Wednesday, October 26, 2005

36. Secrets and Lies

Before I begin this post, I want to mention that my apartment smells like a Christmas Ham.  If you don’t know what that is, or have never tasted a Christmas ham, I am so sorry for you!  This website has an example, but I would point out that the recipe is wrong… at least, it is not my recipe (or more accurately, it is not my Nanny’s recipe).  It is the only thing I will willingly and happily cook, because if I don’t, then it doesn’t get made (my mom is too busy making the turkey and the Cassava Pie – a Bermudian Christmas tradition).  The thing is, I haven’t cooked a Christmas Ham today, and it is nowhere near Christmas yet.  It’s been driving me nuts ever since I woke up.  I have such a craving I have seriously thought about going to the store to buy myself a ham.  But I live alone, and it would be kind of weird.  Maybe I’ll go knocking on doors on my floor to find out who is making it and get myself some free home cooked food!  Then again, I probably won’t.

I’ve had the idea behind this post mulling around in my head for a few weeks now, but it was brought to the forefront by this article which I was directed to by a comment someone left me.  The point of the article was basically that much of the gay rights movement has been the result of deception and propaganda.  But that’s not the part that got me thinking – if you want to hear my thoughts on that you can read this post, or this comment.  What got me thinking was the story at the beginning of the gay guy who was married to a woman, but was ‘driven’ by something he couldn’t control to have anonymous sexual encounters with men behind his wife’s back.  Now, if you have read any of this blog you will know that this story really doesn’t apply to me.  I am a virgin – I haven’t had sex with a man or a woman…  I haven’t even come close (good Christian girl that I am).  But I do sort of relate to the story at a more basic level.  Let me explain.

Before I was ‘out’ (just to myself, of course), I was trying desperately to cling to the pretense that I was straight.  (This, despite the fact that I had asked people to pray for my healing, and had gone to various counselors and professional therapists thinking that if I could deal with certain issues in my life I would be cured).  I didn’t do anything really extreme (like marry or even date anyone to hide my secret), but it was a secret nonetheless.  Even from myself.  I would shut the door on the part of me that was gay, and then declare that it didn’t exist.  And to continue the use of this metaphor (because I am oh so fond of metaphors), because I was pretending that this ‘gay room’ didn’t exist, I couldn’t acknowledge what was going on in there.  I had to turn a blind eye to it, because to acknowledge that I was having lustful thoughts about girls would be to acknowledge my ‘gayness’, and I refused to do that.  My lust issues diminished so dramatically when I came out to myself, it was actually kind of a shock.  I would be aware of the sexual thoughts forming in my mind and would be able to stop them because I was no longer pretending that they didn’t exist.  

I realize that the situations are not that similar, but I do see a parallel.  When something is kept secret, even from ourselves, then there is a tendency for it to grow beyond our control.  I have wondered if these ‘anonymous sexual encounters’ that the Side B and Side X people keep talking about weren’t actually the result of this secrecy.  When you can’t openly date, then maybe anonymous sexual encounters are the outcome.  I look at the gay people who I count among my friends, and the gay people I have merely met in passing, and none of them seem to be having these encounters, and maybe that’s because they have not been forced to keep their sexuality a secret, they have not felt shame about it.  Their relationships have progressed in pretty much the same way that most of my straight friends’ relationships have progressed – they meet at a social function, they get to know each other in a group, they flirt, they date for a while, then there is some form of commitment (whether through moving in together, or a proposal).  

This is, of course, all conjecture, because I have never met a gay person who has conformed to the stereotypes that I keep hearing and reading about, so I don’t know what would motivate that sort of behavior.  I would like to point out that I have met straight people who behave in the way that these books describe (with the anonymous and weird and kinky sex), which just makes me really annoyed when I hear that sort of behavior ascribed exclusively to gay people.  

Anyway, these are my thoughts today.  I think I am going to order a ham and pineapple pizza, maybe that will satisfy my craving.  

    

9 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the guy was molested and that tends to increase the whole shame/secrecy thing around one's sexuality dramatically.

Boo

Christine said...

Great post. I'm really glad people like you and E are blogging about this stuff.

I can totally relate to what you are saying here. I agree with your conclusion, and confirm your experience (that's the way it seemed for me, too, when I was denying what I was feeling).

CK said...

JJ,
Anecdotally, I can confirm your conclusion. Before I fully came out--I knew I was attracted to women early, around 16 or 17, but I continued to struggle with shame for years--I had problems with depression, obsessive crushes, lust (manifested in various ways not appropriate to get into here)...

Now, there are those who say because I am a) not a Christian, but an apostate and b) living in a same-sex relationship, my conscience is seared. That is one explanation for my sense of shame lifting. It does not, however, explain how these manifestations of shame mentioned before are all but vanished.

Judaism, Hinduism, and to a lesser degree, Christianity, all emphasize that the empirical test of spirituality is one's fruits. To those who believe my relationship is intrinsically sinful, I can never manifest the Fruits of the Spirit, regardless of my life and state of mind/heart. But I believe that my ethical nature is more fully developed than previously, and that my conscience is aware of short-comings to the Golden Rule (for me, the crux of ethical action) in a fuller way than before, when it revolved around a shameful sense of self.

(Not that I still don't get attracted to women other than my partner--but I don't act on it, obsess about it, or let guilt over it drive me to dark places.)

Anonymous said...

Hi JJ (The owner of this Blog),

I looked all over and I can't find an email contact for you.

Can you please post one?

Or simply contact me at:

koh58nt02@sneakemail.com

Thanks!

Rob

JJ said...

Rob

I've tried to send you an email twice and both times it came back to me. Is the email address you left correct?

CK said...

JJ, I would try sneakermail (with an R).

And, in reading over some of your comments and the tug of war, it makes me think of where I was 2 years ago.

The tug of war will always be there, regardless of what side you decide (pro/ex/anti-gay). Just so you know. It's there from external sources and internalized, regardless of your decision.

rob (not the same one) said...

Thanks for the tip, CK, "The tug of war will always be there". Realizing that just makes me want to go back and lock that door shut hoping the tug would never have started.

I found your blog a few days ago JJ, and I'm looking forward to further postings.

Eric said...

here's another confirmation JJ - the few anonymous sexual encounters that I had occured while i was in the context of being in the closet. i was also in ministry so i couldn't have a same sex relationship.

i typically went through the cycle of frustration that led to my giving in, then to my shame, that led to a stronger refusal to acknowledge my sexuality, that eventually led to my frustration...and so on and so forth.

Gosh, if i was allowed to be in a relationship with another guy (in a monogamous context), i probably wouldn't have been so focussed on the sex thing.

Willie Hewes said...

JJ, I also believe your conclusion is correct, and it seems so obvious to me I wonder why more people can't see it.

Isn't it ironic that the immoral, destructive 'gay lifestyle' so many people are so worried about is actually fed and upheld by their own condemnations?