Friday, November 23, 2007

Longing and Fear

I haven’t journaled nearly like I should have. So, this is going to be long.

I just had a very emotional dream where a mission friend of mine and I became friends again. He wanted some food from the country we served in. Anyway, I patched things up with him in the dream just before I woke up this morning. It was such a powerful dream. The feelings were so strong even after I woke up. He lives here in the same town as I do, but I haven’t seen him once, even though he’s been home for over a year. I had some pretty deep and powerful feelings for him on my mission and although I tried so hard to cover them up, I felt like he figured it out just before I got transferred. I simply haven’t had the guts to contact him and see how he responds.

Last weekend my wife and I were in Wal-Mart when we ran into a friend form High School that I haven’t seen since graduation. He was one of the first guys I ever really had a crush on. We had a few classes together and I wanted so badly for our casual relationship to be something deeper that I turned to fantasizing about sexual “male bonding.” Those feelings for him as well as the deeper emotional needs came flooding back to me that night. It is sometimes hard to truly believe with all my heart that acting on my sexual desires won’t fulfill those emotional needs.

I know that I need to some how develop healthy relationships with other men, but I am scared. I just don’t know how. I guess the feeling that I am having strongest right now is one of regret. I truly regret having let so many opportunities for friendship slip right through my fingers. I have been so afraid of re-experiencing the rejection I felt as a child, that I still keep myself emotionally detached and when the other guy doesn’t seem super excited about a the friendship, I cut him off. I can’t believe I have been so stupid! There are so many mission and High School friends that I could try to rebuild friendships with. But I don’t.

I want to justify myself and say that I am too busy, but that is a lie. I choose to spend the time in the safety of my home with my wife. I know that is a good thing, but I’ll never fill my deep needs for male companionship and friendship if I don’t try. I’m too afraid. I really don’t know what I’m afraid of. Rejection? If I never put myself on the line, I can’t be rejected because of who I am. Would rejection really be any different than never trying? Yet, is it really possible for ME to develop a relationship that is meaningful and fills my needs? Or will being around another man and getting closer to him, just make my longing for something more worse?

Who am I anyway? I have so long identified myself by labels and interests. Wrestler, Piano player, good student, cowboy. I like good music. I like to read. But who AM I? I believe I am a son of God. But what does that mean in my life today? I can’t bring myself to consign myself to the happiness that homework and work bring. Isn’t there more to life? Can the purpose of this life really be to just get through each day without leaving too many things undone? Sometimes I feel nothing more than obligation to live the perfect life: family, school, work, church callings, is that really all there is to life. Then why does my life feel so damn meaningless?

There are moments when I feel like things are okay and that happiness really does come from living by the Gospel, then I have days like today and I just want to put a gun to my head and pull the trigger. The inner contradiction just seems like to much to handle. I hate it.

Earlier this week I had a really good talk with my wife about my issues. I discussed my need to feel friendship with another male. She was so supportive and kind. She listened for 4 hours while I vented. Then I went and gave in to my habit of P and M that night! What the hell was I thinking? That had been the first relapse since my “Decision.” I told her about it the next afternoon and she was so good to me. I don’t deserve her. I am going to do better, but days like this really make it hard to control my feelings.

We had a really nice time at my wife’s family on Thanksgiving. It is a little hard because her brother, who’s 20, is pretty good-looking and really cool as well. I feel so awkward around him. I feel so damned awkward around any guy. Then we spent today with my family. I helped my dad with some projects around the yard. That was good. It took my mind off of things for a little while.

I read an e-mail conversation between my dad’s siblings about Sister Beck’s General Conference Talks. Apparently a number of women across the country have spoken out against her portrayal of the ideal LDS women. Although I really didn’t feel too strongly about that particular issue I felt that the discussion could have just as easily been about a General Authority’s comments about Same-Sex Attraction. A couple of my Uncles and my Aunt were fairly blunt that anyone who felt bad about the Church’s portrayal of the “Ideal Life” must be steeped in sin and not have the Holy Ghost with them. Anyone who was depressed about anything relating to the ideals of the Church just doesn’t have a testimony. I wanted so badly to write something. It made me so angry!

If anyone were to observe my life it would seem so good and perfect. The thing is that nobody gets to see what goes on inside my head. No one else has to deal with the feelings raging inside me.

I don’t know what I was really trying to say other than venting my feelings and confusion. Sorry it was long. Thanks to anyone who is reading this.


GeckoMan said...

Dear Reaching,

Congratulations, talking about your feelings and dealing with them in meaningful ways, like the blog and confiding in your wife, is the best thing you can possibly do! Keep struggling with your fears, don't think you are alone in these issues. Confront your longings, and you will find resolution to your feelings. What you're going through is what we all go through--the intimate need for connection. Realize that this doesn't have to be sexual. Healthy male friendships are beautiful and part of a rich life. So set a goal to go find that dear missionary companion, and don't be afraid to talk with him; compare notes and you'll probably learn something.

Get your head out of your shorts. Love people for who they are, not what they are, and in the same moment, you'll be loving yourself as well.

Neal said...

Listen to the gecko! Great advice. And we all have our ups and downs, our week moments, our moments of temptation, and our moments of doubt. Its called being human. Just get up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward.

I like this quote President Hinckley gave in one of his talks:

“Life is like an old-time rail journey — delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.

The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride”

Take Care,


reachingupward said...

Thanks, guys. You've both given me some really good advice and a lot to think about. You might not have any idea what your support means to me, but thanks. I really need it.