How do I begin to describe this? Let’s just say that I’ve been tortured by this for the greater part of the last three-ish years and enough is enough. I’m gay, and that’s that. I have a lot to talk about on this though, so bear with me and my sporadic thoughts.
But there’s so much more to me than sexuality. There’s more to everyone than sexuality. While I do find myself attracted to primarily men, that’s not what I choose to identify with. I identify with something even greater: Christ. I’ve been struggling with Christ as much as I have with my sexual desires and its only recently that I’ve made my decision that I want to live for Christ’s desires for me instead of my desires.
Now that I’ve covered all the bases, let’s talk about it in a more organized fashion, starting with the beginning. I’m going full bare, completely honest, no reservations; it makes me extremely nervous, but it’s something I have to do. When did I know? I have two different answers for that. On reflection, I first noticed I was attracted to males when I was five years old in kindergarten. I remember befriending a boy because I thought he was good looking. I haven’t spoken to this person in years and I never had romantic feelings for him, but now I recognize I had an attraction to him. This kind of petty attraction continued all the way up until probably the end of elementary school. I remember having a dream about one of my friends on the soccer team, but I was only eleven so it was an innocent dream. All I remember about it was that his shirt was off and from then on I never looked at him the same way again.
The real time was more two-fold, and it happened when I was fourteen or fifteen. I would watch workout videos of insanely ripped guys because at the time, I thought it was because I wanted to be like them, and I did. But what I didn’t know was that I actually wanted them. I hadn’t really grasped the idea of sex (especially between same sex couples), so I never really wanted them sexually, but I do know I was excited by watching them. I thought it was just a desire to be like them; I had no idea what I was feeling was sexual attraction. That brings me to the second part. I was having a conversation with one of my friends through Skype over the computer. I don’t remember any of the conversation leading up to it, but I remember him telling me, when I was around fifteen years old, “You’re gay, Jacob.” I was stunned. I denied it to him and assured him I wasn’t. I didn’t identify as gay and I was telling the truth at the time. But those words opened up something that terrified me. I began to look at myself in a whole different light. I rationalized with myself that I wasn’t gay, I just wanted to be like certain men. This shattered my world and I’ve been having that same debate for three to five years now. I still don’t identify as gay. I don’t identify as straight, gay, bi, pan, or any of those absurd labels people put on people. I am what I am and I’m attracted mainly to men, but I still believe that there’s choice involved.
But now lets bring the family into the picture. There are a lot of uncomfortable stories I’m about to share, but I just want you to remember that no matter how uncomfortable you feel reading this, it’s a thousand times worse for me to write it. I was born and raised in a fairly “Christian” home. I’ve gone to church for as long as I could remember, but I don’t ever really remember being forced into believing what I was hearing. I was, and my family was, a casual church family but I wouldn’t say devout (but I was young, so how could I really judge my parents’ faith?). As I got older though, it became more clear to me that my mom was becoming more and more devoted while I wasn’t. Church always seemed like an extra responsibility to consider. On top of my schoolwork, my friends, my family, my personal interests, sports, there was this added layer of church that seemed too hard to handle, especially when the messages were saying things like, “Give away everything you have to Jesus and you’ll be happy. You have to be all in!” There was a moment in church, probably in sixth or seventh grade where the pastor was asking for people to accept Jesus and fully commit. As young as I was, I had that seed of doubt that told me not to stand up, and I didn’t. I wasn’t ready to commit then.
I remember one day in Target, my mom and I had somehow started talking about being gay. I didn’t know about myself then, but I remember arguing with her about whether it was a sin or not. I was adamant that it wasn’t and love was love no matter who it was between. I thought that something out of a person’s control couldn’t possibly be a sin. My mom insisted that it was because God had designed Man to be with Woman and that was the only acceptable way.
