Thursday, June 28, 2007

Reflections On My Life: Part One

The other day I was reading through some of the posts on my blog and it occurred to me that I'd never really written about any of my gay experiences. Well, other than some of the feelings I've had related to them. I think I can honestly say that I've been somewhat avoiding this subject. It is not an easy thing for me to talk about being gay. There are so many things about my life that I've tried so very hard to pretend wasn't real, or to forget about or block out, to lock deep down within myself to never let resurface. But there are a lot of things that I've wanted to write about and to open up on. So, I began thinking about where to start. Then it hit me, “How do I begin to tell the story of my life?” I had no idea, and I definitely didn't realize how difficult this would be. There are so many things I could tell, but it'd take me a lifetime just to write about it all. I tried to start from several different points, and then I just decided to start with what I know...

I am gay. Don't ask me to explain this, because I don't know for sure why that is. Not to say that I don't have some strong ideas about that, but I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's because of genetics or the environment in which I've lived, or a combination of the two. I've always tended to believe that certain environmental factors played the biggest part in this, but I'm not closed-minded or stubborn enough to rule out the possibility of genetics having played some role. Whatever the cause, however, I am, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a homosexual
.

The first time I ever remember hearing the word gay was when I was in the fifth grade. All I was told it meant was that that's what you were if you liked other guys. I had no clue what that really meant though. I had already began noticing other guys. I was drawn to them for some reason, which I couldn't understand. I would catch myself looking at them and having odd thoughts and feelings, which made no sense at all to me at the time. It was strange, because I knew that as a guy, I was supposed to find girls attractive and I was supposed to want a girlfriend, but that just wasn't at all what I felt for girls, or what I wanted from them. Girls were never anything more than just friends, if even that. I honestly had no desire at all to be with any of them. I only wanted to be around other guys.
I was desperate for their friendship and acceptance. I just wanted to feel as though I was “one of them”.


I always had trouble making friends while in school. Girls were most often easy to befriend. But with the guys, I always seemed to be this outcast or loner. I never felt as though I was good enough or fit in. I didn't enjoy sports, and was never any good at any of them when I tried to participate. I'm not a car junkie or a music fanatic either. So, that practically ruled out three-fourths of the guys I could have had anything in common with.


I remember being made fun of. I suppose that's why I deplore that act so much today. I absolutely hate seeing another person being made fun of or belittled. But I remember so many innuendoes and jokes at my expense. I remember being called gay for the first time when I was in the sixth grade. I had already began to wonder about myself by that age, always in denial about it though. Not that I thought I was gay, because I didn't fully understand what that meant, but that I knew there was something different about me. But I remember one day when a local doctor was invited to our school to teach us boys about the birds and the bees. Somewhere in the question and answer session that followed, it was asked, “How many guys are gay?” The response was, “About one in every hundred. Chances are, one in this room of about forty might be gay.” The room became really quiet and I remember feeling myself turn beet red. I wasn't even sure why. Afterwards, however, when we returned to our regular classes, one of the other guys, someone whom I'd mistaken as a friend at the time, was telling one of the girls in our class about what all had been discussed. When he mentioned the part about the gay question, he turned to me and said to the girl, “Yeah, we all thought he (the doctor) was talking about Brandon”. I made some fire back remark and left it at that, but I felt crushed. I knew that being gay wasn't something a person wanted to be. I knew that much. Being gay meant that you were different. But I realized at that moment that that's what other people were beginning to think of me, or at least might be thinking about me. And whatever gay really meant, it must not be anything good, or else it wouldn't always be used in a negative context.
I often wondered why anyone would think that about me, but looking back, I suppose I probably did give myself away fairly well in a few regards. But at the time, I was always puzzled about it.


In the later part of that same year, I began having sexual encounters with another guy. He was a couple of years younger than me, and it was mostly innocent type of stuff at the start. Over the next two years though, things got a little more serious. We eventually ended up having sex with each other at least three times that I can remember.


