RSS

Tag Archives: coming out gay

Now & Then

This journey truly began in August of 1969.  I became aware of my journey about age 4.. the exact time evades me.  I was baptized Catholic at birth and later converted to Assemblies of God (Pentecostal) somewhere around Jr. High.  Some of you remember that conversion, some don’t.  Nonetheless, my journey continued.

At a very young age, I knew that my attraction to men/boys/males was was legitimate. However, as I grew up in the deep south of Louisiana, I quickly became cognizant of the unacceptability of my inherent, genetic make up.  This began the hiding, shame and all the ugliness that goes with being gay in a straight world.  At least the world as I knew it.  Growing up in a very, very, very small town with only one stop light only added to my confusion, but I didn’t even know at the time that my geographical location could effect my upbringing and cause life-long consequences.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  But I knew that something wasn’t “A-Ok.” I was a stranger in my own mind and body. 

As a Catholic, I prayed the rosary, took the sacrament of communion and went to confession. I attended mass, catechism and bingo.  Ah yes… Bingo.  It’s a Catholic thing for all of you unfamiliar with it.  I was an altar boy and spent a lot of time at the church.  I was always infatuated with the “secrecy” of the church. What was behind that altar?  What was under the robe?  How did the water turn holy?  Was that real wine?  What was the wafer made from? Where did the priest live? What was in the priest side of the confessional booth? Could he really NOT see you?  Call me inquisitive.  Inquisitive I still am.  I love to seek and find the “why’s” of life.  Sometimes I never found the “WHY.” Why?  Why would god make me Gay and forbid me to live true to myself.  Why would god give me desire for men yet force me to deny it?  Sometimes the “Why” never comes.

I always wondered if god was real, how could it be?  Was I too inquisitive for my own good. But as a good Catholic and later a devout Pentecostal, I chose to just accept things as they were.  Just believe and embrace with a blind faith. Sit down, shut up and enjoy the ride.  I embraced it, loved it and lived it.  I even went to Bible College and became a minister with the Assemblies of God.  I was “sold out for JESUS!”  I gave him my all.  Honest, I really did.  I was a bona fide legalist, fundamental, evangelical christian. I was “all in.”

But I never really felt that god gave ME his all.  He was withholding something. Something very necessary to my life and faith. I felt broken, defective and sinful.  I sang amazing grace… that saved a wretch like me….  always with the emphasis on “wretch” and never the “saved” part of the lyrics.  No matter how much I prayed, preached, fasted, tithed, worshipped, spoke in tongues or repeated the “sinners prayer,” I never felt “saved.” I never felt whole like he promised. I somehow got skipped over when it came to completeness.  Why. Why. Why did he make me gay?  What a cruel thing to do to such a good kid like me. 

I believe religion that teaches that one is wretched and that we can do nothing and be NOTHING without god is dangerous at best. It’s a control tactic. In fact, it was the church that taught me to dislike myself.  Heck… what did I do?  I was born.  That’s all.  I was born.  Nothing else.  I did nothing to become so “wretched.”  It was the evangelical church that taught me to dislike myself so much that I MUST be “born again.”  Born Again???  Why do I need to be born again?

I love the Catholic approach to being born again.  A good catholic said to me once, “why do you evangelicals need to be born again? Don’t you believe that god got it right the first time?”  It still makes me giggle, but now,  yes… yes I believe that I was born right the first time. No born again needed here.  Thank you very much.

In my evangelical teachings, I was taught and I preached that god didn’t make mistakes. That god was good and fair and just.  He was perfect and he created us perfect. How then would he create a wretch, a loser, a broken, confused, hurting man?  I believed that I was a big fat nothing, I had nothing to live for. I felt that it would be better for everyone if I were dead and gone. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to carry out my planned suicide…out of fear of going to hell.  I felt powerless and useless without god, but yet it was god who made me this way. Oh the misery.  How could a loving god allow someone that loved him and dedicated his life to him be so broken, so defunct, so lost and so down-trodden even after being born again?  It just stopped making sense to me.

