Wednesday, November 09, 2005

39. Unpacking

So, my dad has come and gone and I would like to thank all of you who prayed for me.  Dad and I had a good time, and so I know God heard all of our prayers.  

I’d also like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Eric over at Two World Collision… there’s a party going on over at his blog, with drinks and everything, so go check it out!  

Speaking of Eric, a few weeks ago he asked me a question I think I’ll take the time to answer now… sorry it took me so long.  In one of my previous posts I made this statement, “The ‘fence’ I build around developing an attraction to a woman is not to protect myself from sinning; it’s to protect myself from getting hurt.”  Eric asked me if I had “unpacked” this any further, and well… I hadn’t.  So, here I go unpacking.  Consider it a birthday present Eric!  

I guess I’ll talk about the ‘fence’ first.  When I meet a woman I think I might become attracted to, or I realize that I might become attracted to a woman I know I try and stop the attraction from happening.  I’m not even entirely sure what all I do to accomplish this.  In some cases it’s as simple as avoiding the woman, but in most cases that is simply not feasible – at least not without being rude anyway.  I think that there are probably a lot of mental gymnastics that go on that I’m not even aware of, but that I know exhaust me.  

The worst thing about it though, is that I’m not even sure the fence works.  I haven’t been seriously attracted to anyone in a few years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s working.  Case in point, while my dad was here we watched a lot of movies – something   he doesn’t really have time for at his home.  One of the movies we watched had a woman in it that I found very attractive, and every time she was on the screen, I felt myself starting to smile… and if she smiled then I couldn’t help it – I smiled back (she had a fantastic smile).  I was intensely conscious of it because I was sitting there beside my dad who has no idea (and would likely be horrified if he knew) that I’m gay.  I tried to stop myself from grinning at this woman, and on a few occasions I think I was successful, but for the most part I really couldn’t help it.  I couldn’t help feeling the attraction and I couldn’t help but react to what I was feeling.  Even as I type this out I am realizing that there are people who will read that and go “aha! Sexual addiction, I told you so!”, and well… I just think that’s ridiculous.  Straight married people feel attraction to people who are not their spouses all the time, and no one would call that a sexual addiction, it’s just normal.  We cannot control our attractions; we can only control our actions.  (Wow, that rhymes… it should be a slogan for… for… well, for something or other)  Anyway, that’s not the point.  The point is, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling something (minimal as it was) while watching this movie, so I’m not sure I would be able to stop myself from developing real feelings for a real woman.  All that mental effort I put in might not even be worth it.  

The other thing I wanted to ‘unpack’ a bit was the second part of that sentence, “…it’s to protect myself from getting hurt.”  I was writing about something else entirely in that previous post, and so I really over-simplified this.  First the obvious. Any time you have feelings for another person (be they romantic feelings or not) you open yourself up to getting hurt, so there is some definite truth in what I said.  Especially when you consider the fact that due to the circles I travel in, chances are any woman I develop feelings for is going to be straight, and unrequited affection always sucks.  But it is way more than protecting myself from ‘getting hurt’.  There are other… complications.  You see, I am a girl… and while I may not be the most girly girl out there, I still am a girl, and as such when I have a crush on someone I want to talk about it.  (I realize not all girls are like this, but most girls I know are… and guys may be like this with each other, but not being a guy, I really don’t know about that)  Not talking about it is kind of like trying to hold in a sneeze.  Actually, I cleaned that up a bit… it’s more like really having to go to the bathroom and holding it in.  It becomes all you can think about, whereas if you could just pee when you felt the need, things would be fine.  So I don’t want to develop a crush on anyone because I don’t want to have this thing I can’t talk about hanging over my head.  

Actually, I do end up talking about it, just not with any of my Christian friends.  I can’t tell any of them about any feelings I have for a woman unless I’m ‘confessing’ it as sin… so unless I want to feel guilt and shame for my feelings, which I really don’t believe are sinful, I have to find other people to talk to.  I end up talking to my non-Christian friends, who, of course just wonder why on earth I’m not ‘doing anything about it’, i.e.: asking the girl out, or at least going to places where I can meet other gay women and have less futile crushes (something that I, in my ‘confused’ state, am not ready for).  I know that some of my Christian friends (and they are probably the ones who read this blog) would not want to make me feel guilty for whatever feelings I may have, but to be perfectly honest (and I realize I might be projecting my fears onto them here), I don’t trust that they wouldn’t be thinking that I was sinning by feeling whatever I felt.  Basically I don’t trust that they wouldn’t be judging me, and feeling judged sucks.  That might be my own issue though.  So… the ‘fence’ I build is built to protect myself from having to feel isolated from the Church by having to hide yet another thing about myself from them.  I just found a post on Ash’s website that talks about this same thing.  

So, there you go… unpacked.  I hope I answered your question, Eric.  And I hope that today was a wonderful one for you! Happy Birthday.      


Ash said...

Thanx for the link JJ! Looks like you managed to find out the link on your own. ^_^

Thanx for writing this, by the way. I always love reading your thoughts. By the way, after reading your post, I put up another one in reference. Check it out when you can.

Eric said...

Thanks for the bday gift JJ! It was great to chat with you via IM for the first time today. Yep, you answered my question fine. It's kewl to see how we both stimulate thought about various stuff to help each other along our process.

Bless ya!

Lucy said...

You are so hilarious! Your personality comes out in your writing. I've been going through your blog, but I haven't covered nearly all of it. Does anyone other than the people reading your blog know that you are gay?

As far as the sin issue goes, having the attraction isn't the sin. Let's face it, we're all born attracted to sin, regardless of what that sin might be. Someone made a comment on one of your blogs about lusting being a sin. Having a thought and lusting are two different things. Lusting doesn't begin until you take that thought and start playing around with it in your mind, entertaining and dwelling on different than it is for heterosexuals.

Your honesty absolutely amazes me. There's no telling how many people struggle with the exact thing you're struggling with, yet no one knows because they won't talk about it. How many gay people out there won't accept Christ because they think He hates them? Why wouldn't they think it? The very ones who are supposed to represent Him are giving them that impression.

There are Christians who will struggle with the craving for alcohol all their lives. You may struggle with this all your life. I hope not. God refused to take away Paul's "thorn", but He also said, "My grace is sufficient."

Always be on guard against two things (1)Christians who tell you that it's not possible for you to be a true Christian and have same sex attractions. They're crazy. (2)Homosexuals who say that they don't "believe" that it's a sin for two women (or two men) to have sex. They're crazy. It doesn't matter what any of us believe, just what God says.

Above everything else......regardless of what EVER happens in your life.......whether you mess up, fall flat on your face a hundred times and regardless of anything you're ever told DO NOT GET OUT OF THE RACE!!! I'm here if you want to talk.

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