I was talking with one of my best friends the other day and we were talking about the progress I have made since having accepted that I was Gay. She made the comment that she couldn't believe how happy I seemed and what a difference it was from even a year ago. She said that she was at one time scared to death that she was going to get a phone call informing her that I had killed myself. She told me that these were rough times for her because she knew there was nothing beyond just being there for me that she could do. She reminded me of the very instance, the very phone call were she knew that the tide had turned and that I was going to be alright.
In one of my prior posts I tell of the experience I had with a councilor who was able to help me change my life. I was one of the gay Mormons who fell under the reparative therapy theory era. I was convinced that my soul was damned because I liked guys and often I had "bad" thoughts enter into my mind which would not stop coming no matter how hard I tried. No matter how hard I tried I could not force myself to change, I could not make myself be attracted to the ladies and neither was God making it happen no matter how often nor how sincere I begged. Over a period of time this ate at my soul. I remember sitting in General Priesthood meeting on numerous occasions and listening to brethren say things that I took as damning my soul. If only I was good enough, if only I tried harder, if only I served more, if only. . . But nothing worked, I still had the most horrible thoughts continually enter my head when it came to certain men around me that I found attractive. I fought it more than I could express here with mere words, but to no avail. My life had become so consumed with the fight that life itself lost all meaning. When one believes his soul is damned there is no reason to go on. Over a period of time this took it's toll and drained my being of most of the drive within. This is the period my friend was talking about when she made the comment regarding how worried she was about me. Little did she know at the time that her phone calls literally kept me alive. I remember the night she referred to when I actually had my 45 out on the bed next to me while I was talking with her on the phone. I had called to say my goodbyes. I don't remember what she said or did, but obviously whatever it was worked for I am here today writing this post. Another time I stood perched on the outside edge of a freeway overpass readying to jump. Every time a semi-truck drove by I noticed a car or minivan near and feared that the truck would swerve and hit the vehicle killing it's passengers. I stood on that overpass from about 11:30 till nearly 3:30ish in the morning. These instances have much more detail to them but suffice it to say I had lost all hope.
The moment my friend was referring to when she knew the tides had turned occurred one night when I called her on the phone as I was leaving a new councilor's house. By this time I wasn't attending church much because it hurt too much. My bishop called me in one day and asked if I would talk to his neighbor, a new member of the word who happened to be a dean in the psyche department at a local university. He thought that this man might be able to recommend a councilor who might be able to help me. The night I met him I was scarred to death that he might see how desperate I really was, that he might discover my hidden secret. If that happened I didn't know what I would do. During the course of our visit I learned that he had a private practice which specialized in working with gay returned missionaries. Holy Cow now I was really petrified, I knew that he knew. Oddly enough as time went on I later found out that I had hidden it so well that even he did not pick up on it during our chat. He recommended a councilor to me and told me that this was one of the best he had ever worked with. I went to see this person and clicked with him from the moment we met. He told me during our first visit that he strongly believed that if he could not help an individual to learn how to help themselves within a three month period that either he wasn't doing his job or that his pt wasn't willing to change. Once again I won't go into details here but something happened inside of me that night, a light was reignited deep within. As I was sitting there in his home talking with him I knew that there was hope. As I was leaving he looked at me and thanked me for coming but asked that I perhaps call it a good visit but not return. I was shocked. He then preceded to tell me that if I wasn't able to be honest with him, to stop bullshitting him as he put it, then I was merely wasting his time and mine. I assured him that I was being honest with him, to which he replied "Bull". I left in tears completely committed to never darken his door again. However I knew he as right, I knew what he was talking about too yet I was not about to tell anyone. My heart told me that this was my chance to come clean, this was my chance to finally deal with this thing which had destroyed my life. Within three minutes of leaving I called him on the phone and told him that he was right and that I would tell him everything the next week if he would see me again. The next week I said the words "I am Gay" out loud for the first time in my life and I have not looked back since. That night my soul was freed! As I left his home I called my friend and talked with her about having met a new councilor that I really thought could help me. Keep in mind though I had told Rich that I was gay this friend did not know, or at least I thought she didn't know. It would be another month before I was ready to start telling others and she was the first to know.
As we were talking on the phone last night she told me that it was that night as I left Rich's house that she knew that I was going to be OK. Rich has somewhat of a different philosophy when it come to counseling people, he believes that we all have the answers within we just need some help learning how to access them. My Moho blogosphere friends I cannot even begin to describe what I felt that night as the light was reignited. There have been some rough times since then, the roughest when I first told my family and all Hell broke loose. However it is important to note that even then the absolute darkness of despair never entered my soul again. I told Rich one year ago this coming September and my family the following December.
In trying to deny my core it drove me to despair and near suicide. In accepting the Gay soul within it brought complete peace and joy into my life. If one is to research the fruits of the Spirit, it becomes obvious which came from God and which from Satan himself. I have come to believe that God does not want me to deny who I am, His love for me goes deep and his heart aches when he sees the despair from having tried so hard to change something that is for me unchangeable. I do not understand homosexuality, I do not claim to have the answers but my heart tells me I am finally on the right path which will eventually lead to eternal happiness.
For now I will continue to attend Church, to interact with the members of my ward, and to do so as an openly Gay man. I will no longer be ashamed of who I am. I will no longer hide in the closet. I have a hope that by so doing I may be able to open the eyes of some and make the path easier for those who follow in my footsteps. As you can see from my last post this is already beginning to happen.
NOTE: When I finally told my friend Brenda that I was Gay her reply was, "Well it's about time, I was wondering if I was going to have to tell you".
I think that I will share photos of the Rich who was lost and in despair and then some of the Present Rich who in the Morphing process in my next post?