That was then.

Today is a different story.  I’ve realized that the authentic me is a happier me.  A braver me.  A more peaceful me.  A more loving me.  A more humanitarian me.  A more “godly” me.  I’ve realized that I don’t have to be religious to be a good and moral person.  Some of the most moral people that I know have no form of “religion” in their lives. They just treat others they way that they wish to be treated. Just plain and simple human kindness and character. 

I’ve come to understand and accept that I no longer have to be christian to be kind and have good things happen to and for me.  Heck, I now realize that I don’t have to give 10% of my income to a church or ministry to be “blessed.”  I don’t have to comply with the rules and regulations of church and christianity to live a happy and successful life.

When I made the choice to live authentic as a gay man, I was promised by god’s people… the very people that I ministered to… that I was no longer living in god’s will.  I would go to hell, be stricken with cancer or other diseases that would take my life, be financially destitute and likely homeless and begging for food.  Yes, all this from those that would fight till the death telling you what a loving and caring being that their god is… as long as you play by their rules…the bible.  This caused me great confusion.  How can he be so hateful and angry and so loving and kind at the same time???  It doesn’t compute for me any longer.

So when I say that I’ve chosen to be agnostic, I’m not saying that I’m atheist, although I see nothing inherently wrong with atheism.  I’m saying that I can no longer accept, subscribe to or identify with the god of modern evangelical, legalistic, fundamental christianity.  It no longer serves my highest and best needs as a human being.

So this is my now.  I don’t subscribe to a punitive hell.  I don’t describe to a literal interpretation of the bible. I don’t subscribe to religious rules and regulations.  I have made my choice. My choice to live a meaningful life.  Because humans have a 100% mortality rate.  We will all be gone one day. We will all soon die.

Where will we all be when we die? I dunno.  Life is a mystery, and so is the afterlife.  I’ve got one shot at this. One shot at living a happy, healthy and whole as my authentic self. I won’t live another day for anyone other than me.  By me, I mean everything that is a part of me.  My children, my friends, my family and animals…don’t forget the animals.  I refuse and reject living to please and fancy others and their religious rules and regulations that are not a part of who I wish to be. I won’t live my life for anyone who rejects my inherent being as a good, moral, kind gay man.  I was born right the first time.  I don’t need to be born again.  Requiring one to be born again assumes that someone or something wasn’t right the first time around.  I’m no mistake!  God got it right the first time.

So if you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you’ll see that I was a right-wing, republican, evangelical christian and living my life in a way that was pleasing to others.  I am no longer any of that.  This is my now. I do not blame or deny my “then.”  In fact, my then has guided me to my NOW.  I did the best with what I had.  When I knew better, I did better.  In fact, once I knew better, I was self-obligated to do better.

Life is a about choices.  I am free to choose which door I will enter into today.  When that choice no longer fits my highest and best need, then I am free to choose again.

Don’t let your then rule your now.

 

Advertisements
 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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

I Don’t Belong

From time to time I will blog when I am in a current state of “funk & blah.”  Yes… I just created that lil diddy. You may use it. You’re welcome.

I do this to capture the sincere and brutal reality of coming out after being closeted for 42 years due to evangelical religious oppression and societal bias.

I did my best to retain my faith after coming out.  Unfortunately evangelical religion has taken up arms against the gay community with guns blazing to force us to believe as they believe or go back into the closet. As if torturing us with threats of burning in a punitive hell our whole lives wasn’t hateful enough. That story has already been told, so this brief sound bite is for those readers that have not read my blog from the beginning.

So back to my “funk & blah.”   I was recently meeting a man for an impromptu coffee date. A resident physician man at that.  It was my lucky day… He was smart and cute. With the potential to be moderately rich. I digress.

We agreed to meet at Starbucks.  I arrived before he did. He overslept due to a late shift the night before in the Emergency Department.

