An ongoing journey...

I began writing from some of my earliest memories of thoughts and emotions, so each new entry builds upon the one before it. And each new entry represents an evolution at that
particular point in time.
Thank you for reading and hopefully sharing.

No love allowed.

When I was a freshman in high school, I had a growing sense of myself and how different I was. Which I guess is the way most teenagers feel anyway, but I was gay as well, so I think it compounded my feeling of self-consciousness. And by this time my interest and excitement in other males was reaching a peak. I romanticized, fantasized, and to some degree, resented them the same way girls did. I especially resented them when I felt they didn't accept me, or didn't like me when I liked them. I was usually attracted to guys who wouldn't be any good to hang around with even if they did show interest in having any contact with me; the tough ones, the mentally dense and overly developed ones, the ones who had a chip on their shoulder, the stoners, sometimes the gangbangers. It was mainly their physical features and machismo I found so arousing. It was also odd how attracted I was to the vulnerabilities I sensed in the super-masculine types who always tried just a little too hard to prove themselves as men. These were not the types that were safe to approach in any sexual way... or so I thought.
I really had no idea of just how much homosexual activity there was going on between some of them at the time.

The reason I've been using the word "homosexual" instead of "gay" is because it was the term used at the time. The word was used with pity or disgust, or sometimes used the same way you would describe someone when they had a disease:   "He acts that way because he's a homosexual."

From now on, I'll use the word "gay".

I became friends with a boy in one of my classes when we were assigned to work together on a history project. His name was Jesse and he was very tall and lanky, with a mop of yellow-blond hair and deep, soft voice. He was one of those gentle, sensitive types that most mothers wanted their daughters to have as a boyfriend. To me, Jesse seemed unusually sensitive - beyond the timidity and uncertainty of the typical insecure teenager. Over the weeks of working together on the project, we got to know each other better and I realized he was neither timid or insecure. He actually possessed empathetic qualities that you'd expect from someone more mature in age - someone with more worldly experience. The more we talked and worked together, the more I realized how much we had in common intellectually. Both of us were aware of the growing intimate communication between us. The communication became layered, as if there were two different conversations going on; one spoken and heard, and the other felt and absorbed.

On the last weekend before our project was due, Jesse spent the night and we wasted time watching television and ate body-temperature pizza delivered to the door, and we talked.
We talked and filled in the blanks about our families, and where we grew up. We talked about school, our classes and teachers, about other friends and students, we talked about gym class... and the locker room. Boys were changing into men and we talked about what we saw; broadening shoulders, muscle definition, the hair growing on their arms, stomachs, and chests. I was surprised how he noticed the same things I did. Like how some guys had thick armpit hair and how it would stick together forming rings from the sweat.
We talked about the pungent smell of the locker room; the heavy and potent smell of sweat fueled by adrenaline and testosterone. And about how on the hairier guys, the hair on their chests and bellies would stick flat to their skin when it was wet. We talked about the thickness and lengths of guy's dicks, and low hanging balls... snickering about it first - and then with admiration. Jesse talked about how he couldn't stop staring at the guys who were uncircumcised. He said he liked the way the foreskin would grip tight on guys with unusually big heads. We went on talking about what we smelled and what we saw, our descriptions becoming more and more erotic until finally we both seemed stoned with arousal.

We smelled the same smells, and we saw the same things.
And we felt the same way.

The arc of realization flashed back and forth between us, and it was unbelievably awesome. As we sat on the floor, Jesse moved toward me, laid his hand on my chest and pushed me slowly backward to the floor. He ran his hand down my belly, keeping it there, and then looked into my eyes for a second. With me laying back on the floor, he positioned himself so that he was straddled over me, suspended without touching each other. I reached up and ran my hands from his hips, up his lean sides, around his wide shoulders, and running down along his tightened arms. When I looked at his face, his eyes seemed so deep and dark, they were hungry somehow. I moved my hands up under his shirt, feeling his narrow waist and broad smooth back. With my fingertips, I could feel goosebumps forming as I moved my hands around his body. And I could feel the warmth of my own blood rushing into my legs and groin, the sexual hunger building within me.
He slowly lowered himself on top of me, moving up and forward so his groin pressed into my stomach. I could feel his hard bulge through his pants and I pulled his hips downward tighter against me. I was trembling with excitement, and when he looked down for a moment, I realized he was as well. I rolled both of us over, him on his back, and deeply smelled his chest through his clothes. He moved his hands up and pulled my shirt off up over my head, and gently rubbed my shoulders and back. I sat up and unbuttoned his shirt while he explored my bare chest and stomach. I moved my hands downward and unbuckled his belt and unbuttoned his jeans. I could see his long, hard dick through his pants before I tugged them down off him. When he was naked I took in the sight of his thickness and size, his light blond pubic hair, and the dusting of fuzz growing over the rest of his body. I lowered myself again so that my stomach was pressed against his hot, stiff dick.