When I entered high school, I broke off that relationship. One reason for this was out of necessity. I didn't want anyone knowing I was gay, and after a few close calls, I decided it would be better to play it safe and lay low. I decided it would be safer and more convenient to pretend to be straight. Secondly, I'd began to realize more fully what being gay was, and I just didn't want that for myself. I also didn't want to give in to something considered sinful by God. Thirdly, I had to listen to my conscience. As right as being with another guy felt, there was something about it that never felt right. It was just one of those gut feelings, which told me I wasn't doing something I should be. Perhaps it was God laying heavy upon my heart? Whatever the reasons, I did decide to break off that relationship, and looking back I'd say that it was the right thing for me to do
.

That same year, as a freshman, a few older students began thinking I was gay, and decided to make my life a living hell because of that. They began routinely picking on me, calling me “queer”, “faggot”, “homo”, or any other derogatory word used to describe a homosexual
. And I was routinely reminded by the persons branding me with these labels that they hated me and everyone else like me. I was put in my place rather well by a few of them, and on more than one occasion. Even still, I tried my best to pretend that I wasn't gay. I was in denial. Or, actually, I was confused. I actually did have a girlfriend during eighth grade—the same time I was secretly having sex with that other guy—and I liked her a lot. I was never attracted to her, but I liked her. Maybe I was even in love with her. Maybe that's why it hurt as much as it did when she broke up with me. And there were other girls I considered dating as well. Usually they were friends who'd fall for me, and who I'd regrettably toy around with just long enough so that other people would think I liked them and was therefore NOT a homosexual. I wanted to prove myself to be just like everybody else. After all, who really wants to be gay? I never did. But after that freshmen year, things did improve. In short, I left high school much better than I entered it.


My first year in college, I decided to face facts for the first time and admitted to myself that I was a homosexual. I was attracted to other guys, I'd had sex with one of them, I'd already been looking up gay pornography for about a year or so, and I just wasn't interested in girls whatsoever. Unfortunately, I allowed that realization to blanket my life under a dark layer of clouds. I became very depressed. I was miserable with myself. I hated that I was gay, and I blamed God—at least partially—for that, and I just felt so alone. I couldn't tell anyone. I couldn't talk about what I was going through. No one seemed safe to go to for support. I felt trapped and isolated, and I hated who I was and all those past things I'd done. I felt so much regret. I hated the fact that I'd had sex. I actually tried to, and was successful for awhile, at blocking those experiences nearly completely from my mind. I knew it happened, but I tried to pretend as though it hadn't. I felt so torn and confused.


I eventually began contemplating suicide. I had it all figured out. I'd drive myself right off a cliff and wreck and die and all my troubles would be over and done with. My miserable life of conflicts and loneliness would be no more. I had just become so tired, and was so frustrated, that killing myself seemed to be the only logical thing to do. I couldn't find or think of any other way out. It seemed as though this was my only option.


I remember begging and pleading God to help me. I blamed Him for making me gay. I actually believed that He had. I believed He had messed up with me, that He'd made a mistake, and I let Him know how I felt about that. I believed He was being unfair with me, and that He was torturing me, and had turned His back on me from the very beginning. I just couldn't understand why it would be so wrong for me to have a boyfriend. I couldn't understand why it was so wrong of me to be so drawn to other men. I couldn't understand why He'd consider that to be something sinful.


Eventually, I decided I needed to make a few decisions. One, I wanted to live, so I'd better get the idea of suicide out of my head completely and start living my life better than I had. Two, I didn't want to blame God for something I'm sure He'd have never purposefully made me and then condemned me for being. Three, I wanted to obey God, and refrain from acting out on my homosexual desires in the future. I realized that when I didn't give in, I felt better about myself, and I felt closer to God. That is what sin does, by the way... it separates us from God. When you give up sinning, you draw closer to Him. So, I determined never to have another homosexual relationship for as long as I live.


