Monday, April 2, 2012

Catharsis: The Purging of Emotions or Relieving Emotional Tensions

So Many Blog Posts, So Few Mondays

Since I started writing for this blog I have gone through a whirlwind metamorphosis. In a few short weeks I have started feeling more ‘at home’ in my own skin than I have since I was a young child.

I’ve come to terms with who I am sexually, I’ve come to accept where I want my life to go, and I’ve finally begun to be ‘okay’ with being gay. It’s still a process, and I know I have much further to go, but I finally feel ready for the journey. And, honestly, I'm truly glad I have you to take along with me.

This blog has given me the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend (I love you Jo, SO much!), make some phenomenal new friends (Tiff, Ry, Dupree, Tiffany, Chris, Julie, and L. Fauset – I love all of you guys, too [and I’m sure I’ve missed a few, sorry]), and it’s allowed me to open up about some things that have burdened my soul for most of my life. I love this blog. I love its readers. And most importantly, at least perhaps for me, I love writing for it.

Writing is cathartic for me and, frankly, I think we all need a little more catharsis in our lives. We need to get our emotions and thoughts out of us to make room for whatever else life has to throw at us. So this post is a free response for me to say a few things I need to get out of my mind or off of my chest.

By the end, I hope you use the comments section to share the things you need to get out there and into the blogosphere, too.



Are you there, Gaydar? It’s me, MJ.

The first thing I want to talk about is gaydar. If you’re gay, you think you have it. If you’re not gay, you think every gay man (or woman) has it. Truth is, I think everyone’s gay. At least a little bit. Ha! Does that count?

Anyway, as I have reconnected with friends from high school, the conversation inevitably leads to who’s recently come out as being gay (every day is Relief Society gossip day in gaydom). Some of the people I hear about surprise me but most of them do not. I guess hindsight is always 20/20. Still, it’s amazing what you can find out late at night, huddled around your old yearbooks with a Web browser open to Facebook.

Similarly, for those who know me, and have known me for along time, haven’t been particularly surprised when they found out I was gay (dammit, there goes my chances for an Oscar or Emmy). And here I thought I had everyone confuddled. Meh.

So, to respond, I think we homos all have a little gaydar in us (and maybe even a few of our adopted heteros, too). Honestly, we have all spent so much time in the closet, trying to masquerade as a shell of who we truly are, all while trying desperately to never give our deep, dark secret away, that we can see the similarities in others who MAY be going through what we once went through. There’s no surefire way of knowing but it isn’t hard to suspect…



Homophobes are USUALLY Homos

At least that’s what I think. I kind of used to be one. A little bit. I was afraid of being too open to the idea that homosexuality was ‘real’ because then I would have to address my own sexuality. Telling myself that my gay masturbatory fantasies were ‘normal’ for young straight men (it’s only a ‘phase,’ everyone does it…) was much easier than realizing I liked a ‘p’ in place of a ‘v.’ It was far too easy to condemn others and stay perched up on my own ‘high horse’ than honestly accept who I am.

Really, my cathartic thought on this subject is that there are certain individuals who are in positions of authority in the Mormon church, (i.e. President Boyd Kenneth Packer) as well as perhaps other faiths (WestboroBaptist Church – http://www.godhatesfags.com/) who are so consumed by their own self-loathing that they turn their bitterness on others.

I can’t seem to think of any other reason.



On God, Religion, and Love

I’m sorry, Jo, I’m stealing your title for this subsection; you impressed me so much with your recent post on this blog I had to add a few other thoughts.

So… I'm on ‘friendship timeout’ with God. And, if we are going to start pointing fingers, it’s religion’s fault (see anything said or written by Boyd K. or spend more than three seconds at http://www.godhatesfags.com/), or talk to a gay friend living in the southern half of the Bible Belt.

Scripture teaches that God is love, that Christ was sent out of love, and that the greatest commandment is to love God, thy neighbor, and thy self (see John 15).

If God is love, and tells us to love everyone (including ourselves), why the Hell are leaders of churches across the globe preaching so much hate from the pulpit? It baffles my mind. Honestly, their prejudice and bile have become a sounding call for my religious renouncement.

I much prefer to do my best to love all of everything on this planet and surround myself with others who love me. Seems to behoove my personal well being much more than hearing how ‘second class’ I am because of my genetic predisposition.

While on this subject, I have a dear friend who lives in the deep south at the bottom of the Bible Belt who is also gay. He's in a similarly difficult situation being gay and Christian (no, his congregation doesn't describe themselves as being Baptist, or Pentecostal, or any other specific denomination - just 'Christian') in Alabama to how I feel being gay and Mormon in Utah.

