Asking the Question

I’m not comfortable discussing my sexuality. There are a lot of reasons for this, as one may imagine. For one, it’s just uncomfortable. For me, at least. I think it’s probably uncomfortable for a lot of people, which is why we have so many awkward social constructs in place. Also, I have been conditioned to find it inappropriate to talk about, which is difficult, and I have come to doubt the legitimacy in talking about it, if it’s self-indulgent, for instance, or just plain petty.


As such, I haven’t fully worked through my feelings of my attraction to other men. I’ve made some progress, but for reasons like the ones I mentioned, I haven’t gotten very far. I feel blocked. Stopped. Discouraged. Halted in my tracks.


What kind of attraction is it? Well, like anyone, I find some people attractive, others not so much. But this is normal for anyone. They find some attractive, if they fit their “archetype” or “ideal,” and others … not so much. I’m always careful when thinking through these points, because I do think it can get shallow very quickly. Nonetheless, I mention it because I still have a taste in men (and women), something that is specific to me and what I suppose my needs are. I only mention all of this because I seek to be honest, even if at times I’m shallow or impertinent, because I know I need to work through these feelings.


I don’t know if there’s really much I can say about my feelings towards other males. The word “male” is the word I choose to use, rather than “men,” because men being attracted to other men evokes a certain image for me: Two really mature people, both probably with mustaches and dressed in dress shirts and dress shoes and slacks and a tie, making out and having sex after a hard day at work in corporate America in some upscale city apartment. This isn’t really what I have in mind, I’ll admit, when it comes to my own desires and inclinations. For me, and I’m sure this is just my unfortunate bit of stereotyping, I imagine at least some gay people to be very high class. I don’t know why this association is the case. It is a compliment, of course, but it’s also limiting to how I view homosexuality and consequently, myself.


But using the word male opens up so many different associations and implications for me. It’s much more ambiguous, the term, and thus, can’t be pinned down to “a man liking another man.” It’s just a male liking another male, which for me, humanizes it in a way I can’t articulate very clearly. This point might seem subtle, but hopefully, it isn’t lost.


Part of the reason why I have such a unique image of homosexuality is partially because I’m obsessed with stories of boys liking other boys, or young, “beautiful,” kind and compassionate males falling in love with other males; this is because I see the innocence in the roots of love, and I’ve always had a hard time imagining an older version of me loving a man (maybe because I’m afraid of being stereotyped). I’m talking mostly of fiction, of course, because I can’t think of any instances of this happening around me, in my life. Part of it is indeed the “romanticizing” of young love, of budding love. Just read At Swim, Two Boys, perhaps, or Edmund White’s heartbreaking and lonely coming of age tale A Boy’s Own Story, or even the one I’m reading now that I have a lot of respect for, What They Always Tell Us. You’ll quickly see why one could develop this fascination with something so innocent and misunderstood. And for whatever reason, it captures my feelings.


I think underpinning these sexual attractions I may or may have dealt with, I think the question I’m asking is, What is love? Can I know what love is? Do I deserve love? Is love possible? Is love possible for me?


I can’t say. Part of me has given up on finding love, because I feel conflicted. I don’t like it that people have told me to just “have sex,” “experience it,” “get out there,” “loosen your inhibitions,” “get out of the closet,” etc., because it’s so very complicated. I’m not “closeted.” I refuse to use those terms. But neither am I “uncloseted,” whatever that may mean. I’m certainly frustrated. At the very least. And yes, I like other males, provided I find them attractive, not just physically, but also in terms of personality and charm and whatever the hell.


I don’t know where this developed in me, and why it developed in me. I was taught to despise homosexuality. I didn’t really understand homosexuality as a child, so I just went with what I was told. I never actively “hated” it, but I did fear it, I did see it as different, I did see it as sinful, I did see it as wrong. To be clear, I never hated those who were, but I remember, I felt uncomfortable around those who were, because I thought it was so … strange. I once was so apparently “straight” as a teenager that I must have thought having gay sex was simply … unnatural. And I can’t help but ask after my torturous seven to eight years, when the attractions to other males began, why the hell would I ever think that?


Well, because I didn’t understand.


Of course, none of this, I’m proud of. I could be criticized by people who actively engage with their homosexuality for being shallow, judgmental, and idiotic/stupid. I could be criticized by Christian conservatives on the same token for abandoning my views against homosexuals. It is sinful. Or so that’s what they say over and over again.