We searched and explored ourselves and each other. Feelings rose from my gut I'd never felt before. Feelings of unbelievable passion and overwhelming excitement. All of the feelings overloaded my senses and the experience was surreal.

What was wrong with me?

The moment I opened my eyes in the morning I was angry. I was sick of what I did with Jesse the night before, I was sick of guys, of jacking off about them, and I was sick of myself. I wanted to be normal. Being gay was ruining my life. It was making me feel bad about myself. I took a hot shower and tried to make everything that happened the night before wash down the drain. I wrapped a towel around my waist, started down the hall, and just as I passed the spare room where Jesse had slept part of the night, the door popped open.
Jesse was smiling and asked "Are you through?"
Meaning if he could use the bathroom. I looked down, told him I was, and went into my room and closed the door. I wished he was gone. There was a tap at my door and then opened far enough for Jesse's face to show. I had just taken off my towel, which I snatched back up with embarrassment.
I said, "Hey!" covering myself quickly.
I could see the confusion in Jesse's face. Then he asked if he could come in. I didn't really say anything, so he came in and closed the door. I just wanted him gone.

He had such a calm look on his face, content and enlightened. I wasn't smiling, but he was.
He started quietly, and slowly. "I just want to tell you that I'm glad we're friends. I think I'm really lucky to have a friend like you. I mean... I feel different, you know? I just want you to know I'm glad I met you."
I could feel my face flush with a strange combination of disgust, embarrassment, and anger. Though I couldn't look at him, I said, "Just get out."
He was quiet for a couple seconds.
"What?" he said almost breathlessly.
I closed my eyes, my body beginning to vibrate with anxiety. "Just get your stuff and go." He suddenly seemed closer to me.
"What's wrong? I thought..." My eyes opened filled with watery rage.
"Get out of here you fucking faggot!"
His face went through a series of emotional changes; first shock, then confusion, to anguish, and finishing with something I couldn't read. He turned and quietly left my room, shutting the door behind him. He got dressed, collected his papers and books, walked out the front door, and rode his bike away. I felt no guilt. I was relieved he was gone. But I was left with a feeling that I had permanently changed somehow. I did not walk away from his pain clean.

We turned in our project as we had left it - incomplete. The teacher was very wise and had seen thousands of students interact with each other over her long career, and I'm sure she knew something about us, and that something had happened. She even asked why we stopped working, but didn't really press the issue. Seeing Jesse everyday was difficult, and I avoided eye contact with him. I think he was always on the verge of approaching me, but never did. A few months later, I transferred to another high school. I would become a brand new patient, in a brand new institution with hoards of new mental patients inflicted with the same old problems.

I often think of Jesse. His sweet, kind nature. His thick, wavy blond hair and low voice. His sincerity, his honesty, his gentle touch.
I think of the permanent damage I could have inflicted on him by own insecurities and denial. There was nothing ever wrong with him, but there was something deeply wrong with me. He approached me with truth and passion, and through my own hatred of myself, I stabbed him as he made the first attempt to open his heart.
I've often thought that if I could ever possibly find him, I would literally throw myself at his feet and beg him to forgive me. I would hold him tight and tell him that now I understand. I understand that he was offering an open door to a world I was too cowardly to enter. He was the "healthy" one, and I was the one who had the issues. I hope with all my heart that his life turned out well, and he's happy. And I pray that my ignorance and cruelty towards him didn't do anything to hinder his growth.

And I hope he saw me for what I was;
just another angry, gay teenager who couldn't come to terms with the truth.

But my turn in his position would soon come.


It was a placed filled with:
Paranoia, obsessions, loneliness, compulsions, ignorance, anger, indifference, bigotry, conceit, lust, faith, confusion, happiness, suspicion, bitterness, realizations, betrayals, enlightenment, hatred, and love.

I always thought of high school as a mental institution where the patients were given free-reign to psychologically and physically torture each other. Being committed to this place for four years scarred my soul and strengthened my body, and scarred my body and strengthened my soul. It truly was the very best and the very worst of times.

