. But instead of the friend coming out and me freaking, the friend was my father. And yes, I knew 100% I was gay at the time. I also thought I would have to have sex with my Dad because he was the first and only gay man I knew.

    Yeah. Weird.

    Well we didnt, you pervy bastards.

    Regardless, this is a great post.

  5. @Terry:
    And thank you as well, Terry! We all travel different paths, but we all end up at the same destination.

    I had to think “twice” about that last line… that means something a little different in my “management speak”.

    @Alexander:
    I’m working on it. There’s a reason my “serious” posts are so far and few between… it takes me a while to get these things out.

    @Hayward:
    I do have to say I was extremely lucky to encounter the people I did when I did–even if they did come around after I started down the road. I had a few “gay guides” later along the way that helped me with my journey. I’m sure I’ll blog about them one day as well.

    I think that was the most helpful thing for me. To have others to talk with and just even observe.

    @Ron:
    I’m plenty sure that I’m still pretty misguided….

    @mark:
    Thank you for reading. And sharing.

    Yep, no musical instruments at all… and horrible, off-key singing.

    It’s odd that the pendulum swings from one “extreme” to the other? Not that I would call being true to one’s self extreme.

    @Deadrobot:
    Wow. Your dad? That had to have led to some interesting conversations…

  6. Man, oh man – did you bring back some memories of when I was first out of the closet at 16, and in the Midwest no less and in the mid-70′s that ain’t no mean feat baby! It gives me an idea for a blog post – thanks for getting my mind moving again – I was running dry. LOL

  7. @RG:
    The Husbear is an Arkansas native (read: hillbilly), and has had an interesting life path growing up here. I’ll see if I can get him to blog about it some time. Or I’ll blog for him.

    And I doubt your mind would ever run dry… but glad I could help.

    @Java:
    These days, I’d have to say the Internet is probably one of the best sources of information and ways to find people to talk with. I know there’s not that “personal” touch one gets with one-on-one conversation however it can open some doors that lead to that. I’m sure there’s other methods of support out there as well, but I’m just not aware of them.

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