Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2007 vs. 2012

This is a rework of the original blog.

An explanation... I found this list in 2007 and posted it to my blog where I started responding to the questions. I deleted my original responses, sadly, but I am going to reconstruct them with ideas and thoughts present in my mind then to compare with how I view the world and sexuality\attractions now. I published this original post with a different introduction this morning. Then Trev seemed interested in my responses so I thought I'd rewrite to include a 2007 and a 2012 response. 
These are not all my original words from 2007. I deleted those the other day, but I remember the ideas represented in my mind at that time. Remember this is back when I was at BYU. My blog was very different then. I reviewed some of my blog posts from that time to get the feel for my thinking back then.

Remembering some of the painful parts of my BYU days was a little healing. The feeling of being rejected by my peers--including the Mohos---was horrible to think about. It has made me who I am today.

So for your reading pleasure, I give you the 2007 and 2012 Post-it Boy Responses to the same questionnaire. 2007 was written today but with answers reminiscent of the 2007 thinking and mentality I'd had.

1. Can SSA/homosexuality be completely overcome?

2007: I think it can be overcome in different ways. I'm currently going to therapy. My therapist is awesome and he is helping me to see that I just need a change in perspective. He is a cognitive therapist and it has been helpful for me to meet with him. He's helped me overcome my depression issues---he's also helped me become more open to the idea of dating since he told me that its all a matter of perspective. I don't need to be really strongly sexually attracted to women to be married. So in a way, they can be overcome.

2012: No, I don't think so. I think that there are ways to learn to control your urges and sexual drive. I think there are ways to overcome addictions associated with it. But the feelings and emotions are always there. If I got married, I'd be a gay man who was married to a woman I wasn't attracted to. I don't believe in change therapies. 

2. Is it necessary to understand where my SSA comes from before I can deal with it, or is it possible to just accept that I have these feelings and then deal with them?

2007: I think that the causes are shown in a lot of the classes I've gone to with Evergreen Conferences. Some people have weird views about it. But generally most books talk about it coming from experiences we've had as children---not getting enough love---having a distant father and such. I can kind of relate to those ideas but I was never abused as a kid.

2012: Don't think it matters where it comes from anymore. The gospel nor science has given us that answer yet. I support organizations like Evergreen but I don't think anyone has all of the answers---at least no one on this earth.

3. Is it possible to deal with SSA without help from others? If not, where do I go for help?

2007: Build a support network of active LDS guys with good standards. Its not easy to do alone.

2012: Find supportive friends. Find people who will support you in your decision whatever that is. If you want to remain in the church, find friends who will support your decision. And no, I think working through it alone is a mistake.

[Basically I would have said the same thing in 2007 as I said in 2012. But I am more open to non-LDS friends who will support me now---back then I thought anyone outside of the church wouldn't be supportive.]

4. Is being in a relationship before getting a better understanding of all of this going to be helpful or harmful (also thinking about the other person)?

2007: Being in a relationship will probably ruin your life so stay away from it. Being involved in gay things will be damaging to you. Its better to be away from all of that stuff.

2012: I think that desiring to experiment is normal. But keep in mind once you open those doors, you might not want to close them.

5. What is the influence of acting out on my same sex attractions while dealing with SSA - do I start with obedience to the law of chastity, or is that something that can come later?

2007: The law of chastity is the only option. If you divert from that path, it will be too damaging to you. Stay away from all of the influences which will be negative to your journey. I had my first kiss with a guy last year---he was just a friend. I also had my first kiss with a girl last year too. They were very different. Its better to avoid all of that though. Its too dramatic.

2012: I think it is harder to remain chaste once you've experimented around a bit. Even just kissing men CAN be hard to not do once you've done it. Also, it doesn't feel the same to kiss women (I've kissed a few and I might as well be kissing a lamp-post!) Kissing men is far more exciting, for sure. As soon as I kissed men and then kissed women, I knew deep down I could never be married to a woman. If I look back and could cancel that aspect, I might enjoy kissing women more since I wouldn't have anything to compare it to. But, oh well... I would rather cuddle with my dog than a woman.

6. Should I seek contact with other people experiencing SSA or should I focus on good and meaningful relationships with straight people?

2007: Straight friends are harder to come by. I don't have a lot of people to talk to at BYU. I tried making friends with some Mohos but I got rejected by a lot of them. I have only been invited to hang out at BYU by a few people---one Moho and I hung out but then he decided it was too weird or something. So he unfriended me on Myspace. I probably have better friends with straight women than Mohos. I have some good roommates though. I had a moho roommate when I started at BYU but now he's gone and its probably for the best---he and I are not really friends anymore.

