Friday, April 4, 2008

Losing Ideals, Finding Real Answers

I have all but abandoned this blog, it may seem. The length of time that elapses between each successive post seems to be increasing in an exponentially tragic sort of way. The reasons for this dwindling are multiple, the primary one being that the original function of this blog has changed and (ultimately) been all but eradicated. New perspectives and intentions in this life have led me to ideological places quite different from those with whom I initially made blogging relationships. And I have thus found less marginal utility (I'm currently in an economics course :) ) in continuing to write on this blog.

I had a realization, however, and it may have revitalized my drive to blog. Blogging, for better or worse, does not have to function like life. In life, no matter what does or doesn't happen, the options are to continue consciousness and existence or to terminate life altogether. There is no way to start a new person. You can change, refresh, and revamp, but to completely obliterate or erase the past is not an option. In blogging, however, it always is. If I so desired, I could start up another blog, one in which my new being, my new philosophies, could have a clean beginning. This one could be left behind, left as carrion for the hungry readers of gay, Mormon blogs. But I have chosen to make my blog a life parallel. I can change my blog. I can give it new direction, new purpose, and a new feel. And beautifully enough, I do not need to scrap the past to do so. The same is true in life. Thus, with this life/blog analogy, I return to the pen (that is, the keyboard...)

I spent this year contemplating. Perhaps "contemplating" is too lofty of a word. There was no Buddhist meditation with green tea and lotuses. I spent this year in philosophical agony and existential yearning. Yes, that describes it more accurately. Huge questions entered my life when Mormonism was taken from it; the space that my faith filled left an enormous void, and like a vacuum, I truly began sucking in ideas from all places in life. I will write much, much more on my philosophical discoveries and questions later, but for now I will occupy my blog with its traditional subject--being gay.

Perhaps the best lessons I learned this year actually involve romance, even though I didn't explicitly participate in any. In some ways the things that I learned were shattering to my previous understandings of the world--this year in general could be marked by a general loss of ideals. However, the things I learned have formed the foundation of a maturity that has been much needed for quite awhile.

Probably because I was gay, I matured romantically much later than most. I regarded romantic love as something only between a man and a woman, and as such I either considered myself quite romantically mature (I never experienced lust towards women, I'll tell you that much! :) ) or simply not someone who would ever deal with such questions. I never truly considered the things that begin to weigh on most people's minds as they sexually and emotionally mature. My attractions were towards men, but I was ideologically opposed to having relationships with men, and as such I only ever explored the notions of romance with a man as fantasies. While other kids began to date, learn about those to whom they are attracted, find the enjoyable and the difficult in relationships, etc., I went on dates with women yet dreamed of dating men. Thus, neither the actual or fantastic dates truly taught me the lessons that I needed to learn. I always treated the women nicely, as my good parents taught me to do, but I never had to deal with the questions of commitment, of physicality, etc. because they were non-issues to me. On the other hand, the idea of dating men was something that (I see now) I had blown extremely out of proportion. I felt that if I could only have a boyfriend, my life would be immensely better. It sounds very immature of me to have ever believed this, but my numerous journal entries would easily betray me if I said that I never believed that finding love would solve my problems.

This year, then, was life changing for me. Why it all happened this year I cannot perfectly say. I did not date any men, as to do so would have been a betrayal of my integrity (having signed an honor code strictly prohibiting same-gender romance in all forms). I think that I began considering romantic questions as I considered all other parts of my life. College forced responsibility upon me in all forms, including mental and emotional. College gave me a critical mind like nothing else has; it has forced me to question and to consider all that I believe. The result has been painful, disillusioning, and completely refreshing. Romance seems to have been thrown in there with the rest of my philosophical questions. And oddly enough, even despite my lack of direct experience with it, I learned these things:

1) We all must deal with commitment issues in relationships. This probably sounds obvious, but to me it was not. I was told by my culture that gay relationships didn't last, largely because of commitment issues. Gay men are simply too promiscuous, too "horny" (for lack of a more dignified word) to maintain commitment, I was told. I began looking for these terrible prophecies about gays within myself, and in some form or another, I found them. I realized, however, that we must all deal with these complexities, whether straight or gay, male or female. Every person in a relationship must deal with attractions to those that he/she is not dating. Everyone must deal with jealousy. Everyone must deal with the crankiness of their partner, with different opinions and motives in the relationship, etc. I could elaborate much more on this, but in the name of saving potential readers from losing their entire next hour, I will abbreviate. It suffices to say that I realized that we all must make relationships work, and that relationship difficulty is not endemic to the gay world, just as relationship bliss is not exclusively found in the straight one.

2) Physical appearance is less important than initially seems to be true. This was a truth that I believed I ascribed to, although only after truly experiencing it did I realize that my previous reality was different. I used to sustain long attractions to men on little more than their physical appearance and their overall "look"--the image they were portraying. This all vaporized for me quite quickly here at college. I experienced the most wonderful phenomenon in which people began to be physically more or less attractive to me based on their personalities and internal qualities. One man, who is physically gorgeous, has become hardly attractive to me at all, upon getting to know him and realizing I can hardly relate to him. Another guy, a short kid with gaps between all of his teeth, is physically very attractive to me after this entire year of conversation and relation. It is an odd, albeit wonderful, occurrence. It means that beauty truly does come from within and that it can be found everywhere, for it resides not exclusively in the physical make up but within the soul, as well.

