I started blogging in 2003. The whole term “blog” was fairly new in those days, and blogging hadn’t interested me too much. Then, I moved to Tennessee to work at a dinner theater in Pigeon Forge. I found myself very alone for the first time, and I didn’t really have much of a coping mechanism for dealing with it. So, I took to blogging as a way to express my feelings publically…almost as a means of therapy. To me, blogging has always been about way more than simply relating what I did today, or over the weekend (although I do that too). But to me, a feeling unexpressed is a feeling that isn’t truly felt. I don’t have an easily accessible outlet to expressing my feelings in my life, and the relative anonymity and safety by distance of the internet has long provided me with a certain amount of outlet. My posts in the past have tended to be far more personal than those on most blogs, and I’m okay with that. I’m not the kind of person who likes living a deeply private life, nor am I the person who is ashamed for the whole world to see my weaknesses or shortcomings, my significant eccentricities, my little hints of crazy, and my insatiable need for love and acceptance.
Despite my willingness to “put it all out there” on my blog, I have written most of my posts with my readers in mind. I have tried to write the kind of blog that will please my parents, siblings, extended family, friends, high school acquaintances, college classmates, former voice students, random strangers. I’ve censored myself significantly over the last several years because I didn’t want to write things that make people too uncomfortable, or that reveal too much about my personal life. I’ve been trying (with various levels of effort and/or success) to paint a picture of Matt as an idea, instead of Matt as a real person.
This really isn’t working for me anymore. The range and type of people that I interact with has widened significantly. I skim among several different crowds, never really belonging to any. And each of these crowds has a very different idea of who Matt is as a person, because none of them have seen Matt the whole person. They’ve only ever seen Matt the person I felt it was okay to show to that particular group. In addition, over the last year, I have found that some fairly seismic changes in my life, my point of view, and me as a person, have made it nearly impossible to continue writing the kinds of blog posts I have been writing for so long. As a result, one of my new resolutions is that I’m going to stop trying to create some “edited” version of myself. I’m just going to be me. I have spent such a large portion of my life hiding parts of myself in order to feel as though I belonged or was accepted. I have hidden parts of my life of which I was ashamed. I have done my best to hide decisions in my life because I was afraid they would offend, alienate, anger, upset, or hurt my friends and family. It’s exhausting, and I’m not interested in doing it any longer.
So what does this mean for you, my few loyal blog readers? (Actually, I get over 19,000 hits a month, so I imagine that there are a lot more people reading my blog than are commenting.) It means that the subjects of my blogs are going to change. I’m going to become a lot more open and honest, and I’m going to say the things I think and feel. (You mean I don’t NOW?) I’ll be talking about subjects that will make some people uncomfortable. I’ll probably use language that could offend some people (although I’m not the swearer I used to be…honest.) I imagine that I’ll probably lose a reader or two. I may lose a friend or two. I may even lose a family member or two. I honestly don’t know, and I can’t care anymore.
I don’t think it will come to much surprise to the people who have been reading this blog for any length of time that I am gay. I have known I was “different” since I was eleven or twelve years old. When I was 22, I came out to my parents and my sister, my bishop, and a counselor. Over the intervening years, I’ve come out to various people here or there, usually saying that, “I struggle with same-sex attraction.” For years while I was attending BYU, on my mission, teaching at BYU, performing around the world or country, working in a corporate environment, dealing with friends, dealing with family, dealing with bosses, teachers, friends, roommates, etc., I have had to keep up this juggling act of remembering who I’ve told what, and what I can say around which people, and what things it’s okay to admit to with what audiences, etc.
Moreover, my relationship with the LDS church, and more importantly, my relationship with God have changed significantly over the last year. I am now what you would consider “inactive” or, I believe the more PC term is “less active.” I don’t go to church. Unlike many of my gay brothers and sisters who no longer attend the church, I don’t hold any animosity or bitterness toward the church at all. I think that, overall, the church is still a significant force for good in the world. I believe that, if any church is true, it is the LDS church. I believe that miracles can and have come from the structure and the spirit and the authority of the church. From an intellectual and emotional standpoint, I fully understand the church’s and the gospel’s stance on homosexuality. For me, the church simply no longer held any positive benefit in my life. Attending church was doing more harm than it was good, and after much prayer, consideration, frustration, and anguish, I decided that attendance at church was not something that I was interested in continuing. This is not a decision I made lightly.
My relationship with God is on a much shakier platform. I won’t go into it in this blog post, because my personal spiritual journey is complicated enough to deserve its own book. Suffice it to say that my testimony of God’s existence, let alone his existence as a merciful being, is extremely uncertain. After decades of what I consider to be stony silence from the heavens, I’ve simply stopped trying to communicate. I feel angered, bitter, hurt, abandoned, and alone, and despite what I’ve been taught about the entire purpose of God’s existence and his gospel, I have found no personal Balm of Gilead. I don’t consider those who do believe to be misled fools, nor do I any longer consider those who don’t believe to be godless heathens. A person can only be ignored for so long before they stop trying to communicate, and that’s where I am in my life.
