Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness: A Work in Progress

Well up until now I have discussed the progress I have made on what is a delicate subject. I have been clearly told by some that I have generally tip toed around the subject in an attempt to be politically correct, and in many ways I guess I have. I am not always good at being politically correct, but it is good practice. In this final section of this series I will talk frankly and hope that I do not offend. This is a subject that has taken a lot of time for me to adapt and evolve in. I grew up in a very old fashion, very religious, extreme right, homophobic environment. I think I have mentioned in other blog posts that at age 16 I was marching in Ashville, NC AGAINST gay rights and against the gay community in general. Not something I am proud of but it was how I was raised and being young and passionate aabout ideals I jumped right in with all the fervor and idiocy of youth.

I would like to think I am a different person today. But there are still things I have problems dealing with. I have analyzed these things and I understand that they come from a conflict in me. A conflict of the rational versus the irrational. I discover upon introspection that the remaining obstacles are emotional rather that rational or logical. The matters that I could deal with with my mind or intellect I feel confident are ones that I am comfortable with. I do find, however, that I still have a "balking" sensation when it comes to the subject of homosexuality. It is one of those things that people would say "are just in your head".

Furthermore there is some hypocrisy and inconsistency. Lets face it guys, we are ok, for some odd reason, with watching two women but uncomfortable watching two guys. Seriously, you know it is true. It is comepletely inconsistent, hypocritical and proves that morality of the issue is not really the problem. Cut through the shit and you know what? It is the same sexual act, just different genders. yet when we see two lesbians we think "Cool! More pussy for my buck!" You know it is the truth! So this just shows that the problem is one that goes beyond religion, morality and logic. So what is it? Well I cannot answer for everyone else, I can only answer for myself. I find a "disconnect" or conflict in three points...

Acceptance vs. Aversion

I accept without any judgement or opinion the gay and lesbian community. I no longer see a need to approve or disapprove. I do not see it as an "act" I see a person and the individual. Now when I use the word aversion don't go getting all worked up. I simply mean this...I am not gay! I have the same aversion for it that I have for spinach! I don't like it, I don't have any interest whatsoever in the same sex. Period. For lack of a nicer way to put it...the only dick I like is my own! And I like it that way. It is not an aversion to gay people, it is just an aversion to actual homosexuality. So this personal aversion makes us heterosexual guys a little on the defense. Frankly when you look at it objectively, it is no different than a straight girl avoiding a straight guy because he makes her uncomfortable for whatever reason. She doesn't need a reason. She just is uncomfortable.

Now us hetero guys will make comments about our "gay alert" and all that is is this aversion showing. I repeat that in my case it is not a matter of my being incapable of interacting with gay people. I work at a hospital, and in this hospital there are a lot of gay men, and I joke and talk and interact just fine. However, if one were to make a move on me I garauntee it would be a very awkward moment! I will be honest, and you may disagree but that is the beauty of an opinion, you are entitled to your own as am I. But in all honesty...I don't see a problem with my heterosexuality and my personal adversion to homosexuality as long as it does not go to the point of rudeness, hate or bigotry. Hey...whatever floats your just isn't for me. Simple as that.

Abstract vs. Personal

Here is where things begin getting a little complicated so hang with me. I am accepting of the gay community. I believe they deserve respect and they deserve equal rights. I say all this and I mean it, sincerely and without hesitation. But let's face it. That is all abstract talk about something that is a civil, social and cultural matter.

Let's make it personal. What if my son was to tell me he is gay? What if my only son were to tell me he does not find women attractive and has no desire to even touch one? What then? I have to be honest that when you move from the abstract to the personal...I have a problem. Judge me if you like but it is something I have not been able to overcome. Will I accept him? Absolutely, that is my son. Will I be ok with it? Honestly? Probably no. I will keep it to myself, I will bear it silently but I will not be ok with it. That is my son, my ONLY son. Even a step beyond that, he is the last of my family line. If he does not give me grandchildren, then the Caceres family will cease to be.

