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What were (are) we all afraid of?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by baristajedi, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. baristajedi

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    I'm in a bit of introspective mood at the moment and feel like sharing. I've been spending time over this past several days thinking about how it felt to be in the closet most of my life, the paralysing fear I had earlier in my life to look deeply at who I am and what my needs are, and to step over some invisible line (that line seemed to be an impenetrable brick wall) to let me feel and express and be me. I suspect we all have different answers for the source of our fears, but each our answers will probably speak to something we all have experienced in some way.

    My fears came from a lot of places. Sexual abuse left me feeling broken dirty, wrong in so many ways. As a kid/teen, isolation, lack of friends and society's views left me feeling afraid of rejection, ridicule and so on, which made me afraid to be myself. And then as I got older, having been only with men, a deep mistrust in knowing myself, a sense that I had an obligation to keep doing what was expected of me, a feeling that I didn't deserve to seek happiness... all of those things were motivations for me being in the closet. And then on top of all of it was the shame of being in the closet for so long, the longer I stayed in the more daunting it felt to come out.

    Now that I'm no longer in the closet, I can't imagine being in that place anymore, that place of self denial, fear, repression, shame and self doubt.

    My soon to be ex keeps making statements about how one day the "excitement" of being with a woman will fade and it will just become part of my everyday life. He doesn't get it; this was never about excitement for me. Beyond that, I get it that at some point being out and being gay will just be part of my life, just like any other part of who I am. But I don't think I could ever take for granted this feeling of being out, being confident, being visible, being at ease with myself and being comfortable openly feeling the joy and warmth in holding my partner's hand or putting my arm around her. It took me a long fight and struggle to get to this place and I can't imagine not holding onto this as a special part of my life journey.

    I've been away the past few days, and I stumbled on a gay book shop near my hotel. (As I mentioned in my recent post). I walked in there, casually and with ease, browsing the books in the lesbian section without any shame; wearing my pride bracelets, dressed in the way that feels comfortable to me, in men's clothes, being totally myself. Placing the book I chose on the desk to pay, making small talk with the man at the till. All of this seems quite casual and natural. But the feelings inside me are huge, there's a joy, a freedom, a feeling of pride that surges through me to know that I can do this, without any reservation. It's joyful. I can't imagine that joy ever fading, becoming less important. This will always be a massive part of me, my life, my journey.

    Does anyone want to share your own journeys in overcoming your internal struggles?
     
    #1 baristajedi, Mar 1, 2017
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  2. OnTheHighway

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    Sometimes, he does say some insightful things, and this is actually one of them. He is saying more than what it appears at first glance. He is saying that you will reach a point where you will become whom your supposed to be, and that will be normal. Which is exactly how it is supposed to be. He is actually spot on. Give him some credit......
     
  3. baristajedi

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    True, it will become just a part of my everyday life; but his point is that when that day comes, I won't see much difference between being with a man and a woman. That's all part of the context of our conversations, that I'm doing this (as he phrases it, experimenting with women) and that the reason behind it is boredom and challenge within our married life, not any sort of internal need to be with women vs men. And he claims that I will realise all relationships have that same path and I'll realise I'd left him for no reason.

    All of this is bullshit; I don't need to explain why :slight_smile: but briefly I'll just say, I know all relationships gay or straight reach those same peaks and valleys and plateaus etc. But I need to be with a woman, that won't change. Also, beyond that, I do feel very strongly that this part of my life will always be meaningful because I fought so hard to get here.
     
    #3 baristajedi, Mar 1, 2017
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  4. OnTheHighway

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    Agreed!
     
  5. baristajedi

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    It's so refreshing/wonderful/powerful to be able to see my needs, say them and take actions to fulfill them. It doesn't matter to me anymore whether my ex can see the truth, but it would be nice if he could..
     
    #5 baristajedi, Mar 1, 2017
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  6. SiennaFire

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    i agree that this is insightful as far as it goes, except he missed the transformational aspects of repairing the collateral damage and unproductive behaviors caused by living a lie of heteronormativity (plus he was trying to spin it to meet his own agenda as baristajedi elucidates) - which is my segue to the original question of the thread

    i went through a period of deconstruction / reconstruction where i unraveled all the shame, internalized homophobia, fear, unproductive behavior patterns and self-talk.

    building a life on a lie -> deconstruction -> reconstruction of the life on a foundation of truth and authenticity​

    while this is simple it's not easy. once you get there and free yourself of your previous inner dialog/struggles, you discover truth and clarity. you may discover that relationships are relationships. as you approach this stage you may start to ask yourself what were we all afraid of? as you dismantle more and more of your internal struggles
     
    #6 SiennaFire, Mar 2, 2017
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  7. baristajedi

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    SF, i like the way you describe this process, I feel it has been similar for me. And you're right, it's simple but not easy. I think at this point I'm in the very early stages of fully living my truth. I've shed the pretense, the false shell. Doing so left me feeling lost and aimless for some time, but I kept pushing myself to let my instincts show me how to live my truth. I know I still have a long way to go, life is a journey, that never stops. But I feel I am being me to my fullest now and it's such a wonderful point to reach. I feel so much happier now than I ever have been.


