Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bath Water Doesn't Stay Warm Forever

As I've been on this journey of reconsidering what it means for me to be a Mormon, and what life has in store now that I feel good about the fact that I'm gay, I've tried to avoid that extreme position of throwing the baby out with the bath water. For a gay Mormon, that can be a daunting prospect.
It seems that every gay Mormon faces two choices. Option One: Stay anxiously engaged in the church and "fight the good fight," whatever that might mean for each individual. This often involves trying to reconcile internal conflicts involving sexuality, church doctrine and policy, Mormon culture, family dynamics or combinations of those things. Option Two: Walk away from the church completely and find meaning in life with individuals and communities that accept rather than merely endure the presence of people. This often involves a realization that it isn’t the right fight, or a fight worth having or that the “fight” metaphor is a false one. These are stark, gut-wrenching options. For most Mohos, these are the only two choices. I like to think that if forced between the two, I'd go with the latter. 
But there's also another choice, one which is all too familiar to me: Indecision. The lengthy halting between two opinions that becomes a dirty lukewarm stew in which a person wrinkles and bloats. I think this can be seen from the outside as choosing Option One. But inside it saps the energy of the soul, it quickens the temper and leads to feelings of resignation. 
Of course, we all get into emotional funks from time to time. That is one of the constants of the universe, at least for thinking, feeling people. But what I'm trying to describe is something very different. When the bath water starts to grow cold, most people get out, dry off, put on some comfortable clothes and enjoy the next activity. Me? I'm still in the proverbial tub, the temperature is going down by the minute and I forgot to put a towel on the rack. I think about how nice it would be to add some hot water and wonder why I forgot the towel, but sheer thinking doesn't change anything. Yeah, I'm pathetic sometimes. 
I can make decisions at work. I can plan family activities and trips. But big personal decisions are something I worry about to death.
For the last couple of years, I've felt intensely that a life change was imminent. But things are much the same. It's not as though my life is miserable. Yet I'm afraid it might become so if I don't pluck up the courage to get out of the chilling bath and get on with what comes next. I'm a hopeful, thoughtful, extroverted and loving person. But I'm also a coward.


  1. I know for a fact that you're not a coward. If you haven't made a change yet, that means you're happier where you are. When that balance tips, your life change will happen.

  2. I chose Option Two. It turned out not to be that terrifying. But, that's just me.

    Don't force it. Let it happened on it's own time. But keep in mind that you'll turn into a purine if you stay in that tub too long trying to avoid change when it comes along. Grab the baby and get out. I'm sure the baby has been in there way too long already. If that even makes any sense.

  3. I had another thought.

    I face indecision when I'm not trusting myself. When I keep paying attention to that nagging in my head that constantly wants to second guess my intuition. Or try to talk myself out of what I've come to learn as my foundation. Perhaps a way to say it is my true understanding of myself, the one that is grounded, centered and at peace, keeps getting shut out by the negativity of old beliefs that are still kicking around in my head, often triggered by the negativity that surrounds me from day to day.

    These beliefs may sound like a nice idea as they could help me keep the piece with others by not bucking the status quo or offending the "sensitive" minded, but in all reality they don't actually work in the end. Why? Because they are, in all reality, not my beliefs, and don't reflect what I have come to understand about my true nature.

    I chose Option Two because I needed to completely wipe the slate clean so that I could essentially start over from the beginning and recreate my world from a new perspective, a less naive perspective. To give myself the space to construct a belief system that does work for me. One that changes and evolves to keep up with the changing world. Which means, embracing uncertainty. Which entails confronting fear. And for that, will I be "tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine?" No, because I've learned my lesson now. Question everything and don't get so attatched to a belief that it defindes me. After all, beleifes are only thoughts and ideas we have that reflect the world we see. The are not us. Is that too philosophical? :)

  4. Many thanks for such thoughtful, supportive comments guys.