21 March 2011

Confessions of a Nurtured Homo, Part 3

<< Part 2

Sometimes, guys at school had traits I was attracted to, like confidence, being outgoing, and being really comfortable with themselves in a way I wasn't sure I understood but wanted to because I felt really inhibited and reserved and didn't always like that. I found myself drawn to them in a way I couldn't put my finger on but figured I wanted to observe and learn from them, and I accordingly made efforts to emulate the positive traits I observed however I could. I thought if I could incorporate admirable traits into my life, it would resolve the fascination, and I found it to work pretty well. I never thought of that as wanting to be with them. I remember catching myself watching one such guy in a high school class a little too intently, wondering what made him so confident and at ease, and figuring if anyone caught me looking, they'd think I had a crush on him or something. So I stopped looking and thought, "That's not gay or anything: he's not even the physical type I'm most...*ahem*...jealous of. I just want to emulate some of his traits." Only later did the possibility of being "attracted" on more than an admiration level come into my paradigm, and I still wouldn't be wholly attracted to this guy I'm thinking of even if I had been open to that possibility at the time. I've always believed you're drawn to some people because of who they are, not because you want to "be with" them. But because I'm looking for trends, here, and because I do know that it got confusing, for a while after I started acknowledging my homosexuality, to discern which guys I was attracted to for their traits and which I was actually _attracted_ to on a romantic/sexual/personal level, I'll go ahead and add this to the list. Sexualization of admiration: check.

I always had high standards for myself and wanted to do something perfectly or not at all, in the things I cared about, that is. I would stay inside during recess to get my math homework painstakingly finished and triple-checked. I would draw every individual blade of grass on my scenic drawings in first grade. I buttoned my shirt all the way up and tucked it in neatly and combed every last hair perfectly flat to my head. Every stuffed animal had a name and personality. Music in grade school and primary had to be sung precisely, the motions memorized and performed perfectly, or I'd be embarrassed. While playing piano, if I messed up, I would go back to the beginning of the piece to play it from the beginning because I knew I could do it perfectly, and I would settle for nothing less. Perfectionism: check.

As a kid, I would sometimes skip cracks in the pavement. No biggy, right? We all did that sometimes. But I would sometimes actually get frustrated if I had to alter my pace to compensate and miss a crack. I wanted to find a pattern of steps which would work, and it stressed me out to be trying to do that and keep having to adjust, even though I knew it was a game. Or when I was really little, I'd think, "Well, I don't see how stepping on a crack would actually break my mother's back, but if I step on the crack, it's almost like I don't care if it actually did..." I'd also adjust volume in round numbers. I liked round and even numbers and didn't like leaving volume or timers on odd numbers. Of course, I didn't feel like anything bad would happen if I didn't, but I would feel somewhat uneasy if I had to leave it somewhere I didn't want it. In addition, I would occasionally daydream about not being able to stop bouncing. I'd try to absorb the bounce or grab something anchored to stay put on the ground, but I couldn't stop bouncing. I wouldn't just distract myself and go do something else to get my mind off of it: I had to learn to force myself to stop the thought and gain control of it, but I couldn't. Obsessive/compulsive thoughts: check.

Gosh, is that all? On the surface, my life does seem to fit the pattern of a classic homo, and if I bought into reparative theory and similar theories of developmental causes of homosexuality, I suppose I'd believe these things all contributed to the unnatural development of homosexual inclinations. If I felt emotionally vulnerable or driven to eradicate homosexuality from my life, and I were looking for someone who seems to "understand it" and who was offering solutions, I dare say I would feel a strong pull to plop these puzzle pieces into place and not question them further since they clearly fit on at least a superficial level. But the theories, and the stories of those who think they fit into their lives, never rang true with me, even when I thought it would be nice if they did, and I think there's more to the story than the theories focus on, not least of which is the conundrum: even if there is a correlation (and in many of these points, research shows there is), how is causation determined, and what causes what? Maybe I'll get to that in another post...


JonJon said...

Yeah, and even if the causation can be pinned on something specific, is it possible to reverse it?

Each time I see the title of this series of posts, I keep thinking that it says "Confessions of a Neutered Homo."

playasinmar said...

It's not the pattern of a classic homo. It's the pattern of an American adolescent male's journey to his sexuality.

Only the anti-gays see it as a series of causal events.

Original Mohomie said...

JonJon and playasinmar, thank you for summing up my forthcoming follow-up post succinctly...though it may have stolen my thunder a bit. ;-)

Ty said...

I think it's important to pay attention to the view point that looking backward gives us. Yes, many of the experiences of gay men fit our own lives. It's easy to say that they caused our orientation from that view. However, if you go back and look forward, it's a bit different. In reality, very few of they boys who felt like us ended up being gay. So I am with you, OM. I just don't think it all adds up.