Ending a Lifetime of Deception
It only took me fifty years, to be able to be honest with myself, but what a relief when I was finally able to face the real me. Why did it take me so long to face facts? They were there all the time! I’d wager that my story is not an uncommon one.
Way back when, I was raised in Northwest Ohio in a conservative, traditional small town farming community. My father was a conservative pastor and my mother was a Quaker. Growing up, everyone fit into molds the community expected of him or her, and I was no exception. Church was a central part of life there. There were no "odd" characters` around, just some old bachelors. If someone was different, they were simply explained away as odd, or possibly "worldly". Of course, the explanation was easier if they were known to go to bars, or smoked or did other "evils".
I did as I was told and tried to live a "Christian" life as I was taught. When adolescence came upon me, little did they know that I was fascinated by the good looking boys around, and that I made an extra effort to become friends with those I thought were very well built or good looking. I was good friends with some of the girls from school, but never had a girl friend. I had three dates in high school, but most weekends were going out with my guy friends. I even had a cut out collection of pictures of surfer boys and guys that were shirtless from magazines. No one ever questioned any of that. But the fear of admitting to truth to myself was reinforced, one of my parents friends kicked their son out of the house because he was gay, and the constant right wing, conservative, Bible thumping, church ministries with the same message that Jerry Falwell and his like still preach today. To fit in the mold I was expected to be, I knew I would get married and have children and be a success. So I learned early on to deny that I was different and how to functio in a socially acceptable way. I even consciously learned how to walk the "manly walk" and to talk with out any hint of femininity. (I had been called ‘sissy’ because I was somewhat effeminate). Any opportunities for exploring male homosexuality were stifled because, in part, none of us knew what to do, or were afraid of doing something wrong or evil. So I graduated from high school, meeting everyone else’s expectations and completely naïve about the facts of life in the real world. I had denied to myself and everyone what and who I really was, and successfully molded myself into the mold that was expected of me.
I started college at a church school, and naturally blended into life there as expected. There were rumored guys that were different, but I never had their association. A group of us would go to Chicago to what was then Old Town. I would see groups of young men on corners who would make comments, but I had no idea who and what they were, yet I would love to sneak into shops that had gay oriented merchandise. I would be cruised, and had no idea of the fact. At college, I met this delicate, pretty girl from Michigan. I thought I was in love, and after 6 months of dating, I asked her to marry me and she accepted. So I the age of 21, I was married, transferred to a university in Central Michigan and established a household. The picture was becoming more what everyone expected of me.
We established a "perfect" life in Midland, MI. We both had good jobs and a nice house. We were both involved in our church activities and I was even on the Church Board of Directors. All of this, by the age of 25. Since I was living at my own home and working, I didn’t have any opportunity to make friends at college, but was still fascinated by good-looking, well built men. I discovered "PlayGirl" and magazines like that and would go out of my way to buy one occasionally and hide it. At work, I made friends with a very good guy. We would go to lunch together at times. The issue of being gay would come up once in a while. It wasn’t until one day he introduced me to male sex, while I "protested". We would meet occasionally, for lunch or his house, but the sex with him was the main reason. This lasted for a couple of years. At times I would admit to myself that I was gay, but then guilt and denial would set in, and I would try to stop our relationship, which wasn’t successful. I preferred him over my wife, sexually. Then I would rationalize that maybe I was bi-sexual, or that sex with him wasn’t cheating because it wasn’t sex with another woman. Talk about being confused! I would at times consider coming out, but didn’t because I knew how it would affect both families and my standing in the community. I continued my role as a church leader and kept appearances to friends and family that I was as "normal". He moved, and I struck a casual relationship with another man who had just come out to his wife and family and was living by himself. He introduced me to more male sex. I learned to separate my two "selves", again, I wasn’t cheating on her, because he wasn’t a woman. Life as normal! I had confided to my best friend at the time of my experiences and eventually he wanted me to share with him physically, which we did for about a year. I had convinced myself that I wasn’t gay, that I wasn’t cheating on anyone, and that what had happened wasn’t relevant to the life I had made in the eyes of the community.
Through a change circumstances and economics, I ended up for a while as the House-spouse. We had two girls and I was home to get them started in school. I had no relationships during that time, but would look secretly for any erotic magazines and would hide them. I still strongly admired good-looking men. Married life fell into a rut, with problems that were ignored (another story). She still had no idea that I was hiding the true me, even though our sex life eventually became nothing.
I made a career change that required me to travel. I would covertly explore gay oriented places, but did nothing. I was so in denial. I was not gay, just wanted to see where the gay places were and what was available. I started a job in the Detroit area that kept me away from home all week. While there, I found a store that had gay magazines, which fascinated me. But I was still true to my wife and home and straight "as an arrow". To pass the time, I bought a computer and went on line. While supposed to be straight, I started exploring gay sites on the Internet and discovered gay chat rooms.
I met guys from all over the USA, and was amazed that there were so many others out there just like me! So many with the same experiences and feelings. What a wake up call!!! Suddenly the realization stared me straight in the face that I was gay and couldn’t deny the fact any longer. I had several lengthy conversations on line about being gay and all the consequences. I wrestled with my true self for many months. It was absolutely the most difficult time in my life! I couldn’t sleep. I would forget to eat! I went from 190# to 150# in 4 months. When I admitted to myself that I am and always was gay, a feeling of self acceptance settled on me that I had never had, and for the first time in my life I accepted me and liked me! I was finally honest with myself! No longer did I have to live and think as everyone else had expected me, I could finally be myself. I could no longer live a lie to myself or to anyone else. I have never tolerated hypocrites, and I wasn’t going to be one! Once I accepted myself for what I was, I was truly happier than I had been in years. I was sad that I knew I had to come out to my wife and family, which I did gradually, and I knew there would be repercussions and huge changes in my life. I truly regret that I hadn’t been honest with everyone concerned, including myself when I was much younger. People were going to be hurt, but they had to know who the real me is and not the fake I had been.
As one would expect, there have been major changes in my life since then, but everyone concerned have made their own adjustments. Some former friends have abandoned me, yet I have made new, more sincere friends who accept me for what I really am. I am truly happy and contented with myself and have more confidence that I‘ve had in years. And for the first time in my life, I experienced love for someone else that goes deeper and stronger than I have ever had for any one else. Until I came out, I had literally become emotionally dead. This man awoke such deep, true feelings of love I never knew possible. We have committed ourselves to each other for almost 2 years, and these have been the happiest days of my life that I can remember.
All the signs and signals that I am gay have been with me all my life. What happened? At an early age I learned that if I acted and talked like everyone expected me, I was safe and free of ridicule and threats. If I were "normal", I would get good types of attention. If I pleased those in authority, I was living and being acceptable and a good person. If I admitted to anyone, including myself, that I was anything different, I was not a good person, and doomed eternally. I learned to please everyone around me, and denied to myself and naturally, everyone else, that anything was different, by words and actions. I became the most accomplished deceit. And hypocrite. When I began to see myself as I truly am, I hated what I had become, and was relieved to accept what I really am. It was not an easy process. It was the most difficult process I have ever had to go through, and would not welcome the chance to go through it again. I can only imagine the struggles my family and friends have gone through. But now, the true me is here and active, and the deception and lying is over. I am free to be the real me and have finally become free and truly happy.
Accept yourself as you truly are, not as others expect you to be. Be true to your self. And above all, accept everyone around you, as they really are, not what you may expect them to be. If you don’t you’ll miss the true person that is really there.
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