Monday, February 28, 2011

Where I’m At: Disorientation and Drama

I was talking to friends at a party Friday night, standing in the kitchen, leaning against a counter.  Suddenly, I started to feel dizzy.  I shook my head a little, but the feeling didn’t go away; rather, it intensified.  Images of people around me started to blur a little, then their voices start to sound as though they were far away.  It was weird.  One of my friends looked at me, asked if I was alright, to which I shook my head.  I didn’t know what was going on, and it scared me a little. 

Those around me later said they had seen the color literally drain from my face.  A friend took me into another room to lie down, and after awhile, I felt better.  I guess that, for some reason, I was about to feint.

I’ve thought about this incident over the weekend and realized a couple of things.  First, it was very symbolic of what has been going on in my life within the past few days; and second, I am so glad that my friends were there to keep me from collapsing – both literally and figuratively.

Anyone who read my posts last week could probably see that things were coming to a head at home.  The eruption occurred on Friday.  It started with a discussion with my wife that quickly turned south.  That was quickly followed by an emotional conversation with my oldest son.  Though my wife and I managed to get the proverbial car out of the ditch and back on the road, it was clear that it wouldn’t make it much further. 

Later that day, I counseled with the man I affectionately call my “Gay Priesthood Leader” – a man of keen insight and experience who has been there for me since I first took my first tentative steps out of the closet. My conversation with him steadied my nerves and gave me perspective and a degree of encouragement.  (One of the things I like about my GPL is that he doesn’t tend to sugar-coat stuff; he gives me the straight (oops – well, you know what I mean) goods.)

I then talked at length with another good friend, who mainly listened and didn’t judge, but merely offered support and acceptance – two things which I sorely needed at that point.

When I got home from work, my wife was out. My oldest daughter at home was in the kitchen, so as I finished preparations for the dish I was taking to that evening’s potluck get-together, I tried to talk to her about what was going on.  She proceeded to – without putting too fine a point on it – dump all over me, unloading feelings of anger, misunderstanding and incomprehension, climaxed by this statement:  “I love you, but I cannot accept you.”  I guess it was a good thing that I had already sort of accepted as inevitable that I was going to go through a period where some or all of my kids hated my guts. 

Beyond that, however, it became apparent in listening to my daughter that there had been some discussions going on between my wife and several of the children. Coming away from these encounters, I knew that I had to make plans – immediately – to move out of the house before further damage was done to the framework of our family.

These events and the prospect of moving out much sooner than I had anticipated created an intense feeling of disorientation over the weekend, much like the physical sensations I experienced on Friday evening at my friend’s house.  As I contemplated the reality of moving out, of being in new surroundings, of leaving what I was familiar with, of the expected heartache of telling our younger children, of all the uncertainties of my new life as an out gay man – all of these thoughts and emotions sent me into a bit of a tailspin.  Once again, however, I was blessed by supportive friends. 

Saturday was better, and I had the opportunity that evening to attend my first MoHo party hosted by Scott and Sarah Nicholson.  This was a choice experience, not only because I was able to meet several people with whom I had previously corresponded, but also because I was able to meet Scott and Sarah’s kids and see them interact with the guys who were there.  It was truly heart-warming, and I thought several times that a GA could learn a lot from attending a gathering like that and witnessing the love and caring that was clearly visible.

On Sunday, my wife and I met with our bishop and told him that we are separating and that I am planning to move out sometime this week.  We had decided to wait and tell him because we knew it wouldn’t do any good to tell him sooner:  he had become aware of the severity of our marital problems over two years ago and had worked closely with us since then; there was nothing else he could do.

The meeting went as well as I could possibly have hoped.  I truly think we must have the best bishop in the world.  He was very accepting, supportive and non-judgmental.  He expressed his love for both of us and reiterated that he is there to support our family in whatever way possible.

But, no, in case you’re wondering, I did not come out to him.  My wife and I have decided that it is in the best interests of our family to keep that confidential.  It will eventually come out, but my family has enough to deal with right now without the additional drama that disclosure would cause.

I was invited to an Oscar party last night.  I shouldn’t have gone; I was sleep-deprived and emotionally exhausted, and by the time the evening had come around, the tides of disorientation and despair had again rolled in.  I’m afraid I wasn’t very good company as a result.  But, once again, I’m grateful for friends who understand that, right now, my moods ebb and flow, and who express sincere concern for me and for the challenges I face. 

So, yeah, it was an interesting weekend, and it promises to be an interesting week.  By Saturday, I will have moved in with a friend and started a new chapter in my life. Not only will it represent a new chapter in my family’s life, but it will also be a new chapter in my coming-out process.  Stay tuned for further disorientation (which will absolutely not involve any doubt or questioning about my sexual orientation, for which I’m grateful).


  1. Sending good thoughts your way. No doubt times are tough for you right now. But hold on to the fact that the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT a train heading for you. ;) It's the ray of a new phase, with all the glorious complexity of life. Call me if you need to chat.

  2. So much has happened in such a short span of time with such intensity: it is normal, I think the way your body is reacting with physical manifestations of too much. It sounds as if your body is asking you to slow down so that it can catch up. When going through such intense changes, even though it seems that you are handling this incredibly well and calmly, your body needs rest. Stress is SO hard on the body. It also may be anxiety ...

    But you are so lucky to have such supportive friends around you. Their love and friendship are going to help you get through this.

    Also, I had to mention that it is very important for younger children to interact with gay people. This past summer, my husband and I invited one of my closest friends and his partner to spend a long weekend with us in Europe and we explained to my husbands children that they were a gay couple. We had a deep discussion before they arrived and the youngest wasn't so sure how to act. I reassured him that my friend is one of the most loving and wonderful friends on earth and the only difference is that he loves men and not women to spend his life with. You know what: they were the best buds all weekend! They were inseparable and their viewpoint of homosexuals has totally changed.

  3. IP, sorry it's so tough and sudden. I hope you can get the message across to your kids, and have them believe you, that you deeply love them and will always be there for them.

    When my father moved out of the house I was ten or eleven, and it shattered me. I thought the world would end. It took years for me to believe him, that he loved me, but that bond was re-forged with great strength. It happened because my father was consistent.

    My younger brother and I remembered how he would always end a conversation or letter with the phrase "Your father loves you." That statement today is engraved in stone, on his grave. Just thinking of this brings tears to my eyes and a welling up of gratitude in my heart for how he lived and loved me.

  4. @Pablo - Thanks for your good wishes and thoughts. Both are sincerely appreciated. We all have our roads to walk, do we not? I'm mindful of you and others who are on similar journeys. Thanks.

    @Libellule - Thanks, as always, for your supportive comments and insights. I suppose you are right: my body was somehow saying "no." The older I get, the more I discover that my body is quite as obedient as it used to be and has become more stubborn. Imagine that! :)

    @GeckoMan - Thank you for reminding me of my own experience of when my father moved out when I was 12. I must, must, must always remember that the perspective of children is not the perspective of adults. My most fervent prayer throughout all of this, and what is yet to come, is that I will not get so caught up in my own drama that I will fail to be sensitive to my children.

    Thanks for sharing. Really.