#17 My emotions make me vulnerable, and that is a birthplace of innovation, creativity and change

dark-cloudsWhen a man becomes aware of his same-sex attraction, it is almost universally a distressing realization. People tend not to like being sexually attracted to members of the same gender. Initially, a gay person can’t believe what is happening to him. As the reality of of the attraction sinks in, the person feels broken or a mistake or a failure, as if he is to blame for the feelings.

That is exactly what happened to me. When I had a first crush ever on my very close male friend at the age of 16, I was at first resolutely unwilling to admit that I indeed had a crush on a guy. At one point, I had a strong emotion of being in love, but because of a denial, I didn’t know towards whom I felt it. So, in a brief moment, I had a feeling at hand but I wasn’t able to locate a person that caused it. It was definitely the most surreal experience of my entire life.

Feeling of inadequacy turned into strength

It was also a moment when I was the closest to committing suicide. I quickly realized that’s not the right course of action to pursue. As soon as I courageously accepted the situation “as is”, including the fact that my feelings are indeed directed towards a living, breathing male person, suicidal thoughts were pretty much gone. But that doesn’t mean my struggle to understand my attraction was over. Quite to the contrary. It continued in various shapes and forms until today, and I believe I will continue for as long as I live.

One of the things that goes along with the feeling of inadequacy and failure is the feeling that the same-sex attraction is a weakness. I wrestled with that sentiment until I joined the LDS church and learned a profound doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ expounded in the Book of Mormon’s Ether 12:27: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Even when I understood that doctrine sufficiently enough so that I was able to apply it in other aspects of my life, it took me quite a while to figure out how to fit it into my “weakness” of same-sex attraction. Because I was unwilling to face my homosexual inclinations for a long period of time, didn’t think of converting it into a strength.

Cry baby

Only after I became more open to my wife about the subject, I realized that having those emotions are not all that bad. I would like to give my insight on how those feelings I perceive as a strength rather than weakness.

If there’s anything that makes me vulnerable, it is my attraction towards other men. And for obvious reasons. Society is pretty much hostile towards anyone who even attempts to express such tendencies in any shape and form, even if those tendencies aren’t explicitly sexualized as in my case. (I’m not in a gay relationship, but am happily married to a woman.)  As I believe that – as Brené Brown masterfuly points out in her TED talk – vulnerability is birthplace of innovation, creativity and change, so in a great sense, my same-sex attraction is a source of some of my most cherished abilities.

When I don’t block my feelings – and the blockage is most often caused by my desire to nullify effects of gay emotions – I am capable of great compassion. Pain and suffering of other human beings resonate with me very deeply. I experience it almost as my own reality, so much so, that I can barely handle it. I’m a cry baby.

I also love to bake cakes, cookies and sweets, to perform as a stay-at-home dad, to do the homework with my kids, to tuck them in and say goodnight, to change diapers and to make my baby fall asleep. And when the baby is awake, I like to talk to her for hours in a high pitched voice.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tammy
    Dec 08, 2012 @ 23:12:11

    Unlike a lot of folks, I find the ability to be emotionally vulnerable and expressive a HUGE sign of strength. One of the things I first admired in my wife was her ability to “feel” everything she was feeling. When she is sad, she feels her sadness; when she is happy, she feels her happiness; when she is hurt, she feels her hurt. It’s so raw and real and I think adds tremendously to her experiences and quality to her life!

    I have never had trouble living and feeling a very raw life and admire it so much in others.

    I am very glad you have moved these feelings from the weakness category into the strength category, where I think it truly belongs. Life is richer when we are able to experience it fully.

    Reply

  2. BJ
    Aug 15, 2013 @ 08:47:04

    Our experiences with our SSA are similar to the point of scary. Several aspects of them are almost in lockstep. I also view SSA as the source of many of my own cherished abilities. While on my mission I was studying chapter 6 of the Preach My Gospel (which details the Christlike attributes) and I realized that all the advances I’d made in each and every single last one of them could be directly or indirectly attributed to SSA. My brother and I (both of us are active returned missionaries that currently experience SSA) have both agreed that we’ve developed a powerful ability to show and feel compassion as a result of our experiences. I also have a great power for spiritual discernment, and I firmly believe that has come from SSA, I can’t really exactly explain why but I feel strongly about it. I also feel I have a strong nurturing capacity like the one you explained regarding your children, although not being married I feel it in regards to my nephews, niece and cousins…men are generally portrayed as insensible in regards to children, but I feel a great love for and connection with children. I feel that due to SSA I can reach out to people in general and touch them in unique and powerful ways, especially other men and young men, a spiritual gift that had a role in helping preserve a fellow missionary’s salvation. That “resonance” or “vibe” that you’ve described in other posts as a precedent to developing a “crush” is something that happens to me on a frequent basis, with random men in the store as well as with friends, fellow missionaries, etc. I compulsively and energetically shook one man’s hand in the gas station today and was quite embarrassed afterwards…but oh well, such things happen 😛 Wow it is good to know I’m not the only one who experiences these things….and gets to see the enormous blessings that flow from it. Thank you for being so open about your experiences. This is wonderful.

    Reply

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