Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy, But Dissatisfied

I've been out of the closet for nearly two years now. The other day I was thinking that I kind of miss going to the temple. My reasons have little to do with how the temple made me feel. Truth be told, I rarely got much out of going to the temple. I never really seemed to have those spiritual experiences one is supposed to have on attending. Most of the time, it just made me feel lonely and out of place. No, I miss going to the temple because I no longer can. It's not like I was a frequent temple-goer even when I had a current temple recommend, but I guess the thought of being excluded from that is hard at times.

It's been an interesting month. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I'm not sure anybody even reads my blog anymore anyway. But then that was never really the point of this blog in the first place.

It's been intriguing to see the California Supreme Court overturn the ban on gay marriage. It's so great to think that Jonah and I could go to California and be legally married (at least in California), if we so desired. It will be interesting to see if it sticks or if it will be voted down in November.

It's been equally troubling (although certainly not unexpected) to see the Church come out publicly and encourage its members to vote on the ban against same-sex marriage. I'm still active. I still pay tithing and go to church. My bishop still knows about my relationship with Jonah and thus far has not seen fit (thankfully) to excommunicate me. And thus far I have managed to find a good balance in regards to my sexuality and religion. But there are times when it is hard to know where to stand.

One one hand, I understand the Church's position. Marriage between man and a woman and the importance of family in that particular unit is a big cornerstone of the Mormon faith. And I understand their position that anything that calls itself marriage that does not fall under that particular cornerstone is a mockery of what marriage is according to the LDS faith.

At the same time, I did not choose to have same-sex feelings and tried for many, many years to live my life in such a way that I was trying to be obedient to the tenets of my religion, and doing so made me feel unworthy, discouraged, angst-ridden, frustrated, miserable, repressed, and generally unfulfilled. Now that I've found someone of my own sex who I want to be with and have lived my life according to that view, I am much happier, I feel more at peace, more able to be myself, more satisfied, and more optimistic about life. There is no question that I am happier now. And yet I am still trying my best to live my life according to the values I was taught. I attend church, I pay tithing, Jonah and I are still virgins (if you can believe it) and monogamous, I don't drink or smoke, and I am hopeful Jonah and I will be legally married soon. Why am I happier if I am supposedly doing something so wicked? And how is my marrying Jonah and having the legal rights that come with it going to diminish any other marriage? The church is free to teach what it must and has every right to promote those teachings, but it is frustrating to me that the church gives me little aid or options when it comes to homosexuality other than to say that even though my homosexual feelings are not likely a choice nor is it likely that they will ever disappear in this lifetime I can't act on my gay feelings nor is marrying a woman a good idea for getting rid of them and that living a lone, celibate life is really the only feasible option. I just can't do what is asked of me. I tried, and it didn't work. Yet I'm told not to fall in love with perhaps the greatest person that has ever happened to me nor am I supposed to marry him. It just doesn't make sense to me.

My family and friends have been very supportive throughout all this, but there still are frustrations. My youngest sister recently was engaged, which I was very happy about because my sister wants nothing more than to be a wife and mother, and it seemed for such a long time that this would not happen for her. She's met a great guy, and they are very much in love, and it is wonderful to see her so happy.

Recently my mom put a photo of my sister and her fiance on our piano in the living room. That's where many of the family photos go. There are several photos of my older brother and his family and ones of my older sister and her family. And now there is one of my youngest sister and her soon-to-be husband. But there are none of me and Jonah. My mom loves Jonah a lot and she also loves me a lot, and I don't expect her to put a photo of us on the piano because I know it would be awkward for her to explain to visitors about us, and I don't want to put her in that position. But it still makes me sad. Jonah has it even worse. He can't even talk to his family about us, and I also suspect that it is his familial challenges that has caused him to delay our getting married.

As my youngest sibling prepares for her wedding, everybody is excited and talking about it at the ward. My sister is buying a wedding dress, reserving the church for the reception, having a bouquet made, etc., and it makes me a bit jealous that I cannot have the same outpouring of enthusiasm or that we somehow have to be more "covert" in our wedding plans. Please don't misunderstand. I am overjoyed for my sister. I am just jealous that a homosexual wedding cannot have the same footing (at least in my particular situation) as a heterosexual one. I didn't choose to be gay, you know? I spent many years fighting it. But I am, and I'm not going away. I am no different than any of my straight counterparts. We all want basically the same things. I wish we could have them. I at least feel we're getting closer.

I received an email from my older sister talking about my niece. She said:

She [my niece] has listened to the lesson of Adam and Eve and knows that man is suppose to marry women and that two daddies would be 'silly' - though if something happened to [us], I would want you and Jonah to raise her - and then she would have two 'dads' but right now it seems inappropriate to try and explain to her about life choices and issues than can seem complicated to an adult - let alone a four year old mind.

Two times now she has said that she does not WANT to be baptized. So I've tried to explain that one to her. And how when she's baptized, she can have anyone [perform the baptism] she wants. Dad, her brothers, [her uncles], her cousins. Both times she has asked for you.

I think when the time comes (after all she has almost four years to go) she will be ready and she will want her dad (or maybe [her brother] She misses him very much [He's currently on a mission]) and perhaps she'll have a better understanding of why it is that you are unable to baptize her. Still . . . I hope that I am able to deal with her questions in the right way - so she'll understand - so that we'll both understand.

I understand that there are still issues that are difficult to reconcile. I understand that my choices have denied me the ability to baptize my niece (if that is indeed what she desires when that day comes). I understand the responsibility my siblings have towards their kids regarding choices they may feel are wrong (even if they show support for me in spite of those choices). But that doesn't mean my feelings don't get hurt as a result.

Jonah and I talked for a bit (and I hope we have a real opportunity to talk more in depth when he visits me in July). It has been nearly a year since we became engaged, and while I know we have moved forward in our relationship in many ways, I am becoming increasingly impatient and dissatisfied that we are both unmarried and apart. I hope we can solidify our goals and make it happen sooner rather than later. If not...well, that is a discussion for another day.