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Teeter-tottering on that belief, I got married. To a woman. Our marriage was laced with sexual anxiety and dysfunction. I loathed having sex with her not because I wasn’t attracted to her, but because my sexuality continually screamed to me that I was a deceitful sell-out who lacked integrity. We eventually got divorced.
I got married again. Quickly. To another woman. Surely, surely if I married someone fantastically beautiful and to whom I was very attracted, I would never have to acknowledge the truth whose screams were silenced inside of me all those years. I would never have to grant further thought to the feelings of self-betrayal that plagued me for so long. It was my choice, damn it, and I was choosing to be what I had to be.
She finally left. The last words that she chose to use before she drove away were, “I don’t care what you say, I know that you’re gay.”
“Whatever makes you feel better,” I whispered to the aroma of lingering car fumes.
Later that evening, I drove over to Noah’s other home to discuss the situation. Some of the first words my son’s mother spoke were, “will you tell me the truth? Are you gay?”
“Why the hell would you ask that?” I angrily said in response to a question that I unfortunately understood was both serious and reasonable.
I left her home that night defeated.
Unable to laugh any longer.
Unable to do anything but want to die.
Days later I started this blog as a way to save myself from myself. As a way to force myself to laugh again. As a way to maintain some sort of normalcy. And yes, even as a way to protect me from ever having to be anything other than straight.
And as you are very well aware, since starting it, I have written adamantly about the inability so many of us have to love and accept those who are different. I’ve held out a hand to minorities, shared my experiences with bullies, and I’ve crusaded for equal treatment and compassion for every person, from every person.
And I’ve done it all, I suppose, out of desperate need for self-preservation should I ever find the courage to present myself as the person that I am.
If only I could change the world around me, perhaps my truth won’t one day be the end of me.
I’ve also told you all deliberately that I wasn’t gay.
I said it when I wrote I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay.
I certainly wasn’t lying to you.
To lie, a person has to both know and believe a truth and then present it contrarily.
I didn’t know and believe the truth. Not yet. In 32 years, I hadn’t even once been able to allow myself a truly open and honest thought about it all.
What I was guilty of was desperation to escape that damned label.
You know the label.
The one where I become a bisexual and to most people, nothing more.
And I didn’t want that label. I was desperate not to have that label.
Once someone comes out of the closet, there’s no taking it back.
There is no coming back in a week or a month or a year and saying, “never mind all that.” There is no possibility of a complete reversal process. Not really. Not in the minds of others.
Forever more, I will be labeled by anyone who reads this as the bisexual blogger. The bisexual friend. The bisexual date. The bisexual brother. The bisexual son or grandson. I will be labeled the bisexual colleague. The bisexual father. The bisexual member of my gym.
I will no longer be the only person I should be able to be.
I will no longer be me.
Dear God, please don’t let me be anything other than straight.
The world is so obsessed with defining sexuality for everyone and attaching labels to it. Any time any person openly leaves the sexual norm, their sexuality becomes, more often than not, the absolute defining characteristic of that person. It becomes the first thing people think about and often the first thing they mention. Every other part of that person all but disappears.
By writing and sharing this post today, I know that a great part of me will all but disappear. My life will never be even close to the same.
So, forgive me for my hesitance. Forgive me for not jumping for joy about my new journey just yet.
I’ve seen what the labels do. And I know the possibility of what these labels will do to me.
Right now, my sister trusts me implicitly to have her boys overnight for sleepovers with Noah. I have feared for a long time that such trust will vanish if I were ever anything other than straight. I fear that she won’t be able to believe the real truth. The truth that says, I would kill myself before hurting a child.
Right now, women aren’t worried about my sexuality when I first meet them. I have feared for a long time that writing something like this will trigger the fear any woman I date may have that her man could be anything other than straight. I fear that she won’t be able to believe the real truth. The truth that says, I am faithful, and I am attracted absolutely to the person I choose to be with.
Right now, my male friends are completely comfortable with me. They’ll wrestle with me. Laugh with me. Do stupid guy things with me. Workout with me. Take girls on double-dates with me. I have feared for a long time that all of that will be too awkward and threatening to them if I was ever anything other than straight. I fear that they won’t be able to believe the real truth. The truth that says, believe it or not, I’m not attracted to you.
Right now my parents accept me in their home, openly and without question. I have feared for a very long time that their open arms will no longer be welcoming if I am ever anything other than straight. I have fear that they won’t be able to believe the real truth. The truth that says, even at 32 years old, I still need my parents to love me. I still want their acceptance. I still hope for their pride.
Right now Noah’s mother loves and admires me. She trusts me to teach Noah about life. I have feared for a long time that because of her beliefs and religion, she will fear for our son if I was ever anything other than straight. I have fear that she won’t be able to believe the real truth. The truth that says, this has nothing to do with me as a dad.
Right now you all read my blog because you like the person that I am, you often appreciate what I have to say, and you seem to genuinely care about me. I have feared for a long time that many of you will never come back if I am ever anything other than straight. I have fear that you won’t be able to believe the real truth. The truth that says, I am the same person today as I was when you came here yesterday.
Dear God, please don’t let me be anything other than straight.
I really don’t want to be anything other than straight. If I could choose, there is no doubt that I would simply choose the easier way.
But I’m not straight. And choosing has proven dangerously impossible.
And so, at the border of where I will literally not survive so long as I keep living in so much fear of the harsh judgments of others, I am finally conceding the truth to you all.
I am finally conceding the truth to me.
I am something other than straight.
And, having conceded that truth, I am coming to you all with a fantastically desperate plea. A plea that is admittedly selfish as of now, but that is also so much bigger than me.