RSS

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Happy Anniversary – a tribute to my parents.

As part of the dissolution of my marriage to my wife, the state of Arizona requires each person to take a parenting information class when children are involved in any way. Well, I completed my requirement this past week. The class left me informed and sad. Part of the class was a video entitled “let the children speak.”. That was the sad part.

It was clips of children telling how they felt about their parents divorce. It was though watch. The most noted were the children who felt that their parents fought in front of them and the children who did not want one parent to leave the home. One child even suggested that the parents move into separate parts of the house just to keep the family together. It was heartbreaking.

This did however confirm my decision to stay-put in our family home… Just like my parents did and just like my former wife’s parents. I am thankful for the constant place that I called home, where I had two parents that loved each other and protected me.  I am thankful that now and even prior to the dissolution of our marriage, that my children never saw their parents fight without also seeing an apology to make it right.  I am happy to have my former spouse that is also my best friend.

So this week on September 4th, my parents will celebrate their 47th or 48th wedding anniversary. I have lost count. I know it’s a lot! While our relationship may not be what it could be, or what it once was, I have made a conscious choice to highlight the positive aspects. I don’t care how bad a situation or event is, if we look with proper perspective, we will find the good and the right. I personally enjoy catching people doing something RIGHT instead of looking for or catching someone doing something wrong.

My parents did something right.  They stayed together even when times and situations were tough.  While I may no longer be married to my former spouse, I have chosen to “stay together” with her and parent our children together.  There is just something to be said about putting personal “feelings” aside and doing what it RIGHT for the betterment of a child who has no choice in the matter.

Happy Anniversary to Marie Antoinette Perez Derouen and Charles Lloyd Derouen, Sr.  I honor you.

Below is a photo of the church that they were married in.  Jeanerette, Louisiana.  I remember jumping down those stairs when we would attend church there.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m so CONFUSED? Not really.

Ahhhh…  my topic for this post has not much to do with me discovering why I am gay.  The topic today is a word that has been used to describe what we as co-parents are “allowing” to happen to our two children who are ages 6 1/2 and 9 1/2 respectively.

That word is…  you guessed it.  CONFUSE, CONFUSING, CONFUSED… and all three have been used interchangeably.  Let’s go ahead and throw in another word that has been used loosely as well and that word is…  yep, you guessed that one too… NORMAL.  Now that’s a combination right.

Image

Lets look first at the word Confuse by taking a look at what Dictionary.Com has to say:

con·fuse [kuhn-fyooz]

verb (used with object), con·fused, con·fus·ing.

1. to perplex or bewilder: The flood of questions confused me.
2. to make unclear or indistinct: The rumors and angry charges tended to confuse the issue.
3. to fail to distinguish between; associate by mistake;confound: to confuse dates; He always confuses the twins.
4. to disconcert or abash: His candor confused her.
5. to combine without order; jumble; disorder: Try not to confuse the papers on the desk.
6. Archaic . to bring to ruin or naught.
Now let’s look at the other word and what Dictionary.com has to say about this one:

nor·mal [nawr-muhl]  

adjective

1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.
2. serving to establish a standard.
3. Psychology .

a. approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.
b. free from any mental disorder; sane.
Ok, now that we have established some definitions. Let this naive, barely street-smart cajun tell you a question…  that’s right.  I’m gonna tell ya a question.  …and I talk real fasss so ya bettah lissen fasss.
Since we have made the difficult choice to be unmarried due to my “situation” we have received solicited and some not-so-solicited advice about remaining together in our home as a family until the time is such that one of us should move forward in another relationship.
We have been given advice from the professional field as well as the not-so-professional field. It seems to be that the general OPINION is that we should not be residing together as this sending a CONFUSING message to our children because we are not in a NORMAL marriage relationship.  Think about that for a minute… don’t burn your brain now thinking too hard.  Hear me out.
Our home is situated in a very nice neighborhood where our girls play with their friends that they go to school with on a daily basis.  The home is well over 3,000 square feet and has a master suite upstairs and downstairs.  Not a bad deal.  It its big enough to move around and small enough to know where our kids and the multiple other kids that are usually here as well.  It’s a perfect set-up for co-parenting right now.
I wonder how CONFUSING it would be for our children to be downsized into a home less than half this size with no common friends and changing schools as well.  I wonder how CONFUSING it would be to move the kids from home to home  every week so that mom and dad could both have parenting time with them.  I wonder how CONFUSING it would be to see their parents who still love each other and them deeply never share a meal, chores and swim-time together after a long hot day.  it is all they have known for their entire lives?  It’s not broken…  why fix it.
Image
I wonder how NORMAL it would be to go from home to home each week and how NORMAL it would be to be separated from their pets, favorite blanket and toys. I would argue that in spite of our personal desires, that we have gone to great lengths to keep this as NORMAL and NON-CONFUSING for them.  It would be so much easier for us to split assets and bring confusion and abnormality into the lives of our very well-balanced kids.
Here is another word for you.  REALITY.  Reality is that life if full of confusing events.  Reality is that life is full of abnormal people claiming to be NORMAL when they are simply fooling only themselves.  (you know the type – you just said their name in your head…  lol)
Reality is that there is no textbook answer for the unique situation that we are facing.  We don’t fit the mold that society has made for us.  So we have chosen to be trial blazers.  We may not get it 100% right but we certainly are not getting it 100% wrong either.  I ASSURE you and I speak from facts, there are literally thousands of families just like ours, but one spouse or the other will not “come out” because they are deathly afraid of loosing everything.  So they continue to pretend.  How normal and confusing is that???  It is easy to divorce and separate when you don’t like, love or simply despise the person that you are married to.  That is not our situation.  We love each other deeply and share a mutual respect for each other and our family unit.
Several people have visited us at our home since we are no longer married and have been absolutely amazed and how NORMAL our family unit is.  Unfortunately our visitors have diminished greatly since we decided to “CONFUSE” our children and ourselves alike, but the visitors that we do have are almost jealous at our progress and attempt to NORMALIZE an otherwise CONFUSING situation.   “They” used to say the same thing about interracial couples and that has proven to be FAULTY, FAULTY, FAULTY.
So for those professionals and not-so-professional, I ask you…  What would be a better solution? What is so profoundly abnormal and confusing  that we could do “better” as not to CONFUSE our children and cause them to be ABNORMAL?  Please don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.  And no… I’m not gonna look up that word for you today.  Two dictionary references is more than this back-wood-cajun can handle today.
Much love to those who have loved and supported us not in word but in action.  It’s easy to say “we love you guys” but we never hear from or see you.  Remember the simple song that says LOVE is a VERB.  It means that action must take place.  OUCH.  Not being snarky… just real.  Yes we have noticed you don’t comment on our Facebook posts, photos or my blog. (But I certainly know that you read it…  your IP address is perfectly visible to me on my blog reports.)  We notice that you don’t care to visit with us.  We hear the things that you say to others but won’t say to us directly.

