Friday, August 3, 2007

An Excerpt from the Past...

I found my old diary while digging through the darkest innermost depths of my attic, looking for junk to sell on eBay. This was a few months ago, but I simply set it to one side after a "Hey! Look! My old diary."

And then Anonymous asked where my journey started.

And while my journey started a long time ago, this one captures a unique period of my life--breaking up with a girl I was going to marry, my first two boyfriends, some "ex-gay" counseling, a few poems--a very mixed bag, to be honest.

I'd forgotten most of the pain. We tend to do that, I suppose, as people. I hardly recognize the confused, angry, depressed boy that wrote these words back in '97 and '98. And while the memories resurface as I decipher the chicken scratch, some of the concepts and thoughts I once held seem as if they could never have gone from my hand to paper.

But it was a part of my journey, one that many others can probably relate to, and one that others may find foreign and dangerous...

This from 8/5/1998:

[...] I just want to get this all over with. I'm sick of this dragging out and no one at all aware of this inner turmoil. The struggle to gain my gay identity amidst the religious and family pressures & reasonings. Don't get me wrong--I love my family, I even love God in a very distinct way. I also know they ALL (including God) would not agree w/ what I am thinking and wanting to do. I don't blame them, really, either. But how long can the charade go on? [...]
This, a day later:

[...] I see what Q_____ goes through. I try to defend him from the jokes and such, but that brings it's own back on me. I know this is exactly how I would be made fun of & ridiculed if they ever discovered. Why shouldn't they feel that way as the very "life style" I desire goes against all they've embraced, all I've embraced, and accepted as truth?

Which is true, I suppose...

And I still desire it. I am worse than Q____ in at least he has spoken forth about the truth about himself, faced up to it. Of course no one knows about G___ because then he'd be kicked out of church again.

But they all still know he's gay.

Oh, for such freedom... [...]
And apparently, on 9/6/1998, I agreed to enter "therapy" for my "problem."

[...] Had lunch with R.W. today, and we discussed when I would begin counseling with P.C. Tues. night I call him 'cause R.W. wants to "brief" him first. I said that was fine. :(

[...] I'm not sure this is going to "cure" me anyway. How do you cure feelings, emotions, and desires? How does one even ... Futile. Just futile. What if I am, though, by some miracle, cured? After all the years of prayer, all the nights spent in torment, what if the burden finally is lifted? Doubt clouds my mind, but I think that may be the devil.
And these are apparently my first thoughts after my first night of counseling with P.C.

P.C. strikes me as one who a lot of times neglects the emotional aspect of things and leaps right into "practical application" which can be all well & good at time I suppose.

And what will "therapy" actually do for me? Give me a better understanding of why I have the emotions and desires I do? Help me to cope w/ these thoughts? Make them disappear totally? The last is probably impossible, but P.C. thinks it is possible--I can tell he's never had this "problem."

R.W. suggested my "absent" father, and my desire to have a relationship with him is the root of this evil. And here I thought they always blamed the mother? :) What? A little humor isn't called for here?

If my father thought he was responsible for this it would kill him.[...]
One of my darker moments came a few weeks later, in October:

I hate them all, with their "eternal peace" and their "blameless before God" stance. They haven't a clue, have they? I asked P.C. if he even had a clue as to what I was going through. His reply: "I don't care. It's still wrong."

I must remember to ask him how he would feel if someone were to ask him to give up women, specifically his wife. Would he get a glimmer perhaps? Is it fair to blame them? I suppose not...

[...] They say this is the time of year for most suicides. I can easily believe that. So easily.

Would the family cope better with me dead, never knowing about the evil their son has within him? Would this be a kinder way to let go, and give up this evil burden?

Looking back at my list of benefits and losses, I do see I foresaw my loneliness coming... how wise of me... doesn't make me feel much better knowing I was wise, yet not wise enough, or strong enough, to find an alternative. I suppose I'm just a wise fool...
I survived this dark period, apparently. :D There's much more there, of course, but I thought this conveyed the gist without airing all my dirty laundry on the Internet.

I will share one last item from my journal (for now), a poem I wrote in January of 1999. Not that I think it's "the best poem ever," or anything, but I do think it helps convey a little more of the massive amount of depression I was dealing with under the time.

I have poison in my soul
Death is now my companion
I thought this life would find me whole
But I am alone.

I have weariness in my heart
Rhythm has no meaning
I look for someone to keep time in part
But I am alone.

