30 April 2007

Now I Get It! ...Oh, but wait...

I’ve talked with a few people about the topic of how you choose a spouse, primarily in a "normal" context, not a moho one, and a common tidbit of input I’ve heard is that at some point, you simply choose. Some people may have flashing lights and sirens when “the one” appears, but for most people, the decision to get married is more one of choosing someone, even when the butterflies may have worn off, or may have never been.

Someone told me you choose a girl whom you love, who loves you, one who would make an excellent wife and mother, someone you can look up to and who looks up to you, someone who brings out the very best in you and you her. There may be many girls out there who fit this description, but at some point, you just choose one, and you hold firm to that commitment. It may seem unromantic in a way, but in another way, it’s ultimately romantic: you CHOSE her. Of all the ones you could have chosen, you wanted her, you actively chose her because you loved her that much. And she chose you in return.

This all made sense to me intellectually. But I could, for some reason, just never really apply it. I couldn’t see myself choosing any of the girls I had been “interested in”. For some reason, it didn’t click. “Maybe I haven’t met the right one,” I thought. Maybe.

But something recently “clicked” regarding this question. I met someone some time ago to whom I was actually attracted on all levels: emotional, physical, spiritual… For the first time I can remember, I was attracted to someone in an excitingly full, romantic way. But wouldn't you know it...it happened to be a boy. Go fig. And even though there may be guys out there who are better-looking, others who are funnier, others who are better conversationalists, others more spiritual, I liked HIM. Now, I didn't want to pursue a relationship just because having a "boyfriend" was not an option, but what I realized the other day was that I could now picture myself choosing someone to be with long-term, even with someone who isn't perfect. THAT finally made sense.

Now, I'll acknowledge that there's a statistical probability that it just took meeting the right person for it to click, and it might as well have been a girl. But please, let's just be honest... Yeah. So anyway, the point is not that I want to find a nice guy to settle down with; it's that a basic principle of relationships which had sort of made sense intellectually but never really seemed real to me finally became real when applied to another member of my gender. It was an interesting realization which was both disconcerting and motivating.

Disconcerting on one hand: it was just another confirmation of my thoroughly homo nature and reminded me what I may or may not ever have and still long for. I had heard friends talk about how they never knew what romance, or relationships, could be like until they found themselves in another guy's arms, or that they didn't know a relationship could feel so free, so intimate, and so exhilarating until they were with another guy. And now I had discovered, firsthand, what that realization was like.

Motivating on the other hand: I finally had something to relate to and grasp onto which I may someday learn to apply to a relationship with a great girl, should I find one who “does it for me.” Even if I don’t feel it the same way, I can understand and apply it to whatever extent possible.

That was my aha moment for this last month.

29 April 2007

The Moho Craze Around the World

Well, we're coming up on the official 1-year anniversary of the term 'moho', and I'm happy to report that the moho world is more alive and thriving than I ever imagined. See the following links for moho-related information from around the web:

Moho data -- This page mentions Moho conversion. Apparently, change is, in fact, possible.

Moho Depth -- Think you're less shallow than the average gay? Someone found a way to measure.

Moho What? -- A story about a "Sheepeater boy"? Is that how they refer to us?

MoHo Records -- Did you know we had a label?

Moho, He Visto La Cruz al Reves -- We even have an album

Moho Tropical Birds -- apparently, this issue is not exclusive to humans

MoHo UK -- apparently, mohos in the UK got together to build a housing development. Unfortunately, shortly after this web site was made, the development's first tenants all died of sexual frustration.

Evergreen Brings Out the Straight in Me

Went to an Evergreen fireside tonight. I enjoy them well enough, but I can't tell you how seared onto my eardrums the word "change" is now. While it's great to have goals and to be open to change and actively seek certain changes at certain times, it's just a turn-off for me to hear "change" SO much. And seriously, Evergreen meetings shouldn't turn you off...

Part of me wants to maintain business as usual, with friends both original recipe and moho style and occasional attractions to be flirty with but not pursue anything. I'm honestly pretty content right now.