I turned 31 this year, and in my 31 years on this planet, I have lived a great many of them alone. I have the most wonderful and supportive family a person could possibly imagine. I recently had a phone call with my sister that makes me well up with tears every single time I remember it, because it was so honest, open, and accepting. I have the most miraculous parents a person could ever have. They may not love some of the choices I’ve made, am making, or will continue to make, but they will ALWAYS love me. But I’ve never been in love. I’ve never had a partner, a boyfriend, a real girlfriend (who didn’t live 1500 miles away and wasn’t some frantic attempt to “fix” myself), a spouse, a life-partner, or a soul-mate. I’ve even struggled just to keep friends, losing one after another as I develop inappropriate feelings for them or as their lives move on while mine stays stagnant.
I’m tired of being alone. I want to be loved. I want to love somebody. I want to be able to fill my life with something other than credit card debt and ice cream in front of the TV. And most of all, I want to be loved for being ME, not for being some unreal, incomplete, pseudo-person that I’ve been pretending to be for the last 15 years of my life. I’m not a eunuch. I’m not asexual. I am a human man who happens to be attracted to men. And I’m a human man who is ready to find another man to share his life with me, and I with him. And I fear that, as I get older, balder, and fatter, I’m letting my chance to find love and happiness pass me by. I made a decision that, if the opportunity arises, I was going to go after love in my way, without worrying how the rest of the world would deal with it. I can’t worry about how my siblings will tell my beautiful nieces about gay Uncle Matt. I will mourn when I can’t go into the temple to see them married. I already mourn the fact that I can’t have children of my own. My heart breaks when I realize that my family and I are no longer on the same path of life, and each step that we make pulls us farther apart. I considered all of these things repeatedly and deeply. But I have come to the final conclusion that I need to be complete.
When I visited my family this summer on my vacation after graduation, my father asked me a question: “Where is your joy.” Even thinking of the answer makes me sick to my stomach. I have nothing in my life that brings me joy, and I haven’t for a very, very long time. I’m not sure that I ever have, since I was a small child. I desperately want to build a life that brings me joy. I want to build a life with someone with whom I can share my joy. I want to prove to the world and to myself that I don’t have to be the crabby, crotchety drama queen. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I want to be able to say with all honesty, “Great!” and mean it. The path I’ve chosen may not lead me to joy, but one thing is clear: I can’t find my joy living a half-life.
So, to my friends, family, loved ones, and supporters, thank you for being who you’ve been. Thank you for your support. It has meant a great deal to me over the years, and has prevented me from going off the deep end in a multitude of different ways. Especially those family member who have known that I am gay. To those who didn’t know (or didn’t have a really strong suspicion) I first have to say, “Are you blind!?!” And I need to apologize for not trusting you more. I honestly believe that so much of the fear that has controlled my life was unwarranted and unnecessary. To those of you who read this blog who were members of the LDS-SSA.org forums which I founded five years ago, I wish I could have been a better support system to you. But while I still believe that the gay LDS community desiring to continue a life in the church desperately needs that resource, I have chosen a different path, and couldn’t continue supporting it.
And I realize that some of you are busting to get to the end of this post so you can post your testimonies in the comments and try to convince me to come back to the church. I appreciate your conviction, and I even appreciate your testimonies. Just know that the life that awaits me from within the church is not a life I am capable of living, nor is it a life that I want to live.
And lastly, to any readers, be they family or friends, acquaintances or detractors, who want to judge me, insult me, disown me, or abandon me, now is your chance. I’m finally strong enough that I can afford to lose you in my life. If you think that I am less of a person because I’m a big ole’ queen then you a) obviously didn’t know me all that well to begin with, b) are a bigoted ass, and c) will leave me better off by leaving me entirely.
There is so much more I want to write and explain and discuss. I’ve got 20 years worth of pent-up feelings and emotions that need to be expressed, examined, and let go. And I promise that it will make for an interesting story over time. But this blog is not going to become the telling of the gripping Lifetime Movie, Matt: The Mormon Homo. I’ll still post my snarky rants, my funny stories, my movie, television, and product reviews, my emotional diarrhea, my resolutions, and my recipes. But yeah, I’ll probably swear a little more. And I’ll probably make some gay jokes, or I might talk about dates that I’ve gone on or my experiences in meeting men. If that pushes this blog outside of your comfortable reading area, I completely understand, and I’ll miss your visits to the blog and your comments. But this is who I am, and I’m not going to hide it anymore.
Besides, I need a place to post pictures when I get a new pair of totally cute shoes.