I started this blog on July 16 2012. I began writing to help me process through being gay in a straight world. My blog is titled “Why Am I Gay?” While I still am not sure that I have arrived at a definitive answer, I now realize that it really doesn’t matter much any more. I will never know why the God that I loved and served and gave my life to betrayed me. I begged you to fix me. You can’t claim to create someone “perfect” then change the rules in the middle of the game, requiring me to be born-again because I wasn’t born right the first time. Which is it? Am I perfect or broken? Did you make a mistake? You can’t claim to be all kind and loving, then change the rules. You loved me when I was pretending to be straight, but you turned your wrath to me and condemned me to hell when I chose to be honest. Remember, it was your idea that we shouldn’t lie and pretend. I had to free myself from your wrath by calling out the contradiction where I saw it. I could no longer do the mind aerobics to get myself to believe in such a bi-polar deity. I do know that I no longer subscribe to the aforementioned God. It really doesn’t matter much any more. We’ve both moved on I guess. What I do know is that I have finally found freedom to be me whether there is or isn’t a God. It simply doesn’t matter.
I don’t subscribe to the notion and common phrase that, “gay doesn’t define me.” That’s pure doo-doo right there. I am gay. Gay does define me and I have chosen to embrace that. It’s taken me 47 years to get to this place, but I’m finally at a place where I no longer wonder or care what people think about me. I don’t rent out space in my head any longer. So with that in mind, I’m writing my final post to this blog. I’ll replace it with a blog about do it yourself design and decorating ideas. That is a passion and love that I’ve always had.
To those who read just to see what a train wreck looks like up close. I hope you’ve been enlightened and that you enjoyed the view from up close. To those who read to keep tabs on me and my family so that you had some good fodder for your lunch after church on Sunday… “Bless your heart…” To those who read because you know someone or you yourself have a similar story, I’m thankful for the camaraderie and I hope that I helped in even just a tiny way. For those who read to further stand on your self-righteous, religious wall of “truth,” I bet you still haven’t found what your looking for…everything is so black and white to you isn’t it? Finally, to those who read with genuine care, concern and support, I felt you all the time. No, I mean it. I really felt you. YOU are the people that I will forever keep close to me.
On January 1, 2012, my now former wife “caught” me texting a man that I intended to meet up with. While I probably could have lied my way through it, I decided that day to stop lying and come clean with her about my sexuality. I chose to come clean with myself. We were both deeply hurt. She suffered. I suffered and our children suffered. It was a horrible difficult time. Somewhere though, I felt relief and retreat. Up until that day, I had made a plan to kill myself so that my family would never have to know the shame and pain that I was suffering, and they would never have to live with knowing that their husband, dad, son, brother, cousin, employee, pastor, deacon and/or neighbor was gay. I had been taught my who life that gay was right next to murder on the sin scale. Actually in some circles, it trumped murder because gay and pedophile where the same thing. So I did everything possible to hide. I was hiding to protect you my family and friends…I didn’t want to bring you shame. I had it all in place. I planned it to be an “accident” so that my wife and daughters would get double payout from the life insurance. They could live such a great life without me. Getting caught literally saved my life.
We lost family and friends through the process of our eventual divorce and my “coming out.” People and family that we loved, cherished, honored and trusted. We heard the stories you told, we saw the posts on social media about our integrity and faith. If you scroll back, they are still posted there. This shows me that you have no remorse. You were even asked to take it down and you refused. We know that you lied about us and to us. You were the only one with the information that you shared. We were starting to see that the “dirt” that you always knew about others was the same dirt that you would throw at us when we figured you out. We know that it came directly from you. We felt your abandonment and judgment. We heard about it when you told people that I became gay because I started hanging around gay people and that I was likely watching gay shows… I didn’t have any gay friends at that time and I certainly hadn’t seen any “gay” shows. Well…Those relationships are broken beyond repair. Some things cannot be fixed. I must admit that I felt some vindication when your family member came out…Its all judgment and contempt until that same event comes to visit you.
I will not wear the shame and guilt of those broken relationships. I made multiple attempts and by multiple, I mean at least three… to restore and reconcile, but my “lifestyle” was something that you were unwilling to accept. I heard you say it with your mouth. You didn’t want the truth… you wanted to be right. Well…You lost. I lost. I will not set myself on fire to keep someone else warm.