We have been very clear and concise in communicating to our daughters exactly what is “going on” in our family.  They are so happy that we still share meals together, they are happy that we still attend church together and they are happy that when life threw us a curve ball that we are still able to love each other and trust in our God for counsel and guidance.  We pray together for ourselves and for other families who may find themselves in our situation.  We have chosen to FOCUS on our FAMILY.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Reply That Never Came

This is gonna be a tough one to write, but you’ve heard me say that before right?

Image

The past few days have found me lying on the couch lethargic and sad.  This usually happens to me when my depression kicks in.  I have a buddy in Kansas that has the same issue with depression as me so we often lean on each other when this happens.  Thanks buddy for being there for me with past week. Sometimes I feel it coming on and other times I don’t until a few days later when I realize that I’ve spent more time sleeping than awake. It kinda just sneaks up on me like a snake or cat, both of which I just can’t stand  I don’t understand it, it’s just a side-effect of depression.  For those of us who deal with “regular” depression, it is common.  I regress…

When I knew that the time had come for me to be honest with those around me about my “gayness” I wondered how to do it.  Ya know… how do I deliver this “news” to friends and family. What would be the most diplomatic, self-preserving way to deliver a difficult message to those that I knew would be hurt, ashamed, scared, freaked-out and some down-right angry.  I had already covered the most difficult ground by coming out to my now former wife.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  That woman is the epitome of GRACE and MERCY.  So I decided that instead of having multiple “meetings” with literally hundreds of people who would have allowed the news to travel to people before I could personally tell them, I would write a letter.

When I write, I am free to express my conscience and clear thoughts without being questioned and without snotty-crying all over the place.  I’m a REAL ugly crier in my ever so humble opinion.  I knew that I would take my licks for this.  I knew some would be undone that I chose that format and I knew that they would feel that it was impersonal and yet public.  I stuck with my choice.  I will not apologize for it.  I apologize if it made some of you feel uncomfortable and sad or whatever other emotion you can come up with, but I will not apologize for the delivery.  I don’t care how the truth is delivered…  it must be delivered nonetheless.  I am still a fan of proper, time, place, context and the actual need to know.  I knew that it would be impossible to please everyone at the same time, so I began writing.

My first letter was to my parents.  While I copied my siblings on that letter, it was not directed or addressed to them intentionally.  For almost two years, I have not been in relationship with some of them and I felt that they would only twist it into something that it wasn’t.  I did however intentionally put it in writing format so that my words could not be twisted and so that there was a “permanent” record of what was “said.”  I wanted to eliminate the he-said, she-said crap that had likely caused the damaged relationship in the first place.

I began writing the letter on the back patio of my home at 4 AM.  I simply could no longer sleep that day.  I was anxious and my heart was racing.  For anyone who knows me, I have NEVER seen 4 AM in my life willingly…  8 AM is considered the crack of dawn for me…  Now that is funny stuff.  So anyway, I began writing the letter to my parents.  My parents have not been the perfect parents ever.  I have not been the perfect child ever.  I do believe that they did the BEST with that they had been given, and when they knew better, they did BETTER.  I realized that writing a letter would make it difficult to establish tone.  Tone is SUPER important when you speak and most especially when you write.  Remember the old saying… It’s not what you say, It’s how you say it.  Well I tried to keep that in tact, but unfortunately the reader has a right to interpret your tone.  Yeah… that bit me in the butt just like I figured it would.  But I still stand by my decision to deliver my news in writing.  It’s easier to remember what you said when you write it and much more difficult to deny it too.  I made my choice consciously and with no regret.

So after several hours of writing, crying, writing, crying, editing, crying, crying, crying, (snot and all), writing, crying and writing some more, It was complete.  I said what I had to say and there was no turning back.  I was scared but I felt relief.  Even if I NEVER sent the letter, I felt like a load was off of my chest for the first time in 42 years.  Now the hard part.  To hit the send button.  HOLY COW!  I almost threw up. The sun was up now and I knew that the kids and My soon to be former wife would be stirring and I need to get cleaned up from all the snot and I was in my underoos as well.  Yep… sitting on the back patio by the pool in my underoos.  Don’t worry…  I’ve been in that back yard in less clothing before. We have a pool and I enjoy a good skinny dip..  oops…did I just say that out loud…???  So  I mustered up enough courage and hit the send button…  oh my… nooooooo….   I couldn’t take it back.  I wanted to so bad, but I couldn’t .