Manny was a sincere, good natured boy in his junior year at the institution. He was dark skinned and slightly chubby, had a toothy grin, and was as "out" as you could get away with in high school in 1977. He was outspoken and slightly effeminate, and he barely attempted to conceal his innermost self where others didn't have the courage. Manny was a glaring light of purity and truth that caused the rest of us to flush with self-consciousness, and revealed the darkest corners of dishonesty and secrecy we kept hidden.

Disaster was inevitable.

As any normal, red-blooded, American gay boy should be at the time, he was active in performing arts. That year's spring production was "South Pacific" - a play about love and prejudice, oddly enough. The setting is a military base on a beautiful, Polynesian Island during World War II, where the navy men and women work together in the steamy tropic heat. The production requires a large male cast, which is a complication because female actors usually outnumber males by at least six to one. Girlfriends were asking their boyfriends, some of them from the football and basketball teams, to be in the play. They didn't have to sing or dance, or even say anything. All they had to do was just pretend they were in the navy on a desert island... and possibly appear onstage shirtless.

Manny was of course delighted when the boys removed their shirts as the scenes called for it. For Manny, the stage offered a much more intimate setting than the pool, the beach, or even the locker room, because in public areas he may have felt compelled to keep from staring. But in this case, feeling at home and confident in his element, Manny was making comments openly. He complimented their muscles, their chest hair, their nipples... most of them just laughed and were good sports about it. Their acceptance was surprising, either because they didn't understand he was actually aroused or because they honestly didn't care. This was high school in 1977 and he was taking a risk.

One of the guys was the boyfriend of one of the girls in the play. Steve was a senior on the football team, and a big blond, good looking stud. He actually seemed more like a stoner-type than a football player with his shaggy hair and scruffy appearance. He was the type of guy the girls drooled over, and the other guys were jealous of. He was a "true" blond, and had a lean, muscular build. He almost always wore sandals, jeans, and a tank top which showed off his thick arms, broad shoulders, and fine blond chest hair. He was known for being moody and aggressive, which was bad considering he had a man's body and a child's brain. His girlfriend would complain to the other girls about their arguments and his jealousy. And he, unlike the others, didn’t like Manny or any of his comments.

One night between scenes, the guys were all changing in the greenroom. Steve was joking around with some of the guys from the football team who were also recruited for the play. Manny was changing with them and was making it very obvious he was leering at Steve. When Steve dropped his pants he was wearing a jockstrap, which for Manny was like hitting the beefcake jackpot. The other guys laughed and asked him why he was wearing it and making comments about its worn-out condition. Manny couldn’t hold back and told Steve that it looked like he was too big for it, and asked him if was wearing a cup underneath.
If someone else, anyone else, had have made the same comment, it would have been laughed off... but it wasn't. Steve's team-mates were laughing, but the comment made Steve self-conscious and embarrassed. Steve got right up in Manny’s face, pushed him hard enough to knock him down and told him he was going to “kick his queer-fucking ass”. The other guys told Steve to "leave the little faggot alone”, and then went back to changing. Steve seemed unusually upset by Manny’s remark, making gestures and glaring at him for the rest of the night. Manny was a nervous, but tried to make a joke of it.

No one saw the fight, but they did see the aftermath the next day. Unbelievably, Manny showed up for school wearing the same clothes he had been beaten up in the night before. He obviously hadn’t showered or made any attempt to clean himself up. The first thing you saw was that the collar of his shirt was torn so that it exposed his entire shoulder. The second thing was his face, which was scratched, bloody, and swollen. His eye was bruised and beginning to swell shut. There was dried blood on his face and clothes from where his nose had been bleeding profusely. Both of his lips were thickening and split, seeping fluid and blood. With his torn, dirty clothes, and his beaten face he was immediately being questioned by friends and teachers. But all he would say about the way he looked was that he had an accident on his way to school when he fell off his bike. This might have been somewhat believable if he said he was hit by a car on his way to school. Or that he rode his bike off a cliff. He was sent to the office, and his mom (who apparently hadn't seen him earlier) was called to pick him up. Everyone questioned him, trying to get the real story.

Steve couldn’t stop himself from bragging about how he had “messed up the little faggot”. Steve was truly one of the inspirations for the phrase; Young, dumb, and hung. He was like the spring break frat-boy smashing windows and tipping over cars, while smiling and fist-pumping for the television news cameramen. His girlfriend was furious when she found out, and let him know by reaming him in front of his friends. Some of his teammates were a little humiliated by him beating up on someone who was virtually defenseless against him. Steve was pulled into the office where both of his parents, and a police officer were waiting for him. His parents, to their credit, were not angry just because he was caught (or confessed), but because they were truly embarrassed and disgusted with him. Apparently Manny begged his parents not to press charges, and to my knowledge, they never did. Steve was suspended, but he had his supporters who said that Manny asked for whatever he got.

