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...