Now I know you will mention adoption but I still say that I want to see little "Julios". I want to see my dad's eyes, my mom's nose, my personality. I want to see a part of ME go on when I am gone. I cannot change the fact I want grandkids. I want these things. And there is nothing I can say or do or think to change that emotional reaction.

Another aspect of this. Gay couples adopting children. I agree with it, I can see logically how it is better for a child to be raised by a gay couple that loves them and provides for them then to be tossed around in random foster homes. I can see that and agree with it. In the abstract. But would I want to see my own children raised by a gay couple? I cannot answer that. Emotionally the initial reaction is no. But in all fairness there are no heterosexual couples I would want raising my children, I am just picky that way. There are things I want as influences in my children's lives and I want to be that influencing force. So it is not all about the homosexuality or heterosexuality, but for reasons I can't explain it still does play a part emotionally.

Once again, it is a situation of the abstract being ok, but the personal not being so ok. I cannot explain, and cannot defend. Hell, I cannot even excuse it. But since they are my emotions, I will not apologize for them. Will they change with time? Who knows? Like the title of today's post states...I am a work in progress. I am evolving. I do not know how to cross the bridge from abstract to personal. maybe in time I will be forced to learn how to. Until then, I will continue to analyze and hope at some point I continue to evolve in this area.

Logic vs. Emotions

In the end this is what it comes down to: a disconnect between logic and emotions. I can know one thing in my head but struggle emotionally to accept it beyond what reason can accomplish. It is at this point that I find that I am NOT only a creature of logic. I am also a creature of emotions. Those emotions are shapped by my upbringing...and I acknowledge that. Why is it so much simpler to reshape my reason, but so difficult and complicated to reshape my emotions. More to the point, is it even possible to reshape emotional responses?

Ponder this for a moment. Psychologists have proven that a child has a window of time to learn speech. If that child is closeted up and never taught to speak, there will come a point where they are incapable of learning speech. I know this is stretching it somewhat but seriously, our responses are formed by our circumstances. We learn emotional responses and they are much more difficult to unlearn.

I do not have the answer to these questions. I do not know how to change my emotional responses. I do not know how to move beyond these instinctual responses to an issue that in my mind...I understand and accept. Does it make me a bad person? I would like to think that the fact I recognize them and control them would indicate that I am not a bad person. If it does make me a bad person...then all I can say is...pardon my dust...I am a work in progress.


Evil Twin's Wife said...

Many hetero guys feel the same as you, but trust me, gay men would almost never proposition a straight guy. It's just the way they roll. Much like I have "gaydar", they do too.

Will Shealy said...

I agree with ETW, gay men don't go after straight men, as a general rule.

Thank you for an honest post. You're still "disclosing" quite often, and there is no need to. Those of us who might think you were considering them in your post are flattered, but believe it unnecessary. :-)

I understand your aversion, as I have an aversion to seeing two women together - and yet can appreciate the beauty of it if they're in love. Do I want to see two women kissing? Not especially. But when a good friend of mine came out to me years ago and she kissed her girlfriend goodbye while I was on the porch with them one night, I found it beautiful. Beautiful that they didn't care about the traffic just feet away from them beautiful that nothing mattered at that moment but the two of them. There was no aversion to that in my mind.

And while I believe you would be accepting to your child, trust me that he would know if you were suffering quietly. That is painful thing to know as a child, that you are disappointing by your very nature. My advice in this respect is to keep changing, keep evolving. You're clearly adept at it.

You're also right in that you cannot be blamed for your feelings. They are what they are - and I would be contradicting myself in a grand fashion if I were to ask anyone to change what they felt. But you appear to be questioning those feelings - in time, that bridge between the emotion and the logic will close.

I admire you for your honesty. Just stop apologizing! You've nothing to be sorry for. We're all human.


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