Flash forward to the virtual onset of my depression. If you look back at my post, “My Struggle With Depression,” I don’t mention this part of my life in great detail, so I’m going to fill in some details. I was fifteen when I first discovered masturbation while on vacation. It happened on accident while in the shower and I was very confused but pleased. I kept doing it all the time whenever I could, not really knowing what I was doing or the consequences it would have. Eventually I went looking for more pleasure which quickly developed into a pornography addiction. Several months went by without incident, until one night I was up late and my mom caught me. She was furious and I spent a long time in fear of my mom, and she eventually went through my phone and found gay porn and questioned me about it. I was in my room crying at being put on the spot and shamed for something I felt I couldn’t control or combat. It was horribly embarrassing not only to talk to my mom about it, but also having to try to explain why two men were involved. My mom brought my dad into the mix and insisted he talk to me, and I remember that discussion. He told me it was normal and healthy, but he asked me if I was gay. He said he didn’t care if I was, but if I was it was going to be a lot harder with my mom’s religious beliefs. I insisted I wasn’t and that was when my depression hit like a truck, on top of the other things I mention in that post. Worst of all, I was so mortified by my actions and my parents’ involvement in my private affairs that I became suicidal. Luckily I never attempted it, but I recalled others attempting it and I began questioning if that was an acceptable way out. I was in so much pain and embarrassment. I felt isolated from my friends at school, I didn’t feel adequate in my grades, I was living in fear and isolation from my parents, and I thought that maybe suicide was the best path.
Since those days, I’ve always pretended it never happened. I began watching adult shows and every time something relating to sex, masturbation, or being gay appeared, I kept a straight face and avoided eye contact with my mom because I felt so scared that she would remember what happened and it would start all over again.
But then my depression led me to church, and if you’ve followed my posts you can see what a huge help that was in my life for a multitude of reasons. If you haven’t, just search anything relating to God, Jesus, or Christianity on my site and you can find any posts I’ve tagged with those. I began to really enjoy church and I wanted to be a part of it. I had friends there, I felt loved there, and it was an escape from the hell that was my family and school situation. For the majority of my junior and senior year of high school, I put this other side of me in a closet and forgot it existed except for when I was feeling… well… horny. I went through every effort to conceal the fact that I was sneaking looks at the cute guys in my classes or in the hallway or wherever. I spoke against homosexuality in love, which might sound impossible to some but it’s not. I distanced myself from that side of me that brought so much embarrassment, suffering, and sadness. That’s what my life was like for the second half of high school and minus a few situations not relating to this at all, I was happy again. I had friends my entire senior year, I was much more confident in my faith, and my classes were going infinitely better. I graduated and had the best summer of my life. I went to college and continued my routine of “Hide the Gay” and it was working pretty well. I still couldn’t help checking out the cute guys and I continued to watch porn off and on, but I really felt like I was making progress.
That was until Fall Conference. Go back and read that post (“Fall Conference 2015”) to inform what I’m about to say. If you’ll recall, I mentioned God putting something in me. I felt I finally had to confront this once and for all. I knew I’d been hiding that part of me from everyone, including God. That whole weekend I meditated on it. I kept saying to myself, “I’m gay. I’m gay. I’m gay.” That night at the endless worship, I prayed and prayed and prayed about it and I felt at peace once I had, like I had cleared the air with God and I wasn’t hiding anymore. But then I had to make it real. That night I called my closest friend and waited and waited until she wasn’t busy. I came out to her that night and told her about my struggle. Saying it out loud to another person made me feel like I was naked in front of a large crowd. I felt exposed and vulnerable and not good at all, but I was happy that I’d made it real to at least one person. I went back from that trip feeling confident in myself and my faith.