2012: I think you should focus on both. :) I think having friends in both realms is important. Keeps a balance. I have straight and gay friends in and out of the church.

[My time at BYU was very painful with friendships. I didn't have a lot of friends. Most Mohos seemed to not like me back then since I was seen as a religious zealot. When in actuality, I was just as confused as anyone else and wanted desperately to connect with people.]

7. Should I focus on developing deeper relationships with women?

2007: Girls are some of the only friends I have. I just make it clear I don't date and usually they're cool with it---girls are some of the only people who will talk to me at BYU. :(

2012: Sure! Doesn't mean you'll become a straightie... but it might help you to have good strong female friends. 

8. Are there any other issues I should address if I want to fully address SSA? What are they?

2007: I think you need to examine your life and maybe try to fill in some needs wherever possible. Maybe see if there's places you need to work on? Do you have traumatic experiences from childhood? Did your father leave you emotionally\physically\etc. and that is causing you trouble? Talk to a therapist about it. The Conferences talk a lot about that kind issue.

2012: I think you should see if there are other things in your life like depression, anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, unhealthy attachments, molestations in your childhood, etc. which need to be talked about and dealt with during your therapies... even more so than the attractions part of therapy. 

9. Is SSA a sexual thing or is it a matter of underlying issues?

2007: Its a sexual thing which is a side result of underlying issues, whatever they are.

2012: Its a human thing. I don't think I have underlying issues which caused it. 

10. Would I be able to develop heterosexual attractions towards women? (Can I change the fact that a woman has to be drop dead gorgeous before I'm even remotely attracted to her, while even an average looking guy immediately seems to attract my attention?)

2007: I've met a lot of guys who are married and its a cool concept to me. Is it possible for me? I hope so!

2012: Is it possible? Sure. But I've never seen it happen to me, and I was even in LOVE with a woman and wasn't sexually into her at all. I've never seen any changes in my sexual preference. If anything, I've just changed my focus to building a family and making a difference to orphans in developing countries.
11. Is the answer found in developing deeper relationships with men or maybe with one man in particular, and then finding out the nature of the needs that are met?

2007: I think I'm kind of like a broken vase where I have to hide the crack against the wall. I definitely have things I need to work on.

2012: I think we all have unmet needs---but don't think they caused the attractions necessarily. 

12. What can contribute to my motivation to deal with this (which ever way it goes) and not give up?

2007: You have to stay strong because there are all sorts of bad temptations out there. Stay strict to the rules. Be strong against temptation! It'll get you in the end if you're not careful. Keep a gospel perspective.

2012: Faith in the gospel. Not wanting to hurt your family will only last so long. In fact, most of my friends who just want to avoid hurting their families have left the church. Not wanting to be gay will only last so long. Since when people find out that gay people are not like the scum of the universe we're initially taught, we might realize that they're not so different from mohos with the same attractions who just don't act on them. Hating yourself won't be a motivating factor at all. Hating "gay people" will not motivate for long either. Any kind of hate is ridiculous. It usually is a result of fears.

Most people get worn down even when they have a strong testimony. If you want to stay in the church, you need to realize its imperfections but remain with your testimony. In 2012, I am shocked to say that I think church leaders go about this in the wrong way. 

13. How will I know the right answers to some of the yes or no questions?

2007: Prayer. 

2012: Follow your heart. Best I can say. :) 


Trev said...

First of all, shame that you deleted the old answers! Is there any way they can maybe be recovered?

Finally, where did this survey come from? And in what context was it given?

Post-It Boy said...

I can probably reconstruct my responses actually... Or write similar responses to what I would have written back in the day. But they're deleted for good. I didn't even think about a comparison post until after.

Trev said...

Wow, I'm honored you went to that trouble to indulge my curiosity :). But, probably, it's better for you and the historical record that you did that.

#3 contrast was interesting. Isn't it interesting how, surprisingly, often people outside of the Church or otherwise different in ways that you (generic pronoun) find intimidating or threatening turn out to be some of the most supportive, best people?

#10 2007. HA HA HA! Don't change it, it's funny! But, read it again... What are you saying here? ;)

Therman said...

I think I have this same questionnaire on my blog from a whole ago (probably 2007 as well). I should find it and do this same thing. My feelings and perspective has definitely changed since then.

I think you're doing a great job, Post-It-Boy. :)

Post-It Boy said...

Therman, maybe I got the list from you back in 2007? I forget. Honestly. I vaguely remember that there were several blogs who had similar lists. But thats so long ago.