I am despair personified
Happiness is but an illusion
Only the disillusioned are spied to have a glimmer of hope
In not being alone
As I am alone.

I am surrounded by stone
It has encased all but me
Limiting them all, making them clones
So they won't mind being alone
As I am alone.

But what choice have I?
The deception of my "Christian" life?
Or the freedom & despair of the reality of me?
Either way, I am alone.
So very alone.
Talk about your seasonal disaffected disorder, right? But when you think your family will abandon you, and the life you had which revolved around the very church which is telling you how evil you are--I had never had a moment which hadn't been church and family centered, in all my years at this point, never once had I felt so adrift, so cut-off from everything I had ever known...

That, my friends, is just an excerpt from the past of Jason Hughes on his journey through life.

13 comments:

Peterson Toscano said...

I am glad you survived that difficult time in your life. Very painful. Thank you for sharing it on your blog. I know that people need to hear about this sort of pain as a warning of what they can do to themselves or their loved ones.
-Peterson

Darkmind said...

I wanted to say something witty...perhaps even a wise crack about being evil...but all I can seem to do is relate to what you were going through. At least, on some level.

Sylvia said...

I think you know this already...but I love you...I'll never ever ever forsake you...My brother, my friend...I love you. And I always have.
Thank you so much for sharing that!
I guess I forget what you may have gone through back then...struggling so much. But, now I know...and BTW, a tear or two fell when I read your blog today.
I love you Ja!
Sylvia

Anonymous said...

So much to try and struggle with. I want to thank you for your willingness to talk about things and share even with strangers.
May I ask a question when your friend and family finally knew. Did it make it easier for you ? Or harder ?

mom said...

amshello jason! this is heavy stuff! but being gay in a Bible straight family had to been tough and with all those feelings you had and for me not to see it i must of been blind. i had no idea what was going on since i always thought of you as you not as gay or straight or zig zag or circle or triangle... i could just go on with this. :) i feel after you came out of the linen closet or whatever room you are in at that time it is a good thing but like anything kids seem to unload on us parents at any time on anything that might go against the so called normal life is going to be tough for the child and the parent. i am hoping that maybe this story you shared will help others to see that this God fearing mother and father stuck with the belief that God loves us no matter what room we are in and what path we are skipping or tripping on and that you are loved very much by us all. like i always said each and every one of my kids taught me a lesson on how to be a better person and enjoy the person and not the label they have on them. God made us all special and we as people mess that up by judging others to quickly. i think we should stop looking at the label on others and take care of the washing instructions on our own label. the God i love and loves me moves me to my place that i need to change in His timing and He never moved me to fast or to slow and i didn't say that for you to change but to never be afaid to be the person you need to be if you are not hurting yourself and others. i want you to see that God loves you not your label. if He needs you to change i am sure He will let you know. well, i love you and so does your dad even if he doesn't talk much. if you went on that thinking about turning gay i should be happy also!! :) :) snort! my father never said a whole lot either and i feel very ruler like. :) :) i love these jokes. while writing this i am snorting because i know what you are thinking right now. see it really isn't from your absent father problem but your clown of a mother problem. love and prayers ps did you get that spray paint for frabric yet?

Jason Hughes said...

Thank you to Peter, Barry, and all the others who sent emails of encouragement both on blog and off--your love, empathy, and sympathy was quite moving--I've never receieved so many emails form my blog before!! I am happy to say that the past IS in the past, and my fam and I have gone a long way through the healing...

Darkmind: You know, if you HAD made a wise crack about evil, it would have proved you were beyond a shadow of a doubt... LOL!! Regardless, your comments of various wittiness are always welcome...

Sylv: Thanks, sis--love you lots too! And no need to cry...

Well, you CAn if you like, but no need... They have Visine for that now... :D

Mom: LOL!! I can always count on you for a novel!! And yes, I place just as much blame on you, my dear, crazy mother... :D But it's mostly good things... No worries...

BTW, I put up the new lights in the livingroom--they look great--I'll bring the old ones up maybe next weekend, unless you guys will be down this week sometime on errands and you want to pick them up, k?

Anon: I think an excerpt will also answer this questio wonderfully. This is from April of 1999, one month before I was to meet Rich, my husband for the past glorious 8 years: "The confusion of the past few years has panned out quite interestingly. And I no longer feel the internal conflict going on. I feel completely at peace. Dare I say happy? Maybe too soon...

