Sunday, June 04, 2006

Angst

A German word which means "anxiety" or "anguish." Technically, this is a term used in Existentialism which expresses the dread reality that the future is an unknown chasm; therefore, the choices that a person ( the existent ) makes are the determining factor in the outcome of one's future - thus, the cause for "angst."

My angst ebbs and wanes. For several weeks now, perhaps months, I've felt quite comfortable with where I'm at. But yesterday things boiled over and it reminded me that this journey is not going to be a short one.

My wife brought a gay-themed DVD home from the library this week. About 10 minutes into the show it was pretty clear that this show was not going to be good for me. I was turned on by the graphic portrayal of the characters' lives (nudity, sex, hot models dancing... it was all there). My wife asked if I was okay watching it, and I said that I didn't know. She asked if I wanted her to make the decision and I said yes. We turned it off.

Later in the day I confessed to her that I had watched a bit more of it. It was hot. And I was hungry. Plus, I had considered ripping it to the computer so I could watch it later when she wasn't around. I told her these things because I work through my angst, my conflict, my turmoil by discussing it with the person who loves me most in the world. And she said I had no need to hide it from her. If I wanted to watch it, we could watch it together.

I broke down. I was more emotional than I've been in months. Perhaps years. I said, "No! We can't watch it together. You don't get it! I'm addicted to pornography and that's exactly what this is for me. 90% of me wants to watch it with you. But the best 10% wants to get rid of it. It's not your fault. I know you are trying to help me and be supportive. But if I'm giving you mixed signals, that's why." My face scrunched and puffed. My dignity evaporated. My humiliation set in. Of course, being the saint she is, she apologized and agreed to help me be my best. She hid the DVD from me knowing I would probably want to watch it later that day. She loves me and struggles to know how to do what is best for me.

But this experience underscores the source of angst in my life. It's the divisiveness between the part of me that wants one thing and the part that wants the opposite. Someday I might make it to 100% one or the other--like Hurc or Kim--and that angst will be thankfully gone. I understand that neither rode is easy.

It would be hard to leave Mormonism for me. Despite my occasional doubts and struggles with the faith, I think the process of rejecting Mormonism would be a means to the end of embracing my gay desires. And I don't think I could be satisfied with leaving Mormonism as a means to an end. I'm in too deep.

And Kim says it has been 3 years angst free for her, but I know her struggles with the issues have lasted over a decade. No picnic down that road either. I've chosen this road for myself. The road less traveled? From all indications, I think my particular combination of choices and circumstances could be described as such!

Hence, the angst.

6 comments:

Chris (hurricane) said...

L,

A couple of thoughts.

First, though I don't feel it anymore (or perhaps more accutately, I haven't felt it in quite some time) I can so relate to your angst and the pain of the conflict you feel in your soul. I'm sorry for that pain, brother.

Second, I'm glad you shared this experience with us. I often read this blog and wonder, how is it that he seems to have it all under control so well while also being so self aware? Repression and denial were my primary tools for keeping my homosexual attraction in check for much of my life and I have found myself feeling a touch jealous of you--not that I think your path is the right one for me, but it has seemed to me that as you seek to balance your homosexuality with your heterosexual world, you do so with relative ease. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's nice to see that you're human. I think other gay Mormons who are trying to stay close to the church will be inspired not just by your focus on small miracles, but will also be helped when they know that you, like them, find the struggle to be burdensome and painful at times as well. Deeper meaning is often found in shared experience.

You and I have decided to deal with our homosexuality in different ways, but I have great respect for you. Indeed, I find myself wondering if I can say that I love you when I know you only through our blogs and the gay bloggerncale. But what I feel for you as I read this blog entry is love--love for a fellow gay Mormon brother.

Peace to you.

Elbow said...

I feel for you. I understand extactly what you are going through.
I want you to know that despite this set back, you are doing well, and you have all the tools and resources you need to stay close to the gospel.
I feel like this was just a little bump in the road for you. You'll be able to get right back up and continue to be an amazing husband and father.
Angst isn't going to bring you down. You'll be able to continue on with complete motivation to do what is right for you.
Thanks for sharing, I was begining to wonder if you repressing more more than you thought.
It's ok to feel angst once and a while.

Kim Mack said...

L, part of why my angst is gone is that I don't subject myself to stuff that will bring it on. There are so many movies out there, I know I can easily find one that doesn't have Angelina Jolie in a sex scene. Talk about angst for me! I know my limits and I don't push them. My lack of angst concerning SSA isn't because the SSA isn't there, it's because I know how to manage it.

Beck said...

L:

This is the third time I've tried to send a comment to you. I'm not sure what is going on.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for your willingness to share such a personal event. You are such a great guy! I know you know this, but I really feel your pain! That sounds trite, but it's heart felt.

At the same time, the openness of your marriage and the fantastic relationship you have with your wife is so inspirational! You are such an encouragement for those of us whose wives come unhinged at the revelation of such things!

I am still searching for that inner peace about my sexuality. I am convinced (though some may call me delusional or psychotic) that the angst we have in common, if used to motivate for good, can bring about that peace!

From one 'gay Mormon brother' to another, I thank you for your friendship.

Samantha said...

I don't know if the struggle ever REALLY ends. I wish I could say it does. Having a spouse who knows, helps. I love the fact that you were able to say this, " I'm addicted to pornography and that's exactly what this is for me. 90% of me wants to watch it with you. But the best 10% wants to get rid of it," because for much of our lives the 90%/10% desires are what we have to live with, and choosing the 10% desire is very hard.

I have loved reading your words, both here, and in comments. I have learned from what you have said. Discouragement and frustration can be so difficult to deal with.

Please keep writing. I'll be reading.

-L- said...

Wow. If anyone else says something nice to me my head might swell too much and explode. Thanks so much for the kind words.

Hurc, your message was touching. I love you too. I assure you I'm human even if I don't air my dirty laundry frequently.

Elbow, thanks for the encouraging words. It wouldn't be an Elbow comment if the recipient wasn't given the most kind regard and optimistic advice.

Kim, I appreciate your wisdom. Steering clear of temptation has got to be the best strategy.

Beck, thanks for your friendship as well, and I look forward to reading more about you and your wife's journey together through your issue.

And Sam, I haven't had the pleasure of reading through your blog before today. Thanks for commenting so I can learn from your experiences as well.

Sheesh. What a love fest. Seriously, though, thanks.