Sunday, June 28, 2009

what came first....the SSA chicken or the gay egg???

Sometimes I wonder if I was "born this way" or if my struggle with SSA is a product of my early years?!?! The infamous "nature vs. nurture" question, I know. And does it really matter anyway?

As I have read on several websites, including Evergreen International...

A person has experiences with valued peers or a family member that are perceived as hurtful, abusive, or rejecting. If these experiences are extreme or recurrent, the person may feel shamed or alienated. As a defense, he or she may detach from those producing the pain. But then the person feels even more rejected and perhaps estranged.

In extreme circumstances, the person's distancing becomes generalized. The individual may expect or receive pain from others of the same gender as those who produced the original pain. This detachment can then lead to a powerful longing for interaction with and validation from others of his or her own gender. This longing may become more intense the longer it goes unfulfilled. Yet the person's generalized detachment and damaged self-esteem almost guarantee he or she will be unable to develop any healthy, meaningful relationships.

Most people learn gender roles and social skills by interacting with others of their own gender and receiving acceptance and validation from them. This process may not happen for individuals who are detached from their own gender. They may lack the necessary skills or feel too uncomfortable to interact successfully with their gender. And the lack of successful interaction means they probably won't learn their gender role in the future.

These people become very aware of others who have traits they don't have but want. Believing they will never possess those attributes, they long to experience them through another person. Throughout the process, the individuals involved typically do not understand what is happening. They almost certainly can't correct it.

As they reach puberty and begin to feel sexual urges, their situation becomes more complex. Their intense longings toward others of their own gender get mixed up with their sexual urges, creating same-sex attraction. In some cases, they engage in homosexual thoughts and behaviors. Thus homosexual behavior is the result of intense emotional and sexual pressure.

In my case, I was frequently "hurt" by male classmates who called me "faggot," "gay", "fag," etc. But, did they call me those names because I was exhibiting "obviously gay traits" that I was born with?? Or were they just mean pre-adolescent boys who picked on me because I was different due to being a member of the LDS Church? (i.e. I didn't swear. I didn't look at porn. I didn't drink. I didn't hang out on the weekends. I didn't have sex, etc). I have often wondered if there is a large majority of LDS men who suffer from SSA because of these reasons. That is, as male members of the church, our standards and behaviors appear "gay" to the males of the world (because we don't participate in a lot of normal, socially accepted male behaviors such as drinking, sex, etc). And, therefore, we get ridiculed as youngsters, we feel rejected, which then has the negative affect mentioned above or as explained by David Matheson, LPC.

So, was I "born this way"? Am I, as pastor Ted Haggard told Oprah, "heterosexual with homosexual attachments"? Or do I suffer from SSA as a result of childhood and adolescent experiences? As a result of feeling on the outside of maleness as a teen, do my sexual attractions towards men, male physique, etc come from an inner desire to posess those "male" qualities for myself? I don't know if I will every figure it out 100%.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

my first blog!!...and an explanation

I am entering the blogosphere! I was amazed at the number of LDS gay bloggers, which really helped normalize everything for me. So I decided to add my voice, share my stories, and do a little self-therapy too.

But first, let me explain my blog title...

I LOVE music! I love listening to music (especially musicals). I love performing music (piano, musical theater). I love the way music can completely change the way I feel. I love everything about music. So, I thought it was only appropriate to use it as part of my blog title. I decided to use two words from music: dissonance and diapason.

Dissonance (lack of harmony, conflict, discord) represents how disjointed and compartmentalized I feel sometimes dealing with my faith, my attractions, my family, my values, etc.

Diapason (harmony, using the entire range or full potential of an instrument or voice) explains how I am working towards integrating and harmonizing the many different, conflicting parts of who I am.

I found this great excerpt on the web:

Harmony is generally understood to suggest agreement, accord, congruity, while Dissonance is thought of as harmony's opposite - discord, cacophony, harsh disagreement. The truth, though, is that dissonance - or what is heard as dissonance - acts upon harmony, changing over time our conception of both what is discordant, and what is pleasingly concordant. Clashes of difference - in music, in politics, in social relations, in our perceptions of the world around us - reveal new kinds of complexity and call upon us to ask ourselves, Do I still believe what I used to? Have I changed my mind? Richer and more complex harmonies often emerge from moments of dissonance.

The modernist composer Arnold Schönberg drew attention to this relationship when he used atonality to "emancipate dissonance." Rejecting the sweetness of consonance, he used chords that were unresolved, that produced tension, in order to celebrate quest over comfort, action over respite, inquiry over satisfied knowing. Dissonance, he maintained, would shake us out of complacency and demand that we hear with new ears, see with new eyes, think with new perspectives, and reach toward new harmonies rendered more intricate and more true by inclusion of the sounds of difference.

...consider the role of dissonance in creating new harmonies.

So, there you have it. My first blog....