So, some time ago a guy from my mission contacted me through facebook. He asked me quite upfront if I "struggled with same-gender attraction," because he did, and was hoping to find friends to relate to.
I wrote him back, explaining that while I would have said that at one point, I had come to a place of peace over my "non-traditional" attractions.
As we began to converse back and forth it was clear to me that he is definitely in a different place than me concerning his sexuality. And while I didn't feel the need to open up to him too much, it's always nice to have another friend.
The other day he sent me a recording he'd made for another friend, explaining where he is and how he got to that point. Tonight I finally got around to listening to it.
His is a familiar. He feels so many things that so many people feel. But the way he talked was so distant from it. He used phrases like "someone of the same gender" or "attraction to males." The way he said "males" made it sound like it was a scientific discussion.
I don't intend to insult or demean his approach to this. He has just as much a right to handle his life in his way as I do to live mine as I see fit. It simply fascinated me how it seemed he was still so afraid to claim it. That part of him was still holding this whole issue at arm's length.
I guess what it ultimately made me feel was grateful for my own journey. Grateful that I've reached a point in my life where I can say "I think boys are gorgeous, and that's just fine."
I feel so much more complete as a human being when I can accept this and claim this as a part of myself. I feel more honest with myself, and more sincere with others.
Sure, I still struggle with social norms, religious implications, and family conflicts. Just tonight I was skyping with Monique, my best friend from high school. She's come a long way in the last year and a half, and we can talk a little about some of this stuff. But I one thing I felt was that I didn't want to be seen as less masculine. And I didn't want to feel less masculine. I know this is something I still need to resolve within myself. But even in spite of some of these struggles currently unresolved, I am grateful to be able to claim this part of myself.
On Friday night I was chatting with some of the wonderful folk at the gay fhe I mentioned how remarkable it was to me that once I accepted this part of myself, learned to appreciate and even love it, and give it some sort of expression in my life, these feelings stopped feeling like they were overpowering me. They stopped feeling like they were going to explode out of my chest like an alien from a 1980's movie. Now that I own them, I can control them.
And I am more complete because of it.