So much of the time my Dad just makes me feel like a failure. I feel like I can never live up to his expectations of me, and nothing I ever do is right by him. I can’t talk with him. Not about anything deep or emotional anyway. Every time I’ve ever tried I’ve ended up feeling as though he’s judged me. Lately I think he’d honestly just like me to leave and stay gone. There’s no intimacy with him.
My mom would just like to control me (along with everyone else in the family). I’ve spent the last few years in particular distancing myself from her. And in doing so, I’ve come to realize she really doesn’t understand me at all. I don’t really understand her either though. But I also can’t seem to live up to her expectations. And like with dad, I can’t talk to her. There’s no intimacy with her.
My brother has his own problems. But he shows little empathy for my own. I’ve tried talking with him about my struggles with homosexuality, and he never seems to understand. His views on certain aspects of religion are also different from mine. He’s probably the best friend I have right now. But, to be honest, if my brother wasn’t my brother, I’m not so sure I’d be friends with him at all. He shows me time after time that he doesn’t respect me at all; he constantly pushes me away. There’s some, but very little intimacy with him.
What friends I have, I’ve always found it incredibly hard to open up to them. Looking back, I realize most of my friends in high school never really knew me at all. Some of that was my fault, but some of it was that they never really tried to know me better. People I’d consider friends now, most of them never call me or invite me to anything. I feel more like my friends are just acquaintances sometimes. And I’ve found friends who I thought I was close to that never considered me as close a friend as I did them. Some friends I’ve not heard back from in a long time. Some people who I thought were friends turned out not to be at all. There’s very little intimacy with friends.
I don’t belong to a church family. I thought I did, but I was proven wrong. I went to my church for help and was turned away. I was neglected. My problems weren’t worth the effort, concern, prayers, love. I quit going to church for three months this last fall and not a single person ever once checked up on me to see how I was doing or to find out where I’d been. It’s been several weeks now since I’ve gone, and again, no response. Now, this is a church I’ve gone to my entire life. It’s like they don’t even care about me enough to find out where I’ve been or what has happened to me. There’s no intimacy at church.
I want so much to feel loved by God and to feel his presence with me. Not just some of the time, but all of the time. I’d love to feel God’s arms around me and to hear him say, “I love you, Brandon.” But so much of the time I can’t help wondering whether God’s abandoned me or what. I get so discouraged. I feel as though I can’t trust him or rely on him. I don’t understand God a lot of times and I just get so frustrated not knowing what he wants from me. I’m just not sure what my role is in my relationship with him. And because of that, it’s hard for me to feel like I can be intimate with God sometimes.
Where have I found intimacy then? More times than not, it has been by looking at pornography and living in a fantasy world. And what good has that done me?
A few days ago I was looking at pornography and I came across one particular model who I decided to follow. In a “behind the scenes” moment, the guy who he’d just been with was saying he was glad he’d hurt him during their sex act. I watched the model’s face literally transform the minute the other guy said this. He gained a sort of disappointed, empty look which could only say, “Oh, so that was the only reason you had sex with me. You just wanted to hurt me.” I literally felt like I was going to throw up when I watched that. And you know that’s the thing about pornography: the more you see it and let it consume you, and the more you begin to see or understand the behind the scenes processes of it all, the more you realize just how sad and tragic that whole industry really is. It’s pathetic, really.
But I struggle with pornography. I have for several years now. Sometimes I struggle less and can stay away from it for long periods of time, and other times I can hardly keep myself from it. I know the reason I keep going back to it though is because so much of the time I feel no source of intimacy. When I look at pornography, I can place myself within that act. I feel an odd sort of comfort and closeness to the men I see, almost as if I’m right there with them. I feel them holding me, looking into my eyes, telling me they love me. It’s strange really. I guess you could say that when I look at pornography I steal those other men’s counterfeit intimacy for myself. I see what I’d like for myself. And it’s not really the sex, but just the closeness. Having said that, however, I can’t help feeling sometimes like I have had sex with hundreds of other men. To feel the way I do while looking at pornography, that sort of makes sense.
The truth is my heart aches for them though. As dirty as I feel after watching pornography, I can’t imagine how dirty some of the models must feel after they’ve been filmed. I want so badly to be able to reach out to them, to be friends with them, and to show them there’s something better in life. I did contact a male model one time on Facebook, awhile back. He never wrote back to me, but to my knowledge he’s never been in any pornography since then. I really don’t know if that had anything to do with my writing to him or not, but I hope it did. It would thrill me to no end to find out he completely left that life behind and found Christ.
But I’d just like to know them. I find it so frustrating so much of the time that the only gay persons I ever get to see are ones online or on television or movies. The only people who ever seem to understand me at all are those who also struggle with homosexuality. You know, it used to puzzle me how gays in cities would form whole communities for themselves. Anymore, it makes perfect sense. When they do that, they get to be around those who understand them, to build friendships, family, intimacy. They find, at least to some small extent, the closeness they’ve been missing from others in their lives. And for a great many of them, that includes from the churches that turned them away.
I want to find intimacy through some other means than gay pornography. I don’t want to watch something fake. I don’t want to watch people hurting themselves. I don’t want to live my life in a fantasy, having sex with the shadows of other men. I want real intimacy (and I don’t mean sex). I don’t know how or where I’ll find it, but I know it can’t be found looking at pornography. Nor can it be found by having sex with other men.
May God forgive me for all the wasted time I’ve spent thinking it would.