I was raised in the burbs of Minneapolis, MN. I knew I was “gay” (we didn’t have that word back in the early 60s), when I was 8-10 years old. Feeling different than the other guys was unsettling, and at times torturous. School playground time was hardly play, more like emotional pressure to fit in, look like I was fitting in, try to “be” like the other guys. I never really loved myself or felt loved until I had a profound religious experience at age 19. Somehow knowing that God saw me as special and believing I could change who I was attracted to, boosted my confidence to live out my aspirations.
Long story, short…I married, raised 4 kids, threw myself into missionary work, church work, personal work. Divorced after 29 yrs when I came out to myself, my family and friends. I loved my life, my wife, my kids, the many, many friends I had gathered over the years. Standing up for what was true inside and being it on the outside was both glorious, thrilling and devastating.
I seemed to keep my wits and moved forward, committed to stay healthy emotionally, spiritually and physically in the midst of incredible pain, confusion, distress. I never regretted my decision to come out. I began to recover memories and sifted through the years of my life I had seemingly lost in denial, deception and shame. It’s all good. The “worst” can be redeemed and the story of our lives can have purpose and meaning. We all did our best with what we had to work with.
My life is so different from what I once imagined it would be. I am regaining ground with my grown kids. My ex-wife is married again. I am learning how to love and share my life in a deep and satisfying way…from the inside-out, not from some external projection of what someone else expects or needs from me. I truly love my life finally, and love myself. The journey has been worth all the struggle.