His faith preaches similar messages about homosexuality as ours does. He explained to me this week that all things are for the glory of God. In all that is good and righteous, God is elevated and glorified. In all that is bad and sinful (including being gay) God is equally elevated and glorified through his destruction and condemnation and casting out of the 'bad.'

Hmmmm. Define bad, please. Because I tell you what, there are a lot of terrible, horrible straight people who do nothing but shroud their hate and ignorance in religious vespers to condemn their fellow man. The very 'neighbors' they are commanded to love. Grrr.




Sex and Stereotypes

The homosexual world is filled with stereotypes propagated by members of both the straight and the gay communities. Let me first say that physical relationships are great, I love them. But, then again, who doesn't like expressing love and sexual passion?

I need to address several thoughts on this issue, though. First let me say that we don't all look like muscle gods. We don't try to screw everything that walks, and we aren't all trolling bathrooms and back allies for sex. Some are, but most of us are not.

Also, the vast majority of us aren't pedophiles just like the vast majority of heterosexuals aren't pedophiles. Pedophilia is a sickness and there is no correlation to homosexuality. NONE. I swear if I hear one more person associate the two of them together I am going to flip. Or bestiality. For the love of god, being attracted to men (or women for lesbians) does NOT equate to being attracted to any other animal. We like humans of our same sex. Not dogs, horses, donkeys, or any other species that is not Homo Sapien.

I have more to say but that's probably sufficient for this particular post.



Born Gay, Proud by Choice

So here’s the thing. There are many people I know (all of whom don’t know I’m gay) who say things like:

“I’m all for equal rights, but why do they have to shove it down my throat?”

or

“I don’t understand why they are making such a big deal out of out of a piece of paper?”

or

“Marriage isn’t all that great, if they really knew what they were getting into, they wouldn’t be so interested in trying to have it.”

or

“We just need to ‘love the sinner’ but ‘hate the sin.’”

or

“As soon as it stops being so popular to be gay, there are going to be a lot of men who have a hard time going back to women who will accept them. They’re just not going to want all these men who’ve been sodomized.”

or

"God hates homos."

or...

The list goes on, and on, and on.


I’ve often heard the expression, “you can only beat a dog so long before he starts biting back.” Have you? I don’t think I made it up, but it makes sense, right?

Well, turns out, I’m the dog. I am sick to shit of being told that I’m inferior, that people I adore are detested by God, and that my sexuality predicates my value to society. I’m done. Society, and culture, and religion, and family bigots have all told me for far too long that I am a failure for how I was born and I can’t take the beating anymore. I am going to start biting back.

There's a reason our voices ring out in support of each other. There's a reason we don't go quietly into the night. There's a reason we want to be seen as equal. Why? Because we are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated with the same degree of humanity that everyone else wants and expects. Dammit.



Wrap Up

When I started this blog post, I said that I am finally finding peace with who I am. I truly believe I'm well on my way to being “proud by choice” and I am quickly “breaking [my] silence.” Here's hoping my journey continues true and just.

Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting. I love all of you and I hope you each love yourselves! We are all in this together!

MJ






Mostly love this cover for its beauty and its message. Enjoy!



*I don't claim any rights to any images or videos published on this blog. If you own the rights and would like them taken down, please let me know.

15 comments:

  1. LOVE IT! This blog has done the same for me too! It's amazing isn't it? How becoming a part of this group can help you feel more comfortable about being yourself? So awesome...
    I had a friend who tried to talk to me about homosexuals getting married, I just flat out told him I was pansexual but I was open to having the discussion. I appreciated that we were still able to talk about it afterwards in a kind manner. He made his point about how marriage was originally religious and how it shouldn't be mixed in with state and I made mine about how it was a matter of equality. We disagreed of course but we were able to accept it :)
    Anyways... Love the post! Love you! So glad you are coming to peace with who you are. By the way does your family know yet?

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    1. I'm with you guys. This blog is an awesome venue for self-discovery in its many forms. I love it. And all of you.

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    2. I agree with both of you but it is truly so much more than just feeling comfortable - although that is great too. It truly has empowered me and has given me the strength to do things I know I need to do but haven't had the courage. Thank you to both of your for your examples and for your love.

      And no, Dupree, not yet. I'm looking at about two or so weeks. I'm leaving town for a bit and I don't want to stress about it while I'm gone so I plan on sitting them down the week I get back.

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  2. Thanks for this post--it was just what I needed after listening to conference this weekend. I get so tired of people talking about how uplifted they felt by conference, when all I feel is sad, hopeless, and angry. I think it's time God and I take a break too.

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    1. Thursday, I hope you feel loved and I am so glad you were able to feel uplifted after reading this post. I really hope to find a balance between entertaining folks and sharing strength and support through my personal experiences.