But part of me also wants to find a wife someday to be a companion and with whom to raise children, though I must admit it's quite possibly more appealing in theory than when I think about actually doing it. But still, it's not hard to picture myself doing the family thing. And yet when I hear someone pushing "change" and "journeying into manhood", while I do see value in those things, part of me wants to shrug and walk out the door and tell them to keep their change.

On the other hand, I'm not one to say, "I'm not broken! I don't need to be fixed!" I'm probably cracked and bruised here and there. I can acknowledge I may have hit some bump in development that caused this. OK. And to "change" might actually be to simply "revert" back to how I should have been all along, had development gone as it was supposed to. I get that.

And I appreciated what the speaker said about how most people really need to not skip right to exorcising the gay out but to first remove roadblocks such as perfectionism, depression, OCD, addiction, or whatever before the natural process of emotional development can play out like it should, and the "change" desired by so many can then come somewhat naturally. That makes sense to me.

Yet I couldn't help but hear an undertone, "I changed, lots of men change, so if you haven't changed, you just need to try harder, and one day, you could be a normal human being, too." Even if that IS true, is there another way to approach it? Maybe not? Regardless, it was an interesting talk.

One thing I can say for Evergreen is that there are few times I feel straighter. Not sure what it is. And tonight I felt as straight as I've felt for a long time when I saw the brunette hottie towards the front of the chapel. And this hottie happens to be


I know, I know, revoke my certification if you will, but I actually thought, "I could date her. I could actually ask her out and maybe enjoy doing so. I hope she's just a supportive friend." This, of course, was more motivational towards change than actually listening to the talk. (No offense to the speaker; it's just that he's not a gorgeous brunette.) But after a brief introduction, she was whisked away by her friends. It was not meant to be.

Well...that one kid with the brown suit and blue shirt was kinda cute...

...back to being a homo.

28 April 2007

My first essay on SGA

The first time I ever expressed my feelings to a forum, I posted a journal entry of mine to an online discussion group in April 2005. Two years later, and after a hiatus from the online moho community, I'm reposting this as an introduction to the blogging world. It's long. WAY long. If you're up for it, here it is:

25 March 2005 (revised a few times since)
So many ideas. This is ridiculous. I'm looking for something else to write to avoid writing what's really on my mind. And I'm tired of writing what's on my mind using cryptic language and vague references in case anyone should ever read it. Maybe I should just write exactly what's on my mind and see how it goes. So here it is… I'm sexually attracted to guys. Of course, only very fit, good-looking guys. I've always been finicky, and this is no exception. As long as I can remember, I've longed to run my fingers down firm, toned pecs and abs. This has been the case ever since I've been aware of sexual feelings.

That's not to say I've never been attracted to girls on some level. I find as more time goes by, I forget some of this, so I'm writing it to remember. On an emotional level, I've been attracted almost exclusively (until recently) to girls. And when I really think about it, the non-physical attraction towards males came about after the physical, whatever that means. For some reason, the male form was intriguing and attractive, but I was not attracted to any `real' boys in an emotional, romantic way. I've felt some physical attraction, however mild, towards girls at times. Some part of me is attracted to tight, curvaceous, long-haired brunette beauties. But I admired the male form from afar—somehow it felt less dirty to look at men than women because they didn't have anything I didn't…except great physiques. Over time, women slipped further and further into the background. Now, physical feelings towards the opposite sex seem contrived or conjured, and distant. It seems like it's the blasted physical aspects that get in the way. Once I awakened to sexuality and discovered that it was heavily biased towards members of the same sex, things got complicated.

No doubt this text, if being read by family members and most friends, is grossing them out thoroughly. I have always been active in the church and have held leadership callings in many organizations. I have sat in bishopric meetings where church courts were discussed. I served a mission which taught me so much and gave me sweet memories and powerful experiences. I have even been known as a bit of a goody-goody. So it would be shocking to not only see the supposedly non-sexual me expressing burning desires deeply confined but to see those desires directed at members of the same sex!

