The Bumpy and Twisty Track

by | February 25, 2014

I was molested as a child. I know that’s a shocking way to start a post but it’s where this part of my life began as far as I remember. I was molested and from that, an attraction to men as sexual objects began. I had no sexual attraction towards men before the molestation. I was called “gay” or “fag” often but I didn’t understand why. Frankly, I didn’t really even know what it meant—I just knew it was “bad” in the eyes of those who called me those names.

My first memory of being called a “fag” was in kindergarten. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but I remember feeling awful. I wasn’t loud and obnoxious like many of the other boys. I didn’t have their bravado. I was quiet and nice, and so the teachers loved me but many of the male students didn’t. So I pulled back from trying to have friendships with them.

Boy Girl Holding HandsAs I grew older, and I learned what “fag” meant, I was even more confused because I was only attracted to girls. There were two girls in my class that I liked. Whenever we went on field trips we had to hold hands with someone and I always made sure I sat near one of these two girls so I could hold their hand.

I wanted just the innocent kind of boyfriend/girlfriend “relationships” we have when we are young, but many of the other kids were doing much more then I had any interest in at that age. I was much more interested in playing with my toys then being sexual in any way shape or form.

Up to this point I was being raised Catholic but I consider it to have been cultural Catholicism. We went to church on Sunday and holidays but ours wasn’t an active faith. My mom is Catholic and my dad is agnostic so she took my brother and me to church and that was about it.

I was molested around the age of eight or nine. I am unsure of the exact details of what went on but I do remember thinking that since what went on sexually felt good, and people had been calling me a fag, then I must be one.

After being molested I remember looking at men differently. I didn’t trust them and yet at the same time was drawn to them sexually. I started fantasizing and looking at pornography. Masturbation started as soon as I started having images to look at, which wasn’t long after the abuse I suffered.

I was attending a Christian school and was infrequently attending Mass at our local Catholic church. I had no desire to live this lifestyle but the attraction just got stronger as I got further into my teen years. At this Christian school is where I heard a lot of “fire and brimstone” Christianity: Hell, hell, and more hell.

It was there where I heard about the teachings from the Bible on same-sex attraction for the first time. I don’t really remember hearing about it much in Catholic CCD classes. There was a lot from the Bible that didn’t really faze me but the teaching on homosexuality, for lack of a better description, felt right to me. I knew inside this was not what I was supposed to be doing.

In my late teens and early twenties I started going out to clubs with friends and drinking. One friend from our group and I started going to gay clubs. We told ourselves and our friends it was because they had better music. As we started getting more into the culture we both came out as being gay.

The change of lifestyle was exciting. I liked the idea that we were doing something that was bad, that was unnatural—that was against God. I think of something St. Augustine said in The Confessions, “I feasted on the sin, nothing else, and that I relished.” I was going to clubs that were predominantly black and being one of the few white people there I was embraced and treated as someone special, which I craved.

clubIt felt great. I buried any idea of it being wrong and dove into all the lifestyle encompassed. Drugs, alcohol, dancing, music, clubs, parties, promiscuity. Going to the club, in and of itself, was a high. Getting in line and sometimes being allowed in, in front of others. Being known. Knowing the DJ’s. The lights. The loud bass filled music. The smoke machines. The mixture of drag queens and masculine guys and lesbians and all other sexual identities was intoxicating to me.

I lived an openly gay lifestyle for about 10 years. Inside, I never felt that it was the way God wanted me to be living but I came up with ways to justify it in my mind: The Bible and church were corrupt; the Church was wrong about the meaning of the scripture; the men in the church were bigots and had changed the words.

Despite all of this, in the back of my mind and in my soul I knew it wasn’t right.

Around 2001 I started going to therapy because my life was out of control in many ways. This is when, I believe, my faith started to reemerge. My therapist was trying to help me have a sex life and a relationship with a man and I told her that was not going to happen because I knew it wasn’t right. She saw my faith as a barrier to happiness and I told her that it wasn’t going away so we needed to not focus on it. Even so, she helped me tremendously, but parted ways around 2005 or 2006.

As I grew bored with the “scene” I started smoking weed very heavily and isolating myself. During this time my mother and I talked weekly and the topic of Church and the Bible came up often. Initially I was the one who would bring it up in relation to my therapy and what the therapist was telling me. She had stopped going to church years earlier, around the time I graduated from high school. The more I brought up Jesus to her, however, she would ask me questions about topics like why I wasn’t dating anymore, plus questions about many other aspects of the faith.

One day, she questioned me on one of my thoughts on the Bible. I have to confess that I angrily told her that if she wanted to know more about what the Bible said, then she should get it and read it herself.

She did–and ended up coming back into the Church.

What happened as a result was that she then started leading me and teaching me what she was learning. She started asking me why I didn’t go back to church. I told her, “I don’t want to go back to church because once I know the truth, I won’t be able to live this way anymore.” That scared me.

My mom always loved me and supported me as a person. When I came out to her and my father they had a neutral reaction–not happy about it but not angry or sad. (At least not openly.) I think she would have preferred for me to see myself as “straight,” but she wanted me to be happy. As she grew in her faith, however, she saw this lifestyle for the sin it is. God works in mysterious ways, because despite still having nothing to do with the Church, I was growing in that understanding myself.

Almost three years ago my life was falling apart because of the effect my heavy marijuana use was having on my relationships and my work. The call from our Lord was growing louder. I got off drugs and about six months later started attending Mass again. A priest at my church was a friend with one of my clients. That client suggested I talk to him because I was feeling I might be being called to the priesthood or some other way of serving our Lord. He suggested I look into a group called Courage. I didn’t really have any interest in doing that because I was already out of the lifestyle and figured it wouldn’t really help me since I wasn’t dating or going out to the clubs anymore, so I ignored the recommendation.

Over the next few months my problems with objectifying men, masturbation and porn continued to burden me however and I knew I couldn’t continue on like this. Our Lord blessed me with allowing the burden to grow so heavy that I felt I had to take some sort of step. So I looked up my local chapter. This past March I started attending Courage meetings and my life is better for it.

Bumpy Twisty RoadThe Church’s teachings bring me great comfort. I know that the conviction that I’ve had to reject this lifestyle is from God. The teachings don’t make living a chaste, celibate life easy, but they do help me to know that I am on the right track. It’s a difficult bumpy, twisty track, but it is leading me to a stronger relationship with Jesus.

I want to follow Him. I want to know that He is pleased with the choices I make. I am willing to carry the cross I have to carry. Having the support of the leadership of the church and my fellow Courage members gets me through the tough times. The weekly meetings help keep me on track. The advice and guidance from the priests involved is priceless.

Thank God for Courage and the Catholic Church.

 

 

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