3) Achievements, like physical beauty, can only sustain a relationship for a short period of time. As an example, I thought I had feelings for a guy on my floor who got a 35 on the ACT, who plays the viola, piano, and sings beautifully, who has taken many AP tests and received 5s on all of them, etc. He is perfect, as far as records and charts go. I thought I liked him. But as I got to know him, these things faded, and the soul to soul relationship that was left between us was less than fulfilling. I enjoy him as a friend, but I realized that it has nothing to do with his accolades. There is something intangible and wonderfully mysterious that binds two hearts together, and it is certainly not quantified achievement.

I will stop here for now. This post is already too long, and I have only just begun. Expect more. I am back in the game, renewed and ready. Blogger world, here I come.


Kwonchy said...

I couldn't be more excited for you. I'm incredibly impressed with how you've changed. And I'm struck by the fact that if we break down our lives into segments, we're always going to find how we've changed and (hopefully) matured. I wondered how it would be best to respond to your comments, and I figure I'll just cover them in this one. I'm glad you liked my poem. It's possibly my favorite so far (I hope that doesn't sound too conceited). As for the series on The Plan, I'm still trying to figure out my beliefs in that area. I'm not sure if I'll be able to continue it much further, but I truly believe that he loved us at one point as much as Christ does now. I'll see where that goes. I can't wait to discuss these thing in depth with you!

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Welcome back.

I've come to learn these same things myself over the years. What has been most significant is that I've learnt that all the reasons and explanations I am given for why homosexual relationships are wrong just aren't true.

That more than anything has shown me that being gay truly is no different than being straight - except for the fact that we are treated differently, not because we are truly different, but because of perceived differences.

It sounds very immature of me to have ever believed this, but my numerous journal entries would easily betray me if I said that I never believed that finding love would solve my problems.

I thought the selfsame thing. I think many of us do think that. I also think there is some truth in it, but not nearly to the degree we had hoped.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this post. I look forward to hearing more of what you've to say.

-L- said...

Regarding previous comment: "What has been most significant is that I've learnt that all the reasons and explanations I am given for why homosexual relationships are wrong just aren't true."

There's only one real reason why homosexual relationships are wrong, and that's because they don't allow for sexual procreation within marriage. And surely you've heard that and acknowledge it's true? That God has officially said "no" is an extension of that (but isn't trivial either). You can believe or not believe the latter, but you can't deny the first.

Sully, I miss you. I'm glad to hear that you are learning, and I must admit that I'm disappointed that you've undergone a "general loss of ideals". That's probably a necessary and painful step toward reinforcing the ideals you've always held (and are worth holding regardless of your sexual orientation or religious affiliation). Still, sad to me to hear.

I wish you the very best in finding real answers. Don't take for granted the beautiful answers that continue to be easily accessible.

Original Mohomie said...

I SO know what you're saying here. And to be honest, it's really refreshing to hear a young guy realizing this stuff, though I suppose it's not a huge surprise to hear it from you. Gay or straight, guys have trouble realizing this, and I think many guys NEVER realize these things.

I've been through some of the same. Patting myself on the back for seeing beyond appearances but then realizing I was less adept at doing so with physically attractive guys until gaining more experience to adjust my perceptions. I certainly don't claim to be perfect at seeing past appearances, but I try to stay aware that looks, talents, intelligence, and other qualities which may be more about genetics than character are very outward, and personal integrity, character, humility, truthseeking and selflessness really are the essentials for me.

...physical attractiveness is still nice, however, if all can be found together. So rare, so rare... :-)

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-L- said...

The lack of an ability to procreate is a TRUE argument against homosexuality, whether you agree with it in principle or not. That was my point. And that infertile couple will be procreating throughout eternity, if they are worthy in this life, something that will never be possible for a pair of same gendered lovers. Very simple. It's unnecessary to allow your ardent opposition of the church to make your position so blatantly polarized.

Molly Sue said...

I'm still reading. You've got a lot to say, and I like it.

It's good to be gay. Especially when you find peace in who you are.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-L- said...

"who's to say that those aren't possibilities there as well?"

That would be God's prophets. Those who believe in them have every justification for a rational argument against homosexuality. That's all I'm saying. You can imply that anyone who opposes homosexuality is lying by saying "untrue" things, but that's not really all that useful.

Secret Lover said...

Aww, my boy's all growed up! :)

As for the two people who decided to have an argument void of much relevancy to the blog, do you think you could deface your own blogs and leave Sully alone? Really, his writing is truly beautiful, and I find your conversation incredibly disrespectful.

I love you, Kiddo. Can't wait to see you.

Anonymous said...

First time here. I'm not gay. I was drawn in, not by the topic, but by your language. I speak philosophy too. Agree or not I think you give an incredible description of what you are going through and how you feel. I look forward to reading in the future.

Secret Lover said...

Du nuh nuh nuh (that's a song in my head) let's get married!!!!!!!
Subtitles explode my brain. Guess what word is in subTITle. Let's play ass tag. I woke up and he was having sex with another man on top of me!

Secret Lover said...

Ha! I'm so embarrassed. They were quotes from Will and Grace, which I was watching. Just to clear that up. :)