Monday, November 27, 2006

The Man of Steel...?

So it's been 2 weeks since my last entry...yes, it's been a while and there's been lots happening! I suppose the big thing was telling my family I was gay and that I had left the church. Sounds so simple...and yet when it came to it, I was a MESS! Basically wept for the better part of an hour on the phone to mum and dad! They were very kind, very understanding and very reassuring of their love for me! They said that nothing would change the fact that I am their son and they would always be there for me. BUT...they couldn't condone my lifestyle. And they were heartbroken that I had left the church. And so, contact between us is now going to be limited. And that was it.

It may sound cold or unfeeling, however I know this is hurting my parents as much as it is hurting me! They are doing what they genuinely believe is the right thing, and I wouldn't want them to do something which would affect their consciences, namely by keeping up normal contact with me. I respect their devotion to God and what they feel is the right course to take. But it still doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

I told my big brother Steve later that week. Same story! Perhaps even harder, because he's my big brother, the one who's always been there as my protector! It's truly devastating to be the one that causes your big tough brother to break down on the phone...and yet, that is what he did. And I did. Never before has that happened. (we are not a very emotionally expressive family)

So it was a really really really tough week. Dane, Carl and DG were all very caring and made sure I was OK which was lovely. But still, I was struggling. Dane particularly was very understanding, wanted to be there for me, and was very giving of himself...despite getting very little in return from me. We went to a lovely dinner party on the weekend at DG's where I got to meet NSSG for the first time (he's lovely) as well as Gay Academia and another of NSSG's friends! So it was a lovely night, a great distraction from the emotional turmoil that I had been through that week.

But despite all that, I was not coping. And I was feeling guilty. Guilty about disappointing my family, guilty that I had lied to them for so long, guilty that I had betrayed my friends, guilty that Dane was giving all the time and not getting anything back from me! I was emotionally drained and I was getting more and more stressed.

Dane could see this, and he tried his best to help, but with me clamming up (going into my cave), he was in the dark. He tried to talk to me, but I couldn't. And the more the week progressed, the more I realized that I was not handling all that was happening to me. I thought that I would be able to do it all...that I was the Man of Steel, able to cope with everything and so had jumped in feet first! Come out to my friends, leave my church, tell my family I was gay, and get into my first gay relationship! WRONG! I couldn't do it all, I was, after all, mortal...yes, there was Kryptonite out there and I was being affected.

And so, I finally realized that I was being unfair to Dane in remaining in a relationship with him, when it was becoming a one-sided thing...all in my favour! I was being selfish in expecting him to be there for me, to understand what I was going through when I wouldn't actually tell him how I was feeling, what I was going through. And, my guilt about this was adding to my stress. And so, we had a really good heart to heart on Saturday night and decided that it was best to end our fledgling relationship while we were still friends, and remain friends, very good friends! Better than persisting on and him get more frustrated with me, and me feel more guilty about him, and us end up ending the relationship on bad terms. I care too much about him to lose his friendship and so, in the interests of keeping our friendship, we have done this.

And you know, hard as it is, I do feel less stress. We are still talking, in fact, we are having lunch tomorrow and I'm hanging out to see him, particularly with his newly shorn hairdo! Very spunky! I think we will come out of this very good friends and, when I'm emotionally sane again, who knows!

One thing I have learned from the past couple of weeks is that I am human, that I can't do everything, that there is a limit to what I can cope with and how to pace myself! And how appreciative I am of the friends I have!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Choice to Make...

It's been a while, I'm now in week two of being back in Sydney, back at work, trying to get back into my normal life...but with some significant differences!

You see I thought my first blog back in Sydney would be about how lucky we are to live in Australia, and more particularly Sydney! And I do think that, despite all the incredible places I've been to in the last 6 weeks, and in my past journeys. However, something much more fundamental is happening in my life, which is having greater impact on me than I ever expected.