Couldn’t I just go back in the closest, manage the depression, anxiety and constant suicidal thoughts and plans to execute it so no one would know it was a suicide?  Why did I have to tell?  OOPS and that night was the night of a family event that I would not be attending.  I didn’t check my calendar to make sure there were no life-events happening.  Oh no…now I’d have to take the blame for that too…and I did too.  SHOOT… I just couldn’t win if I wanted to.  Oh crap, there was no un-ringing that bell.

So with every bit of confidence that I had, I prepared myself for the phone to ring or an email to be returned.  Even if it was a mean and nasty email or phone call… at least it would be something right?  I already have this weird kink in my psyche that I’m literally afraid to answer my phone at times and without conscious alertness of this kink, I will go weeks without answering my phone or listening to voice messages.  I don’t even know why I do that.  I’m anxious to get into that one with my therapist…  that should be fun.

So I convinced myself that if my phone rang, that I needed to answer it.  I got myself all pumped up.  I would answer kindly and be ready for anything that came my way.  Good or bad I wanted to hear from my family.  I wanted to know that they would be there for me and my girls and of course my soon to be former wife that has been nothing but good, decent, kind and loving to them for over 15 years.

Well… that was months ago and while we have had several fruitless conversations regarding “other” topics, the topic of me being gay was diminished, dismissed, down-played and pushed to the side so that we could “talk about” how I’ve been the “cause of division” in the family over the past couple of years…  Are you kidding me?  When I was hospitalized last year and was given the notice that I may die, we were willing to forget the past and move forward with healing and family?  But now that I’m better and not at risk of imminent death, that offer is off the table mister!  “You will answer for your behavior!,”  I was told.  Yep… I single-handedly broke up a family.  No one else accepted any responsibility whatsoever.  It was solely my issue.  Not being gay, but “breaking up the family.”

So now I’m forced to deal with being rejected as the “great-divisioner”…If that’s even a word and to now process being gay, divorced and scared.  No concern about my well-being, no concern about the well-being of my children or former wife.  Just contempt, shame and embarrassment about the “things that you have said and done in the past.”  But to be honest, I just didn’t see that coming at all.  It was like a bat-to-the-face.  I have since made a conscious choice to sever ties completely until the day when my family is willing to attend a support group, watch a DVD, read a book, or anything about suppressing lifelong secrets and the obvious…being gay.  A good start is a documentary on Netflix entitled “For The Bible Tells Me So.”  I recently watched it and pretty much sobbed through the entire thing.  It’s a good start for anyone who has or suspect your loved one of being gay. I just can subject to the pain of having salt poured into my wounds any longer.  I need a time-out.  I need a break from the rejection and blame. There is no point going to a place or being somewhere where you bring no value.

The Facebook posts directed at me, the order of protection filed against me and served to me publicly, the visits by the police department to my home (to check on my welfare, of course) has been embarrassing, hurtful and shameless. Yet I am scolded for not wanting to be a part of this any longer.  Geez… I can’t imagine who chooses or signs up for this.

So now I come to the part where I have decided to share parts of my letter to my parents, family and friends with you.  I have edited and eliminated some parts for the privacy of my family and friends, though some of you will argue that this blog is a very public forum.  You are right, but this is my journey and if you care not to read then you have that choice.  You are not being forced to participate.

May 30, 2012

Dear Friends,

I want to take some time to share with you something that you may not know.  I want to pre-emptively squash rumors and gossip that is usually normal with this type of life event.

I will share some of the contents of a letter that I shared with my parents after much counsel, guidance and of course, prayer.

I don’t ask that you accept, condone or attempt to change your belief system; I just ask that you refrain from disseminating any information that is here-say, hurtful and unkind.  This type of display can cause irreparable damage to my sweet children.

I am keenly aware that some will wish to terminate friendship out of fear and confusion and that is understandable.  Please consider that outward appearances are just that… outward.  You may never know what is going on inside of someone’s heart, faith and home.

Here is some of the letter:

Dear Dad and Mom.

I Love you both Tons!  You are the best parents that a boy and man could ask for.  I have never been more proud to be your son than I am today.  You have loved me, nurtured me, supported me, and taught me how to have faith in God and to be understanding of others.

 

Today I find myself in a very tough place.  A place I have arrived at after 42 years of struggle with anxiety, frustration, physical and mental anguish, judgment, fear, anger, rage, lying, deception, denial, severe depression, and constant suicidal thoughts and multiple attempts at suicide.  I even asked the doctor to just let me die when I was in the hospital in September.  I changed my mind and continued treatment when I realized how loved I was by my family and friends.

 

I am happy to tell you that today that I AM NO LONGER THAT PERSON.  I am happy and healthy and I Love God with all of my heart.  I am a dedicated father, husband, son, brother and Christian.  My life is blessed beyond measure.

 

I am a gay man.  I am NOT a FAG, QUEER, SICKO, FAGGOT, SINNER, DISGUSTING, or any of the other hateful names that have been used to identify men who are gay.

 

I know you will have feelings of shame, sadness, anger, frustration and many other NORMAL feelings that you will feel as you read this today and as time goes on.  I will not judge you or love you any less as you go through this normal process of grieving and acceptance.  You did not “make” me gay.  You have done nothing to “cause” me to be gay.   This is not your “fault” or anyone else’s fault.  No one is at fault, no one is to blame.  I only ask that you love me and support me no matter what your feelings tell you.  You don’t have to accept me being gay, but I ask that you love me.

 

I have been counseling with my pastor and two other counselors for some time now.  We will continue this counseling as long as needed.   I announced to wife on January 1st of this year that I am gay.  I am at peace in my heart.  Of course I only confirmed what she has suspected for years.  I am not currently in a relationship with anyone other than my Sweet, Supportive, Kind, Gentle and Godly wife.  She is my BEST FRIEND and my ROCK of support through all of this.  She is truly the most understanding, non-judgmental and honest person that I know.