I felt good about my decisions for about two or three years. Then, my brother found out I was gay. He was the first person to ever truly know this about me. It happened due to my own carelessness. He'd come across some gay pornography I used to have, and so it was pretty clear cut and dry that he knew. I couldn't weasel my way out of it. I couldn't deny it or pretend anymore. At least not with him. He confronted me about this, and in not the best of ways, but his confrontation sparked in me an urge to obey God more thoroughly than I ever had. I decided to give up pornography. I also decided to try to change. I felt in my heart that with God I could change. And I wanted to change.


I eventually, out of some desperation for help, came across Exodus International, who as it turned out, promoted the message that one could possibly change from gay to straight. Now, my decision to want to change, was mostly due to a desire in my heart for a family. I'd love to be able to find a woman I could fall in love with, and have kids with, and to grow old sharing my life with her. At the same time, I could say that I'd like to share my life with another man, but this dream is greater than that one.


During this last year, I've been trying to change my sexual orientation. I do, however, seem to be failing miserably to do that. There have been times when I truly have been attracted to girls. And I've also had times when I wasn't attracted to other guys at all. However, those attractions always seem to keep coming back. I am still gay. Even though this hasn't worked very well for me so far, I won't go as far as to say that it can't work for anyone else. With God, all things are possible. Even this, I think. And as much as I'd like to just give up and be gay sometimes, I still have that hope that it's possible for me. One change that has been permanent so far is my attitudes towards other guys and myself. I don't see them as unreachable anymore. I see them as potential friends. I also see myself being more like them than I ever used to think I was. I don't feel as different as I used to.


I look to God for strength and support. Sometimes I need Him so desperately in my life. I can feel so conflicted and frustrated with myself. I can feel so lonely and also so very tempted. I realize now that there's a great possibility I'll never have that family of my own. And that bothers me greatly sometimes. I hate the thought of always having to live alone. And the temptations bother me. I hate meeting a guy for the first time and instantly having that thought about how good looking he is. I feel torn in two. I know the very thing I want is the very thing I cannot have. I know that I want to be friends with other guys, but I tend to distance myself from them whenever I find myself attracted to them. Then there's the regrets. I feel so much regret for so many things I've done in my life. I hate the fact that I slept with that other guy. The thought of that really does bother me sometimes. I hate that I've looked up, and continue to keep looking up from time to time, so much pornography. I hate that I've pushed away so many people for fear of them getting close enough to me to find out that I might not be perfect, but gay. I hate so many things about my life.


I know God loves me though. I can hold onto that, if nothing else. I know that no matter what I do or how I feel about myself, no matter how rejected or abused I may feel, He'll always care deeply for me. He'll always be there for me, no matter what. And I know I'm forgiven for all those terrible things I've done. I don't know where this life is going to lead me, but I hope it'll always take me further and further toward God. I struggle with the fact that I'm gay. I deny that fact quite a bit usually, but it is true. I like other guys. But as much as other guys do it for me, none of them do it for me like God does. And I'll choose Him any day over anyone or anything else of this world.


God, I may be gay, but I'm yours.”

When I look back on my life, I can't help but remember so many things. There were times when I was a kid that I wished I'd been born a girl. I played dress up occasionally. I've struggled to have a relationship with my dad. Sometimes I can feel really close to him, and other times I can feel so far away. I've always liked interior design—up to a certain extent (yeah, I hate to fit that cliché). And I've always felt it easier to relate to girls than other guys. I've hurt a lot of people. Some intentionally, others not—usually not. I've struggled to fit in at my church. I've resisted a lot of things the good Lord has wanted of me. I've struggled a great deal on whether or not to tell anyone in my family about my past and current struggles. There's just so much I could tell. But, for now, this is my story. It's not by any means my whole story, but it's a start.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brandon, you're not alone in this. You're not the only person who has struggled with the same things that you have and are struggling with. But it sounds like you have come a long way. Reading your story was very encouraging, especially about how much you are trusting God and desire to follow Him. Thanks for sharing.
Casey

Beast said...