Why did Manny come to school without changing clothes, cleaning up, or telling anyone what really happened? Some said he was just looking for attention. But I think in some way, he was actually wearing his damage like a badge of honor. Like walking through fire and coming out alive on the other side. You have less to fear afterward. But he didn't ever talk to anyone about what happened.

A few years later while I was attending a local community college, I ran into a friend I had known from drama class in high school. We were talking about the old days and I asked her if she still saw anyone. She said she was still friends with Manny who had been taking acting classes at the college. She told me that the guy who beat him up actually tracked him down, which was easy because Manny still lived with his parents in the same neighborhood. I thought maybe Steve finally looked him up to finish the job he started. She said that Steve admitted to Manny he was gay, and actually pleaded for Manny to forgive him for what he had done. I could hardly believe it, but it did make sense. She said she couldn't believe it herself, because she said that Steve just didn't seem "that way". She said Steve was with girls all the time in high school, and she didn't know what could have happened to "turn him into one".

This was the first time I had ever witnessed this type of phenomena firsthand. You hate something about yourself so badly, you're willing to destroy someone else who shares the same characteristic. If you eliminate them, you might be able to snuff out the thing you hate in yourself.

I remembered.

I had done the same thing at an earlier time.

The boiling point...

Even though I was confused about certain aspects of my life at the time, I wouldn't consider my childhood to have been traumatic. I have many wonderful memories, and was fortunate enough to have had many experiences that most children were not able to have because of family issues, health problems, financial hardships, etc. So I guess you could say that I had a very "ordinary" childhood (whatever that is), even though there was no reasonable, sexual guidance whatsoever at the time regarding homosexuality which I would have benefited from. And I think unless a child had some very progressive parents willing to educate them without embarrassment, most just gave their kids a very abbreviated explanation of sex, or they just hoped their kids would never ask about anything. While my parents weren't embarrassed to talk to me about sex, they inadvertently gave me a distorted version - homogenized, distilled. It was oversimplified and incomplete to say the least, with the most complicated and important topics left out. They did the best they could at the time, and they did a wonderful job considering they didn't have the knowledge and resources available we take for granted today. And there was no way for them to know just how early my childhood sexual experiences would begin.

Beginning when I was nine, and continuing sporadically over the next few years, I had a several consensual experiences with boys my own age. What began with curiosity, and the simple pleasure of touching and being touched, boiled over into eroticism with the first early jolts of testosterone. When I was a child, parents would have referred to this early sexual behavior as "playing dirty" or "playing doctor". And either because parents simply expected this type of behavior to occur at some point, or because they suspected this only happened to someone else's children, it really wasn't discussed... until after it was discovered it was actually happening. In my case, my experiences were not discovered, or to my knowledge, even suspected. Without this supplementary education regarding sexual exploration, the contact continued without hindrance... or restraint.

Speaking as a father, the importance of protecting my child, or anyone's child, from sexual experiences they are neither emotionally nor physically prepared to experience, is absolutely imperative. Teaching children the truth about sex in an age-appropriate, but completely straightforward manner could influence their possible actions greatly and have a positive effect their health and psychological development. We are lucky these days to have an abundance of educational tools available to assist us in enlightening our children. More education will produce healthier, more emotionally stable children... whether they turn out to be gay or straight.

As for myself, I was eventually abused by a boy who was much older than I was, and later on, by a woman, who was also older. My experience with this older boy was abusive, and included penetration, with the contact lasting for weeks. While our contact didn't originally include penetration, when it happened, even though it wasn't pleasurable, or expected, it was erotic. When our contact was later discovered, the older boy was seen as a predator, and I was seen as the innocent victim. Although neither description of either of us was completely accurate, the older boy should not have been taking advantage of me - or anyone else.

The abuse which occurred with the woman who was twenty-six while I was fourteen, lasted for over a year, and when I've told trusted individuals the details of this story, a majority have a very interesting reaction. In fact, quite a few people don't consider the indecent as "abusive" at all for some reason. They commented on how lucky I was to have "made it" with a beautiful, worldly, married woman. By saying that I had only "made it" with this woman was a complete understatement. I actually consider it my very first adult relationship, such as it was, as I actually lived with her for short periods of time where we pretty much functioned as a romantic couple. As it often happens, this woman was a individual my parents trusted greatly, and always felt she had my best interests at heart.