Life will still have it's struggles, ups, downs, and even if I eventually lose my family (ex. maybe Sylvia), I know I have made a decision for the best of my pwn well-being. I fear I shall be labeled a selfish sinner, but I no longer consider it an important opinion coming from them (the church family I once had). That family will surely shrink and disappear except by miraculous intervention from a God I no lnger serve by virtue of choice--my choice.


As you can see, Anon, I felt much better about life in general. Yes, there will still fights and disagreements within the family, some of which I'm sure went on without my knoweldge... While the conversations themselves weren't always easy, life became bearable once I finally decided to take control of my life and not live it by the standards made up by others for me. Yes, this was probably a key moment in my eventual atheism (maybe THE key moment), but as I page through the diary after this one, which covers he latter part of 99 and into the 01 years, I still had questions and doubts about God. I could easily have come to the same conclusions about life as Barry has, as he is very much gay, yet very much a Christain (you can catch his blog here--an interesting read), but after my own personal experiences, and my own reading and studying both before, during, and after my coming-out years, it became my sincere belief that no such being exists--although, as you can tell from Mom's comments, I'm pretty much the black sheep of the family there, too!

But I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. Though it was a personal, and familial, hell, it has made us all stronger, closer, and more open and honest family...

Thank you all again for your thoughts and comments (both on-blog and off)...

Ergo said...

I'm glad you *chose* to be a much stronger man today, and you rejected that morality which placed the burden of guilt upon you. You have realized that it is not you who should apologize or feel guilty for your existence but those who damn you and condemn you for it, and the morality that they live by--theirs is the truly monstrous sin.

You have every right to be proud.

Kel said...

Very nice post, Ja. Glad you stuck around for all of us to love!!

DaBich said...

Ahhh, I'm a latecomer to this post. I am so happy you have found the peace for mind and soul that you deserve. And how wonderful that your mother is so supportive. God Bless!

laurie said...

thanks ja, that's what i was asking. im proud to have you as a friend and do wish after reading this that i could've been there for you back then. i had no idea what was going on, but i am glad you found your way and have broken free of that mold that we have been taught to fit into-gay or not. thank you for sharing this. you are a strong person. you and your family have always been so dear to me. though our paths have drifted apart, i often think of the memories and how instrumental you all were in the person i am today. love to the entire hughes clan! miss you guys! -laur

Jason Hughes said...

LAURIE!!! Laurie's on my blooog. Laurie's on my blooooog. Sorry, doing a little dance...

In case you didn't know it, you hold a special place in all our hearts as well. (Were you the anonymous from earlier posts, or is this just in response to the MySpace email?)

Regardless, love you very much!! And thanks for stopping by!!

laurie said...

thanks for your reply ja, it brought a big smile to my face :) no, the annonymous wasn't me. that was my first comment on your blog, though i am a frequent visitor! keep it up!

mom said...

amshello jason! this is heavy stuff! but being gay in a Bible straight family had to been tough and with all those feelings you had and for me not to see it i must of been blind. i had no idea what was going on since i always thought of you as you not as gay or straight or zig zag or circle or triangle... i could just go on with this. :) i feel after you came out of the linen closet or whatever room you are in at that time it is a good thing but like anything kids seem to unload on us parents at any time on anything that might go against the so called normal life is going to be tough for the child and the parent. i am hoping that maybe this story you shared will help others to see that this God fearing mother and father stuck with the belief that God loves us no matter what room we are in and what path we are skipping or tripping on and that you are loved very much by us all. like i always said each and every one of my kids taught me a lesson on how to be a better person and enjoy the person and not the label they have on them. God made us all special and we as people mess that up by judging others to quickly. i think we should stop looking at the label on others and take care of the washing instructions on our own label. the God i love and loves me moves me to my place that i need to change in His timing and He never moved me to fast or to slow and i didn't say that for you to change but to never be afaid to be the person you need to be if you are not hurting yourself and others. i want you to see that God loves you not your label. if He needs you to change i am sure He will let you know. well, i love you and so does your dad even if he doesn't talk much. if you went on that thinking about turning gay i should be happy also!! :) :) snort! my father never said a whole lot either and i feel very ruler like. :) :) i love these jokes. while writing this i am snorting because i know what you are thinking right now. see it really isn't from your absent father problem but your clown of a mother problem. love and prayers ps did you get that spray paint for frabric yet?