27 October 2010

Bridle, not extinguish

Sometimes I think many SSA folks give in to the fear that their homosexuality is a caged beast they'll be unable to control if they talk about it, interact with others who share their proclivities, or reveal its existence. Sometimes, they even cloak that fear as a great and faithful sacrifice as they sweep their inclinations deep under the rug, never to be seen or heard from again. Other times, it's a genuine effort to meekly bear their burden or just live the rest of their life without undue focus on that one aspect.

I've thought of sexual and romantic attraction, though, as "passion" rather than "temptation". Those attractions may sometimes be directed towards people with whom they shouldn't be exercised or pursued. That's true for anyone. But ever since I really looked at the scripture that counsels us to bridle our passions, I've loved that it doesn't say, "stamp out and extinguish your passions." Its says to bridle them, which makes me think of them as beautifully wild horses that you can either lock away out of fear or learn to tame and direct. I think this probably applies to other passions in life, too, and I actually know next to nothing about horses, but I'll stay on this homo horse and ride it out for the purposes of this post.

So unless you're thoroughly convinced God has specifically told you to keep your homosexuality a secret, or to stamp out the feelings it brings up, or to white-knuckle it as you try to kill it or ignore it, just consider the possibility that it wasn't meant to be ignored, or neglected, or shot on sight. Consider the possibility that you were meant to tame it. You can keep the wild horse locked up your whole life for fear of what it might do, or you can risk some scrapes and bruises in the adventure of learning to bridle and direct it.

Whether you believe the attractions themselves are the horse, and homosexuality is the horse's inclination to run off down dangerous or disallowed paths, or you believe straight people have one kind of wild horse and homosexual people have another, maybe with fabulous, colored hair and eye glitter, or you believe sexuality is basically the same for everyone, and some people's horses are prone to climb pillars of rock while others' are prone to charge into caves is your business. I haven't bothered to think the metaphor through to full conclusion or make it all profound 'n stuff. I mean, heck, wild horses are most beautiful and inspiring when they're running free within their realm. We only tame and bridle horses to make them useful to us, which limits their existence to our human constructs...gosh, that's kinda sad...but I guess if we have to choose between them dominating us or us dominating them, then that puts it into perspective. But who are "we" if not the conglomeration and interaction of all passions, intelligence,...OK, nevermind all of that for now.

Specifics aside, all I'm saying is maybe we're not meant to chain our horses up in dark stables to be released in shackles long enough to plow a field then locked away again until the next sowing. Maybe we're all supposed to bridle them, learning to live and love with passion. Maybe this life, even if you look at it from an LDS perspective, is neither merely a world full of "temptations" to be "overcome" or subdued nor a free-for-all grab-bag of pleasures but really is best learned from and appreciated as an adventurous experience full of interrelationships we're only beginning to understand. Eh, that's starting to sound all new-agey hippieish. Rein it in.

In other words: whatever the passions, I hope to bridle mine, in the sense of becoming one whole, rather than to be overridden by them or to stamp them out. And there's a vague sense in me that, similar to wild horses with life and adventure in their eyes, the strong drives to develop bonds and intimacy and partnership and, yes, even pleasure, with others are beautiful, not evil, even if they need a little guidance now and then to successfully function within certain constructs. I've found meaning, depth, beauty, and even increased passion in the self-mastery of bridling and directing passions, and there's just something in this idea of passions as wild horses which I suspect I've been slow to fully embrace and will benefit from exploring more.


Gay Saint said...

Why anyone's horse would want to charge into a cave is BEYOOONNNDDD me.

Oh, like you weren't thinking it!

David Baker said...

Hetero's have horses needed to be bridled, Homo's have Unicorns!

Invictus Pilgrim said...

A thoughtful post. Thanks.