As I placed my order and waited for him, I unintentionally began to notice all the men wearing wedding rings. Go figure. I kinda got gut-sick. Sadness slapped me and within no time I realized why taking off my wedding ring 4 years ago was like ripping off an unhealed scab. I weep as I write this.

I gave it to my former wife at one point so that she could sell it. But at some point I took it back. The memory and representation was much too much to process. That ring currently is in the console of my car where I will take it out from time to time and reminisce. I will likely never part from it. It will always be a tribute to the blood sweat and tears that I put into my marriage and family.  I cannot erase my history. I won’t even try. There is way too much value there.

I remember being in high school, college and the time between college and when I got married. I always wanted a wedding ring. I used to get fake rings and pretend that I was married. The ring part was super important to me.

The ring represented love, commitment and most of all it meant that I belonged to someone.  It meant that it wasn’t all about me.  It meant that someone counted on me and needed me. It meant that no matter what happened, that I wasn’t alone and I was important to someone. Again, I weep writing this.  Sometimes life just sucks damnit.

So as I sat there waiting for Dr. Coffee Date to arrive, a sudden awful feeling of “I don’t belong to anyone anymore” rushed over me in a not so welcomed way. I literally wanted to run to my car to get my ring and put it on so that I could belong to someone. It was a sick sick feeling.

And out of courtesy, please don’t be tempted to send me notes or quips about how I belong to God/Jesus. I cannot do enough brain aerobics to believe in a god that would allow such anguish, confusion and pain to someone like me that committed his life and career to serve others. It just doesn’t line up any longer. I’m happily agnostic. Namaste.

So I journey this journey.  I adjust as adjustment presents itself.  I cry as needed and I hurt as hurt is inevitable.  But this is just one stop along the way. Survivors don’t survive by happenstance. They intentionally survive. I shall live with brazen intention. I will return to a place of joy.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 23, 2016 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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

Stolen Fatherhood

May 2014 marks approximately two years since I publicly came out of the closet and began to live my authentic, God-given life as a gay man.  The past two years have been tumultuous and peaceful at the same time.  As I reflect over the past two years, I can report some good progress as well as some not-so-good progress.  Progress isn’t always positive, but its progress nonetheless.

My relationship with my three siblings is nonexistent. My relationship with the “church” is just about nonexistent. Strange being that I committed my entire life to church ministry at one time.  Let me be clear… when you “cross” the “church,” there is no longer mercy and grace.  That is replaced with judgement and “loving the sinner and HATING the sin.” [my emphasis on hating]  Ironic that the “cross” teaches just the opposite of that.  I have severed ties with people who continue to propagate that homosexuality is a choice and that I am less-than.  I will not tolerate that type of bigotry from a Facebook friend or a personal friend.  If you don’t stand against it, you stand for it by default.

I can get along just fine without that garbage.  Believe as you wish, but when you publicly align yourself with people and “ministries” who pretend to be an authority on a subject that they know nothing about, I take it as a personal slam and disrespect toward me, my children and those in my “community.” I will rise up and defend.  On a brighter note, my relationship with my parents is positively progressing.  In my ever so humble opinion, I would not say that they “support” me, I do know that they love and respect me. I intentionally keep that relationship as “surface” as possible.  I am simply not ready, nor do I see the need to go deeper at this point.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again…  my parents did the BEST with what they had, and when they knew better, they did better.  I am in a happy place with them.

My former wife and I continue our great friendship.  After all, she is the only woman who I have ever loved.  July 18th will always have a special place on my calendar.  She is the one who had to bear my “coming out” all alone.  She and I have been through a lot over the past 17 years and I could not ask for a better friend.  She is magnificent!  I am ever indebted to her for all that she means to me and for all that she is

Today I decided to meet my daughters at school for lunch.  The are 8 and 11 respectively.  I did not announce that I would be joining them, so it was a surprise for them.  It made my heart so happy that they ran up to me with a huge hug and a kiss… ON THE LIPS too!  They are not shy about how much they love their daddy.  Upon leaving the school for lunch, I began to reflect.  This is only the second time that I have joined them for lunch.  It made me sad.

