On One Hand

February 8, 2006

“I Know Because I Am”

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 5:04 pm
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I go back to an old website I started when I was 15, my journal before this one, every few months. The address is mattpjournal.diary-x.com. The external links are broken and the style is blocky and basic from the time I was using right-click “View Source” to discover html scripts. The first line of the first entry reads, “My name is Matt. I’m 15 and I live in Colorado, in a suburb of Denver.”

The experience is like reading a different person’s journal. The old site, consisting of about 70 short journal entries and stories and advice, is all about my sexuality, which is hardly important to me now but dominated my life at that time. The words are my own and the thoughts are my own, but I am so far removed from them that the lens of impermanence stands between. I sound naiive and impatient, saying in an early entry, “Here I am, ready to start another boring day without a boyfriend.” In another place I say I can’t marry a man, so write, “Maybe I’ll go find a nice lesbian somewhere and we can start a family together. . .and maybe we’d be a normal family.” It’s hard to imagine being serious about that.

I’m talking about church socials and my friend’s “sweet 16” party and the guy I have a crush on and how much I want to live in New York City. The sentences are often run-on and are stream-of-consciousness, random and disjointed, and I find myself lauging at the way I thought. I look at my old words and say I could have stated things better, but also say I did pretty well given my age.

I wish I went more in-depth with my religious crisis, because it’s something I’d like to understand better in retrospect. Unfortunately I was too depressed to function during that time, let alone spend time writing about my crisis in a journal. I basically gloss over it in my later entries.

Notes on the site’s guestbook go all the way back to the time I was actively updating that journal, but newer entries are still being made by guests untill now. The website records 13 thousand hits, which is at least 10 thousand more than the number it was at when I abandoned the site. Young guys, 14, 15, and 16 years old, use the guestbook to say they connected and ask me to email them. If I ever do, I say “glad you liked my journal, check out my new one if you’d like.” I can’t give them the counceling and relationship that they want because it’s not my place.

I don’t want to be some sort of hero who wrestles young guys out of conservative dogmatic faith and says “look what you can have, all that stuff is bullshit.” I honestly don’t know if it is bullshit or not. All I know is the path I have chosen. That’s why I’m glad to reach out in the form of a journal, where anyone can see my thoughts and understand that I was conflicted, not resolute. Some will see some new dimensions of their situation, but no one is asked or convinced to beleive anything. It’s in the form of, “well, at the time, this is what I was thinking, and this is where it led me.”

From Jan. 31, 2001: “My parents don’t know I’m gay and I can’t let them find out, but I really need to talk to people about it. I like having this journal here, so I have to find obscure times to [write]. This semester…I’ve been getting up at 4:00 in the morning and getting online until 5:00…I don’t get enough sleep and I get dizzy at school…It’s worth it…On weekends I stay up passed [sic.] one or two in the morning sometimes…”

From Mar. 04, 2001: “I think that somehow, in the end, everyone is saved.”

From Mar. 04, 2001: “I’ve decided to stick to reading only the parts of the Bible that I know are pleasant…Yes to love and peace, no to Book of Revelations.”

From Mar. 09, 2001: “If someone asks me if I’m gay, I feel so guilty and small when I say no, because I hate lying. It’snecessary right now because for my own safety I can only come out to people who I really really trust. And it shouldn’t be my responsibility to come out yet, should it? …A fifteen year old shouldn’t have to face all the crap people give you at such a young age. Am I really responsible to deal [sic.] with everything involved in coming out in addition to what I’m already going through? Can I really face my parents right now and deal with everything they tell me?”

From Mar. 10, 2001: “[My mom] wants me to go to confession on Tuesday. I’m pretty religious by teenager standards, but I don’t want to go to confession. What would I confess? Just lame stuff: “Oh, I had unholy thoughts about Adam and Mike and Chris, I fought with my sister, um, maybe 7? times…” I am not ready to go to confession. And seriously, if there’s any one person on Earth who could turn me away from God, it’s my mom.”

From Mar. 31, 2001: “I want to have a boyfriend [and] everybody thinks we’re straight. Me and him… no one will know we’re boyfriends. They’ll think were just best friends. My small circle of friends will know about us, [as well as] anyone I choose to tell. Everyone outside that won’t have a clue. It’s impossible, I know; I probably can’t have a boyfriend at all until my secret is out to everyone. But I wish it could be that way.”

