This last weekend wasn’t too good for me. Well, that’s not entirely true. There were some really good parts. I spent time with a couple people who are becoming good friends of mine. One is a bit of a professional mentor, with whom I also enjoy hanging out with as a friend, the other is a younger fellow who I think is a great kid, though his professional ambitions take him away from church more than one would hope. (scheduling, not a doctrinal conflict…)
Then there were the parts I would rather not have to tell you about. Maybe even the things you wish you didn’t have to read about. I certainly didn’t want to tell my stake president or my bishop about it. But, since this site is about the journey, it needs to include the ups, and any downs. Otherwise, this would be a whitewashing, which is generally less helpful.
After several hours of letting my mind and my mouse go where they shouldn’t have been, I ended up masturbating. (man, it’s even difficult to type that.) Somehow, I was able to convince myself that it was OK to be chatting online the way I was, since I wasn’t masturbating myself, just watching others. The idea that I could elicit those emotions in others was a draw to me. Once it was over though, I felt awful. I still do.
You may be wondering why I would post something like this. Why would I not just move on, and try to forget that it happened. Well, the first reason is that I can’t forget. I don’t know how to do that. (no, alcohol is not an option.) I could tell you the dates of the last encounters I had with other men, in spite of the more than a year that has passed since then. I could describe in disturbing detail all the things I’ve done. I won’t, but I could. My memory is torturously sharp. As much as I would love to be able to not have the memory of what I did last weekend, I can’t get rid of it.
The second reason I’m writing about this is that I was once asked by a priesthood leader about my relationship with my parents. He asked if I shared my successes and failures with them. I told him that I shared my successes but not my failures. I don’t share my failures. I don’t like to fail, and I don’t like other people to know when I have. Because I am the one that others turn to for help, I never feel that I can turn to others, so there is little point in sharing failure.
That being said, here I am sharing my failure with anyone with an internet connection. One time someone in my life taught me something important, or rather presented a situation through which I taught us both something valuable. He had been a role model to me for a long time, and he took that role seriously. Unfortunately, he messed up, and needed to go talk to his bishop. He apologized to me that he was not the perfect example anymore. I told him that I already had a perfect example. Christ filled that role. What I needed, was an example of imperfection getting back up and continuing. I was not perfect. At that point, I had been masturbating for years. I was as far from perfect as I could fathom at the time.
Those of us who feel broken often have a hard time relating to perfection. It is simply too far away from us to comprehend it. We need some sort of intermediate step. We need something that we can emulate, while still being able to understand. We need another person who knows the difficulty that comes from falling, and the exhaustion of trying to get back up.
That is why I’m writing this post. I want those who are trying to make the journey to see that I am not some sort of superman that has simply decided that homosexuality, pornography and masturbation are not going to be a problem, and by sheer force of will, I am blazing the trail back to where I need to be. I want them to know that it is a struggle for me, and that I have fallen, and as of last weekend, continue to fall. That being said, this is not the proverbial falling knife. (financial reference….)
I texted a gentleman who has his own site similar to this one, but more developed, and told him what happened. He lauded my honesty, and told me to “pick up where u left off. ur efforts r not wasted. God is waiting there w u to begin the journey again.” Getting up after we stumble sucks. Between the bruised ego of once again seeing our weakness, and the guilt for the pain we feel like we’ve inflicted on our Bishop, our Stake President, our friends, and our God it is painful to think about starting over.
Then again, we don’t just let a broken leg stay broken because it hurts. We don’t avoid the hospital because the flesh wound is embarrassing. We get treatment. We work to get better, even though recovery can hurt.
To those on the journey, know that you are not the only one who’s fallen along the way. Know that it is a struggle for me too. Most of all, know that you can and must get up and keep walking.