It made me sad because living in the closet robbed me of my role as a father.  How is that?  I’m so glad that you asked. For the first 9 years of being a father I felt completely undeserving.  I was ashamed of who I was and was certain that if my children knew who I truly was, that they too would be ashamed of me.  I was deeply fearful that if their friends and parents caught on to the fact that their father was gay that my children would be rejected by their friends and parents.  So, I stayed away.  I stayed away from birthday parties, school events and other social events.  I knew that I had some “gay” behaviors and eventually people would become suspect of me and my sexual orientation. A was called gay, faggot, queer and princess to my face and behind my back all my life.  So being deemed a gay father would just be too much.  All I wanted to do was protect myself and my children from having as “sissy” father.  I wanted my kids to be able to say, “My dad is bigger than your dad” and “My dad can kick your dads butt.”  You know how it goes when you’re in school. It just never worked out like that for me. I felt inadequate because I wasn’t “manly” enough.

So when they ran to me in the lunch room today and jumped into my arms and gave me a big, juicy, sloppy wet kiss, I learned a powerful lesson.  They don’t give a crap that their daddy is attracted to men.  They don’t care that their dad is gay.  What they care about is that I show up.  That I love them unconditionally.  That I hug them and hold them when they are in need.  That I’m real, honest, authentic and loving.  My oldest even proudly introduced me to her classmate whose parents are a same-sex couple. It helped to heal my heart just a little bit more.

So no more hiding from the other parents, I am worthy to be called father, daddy and parent.  Those stolen years are in the past!  NO MORE!  I am SUPER-DAD…  and if you don’t believe me, just ask my two daughters.

Now I’m going out to buy me a cape, spandex and sneakers.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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

The day I prayed for Lust

I promised myself that when I started this blog that I would write honestly and vulnerable.  I am keeping with my commitment so far and today will be no different.  The title of this post is obviously going to get my readers to really tune in.  That is intentional.  Thank you for reading.

I’m not looking for a theological debate of any sort.  I’m not a good debater.  However, as with each post, I get one or two of the religious-ish that wish to either correct, implore, inform, scold or debate me.  It’s like asking me how I feel…  The answer is neither right or wrong.  I am who I am and feel what I feel.  So pretty please save your self-righteous quips, quotes and other forms of your opinion for someone else.  I have no shortage of opinions.  Just ask my co-workers and daughters.

There IS a reason that I write this blog.  Some of you don’t see it and the fact that I claim that I have an actual reason shocks some of you.  Oh well… I don’t write to impress you or seek your approval.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even write to change your mind or your belief structure.  If somehow you change your mind, even just a teeny bit, then it is not me who changed your mind, but you yourself.

I DO write to share my journey and experience because I KNOW that I am NOT alone.  The words I write are helping others in some form or fashion and that makes it worth the pain of revisiting my wounds and insecurities each time I blog.

I’m so glad that I got that out-of-the-way.  Now let’s get back to the topic at hand.  My desire for lust.  Let me first give you my working definition of lust so that we are all singing from the same sheet of music.

In Old English (and several related Germanic languages), “lust” referred generally to desire, appetite, or pleasure. The sense of “to have a strong sexual desire (for or after)” is first seen in biblical use in the 1520s.

Today, the meaning of the word still has differing meanings as shown in the Merriam-Webster definition. Lust is:

  1. a: pleasure, delight b: personal inclination: wish
  2. intense or unbridled sexual desire: lasciviousness
  3. a: intense longing: craving, a lust to succeed b: enthusiasm, eagerness, admired his lust for life.

My working definition of lust for this particular post is a combination of all three of the above.  Let me explain.

