Accepting Who I am

My name is Joe. I live in Michigan and am 35 years old. Accepting my sexuality was a very difficult task for me. It was something that I never wanted to be and until I really forced to accept it at the age of 25, I would not even acknowledge that I had an attraction to men. I know you may be thinking that accepting one’s sexuality at 25 seems a little late in life, but I have been told that I was just a late bloomer.

I have always been a quiet person, even when I was a child. I also was a person that would internalize my emotions and thoughts. I would keep everything bottled up inside, not letting any emotions or feelings out. Because I kept everything so tightly inside of myself, I was unable to cry at my sister’s funeral, experience true joy when I won Most Improved Player on the JV soccer team, or express to others how I really felt for them. My sexuality was something I somehow kept bottled up for a good portion of my life, just never really looking for or wanting a relationship with someone else.

When I was 24, these feeling of attraction to a man seem to start coming out. I started to talk to other gay guys online and eventually made a guy. Because I was not willing to accept my sexuality or was unable to express or feel my own emotions like I should have been, I made a really poor decision in who I meet. This resulted in many years of problems following the end of our “relationship”.

Thank God that He was there when everything ended. God let me know that everything in the end would be fine, even though the path that I was going to be embarking on was going to be long and difficult. The journey I was about to begin was one like I never experienced in my life and it was one that I was not really looking forward to taking. I did though believe that God was going to be with me on this journey and I accepted what was about to happen in my life.

While on this journey, I accepted my sexuality. I was able to start expressing myself better and started to feel more of the joys of life. Accepting the fact that I was a gay Catholic has made life much more worth living. I do not hide the fact that I am both gay and Catholic. The people where I work have know that I am both of these things and have never once questioned if it is possible to someone to be both at the same time.

I do believe that accepting my sexuality was something God wanted of me. I now attend Courage monthly and enjoy spending time with the priest that runs the group. I enjoy spending time with the few friends that I have and they were much more accepting of my sexuality and religious few points then I thought they would be. I pay more attention to the little things in life; believe that it is in the little things that God shows us He is with us. I still have my struggles and still working on expressing myself better, but over all I do believe that my life has improved since I accepted myself as being gay.

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3 Responses to Accepting Who I am

  1. Dennis Daul says:

    I am not exactly sure what you mean by “accepting myself as being gay”, especially as it relates to the Church. Like you, I also was very repressed until the age of 25. I then “accepted myself as being gay” by coming out, experiencing elicit sex, multiple partners (though I was more conservative than most), etc. At that time, I felt that I had ‘wasted time’ by waiting so long. I also experienced bad relationships (two). One was actually more positive than bad but still ended due to infidelity, which I find a common thread, unfortunately. I moved away from the active gay scene’s of large cities, back to small town life and family 8 years ago. I never felt that I fit in well with the “gay family”, and am very happy to be “home” with my birth family. I have been celibate for most of those eight years mostly due to the lack of desire to seek out a relationship and also lack of opportunity. That in a way has been a blessing. More recently, since early lent, I have experienced a new sense of faith, a deep faith and calling to give of myself for my fellow human. I am still trying to discern what that entails for me in terms of vocation and service. I have been studying the faith, praying a lot, seeking knowledge and inspiration via Catholic resources on line, and you tube video. In this process, I am finding that my vocation may be both living the single life, as well as taking a vow of celibacy. I still fully accept myself as gay, but recognize that my calling may be much much bigger than my sexuality. I may post this as a separate entry as well.

  2. Jack says:

    Dear Joe:

    Thanks so much for your moving story. Don’t worry if you think you may have beenb a “late bloomer”; we all evolve and grow in our own time. You may be right where you are supposed to be and know that God is with and within you every step of the way. I am in my late 50’s and am constantly experiencing renewal or a sense of “coming out” in all areas of my life. After being away from the Catholic church for over 40 years I have recently returned to attending Mass regularly because there is something about the service that I enjoy and that cannot always be described in words. Over the past 30 years I have joined other denominations and although they were greatly helpful at the time, I never felt like I made an authentic connection with them. The Catholic Mass seems most authentic to me in terms of desire and spiritual expression.

    Also, thank you for sharing about self acceptance as a gay man. While I know that my spirituality is manifested in so many ways that are much broader than my sexuality, my sexuality nonetheless is still an integral part of it – especially if I am navigating my way through a traditional religion that may have no history of being “gay-friendly”. You are as God wills you to be; know that God goes with you to “make the “crooked places straight and the rough places smooth”. I think it takes great courage to be gay and Catholic, and if this is truly from the Heart, then we have the power and strength by the grace of God to go forward and be present in our faith.

    Peace and blessings.
    Jack

  3. Beau says:

    Yay for mentioning Courage. It’s really a great organization and a lot of people misunderstand it. God loves us, He really does.

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