Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Content with angst

I think my views of my sexuality are pretty healthy. It's not something I chose, it's not something I can change like a switch, and it's a pervasive part of my daily desires and subconscious behaviors. (Notice that I didn't say it could never be changed or that it is in intrinsic part of my identity. These views are similar, but carefully maintain a language and philosophy that promotes a political agenda).

Some people think being queer makes you less of a person. I think conventional thought for many years--maybe centuries--has been that being queer is a result of personal deficiency of character. It's been thought to show a lack of willpower, a refusal to conform to societal norms, a willful perversion. And although society is now more tolerant and understanding, some form of these ideas is always being projected by individuals, by organizations, and just by frank tradition.

I personally think being gay makes you a deeper person--with a greater potential to understand, be sensitive, and perhaps positively develop one's character. I think gays are to be universally commended for the way they constantly face struggles and misunderstandings resulting from our current societal temperature. Unfortunately, they are instead berated by themselves or society for being different. Or weak. Or freaks.

I think my view is largely attributable to a particularly insightful bishop who shocked me by expressing his deep admiration for the strength I've had and the persistence I've shown in trying to be worthy and be true to the gospel. I expected him to condemn me for my failings, which have been more than a few and have persisted over many years. But his reaction showed an amazingly merciful and, I believe, Christ-like view of the issue. God certainly knows that what I'm attempting to do is beyond difficult.

And now that I've deliberately mulled it all around for a few months, talked to a counselor, and blogged through discussions with friends and foes, I feel I'm in a pretty healthy place. I still have setbacks, and communication problems, and times when I feel pretty worthless. But I continue to try. I'm ardent. And I feel that resilience puts me within the boundaries of the atonement.

Now when I'm in crisis mode--my desires are pulling hard and I feel out of control--I remember that I'm a biological creature and this is something I deal with. And I deal with it well. If not in the moment, in the following minutes and hours and days. And because of this, I feel better. Even in the moment.

I think life is a balancing act between being malcontent and being satisfied. I think I generally err on the side of being a perfectionist (as many folks with SSA do). But, for whatever reason, for the last several years I've given myself permission to not feel as guilty with my imperfections and my struggles. It's not that I accept that striving and change are unnecessary, it's just that I realize the guilt and self-punishment can be counterproductive. I'm not less of a person for my struggles, rather I'm more of a person for the honorable way I persevere in dealing with them.

7 comments:

Kim Mack said...

You are definitely one of the honorable ones, and I love knowing you!

Beck said...

"...I realize the guilt and self-punishment can be counterproductive. I'm not less of a person for my struggles, rather I'm more of a person for the honorable way I persevere in dealing with them."

Though this may sound like you and I are justifying things, I totally agree that the guilt and self-punishment ARE counterproductive. I've come to realize I'm not less of a person because of my "struggles", but I am more of a person for accepting them and seeing the good in the scriptural process of "weak things being made strong".

Chris (hurricane) said...

L, I really liked this post. Thanks for writing it.

Dave Walter said...

I think you're pretty grounded for someone on the "other side." ; )

I wish your struggles weren't struggles in the first place.

Samantha said...

"I personally think being gay makes you a deeper person--with a greater potential to understand, be sensitive, and perhaps positively develop one's character."

I agree. Of course, I can only speak from my own experience, and I don't know what it's like to not have homosexual feelings, so MAYBE I would still be the same person without them...

Hmmm...but I doubt it...and since I pretty much like who I am, most of the time, it logically follows that I must like being homosexual but living as a heterosexual???

Wow--that was a weird thing to say.

Anonymous said...

These views are similar, but carefully maintain a language and philosophy that promotes a political agenda

Since I believe that my sexuality cannot be changed and is an intrinsic part of my identity, does that mean I'm either promoting a political agenda or have been duped by those who are?

Or could it simply be based on my own experiences, beliefs and interpretation of the available scientific evidence.

I think it's great you feel your view of your sexuality is "pretty healthy." It's unfortunate you can't stop there but feel compelled to discredit other views by labeling them propaganda for a political agenda.

-L- said...

Anon,

I respect a variety of views on the subject, I just refuse to use the particular language that concedes the debate. I've been meaning to blog more on the war to define the issue by defining the language, but I can only blog so fast!

I don't know that you're promoting an agenda or duped. I just think you're probably wrong. No value judgment intended.