During this time, I realized many things about myself. I realized I was falling in love with this woman, and that I enjoyed having sex with her. But I also realized that I was still very much attracted to males my own age, as well as men much older than me. It was confusing that I could have sex with a woman and enjoy it, but still be so drawn sexually to men.

I tried to analyze myself for months, trying to find out who and what I really was. I used information I had at hand, some of it good, some of it bullshit.

I was a young man who had no desire to ever be a woman. So I'm probably not a homosexual.

I actually liked having sex with a woman, although there did seem to be something missing. But I must be normal if I can have sex with a woman and enjoy it, so I must not be homosexual.

I found men very attractive, and longed to touch them, smell them, and have intimate contact with them - and when I was alone, I did masturbate about them.

But I think I'm falling in love with this woman. Have I ever fallen in love with a man? No. Not yet anyway. I fell in love with a woman and had great sex with her, so I must not be homosexual. Maybe I'm finally turning normal.

And I don't want to be a homosexual. It's wrong. It's unnatural.

I can do this.

I could do it...
and did.

But not forever.


A closet door with my name on it...

Even at nine years old I could tell something was wrong (note the word "wrong"). My reactions to situations and my emotional responses were different from other boys, and the older I became the more obvious the difference was. While I was certainly no angel, and could be just as aggressive as the rest of the boys, I was able to see things with a more compassionate eye than most of my peers. I could almost sense a heartbreaking “backstory” in certain situations, and probably injected too much sensitivity at inappropriate times by typical "boy-type" standards. And as misguided as it might have been, I also had an empathy for the weak and defenseless, and I would often become the friend of the friendless (even if those kids were friendless for a good reason). I suppose I felt like I should be their friend because I was starting to see myself as an outsider... even if that wasn't really the case. My perception of myself was that there was something wrong with me.

I assessed myself as a non-aggressive, sensitive, artistic boy who didn't really like sports, but liked to play with girls instead. Hmmm... What did the kids call a boy like that? A momma’s boy, a pansy, pussy, sissy, wuss, etc? (Mild explicatives? Yes, but we were only nine or ten... and lived in the suburbs. The bad stuff comes a little later.)

I think I was saved from an abundance of teasing at the time because I was tolerated by the other kids, physically active, and had an outgoing personality. But still, knew I was different from the rest so I saw myself as an outsider, which in the years to come, would make me feel like I had to withdraw emotionally from others, especially other males.

Then there was the sports thing separating me from the herd... I wasn’t as competitive, or as aggressive as the rest of the boys when it came to sports, and I really didn’t like watching games on TV either. I didn’t actually hate sports, but I didn’t have the same interest they had. And when I was a boy, if you didn’t like sports you were regarded with suspicion and were in for some sort of ridicule. (I imagine their reaction was a leftover Darwinian mechanism cavemen used to weed out the wimpy Neanderthal who couldn’t hunt of fish as well as the rest.) So without an interest in sports to act as a bonding agent, I had to seek out other avenues to connect with them.

Around nine or ten was also a time when sexual stirrings began for me. All the boys were starting to see themselves in a sexual way, and they were starting to talk about girls (even if they hadn't a clue what it all meant yet). While their comments were crude and immature, talking about feelings they shared served to bring the other boys even closer together. It seemed like this was initiation time into the Jr. Man Club and I didn't want to miss it. But while some of the boys were beginning to become aroused, or at least stimulated, about the idea of touching or being touched by girls, I was more interested in the possibility of being touched by other boys. Of course my sexual thoughts and ideas were still very nebulous at this point, but the attraction to having contact with other boys was growing.

This time in my life was significant because it was at this point, I started to lie about my true feelings. There was an outlet for the other boys to start talking about their feelings, but I couldn't talk to them about how I really felt. So I put on my heterosexual disguise and followed their lead through a world I'd never fully relate to.

"Blame" and "Shame"...

It's really just a matter of how uncomfortable the truth makes someone feel.

When I was a child, homosexuality was a secret... a deep, dark, dirty secret that was so incredibly shameful (and misunderstood), that friendships could dissolve, family members could be cast away, and careers could be destroyed. Worse, because homosexuality was seen as being deviant, it could land you in jail... or dead. For those who didn't believe it was actually the fault of the individual, it was seen as a psychological disorder. The last assumption of course, and the most common belief for many, homosexuality was simply a choice. In any case, being gay was wrong... very wrong. Someone, either the individual themselves or their environment, was to blame for the shameful behavior.

So what did I learn to do?

Hide. Lie. Deceive.

There was no one to guide me in any other direction,
so this would be my pattern growing up.