I know what it's like to be grossed out by two men kissing or by the mere thought of it. Seeing it frequently grosses me out, too. In fact, even though I've desired some forms of sexual contact, the thought of kissing most guys seems repulsive and wrong, while the thought of kissing most girls seems…more natural even if they are not at all attractive to me (is this social conditioning?). So imagine my confusion when I first thought I might like to kiss a guy…but only an attractive one with whom I felt a connection.

I do fine alone, but I also want intimacy. And I want it to be physical as well as emotional. I want to feel like all is well in the world when I cuddle up to someone. I want to be excited to see someone every day (even if that wears off somewhat over time, I'd like to feel that at first, at least). I want to feel emotionally, spiritually intertwined with someone. I want to feel safe with someone. I want to feel like someone can know everything about me and be OK with it. I want that `someone' to share my standards, not challenge them. You can imagine my conundrum. What good, conservative LDS girl knows how to handle having a bisexual, gay-leaning boyfriend, let alone husband? What understanding, open-minded person who wouldn't be threatened or confused by my plight is also a family-minded, R-rated-movie-shunning member of the church? And if I find such a girl, will I even be attracted to her? Do you know how rare such girls are? And do you know how rare it is for me to find girls sexually attractive? On the other hand, say I did find a sensitive, intelligent, conservative guy I click with: I would have to choose between the church (and doctrines) and a potentially beautiful relationship. To complicate the befuddlement further, choosing between the church and this relationship may actually be a matter of choosing between deeply held beliefs about God, the universe, life, and myself and a life without a family but with someone with whom the whole universe melts away and doesn't seem to matter anymore. How closely do I hold those beliefs? Are they real or forced? Don't I want a family? Can I really feel like life is complete without raising children like I always wanted to? Would adoption into a same-sex parenthood be fulfilling, or-—more importantly-—right? After all, I, myself, have argued it is not.

Two bishops are the only people I've ever talked to about this. Both have dealt with it before, but neither has seen much in the way of `change.' One encourages thought control and changing perceptions willfully, even kissing a girl to see if it does anything for me, when I expressed that I'm not revolted by the idea. Unlike the others he has dealt with, I don't find intimacy with the opposite sex repulsive, per se, just not nearly as desirable. The other bishop says that if I decide to marry, I'll probably, considering the statistics, just have to go about life and marriage the best I can while accepting the fact that my sexual life simply will not be as fulfilling as most men's. I'll have to give up sexual fulfillment for the much deeper, longer-lasting fulfillment of emotional and spiritual intimacy and raising a family. This rang true but depressing at the same time. This second bishop is a professional psychologist. He knows what he's talking about. And yet my problem is one of, "Gee, yeah, that's a tough one. I'm afraid there's no nice answer for you." He did say he could arrange counseling for me, but I didn't pursue it.

If inspired bishops are somewhat at a loss, is there anywhere else to turn for help? Family wouldn't handle it well—it's too close to home, and they're not the best at keeping things private. How many times did trusted family members `slip' information about others that was supposed to be private?

And it may seem silly or comical, but how do you tell a friend you've repeatedly seen naked or nearly so that you've been attracted to the male physique since junior high? Would they even believe it if you told them--in all honesty--that you were never actually attracted to them and that had you been, you never would have allowed certain situations? And how do they suddenly take back all the harsh things they've said about homosexuals in your presence? No, you'd rather talk to someone who completely understands. You have your hunches of other friends and singles in the area who also may be struggling with the same issues, and you suspect it might help them and you to talk, but how do you approach a guy in elders' quorum and ask if he, like you, is into boys and wishes he weren't? "Oops, no, you're not like that? Oh, well… uh… neither am I… I was just trying to find out if you were a homo… So, how `bout those NCAA play-offs?" Really.

