07 February 2010

Reminder to Self: No Mo' Mohos

I need to stop getting to know mohos, particularly the newbies. I'm in a different place than almost all of them and have no interest in pretending otherwise, the new ones are way too volatile, I don't have the energy to break through their judgments or deal with their detachment when they realize I'm not kidding about my agnosticism or they rekindle their "testimony" and no longer need an understanding ear or shoulder for their passing phase, and becoming attracted to the occasional one who flirts back is seriously an exercise in futility, self-deception and sure heartache.

I will keep ties with those I already know. They've become friends for a reason, and I'll keep the opportunity to have them accept or reject me despite or because of my beliefs, traits, whatever, as I do with them. I love even those mohomies and mohoneys with whom I've fallen out or experienced detachment, and I appreciate their friendship and care about them, but I don't have the energy to be someone's shiny new toy they act all excited about and become enamored with at first, only to lose interest once they've examined it thoroughly and the honeymoon has worn off. I thought I did again, but I don't. Obviously, some of this is to be expected in any relationship, but it's somehow magnified for me in mohodom. Will I purposely reject friendships that have potential? Probably not. I don't think I have it in me. And not all mohos are equal: many are quite understanding and loving. But will I severely limit the interaction I have with conservatively LDS gay boys? Definitely, especially the newly-coming-to-terms ones. I need to be more strict about keeping my distance.

If I am starting to spend time with a moho I've admitted to finding attractive, stop me: it won't end well. If I'm hanging out with conservatively LDS folks, hit me over the head before they have a chance to disappoint my expectations of them seeing past my apostasy into who I am at heart and what I have to offer as a person, regardless of my beliefs. Remind me where it will surely lead: to them detaching before I do, despite still caring about me and wanting to talk occasionally, and considering me a spiritual detriment to themselves, their goals of eternal marriage, and their social circle even while I'm still attached and mostly overlooking their perspectives I consider largely flawed and destructive because I see qualities in them I love and respect. Make me sober up and take a month's vacation from them.

I can't keep doing this. I'm really feeling a drive to leave Utah and Idaho (and every conservatively LDS place) and stop trying to reconcile and find harmony beyond what I've done with those who were already my friends. I know it's an emotional reaction right now, and it'll pass, but I'm not sure it should. There's a lot I like about many conservative places: down-to-earth and humble people, appreciation of simple pleasures and happiness money can't buy, "clean living", family orientation, and others. But those qualities, not necessarily the places themselves, are what I like, and I can find those things in other places; they're not traits monopolized by conservative, small LDS towns in Utah and Idaho.

I'm tired of being perceived as the pitiful fallen former-stalwart whom people I love and enjoy "care about" but with whom they don't necessarily feel comfortable or at ease anymore, not necessarily because of my behavior, demeanor, or personality, but because of my beliefs, which I have to admit is pretty understandable (I don't care if my neighbors act like model citizens: if I know they're KKK members, I'm not going to find it easy to interact with them). I'm tired of trying to ignore people's emotional distance and withdrawal and not interpret them as signs that all they see when they interact with me is their friend or loved one who "used to believe and has obviously become spiritually lazy or sinful enough to lose his testimony". Even if they eventually come around, I'm not convinced it's worth it. Let them find another punching bag for their self-righteous judgment on their way to learning what I think is a more Christlike discipleship or eventually going off the deep end in grand fashion.

Some would say this is the torment of a guilty conscience. They don't have any idea. I have to shrug and let them think that. But I am admittedly speaking out of pain. Pain of knowing that, to some I thought of as friends, I lose most or much of my worth to them once they realize I've "lost the faith". Yet I have trouble blaming them because I've been there: I've looked at others that exact way. And I must admit I may be projecting my past perceptions onto some, but a few have frankly confirmed to me that's exactly what they think, after some pressing from me. But I can't take it back because it's the most honest I've been about my beliefs in a long time, and to pretend I want faith in LDS doctrine back would be a lie to please them or make my life easier.

And yes, I do know I have friends and family who are more successful at seeing past my faithlessness to who I am beyond religious doctrines, and I'm thankful for that.

I'm just...tired. I'm going to go take a nap.


El Genio said...

Clearly you need to move to California ;)

Max Power said...

I agree with El Genio.

Mister Curie said...

The East Coast isn't too bad either . . .

boskers said...

Sorry if I'm one of the many "volatile newbs" that frustrates you.

Ned said...

Have you considered Park City or Moab?

Your potential friend,
Ned (old, married, liberal and questioning of authority) ;D

D-Train said...

I think I have to agree with both of the above comments. It is time for you to get the eff out of Utah and meet some real gay people. The kind who don't really need to be talked down off the ledge, are confident, and comfortable with who they are and who are living their lives to the fullest.

I know how important it is for the newbies to make those friends right now, but we all know that you are not going to be that friend for them. The newbies will have to progress on their own, and you can't really force the progression which has taken us a while to achieve.

I think it is time to initiate "Operation Get Original Mohomie Out of Zion."

Original Mohomie said...

To all who proposed locations: appreciated and being taken into consideration. :-)

D-Train, you're right about newbies needing to do it all in their own timeline. I can't make them see the subtlety, the optimism, or the complexity until they are ready to see it, yet sometimes I think I start to try. No good.

...and I have GOT to start refusing to get to know any of them I find attractive, which is thankfully quite rare but not rare enough.

Boskers, no, you weren't on my mind while writing this, since I barely know you. This was more about accumulated incidents, relationships, and conversations with people I know more personally.

Quiet Song said...

I'm thinking Brazil . . . near the beach.

drex said...

Don't think that anything you've done stands in the way of our friendship - while a lot of people who've "lost the faith" think that we look at them askance, think less of them, or don't want to be around them, really we're just naturally antisocial and/or too busy. Seriously.

And apparently Salad needs some Mohomie lovin'. (:

The Impossible K said...

I've been over analyzing the thoughts contained in this post and our recent conversation all day... I certainly hope I'm not lumped in with those "conservative LDS folk" you speak of... It's totally understandable to refrain from self-disclosure when some dear friends bail out on you, but I won't. I hope you know that :)

Original Mohomie said...

drex & K, thanks. I think I've felt unusually vulnerable recently, and I appreciate the reassurance.

And no, K, I'm pretty sure you and I have enough history that you won't bail without some pretty darn good reason. I've had very few bail on me, but I've had a fair share (almost all recent friends) just "pull back" a bit more than I expected, even after I thought I'd been pretty up front from the beginning about where I'm at with everything.

Anyway, c'est la vie. I've experienced and observed it from all kinds of people at different times in my life. I'm sure I've done it to people at times, too, mostly out of insecurity or inability to deal with the stress of processing, but maybe even because I simply thought they were not worthy of my time. Bleh.

Jon said...

Funny. I was kind of excited when you first posted about your agnosticism. Maybe that means I am losing the faith.