Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I am a MAN!

Last August, I had the opportunity to attend an event that dramatically changed my life. It didn't have anything to do with the world around me. Instead, it completely changed the way I perceive reality, the way I construct reality in my own mind.

Journey into Manhood (JiM) is an experiential retreat that focuses on healing old wounds and resuming the journey into full heterosexual manhood. Going into the weekend I thought that I wasn't really going to get that much out of it. I had signed up three months earlier when I was in desperate need of help. However, over those three months I had made tremendous progress. I was doing pretty well. I was not prepared in the least for the psychoogical 2x4 that hit me square in the forehead.

Although I have promised not to discuss the processes that go on during the weekend, I wouldn't disclose that because I believe that they are more powerful if a person is not prepared for them. I will, however, talk about some of the personal insights that I experienced during that weekend. The rest of this post will focus on what I felt was the most significant for me.

According to David Matheson's "Four Principles of Change," masculinity, or more correctly a lack there of, is a key factor in the development of Same-Sex Attraction. At first I disagreed with that assertion. However, as I have contemplated it more, I have come to agree with it completley. This is not to say that all non-masculine behaviors and attitudes will lead to homosexuality. This is on a more basic, deeply personal level. It has more to do with the meaning we attatch to the behaviors than the behaviors themselves.

So, I had come to see myself as different than other men. Men are mean, insensitive, cruel, arrogant, stupid, insensitive, and the list can go on and on. They were the "out" crowd; that was for sure. What, then, was the "in" crowd? It wasn't girls. I knew I had a penis. I wan't a girl. I had no desire to be a girl. It wasn't until I encountered the "gay" crowd that I found a group to which I might potentially belong. However, I wasn't entirely comfortable accepting full membership into that crowd. I still felt that the gospel was true. There I was: screwed up as hell. I had no "in" crowd, I simply didn't belong.

In the '90s there was a distinct trend in reparative therapy toward the theory that if a "homosexual" man did "heterosexual" things, he would become "heterosexual." This worked for some men. I would hypothosize that these men were primarily the type who had not yet developed a concrete self-image and were able to accept a more stereotypical "heterosexual" image/role. However, this didn't work for a lot of people. I tried for years to "be straight" through sports. I was even pretty good at them. However, I never really like them. I understand football, basketball, and wrestling quite well. I just don't care to watch them or participate in them. I like cooking. It's fun. It's fulfilling. I'm not going to give it up and start watching basketball all the time. That would mean going diretly counter to my personality. Is there no other way to reconcile my self-concept--the way I see myself--and my gender concept--the way I see masculinity?

Well, in the previous theory, the client tried to change his self concept. I can see some areas where this may be necessary. However, what would happen if I simply changed the way I define masculinity? That is what happened to me on the JiM weekend.

I was reliving a particularly painful memory form Jr. High. I was told by a kid in my gym class that I was in the wrong locker room. He then proceded to tell me that I had a "pussy" and that I was a girl. I was in the middle of expressing the anger that I felt at the time when suddenly I stopped. I started laughing. Someone asked what was going on. I responded: "Who the hell were they to tell me I wasn't a man?" They meant nothing. I was masculine then and I am masculine now. In fact, what was masculine anyway? Was it not the simply the characteristic of being a son of God? Who then is more masculine than me? Maybe Christ. Yes, He is the embodiment of true masculinity. Was he anything like the image of masculinity that society has painted? Not really, in fact he was anything but. Why then have I accepted society's definition of masculinity. I try to become like Christ. Am I not then masculine? Am I not a son of God?

It's kind of funny, now. I no longer define masculinity by society or any other an. I define masculinity by myself. I am inherently masculine. The source of my masculinity is my divine nature as a Son of God. If I allow myself to accept that, I feel masculine. I am equal to any man out there.

I didn't have to change my likes and dislikes. I didn't have to change what I did every evening. I didn't have to change my personality. I just changed the way I defined myself.

You know, when I got rid of my perception that I didn't fit into the masculine mold, things changed. Again I don't mean to overstate the extent of the change, but for a short period of time, I felt completely heterosexual. I wanted to have sex with my wife--not for her, not just for an orgasm, but because it felt right. I actually wanted it because I was a man. Now that didn't mean that my head turned at every set of breasts that walked by. In fact, I still wasn't attracted to "women." I was attracted to a woman, wholy and completely, sexually as well as emotionally. That was amazing. Keeping that emotion has been a challenge, but I'm getting better at it.

The most important thing I gained from JiM was the understanding that I am a man and I DO belong in the world of men.

Wow, I don't post much

I'm not entirely sure why that is. It definitely isn't because I'm "cured," and everything is perfect. It may have something to do with the fact that I have figured out ways to deal with the issues that come up in my life in healthy ways. That sure doesn't mean life always flows smoothly, rather that when rapids appear, I can usually navigate them without landing in the river. In fact, I have even experienced some new problems in my life.

So, I don't feel like I have a whole lot to say lately about life changing insights or experiences. However, for the sake posterity and those who might possibly benefit in some way--even if they only gain some level of hope from my writing--I would like to go back over the past seven months and review a few of the insights and experiences that have helped me mold and modify my view of myself and the world around me.

So, my goal is to pump out the next couple of posts in the relatively near future. And then I want to continue to blog on a regular basis, simply documenting thoughts and feelings that I have relating to SSA, the Gospel, or about life on a more basic level.

I don't know what form this is going to end up taking. I guess what I'm trying to say is just that where I've geared a lot of my blog for my readers, I no longer feel that I have much to offer in that specific way. An quite frankly, I've lost the motivation to try. However, I have come to the conclusion that I do need to continue my blog more or less as a journal. Others are going to continue to be able to read it, but I'm not going to allow that to influence my writing in any particular way.