What about the friend you are sure experienced the same temptations …but you never said anything because he prefers to be seen as conservative and upstanding and generally doesn't talk about personal things. Now, you're dying to know how his feelings may have regressed or may be tearing him apart now that he's married. You suspect he's never spoken with anyone about these things and think it might be good for him to know he's not alone. How long did he find guys attractive, and how attracted was he to girls, and how sexually attractive does he find his wife? Does she know about his attractions? Does it get in the way of the relationship, or is everything great? Maybe he thinks he's all over the SSA. Or maybe he really is. You wish he were the type who talked about personal things so you could help each other, but he's not, so the one person you know would understand to some degree, you can't talk to.

You could go to a counselor, but the counselors nearby would either know you or your family or do not have the doctrinal framework to help you from the angle you want. You could maybe commute to see a good LDS counselor, but the bishop says he hasn't seen much progress from prior counselees. There are support groups to attend, like Evergreen, but the closest meetings are far away, and they seem to mostly consist of married or previously married middle-aged men with whom you struggle to relate. So you review many web sites on the subject and read online forums to get a sense of what they've been through and feel deterred from going anywhere near marriage while struggling this intensely. Other support groups are just too supportive of the `gay lifestyle' to be relevant to you.

So will I be judged for deciding that I need to live a life of celibacy and sacrifice marriage and family? Or will I be judged according to what I've been dealt in life, including a sort of exemption for having had to try to sort out this dilemma?

And if I chose to live without marriage and family, would I be in open defiance of my patriarchal blessing, which tells me I will be married and have a family? If that is revelation, then I can and should carry on with marriage despite my sexual attractions, right? Is it possible that promise was given with the understanding that I could choose it if that's what I wanted, but not that I have to, to fulfill the Lord's will? I mean, the Lord sometimes lets us know he would sanction a decision were we to make it, but we're not required or even expected to make it…doesn't he? But then, that's concerning matters that aren't clearly `right' or `wrong.' If I really do have the freedom to choose to marry versus stay single, does same-sex attraction exempt me from being held accountable? Am I making all of this up in my mind to justify my thoughts?

But if so—if it really is black and white and my patriarchal blessing tells me what I must do—it sure is still not a nice, tidy answer. After all, do you tell a potential fiancĂ©e about your orientation, possibly sparking insecurity on her part and distrust in the relationship? Would that be akin to telling your brunette wife that you've never been attracted to brunettes but only luscious blondes? Or is it a much different matter? Do you hold it back, never discussing it, but always live believing a huge part of you is repulsive and unacceptable to the one you are supposed to feel safest with? Or do you figure, we all have a past and skeletons in the closet, and there's no point in sharing them if nothing constructive is likely to come of it? You see, it's not just about the sex and sexuality. It's about intimacy. Initially, the worries are about whether I would be turned on by my wife. But I know the emotional intimacy is what matters most. But will that be what it should if she can't know this one, big part of me? Or if she wonders why she doesn't turn me on? Or if she knows about it and thinks she can handle it at first but then realizes ten years down the road that she can't deal with always wondering if I'll ever change and become attracted to her? Is it fair to bring her into that?

I have had an easy life. No huge challenges. No terrible trials. I always asked when my trials would come. Maybe this is it…or one of them. It certainly seems like a big one now. But then at times I think—let's look at this objectively. It's just sexual attraction. Aren't I just taking one aspect of my life and letting it rule me? My identity consists of a heck of a lot more than who or what arouses sexual, physiological responses. Stop obsessing about what your body chemically or hormonally reacts to in physically pleasing ways, and follow the Lord's plan. After all, some people are alcoholic (in the clinical sense, not just behaviorally)…or have horrible tempers… They didn't choose to be. They just have tendencies that may make it a little harder to live certain gospel principles. Then I think again—you can, through hard work and counseling, get an alcoholic away from the bottle. But can you make them enjoy prune juice instead? You can curb a temper, but a temper also doesn't necessarily, by definition, inhibit your carrying through with major covenants necessary to eternal life.

