08/03/2012 09:54 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Imperfect Experiences Lead to Perfect Understanding


When I disclosed my sexuality back in February of this year, it was one of the most liberating experiences I've ever had and there were many benefits that followed. I didn't have to fear certain situations with anyone, I didn't have to plan or "explain" myself away to people I collaborate with in advocacy. It also opened a whole new avenue in the fight against eating disorders.

Now, it most definitely hasn't been a walk in the park, but I'm very happy with the decision I made. Granted, I had to laugh when I came across a comment about how I was throwing my sex life in the face of others by coming out. The truth is, I've never done that. The only problem was the crude hang-up on homo-SEX-uality that reader had and a focus on the physical rather than the emotional. Whether it's a wedding announcement or emotional story on a "normal," heterosexual couple, we hear and read about them constantly. Why should I have to censor what I speak of when the topic is completely a benign mirror of theirs?

I've said before that faith, though it may be hard to believe, has been both monumental and detrimental (via my interpretation) during the different stages of my life; and, my faith continues, while, not as an extreme detriment. I'll admit that there are times where I (and others), as a person who is LGBT question, "Is this me? Is this where I am supposed to be? Who I am supposed to be? etc.," and I don't believe there should be any fault placed on those who've tried their whole lives to fit in, do, and then still search. After all, people struggle with this to some degree.

It's well known that the briefest of human connections can heal us, along with our faith, and this is exactly what my entry is about.

I had just come out to my close family, in part because of the titanic step I was about to take in making sure I knew who I was. I never spoke of him, I never told anyone about how deeply this person had affected the "unknown" in my emotional capacity. This person, whom I had gotten to know solely on an emotional level, helped introduce me to the "gray" area in a world of "choosing" just homosexuality or just my faith and religion. For close to five months, I woke and went to bed, often focused uniquely on the qualities, traits, characteristics, and quirks of someone I'd never even hugged.

After a trip across the country, he saw me at my best and at my worst; yet he allowed me to be completely indifferent about my supposed faults and hesitations in my life. I participated in activities, "normal" activities that both my faith and eating disorder would have normally obstructed. I realized I didn't need to try and be "perfect." Being "perfect" wasn't being authentic, and that path always leads to self-destruction. This isn't to say he was my crutch or my "cure," but he and the experience served as support for my feelings and growth for my faith.

When the trip was over, I never knew that a person could hurt so deeply and literally experience an emotional response physically, all at once. My mother had told me at one point in her life that this was possible, but I never thought she was being truthful. It's funny, she was the one I turned to after this experience was said and done. She'd only had a month to adjust to the news of my sexuality, and I was now calling her in the early morning hours for advice. She did amazingly -- and has been nothing short of a miracle in the support for her son.

I asked myself repeatedly over 36 hours the most heart-warming and wrenching incidence I've ever been through could possibly be deemed the most paramount in my personal story? Emotionally, physically and psychologically I wasn't sure where any of my own feelings were coming from, yet in hindsight I realized it was remarkable to experience them all. In recovery, you learn to "get out of your head and into your senses." Well, with him I knew my emotions were real; I was feeling them, letting them come to the surface, and not internally feeling shame because of them. In letting him go, I don't believe I've ever cried so hard in my entire life.

Yes, I am a young man and I cry. It's a testament to not only how strong I am, but how far I've come. Emotions such as happiness and sorrow, anger and frustration, were bound together with chains of unanswered questions -- and for me, an overwhelming future. It took me nearly a year to not think about him, the experience, or how to let it all go. But in time, I grew to realize how much that one person, that one trip, that one circumstance had changed my life -- for the better.

Self-reflection eventually allows us to give our best to the highest priorities in our lives. For me, this translated to the happiness of the guy I considered so colossal in my progress towards my physical, emotional, and most importantly, spiritual health. Knowing logically I didn't have the control of who made this individual happy, or that I wouldn't be the one to make him feel that way was one of the hardest things I've ever had to accept. This was easily rationalized in my mind, but at the time, no one could explain it to my heart.

When I personally have questioned, or intermittently, do question whether my feelings are true, I only look to this experience and this young man to know that everything (including my sexuality) is as it should be. Sometimes we must 'leap before we look' in order to discover what we couldn't imagine. We cannot regret experiences that are had in clarity; they aren't fleeting or accidental, they're carried into eternity when we choose to embrace them. No matter what has occurred during our lives; largely, we find in the end that we are thankful for what we've gone through. I'm blessed to have felt love, an emotion that many never have the chance to feel. I'm thankful each and every day.

Beginning to realize that you are "okay," even in the midst of life's hardships and the dim reflection you have of yourself, can translate into something amazing.

I came from a place where it's particularly passable to be religious, but very immoral to be gay. And in my "out" life, I've come to a place where it's particularly passable to be gay, but very immoral to be religious. The process of explaining this is difficult, particularly because embracing something that may have hurt you in the past doesn't seem conceivable. Faith is something I just can't throw away. I look to it as I do love. I can't explain why I love who I love -- some parts are rational and others irrational, but it all eventually what makes me, me. Lance Bass helped in his coming out, too. His remarks about being at peace with God resonated with me in several ways, furthering my journey to becoming whole.