Several days ago, I happened to be with my former wife.  We are great friends.  Actually I’ve never had a better friend. She was about to go somewhere and as usual she was all dolled up.  I honestly think that she was going grocery shopping.  She stepped outside and posed the cutest pose ever and declared, “I’m foxy and ya know it!”  Our two daughters were playing in the driveway agreed and I confirmed that she did look quite “foxy.”  We all had a great laugh and she went on her way.

As she went on her way, I stared at her until I could no longer see her.  I then looked at my two daughters who are as “foxy” as their mother and got all teared up.  I actually turned away so that they wouldn’t notice.  My heart began to hurt.

I looked up at the sky (because I have been taught that God is up there somewhere) and I literally prayed that God would give me lust for my former wife.  I know a beautiful woman when I see one,  I understand beauty.  What gay man doesn’t? Right?  This was different.  It struck a chord that I didn’t want struck.  I have been making such great progress in accepting my authentic self as a gay man. However…

I wanted to feel for her what in my head and heart I feel for men.  I wanted to feel Lust for her… Pleasure, delight, intense longing, craving…  and I’d be an absolute liar if I didn’t admit that I asked him to give me sexual lust for her.  How is that for vulnerable?  It’s almost embarrassing to admit.  But in fact it is true.  I literally found a quiet place to cry (again) for a while.  I’m always looking for a good reason to cry.  🙂

Well that’s odd Chet!  You “come out” as a gay man.  You divorce your wife of 14 years 3 months and 1 day, because you are not sexually attracted to women and now you pray for God to help you lust after her?   You are quite diabolical… and weird.  Thanks for that, Captain Obvious.

Well, I’m glad you noticed and finally spoke up.  I was wondering if you were alive.

Let me now share why I shared all of the above.  Let’s first go back to the statement that I made earlier about not writing to change your mind, but writing more for those who share my struggle and situation.  There are men and women alike who need a common bond to realize that they are not alone. Listen to me sir and ma’am.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  There is a LARGE community of Formerly Married Gay and Lesbians who are here to stand and cry and grow with you.

Second, the frustration and anger that I feel because yet there are still people in my life who believe that somehow I “CHOSE” to be gay.  That I am rebelling against God, the church and religion.  They express sorrow for me, my former wife and my children.  I don’t want or need your sorrow.  I NEED your understanding.  They talk “shit” and judge. Talk about ignorant.  Yet they do NOTHING but speak ABOUT me and not TO me. Pretending that they have all the answers because they know “what the Bible says.”  Come all you who will… walk in my shoes for a week.  It’s easy to play Monday-morning-quarterback, (or whatever the hell that reference is) when you don’t even know where the darn locker room is.  Oops… I’m gonna take a hit for that.  Leave it to a gay may to bring up the locker room… geez

Third, the guilt, shame and pain that I live with and process on a daily basis.  Could I have prayed harder as a child, teen, adult to be straight. Could I have done more “guy” things to be straight.  Could I have taken some “get straight” classes to be straight.  Should I have just killed myself as I had planned and plotted several times.

That is why I prayed that God would grant me lust for my former wife.  I would have my “normal” life back.  I would forgo the lack of friends, the lack of family ties, the fear of spending holidays alone or without my children, the stares, the whispers, the judgement and the gossip.

For all these things I prayed for LUST.

You see, I don’t have that kind of “feeling” for females.  I notice beauty, I notice glamour and I even notice boobs, (yep I just said boobs)  but the desire to have a sexual relationship with a female simply does not exist in my human make up.  It never has and I denied and hid it as long as I could.

I knew that “coming out” had its price.  I wasn’t sure that I had enough money to ride that train.  Sometimes I feel bankrupt, homeless, useless, ashamed of and abandoned.  As one family member wrote to me in a letter… “You didn’t lose your integrity, you willingly threw it out of the window.”  Yep I feel that way sometimes too… and thanks for the love. Glad to see that your life is in perfect order or at least “better” than mine.  (Insert Sarcasm)

For the first time I don’t even know how to end this blog post.  I always like to end on a “happily ever after” note but I just don’t know how to do that today.  I’ll bounce back, I always do.  Some of you will post words of encouragement and it will make me feel good.  Some of you will confirm in your mind that I’m nuts and have fallen away from God and will likely burn in hell.  I’m OK with that too.  I don’t need your permission to be me.  I have heard it said that you can never appreciate the light without experiencing the darkness.  Damn its dark up in here!