OK, so I think I've rambled just about all the thoughts I have for tonight. I realize other people struggle with huge dilemmas in their lives. There are people all over the world who, for whatever reason, have lost all desire and satisfaction (emotional, physical and otherwise) in their marriages and have to fight through them and carry on for the sake of their children. There are people all over the world who struggle just to feel like they are capable of accomplishing great things, or even of attracting anyone. There are people destitute and lonely. There are people surrounded by violence and turmoil. There are people who don't see how they'll even be able to survive past tomorrow. They just have to carry on with hope that one day, everything will come together. They have to trust. I suppose I have to find some way to do that. Same-sex attraction is not the only challenge in the world people are born with. It certainly seems unique, but it's not the only one.

I feel better, but I think I'll have to revisit this frequently to remind myself to calm down and not feel so despaired.

That was two years ago. Now, some perspectives have adjusted. Some views are broader. I've found a lot of input, talked with a lot of people, learned a lot, and experienced a thing or two, and yet it's funny how applicable most of these questions still are.

Busting into the blog world

So, I'm not really sure what to do with this. A few friends have told me I MUST blog. It's "therapeutic," they say, or they insist I probably have something to say. I've been intrigued by the idea of blogging, but I'm not sure yet how to go about it.

On one hand, I've written a lot about the topic this blog would focus on, namely mohodom and its quirky, twisted little universe, and I'd like to make my voice known. But on the other hand, I'm just not convinced it's needed, with everything else going on out there now, and I just don't feel a compelling need to publicize my thoughts. I'm not sure how it would benefit the world, and as for myself, I think writing them out on my computer is therapeutic enough.

And yet, I can't help but think back to when I was first looking for resources on homosexuality and how helpful it would have been to find "normal"-seeming guys who were openly addressing what it's like to be actively LDS and live with homosexual attraction at the same time. (Note: the lack of robotic use of approved labels, like "same-gender attracted", is quite deliberate but not antagonistic.)

So here I am, with a few ideas to share, thinking there must be someone out there who could benefit in some way from them, and maybe I'll benefit in some unforeseen way, too. I don't figure I have anything revolutionary or mind-blowing to say, but I think of a great Sondheim song, "Move On", (no, I'm not a huge musicals buff -- weird, I know -- but I do appreciate some good Sondheim) in which George says he doesn't know what to write because there's nothing he can think of to say that hasn't already been said, and Dot promptly retorts, "Said by you, though, George?"

So with that, I feel a drive to write. But I've been hesitating for weeks because I'm not sure how to approach it. How personal do I get? If I get really personal, do I need it to be anonymous? Or is getting really personal just too cheap? Is it trashy to publicize my deepest thoughts to the world, or are people's deepest thoughts more needed in a public arena? I lean toward the former, that I should avoid getting too personal here but do it in more closed, intimate settings. But I wonder...

And what of anonymity? I have not spoken with my family about this. I have not spoken with many of my friends about it. I'm not terrified of people finding out, and yet I'd like to have control over how and when they do find out. And even my writing style might be recognized by someone who knows me well enough. The slightest use of punctuation, language, expressions, all would clue someone in who knows me well enough. Any quotes or references to movies or musicals I like will give pieces to the puzzle.

But maybe that's OK. Maybe it's time to decompartmentalize more and more with each day. To drop the guises. To drop the reservations about being found out. To just be free to be me. But that's idealistic. How often does ANYONE feel free to just "be"? No, there are jobs to be held, families to feed, causes to aide, and families to protect, and unfortunately, few people are ready to accept the humanity of those around them. So for now, maybe I'll just write with a bit of reservation. Not reveal too much. Not put too much out there to leave a trail. But not worry about it, per se, because someone might piece together the puzzle.

I must admit I like being a little mysterious. I do like the thought of people reading my journal after I'm gone, finding photo journals and writings, and friends coming together with each of their pieces to the puzzle and saying, "Wow, he was more human, intriguing, and multi-faceted than I ever imagined." Because in reality, aren't we all?

Boy, that's deep. I astound myself. Well, enough self-astounding for one day; writing this blog isn't, I hope, about satisfying some self-aggrandizing lust for attention. I'll just post this, let it sit a while, go to the corner, and think about what I've done.