A great deal of my life has been lived through the template of fear. I once heard a speaker say that we are born with two fears: the fear of heights and the fear of being alone. Every other fear is learned or conditioned. By puberty I had cornered the market on fear. I had been bit by two dogs so I was afraid of dogs. I was afraid of my brother, my dad and my mom, so home life was scary. I was afraid of most of the boys in school, some of my teachers and my cousins. I was afraid of getting in trouble. I was afraid of getting something wrong. When I got into Junior High, this guy named Robin Hansen made sure that my life was a living hell. So as you can imagine I was afraid of going to school as well. I even remember being at church and having one of the sunday school teachers send the bigger kids to round us up one Sunday, which ultimately generated fear in another department. My life was literally devoid of a place of solitude. So I set out to come up with my own.
As a young boy, I grew tired of getting hurt. I made many decisions not to hurt any more all throughout my young life. Those decisions became my daily existence. Never feeling loved or protected by my parents, I pretty much assumed I was on my own when it came to self protection and preservation. My great fears and my decision to ultimately stay safe served as the catalyst to keep myself walled off from most every human in my life. And thus the great starvation of my heart began. People need people. Even the ones that aren’t so nice sometimes are still nice to have around if you are lonely.
Off I went on my daily quest, “Play it safe and don’t get hurt”. It was the constant mantra that I poured down over my brain each and every morning. Walking through this world, trying to dodge what you’re afraid of and hurtful situations is akin to driving in a racecar at the Daytona 500. Did you know racecar is spelled the same backwards and forwards? Squirrel !!! I did it though. I was teased and picked on relentlessly as an awkward teenage boy who learned to be a human by watching his mom. I was called all manner of terrible homosexual slurs and bullied to the point of tears and self hatred. I’d walk around the outside of the school some days just to make sure Robin didn’t get in a few, verbal potshots between classes.
I developed a coping mechanism for pain as a young boy. If it hurts, don’t deal with it, shrug it off and slip off into fantasy where all is well and no one can hurt you. The trouble is, you can’t wall off everyone. Maintaining those walls on a daily basis gets exhausting over time. At some point you have to let some people in. At that point though, I was already prone to being offended and afraid of getting hurt again. I could blow even the smallest offenses can be misunderstood and blown out of proportion.
I write none of this for you to feel sorry for me. I write this so that maybe others who are trapped in fear and self loathing can know that there is a God out there who sees their hurt and pain and desperately longs to connect with them. Many who have lived a life like mine, have ruled God out of the equation of their life. If God exists they say, how could he let me be in so much pain. Where was he when all that bad stuff was happening to me? I never ruled God out of the equation, but I always wondered why he let so much happen to me? For that reason I lived my life and treated God like an addendum to it. It took a long time, before I let him have control of my heart and my mind.
I’ll go to my grave refuting that homosexuality is genetic. I believe people are born Sensitive, Artistic and Creative. Just because I am a man, doesn’t mean if I have those qualities that I am a gay man. A large portion of my early childhood conditioning was responsible for the development of homosexuality in my life. As has been the case for other men I know. One simply can’t rule out the absence of a father or a stifled connection with a present father, as a determining factor for the development of homosexuality. I felt completely isolated from my gender as a boy. At every turn when I ventured into the world of men I was rebuffed. It wasn’t too long, before I stopped trying to be a man and hung out with the girls where it was safe.
I once had a therapist describe the formation of homosexuality in my life.
“What do you do with your pain?”, he asked me. Without hesitation I thought of the perfect visual image.
“I wrap it up in nice little white boxes. Then I put the boxes on shelves to be experienced later.” That is when he said something so profound. I have never forgotten it.
“It would appear,” he said, “that you have invented a completely, different life in order to manage your pain.” WOW! Eventually his words would bring peace to the chaos of my mind. I had an epiphany. If I had indeed created another life in order to manage my pain, then that other “life” wouldn’t be necessary, if I could learn to manage my pain on my own.
His simple observation became the foundation of revelation in my life.