Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kent Part 2

Scroll down to read  Kent Part 1

When I got home from my mission, I had always planned to attend school at Brigham Young University. For some reason I decided to come to school down in Mesa instead and everything fell into place. I moved to Mesa and had a job that I ended up working at for 10 years where I learned and grew so much.  I also started dating a girl that I knew from school in Snowflake.  
Dating for me has always been so awkward. I never knew exactly how to act.  I was hesitant to say or do anything wrong with girls because they were so special and perfect in my eyes.  I definitely was always slow to make any moves and when I finally did, I just felt like anything I did was wrong.  I loved hugging kissing and holding hands with girls but it never felt like I wanted or had envisioned it would be like.  During this time I really came to love this girl but could never be completely open and honest with everything in my life. I don’t even know that I truly understood everything going on in my head.  Then she felt like she needed to go on a mission.  This was truly heartbreaking to me because I cared for her so much even though I felt completely awkward around her in a physical sense.  

When she left, I tried dating more and got to know one girl a bit.  Nothing near as serious but all I knew was that I was home from my mission and I needed (replace needed with felt pressure?) to get married.  I had no clue how to act around girls. It felt very awkward.  I was trying to make friends with guys at this time but even that was hard because they were busy from dating.  Luckily I had a great job that kept me busy.  I worked 30+ hours a week and took around 14 credit hours at school.  Needless to say, I didn’t have too much time for a social life but that was ok for me.  I was more interested in completing my education and getting into a career.

When the girl that left on a mission came home, we dated again and I pretty much planned on marrying her.  We dated for a month then both of us came to the conclusion that we weren’t right for each other.  I think we had just gone to different spiritual planes.  I think she progressed on her mission and I digressed.  After she left on her mission I found pornography.  At first I viewed it from curiosity.  I wanted to see how I compared to other guys.  In time though, it just eased the pain and helped me not have to deal with life.  I would indulge for a time and then feel really guilty and clear up for long periods of time.  I would be on this yo-yo of abstinence and then looking again.  I kept coming back then stopping because it gave me bad feelings.  I just felt so dirty but I used it to fulfill my unmet needs or so I thought.  

I started to think that if I just ignore the fact that I was attracted to guys, it would go away.  I suppressed any desire I had for guys and tried to ignore it.  I could be strong for a while but then it kept coming back stronger and I decided to never let anyone know.  I finally told some bishops that I was attracted to guys but they said to just continue dating girls and the attractions would change.  I tried and tried to date but the attractions never left.  The porn addiction also solidified my attractions to guys because that is all I would ever look at.  

I graduated from college and bought my own house.  I got a couple of roommates.  Some I got along really well with and others we got along but we didn’t have much in common.  In my new ward I met a guy who I got along with really well.  I had known him a year or so and we had started doing everything together.  At the beginning I was just trying to earn his attention.  I was never physically attracted to him but I was craving a friend and he seemed like a great friend. We helped each other out a lot with tough things we went through during our friendship.  
After knowing him for a couple years, I had an opening in my house for a roommate and he needed to move from his parents house.  It took a long time but I finally convinced him to move in.  We were basically inseparable.  Everyone knew that we were usually hanging out together.  There was a time that we even worked together.  We would wake up, go into the office work and then come home and do social stuff in the evenings.  We were great at getting people together for activities and I started to feel like I had something I never had before in my life.  I had a friend that liked me just as much as I liked him.  The greatest part was there was no attraction physically, just a good buddy.  Something I always wanted in my life.  

The next part will explain when I finally told the first person besides my bishop that I was attracted to guys and the hope and healing that I got from that.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Brad Part 2

    Scroll down to read  Brad Part 1

     After serving a mission for the LDS church I began working in the Food and Beverage industry again.  I have to say my mission was great and the friendships developed there have increased in depth and love.   On my mission I learned just how wonderful companionship with other men could be.  I had really only experienced one friend before my mission and that happened about a year before I left.  So my experience with building friends was really limited.  On my mission  I experienced just how wonderful companionships with other men could be.  It was great having a companion and growing together spiritually, spending time together, and serving.  Those friendships have grown and I am grateful for that experience in my life.  It would prove to be a life changing experience for me in my view of healthy male relationships.

    The Food and Beverage industry is filled with gay men and I was surrounded by gay men all the time.  And they all thought I was gay.  I really enjoyed my friendships with them and was frequently thought of as being gay.  As I mentioned before I was feminine in my mannerisms and I don't blame them for thinking I was gay.  Although I was constanlty confronted with that issue I felt no sexual attraction to them.  I wondered about this often and I easily developed great friendships with many, but I still lived in confusion.  Everyone on the outside said I was gay, but inside I was confused.  Especially when I would meet certian men and feel a strong attraction to them,  sometimes overwhelmingly so.

     My gay friends totally respected my standards and so we enjoyed great times together.  As I look back I can totally see why everyone assumed I was gay.  My dearest friend Michael and I were very close.  We would go shopping together and buy matching clothes, wearing them when we went out.  We were very close and had a deep love for each other.  He defended me often as others would tell crud jokes or stories.  He would make them stop until I left the room.  He was a wonderful friend in so many ways.   Once he knew I had no intentions of a phyical relationship with him, he defended my honor many many times and never pushed the issue.  I explained to him how I desired loving friendships with men and nothing more. The confusion  I felt was how comfortable I was with men that dealt with Same Sex Attraction.  It seemed I was drawn to these tender sweet men.  The thing I enjoyed about my friendships with them was how comfortable they were with showing affection.   I had come to understand that I needed that strong bond with other men in my life.  And in the process I learned that it did not need to be sexual.

      About this time I meet my wife.   I have to say she was a little taken back when she would see me in matching cloths with Michael.  But she loved him and enjoyed his company and she totally accepted me as a flamboyant sensitive man.

     It amazes me how when we have struggles and stay focused on what we know is right and seek the guidence of the Spirit of the Lord how we can be taught.  This is what happened to me over the next few years.  I married my wife and she has been a great blessing to me.  She totally excepts my unique ways and is an amazing woman in every way.

    We started a family and I cannot express the joy at being a father.  Seeing those babies for the first time was one of the most amazing experience in my life.  Holding them and understanding that in partnership with God we created these little spirits.  And with that came the resolution that I would love them and teach them.

     Still working in the food and beverage industry would find me faced with the challenges of being a different man acccording to the standards of the world.  It brought confusion to me and I struggled with why I was attracted to men so strongly.   I remember meeting a man at a bridle convention.  It was love at first sight.  I knew we were going to be best friends.  Please understand that there was no sexual feelings, just a strong feeling of closeness to him.  I felt as though I had know him forever.  the moment I meet him it felt like our friendship picked up from already  knowing him and it continued to grow.  I had no clue and did not even care if he was gay or not,  I just knew I loved him.   We were close friends for a long time.  A funny thing did happen one day.  We were in the elevator going down 24 floors.  As I said we had grown close as friends.  What happened next totally suprised me, my friend leaned in to kiss me.  He saw the look of shock on my face and hugged me instead.   I was totally surprised and hugged him back and went up to my office and sat on the floor dumbfounded at what had just happened.  The next day we went to lunch and I explained to him how much I loved him, but I was not gay.   He was wonderful and understood.   What a great man.

     During this time of life my one of my dear friend died of aids.  It was a really hard experience for me.   I loved him and pondered our lives side-by-side.    Our parents could have been twins.  We were raised the same, abused emotional, made fun of, and often ridiculed for our feminine behavior.   I learned the difference between him and me was the choices we made.  At the same age, around 18 years old,  we made different choices.   I choose to follow the teachings of Christ.  He chose to follow the natural man.  I learned that such choices are often predicated on life experience.  I don't judge him for his choices, but I was taught that because of my choices I had a family and " spiritual increase".   He was gone, his life ended early  likely because of the choices he made.

     During this hard time I moved into a new area.  I had prayed for a friend.  A male friend, a buddy, someone to hang out with.  I have always had a need for male companionship.  I will never forget the day I meet this new friend.  I saw him and the moment I set eyes on him I sat down and wept for joy.  I knew him and I knew we were going to be  best friends forever.   I saw him several times and could not contain my joy.  One day his wife was walking in the neighborhood and stopped by.  I broke down and cried in front of her as I told her how much I loved her husband.

       The spirit told me we were friend before we came here.   After a few days I could not stand it any longer.  I went over and I had to grasp my hands behind my back the urge to hug him was so strong.  I  left knowing that we were going to be friends.  That was 23 years ago and we are still best friends and will be forever.  Our friendship picked up where I believe it left off before we came here.  We instantly knew each other and instantly our friendship formed with out any work or effort.  We understood each other and loved each other from that very first meeting.

In my next blog post, part 3,  I will continue my story and explain more about "Increase".   Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment below.