Saturday, November 6, 2010

Icarus: Did I Fly Too High?

These past two weeks since I started this blog have been a roller coaster, taking me to dizzying heights, then plunging me into deep despair.  Despite the very brave-sounding moniker of “Invictus,” I sometimes (more often than not) feel more like the cowering lion from the Wizard of Oz.   I agonize over whether I did the right thing in starting this blog, of giving voice to feelings and thoughts that have never seen the light of day.  Even though doing so has felt liberating, I worry that I have exposed too much of myself.

Despite what may appear to be self-confidence, I also agonize over whether I did the right thing in “coming out” to my wife.  The first discussion went well; subsequent ones, not so much.  A few days ago, I wrote about hubris and about the myth of Icarus, who flew too high to the sun with his wax wings and, as a result, plummeted to the earth.  I am afraid that I have flown too close to the sun and am falling, falling ...

I suppose such feelings may be natural when a gay, married, Mormon father throws off the mask that has concealed his true identity so effectively for so long from both others as well as himself and jumps off a cliff, precisely because he can no longer keep feelings he has struggled with his entire life bottled up inside of him; can no longer stand the feelings of deep shame and self-loathing that have haunted the inner chambers of his soul for as long as he can remember. 

I wouldn’t know if such feelings are natural; I’ve never “come out” before.  Before this month, the only person who ever knew anything of my attraction to men was my wife, and she did not understand the nature and extent of the attraction, what it has meant and does mean in the context of our marriage, nor what it has meant to me to cope with this my entire life. 

Now, well, a few more people know, and it’s scary.   Did I do the right thing?

While I sincerely appreciate the interest shown in my blog, I really need to ask a favor of those who have come here and are coming here.  Right now, I really, honestly, truly need some feedback, some insight, some support.  Please tell me what, if anything, that which I have written means to you.  Please give me the benefit of your own experience.  ‘Cause right now, I could really use an updraft ...

I take some paper on my hand,
And with a pencil draw a man:
The dream of what I'd really, really like to be …

But who am I?
A cipher on the wall, not even brave at all …

But still the paper's in my hand
And every day I sketch that man …

My conscience says I should be him
I guess I could at least begin
But chances are I'd probably strike out.


  1. I support you and can understand your agony. It is only normal that when one exposes one's deepest feelings that one risks to feel more raw, more nude, more uncertain.... These feelings of "painful rawness" would be only more excruciating if the desired confirmation from others doesn't come as one had hoped.

    I can only say that I cannot see what is wrong with expressing one's feelings and the truth. This is who you are. A person isn't uniform or homogenous but complex and disparate, like a collage of different textures, sizes and colors. This beautiful blog that you started has been two-fold for you as it has allowed you to express your feelings and has allowed you to receive feedback, food for thought and a sense of solidarity with others. While piecing together your collage of your identity, others have added their pieces as well. You have also authentically shared your feelings and thoughts with loved one and have not always had a positive response. Yet this does not change the truth of your feelings. Should it?

    Perhaps the truth can seem like a moving target right now. But I guess this comes down to what you believe to be truth.

    When I look at the origin of this word and its subsequent definitions, I see how you could run into a problem. You have decided to expose your truth about your sexuality, which is a piece of your identity, to yourself and to others: all of which make up the TRUTH of who you are. Yet truth is often determined according to one's perception of what resonates with them, OR with others who "possess" truth (again as perceived by 'one'). I guess if too much emphasis is placed on what others believe is truth, the you may doubt your truth. Does this make sense?

    I can't say what it must ACTUALLY be like to do what you are doing because I am not in your situation. At the same time, I do know that it is so vitally important to be true to yourself. This, dear Pilgrim, is not something that you are used to doing. You have spent a better part of your life wearing masks. It has been a survival mechanism to put on one in order to avoid rejection, abandonment and painful abuse and to find peace around you, recognition from others and "love". But can you honestly feel that if it is a mask? Is the mask that thin and permeable?

    You are sketching a beautiful man ... there isn't a "model" from which to sketch who you are and who you will become. You can't strike out because there aren't any rules. You have the rules inside you and accept them or redefine them. That is your freedom, your truth and your power. You can empower yourself, we can only support and radiate our love out to you.

    Much love and peace to you. Namaste.

  2. One more thought: ICARUS' wings were CONSTRUCTED by his father. Perhaps this is the problem. Perhaps it is time to shed those wings, come back to the ground, create your chrysalis and grow your own wings? With your own wings, you will fly YOUR course.

  3. Having never been married I don't know what to say. The coming out process it full of major ups and downs as it is essentualy a grieving process.

    Also, people who thought they knew you are finding out you're not who they thought you were and they are going to have to go through their own grieving process.