So I’ll just sit in the dark for a bit.

-Chet

 

 

 

 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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

Let me clarify.

I have not personally posted since June.  There is a good reason for that. I don’t really know what that reason is, but I I’m confident that its a good one.

At the time of this writing it is 1 AM and I will be boarding a plane to Maui in less than 8 hours. This means that I  must be ready to head to Sky Harbor International Airport by 5:45 AM. I am posting from smart phone so you will just have to tolerate my bad grammar and punctuation.

Why are you up at 1 AM?  I’m so glad you asked. There are several reasons.

The first is that I get very anxious before I travel. I love to travel, but it makes me anxious that I may forget something. Being A.D.D. just adds to my anxiety.

The second is that my adrenaline is so high right now. I was laying on the couch with my youngest daughter and was dozing off when I was awakened by a scorpion crawling on my bare naked leg. I flicked it off of me before it stung me and I couldn’t find it. I spent over an hour and tore the family room apart until I found that sukka and killed it.

So now that the Scorpion is dead and my daughter’s are safely tucked into bed, I have watched house wives of New Jersey and now I’m listening to Dr. Phil as I write this. I’m still wide awake.

There is likely a third reason that that I cannot sleep which is much deeper than I will likely go into now.

I am a bit sad and disappointed.  I have been trying to strengthen my relationship with someone.  Since accepting that I am a gay Christian almost two years ago our relationship has become vulnerable and fragile to say the least.

In my attempt to strengthen this relationship, I asked them to join me in reading a book that would give us both a new perspective on being gay and being Christian. Something I have struggled with my whole life.

Sadly they showed little interest in joining me in learning more about what the Bible has to say about being gay. The lack of interest and their disposition took me off guard and quite honestly hurt my spirit.

It shocked me that someone can take such a hard position on something and not consider ALL valid scriptural documentation that would strengthen a relationship. So I’m bummed and sincerely have no idea how to move forward.

So the title of my blog so far has had little to do my writing, so let me tie this up.

Some people take the position that my “gayness” is “tolerable” IF I remain in a heterosexual marriage, if I DON’T “practice” my “lifestyle” and if I Dont “act” gay in public. Really… Listen to that and tell me that it doesn’t sound ridiculous. Well it does to me.

So here Is my clarification just in case you or I may have missed something along the way.

I AM A GAY MAN.
I am attracted physically to men.
I am attracted sexually to men.
I date men.
I am NOT a heterosexual.

I am a gay man.
I was previously married to a woman.
I am a father of two daughters.
I am now divorced.

I am a gay man.
I am still someones son.
I am still a father to my daughters.
I am still GREAT friends with my former wife.

I am a gay man.
I am a Christian.
I will not go back into a closet.

So therefore, you may personally deny that I am gay and live a gay “lifestyle” but I no longer deny any of it.

The year is 2013 and there is so much credible BIBLICAL proof that being gay is not only normal, but affirmed by scripture. It is public information that a simple Google search will lead you to vieiws on both sides of the debate.

Ignoring the available information to protect your position and opinion will NOT go away.

Your mind is like a parachute… It works best when its open.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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

HUGE step forward.

Posted to FB by my friend.  I Concur.

Filled with hope today. . . the Church just took a gigantic, courageous step forward! Exodus International, a Christian ministry to Gays and Homosexuals that for over 30 years has worked to help people “overcome” their homosexuality, has had a change of heart. The ministry will shut down, and the president, Alan Chambers, offered an apology on the website that included this: “It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the Church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt,” said Chambers. “Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church. . . “More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives.” Proud of you, Alan Chambers.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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

“The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” on YouTube

 
 

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