I think that tension, though, highlights the battle that’s been raging within me for so long. I want to be good, upright, sinless (though I don’t take it that far, usually, because I’m an “ambiguous Christian,” if you want to use vague terminology …), and a model citizen. But I also want the deviancy, trouble, heartbreak, honesty, brutality, that comes from the homosexual life, and I obviously mean all of that in a good way. I’m aware that no matter how I play my hand, with my confusing notion about just what homosexuality is (nobody has done a good job educating me, including … well, everyone), I’m wrong. Just wrong. It’s unfortunate that this is such a polarizing issue in our society, and that’s part of the reason why I want to stop right here and just give up.


I know what it feels like to be stigmatized. I’ve been stigmatized heavily since I was fifteen for being mentally ill, for suffering from schizophrenic-like symptoms, and I think it would ironically hurt more to be stereotyped by someone who was gay (for not “understanding” the lifestyle and the choices to be made and the social norms), than it would by a fundamentalist Christian that “hates faggots.”


This is a huge part of why all of this has been put on hold. Because I don’t want to open up more possibilities for stigma. I have a hard enough time managing my mental illness, and all the social repercussions and ramifications. Mostly because most of it is just bullshit, completely unfair, but there’s nothing I can do about it, why I just do my best to live my life and don’t get judged/ostracized/stigmatized. Mental illness leads to ostracism. Imagine a gay mentally ill person.


Another issue is the fact that I have an antipathy towards “just males,” not all the time, but usually at the most random time. This is where my “bisexuality” would come into play, it would seem. I think women are beautiful, and I want to court one. But unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.


To illustrate, I say this to myself: “My priority is to get a boyfriend.” A few hours later: “I really fucking want a girlfriend.” Then: “Fuck. I want to look up gay porn.”


The last part is a joke, of course. I have little respect for pornography, if any at all. I think it’s a cop-out, it is shallow, and it prevents you from experiencing your sexuality as it should be felt. As far as I know, this is just an honest preference, and has nothing to do with what has been instilled in me by society.


The point being, I go back and forth, back and forth. At one moment, male-on-male seems beautiful and fulfilling, what I need exactly, then … I want a girlfriend. Companionship. The gentleness of a girl. The loveliness. Women are beautiful.


All of this is bantering, I’ll admit. Heartbreaking. Most of this is irrelevant information. And to be honest, I’m not writing this piece because I am trying to figure out what to do (though I’ll admit that is definitely a reason), but because I want to write literature, I want to write about my emotions and experience, and I want to write about a topic eloquently and with force, conviction.


But would you look at that? How quickly I despise my own words! How quickly I despise how I feel. How quickly I despise what I’m talking about as superfluous and irrelevant, self-indulgent and stupid.


So, what am I really saying then? To that, I don’t know.


Obviously I want a boyfriend, and I want to act on those impulses (I’ve come on to guys in the past quite a few times, usually when I was manic and/or delusional, to empty results), but I obviously don’t feel like that’s the perfect answer for me, even though it’s something I want. Hence why I feel confused and conflicted and like I’m talking about nothing and worse, talking in circles.


But that logic, as you can see, is precisely why I don’t have a solution or resolution on what to do. Most people know what to do. They shove that knowledge in your face, in fact. Most people, they just act. Me, I contemplate. Partially because I don’t want to get hurt or hurt other people. I don’t want to be reckless and get a disease, I don’t want to be reckless with someone else’s feelings, I don’t want to be stupid. And so the solution to this, is I simply repress, suppress, and oppress.


But I can’t do that forever, before it catches up with me. Through time, many themes have dominated my fiction, from homeless kids to mental suffering … but guess what has blossomed beside those themes? Homosexual love. Obviously, it’s on my mind.


And I think at this point in my life, twenty-six and still struggling just to manage his mental illness … I need to work through it.


But, it will be a while.


It will be a long while.


Because, I don’t know.


I’m just beginning to be honest, or so it feels like to me, even though I’ve been trying for the past seven to eight years.


And yes, none of it makes sense, but I hope that I can find out what I need, and quit hiding.


But—and this is where it gets complex—I don’t know.


I just … don’t know.


And I haven’t for a long time, because none of it makes sense to me. Probably because this stuff isn’t ultimately logical, what I’m comfortable with.


As Foxing says in their song The Medic: I just want to be loved.


But it’s amazing how hard that can be. To find. To experience. I see why many people who struggle with their identity commit suicide or at least suffer from depression. It’s heavy stuff, and I need to trivialize it less. It is a need, and though I don’t understand the origins … I need to try and figure it out.


Otherwise, I’ll never know.


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