    But keep in mind, honesty in all things is good for you and everyone else involved. Truth is hard to take. Especially if one tries to deny it for the sake of fitting in or protecting someones feelings.

    The difficult thing I had when coming out was communication. It was hard to talk to people. And they had a hard time talking to me. That's why I turned to writing in my blog. A place that they could read my thoughts that I wasn't able to speak.

    If you're wife is up to it, perhaps she could start writing, wither it's a blog or a journal, a place that she can find a way to communicate that can be more well thought out than just off the cuff speaking. Perhaps you and she can be open to eventually sharing these writings with each other.

    Scott and Sarah, have done this and they have traveled this journey together. It doesn't have to end badly.

    And to reiterate what Libellule said, Icarus's wings were constructed by his father. Time to create your own wings.

    I haven't felt this emotional in a while until I read your post. I "hugged" you on FB and I'm hugging you here. Let this journey take you where it needs to go. The ups, downs and all that is in between.

  4. Couple of thoughts:

    First, what the rest of the world thinks about you coming out is really unimportant right now. The only thing I would be worried about is your wife. What are you doing to help her understand, to feel good about your relationship, to know that you do deeply, truly love her? I think coming out to people can cause different reactions based on where they are emotionally, their level of understanding, spiritual strength, etc. For some, perhaps your wife, it may come as a loss and they may go through the mourning cycle, which includes a number of steps including denial, sadness, anger, and (hopefully) ultimately acceptance. You may have to bear with her if she goes through this cycle, and be especially sensitive to her needs. Women can take longer to process and get over feelings of hurt or betrayal.

    Second, have you sought help or council from Church leaders? Both individually and as a couple? This is a resource you should not dismiss. I have had absolutely wonderful experiences and counsel from my Church leaders. Pray about it and be sure your Bishop or SP is prepared to help you, and if you feel prompted then act on that. Some leaders are not helpful on this issue, so let the Lord guide you.

    Last, I think you must realize that you have taken a step you cannot undo. You own it. I say that not in the way of condemnation or judgement, just in the stark reality of the situation. You must now move forward in this position where you have openly acknowledged your homosexuality. It may be difficult. I pray it won't be.

    We are here for you. You can contact me any time if you need solace. And don't forget the Lord and the tender mercies he most surely wants to extend to you AND your wife. Include Him in everything. Ask Him for those tender mercies.

    I am praying for you!

  5. I can't speak to what your wife feels, but I know that my more recent steps further out of the closet as a person something more than straight, was a bit disconcerting to my husband when he really had to acknowledge it in size 20 Font instead size 10. That is similar in our situations. I think there is much more fascination by hetero men with the idea of having lesbian(s)as partners, so that might make it a little easier-they are more acclimated to the idea of being involved with a non-exclusively hetero sexual partner because of media influences of all kinds. You don't see the same fascination by women with having multiple gay or bisexual male partners. Strange argument I'm making here. It's a much more threatening situation because it is much less culturally familiar with no mystique. And there are many other issues in an LDS marriage bearing this strain.

    You have many internal conflicts to sort out as well and this process takes time.

  6. I will comment in a more substantial way later, but for now I am just going to give this big Saturday morning
    (((((((((( hug ))))))))))).

  7. Libellule - What can I say? I am deeply touched by your beautiful words, sentiments and support. I will need to ponder what you have written. Thank you.

    TGD - Thanks so much for the hugs, the food for thought and, most of all, the support for my journey. It means so much to know that someone out there is thinking of me. I appreciated yours and Libellule's comments about Icarus' wings being made by his father. Though my wife is obviously involved in this, I have tried to explain that, at its core, this, for me at this time, is about discovering who I truly am - not just in a sexual sense, but in every sense. To do so at this point in my life requires more strength than I sometimes have, and it is then that I value most dearly the support of others. Thank you again.

    Neal - Thanks to you, as well, for your thoughts and support. Upon reflection, as far as coming out to my wife is concerned, I think the biggest problem was that it just sort of came out in the course of a broader conversation without a long explanation that (so far as I can tell from others' experience) leads up to the climax. I am now trying to backtrack and fill in the blanks.

    Quiet Song - I appreciate your comments as well. I have thought of you this past week. Though I wrote about my band of brothers, please know that I had you and other sisters in my mind and heart.

    Ned - Thanks for the giant bear hug. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

  8. I've commented before, so I think you know I read your blog.

    You're doing well. I'd say blog as much as you want, just keep identifying details like names, places and exact dates out of the text to prevent outing by Google search.

    In your personal life, move at whatever speed feels comfortable to you.

  9. I have loved every minute of your blog, and have learned many things from you. Coming to terms and accepting one's own gayness is a process that can last a while. Please be kind to yourself and give yourself all the time YOU meed to process what you need to process.