      I would never tell anyone to take a break from something that has been important to them; only you can make that call. My journey away from the church has taken years and it took even longer for me to come to terms with who I am and what it means to be gay for me. Honestly, if you need someone to talk to or want an e-mail pen pal let me know. I'd love to support you and be there for you.

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    2. Just read several of your posts and love your blog! Also, I don't know if you watched conference. I tried but fortunately my satellite went down and I wasn't getting the signal anymore. I made it about half way through Packers talk on Saturday morning. Bad idea. In fact, a dear friend of mine told me "that was the stupist idea you've had in a while." And, frankly, it's true. Why do I watch something that makes me feel, like you, sad, hopeless, and angry? I shouldn't.

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  3. I love the comment about the homophobic closet-dwellers. I've wondered about certain members of my family for that very reason. I, myself, was a HUGE homophobe before I came to terms with it all.

    The "fight for equality" breaks my heart. I, too, am baffled at the hate that can come from people who claim that "love (god) is the answer." You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

    Thanks, once again, for the great post, MJ. Sure do love you.

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    1. I've thought about that, too, in my family.

      I am glad we are dreamers together and I cannot thank you enough for being you and for sharing your love with me. As cliche' as it sounds, you are my Josh Groban and you 'lift me up' (I hope you're wearing something supportive and a good pair of shoes...). ;) Sure do love you, too.

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  4. Dude, it has been so rad watching you spread your wings on this blog. It's like you're really blossoming into a beautiful flower and it's just in time for spring.

    You addressed so many different things in this post. I don't know exactly what to say, but I do agree that things need to change. I'm sick of god-loving people claiming to love all yet preaching "god hates fags."

    I'm tired of being seen only as a sexual being--and maybe some people think this is odd coming from teh girl who wrote the 30 minute orgasm post...but, just because sex isn't my life doesn't mean it isn't still part of my life. I think sex in general is mistreated. Religious freaks in Utah claim it's "sacred" meaning they can't talk about it because we all know that "sacred" in Mormon lingo is another word fo"r secret". I'm tired of sex being portrayed in the media--used to sell clothes, cars, and even food. I'm tired of "gay sex" being the only thing that heteros think of when they hear the words gay, lesbian, or bi. Is it my fault as a lesbian for writing a blog post like 30 minute orgasm, in which I tried to share a new discovery about my body, my relationship, my sexuality--because NO ONE ever talks about that stuff? Maybe it is. But I'm not the middle-aged white man unahppy with his marriage and paying someone else to give him sex. I'm not the music producer for Mic Jagger or the film director for {insert ANY pg-13 or R movie here}. I'm not the ad designer trying to convince you that jello will give you an orgasm. Who is? My bet is some fucking straight guy.

    I'm glad that despite the way people are treated, they can come to realize that who they are is something to be proud of--particularly the who they love part of them. Gay by birth, proud by choice.

    Thanks, MJ.

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    1. Exactly, I couldn't agree more. Sexuality, in all of its forms, is merely an aspect of one's life. It is merely a slice of the human pie. Thank you for adding so many wonderful thoughts to the post and for being you. I to draw from your strength and courage.

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  5. MJ, I love your voice, and I love the strength that comes through in this post. It is amazing. There are two things that stand out to me. First, your reference to a "whirlwind metamorphosis." Since I started reading the blog a few weeks ago, your voice has changed dramatically. Change is difficult and painful, and usually incremental. This process cannot be easy for you.

    The other part that really stands out to me is this, "There's a reason our voices ring out in support of each other. There's a reason we don't go quietly into the night. There's a reason we want to be seen as equal. Why? Because we are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated with the same degree of humanity that everyone else wants and expects. Dammit." LOVE this! It's so beautifully said.

    Thank you for sharing your cathartic writing with us!

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    1. Metamorphosis is definitely painful. It has been terribly painful and incredibly heart-wrenching for me. But, to continue with the analogy, a caterpillar must undergo extraordinary changes to become the truly beautiful butterfly it is meant to be. I know that I have something beautiful inside me and it's on the cusp of breaking out.

      Thank you for being you, for your friendship, and sharing your life with this blog.

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  6. MJ. I just have to echo everyone else. Thanks for the beautiful (and entertaining--because I'm a word nerd) post. I love watching your process. And I LOVE having you as a friend. So much love!!

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    1. Tiff, thank you for your kind words and I am glad you found it funny. I find humor is the best medicine; especially when discussing hard topics. At least heard for me.

      Love you, love dancing with you, and already miss you!

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  7. It appears I had some technical difficulties with Blogger and there are some significant spacing and formatting issues on some browsers. I hope I've fixed the problems but if I only created more, I'm sorry! Thanks so much for reading!

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