For most of my life, I experienced shame because I had chosen a lifestyle that was unhealthy for me. I always wondered if there was some way to escape it. Deep in my heart I knew that it was wrong, but I could not seem to stop living that life, that lie. Realization dawned on me when I discovered how deeply unsatisfying that lifestyle truly was. Men around me were becoming zombies. That is when I knew that if I was going to survive, it woud be necessary to explore ex-straight therapy.
It was difficult at first. There is a certain comfort in being just like everyone else, but the heterosexual lifestyle had unhealthy rituals. We all wore the "man suit": pleated khaki pants with a blue button-down shirt two sizes too big. Many times we were not even allowed to buy our own clothes! Sundays were spent drinking beer, watching sports and making fart jokes. You were not allowed to dance, and if you did, there was a strict code: keep your hands below your waist, shuffle side to side, out of step with the rhythm, and bite your upper lip. Heterosexual men who spoke about their feelings were labeled "weak" and ostracized. Many of my so-called "friends" were drones who never went to the gym and had to ask for permission to go out at night. When we were allowed to escape for a few hours at night, there was an unhealthy obsession with sports and talking about the lack of sex.
When I finally realized that I should become the man that God intended for me to be, I found an ex-straight therapist. He told me that one day I would be happy to call myself gay. I laughed when he told me that, because I never thought that I could escape the heterosexual lifestyle.
Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against heterosexuals. Some of them are my best friends! I just have this thing against being unhappy. If you truly believe you are heterosexual, more power to you, and keep on keeping on, but there is nothing unhappier than a gay man living the heterosexual lifestyle.
When I finally let go, I became the man I am today, a happily married man in love with another man. We talk about our feelings. We dance like no one is looking. We have true friends who can leave their house when they want and stay in top physical shape. I wear stylish clothes that I buy for myself. It's a sweet life. But it took work.
If you are a gay man trapped in the heterosexual lifestyle, don't give up. There are trained ex-straight therapists who can help you. They certainly helped me, and I am never looking back. Well, maybe I will, but only to see how far I have come.
William Dameron's personal blog is The Authentic Life.