 Any other person would have thrown me out on the street and taken my girls from me.  I have neglected her sexually and emotionally for years now, I had crushed her spirit, self-worth and confidence.  She was beginning to blame herself.  She has done NOTHING wrong.  In fact, she has done everything right.  She has held my hand and stood by me for almost 15 years.  We have laughed, cried and loved each other and that will not stop today.  She does however have my FULL blessing and support to move forward in search of a relationship that will fulfill ALL of her god-given needs.  As a matter of fact I have encouraged it.  I cannot provide for her what she needs in a marriage relationship.  She is finally happier and healthier that she has ever been as well.

 

My Wife and I are both on the same exact page and place in this journey.  There are personal details that I do not believe are necessary to share. We have been working on this for YEARS.  Our relationship is stronger than it has ever been. We are NOT “going separate ways.”  We are committed to each other and committed to the parenting of our children TOGETHER.  We are committed to being a family, but we have not shared this with our girls as of yet.  I will eventually move into the guest room where I will live and be the best parent to my girls and best friend to my sweet Wife.  I have committed to never abandon or leave them EVER.  They are my heart and soul next to Jesus.

 

Other than you and my counselors, we have shared this with very few people.  We have been getting professional and personal guidance on how to navigate this.  We have come to a very solid place in our family and relationship as parents.  I understand and fully support you speaking to someone personally or professionally to help you both process this and work through your emotions, feelings and questions.  I do ask however that you do not have corporate discussions in public settings.  I have two very small, sweet girls to protect.  We have shared this with her parents, and they have committed to support our decision to be unmarried.

 

I am still your loving, kind and creative son.  I will not be dressing up as a woman, marching in parades, making announcements on Facebook or any other crazy stuff that would bring attention to me or embarrassment to my three girls, family and Christ.  This is a personal journey, not a public one.

 

Please understand that I am not sick, nor do I have a disease, I cannot be “healed.”  I cannot be “fixed” because I am NOT broken.  I have FOUGHT this for as long as I can remember… since before kindergarten… no one CHOOSES this pain, confusion and sadness. This fight is over.  I have won the battle and the war on this pain.  This is who I am as a person, son, father, husband, brother and son of God.  I did not choose to be gay any more than you chose to be straight.  I cannot convert to being straight any more than you can convert to being gay.  I have tried everything to be straight for 42 years.

 

I wanted to write this in a letter because I have clarity when I write.  I also didn’t want to put you in a difficult place to not be able to express emotion or to force a response from you.  I want you to have time to read this as many times as you like so that you can come to a place of understanding.  I understand that it may take some time to digest this.  Everyone processes this in different ways and at a different pace.  Hey…  It took me 42 years.”

 

Whew… that was tough to write and even harder to send to my parents, her parents and ultimately our friends.  Before I go, I would ask that you not disseminate this email in any form or fashion in an effort to bring shame to our family.

I would further ask that you not speak to anyone in a “guess who?” fashion.  I would ask that if you must share that you would simply say: “I would like to share something with you that may not know.”  In addition please, however you may bend on this issue, do not sprinkle us with solutions, class suggestions, websites, quips, quotes or any other unintentional condescending “words.”  While this may be new to you, this has been on-going with us for years and we are at a comfortable peace in our soul. We know what our resources are and could likely write a best seller book at this point.

Finally I ask that you not “feel sorry” for Me, My Wife or My Children.  We have closed ranks and we stand together as a family.  We are strong and committed to each other.  I made a commitment on July 18, 1998 to honor, love, and respect, cherish and provide for My Wife and my family till death shall part us.  I have not changed my position.  I simply cannot provide My Wife with the passion that a woman deserves from a husband because I am gay.

I will not abandon my three girls.

I would ask that if you must pray, please pray for the hundreds of other Christian, Jesus-loving, God-fearing families who are in the same situation as our family is.  On this journey I have met many and will continue to meet many more of them.  Unfortunately we are given but two options; leave our faith or leave our family.  I will do neither.  There must be something in the middle.  I aim to find that middle someday.  Until then I will press on loving Jesus, my three girls and people as I always have.

Much Love,

-Chet

So I shared.  Not to bring shame, Not to bring judgement, but to bring awareness.  Awareness that there are thousands of gay people of Christian faith that would rather die and take their risk of going to hell than to continue living in hell.

So in the kindest tone that I can muster up…  I will not stop blogging, I will not stop bringing awareness of ADULT, CHRISTIAN people who are gay and love GOD.  I will continue to return email messages and blog posts to people who are just like me and begging for my help.  If I can give them a reason to live just one more day, then I will sleep in peace and with a smile on my face.  I will choose to love, forgive, show mercy, grace and kindness.  I will not though, be silenced, shamed and berated another day, another minute, another second.  And…  I will continue to share events that cause others to think twice before they deem themselves perfect and without blemish to realize that for without the grace and mercy of the GOD you profess to love and honor, you would be in my exact same position.

I am sick of believing that God MADE me gay to torment me.  I choose to believe that God ALLOWED me to be gay so that I can become a better me and to help others to become a better them in spite of our “gayness.”

In my next post, I will post what response that I HOPED to receive from my family and friends but never got.  Thanks for reading and sharing.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

the NAKED truth

My blog post today is an actual comment that was made on my blog by my friend Stanna.  I am reprinting this with permission as It kinda rocked my world and made me think and consider differently than I ever have as a Christian. My friend is a beautiful example of Christ and a pretty dang good attorney if I might say so myself.  Stanna is VERY analytic and practical and is trained to read between the lines and analyze words or statements for unidentifiable truth or untruths that are not usually seen by the naked eye or understand by the black and white mind.

