Halfway, but not quite…

I keep waiting to wake up. Despite going through a full semester, despite feeling the bite of winter start to rear its head, I keep thinking that I’m going to snap out of this nightmare, realize it’s June 11th and she’ll still be here. That I’ll get a call from her, talking about life, summer, plans for the fall and what not.

But I won’t. It’s December 7th, nearly 6 months after losing her, and somewhere a couple yards below the surface, her body is decaying, encapsuled by a concrete vault. It’s still stiff, lifeless. I’m still here in Chicago, finishing another semester of seminary, two more sermons added to my repertoire, still getting hitched in 4 months, still struggling to make sense of it all.

She’s not the only person who has been on my mind. I’ve been growing closer to a friend of mind – closer than I ever really have to a straight male peer, especially one who is completely affirming of my identity. Lately, I’ve realized I may have been becoming too dependent on his friendship. I may also simply be paranoid, but having had boundary issues in the past, I’m hypersensitive about how I interact with people, especially men.

In the realm of gay men, it’s not uncommon for even the most platonic of relationships to have hints of sexual tension, flirtation, or even varying degrees of physical intimacy. Being someone who’s identified physical touch as one of his primary love languages, and who has also seen sex/sexuality play a role in numerous relationships/friendships, I know this to be far too true.

Throw a straight man into my world, and everything gets turned upside down. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hug more than most, but it’s hard to always know how to stop there. Why am I so hell-bent on touch, on affection? What does healthy physical affection look like? Have I really become such a stereotype of the “gay community”? And what it is about the “straight man” that is so alluring, enticing?

I know this is a disjointed post, but these are the things on my mind and heart right now. I’ve already lost one best friend to death this year… I don’t think I could bear to lose one due to self-sabotage. This is one area in which I’m aware of my own faults and brokenness. I’m an extremist to the core. When I first started experimenting sexually, I did a pendulum swing from having sex to wanting to go to an Exodus conference and jump back into reparative therapy. I’d go from wanting no sexual contact at all to wanting it in binge amounts. I’d go from feeling full of life, vibrant, joyful to wanting to take a razor to my wrists (a pendulum swing I still struggle with). And here I am swinging between accepting myself and loving my partner to envying the straight guy and the “normal” life he can have to wanting a healthy platonic relationship to transition into a sexual one.

I’m in a vulnerable place right now, more so than I’ve been in for awhile. Not completely sure what to do about it. I’ve got two more papers to write before my semester is officially finished. I’m not seeing my blood family for Christmas. I’m fighting against body image issues and eating disorder symptoms again. I’m chain smoking. I’m using sex more as a means to detach and distract rather than to focus, show love, and connect. I’m torn between exploding and putting everything out on the table and shutting down, holing myself up, and hiding from the world and everyone I love. I’ve not written a post this transparent in awhile… hoping it doesn’t backfire on me, especially with those I love most. But I need to put this out there, and let some of it go…

~ by Michael O. on December 7, 2011.

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