Brandon,

Thanks for sharing your story with us! You might not know how encouraging it is to listen to your story! You're not alone my friend!

Prayers and love in Christ,
Beast.

RikFleming said...

Brandon.

I just re-read your blog entry testimony. I read it earlier but ti is so long that I wanted to read it again to sort of compare your testimony to others. The more of these that I read the more that I find that those who struggle with same sex attractions (SSA) have in common: similar histories, similar internal emotional battles and frustrations, similar fears and doubts, and the constant temptation of porn and thoughts of suicide.

I am also finding that my love for my fellow strugglers is growing with the result that I am praying for you all (Beast, David, Brandon, Pornoprophet and others). You’re in my thoughts when I approach the throne of Grace and ask for His peace for us all.

May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Rik

Brandon said...

Thanks everybody for the comments.

Casey, I'm glad I have been able to encourage you.

Same with you, Beast.

Rik, you are right that many of us have similar backgrounds/stories. It's sort of funny when I read some of the things other people write or tell, because a lot of the time, I could say the same things for myself.

We're not alone. That's great to know, isn't it? God bless you all. Every one of you are in my prayers as well. I thank God for each of you, and I pray that He'll help you in all ways.

Love in Christ,
Brandon

P.S. I have definitely felt all those prayers sent my way here lately. Thank you all for caring so much. I love you all.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I am keeping you in my prayers and thoughts. I am very proud of you for not turning to anger (at God, at the gay community, at homosexuality, at yourself) just because you have not been able to easily change what you are. As long as you maintain a happy, positive life, that is what matters. Too often we want to blame our problems on everyone around us, we think if we lash out and judge others, we somehow feel better. I have no idea what your future entails, but God is very proud of you and loves you, and I wish you happiness.

MR said...

Brandon,

God is so much better than sin!

There are so many other things I could say, but I would summarize evrything in the previous sentence. When you say you would take God over any guy you will not regret that choice. He promises us perfectly pure and intense pleasure forever in His presence. Who compares to that?

One thing that has helped me is friendships with straight Christian guys. If a guy is truly following Jesus, he will want to help you in your battle, not reject and taunt you. I find myself gaining more of my straight friends' interests and mannerisms as well as gaining spiritual benefit. Do not distance yourself from a good looking straight Christian guy, you will miss out on helpful fellowship.

I am praying for you !

Brandon said...

I honestly wish I could say I never have been angry or blamed others in my life for being gay, because in the past I have. I blamed God for making me gay, or allowing me to become gay, I blamed my dad for not spending more time with me when I was little, my mom for letting me be so clingy to her, all those other guys who made fun of me or wouldn't be friends with me. I've been angry a lot and about a lot of things. The thing is, I've tried really hard to see that my being gay isn't any of their faults. And it's not my fault either. It's just one of those things that happened. If I'm going to blame anyone, I'll blame the devil.

MR, you are right that Christian, straight guys can make for really good friends. Their influence does (and has in my life) make a difference. The last few years I have tried really hard to make friends with other guys. Like you said, being friends with them can influence you.

Thank you all for praying for me.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with the same thing and have for years. I really don't have any attraction to women. BUT, I am married and have a family. God can do amazing things!

Brandon said...

Anonymous,

As long as you love your wife and your family, and always put God first, that's all that matters. Attractions can never compare to love. Love your family, enjoy them, and thank God for blessing you with a family. You are right, God can do some amazing things.

Thanks for commenting, and God bless you.

Daemon Ἴκαρος~ Δαμων said...

"God, I may be gay, but I'm yours."

Wow man, this quote stopped me dead in my tracks.

How striking and profound. Amazing testimony of life. Thanks for sharing it.

Daemon