Thank you Stanna for encouraging me to be my authentic self and I too respect and love you for being your authentic self as well.  Bless you my friend.  Bless you!

Here is the comment to one of my posts:

You’re a courageous, Christian man, Chet.

Don’t let the modern-day pharisees “take your crown”.

Your authenticity and unwavering pursuit of God does far more to further the “Kingdom of God” and the “good news of the Gospel” than anything offered by hateful hypocrites. The most they can offer the world is a false notion that it’s better to hide our humanness than it is to be genuine and dependent upon God’s grace.

If God needs or wants you to change in any way, He’ll be the first to let you know! Like He told the anguished and conflicted Apostle Paul, however, He may simply tell you to rest knowing that His grace is sufficient for you.

In the interim, keep evolving into the liberated man whom God created you to be while simultaneously serving as the “light” (example of hope) for a hurting world that’s lost, in large part, due to false and hopeless teachings offered by pharisaic proponents of the Old Testament.

Whenever you can, try to remind the modern-day pharisees that Jesus put the OT in its proper place when he disparaged its core as being merely the man-made “law of Moses” – never once calling it “the Word of God”.

While Jesus said “I come not to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill them”, He was merely referring to the fact that there would be no need to literally eliminate the OT (nor any need to talk much about it anymore) once He could fulfill His goal of superseding the old law through His crucifixion and through His provision of the greatest commandment: simply to love God while loving people.

Also, don’t be deterred by certain hopeless and legalistic writings authored by the Apostle Paul. He wrote his Biblical letters from the standpoint of being a newly-converted, yet often-conflicted, longtime former pharisee. Paul even admitted in his writings that he struggled to reconcile his old pharisaic inclinations with the otherwise simple task of just accepting God’s grace.

All of the confusion, of course, began when Adam & Eve ate the fruit of the tree of “Knowledge of Good & Evil”. They gained “knowledge” in the form of an awareness of their flaws, but gained nothing with respect to intelligence or logical reasoning. Their first inclination was to look at themselves as being naked in a way that now warranted feelings of shame. Immediately, they thought “we’d better run and hide so God doesn’t see us like this”. Thus, they (and not God) created for themselves the first rule, law or “sin”: thou shalt not be naked in the presence of God. They reached this conclusion despite their long prior history of walking naked with God in the Garden everyday without it ever being a problem (either in God’s eyes or theirs). Have you ever wondered what might have happened that day if Adam had said to Eve, “Let’s act like nothing has changed and let’s walk naked with God like we always have”?! Unfortunately, their newly-gained “knowledge” caused them to assume false and judgmental things about what God is willing to accept.

Since Adam & Eve, there have been many (like Moses) who have fallen into this same trap of falsely assuming what God likes and rejects (and in turn what constitutes “sin”). Moses wrote a bunch of it down and even said it was “God’s laws/statutes”. We know that to be inaccurate because Jesus later told the pharisees that the law on divorce (purported by Moses to have been given by God) instead had come merely from Moses (a man). It’s no wonder that the pharisees were enraged when Jesus referred to the core of what they considered their holy scriptures as being merely “the law of Moses”!

This doesn’t mean that any of us should live recklessly. As we saw in the parable of “the Prodigal Son”, bad choices can lead to a lost inheritance and anguish (among other unpleasant outcomes). Despite the bad consequences that our misbehavior may yield, however, our loving Father endlessly accepts us if we simply “come home to His love” as the prodigal son learned.

So with all the foregoing having been said, I encourage you Chet (and everyone else who may read this) to enjoy being a “new creature in Christ” with all of the weight of sin having been lifted.

Blessings,
Stanna Michelle

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In HONOR of my Former Wife

I was scouring the internet as I usually do trying to find answers and reasons to why I am gay.  It’s a burning question still in my mind and while I may not find an answer, I am finding valuable information nonetheless.

I came across the story below and it hit me solid.  I have been very open with my respect, honor and love for my Former Wife.  She has loved me when she could have hated me.  She has shown mercy, love and grace when she was not obligated to.  She is my biggest cheerleader and the best member of my fan club.  When I am having a rough day, she is there to scrape me up and keep me moving along.  She is truly a Hero who deserves a medal.  I am certain that God will grant her just that.  Today this blog is dedicated to her as I want her to know not only privately that I love her, but publicly as well.  You are the hand that I reach for when I’ve lost my way.  I look forward to the day when I see you in a relationship that provides the intimacy, love and passion that I am not capable of providing to you.

The story below is not my writing it was cut and pasted from a blog and website that I have come to respect.  Bonnie Kaye.  It was her website that helped me to come out and be honest.  I am indebted to her.

Image

Bonnie Kaye, M.Ed., the world recognized specialist in straight/gay relationship counseling for 24 years, is now available to work with you via telephone, a personal live private chatroom, instant messaging, email, or in person when locality permits. Bonnie is the “go-to” person when media news stories need advice. She is a resource for Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, Montel Williams, and Tyra Banks. She has recently appeared as a guest on CNN, FOX News, and Women’s Entertainment Network as a professional counseling expert in this field.  Check out her website at www.Gayhusbands.com and www.Straightwives.com. Bonnie’s books have helped thousands of women learn the way to emotional happiness.

You can never fix a broken man–but he can break you.

WISE WORDS FROM MY FRIEND NANCY IN GEORGIA

When I went to Houston to meet with some of our women in March, one woman who joined us was Nancy. Nancy wrote to me: I pulled up something I wrote about October of 2010 that reflect the thoughts I had as I struggled with what to do about our marriage. I think you will find at the time that I felt like many believers that these urges should be kept inside and not expressed especially if married. I now know that this is impossible, but I figured many women like me may have these same feelings as they go through this painful process. This piece that Nancy wrote is followed by her new piece which shows how her feelings have evolved over the past two years.