    You mentioned, like OTH that there was truth in my ex's insight in terms of being gay and out becoming just part of everyday life. But does it still feel like a huge part of your identity? I have trouble imagining this blending fully into the background of my life. It's such a significant journey.
     
    #7 baristajedi, Mar 3, 2017
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  8. OnTheHighway

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    B,

    I am at a point where it is just part of everyday life. Your ex's words resonated with me when I read it. I do not allow it to necesssarily "blend" in the background however. I still read and participate on EC regularly, and I support and stay involved in charitable LGBT causes so younger generations can someday feel comfortable being whom they are and not have to hide in the closet because of religious zealots and bullies (we are still a long way off).

    My life has refocused back on work and the life my partner and I are building together (where he happens to be a guy). I really don't maintain any other LGBT outlets at this point, no more apps to meet others, I stopped going to LGBT social functions, I quit the sports leagues I had been involved with, and I have not been to a gay bar in some time (although my partner and I still go on occasion).

    I also have a different perspective on my own ex's life and I have a different type of empathy for what she has gone through. I am working, slowly, towards trying to change our relationship from one of indifference to one of friends.

    It's a very comfortable place to be to say the least, but believe it or not, with all the work your doing, you may wake up one morning despite your intentions and find yourself there as well. I certainly was surprised when I did.
     
    #8 OnTheHighway, Mar 3, 2017
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  9. SiennaFire

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    I think the best way to explain this would be in terms of acceptance and elimination of internal dialog. Until you reach this point, you are still working through internal struggles associated with being gay or repairing the collateral damage (purging the shame, IH, fears, and unproductive patterns). By the time you get to this point, those struggles are gone for the most part, so there's a lot less mindshare devoted to thinking about being gay and repairing the damage from being in the closet and more living as a gay person. As such it becomes normal because the inner dialog about being gay diminishes.

    I don't equate normal with going into the background. It's the self-talk that goes into the background. Another way to think of this is that you can live in the moment without a lot of internal meta dialog.

    There's also an aspect of healing from ending the marriage, and separating from your husband will reduce the unproductive interactions and give you the space required to recover.
     
    #9 SiennaFire, Mar 3, 2017
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  10. OnTheHighway

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    #10 OnTheHighway, Mar 3, 2017
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  11. mnguy

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    My fears were/are being rejected by family and friends, feeling ashamed for waiting so long and not finding a guy with whom to have a loving and fulfilling relationship. I haven't been rejected yet and don't think I really will be by anyone I currently know. I think my early fear of rejection just kept hanging on even after I realized people would be fine with me and all the anti-gay news/laws/comments over the past decades didn't help either. I get stuck in old thought patterns and don't test breaking them often enough to see they were unfounded so I can make progress. I'm working on that and being in the moment/reducing the mind chatter. I still doubt I'm compatible with any guy I'll ever meet and probably more importantly whether I can be open/honest enough with him for a deep relationship, but here's hoping!
     
  12. yeehaw

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    Hi. Thanks for starting this conversation. I think a lot of things went into me being unwilling/unable to understand that I was gay until I was 39 years old. I think having been sexually abused as a child played into it--the abuse left me with a ton of fear and disgust around sexuality that made it hard for me to see *anything* beyond fear and disgust in the realm of sexuality. Also, as a child I was pretty weary around men in general, and tended to avoid them--but there was one man I really liked. I loved him, actually, and I felt safe with him. He liked me, too (not in an icky way at all). He was the dad of some kids who were close to me, and he once told me he would be proud to be my dad. It really meant a lot to me at the time. One day my mom told that this man had "decided" he was gay, and I never saw him again after those words were spoken. I did however see and hear years and years of hate and demonization of him. After he came out as gay he lost his wife, children, family, and eventually his life. He died from complications of AIDS when I was a teenager. So, from my kid-perspective, I learned that people who own their gayness lose everyone they love and then they die.

    And then I grew up so terrified of homosexuality that I was unable/unwilling to see it in myself, and I sort of followed his path, oddly. I got married to someone of the opposite gender (like him), had two kids (like him), figured out I was gay, came out (like him), got divorced (like him), and I think I might now be living out some kind of unconscious terror rooted in watching this man from my childhood die (and I'm not only referring to physical death) after he came out. I am slowly telling the world that I'm gay, a little bit at at time, and for each baby step I take I am WRACKED with anxiety.

    My current fears mostly center around these questions--will my kids be rejected at school if other families at their school know I'm gay? Will my employers find reasons to not keep me around if they find out I'm gay?Will people think that I knowingly misled my exhusband into marrying a gay woman? I already lost most of my extended family by talking about the sexual abuse problem within it--will I now lose the rest of them if they know I'm gay?

    I keep pushing forward in spite of my fear and anxiety. Mostly push forward because I seem to have some kind of pesky, deep-rooted, drive to refrain from modeling for my children how to live a life controlled by shame and fear. Shame and fear make it sooooooo hard for a person's soul to shine. My kids have some amazingly beautiful and shiny souls. I want to teach them how to let their precious souls shine brightly, exactly as they are. My gut tells me that the best way to teach that is to let my own soul shine, exactly as it is.

    This shit is hard.
     
  13. Princessbrycee

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    does anyone here lost all there friends that they knew forever except for the ones who are supportive.