How Religion Came Into My Life And Why It’s A Problem Now

Ok get ready for a long read, go grab a drink and maybe a snack and get buckled in. I haven’t updated my blog in a long time because a lot has been going on that I don’t feel like discussing (to be honest), but its time for a post. In this post I will discuss how I became religious, how I dealt with coming out of the closet, and why my relationship with God is strained. I’m not going to hold back or be polite, I feel like its time to be honest. Ok here we go.

Growing up nobody in my family was religious, we didn’t go to church and we didn’t pray. The only time I ever even saw a bible was if we were staying in a hotel and I found one in a drawer. I don’t remember what I used to believe in, I guess it was a higher power, but it wasn’t God.

I’ve been dealing with depression issues since the 5th grade when my grandpa died from cancer. My dad has never been a positive influence for me or consistently in my life, so my grandpa was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a male role model. Losing him was a hard blow for me, I thought he’d always be there for me. Through out middle school I was constantly getting picked on and I didn’t have many friends, I wasn’t a great student and I was terrible at wrestling and basketball which were the sports I tried. I mostly tried them hoping that I’d make friends and have a social life, but that never happened. During middle school was also the first time I had sexual thoughts about another guy, and it was a teacher. I tried telling myself it was a mistake and I tried finding girls attractive.

My freshman year was a turning point in my life, I quickly found out that I couldn’t make it in the regular high school and transferred to the alternative school. Tiger Mountain was a lot smaller and I did make some friends there and the bullying wasn’t as bad. During my freshman year a lot of crap was going down between my parents, and I felt like I was trapped in the middle and I began cutting as a way of coaping. Eventually during my  sophomore year I moved in with my grandma to remove myself from my parents so I didn’t have to deal with their on and off again drama.

I’ve always had body image issues. All through out school I was one of the heavier kids and it made me think that no girl would ever want to be with me. I had girls that were friends, but it seemed like I could never make it past the friend stage. I think I’ll just say it now that sex with a girl has always seemed gross to me. Vaginas look very unfriendly and I thought it was just a phase that I’d get over.

During the summer in between my freshman and sophomore year I remember I was visiting my grandparents and I was watching tv and MTV’s True Life came on. On that show there was a chubby guy and in one scene you see him standing in front of a mirror with his shirt off, and it was pretty hot. I wanted to see it again so I went on the internet on my phone and I searched for the picture and I eventually found it on a message board that turned out to be for “Bears” (Bears in the gay community are masculine, typically heavier set guys). I saw that a bunch of the people on there thought he was sexy, and in that second a thought clicked in my mind: “the only people that would ever be sexually interested in me would have to be guys that are overweight just like me”. That night I looked more into the bear community and saw that it is its own scene within the LGBT community and that it is pretty welcoming to guys of all different shapes and ages and that there is a trend of “Cubs” (younger members of the bear community) being with older gay guys. I felt like this could be my answer.

During my sophomore year I first learned about Xbox Live, a service that lets you play video games online with people all over the world. Just the idea was amazing to me, I have been playing video games since I was in the second grade and I remember playing taking turns playing Pull Position and Qbert with my mom. I soon after got xbox live and began playing Halo 2 competitively. I even started bringing my xbox to school and challenging people to matches during lunch. Gaming quickly became my passion and I started making lot’s of great friends on XBL.

For the rest of my time in high school I hid the fact that I was gay. I even asked some girls to prom that I genuinely liked as friends, but in one way or another they turned me down so each prom I went to I went alone. I even decided not to go to my senior prom because a girl I had asked said yes and then a week before prom she told me that she had told someone else she would go with them.

Graduating high school and the months following were tough for me, I had a lot of people expecting great things from me and quickly realized that the friends I thought I had weren’t around anymore and that I was on my own. I turned to gaming as a way of socializing, and would game all day. That summer my life completely changed when I began showing signs of OCD and anxiety. I would vacuum the same room 2 or 3 tines a day and would only leave the house to get the mail.

One night during an intense match of Team Snipers on Halo 2 I met an older guy that immediately peaked my interest, he was super polite and it was clear he was there just to have fun. After winning that match my buddy and I invited that guy to join our party so we could play some more matches with him. In between matches he introduced himself to us as Rich and we began to chat and got to know each other through out that night. I asked him about his gamertag and he told me that it was taken from his favorite bible verse, I said that’s cool and that I wasn’t religious. He asked me why and I told him because I didn’t really know much about God.

That night after my buddy had called it a night, Rich and I made a private match and talked for awhile and I confided in him that I was gay and I told him that life wasn’t very good for me. He told me that if I was to let God into my life he could make things better, and he began to tell me about his life and how much God had helped him. That night I added Rich to my friends list and we began playing together almost every night and each night we would talk more. Rich quickly became my best friend.

One night Rich introduced me to a friend of his named Charles, and after Rich got offline that night Charles and I got to talking. Charles was also a Christian and he was telling me about how he was just coming out of a nasty divorce. I told him about my struggles with my sexuality and how things between my parents weren’t good and he told me that God always has a plan and that if I let him into my life that he’d help me out. After talking for a few more hours we both decided to go to bed and I added him to my friends list. A couple weeks later Charles sent me a bible and asked me to check it out.

A few months later after a couple rough weeks I had had enough and was ready to kill myself. And I remember I was just waiting until my grandma went to bed so I could cut my wrists and take a bunch of pills and I jumped on XBL to pass the time and the only friend I had on was Rich. I jumped into a lobby with him and we said hi to each other and almost immediately I think he knew something was wrong. He asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t take it and began crying saying that I didn’t want to live any more. We began talking and I vented for awhile and then he asked me to do him one favor and instead of killing myself to just go to bed and before I do that to pray. I told him I would, not expecting anything from it but because I didn’t want to disappoint him.