Nancy will be my guest on the Straight Wives Talk Show tonight. You can hear her by going to the following link at 10:00 p.m. EST or accessing the archive any time after the show is on: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bonnielkaye/2012/07/16/straight-wives-talk-show You can also go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com and put Straight Wives Talk Show July 15, 2012 in the search box.

Here are Nancy’s original words:

Reflections (2010)

I come here today to begin to make peace with a new life that seems to be unfolding before us. Over the past few months we have been faced with many changes that rocked our world, and caused much tension, heartache, suspicions, and anger. On the other hand, it has caused me personally to reacquaint myself in the most intimate way to God, our creator. He has been there to provide assurance, guidance, and an unmistakable peace that can only be explained through His divine power.

I have had much time to reflect since the news that came on that June 5, 2010, and although at that time, the details were sketchy and unclear, I was not surprised at the revelation, something I had suspected to be the case became a reality. The words:“ I am gay, and I was born that way” resounded loud and clear.

I did not make assumptions about how this would all play out, but the foundation of a world that seemed so certain, was far from that. It made many things clear to me as we had grown apart over the past years, and I had felt a loneliness as a result of a lack of closeness in our marriage. But I quietly put away some of those feelings, and dedicated myself to the task of educating and raising our children, and in supporting my spouse in his career by managing our household.

I know that as best he could, with an ever increasing struggle to disguise the feelings he always had, he tried to continue to be committed to supporting our family but ever increasingly removed himself emotionally and dedicated much more time to his own personal growth and development outside of our relationship together. On at least two occasions I initiated conversations about how I would like to see us develop a relationship that would help us grow together. These interactions got very little to no response, and I just quit trying.

There seemed to be no room or common ground together for us to make that happen. I missed the relationship that comes from the dedication to grow closer in a husband and wife union. What I saw more and more was an association that regarded me mostly as the mother the children, and a business partner as we managed our home. But here we are, and I have played out many scenarios in my mind. I have told Chuck that I believe God knew his struggles before we married, yet, provided a family relationship, children, and an extended family that loves and accepts him even now. I also believe he provided an environment at work of the highest caliber that gives him the opportunity to grow not only in what he does best, but an exposure to the top leaders and fellow believers . All of these serving as a hedge of protection from a life that may or may not be that which God intended.

I do believe that not all gay men are intended to follow their attraction, any more than a gambler should live in a Casino, or an alcoholic a bar. Forgive me if this is a simplistic way to describe a very complex struggle. These associations can be destructive, and ultimately deceive one into believing that to follow this attraction is Gods plan for that individual. But ultimately, that is not my decision to make, and only Chuck and God know the answer. I just want to make sure that no stone is left unturned so that the decision is made assuredly and without regret.

In answer to a question: “Can I be married to a gay man?”. My answer is no, I cannot be married to a man who is not dedicated fully to his wife at the exclusion of all others. This was part of our commitment at the altar in which we were to “forsake all others and devote ourselves” completely to each other. I know that the person that is gay remained hidden and the person I married compartmentalized himself to accommodate the different lives in an attempt at keeping the gay person out of sight while still giving the appearance of a husband and wife relationship.

The events of recent months made that duality impossible to continue and what little was revealed to me about an ongoing relationship only led to more suspicions. The trust I thought I knew had broken. The frustration which I now face, is separation, and the enigma of that person continues. Our separation gave way to more secrecy and very little disclosure about where we were headed.. This is no longer acceptable, and I seek to know where we stand. I requested that we meet together before now, and it was rejected. I am now compromising by meeting with a therapist who already has a relationship with my husband, and try to initiate some dialog about our future. Perhaps in this meeting, knowing that he has revealed enough information, that together we conclude that divorce is the only solution. I am ready for whatever is or will be determined.

This was Nancy’s newest writing:

Left Handed- Right Handed, Gay-Straight When driving home from work one day, I reached into the driver’s side door pocket to grab a pencil. I grabbed it with my left hand and held it as if to write. It felt awkward, uncomfortable, and out of place for me, a right handed person. I began to think how amazing it is that we come into this world with certain dominant characteristics that make us who we are. I happen to have a son who is right handed, and a daughter who is left handed.

There was a time in history where a left-handed person was considered a nasty habit, a mark of the devil, a sign of neurosis, rebellion, criminality, and homosexuality (http://facts.randomhistory.com/facts-about-left-handedness.html). Fortunately we have abandoned such ridiculous misconceptions when it comes to our dominant hand, but unfortunately we have still hold on to misunderstandings about a person’s sexual orientation. I do not know why left-handed dominance previously got such a bad rap. Perhaps it is because 90 percent of all humans are right handed. It is customary to see something that is not the “normal” as unusual and a threat to the standard. We may look back at these facts and think them to be so ridiculous, archaic, and coming from people who are intellectually inferior. But as we explore the issue of sexual orientation, we still hear these same ridiculous “facts” that take us back to the people whom we now criticize about their views of right-left hand dominance. I cannot imagine if we had lived in a time where my left-handed daughter would have suffered such abuse, to the point where it would have been better to force her to write with her right hand to avoid the “label” and “abuse”.

As her parent, desiring her best interest and protection, would have trained her to deny what was a trait that God had created in her, to be what our narrow minds considered the only acceptable way. Instead today, we speak of the left-right hand dominance as a natural inclination, and accept whatever way our children are “wired”. The explanation for which hand we will utilize is much more scientific, and we know so much more about the function of our brain and bodies. On the other hand, our sexual orientation, also a result of the way we are “wired” has not benefited from the same progressive thinking and acceptance.