Yeah, I’ve always been a bit of a wild-card. I get that. I still am actually. It was my defense mechanism. Its a tough gig to fight your whole life to keep a secret that is destroying you from your mind to your body and to your soul. Yeah I kicked and screamed toward the end, but maybe you’ll be a bit more sensitive to the next person that you encounter that is literally on the rail of the bridge about to jump off. Even a gentle dog will attack you if you corner it. I was cornered. My secret was about to be exposed and my life as I knew it was over…at least that is what I hoped for. Why couldn’t I just die already…
To the people who opened your heart and mind to the possibility that LGBT people like me and my daughter don’t choose their sexuality… To the people who opened your heart and mind to possibility that the fundamentalist and evangelical church just may have this gay thing all wrong… To the people who, with reservation, embraced us and cared for us even when you didn’t quite understand or comprehend, you are appreciated and loved. No really… I appreciate you. I’m hugging your right now in my heart. I must admit, some of you who reached out in support and love, shocked the hell-outta-me. I mis-judged you. No really… I got you all wrong. I was wrong. To those that I counted on to love me and help me. To see past the past and help a dying soul that was kicking and screaming (we call this terminal restlessness in hospice)… wow did that hurt. ouch ouch ouch! I got you all wrong too. In a bad kinda way.
I always somehow knew what people thought of me, no honest…I saw the looks, I heard the whispers, I got your “jokes” and your “I’m just kidding” crap. I knew that your “asking for a friend” was really about me. I hear you loud and clear. I wondered if my own parents and siblings thought the same. I had a high-pitched voice. I loved to sew, paint and landscape. I talked a lot and I ran from violence and sports. I only went to football games to watch the cheerleaders and wished that I could cheer with them. Damn did I want to be a cheerleader. I went to basketball games because the uniforms allowed me to see beautiful arms, legs and the occasional “junk” when they pulled on the shorts just right for that free throw. I played little league and biddy basketball in hopes to somehow dispel the perception that I was a “pussy.” I loved music, I loved to sing and dance and girls…wow did I love the girls. I was called fag, queer, girl, cock sucker and every word on the planet to emasculate and humiliate me. I remember each of your names and I still see your faces. Especially Patrick who always sat in the back of the bus… but Patrick, you are just the kind of guy that I would dream about at night. No really, I did. I was too creative for my own good, I’d rather be in home economics instead of welding, but then y’all would really know that I’m gay. The chore of going to school was a daily fight in my battered soul. I lived in a constant state of terror and distress. I lived every day begging god to just let me die in my sleep.
Every time a friend died (Chip Parro, Kelly Hebert, Philip Frederick) I deeply wished that it was me. Why couldn’t it just be me! The internal torture was too much. Why I didn’t follow my plan to commit suicide on the campus of Franklin Junior High and then again at Franklin High is beyond me? Even my therapist questions how I survived such terror and abuse. He is baffled at my strength to survive. I suffer to this day with a bit of PTSD. Even while I was serving in ministry in an evangelical church and attended an evangelical bible college, (In an effort to get god to make me straight) I was confident of the perception that people had of me. They were right I guess. But the mistreatment is unforgivable. You, of all people, were supposed to be different. But you were right. That Chet guy is gay!
Before I bid farewell to this Blog, I will take some time to tell you where I am today and why I’ve chosen to discontinue this blog. I’ll do so between tears and deep reflection.
I will always love my former wife. She is the only woman that I have ever loved. I loved her because she loved me. She literally saved my life and held me up when someone should have held her up. I had nothing. I was down to 120 pounds. I was taking anxiety and depression medications with very little relief. I was nothing but an empty shell. She is not a victim. We both suffered. We both hurt. She taught me what true friendship and true love is. Our daughters are beyond lucky to have her as their mother. I give thanks to her parents who guided her through life and helped her attain the skill set that she has. I still feel discomfort from time to time about not being able be the man that she so richly deserved. Christa, you are as righteous as a human being can be. You are true, your are honest and you are honorable. You will never need for anything as long as there is breath in my lungs and a beat in my heart. I will paint your walls, sew your draperies, manage your home improvement projects, clean behind your fridge, clean under your dishwasher, hang your pictures, put your trash cans at the curb and move your furniture every damn time you move!
My daughters are adjusted. Their counselor reports that rarely has she seen two more well-rounded children that have walked through such a life-changing traumatic event. They had to witness their daddy sobbing and sever anxiety for several years with no way to process and understand what was going on. I am beyond grateful that my two children will never know that being gay is anything less than normal. They will never fear judgment, shame or guilt. They will never plan their suicide because they are different than the “rest of the girls.” They will always know that love is love. My gay daughter as well as my straight daughter will never feel afraid to come home and tell me about her new crush. The rules will still be the same. NO dating till you are 15 and NO boyfriends or girlfriends in your bedroom ever! No weddings until you are 30 or have a masters degree… This daddy will stand up for the human and civil rights of both my straight and gay daughters.
