Saturday, January 16, 2010

Claiming My Life

This blog isn't working for me anymore. In particular, the current format of trying to maintain my anonymity.  What was this anonymity suppose to help me with anyway?  It's has a good side but it's mostly been a curse.

The good side is that I was able to work out my feelings somewhat publicly and vent my real frustrations openly and without restraint and fear of retribution from someone that would take offence of what I would say.  Although there isn't that much evidence that I'm in any danger of retribution.  But, I certainly don't want my co-workers, relatives and friends to read a lot of this drivel.  Even so, a few co-workers and family have read this blog.  But then I actually went as far as inviting those people to read it.  Duh! 

The curse is that I feel restricted in what I can talk about as long as I'm trying to stay anonymous.  I thought anonymity would make it easier but the way I see it, the situations, conversations and events that happen in my life, the ones I want to write about, are so bloody public already that mentioning them here would give me away.   There are many things I would like to have posted but didn't because the events were too specific.  I've tried to avoid mentioning specific people and, if I do, avoid using real names, but even that isn't good enough.  I realize the chances of the wrong person finding these posts are slim, but they are not none. 

But one thing is for sure, this anonymous game has taught me that I'm still in the closet.  I'm still trying to live a double life. The life of how I really feel verse the life I want people to think I feel.  But ultimately, it's apparent that anonymity isn't my real problem.  It's just the symptom.

My real problem is that I worry about what people think.  Especially if I believe it's negative.  I don't usually get hurt by negative comments like I used to but I still have my moments and naturally want to avoid them, especially here when I'm trying to express my more authentic self.  

Most of the rude and negative people I've had to deal with were in email, on Facebook, and in person.  So, I naturally assume that the same thing is going to happen here.  This is 100% public.  Not limited like Facebook and email.  Any crazy asshole can post here.  But, it's not the assholes that worry me.  It's everyone else.  The ones I care about.  The people that have gotten to know me here.  And the ones I know in person.  I care about people.  I care too deeply.  And I'm embarrassed because I haven't been 100% truthful.  I'm still hiding myself, I'm still afraid of letting people into my life and letting them see all that I'm about. 

So, part of me is bristling to shed the anonymity and bust out of my shell.  The other part is still scared as hell of rejection.  The more people I know who read this blog, the more I plague the course of my writing with assumptions about what I suppose people want or don't want to read.  I thought by making it anonymous I was avoiding that.  But it didn't matter.  They didn't even have to say anything.   I assumed what they were going to say before they even say it.  And 100% of the time, my assumptions are wrong. 

So, when the comments came, very few were negative, most were encouraging.  The ones that were negative came from my mom. But she didn't post a comment; she called instead.  What she said actually didn't bother me.  This seems ridiculous but what she said actually didn't bother me, it was the positive comments that fed my ego.

By avoiding certain subjects or areas of my life, I could continue writing about things that would appease to get more pleasant comments, rather than go in my desired direction.  I did more than keep the status quo.  I started to gear it back.  In one of my posts, I even made a big deal out of not taking a direction that I really wanted to take because I was afraid of possibly displeasing my readers and eliciting negative comments.  I even found a way to convince myself it was what I wanted to do.   Looking back at that, I am still angry with myself for copping out.  This non risk-taking pattern had been building for the past three months in all aspects of my life.  As I fell into the trap of not thinking for myself, the frustration and anger built up and I exploded. 

Even so, the comments that I've received have meant such a great deal to me I can't even begin to explain how.   Even the simple acknowledgments that I'm not alone are very rewarding.   But I continue in fear that I will write something offensive and drive someone away.  Hell, it may have happened a few times in the past as I've seen my followers list shrink.  But then I've stopped following blogs before, and getting upset for losing a follower makes me a hypocrite.  They went a direction that didn't interest me so I left, ironically the ones that have offended me I still follow.  So, I would hope that they left because I'm not of interest as opposed to being offensive.   Yeah, I see it as rejection either way and I hate it but I hope I'm getting better at not caring about it. 