Although the implications of our orientation are more complex than manual dexterity, the reality of it being something we are born with has been a difficult concept for most to grasp. It is difficult for us to pick up a pencil to write, or try to work primarily with a hand that is not our dominant one. It is awkward and requires more effort from our brain to make it do what it should. It does not feel natural, yet with some training, we can improve the use of it, but never to the finesse of our dominant hand. Who can explain such a mystery? I cannot, but I see it in action.

I am not here to explain these things, but I am here to say that we are born with certain traits, dominant characteristics, and yes, a sexual orientation. Knowing that 90% of the human population is right-handed, does not make it the only way, instead, it is the most prevalent. In the same manner, heterosexuality is the sexual orientation of the majority, but homosexuality cannot be denied as a real orientation by a smaller population of the world. We may not be able to describe how and why this can be possible, but it does not discount the reality of its occurrence. I speak passionately of these things out of personal experience in a brother (never married) and a now ex-husband who are homosexual.

Through much research, counseling, and hearing from life experiences of other women like me, I have come to terms with the reality of their sexual orientation. Would they have lived differently if the “prejudices” or “misgivings” about homosexuality did not exist? If there are indeed four million women in this country alone who unknowingly marry gay men, I will have to say that the suffering from a “mismarriage” is carried on in the lives of the women children, and extended family and friends. The consequences of trying to live the most acceptable form of “family” can be devastating and painful to all those involved. In this country we have made some strides in accepting homosexuality as a natural part of human life and not merely a choice.

There are places around the world where the consequences of such a revelation could result in death, and for this reason, the option of leaving a marriage would be impossible. I hope that we continue to open our minds to the complexity of life and become more open to the possibilities of just how we are “wired”. It will only make it easier for men and women to come to terms with their sexual orientation, and perhaps feel less pressure to follow the majority, rather than the person intended by God for them to be.

Nancy from Georgia

Thank you Nancy, for explaining this in a sensitive and understandable way. Part of our healing process is understanding that what has happened to us in having a gay husband has nothing to do with us as wives. We didn’t create it or cause it–and we can’t change it. We can accept it and move on in our lives.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s your story?

I normally like to give my two cents at the beginning of my blog.  Especially when I have a guest blogger.  But I decided that no introduction is necessary.

I will say that MOST  people who have contacted me in support and those who need validation are Christians and others of Faith.  There is a common thread here.  I am witnessing a HUGE amount of Faith-based people asking for help who have been ashamed to ask before.  I have also learned that the quickest way to healing and restoration is to help others who need healing and restoration.

OK…back to my guest Jeff.

We all have a story, here is a small part of his.

Hello everyone! I, like most of you, have been avidly following this blog for the past few months thoroughly engrossed in this truly amazing story. Reading about Chet’s trials and listening to his triumphs prompted me to reach out to him in support. I have recently shared my story with Chet both through text and in person, and was delighted when he asked me to share with you folks as well, via this wonderful blog. So here goes, bear with me on this, I am nowhere near, nor ever will be as interesting a writer a Chet but here is my attempt at doing so!

I also come from a very religious background. I grew up a small town in southeastern Idaho. Prime mormon country. My entire family is mormon, all my neighbors were mormon, my bus driver was mormon, her cat was mormon, pretty much everyone that I knew and loved… was mormon. I loved the small town feeling, the sense of community that I felt. There was just one teeny tiny problem in my little world that I loved so much, and so desperately wanted to be a part of. You see… I had a secret. A disgusting, repulsive, horrible secret, and there was no possible way that any of these people who I loved with all of my heart, could possibly accept me if they only knew.

It truly is amazing the power of a single word. The sheer weight and gravity behind three letters. Gay. So let me tell you what this small three-letter, one syllable word meant to me. Shame, pain, embarrassment, disgusting, abomination, repulsive, unholy, wrong, degrading, subhuman, mental illness, pedophile, oh how the list goes on and on. These are the beliefs that I was raised with. This is what I thought homosexuality meant. Not all of that was directly taught, but it sure as hell was implied through the speech and actions of those around me and most painfully my peers. I do not blame them directly, these thoughts are all to often considered the norm in many circles, in particular the conservative and religious. These feelings festering inside lead to so much misery and pain. There is a reason that homosexual and transgendered youth are at a much higher risk for suicide and homelessness. They are told that what they are feeling is an abomination in the sight of God. That they need to change the unchangeable. Please if you take nothing else from this, I need you to understand that homosexuality cannot be cured. You cannot pray it away. You can not flood it out with tears. And you cannot place a band-aid on it hoping that it will heal. I have spent countless nights curled up into a ball completely sobbing, praying to anyone who would listen. Pleading with God to take it away. I certainly did not ask for this burden. 
I truly wish that everyone would be able to live just one day in the life of a gay youth. Feel the feelings that they are experiencing, see what they have to deal with. The number one problem in our world today is ignorance. Be it about different races, cultures, religions, sexual orientation, or beliefs. How can we accept something if we don’t even know who it is, how it works, or what they are feeling. It is human nature to reject and fear that which is not like ourselves. We are all guilty of it.

So where does that leave us? People like Chet are getting the ball rolling. Sharing personal stories and enlightening others to their experiences. Putting a face on this tiny three-letter word with such huge stigma and meaning. Chet is still exactly the same person that he was last year when no one knew he was gay. So why should your perception about him change? It shouldn’t.

My whole direction that I was trying to accomplish with this post was (a) shedding more light on this incredibly sensitive topic and (b) letting people know what they can do to make this ugly situation more bearable for those living with it.

