14 January 2008

Letter From a Friend

This is an e-mail message from a long-time friend of mine who does not share my LDS background but who could be described as a spiritually-aware person who does share the experience of being attracted to members of the same gender and who grew up in a fairly conservative household. He is a friend I love for his sincerity and honest thoughtfulness.

I asked his permission to share most of his e-mail with the world on my blog, which he granted. So please, understand the perspective this is coming from and treat it with the respect and love in which it was given. I think it's refreshing to hear a voice from outside the moho sphere and glean wisdom and perspective from it as well, even if you may differ on certain points:

I was poking around for your blog today since I hadn't read it in some time... you've written a lot while I was offline. You may or may not realize this, but I do quite enjoy reading your blog, even though it works me up a bit in doing so. I appreciate your candid way that isn't overkill, just fresh and real. On a psychological level, I'm glad you write since, in my experience, it is a great way to work with all the stuff going on in one's head. I hope things are going well for you right now and that [where you live] is still a kick in the pants (was it ever?).

So, while reading the blog, there were two things that struck me that I wanted to write to you about. The first is from the list of reasons not to come out. It was about the fear of being labeled gay. I remember that fear from way back when and I think it's a very easy fear to have, especially with the way gay people are sold these days. But I think it's pretty much ill-founded though. Actions speak much louder than labels. I'm not a person that's incredibly forthcoming about my sexuality, but I don't hold it back either because I've found it as a catalyst to bring people closer to me, particularly straight guys. Because I am simply myself at any given time, people feel at ease and comfortable with me. I mean, a lot of straight guys flirt with me because they know I'm not a threat and they can let their guards down.

Because they can see me and my motives, there's actually a bond that grows. But if I wasn't being me and was instead trying to be gay, complete with all the lies about what was supposed to make me happy, then people would not be as receptive to me as they are. But that goes for everything. I think part of my draw is my disinterest in convention and my interest in sifting through all the crap I've been taught and trading it in for truth through experience.

That's not meant to toot my own horn, it's just what I know about myself and I have to accept that. I guess the reason I'm writing this is because being gay can be used to our advantage to educate people and also to simply improve the relationships we have. Honesty with tactfulness is an incredible tool.

Opening yourself up to people without fear is one of the greatest experiences that I've been able to have. And I've only found all this out recently (within the last year). There comes a time when the gay folk have to stop feeling sorry for themselves and stop fearing the world and realize that this can in fact be a gift. Sort of on that level, in terms of becoming close to people is the issue of sex. I think I danced around this with you before, but I think I've learned a lot lately that may take it a step further. There's been a lot of talk on the moho blogs about the issue of sex and its somewhat lesser importance in relationships. To me, and I don't want to be an ass, I just want to be honest, it seems like an elaborate way of trying to convince oneself that they can still be straight even when they aren't, or that these heterosexual pairings can really work out well. I don't really buy it. Sex is an important part of a relationship. There is a soul communion that occurs during the process that, when properly used, can really elevate a relationship to another level. It has little to do with appearances or lust, but everything to do with connection and spirituality.

There isn't just a physical nakedness, but an emotional and spiritual one as well. But, like previously mentioned, that vulnerability can be used to take our existence to another level. I think that's what the church talked about when discussing sex. But it's also something that needs to be cultivated over a period of time, which is why it pays to be monogamous. But the "plumbing" doesn't matter, because the physical arrangement isn't the whole deal, but it is a part of it. And gay folks have figured out how to work around that.

I've also seen other relationships (and even my own) fall apart because of issues with sex. I had to realize at some point just how important it is to sexually validate someone with whom I was in a relationship with, even if it wasn't explicitly stated. Not many people can handle that level of openness without being validated on some level. And then it's a real mess when that doesn't happen.

I find it hard to believe that being gay and in a heterosexual relationship can find this level of satisfaction. Maybe that's not the right word. Evolution, perhaps. I'm sure people can be content in some sort of way (that I don't get), but I always thought that a relationship should raise the bar and make both people even better than they were before.

But I guess if making babies is the real goal, then nothing I've said matters. It really comes down to priorities in the end. And if a person is content living in fear of god, the church and the beyond. I guess that's what everyone's taught on a certain level. It's too bad because instead of really helping to craft relationships, it finds some great ways to blow them up. And I've seen that happen plenty.

Anyhow, I'm not writing any of this to try to convince you to change your life. I do hope that ultimately you will make healthy choices (and I do believe having sex is a healthy choice when properly expressed) and that the questions surrounding this issue will end up being answered. I want to make sure that you hear a voice that comes from a similar background but one that is not embroiled in the same struggles. A fresh point of view can help sometimes.

I do care about you, [O-Mo], which is why I communicate with you and follow your mental wanderings. I so often want to scoop you and your friends up and tell you all that none of the crap we struggle with really matters. It's just us against ourselves. The real importance in life begins when we get over ourselves and our parochial views of life. Then we can see that things are far more amazing than could have been imagined.

So I guess take this for whatever it's worth. I hope it doesn't piss you off, because that's not how it was meant to be taken. I hope you're well and that you have a fantastic Christmas. Give the mohos my greetings.


Samantha said...

You know, while I understand where he's coming from, he absolutely has no idea what he's talking about when discussing MOM's. Having experienced both homo and heterosexual experiences, I would count myself a little more informed than he is. And I suppose I get a little bit worked up about this because one day it would be nice not to have my marriage (which did not happen out of fear of God, family, or religion--since I really wasn't into that at the time and I stopped caring what my family thought when I was abot 13) knocked by heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Having said that, I made my choice without realizing I would ever need to defend it. However, even knowing what I know now--I would make the same choice again. And I will never apologize for it.

The Impossible K said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm glad I let my wall of pride down enough to really soak in your friend's words and realize he has a point... Of course, it doesn't magically create the natural "attraction" that most heteros experience, but it puts things into perspective. Especially when he says "It has little to do with appearances or lust, but everything to do with connection and spirituality." I really need to remember that.

Peter said...

Thank you.

Finally a voice saying what I feel pressured to keep silent: "Sex does matter. Sex is healthy. Sex is an important part of a relationship."

I'm not saying we should all go get involved in a sexual relationship, but I really don't think it's healthy to avoid intimacy nor is it healthy to fake intimacy. I think, in cases like Samantha, gay people can have real healthy intimacy with someone of the opposite sex. I think, however, that in such cases where that doesn't happen, something else needs to be done.

One of So Many said...

Love, intimacy and connection are the bricks...sex is the mortar. All it does is tighten the connection between those involved.

It does have to be there and enjoyed. My marriage...struggles with this and it makes my marriage really hard...that and no emotional connection. So in a way it feels a lot like I'm trying to build a house without bricks and mortar...hmmm...