A couple of weeks ago, Dating Guy wrote about a conflict of faith where he described the issues he went through when, as a member of a conservative Christian organization, he realized he was gay. Funnily enough, I am now going through those very same issues! I too, have up until now, belonged to a very conservative Christian organization which takes the Bible very literally. I grew up in this organization and the great majority of my friends are part of this organization. But, being gay, and being part of this organization are two mutually exclusive lifestyles. And so, ever since I have known I was gay, I have had an internal conflict as to which path to choose. It's been a very long and anguished journey to the point now where I have chosen to live my life as a gay man. And so, tomorrow night, I will meet with the elders in my church to explain to them that I am no longer going to be a member of this religious organization. This is the easiest part. And trust me, I've been sick with worry since I returned home to Sydney about taking this particular step.

The next hardest thing hit me today in a very real way. I had, prior to my departure, told a select group of my closest friends that I was gay and, by and large, they accepted this. However accepting they were, I knew, and they knew, that the death knell had been sounded on our friendship. Today, my two closest friends, independent of each other, emailed me; their emails arriving literally 5 minutes apart. In it, they both expressed the thought that although they may not understand why I felt this way, and how I must be feeling at the moment, they wanted to know that they supported me because I was their friend. I feel my eyes welling up as I am writing this, just as my eyes did when I read their emails at work today. I will be meeting up with both of them on Wednesday, where we will say our goodbyes. Their love and affection is with me, however they feel they have a higher obligation and so contact between us will be over. I understand this, and in no way do I hold a grudge at them or at my church. When I chose to live my life as a gay man, I knew the consequences of my choice. I am now starting to feel the very painful effects of that choice.

My large circle of friends, many of them long term friends, will dwindle quite significantly down to a handful of relatively new friends, among them, DG, whom I have known for about 3 months, a couple of friends from work and a couple of my older brother's friends who are still here in Sydney. And of course, the new man in my life, Dane - the man with whom I had an electronic relationship whilst overseas, and who I met in the flesh the first night I returned, not 10 days ago. So my life is essentially turning completely upside down! And I am feeling pretty emotional about this.

The hardest thing is yet to come. That is telling my parents and my oldest brother, all of whom still live in Queensland. They are still very active members of the church and this will be particularly difficult for them, and for me. Whilst contact will not be severed, it will be severely constrained. And I know that this will be devastating for my parents especially. I have been their "golden child", the youngest, the baby, but also we have been through a lot together; my parents have made significant sacrifices in their life to ensure I was successfully established here in Sydney and I feel I have a debt owing to them for the love and care they willingly gave to me. And so I have no idea how I will tell them, but tell them I must. I can no longer live a lie, I can no longer go on telling them that "I have just not met the right girl yet", that "I like being single" and other excuses for not being married (to a woman) at the grand old age of 35.

But, as with my friends, this was a choice that I had to make, fully cognizant of the ramifications thereof. And so, this week is going to be a tough one for me emotionally. I will have to go on at work as if nothing is the matter, when I have in effect, lost the majority of my friends and most of my family.

But I do have reason to be grateful. Grateful to people like DG, who didn't sign on to be a shoulder to cry on for me, and yet has stepped up and been just that, without ever reproaching me or complaining or saying that he's got enough on his plate already! Grateful to Carl, my new friend in Budapest, who is getting up early and staying up late so that we can communicate across two continents and several timezones. Grateful to the new man in my life Dane, who, whilst struggling to understand what I am going through, and despite only having met me 10 days ago, is determined to be there for me 100%. I am truly blessed by the kindness of these relative strangers (who have become in such a short time very dear friends) and that's certainly reason to be grateful for this choice that I have made.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's the last day of my holiday...

Well, it's finally arrived, the last day! Never expected it to come so quickly...but it has. This holiday has been completely different from what I expected...Big Time! But I have learned a lot about myself, I feel I have found a real and genuine friend in DG, and I have also had a great time.

Now back to Sydney, back to real life and making a start on a relationship!

I remember reading about how in the "old days", people used to write letters (really, that's what they did...can you believe it???) to each other. And many relationships began, or were maintained in that way. Could the same be said today with emails, MSN chat, sms texting etc. Well, perhaps not can't say enough usually with sms. But with emails and MSN chatting, could that be the same thing as letters of yesteryear?

