Although the teasing continued for the rest of the school year, I honestly learned to ignore it. I became a recluse at a very young age. This reclusiveness made the other kids – especially the other boys – a bit of a mystery to me. Particularly physically. Looking back, I realize I was in a bit of a paradox: I didn't want the other boys to see any of my body, but I also had somewhat of an interest in theirs.
All the other gay films I'd watched were nice, but this was the first gay film I watched and thought: I wish I knew what it was like to be in a relationship. All the other men I've ended up with were only about sex. I didn't care about them or their feelings, much like the son at the beginning of this film. This film brought up feelings I never knew I even had or wanted, for that matter.
Fours are emotional creatures. We feel things. We feel things deeply and often. A leaky faucet doesn't do the metaphor justice; my heart feels more like a fire hydrant turned loose on a city street. Handling the hydrant has challenged me my whole life, but especially these last few years. I've seen some success. And I also recognize how much room I have yet to grow.
We never really talked about sex in any capacity, as in which girls we liked, or how our disabilities intertwined with our sexuality. The topic was a moot one, sometimes uncomfortably so. Eventually, I had the dreaded conversation with my friend. You know the one: "I'm gay but acting on such feelings goes against what I believe as a follower of Jesus." My friend then came out to me as well! He also didn't want to act on such feelings.
How do I deal with unmet sexual desire? It's a question which led me to ask, what is my sexual desire? Of course, "sexual desire" is a category with a lot of things in it. "There's a lot of different fish in that bucket," I told myself. But let's not call it a bucket. Let's call it an aquarium so all the fish have plenty of room to swim around, and so we can get a good look at them.
My mom didn't start saying she loved me until she became a Christian in the early 80's. Now she says it almost every day, and I feel like she's doing it to make up for all those lost years. As far as I'm concerned, those "I love you's" are empty because she's been saying it to the straight Michael she's always preferred instead of the Michael actually in front of her. And because of that, I've learned to tolerate her acknowledged denial of my life.
Here's one vocabulary term I've taken away from therapy: euphoric recall. I'd never heard that phrase until last year, and it gives language to this nebulous internal struggle I've faced since my first bout with pornography at 19.
Another Pride Month gone; another year I didn't participate. I've never been one for any kind of parade, but part of me believes participating in Pride means I have accepted the part of myself that remained hidden for so long.
For so many years I thought I was just dirty, lustful, and awful for thinking all these terrible sexual thoughts. I was filled with constant shame because the sexually intrusive thoughts kept coming. The realization that I can actually, with practice, redirect my own thoughts, is more freeing than I can write.