Trying Again (An Essay)

I’m trying again. After much doubt, after much disappointment, after much discouragement, I am committed to committing myself. The truth is, I don’t know how to do this yet, but I’m hoping that I get closer, and that I can get closer.

Today, when I talked to my therapist, I asked him, is it ever appropriate to talk about me being gay? Is it ever, in other words, appropriate to discuss the fact that I identify as homosexual? I asked this, because I had often been made to feel in many conversations and contexts, that it wasn’t appropriate to talk about, because it was basically selfish and self-centered, and utterly pointless. No one cares about your sexual identity. Sex is taboo, you don’t talk about it, and you definitely don’t talk about the fact that you may be a fag. This was hard, because I felt it was much more than sexual identity. My sense was that it made a lot of people uncomfortable, at the very least. My therapist pointed out that context is key to answering this question, and there isn’t necessarily an easy answer, but that it is an important question to ask. In therapy, as he said, it is appropriate to talk about, something I am grateful for. But with some of my friends who are less accepting about this issue, it is probably better to hold back.

I don’t understand why life has always been so difficult, and why it must be difficult. But I understand, that choosing to confront my homosexuality and not repress it any longer, actually discuss it, could be the beginning of something good.

Part of what got my attention that this was something I needed to work through, was when I realized, how much I was writing about homosexual characters, I was writing about characters who were gay. When I realized that, and I realized that it was creeping into my writing more and more, I realized that I couldn’t avoid it. I could no longer avoid it in my personal and social life, and it was something that I had to confront. Of course, none of this was easy, and none of it could be easy, and that is why I say, that I’m trying again.

It all started when I hit up gay bars for three manic nights in a row. Doing this, made it more real to me. Doing this, made it something that I couldn’t ignore, even though I wanted to. Indeed, it was a painful experience for me. It is painful for me now, to disclose this, because I think, over and over again, I can’t be gay. I just can’t allow for this, because of how it will affect me, and impact me politically and socially.

I spent a lot of time battling it alone, and that has been hard. I’m not sure what to do with it, and I’m not sure what it means. But this is what I feel: I feel that being gay allows others to be sensitive in a very special and unique way, that is adaptive for a given culture. It is argued scientifically that it has to do with epigenetics, and that certain genes are turned on when the behavior is needed for the community. It is biological, and it is important that the scientific aspects and the biological aspects are brought up into the debate, and that it isn’t merely just a religious issue.

Unfortunately, in my experience, it is a mere religious issue. It gets really discouraging for me, because I have respect for religion, specifically Christianity, and I feel like I can’t oppose the church’s stance against homosexuality. To do so would be to violate an important principle that I have, which is toleration. But I find myself, increasingly frustrated, becoming more and more impatient and wanting to cultivate an intolerance. Not a destructive intolerance, but an intolerance that is driven by anger and intense feelings of repression, exclusion, isolation.
So, one could say that I’m trying again. After my failings at the gay bars for my manic nights, I had to reevaluate what was important to me. After trying stupid dating sites and stupid dating apps, I realized that I needed a new strategy. But I’m still not sure what that strategy is, except to be patient, except to realize that it takes time, a lot of time, an uncomfortable amount of time in fact, but that I am making progress, even if it doesn’t seem like I am. Little steps help me to go a long way, and it is important to me that I be authentic in this regard. I can’t stop running away from it, because, essentially … it is an important part of me. I don’t know why it is, I sometimes wish that it wasn’t, and this is all a mystery to me, why my homosexuality is important to my identity. But nonetheless I assume it is there for a reason, and so I cannot dismiss it.

It is easier to dismiss it, of course. It is easier to be less productive and certainly more destructive, to repress. I have often thought that because I reject many attributes and aspects of the gay community as I understand it in my very limited basis and knowledge, that I can rationalize away my feelings. That somehow, I can talk myself out of it with reason, and to not having homosexual feelings. But I know that this is impossible. I know that I’m going to have to be honest about this, and with myself about it. And I have to be more compassionate to myself and to others. I have a lot of internalized homophobia that I have to conquer and work through.

It baffles me, the way that people who are gay are reviled in and by our society. There is an obvious repulsion and discrimination that I don’t understand. I don’t want my rights to be trampled on, because I have already experienced this enough, with mental illness, with the consequences of mental illness. Sometimes my life is hell because of the political and social ramifications of having a mental illness, and I simply do not get anywhere, and I merely feel discouraged. Because I do get discouraged. I want to be able to let it go, but I know that I can’t, because my mental illness is a huge part of my life, and a huge part of who I am.
I was listening to a podcast today, a podcast that inspired me to write this spontaneous essay, and one of the commentators mentioned that persuasion isn’t tried anymore, specifically in political contexts and climates. I started thinking about this, and immediately set about writing this spontaneous essay, because I want others to understand my precarious and delicate situation. I want people to be able to empathize with me, my situation, my personhood, etc. Is there a way that I can communicate that I don’t want to be treated as if I am an abomination, just because I like other men? Or is that merely a dream, something that won’t happen, because my kind are not to be tolerated in our narrow-minded society? It is a question worth asking, and it is one that I have difficulty answering, because I don’t know. But nonetheless, I would say that I hope to persuade at least some people of my perspective, and why I struggle with this. I struggle because it is difficult, I struggle because it is hard. I don’t like being forced into a controversy that I want nothing to do with, homosexuality in this case. That is why I hesitated for about nine years. I didn’t want any struggle, I didn’t want any social struggle, I didn’t want my mom to call me a homo when she found out. I just want to be loved and accepted for who I am. I realize, that the more that I continue developing my identity, the more I realize how complicated it is. I’m going to have to make the choice to continue to stay out of the closet, because I want to find fulfillment in life, because I want to find love, because I want to find a long-lasting relationship, and because I want hope. I don’t know if this will happen, but one of my friends certainly thinks this is possible. If I’m patient enough, and I give it a chance. No doubt, it is very difficult, but I know that it is something I must do.

So, I’m trying again. After the way that coming-out impacted my mental health during that manic stretch, I realize that this is very important to me, and I can’t ignore it. It did indeed impact my mental health, because it was so real to me, and because it was so overwhelming. But I’m trying again, because I need a chance. I don’t want to be part of controversy, and I don’t want to make political decisions, but I understand, in one way or another, that I have to move forward with this if I’m going to find the things that I seek in this life. By no means is it easy, but that is why I say, I am trying again. My manic stretch was negative for me, going to the gay bars was pointless and made me feel worse than I already did, and getting on stupid dating apps, or rather, hook-up apps, was a bad idea, at least for me personally. That is why I say, I’m trying again. There are people who are gay who are very good people that I can emulate and that can act as role models for me, if I can simply meet them and they can become a part of my life. I just have to accept that this is a part of my life now, move on, and try again.


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