18 March 2011

Confessions of a Nurtured Homo, Part 2

<< Part 1

I have no recollection of ever having been sexually abused, and nobody has ever reported seeing signs of sexual abuse in me. But in early grade school, I had a nearly traumatic, shame-filled encounter with a little female friend my age who wanted to get naked in her bedroom and asked me to lie down on my back. She then got on top of me, naked, and sort of laid there. I wasn't aroused or anything and had no idea what her aim was. I just felt like this was something we weren't supposed to do, and I was more awkwardly curious and ashamed than anything. I don't remember if it was that time or another, but I lost my shirt, and her mom had to help us find it. I was so mortified that her mom would realize that we'd been doing things we weren't supposed to, and I was sad to be moving away from that friend but glad I wouldn't have to deal with that again. Even when I saw her a few years later during a visit, I felt uncomfortable about the emotions seeing her brought back despite wanting us to just be friends without the awkwardness. As I remember, she didn't seem to give it a second thought. My number one wish for my baptism at 8 years of age was to have that incident wiped clean and never, ever do anything that shameful again. I felt dirty, unclean, and unworthy until my baptism, when I was able to finish the process of "repenting" for that sin and have it washed away. I haven't given that incident much thought since adolescence, but I remember feeling scarred and sinful as a young child. Traumatic sexual experience: check.

I just didn't relate to guys my age and thought they were neanderthals, boring, interested in things I wasn't interested in, kind of stupid, immature, crude, rough, unkind, mean to girls (since I generally heard the girls' perspectives of situations), etc. I had mostly female friends. I didn't think of myself as girly, but I was mocked for not being one of the boys. I didn't want to be. I didn't want to be a woman, but I didn't want to be a man if it meant being a prick. I decided I just was going to be me, but I couldn't deny I was affected by being so 'different' and sometimes wished there were more people like me (I'm not sure I ever really wished I were more like others...perhaps narcissism should be added to my list of things that have made me gay). I always had one main male friend at a time, three or four growing up. When I was really young, I played a sort of intellectually dominating role in the friendship and was bossy and probably not the best for his self-image. Late grade school, I made another friend I could relate to who also seemed to relate better to girls but again was a bit of a jerk to him. I made fun of traits I called girly and gave him a hard time for his weight. When I found out, in college, that he'd come out as gay, I feared that my bullying might have contributed to making him that way. Now I think...birds of a feather...and I love this guy and hope I'm forgiven for having been a jerk so many years ago. And he's not girly or overweight. *wink* General masculine detachment: check.

Throughout adolescence, I had a strong aversion to playing team sports. I enjoyed games involving basketballs but not the sport itself, individual games as long as super-competitive (trash-talking) people weren't playing. I enjoyed volleyball with friends. I liked baseball in my yard with friends. I was never into football or soccer and avoided playing them, if I could, in P.E. in secondary school. Boys were absurdly aggressive and mean about sports, and I wanted no part of the childish trash talk and mean-spirited criticism of those who were trying but just didn't have the athletic ability of the boys who seemed to think life was about sports. It wasn't worth it. I didn't enjoy it much in the first place, so to put up with that and be around it didn't make sense to me. I did, however, really enjoy lacrosse, gymnastics, archery, random made-up team games using hockey sticks... Team sports aversion: check.

In junior high, the boys and girls were separated, and boys would play "shirts and skins" football or soccer, and I never once played skins, and if I was going to have to, I opted to run laps instead. I didn't have the physique the other boys had, and I had acne problems, and I was ashamed of my body in general. Body shame: check.

I would see guys with cut, trim, or lean physiques and find myself trying very hard not to look at them, or not to get caught looking at them. I felt jealous of their good looks. I wanted to be more like that. I didn't want their personality traits, too, if they were jerks, but I wished I looked like they did. I told myself this was why I was so interested. It only made sense. I was skinny, without muscle, a weakling, and I wanted to be like them. When I found myself aroused by them, I scorned myself for perverting what was surely a natural jealousy and admiration and making it sexual. I found myself wanting to look at pictures, so I wouldn't get caught gawking, so I'd look in fitness magazines or underwear catalogs. Surely it was a curiosity which would just pass. But then I'd hit myself upside the head for having looked at pictures of attractive men and getting aroused because I must only be making the "problem" worse. Body envy: check.



Anonymous said...

Wow, you sound exactly like me. I am as serious as a heart attack on this. I remember, when I was no older than a frist grader, kissing my best friend since birth (a girl) and getting scorned by adults and feeling bad about doing "such a thing."

I was never part of the guys, and on many occasions, was always lumped together with the girls. I never liked the rough, rude, and prickish bahavior "the guys" exhibited and hated being split into boys v. girls. I remember having one male friend in 2nd and 3rd grade, but other than that, no one. I also had, and still have, poor communication with my father, and was always momma's little boy; constantly with her, running errands, and talking with her.

I wasn't a team sports/organized sports player. A game of kickball with friends, or something less competative was my style.

I was overweight, acne prone, and unibrowed; and I would look at other men wishing I could look like them.

All this in addition to endless torment from my peers including the most popular terms of "gay" and "faggot" in jr. high. Thank God I went to the High School I did, or this comment might not be here today.

So, when people tell me that being gay is genetics, I laugh at them, tell them to live my life, and get back to me, because there is no way in hell my being gay is "just genetics."

Lee said...

Intereseting common threads. Like Bravone (see Part 1 comments), I think that the personality/ personal traits we're born with may predispose us to become either gay or straight, and that our environment can, but doesn't necessarily, tip us one way or the other. If that's true, then both genetics and environment play their parts, but because there are so many variables in both genetics and environment, the outcome isn't predictable.

IF that scenario is accurate, why then wouldn't reparative therapy be more successful than it is? Or is it more successful than I think it is? Or is it just so poorly administered that it's ineffective?

Any thoughts out there?

J G-W said...

I can relate to a lot in this. The only thing I didn't have was a traumatic sexual experience.

I've always thought that "domineering mother/distant father" thing was the biggest load of tripe I've ever heard... I grew up with very close, positive relationships with both my parents. Both parents were nurturing. Dad spent lots of time with us. Mom was anything but "domineering."

J G-W said...

I wonder if having a distant father and domineering mother contributes to feeling conflicted about one's homosexuality? That makes a hell of a lot more sense to me...

I have often felt that the positive relationships I had with my parents, and the strong self-esteem it fostered in me, was my number one asset in coming to terms with this in my life, and coming to a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who I am.

Bravone said...

All checks for me, but I'm with John on both of his comments.