I say this because I have been having an intense electronic relationship (I suppose you'd call it a relationship...not sure what else to call it) with a guy in Sydney. We have not met, in fact, his first message to me via Gaydar was on the last night I was in Sydney. But since that time, it's been pretty extensive. At first, I enjoyed the messages and emails and continued to reply. But it has gradually got more and more intense, as we discover mutual likes and dislikes and just simply more about each other. Particularly in the last week or two has it been getting that way. It's a very strange thing, becuase I have been having these relatively short term relationships in Germany and Czech, along with this developing electronic relationship at the same time. And as mentioned, there's the unrequitted thing with Carl in Budapest to add to the mix! I've certainly got around!

Now, as I mentioned in my last entry, time in Mykonos to think has allowed me to sort many things out. I've had a couple of long chats to Oscar (in Paris) and we've agreed that what we had was great, but it was a "holiday romance" type thing, and we will be friends and keep in contact. I am very happy about that, because he is a great guy! He's even talking about coming to Australia for a visit which would be fantastic!

Mike, he's been on holidays and travelling back to the US and so we haven't had much chance to chat...I just received an email tonight and he's back home, jetlagged. Again, I hope to talk to him soon and sort things out as per Oscar. I would love to remain friends with him ongoing.

And as for Carl...we have had some serious and lengthy (and quite expensive) discussions and again, sorted it all out. He is going to be another great friend of mine, someone with a very level head and a very caring nature.

And as for my electronic correspondent...well, we are going to meet up and see what happens. I am hoping the sparks will fly and we will be able to start dating. Who knows with this type of thing...sometimes the person on the page may not turn out to be exactly the person in the flesh...I don't know - it's a first for me. But from the long conversations we have had...I am feeling optomistic. I am trying to be realistic about it as well and not get my hopes too high! We'll see!

But, I have come out of this holiday with some fantastic new friends, loads more confidence in myself, and the ability to pick up guys in bars! ha ha! Hopefully, that skill will not be required going forward!

So I shall sign off now and next entry will be in challenge for Monty...coming out to my parents! The BIG one!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's not raining men, hallelujah!

Still in Mykonos, and it's still raining...torrential, pouring rain. I was out walking the narrow streets this morning and it came absolute dumping, the streets were literally creeks, with water gushing down! It was quite exhilarating actually, I haven't experienced this kind of rain for a long time in Sydney!

So, instead of moaning on about my love life, or lack thereof, I thought I would instead, talk about Mykonos in late October - a Mykonos perhaps many have not experienced! It's mostly closing down now, there are no gay bars cranking out the dance tunes till the early hours, there's not the wall to wall eye candy walking around, and yes, Super Paradise Beach is completely deserted - the only other man there yesterday was a cat! (and even then, I didn't actually check if it was a boy cat, but seeing as how it was on Super Paradise Beach, I assumed it was a he) But it is still quite a magical place...the streets are quiet, the shop keepers are quite friendly and have time to chat. The harbour water is crystal clear and there are cruise ships here constantly - at least one a day, yesterday two were in port! I find this amazing at this time of year, when all the gay guys have disappeared, that the place still survives.

It's a place that, despite its dependence on tourism, still maintains its Greek heart. Yes, the menus at the restaurants are in Greek, German, French and English. Yes, they still serve chips as a side, but the Mousaka is the best I have ever tasted! This is the first place in Europe I have been where there is NO McDonalds, NO KFC, NO Burger King! Admittedly, there is a Starbucks, but that's about the extent of the Western influence!

An the quiet has given me time to wander the streets aimlessly, enjoying soaking up the atmosphere and to think...! And the questions that I have posed, well, they have seemed to have sorted themselves out! (with DG's advice, and the support of NSSG) It's amazing what a bit of time to one's self can do! It's what we have so little of in the city! Life is so hectic, time is at a premium, and so there is no time to sit back and reflect on life and what is important to us. I think I know now, and can go back to Sydney, ready for what will hit! And it will hit, I have no doubt about that...but I am ready!

Thank you Mykonos!