But around November, I was feeling depressed again and I wanted to start looking for someone to form a relationship with. I began running through my list of girls that I knew and could possibly date. I was informed from some friends that there was a girl I knew who was interested in me. It was pretty obvious to me as well, but I never addressed it because I was still figuring myself out. I couldn’t find anyone who was single and compatible with me in certain ways. Basically, I hit a dead end. I installed Tinder on my phone in an effort to meet girls, but nobody matched me back except a few girls and that went nowhere. I played with the discovery settings and turned on the option for men to appease my lust, and one thing led to another. Soon I had turned off the girls tab and was only looking for guys. I had a bunch of other apps I looked on, and most of them got deleted because I thought they were dumb. The one that stuck though was Grindr, which is a huge embarrassment. For those who don’t know, Grindr is basically the gay hookup app that people use to get laid, but I wasn’t looking for hookups. To this day I still haven’t hooked up with anyone, but it was Grindr after all. For the sake of all of us, I won’t say the stuff that other guys did with no shame or even the things I did that I will forever regret, but it happened. It disgusts me now, but it did indeed happen. Most of the time it was nothing more than boring small talk, flirtation, or hopelessly chasing guys way out of my league.
Then something happened. I remember one day getting on the app and saw someone’s picture right next to mine, meaning we were super close geographically. I thought he was the most attractive man I’d ever seen in my life. I took a chance and said hello, and he responded. We got to talking and he got better and better. He was my age, he had similar music tastes, and he was insanely attractive to me. So we talked a lot, and he got off. He didn’t get on for several days and I got enormously scared that he wasn’t going to get back on. But he did. We talked some more and we made plans to meet at a school dance. I gave him my number so I wouldn’t have to be seen on Grindr in public, but he didn’t show up. A day or two later he texted me apologizing for not showing up. From that first text message, I haven’t even talked to him on Grindr, but I spent an insane amount of time texting him. In around two and a half weeks, we’d sent/received almost 4,000 messages just talking. As we talked more and more, we found that we had a lot in common. We had similar tastes in music, movies, ice cream, fears, and so forth. I tried on multiple occasions to set things up, but different things came up each time. I eventually figured out that this guy was a catfish and I immediately broke things off.
After him, things rapidly declined. If you kept up with my posts earlier this year, you’ll recognize what was happening now that I’m filling you in. That date wasn’t with a girl, it was a guy. I was depressed because of guilt over pursuing this and not having anything result from it. One night, after holding a friend’s phones hostage, I went back into my room and found him reading my journal. From the mismatched pencil and pen ink, I knew exactly what he was reading: it was an erotic dream I’d had something like a year earlier and wrote about. I was mortified, but after a very long discussion, we made up and we were in much better understanding of each other. At the end of the year, I deleted Grindr again. It was a few weeks before I downloaded it again, and as of the writing of this post, I’ve deleted it again. Either way, I tried one more time half-heartedly. Mostly I just skeptically browsed the app without even talking to anyone.
But then that brings me to the most recent occurrence, which was the Mexico missions trip. In order to participate, I had to pay and register months in advance. Months in advance to this trip, I was trying to be gay and I felt that I shouldn’t go to Mexico if I was dating a man, which is what I thought would come of the catfish back then. As I’ve already mentioned, Mexico bummed me out a ton because I wasn’t going. But while the team was out, I was depressed again. All my close friends were in one place I love doing things I love without me, all because I was dumb and tempted away from it. So I suffered immensely while the team was in Mexico, which more or less brings us to the present moment. That’s why I didn’t go to Mexico. I didn’t go because I’m gay.
But now that we’re caught up on the history, I’ve decided that being gay doesn’t define me, God does. Even though my relationship with Christ is really rusty and stale right now, I’m ready to give the last thing up that I was holding onto. I want to learn and grow closer and really commit myself. I was at church and one of the worship songs really connected to me that morning. It said something about forgiveness and how he was bigger than anything I could do. Nothing is beyond his ability to heal. Even everything I’ve done can be forgiven and I can be clean. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done because I’ll be loved anyway.
Knowing that, I finally feel ready for everyone to know this so I can seek counsel. I’ve been needing counsel for a long time but wasn’t in a space where I could ask for it, but that’s behind me now. Even though I am primarily attracted to men, I still hope to find someone. I desire a family and wife, and that will be more difficult to find, but my hope is that I will find a woman to love and can love me, even with this knowledge. Whatever happens though, I’ve made my peace with God and myself about it; that’s what counts. I hope this doesn’t change anybody’s perception of me, and I’m open to questions if you have them. Thanks for bearing with me.