The final reason that I’m discontinuing this blog is because I need to. I just need to. It’s time. It’s time to broaden my awareness and destiny….
I met Daniel on Feb 12, 2016. We have been together since that day. I gave him several opportunities to run like hell the day we met (I literally did zero editing that day… I talked for over three hours)up until the day that I asked him to marry me… on June 12, 2016 while we were on a trip to Naples, Florida. He said yes! Since that day, I’ve struggled with unintentional reservation. I’ve been afraid that by loving Daniel, that I was somehow “unloving” Christa and that has caused me some guilt. I need to resolve that in my heart and my head. The love that I have for Christa is completely different from the love that I have for Daniel and completely different from the love that I have for my daughters. It’s simply incomparable on any level.
Daniel affords me the ability for me to be me. Exactly as I am. He requires nothing more and nothing less than me being me. I am Chet and I can only be Chet. He lingers in Home Depot while I oooh and aaah over all the gidgets and gadgets and never says an impatient word or sighs in frustration. He will even suggest that we go to Lowes if I didn’t find what I needed or wanted at Home Depot. He lets me be silly and nutty without a complaint. He does roll his eyes sometimes though. He listens as I talk incessantly and lets me go on and on and on for hours at times. He lets me name off all the plants and trees that I can name and runs all over the creation trying to find the perfect table and chairs for our house. Which we still haven’t found. He lets me pick paint colors and rugs without conflict. He even took my car to the car wash. He texts me just to tell my that I’m sexy and good lookin’ and just to say I Love you. He goes to the grocery store and comes home with all the stuff that the girls need for lunch and even buys them ginger ale and ice cream sandwiches. He cuddles Bill the Chihuahua and Prince Ali the cat and I think that they like him more than me. He makes breakfast every Saturday an Sunday for me and the girls. He’s a trained chef so I’m not talking ’bout bacon and a couple scrambled eggs… He makes low-carb cheesecake just for Christa and goes over to her house with me while I do her “Husband” chores. He jumps right in with my parents who are hanging curtains over at Christa’s. He helped me pick out the perfect gift for my dad on fathers day. He lets me cry when I need to cry and sends me links to songs when I’m least expecting it. He makes me sangria and tells the girls how silly that I was when I had one glass too many. He cooks low fat and low-carb when my blood test results are less than stellar. He can tell when I’m worrying and will just let me worry till it settles down. He encourages me to find my passion and do it. He makes the girls dinner when I’m late getting home from work. He sweeps the front porch and wipes down the dusty front door because he knows that a clean front door is a happy front door and that makes me happy. He cleans the toilets every weekend and loads the dishwasher all wrong. He lets me sneak his clothes away and take them to the cleaners so that he doesn’t have to iron for hours on Sunday. He goes every week to check in on his mom 40 miles away from our house and takes her to run her “granny” errands. He lets me obsess about almost anything like should the table be round, oval, square or rectangle. He watches Candice Olsen’s Divine Design with me for hours and lets me watch all the cooking shows with him and explains all the ingredients to me in English. He lays in bed with me every night until I fall asleep and then gets up and goes to sleep most nights on the couch because my snoring is too loud and he’s a soft sleeper. He showers in the dark and goes downstairs to dry his hair because he doesn’t want to wake me in the morning. He kisses me before he heads out the door when the sun isn’t up yet and I’m still snoring. He sorts and washes all the laundry. He helps me be a better dad and a better person just by being near me. He accepts that Christa and the girls are permanently embedded into our lives. He loves them too. He lets me clean up all the dishes when he cooks. He lets me unload the dishwasher and reload it the “right way” without getting all pissy and pouty. He puts my piles away when they get too big and out of control. He lets me hang up his slacks and dress shirts on “nice” hangers so the collars stay nice and the creases stay in place. He’s funny and should be a writer for a comedy series. And Damn can that man dance.
So there you have it. It’s time for me to embrace the life and love that I truly deserve with Daniel. It’s time for me to accept and embrace my life with him with zero reservation…intentional or unintentional. It’s time for me to stop blaming myself for being gay. Its time for me to stop feeling bad because I have normal needs like love, touch and companionship. Its time for me to be the fiance and husband that I am capable of being. Its time. I love you Daniel Gray. Thank you for loving me.