From Mar. 17, 2001: “I did it. I came out to a friend, Maribeth. She handled it really well. She was actually overly-supportive which kind of annoyed me. She’s like, “I LOVE YOU ANYWAY… I’M GLAD YOU TOLD ME,

“…I expected that I would be open with her and we’d become really good friends. Instead, I feel weird around her. she doesn’t act like anything has changed…but I can’t pretend everything is the same as it was before. She knows my secret. Every time I talk to her, the fact that she knows is raging through my head and it’s like I’m telling her over again. It’s like I’m goigng through that horrible outrageously uncomfortable moment again because she KNOWS!”

From Jun. 26, 2001: “Have you ever been in a group of people and wondered if the conversation would have been any different if you weren’t even there? That’s what talking to my parents is like. I could get a cardboard picture of myself and set it in front of them while I go do other things and they’d still acuse me of arguing, smarting off, being difficult.”

From Dec. 15, 2001: “I’ve hardly thought about sexuality lately, and it’s been as if I had no sexuality at all. My life is about homework and tests and friends and parties and lots of things but not sex or boyfriends. Maybe it is easier for priests to be celibate than I thought. All they have to do is keep busy… .

…I still don’t feel any urge to go have sex with anyone anyway, because I still see sticking your dick up the hole where the crap comes out as a pretty unattractive way to “show love.” Kissing or looking into eyes is more intimate… .”

From Dec. 27, 2001: “I know a guy who cut himself up and down his arms because he was depressed. It was a kind of way to pretend to commit suicide without actually doing it. I’ve done it before too, but not to hurt myself or feel pain. I was angry at the time but mostly I just wanted to see blood. Like… I just liked the color.”

From Feb. 24, 2002: “Ever since I decided that I would…someday be in a sexual relationship with a guy, I’ve been looking online, in the Bible, in my church…for something that would justify me being in that sort of relationship. I’ve found that all the places in the Bible that forbid homosexuality are really talking about male prostitution or rape which has nothing to do with a committed relationship out of love. Still, I have been looking for justification…I need to be SURE. I’ve found some Biblical verses and religious philosophies that reflect my sentiment, but I’ve also found stuff that forbids it. If having a boyfriend and doing sexual things is a sin and I knew for sure it was a sin, I would give it up. I think it would be really sad, though, if I gave up on love and it turned out, when I die, that I didn’t have to do that, that I was sacrificing everything for nothing.

“…Honestly, using a very rational thought process you can make ANYTHING true in the Bible. You could justify ANYTHING. I just need to resolve that I am going to keep trying to believe what I have always believed in and not listen to anything else. There’s risk involved: there is a chance of my beliefs not being right and leading me to sin and, in the end, punishment, but I can’t live any other way. This is very stressful.

“Don’t come tell me your own religous beliefs…that’s not what I need to hear and it isn’t going to make me feel any better. This is between God and me…”

From Apr. 24, 2002: “I read some books about Buddhism, Liberal Christianity, and the Baha’i Faith, I read some from the Book of Mormon and the Qur’an, and I decided I agree a little with all of it. All religions had perfectly legitimate claims for existience, all of them were founded by some prophet/philosopher who was a revolutionoary in his time, and quite a few had good [arguments] for being true.”

From May 24, 2002: “I spend the second half of gradeschool, my whole middleschool life and freshman year of highschool trying to fit in, knowing I am different and am being constantly alienated. Finally, I quit caring, accept myself for who I am, quit trying to impress people, just say whatever I want no matter how stupid I might sound… and suddenly I fit right in. It’s like winning the lottery a week after selling your house, your car, your watch that’s been in the family for 75 years, and your dog. You give up on all that stuff and then you get what you need after you quit caring.”

From July 18, 2002: “I’m not Catholic anymore. …I still have respect for the traditions and sacrements, but I’m just not Catholic…It happened around April, very shortly after I became really religious. I have a better relationship with God [now], I think, although I’m not completely used to the change and still have a few of the same doubts…I don’t really know what I am, kind of a little bit of everything. If I had to pick one religion I’d be Buddhist, at the moment…You can look at the little religious resurgence I went through as just one more experiment to see if something could work and make me really comfortable.