Some aspects of my self-esteem are still dependent on outside validation.  And thus, I want comments.  I want to know what others think.  I want people to interact with me and be frank and honest.  If they don't like what I say, and feel a need to disagree, then by all means I want them to.  So far the only comment that came close to stating a disagreement was in green and purple's comment when he said, "I agree with almost all that you say."  I'm curious what the little bit was he didn't agree with.  He's right in that it doesn't matter, but still, my curiosity gets to me and ultimately the disagreements can be learning experiences in and of themselves as they challenge my ego; help me understand the holes in my self-esteem. 

But, with that being said, I've started to get a sense that the comments left by readers are not always there for me.  They're for the readers.  As I've been poking around the blogosphere making comments on other people's blogs, I've noticed that when I've written comments I was essentially venting.  That, in effect, actually helped me clarify a thought in my head.  In the end, the comment was just something I needed to get off my chest and didn't matter if the author of the blog read it or not.  Although, whether they agree or disagree, it's still quite satisfying when the blogger or someone responds to it or references it in a future blog post.  At least it's evidence that someone noticed it.

The other aspect of all this is that I'm lonely, desperately lonely.  I'm acutely aware that my desire to fill that loneliness hole, a hole that severely depresses me often, feeds my desire for comments.  And that is a hard thing to admit openly because this depression and unhappiness is all some people in my life need as evidence to fuel their anti-gay religious shit and throw it in my face.   If I can put on that happy face they have no case and will leave me alone with their silly "wickedness was never happiness" bullshit and how turning way from God and the church is the reason I have these holes in my soul. 

It's so fucking pathetic.  I'm right back to where I was a few years ago when I was a miserable, Mormon, fuck with a plastic smile so that I wouldn't make the church look bad.   Now I'm a miserable, lonely, fuck with a plastic smile so I don't make the Gay, ex-Mormons look bad.  Fucking bullshit!  And I'm being a drama queen!  Yes, it still makes me angry; I still have a lot of bitterness left in me.  But I should be 100% honest, I'm not as miserable now as I was then.  But still, any misery sucks and I hate it and I just want to scream.

But, as of late, not all of the bullshit has been related to Mormons or their silly beliefs.  It's been bigoted and ignorant co-workers, slummy landlords, thieves breaking in to my house, distant family, shitty job, distant friends, my shrinking bank account, and no one to talk to about any of it at the end of a hard day.  For the last few months I've been wondering, what I am going to do? Where am I going to go?  And with all of that, there is the added frustration and anger of not finding an answer.  Again, another aspect of all of this apparent misfortune is that those silly Mormons are going to use it as evidence that God is punishing me for leaving the church to have gay sex. 

It just keeps coming back to worrying about what people think.  And it goes back as far as I can remember.  Hell, just read some of my past posts!  I totally dwell on shit from my past over, and over, and over...ad nauseam.  Yes, we all know now that my past sucked and I'm still not over it.  Give it a rest, right?  Easier said than done.  Besides, I get to decide when to give it rest anyway.

I've been struggling for a long time trying to find a way to reconcile or connect in constructive ways with my past.  I wanted to remember all of those times were I got misdirected so that I could change or realign the beliefs I formed around them, beliefs that misinformed me later in life and continue to do so; such as why I still care what other people think of me.  But it got daunting.  My past was so vast and my memory so jumbled and broken, I was getting frustrated with that alone. 

A few days ago, I stumbled across a photo album that my dad sent to me few years ago.  In it were miscellaneous photos of me mostly between the ages of 3-16.  Many of these struck me as odd because I had no memory of the event captured in the image.  Others, I had a clear memory of them and was surprised by the memory.  Some were good, many were bad.  But all of them invoked a thought or emotion of some kind.   I realized that some of these pictures captured events in my life where a belief was forming or being exercised, a belief about myself, about the world or about life.  Some were positive.  Most were negative.  That's probably why I had the photo album shoved deep in the back of the filing cabinet rather than on the shelf or with all of my other pictures. 

I've been told that worrying about the past is a waste of time; it does nothing to serve the present moment.  And exploring those moments would just be wallowing in the past.  So, I've convinced myself that these moments are not important.  These moments are all just shit that happens.  They don't affect me now.  But is that really true?  I feel like I'm wallowing in my past more than ever because I refuse to accept it.  All this drama I face in my life came from somewhere and the same shit keeps happening to me over and over again.  Why?