The turning point in my life was when I started meeting people and coming out to people who truly did not care that I was gay. They saw me, ALL of me, and loved me. Not an “I love you, even though you are gay” kind of thing, but simply “I love you.” They whole heartedly believed that nothing was wrong with me. My whole life I have attached what I had perceived as an ugly three-letter word to myself. If of these wonderful people could see past it, why couldn’t I? I was no longer Gay Jeff. I was just Jeff. The same person I have been my whole life. I was no longer letting my sexuality define me. It is a part of me, but it certainly isn’t all of me. These people saved my life. They made me feel like I was human again, that I was worth loving. I owe them everything.

So when someone shares with you that they are gay. They need to hear that it is ok, that they are loved, and they are still the same person. They do not need to hear about how you feel about it. You have every right to your own beliefs about homosexuality and no one is asking you to change them, but trust me when I say that they have already felt more pain then you can imagine regarding this. They do not need to hear how you think it is a sin, or about how they are making a poor choice and that you don’t agree with it. That will not help them in the least. And please do not threaten them with Hell, they are already facing Hell on a day-to-day basis. Remember, they are choosing to share with you this incredibly painful and personal thing. They are entrusting you with their fragile self-esteem and feelings. Please do not shatter that. Love them. Do not simply tolerate them. You tolerate a cold or a bad meal, not a human being. Embrace them for who they are. All of who they are. We are all on this beautiful planet together, we must share this wonderful gift of life, lifting others up. Not tearing them down.

“Let me be perfectly clear: I love you. I will always love you. Since being gay is part of who you are, I love that you’re gay” – A loving father

Thank you Jeff.  I love you my friend.  I am honored to know you.  Maybe I’ll sing at your wedding or something. Your story is not over.  Just another chapter or volume is in order.

-Chet

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Uphill Both Ways in the Snow, Sleet & Rain

Uphill Both Ways in the Snow, Sleet & Rain

I never like to write/blog (or do anything for that matter) when I am feeling defeated, sad and beaten down.  I feel like I’m traveling somewhere uphill both ways in the snow, sleet and rain without a coat or shoes.  Actually I feel quite naked and exposed. I like to put on my happy face and just be the best me that I can me.

Well today i’m making an exception. I am writing this one day before my 43rd birthday and one day after someone took a pot-shot at me and my former wife on their Facebook post.  It would have been easier if the person was someone that I didn’t know.  Reality is, it is one that I know quite well and who feels that their life is so squeaky clean that they can make false statements regarding others in a public forum.  The information shared was false and the poster did not or could not verify any of the information.  It was second and third hand information that shamed my morality, Christianity and honesty. I was told that I needed to check into a mental hospital as well. When you post truth, you usually post the valid source of that truth.

Image

It appears that they were upset about my honesty and sincerity on this blog.  I have never taken “shots” at any individual on my blog.  The opposite is true.  I do not allow names to be used except my own and my reference to people is usually gender neutral when possible.  I try to use words like “us” and “we” when referring to others instead of saying “you.”  This person is also unaware that I can see just how many times that they visit and view my blog.  It is often.  If you don’t like what you are reading, then why continue to do so.  I’ll tell you why, because they are curious about what is going on in my world. They wish to find my faults and defeats because it makes them feel like they are better than me and therefore justifies their self-anger, self-shame and self-scorn.  Anyone who takes joy in shaming others are usually shameful people.  People hurt others where they themselves are hurt.  I know, I used to do this too.

The backlash from the post has caused further hurt, pain and distance for me.  It was like a “bat to the face.”  The proverbial kick in the nuts.  I had to take a dramatic action of blocking phone numbers from my phone and people on my Facebook friends list.  Others who were included in the post did not take time to realize that no matter how burned or flat a pancake is…there is always a second side with the actual truth being somewhere in the middle. Others shamefully posted in support or “liked” the post.  In doing so, they condoned the behavior of shaming people publicly.  Others however stood publicly in protest.  Your kindness is appreciated immensely.  One supportive person actually showed up at my door to give support.  You know who you are.  That was very brave and selfless of you.  I respect the hell out of you.

I will not be silenced or shut up.  This blog is my personal journey and my outlet.  If you don’t like it, you have a choice not to read it.  Several have commented that I need to stop airing my “dirty laundry.”  Really? Dirty Laundry?  The very reason I am in this place today is because I did what others expected of me.  I remained silent about who I was.  I remained silent about my pain and shame.  I kept my dirty laundry inside and it began to stink, sour and get moldy.  The stink was unbearable and the mold was making me ill. So I threw it out into the trash.  I have no dirty laundry any longer.  It’s fresh and clean in my house. Not to mention, my blog is not quite a month old, and I have had over FIVE THOUSAND views.  Yeah me!

This blog serves multiple purposes.  The first is to give me an outlet of writing and sanity.  The second was discovered after my first or second post.  To help others.  I have had many people ask me to NEVER stop writing as I have helped either them individually or someone that they love to understand that they are not alone in their situation.  I will be sharing their stories in future blogs.  This is my service back to a community of people who have lived in shame and hurt for much too long.

I don’t give two cents about what your position on homosexuality is.  Fact remains that it exists today in Churches and Families across the world.  I will not be silenced or shamed into being quiet.  For every 1 person that has been unkind, 10 people have been kind, even when they didn’t agree.

I’m not sure how to end this post.  I’m adjusting to life without people who I have grown up with and loved.  I’m kinda scared, still hurt and angry.  I don’t understand bitter, hateful people who take pleasure in harming others to make themselves feel better.  I will be taking time away from those who are ashamed, embarrassed and not understanding or accepting of me.  I have not only un-friended but blocked them on FB and blocked phone numbers from my phones.  I will limit my communication and contact with them until I am ready.  This is MY journey and MY life.  I will allow only supportive and kind people to communicate with me.  I can’t control others, but I can control how I let them invade and participate in my life.

I gotta run.  I have a birthday to get happy for.

-chet

 
13 Comments

Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , ,