Monday, March 12, 2012

"Beware the Ides of March" - Shakespear

The Ides of March approach and I, like Julius Caesar of old, am facing this Thursday with more than a little trepidation.  No, I don’t think a Roman mob is going to stab me in the senate (although I have become quite the thorn in my state senator’s side following the approval of Utah’s new abstinence education bill, but anyway…).  The problem, you see, is that the Ides of March is my birthday.
Now, up until this year, I have loved celebrating my birthday.  I love surrounding myself with good friends and food and, hey, who doesn’t like a good birthday present?  But this year is different; I am turning 27.
Now, I realize 27 is a rather arbitrary age to be afraid of; it’s not one of the big, benchmark ages like 30, 40, 50, etc., but, as I just mentioned, it terrifies me.  Allow me to explain.
When I began to realize I was gay I did everything in my power to deny my feelings.
Who cares if I thought my teenage best friend was gorgeous – so did everyone else, right?  It’s normal! Who cares if the first time I showered in the high school locker room I was surrounded by teenage muscle jocks? As long as I closed my eyes and kept the water freezing cold I couldn’t get too excited, right? That’s normal, right? Or what about at BYU when I would work out and have to check out a jock strap from the men’s locker room (because heaven forbid you work out in your garments), and I would think about all of the other guys who had worn the exact same jock (speaking of cold showers…), that’s normal, right?  It’s nothing! Right?
Well, denial is a powerful tool and it worked its wiles on me for a long time – more than a dozen years in fact.  That is until I realized something important.  The feelings I was having were normal for me.  I didn’t force myself to be attracted to whomever I was attracted to – it just happened.  When I came to that realization I changed inside.  Not in the way I thought I had always wanted, but in a more authentic, true-to-myself way. I began to accept who I was. Who I am.
I came to this startling conclusion when I was about 24 years old.  Now, what on Earth does any of this have to do with me turning 27?  Well, 27 was the deadline I gave myself to come out to the world around me and, more importantly, come into my whole self.
Why 27?  As I have previously mentioned in other posts I have a European mother.  In Europe you don’t get married too young.  You travel the world, get an education, and make your mistakes while you’re single.  My mom was able to do all of that in her early twenties and she married my father a month after her 27th birthday.  Twenty-seven has always been my family’s unspoken deadline for me to get married and, if you couple that benchmark with the fact that I have indeed traveled the world, earned a couple of degrees, and made some major mistakes, I don’t have a leg to stand on to further delay “settling down and popping out a few Mormon kids.”
So, happy birthday to me this week and happy year of finding myself and destroying my parents’ hopes and dreams for me.  But hey, I never made it to medical school – what’s one more disappointment, right? Wish me luck.
All my love,
PS - This week’s videos include one for pure kicks and giggles (I hope not to offend anyone) and another for inspiration.  Enjoy!


    So, did this happen to you too MJ? I'm assuming this is quite a common occurance among men--gay or straight...

    Lucky for us ladies is we just cream up a bit when we're turned on and you don't see that happening (although sometimes I worry something will seep through my pants and someone will notice...). Showering in particular is not an issue because it just washes away :) Although, it's true that women's locker rooms always have curtains, which takes the fun away from everything.

    MJ, when I first started reading about how you were scared of 27 because you decided it was your deadline I thought I would tell you it didn't matter. Why keep yourself to a deadline that you totally don't have to keep for any reason. But then you mentioned your familial expectations. I get that. And, I wish you all the luck in the world. I'm really excitd for this step. I love when people come out because it's such a scary step, but it leads to so much happiness in my experiences and observations.

    1. RE: The Video
      Yes, this exact experience has happened to me a few times: high school (both alone and surrounded by hot guys); the MTC (alone, thank God); and at BYU (again alone and surrounded by hot guys). Similar to Davey, the guy in the video, you think of all sorts of random crap to delay the inevitable and then make a mad dash with your towel out of the situation. Meh.

      Re: Ides of March
      Yeah, I hate the idea of a deadline but at least I have a full year to ease my family into everything. I'm trying, and have been for a while, but it's a slow process. We'll see...

  2. First off I love the video. Hilarious. I was scared of the locker rooms too. I didn't shower at my school until I was a senior and was forced to. But like Ry said it is easier for girls cause we don't "show" but I was terrified people would think I was looking at them so I just kept my head down and went as fast as I could. Not very helpful was the beautiful flamboyant girls who didn't feel the need to where a towel.
    Anywhos... I'm sorry about your family. I feel really blessed because everyone was really cool with me coming out but I have no idea what it would be like to come from a mormon family where it would be expected of me to do otherwise. But I do try to keep an open mind about people in the Church, if they are following Christ then they should have nothing but love for you.
    But no one is perfect so if they don't warm up to the idea right away give them some time. My mom still isn't totally comfortable but bless her for trying.
    Best of Luck! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
    Make sure to let us know how it goes :)

    1. Thanks Dupree. I thought I needed to add it for entertainment value. Plus I alluded to it up in the post so I figured it was pretty apropos. My family means the world to me and I already feel like I have a pretty rocky relationship with them. I want to try to ease the information onto them but I swear they're like ostriches with their heads in the sand. Again, meh. I just tell myself it will work out.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  3. I love this post. As one who comes from a similar situation to the one you described, I can sympathize and I wish you luck. Mostly, I wish you love. I don't believe in luck, but love goes a long way, and you've got mine. :)

    Coming out to my family was one of the most painful yet most beautiful things I've ever had to do. And yes, it is hard as hell (still, years later), especially when they have expectations for you (marriage, religion, grandchildren, medical school...). There's no getting around that. I, too, adore my family and was super afraid of coming out because I didn't want to ruin that connection with them, but I couldn't deny my REAL self anymore, which is why I ended up coming out when I did. Yes, those relationships are no longer the same, and being a "failure" or a "black sheep" in your family doesn't feel good either. I will say, however, that coming out was also one of the most freeing things I've ever done. Being honest with yourself and with the ones you love comes with a lot of beauty, the beauty of authenticity. Even though many relationships in my family are a bit rocky as a result, coming out has allowed me to come in, to fully accept and love myself, to feel comfortable in my own skin, which is worth any rocky relationship in my mind. It's a beautiful paradox, my friend.

    Anyway, I'm rambling now, but know that you have my support and love, and I truly hope you'll keep us updated. :)

    1. I don't believe in luck either. Because if luck exists, she is a cruel-hearted bitch. I stopped believing in luck about the same time I began believing God hated me. Then again, at this point in time, it's really sixes, you know?

      Anyway, I love LOVE. I wish there was more of it in this life. It's fascinating and disappointing that the religions of the world preach love with every breath and then practice hate with every action. It's quite the conundrum that I still haven't figured out.

      Anyway, I ramble. Thank you for your luck, love, and friendship. I tell myself that these tokens offered (by you and many others) will be my "balm of Gilead" when everything finally does hit the fan. Thanks, love!

  4. I love this! It really helps knowing that someone else is kind of in the same shoes as me. When my sister came out I got to have the "inside" view of what goes on. It is inevitable that it will be hard on your family, but I KNOW that they will always love you. They might have a hard time showing it but they will. Sorry if that doesn't help.

    Anyway, I wish you the best and am really excited for you! I don't really know you that well but you have shown me support; so as with Jo, you have my love and support too. :)

    1. I started to respond and then decided that it would be a future blog post so I deleted it... Thanks for the inspiration! Ha ha. Anyway,shoes are great and I believe that although we can never fully understand what someone else is going through, we can always strive to empathize with each other.

      Regardless of the decisions you are working through right now, you have a network through this blog (and a seemingly countless number of other bloggers) who are accepting and loving of whatever choice you make. Anything from the church to sexuality to school to friendship and truly anything in between. I am here for you and I am confident that everyone else on "Breaking the Silence" is, too.

      Thank you for your love and for your support. I would love to have a brother like you in my life and I am confident your sister appreciated your compassion and support. I can only hope there is someone similar in my family.

    2. Haha anytime! :D I love that this blog was started. I first started reading it as kind of a connection to my sister in a way. Since then it has been a huge comfort to know that there are other people out there trying to figure out who they are and find happiness. I love the net of "safety" it gives and the love that we all share for each other. It's amazing to me, just by reading this blog, how much I have grown to love and care about everyone apart of it.

      Thank you so much for your support and all of the inspiring posts you give. I hope the best for you and can't wait to hear more!

      Happy Birthday!!!

  5. Wow, I feel like I'm in your shoes, too, 27 in September and facing similar "deadlines." The difference is I still haven't fully "accepted myself" (though it's coming slowly) but I have been coming out to family and friends.

    I wish you just the best of luck and look forward to your being able to enjoy being honest with your family. I also hope you will fill us in on the blog how it goes. We'll all be here for you, for whatever that's worth :).

    1. Trev, I am glad you can relate and I wanted to further empathize with you. I have not fully "accepted myself." I am in the same process you are and I imagine it will be a life-long endeavor.

      If I'm honest with you, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't consider locking this portion of myself back up in the darkest corners of my being and barricading myself back into the closet. Every time I go to a church function, or hold a baby, or spend time with my family I think about how much easier it would be if I were to just settle down and marry some Mormon girl.

      The problem with that logic, however, is that it would be easier for everyone except for who mattered: me and the poor girl I dragged into the relationship. It would NEVER be fair to me or to whomever I married. I don't think I can do that. Even though I still believe I am bisexual enough to try and make it work, my past experiences have told me that it would be a long, hard road I don't believe I am equipped to hoe.

      I'm rambling now but I want to say this: coming out is an essential part of coming "in." Accepting ourselves is paramount to finding inner peace. Regardless of how fast or slow your process is, I wish you all the happiness and joy and peach this life has to offer. I hope you will keep us posted on this blog as we ALL want to support you in your process, too!

  6. :) this makes me very very happy. Mostly because of the Shakespeare references...but also becasue I think it's so so exciting to watch peopel's processes--particularly the scary parts that come with coming out.

    In light of Jo's love not luck thing: Good love!

    1. I like to quote Shakespeare in my posts,I'm surprised he waited this long to make an appearance.

      I am glad you are excited for this part of my journey, that makes one of us! ha ha.

      Thank you for your love and your luck and I wouldn't have it any other way!