Tuesday, November 15, 2016
What it's like Part 1..... an inside look
It is scary...
......actually terrifying, especially if you have no one to talk to about it. I was scared to death, and had no clue how to handle it. To make matters worse, I was attending a very conservative Bible College and was dating when I realized what was wrong with me.....at least I then understood why both girls I had dated were more like buddies to me and I never had the desire to hold hands or kiss....something discouraged there anyway. I broke up immediately, and used the "It's God's will" excuse, but there was no way I was going with the truth on that.
Life became very tough after that. Jokes about gay people had always made me uncomfortable, but now it was worse. Living in a dorm full of guys, I heard a lot of them. It caused me to retreat more into myself and be more of a loner than ever, scared that someone would find out my secret and I'd get kicked out of college... which probably would have happened.
I became a master at hiding my secret. I became skilled at dodging the questions of why I wasn't dating/married, and of never looking at guys very long in case someone suspected. I cannot express in words how difficult it is to have this struggle and have to hide it. It is miserable, and you feel all alone, even at church.
Imagine for a moment that it is sin to be with the opposite sex. If you're a woman, it is sin to ever be with a man, If you're a man, it is a sin to be with a woman. Everywhere you go, you see those you are attracted to, knowing you can never have that and serve God.
Thankfully, somewhere along the line, and I don't know exactly when or why, I ceased being attracted to guys I knew well, especially those I felt liked me and who I felt comfortable around. That made going to church easier as I didn't need to constantly be fighting attractions to those I was trying to worship with. I still have a battle when I am around guys anywhere who I don't know and/or do not feel comfortable around.
One of the most difficult things for me to get a grip on, was what is exactly sin? If I notice a man is attractive, have I sinned..... and if so, then why is it not sin for a woman to notice that same man is attractive? Is thinking, "wow, he's cute/hot" a sin?
When I first realized what was going on with me as a junior in Bible College - hey, I was a naive and sheltered kid who barely knew what gay meant - I was devastated. I thought for sure I was going to hell, for after all I knew what the Bible says. Thankfully, I braved writing a letter to a college pal during the summer, and though I beat so far around the bush he had to be a genius to know what I was talking about, he replied and assured me I was not going to hell just because I wasn't attracted to the right gender.
It took me years to fully come to terms with it all, and to come to a Bible-based belief on all of this. I came to believe that attraction to the same gender is indeed not a sin, anymore than attraction to the opposite sex is. However, lusting after the same - or opposite - sex is sin, and that is a line we all have to discover where it is. And if we are completely honest, we all find members of the same sex attractive...... not to the extent someone like me does, but to a certain extent. Satan has twisted that and magnified it for some of us.
It is lonely.
To have a secret such as this is tough. You're scared to let people get too close for fear they figure it out. You're scared to even be around people much, especially other guys, because you fear they may catch you looking at them too long, or a second time. It is a loneliness that hurts, and for too many years it was a way of life for me. It doesn't help that after a certain age, all of the guys in my life were married but me. I felt I stuck out, and was an oddity. I also wasn't interested in the things that "normal" guys are interested in....... so I retreated to my books, and the internet when I got it in 2000.
There are parts of my life that will forever remain hidden from everyone but God. I did things, thought things, experienced things that I never dreamed I would......and I became more convinced that God didn't just not love me, but He intensely disliked me...... but since He can't lie, He had to forgive me when I asked for His forgiveness.
I have become more comfortable in my own skin and with being alone. Hopefully in the next week or so, I will start moving into my own house again...... and I am excited. No, I still won't have guys I can call up and meet for lunch or coffee for them and something good for me.....I'll spend many times alone in my life, but if I truly know Jesus as I should, I'll never be completely alone.
I soon started admitting my secret to people until I lost track of how many people knew. I then became more open about discussing it on blog posts and Facebook, knowing full well that people might correctly assume why I was talking about this issue so much. I got bolder and did a couple of blog posts where you'd have to border on dull to not get it. Then I did it. I came right out and said it in plain terms that I Mark Buzard am attracted to males, not females.
This revelation has made a tremendous difference in my life. The truth does indeed set you free. I am not hiding a secret anymore, and don't worry what people will think of me. It is freeing, and the attractions, desires, and fears have lost their hold on me. At this point in my life, they aren't really a big deal. No, I am not attracted to women.....nor will I ever be...... and I am still attracted to men but manage it a lot better. Oddly, as I mentioned before, I am not attracted to guys I know well, especially if I feel accepted and liked by them. Attractive guys I don't know and/or feel intimidated by are the ones I feel attracted to.
I'll admit one fear I had was people viewing me as a freak, being afraid I was going to molest a kid, and that kind of stuff. There may be people at my church who do think those things, but I don't know of it. No one treats me any differently that I know of, and I'd say most of the church probably knows by now. Gossip is the accepted sin of the church, after all.... and we definitely have a few in my church.
And I have concerns that other guys may feel uncomfortable around me, or even afraid around me..... as if it was something they could catch. It isn't.
I have reached the point in my life that I can't let what other people think affect me. I let the fear of people knowing this about me cripple me for years, cause me to live a lie, and actually lie on occasion. I have accepted this as my cross to carry, and I no longer pray for God to take it away, only for His help to live as I should and keep my heart and mind pure.
We all have temptations and desires that are contrary to God's will, and this is mine.