17 November 2007

So Damned Self-Interested

I've had a realization, of sorts, that I've kind of known but haven't fully looked at: mohos are entirely too self-interested and self-absorbed. Unfortunately and uncomfortably, I include myself in that statement.

When I talk to friends, I'm used to talking about ideas, concepts, experiences, families, friends, events, music, etc. But it seems like I now live in a world where everyone wants to talk about their own life and has little interest in glimpsing into and understanding mine. Does anyone care what I did and felt today? Do my close friends really want to know about me, or do they just want the surface because that's all they care about or see? Am I doing the same to others?

Then another realization: my life is boring, so I most often don't feel there's much to share. There's nothing new happening. I'm not working towards any new goals whatsoever. I'm not volunteering. I'm working the same boring job with no real prospects of advancement. I'm not furthering my education. I'm not entering into any relationships. I'm not doing anything. I'm paralyzed by my own indecision. When did I become such a hollow shell of who I once was? When did I make stagnation my M.O.?

OK, so I'm totally self-absorbed because I'm trying to figure out what I want out of life, and wouldn't you know it, I haven't a clue. Maybe that's the crux of it right there: I'm self-absorbed because I can't figure out what I want out of life at all, so I'm constantly trying to figure out my conundra so I can move on, but moving on requires committing to one side or another, and I just don't feel ready to do that. Will I ever?

For example, one choice to make is what to do with this whole "gay" thing. Maybe I should just go off the deep end to experience what it's like to be a typical gay man without concerns of religion weighing on me all the time. Or maybe I should deny myself of all things homo and recommit to churchy life, returning to a monk-like state of devotion. But something tells me either way, even experiencing something won't be the end-all for me. My brain is too active and understands that even first-hand experience is limited in its scope and perspective because _I_ am limited in my scope and perspective. So maybe that particular type of commitment isn't what I, personally, need.

Maybe this is why I blog? I don't feel like I'm really doing anything productive with my life, so I write things to get people thinking and see what responses I get, so I can feel like I'm doing something without really living. Maybe my blog is just another way of masking the emptiness of my life.

I feel bad that every time I get together with my straight friends now, we always seem to end up talking about homosexuality. It seems like we can't just talk like "normal" people do. I have to expound on my ideas and try to "help them understand" what I'm going through. Maybe that's a large part of my hesitation to tell people. I don't want all of my associations to turn into this one-dimensional interaction.

Yet I think, "Why do I always talk about this? Why can't I just leave it alone?" Then I remember: most single people spend a lot of time talking about relationships, romantic interests, attractions...we all do it. But the difference is mine are not allowed to be pursued, so my talking about them isn't the usual, "So I went on a date with this girl the other night, and..." My discussion takes on a different form. Instead of being about the dating and the relationships, I then am left to talk about why I can't pursue any of it and why my same-gender attraction is an "issue", not a normal, healthy part of daily life.

But I'm not sure it has to be that way. I think it has to be possible to just live. To acknowledge the attractions and move on. To let go of the conundra for now and keep living. And this is where Phillip Brown's recent Community Voices essay on North Star comes to my mind. I love what he wrote, and I agree with it...intellectually. I don't think I've fully internalized those principles yet.

I feel foolish for the years I feel like I've wasted wallowing in a seemingly inescapable mire of conflicting desires, contradictory paths, and undefined goals. I feel foolish for spending so much of my energy consumed in the questions that plague me, the indecision and the ambiguity over what to do with same-gender attraction and what to do with my doubts about the church and its doctrine. Meanwhile, not only is life passing by at an alarming rate, but I'm also too damned (and I use that word quite literally as well as colorfully) busy being all-consumed in my own dilemas to notice the simple pain and suffering and needs in those around me: my friends, my family, my neighbors.

There is so much real turmoil and strife in the world. There are so many who feel utterly alone and unloved in ways I'll never understand. There are people dealing with challenges far more debilitating than my sexual frustration and romantic numbness. And there are simple, everyday nuisances I could help lighten with a listening ear and a supportive arm. And, more dramatically, while I'm busy fretting over the fact that I may never have an intimate partner the way I want one, someone's family is starving to death because they can't afford to eat. While I'm consumed in writing this very blog entry, a child is being violently beaten in her own home by the person who should protect and nurture her most in all the world. Granted, there's only so much I can personally do about certain things, but my point is: How selfish can I be to ignore the world around me because I'm too busy trying to decide what to do about the fact that I like boys?

And yet, even as I tell myself these things, I just want someone I love intimately to hold me tenderly as I fall asleep tonight, and I feel like crying at the prospect of never completely knowing that sweetness. I think I need a reality check.

In any case, I'm really tired, it's really late, and I really should sleep on this. But maybe getting the "raw" thoughts and emotions written is OK sometimes. So what the heck, I'll click that stupid "Publish" button...and then I'll fall asleep clutching a pillow I wish were living and breathing, and I'll try not to dwell on feeling indefinitely alone by remembering there are much bigger concerns to be thinking about in my life and the lives of those around me.


-L- said...

From what I know about you, I wish I knew enough to always want to know more. Clear?

Potentate said...

It doesn't have to be debilitating. Homosexuality can make us incredibly sensitive to other people's pains as well as our own.

"I'm going through this whole 'inner turmoil' thing and no one sees it; what are /they/ going through that I don't see?"

Chedner said...

1) I'm frankly offended by your vulgar title.

2) I'm listening to Jekyll & Hyde... but that has nothing to do with anything.

3) I would like to think the majority (or, at least the meat) of our conversations haven't had much to do with homosexuality (unless you count two guys talking about jazz music as two guys talking about being gay... which one could, I suppose...)

4) Granted, we haven't spoken that much.

5) I probably won't be speaking to you ever again -- because I'm offended by your post title.

6) Give me a call -- we'll go do something completely hetero... like build a robot (I did say 'hetero' not 'not-geeky').

7) Oh wait, I'm not talking to you.

8) Kinky Boots

Original Mohomie said...

L--it took me a while, but I think I understand you.

Potentate--who the @#$% are you and where did you come from? Good thought. Thanks.

Chedner--I kinda like you. Can we be friends soon? I'll call you. Maybe you didn't get my last text...

Greg-o said...

I just had a slight thought earlier today that maybe the reason people don't seem to want to get to know you is because you don't let them.
I dunno...

Original Mohomie said...

Greg-O, possible in some cases. It takes a lot of energy for me to build relationships, so I choose to have just a few close friends. But I don't think that issue applies so much to daily life kinds of things. I'm usually open to respond when someone bothers to ask me something. I'm a TOTAL introvert (which some people seem surprised to hear when I say it), so I don't generally just volunteer information unless someone shows their interest by asking. Part of this may be a personality thing. And part is, I really do believe, that mohos enjoy talking mostly about themselves and their drama and conundra, and this is something I've heard confirmed by multiple third parties. :-)

But that was a passing thought, mostly, that got me onto what I think is a more significant train of thought discussed in the rest of the entry.