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Monday, August 17, 2009

I've Lived My Life in Snippets

At age 13, I don't know what pissed me off more, my grandmother telling me that if I didn't join her church I would go to hell or the other missionary bent on making me believe that God knows everything in advance. According to this fellow, everything was pretty much settled long long ago. And, where I got this idea that I had choices in life and that God let me make them -- always -- I do not know (or, thanks, Mom). I recall that the prospect of an alleged loving God having already determined how my life would unfold made me suicidal. What was the use of playing along with that game for any period of time? Stop the world and let me off.

When I did come into the fold of the RLDS Church, my grandmother had already changed her story and was swearing that she never told me such a thing. Well, Granny, it was on that only day Mom had ever staged a garage sale using the basement of the house and it was shortly after my secret baptism and confirmation into the Presbyterian Church. You cornered me there in the basement and asked me about my having been going to that congregation on Church Street, then launched into that arrogant old timers religious dogma. Somehow, I got past all of grandma's fire and brimestone and found a way to reconcile an "all knowing" God with a loving God that pretty much could see that if I made this or that choice along life's path I would be here or there and on and on. He would always be there. He would always hope that each of my choices would bring me nearer to Him.

The choices were mine. Agency. Free will. If there was no other way, then why all the fuss with an Only Begotten Son and all the ministry, miracles, and murder? Sure, God knows all the possibilities with every choice like an endless computer operation. If this, then that. If this, then that. Gifting me the right and responsibility to choose all, including whether or not to follow God's Way, was a part of the character of a deity that I could worship.

Lately, I have been obsessed with the idea that in at least one instance in my life I made a critical choice that helped insure that I was here and now and not there and then. Funny. It really does seem that I have discovered one of the few positives about having to live with bipolar depression. The choice I made that one seemingly insignificant evening contributed to the end of what I now recognize as a period of hypomania and the beginning of a period of depression. I recall some very important encounters at that time and nothing afterward. I just sort of moved on and never put myself in that "neighborhood" again. A bipolar depression trigger may have saved my life.

I only remember bits and pieces of the hypomanic period. What I do remember is that I gave away my virginity. What I do remember is that I never returned to her, her parent's outbuilding, and the neighborhood where it all happened. Choices. Or, maybe, just another freaking event that triggered a depression or more simply -- shiny object! -- or God's knows what....

What fuels my obsession with the events surrounding that period in my life is the real possibility that had I returned to that neighborhood I may have eventually found myself ejected from my home and family. The fear that haunted me then is one that many gay youth have had and still have today. The prospect of being kicked out onto the street was frightening. Paralyzing. I remember being "sex crazed" and the fact that I had sex with a girl takes nothing away from my then desire to have sex with the school buddies that were also having sex with that girl. I came close to outing myself then and I honestly believe that had I done so my life would have been over. That sounds melodramatic but considering I had siblings that would have beat me senseless had they discovered my secret life and considering the prevailing attitudes in late 60's small town America, I had reason to fear.

Did I mention obsession? I am convinced that had I made certain choices then I would have been out on the street and running towards another life or surrendering to death. The point I am trying to get to is that my mental illness -- Fuck, there I said it -- contributed to my quitting the Presbyterian Church and quitting (temporarily) the very activities that more than likely would have exposed my secret life. Instead, my high school years became a series of hypersexual activities followed by remorse combined with drug use, depression, and more dangerous sexual activities, repeat, wash, rinse, and repeat it all again... By the time I was 17, I could no longer count on two hands and two feet the number of boys my age and older men that I had sex with.

Shocking. Not really to me now that I know a bit more about childhood trauma and child rape. The mental health professionals don't fully agree yet about the concept of sexual addiction, but I sure know something about it. I have through the years "rehearsed" my traumas over and over again with anonymous men. Sexual reenactments. That's insanity. Did I always expect some other outcome? It is no wonder that I am such a sexual invalid. TMI? Tough cheese. My blog. My life. My therapy....... Perhaps, all I have needed these past few months was to finally put in writing some of the previously unknown history of my life. Maybe, now I may be able to move on.

Time to find something else to obsess about.

Crap! There are so many choices..... but they are mine to make.



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