    Like Quiet Song, I am a woman. I am a gay woman in the Church, and many of the things you have shared have felt like the male version of many things I have either experienced or felt.

    For me, it was a bit disconcerting, yet also freeing, when I began letting people I love know I am gay: first a nephew, then my twin sister and her family, and next a friend. I worried that I would lose these people who meant so much to me because of my gayness. It has been just the opposite- they have been SO supportive and loving to me.

    But, then I do not have a spouse to whom I have had to come out- I left my so called marriage (after about a minute), and did not have to go through any of that with him.

    We love you and are glad you are here. Many in this blogging community will be here to help you navigate whatever there is out there for you to navigate. It really is a remarkable journey, with its goods, bads, emotional lows and highs. It is a miracle to be able to learn so much about one's self.

    Happy day!

  10. Invictus,
    Wish there was a manual to use. I don't think that there's a one-way for going about these things, but I can very much identify with the experiences you mention.

    A lot of what we have to think about is why we do what we do and there are no guarantees in life. All you can do is reinforce the love you have for your family and hope that your relationships are strong enough to build on that. It is OK to feel overwhelmed, it is OK to even step back, unfortunately starting from scratch may not be an option anymore---once you're out of the closet you may run back, you may hide behind those old clothes in the dark corners but there really is never going back.

  11. Thanks, MoHoHawaii, "this blog author" and Miguel. Your support means so much to me, just knowing you're there and feeling your love and concern. You've helped turn what started out to be a not very good day into a much better one. More later ... Hugs.

  12. Vic, thank you for all the sharing you have done here. One of your paragraphs above particularly caught my eye. You wrote about feelings "when a gay, married, Mormon father throws off the mask that has concealed his true identity so effectively for so long from both others as well as himself and jumps off a cliff..."

    Your choice of the metaphors of throwing off a mask and jumping off a cliff reflects your strong emotions. I hope it provided some catharsis to use such dramatic expressions.

    Another way of describing the process is that there's now more light in your world, and the strangest part is the light has been there all along, but now are you seeing it and seeking to use it to your advantage, and like going out into the sun after you've been in a dark movie house for a few hours, it may take your eyes a few minutes to adjust.

    Consider this quotation, "This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings."

    So if you look at it this way, maybe you've got a mild case of sunburn which is going to turn into a beautiful new tan in a few days, but you may want to wear some sunscreen just to be safe. And what would that sunscreen be in this extended metaphor? Good question, what does it suggest to you?

    Again, Vic, thank you for breaking the silence and for your welcome voice here. Hope you have the rest of a beautiful fall weekend.

    (another married, Mormon father who finds certain men fascinating)

  13. Hey. I read your blog, but I have never been much of a guy for commenting. Sorry.

    I am also married. I have been able to make it work. It can be done, but I understand your pain. It is very difficult, and at times overwhelming.

    I have found it very important to nurture an honest, open relationship with, first, Jesus Christ, second, my wife, and lastly, myself. I believe that living honestly, which should include commitment to covenants, is the most rewarding path, even though it be superhumanly difficult at times. It can be done.

    Somehow Christ makes up the difference.

    That is the best feedback I can give.

    Thanks for sharing your story!


  14. Chris, thanks so much for your feedback. I appreciate you stopping by and your counsel. I keep learning of more of "us" out there - Mormons in MOMs. Thanks for reading my blog. I hope it gets a little better after I work through the rest of my gay adolescence. :)

  15. IP, I'm a Mormon mom of a Mormon woman with SSA. I just discovered your blog today and have spent 2 hours enjoying reading all you and your commenters have shared. Thank you so much! Please continue to share your thoughts and experiences because they are inspirational. I so want my daughter to love herself and don't know what I can say or do to help with this. I know that she is a daughter of a loving Father in Heaven who created her as she is -- perfect. Reading blogs such as yours, gives me greater understanding. I am grateful for brave examples such as yours. If you feel so inclined, I invite you to read her blog ( Maybe some comments from others will help her in her journey to discover that love of self. Mom of Deb

  16. Mom of Deb - I admit I was surprised when I first saw your comment, and that suprise immediately gave way to gratitude and quiet happiness.

    I am new to all of this and have found a lot of inspiration from the writings of others, as well as a lot of love "out there" in the Mormon gay blogosphere. So I am so very pleased, grateful and honored that you find what I write here of some use to you in your journey. I will definitely visit your daughter's blog. Thanks for posting the link. ~ Invictus

  17. are you trying to be anonymous?

    own it. Own ALL of it. This is your life.


  18. An anonymous person making a comment to tell another anonymous person to to own it.

    Irony go BOOM!

  19. Thank you, TGD; the irony was not lost on me, either. :)