So I'm going to call bullshit on the non-importance of my past.  I've come a long way by looking at my past, piecing it together, and figuring out what happened.  How dare anyone tell me it's a waste of time.  It's bad enough that the feelings are not easy to confront, I don't need people telling me that I'm doing it wrong just because they think they know what's important to me. 

Fuck them.  This is MY life. 

Through the course of writing this post, I continue to have moments of worrying about what people are going to think.  It's always been my problem even before I realized it.  I'm more conscious of it now.  The anger for it has surfaced so as I move forward, I'm going to be confronting that head on, even if it means starting every post with the phrase, "This is my life, if you don't like it, then fuck off."  Anger serves a purpose.  I have not been honoring it and so now, it is seething.  If I don't let it out, I will continue to wallow in it.  I definitely know that that doesn't serve the present moment.

Because my life is so multifaceted, so esoteric and so gut wrenchingly depressing, sometimes I'm pressured to spare people the "Too Much Information" (TMI) that will eventually come.  Of course, I'm only assuming it's going to be TMI mainly because I've had many people who were eager to point that out to me.  Having people do that only feeds my habit of editing myself, smoothing things out or censoring things so that I can spare other people my most intimate details, the most important things to me.  What I end up with is a thick layer of orange paint that covers or obfuscates who I really am.  And I resent that.  Orange is a nice color; it's just not MY color.  This orange paint represents that nasty habit of self-deception, a habit that has managed to totally fuck up my life and continue to make it difficult.  Well, no more.  If anyone thinks that any aspect of my life is TMI, then they too can just fuck off.  

6 comments :

  1. I need to lend you my bullshitometer for a day. If you are on the East Coast that would be pronounced bullshit-oh-meter. On the West Coast it is the bullshit-tom-meter. In Utah it is the poopmeter.

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  2. Um, sorry that I almost started a disagreement. I reread my comment and your post that I commented on, and don't remember what I might not have agreed with.

    I didn't realize how unhappy you are with your life. I don't know if I can help any but wanted to offer my support. Your past is still with you, as it is for everyone.

    Don't feel a need to please your readers, so you don't have to self censor. Let it all out.

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  3. I bet if you started loving yourself, you'd love others too, no matter what they thought of you.

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  4. Don't worry about whether you're making the Gay ex-Mormons look bad.

    Yes, there are a lot of people who are mentally putting you in the "Gay, ex-Mormon" box every time they interact with you (rather than just seeing you as friend, colleague, relative, etc.). But many of those have already made up their minds about gay ex-Mormons (and your real-world actions will have no effect on their beliefs). The off chance that you might affect somebody's perception of gay ex-Mormons isn't worth the stress of placing too much emphasis on others' perception of you.

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  5. Hey I have the same problem...caring what other people think of me. I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until recently. I think my problem is that I don't want to be defined by how I feel. I don't need any more labels. I want to be in my shit and in my brilliance at the same time and I want other people to honor both sides of that. Plus, if people don't like what your reading, then they can not read it. "Say what you think because the people who matter won't mind, and the people who mind don't matter." Dr. Seuss

    Someday, I might take my own advice ;)

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  6. Quiet Song:
    All I have is a detector. It's an all or nothing sort of thing. A a meter would probably be a better tool. Out of curiosity what does your meter say?

    green and purple:
    I'm over much of it now. 2009 was a really awesome year despite the difficulties. I've come to understand parts of myself this year I had no idea was holding me back. As for offering support, just keep doing what your doing.

    Troy:
    That is true. I'm just starting to get a handle on that. Someone recently said to me, "If you love the sound of your own drum, nothing else matters." As it turns out I actually do love the sound of my own drum, when I'm not trying to imitate someone else's drum.

    C. L. Hanson:
    That is so true and I've realized the hypocrisy in myself as well.

    fonsy:
    It's a process to learn how to take our own advice. I gave a lesson in Elders quorum many years ago where I stated, "The things that bring you down are the things that you need to repent of." I finally took my own advice and left the church. I need to continue that advice and repent of my judgments, assumptions, and fears. (Call me!)

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