“…Well, my mom is freaking out about it. She’s not that religious but she wanted to keep the family together under one church I guess. I don’t know what to say to her.”

From Mar. 17, 2003: “I started this club at my school called Gay-Straight Alliance with a few supportive friends. It was one of the most educational experiences I have been through. I can’t stress enough the need for openly gay students to start organizations like this, where the focus is on building tolerance and acceptance.”

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9 Comments »

  1. That’s how I basically met you lol.
    Good thing you answered my email.

    we coo’

    Comment by coldrainyday — February 9, 2006 @ 12:24 am | Reply

  2. (first entry:) ‘I also think anal sex, which gay people SUPOSSEDLY are all in to, is gross. I have no desire to do it at all.’

    just curious, do you still feel that way? love, math+

    Comment by theyare45 — February 9, 2006 @ 1:38 am | Reply

    • lol I dont say that anymore. But ALL of us said that when we were 15. I wasn’t unique.

      Comment by ononehand — February 9, 2006 @ 4:08 am | Reply

      • i’m sure you weren’t unique, but i didn’t say that at 15, making me, i suppose, not one of the ‘ALL of us’. i was queer as fuck though. love, math+

        Comment by theyare45 — February 10, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

      • ps – i suppose it’s one of those things that’s easier for queer girls, because nobody expects that we’re doing it. HA!

        Comment by theyare45 — February 10, 2006 @ 11:40 pm

  3. I was repulsed by gay sex at fifteen, too.

    I recently went back and looked at my earliest Livejournal entries. I believe the earliest was written when I was sixteen. In some respects I felt a little embarassed by the writing style and the naivatee of some of my observations, but at the same time I was amazed by how little I have changed and simultaneously how tremendously I’ve changed.

    I’ve been reminiscing about childhood a lot lately, trying to get to the roots of things. No matter how well documented, childhood reflected back to the adult through memory may be the biggest mystery encountered in life. In fact, for me, it seems a supreme glyph of the question mark that is existence itself.

    Comment by strangedivine — February 9, 2006 @ 4:24 am | Reply

  4. Matt,

    I too first “met” you through that old journal of yours. Although I was 21 at the time, I had also just recently come out and I was trying to figure out all of the same things as you. If memory serves, I originally found you through the web site of the great “Chris M,” which used to be at http://www.lhlt.com/ but has been dead for probably three years now. (I put that in quotes because I have heard a rumor through the grapevine that Chris M was not his real name.)

    Let me ask you if you remember this: there was a guy from Michigan, who if I recall correctly was 17 and bi, who was IMing you back then trying to have cyber-sex with you — and you and I talked on AIM about this guy, sort of agreeing he was kind of a weirdo. (When he found out that I lived within 30 miles of him, he actually asked to physically meet me for sex!) I remember you sending me the text of what he was trying to do by cutting and pasting. Does that ring a bell?

    And finally, I know this sounds like a bit of shameless self-promotion, or at least self-web-site promotion, but as for those young guys e-mailing you? Send ’em my way — I DO want to deconstruct the untruths of these wrong-wing so-called “Christian” fundies and, as you put it, help to “wrestle young guys out of conservative dogmatic faith.” I don’t mean that as a slam to you — it’s just that you appear to favor a hands-off approach to making your point, and I like to (rhetorically) hit people a little harder. If you get the chance, point people to http://www.phatpage.org/gay.html .

    Comment by larrysphatpage — February 9, 2006 @ 7:38 am | Reply

    • It’s not that I favor a “hands-off” approach, I just don’t like to make a decision for them and say “those are the bad guys and we are good, and this is the answer.” It throws them from one controlling ideology to another. At some point an individual has to take mindful responsibility for his or her own path and form a personal ideology. They will never come across “the answer” in life. I looked for “the answer” for years and years and it threw me into turmoil. A person has to define the answers for him or her self, and that realization is what allowed me to finally become an adult.

      Comment by ononehand — February 9, 2006 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  5. hey, give chuck a call tomorrow, since i realized that i dont have your number to give to him. i dont think hell be doin much except like 2-4 or something…

    Comment by Anonymous — February 9, 2006 @ 10:24 am | Reply


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