That night I prayed for the first time in my life and I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what to say or what the structure of praying was and I remember ending it by just asking God to help me. The next day I won’t up and it was like a huge burden had been lifted off of my shoulders and nothing could go wrong that day. That night I got on XBL and Rich and I talked again and he told me how to bring God into my life.

Flash forward a few years and a lot had changed- I had gone to church a bunch of times. Charles quit gaming and we were no longer in contact. I went and met Rich and stayed with him to tell my story of finding God with his help at a movie premiere and he actually baptized me during the trip. And I had committed myself fully to God. But still something wasn’t right, I still had my same sex attractions and now due to my OCD I was fearing that God would hurt my family and friends because I was gay because Rich had taught me religion in a “reward system” kind of way. If your good out weighted the bad then you were ok and God was happy with you, but on the flip side Rich also told me that just having sexual thoughts of men was just as bad as murdering someone. He also would take ever chance he got to quote 2Corinthians (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here”) and was always saying that if I kept on fighting the good fight that God would make me new. I had begun being celibate, thinking that if I controlled my thoughts and urges than God would be happy with me and eventually they would go away. I would go a few weeks to a month or two at a time without any self gratification or pornography. The longest I ever went was 74 days.

One day after “giving in” the day before my grandma who I lived with was rushed into the ER due to blood clots. In my head it was my fault. God was punishing me. That day I came out of the closet to my mom. My grandma made a full recovery and came back home and for the next few months I was extra careful about not “messing up”. There were many times that I thought suicide was the answer, that if I just ended it all I wouldn’t hurt my family anymore and I wouldn’t have to worry about my urges anymore.

Everytime I was close to “giving in” I would give myself some leniency and be like OK, this is OK but this isn’t, so instead of watching pornographic videos I would look at pictures because in my head pictures weren’t as bad as videos. And when I would give in I would punish myself by cutting or by shaving various parts of my body (don’t ask me why, I still dont know why I shave) in hopes that if I punished myself that God wouldn’t hurt my friends or family. Picking myself up and starting over again after giving in was always super hard, and it made hate life.

Eventually I downloaded a gay dating app so I could look at local guys, though I told myself it was so if I was ever out in public and I recognized someone from the app I could know to get away because the person was gay. One of the first days I had the app I ran across a local guy, (lets call him “Brian” in order to keep his privacy) and we got to talking. Immediately I knew something was different about this guy: most of the guys on the app just wanted to talk about sex and share pics, but Brian just wanted to talk. Over the next few weeks we became good friends and were talking on a daily basis. One day he asked if I’d like to meet up for lunch and I told him sure. At that time I was still only leaving the house a few times a month, so agreeing to go out to lunch with someone was pretty big for me.

Because of how Rich was I always felt the need to have to check in with him so about every week or so I would call him or message him giving him an update on how many days celebrate I was and I would mention any issues I was having. He would always make me feel like what I was doing was right, but I always had the impression that it was never good enough and that I had to try harder until the sexual urges went away and I was “fixed”. After making the lunch plans I sent Rich a simple message on facebook saying that I had a “man date” later that week. Almost immediately after sending him the message Rich called me up, and for the next hour he tried convincing me not to go through with the lunch plans because it would mean that I was turning my back on God. I told him that I’d think about canceling the plans, but secretly I knew I wouldn’t.

The following Saturday Brian came and picked me up and we went to Fatburger and we sat there talking for a couple hours. He told me about how he came out of the closet and listen to me talk about everything from Rich to my celibacy to my urges and religion. When he was dropping me off after lunch he did something I wasn’t expecting: he kissed me. I had never been kissed before and it took me off guard.

Over the next month or so we had met up for lunch a few more times and I really grew to trust Brian. I’m not going to sugar coat it at all, I began crushing on him pretty hard. Brian really showed me that being gay wasn’t a problem, that it was just who I was and that God would love me regardless of who I’m attracted to. He eventually convinced me to come out of the closet and I did it in the most public way I could think of: on facebook. I never would have expected the amount of support I got from friends and family. For awhile after that Rich wouldn’t return my messages or calls.

One day we were going on a hike up Tiger Mountain to where the hang gliders and para gliders take off. The hike up was awesome, the weather was great, we heard a kid start throwing up, and we were having a great time chatting. The view from the top was perfect, there weren’t any clouds and we could see downtown Bellevue easily. On our way down the mountain we took a short break and he asked me to give him a hug and I gladly did and then we kissed for a good 30 seconds. After that we continued our home down the mountain and then went out to lunch afterwards.

After not hearing from Rich and feeling like he was mad at me for coming out I finally had enough and I called him and he answered. I asked him if he was mad at me and he said no, but fir the next hour he did nothing but talk about how I turned my back on God and how just having a gay friend is sinning and that I was going to go to hell if I didn’t repent and come back to god. Finally after years of listening to Rich’s words without protest I finally called him out on his crap. Immediately after that phone call I called one of my best friends to get his opinion on what was said and he told me that Rich wasn’t a true friend if he couldn’t accept me for who I really am. That night I prayed that God would help me figure out what to do and the next day I woke up knowing that I didn’t need Rich in my life anymore, so I removed and blocked him on Facebook and xbox live.

A couple months later I eventually lost my virginity to “Brian”. That night I couldn’t sleep and I laid there in bed next to him worried about what I just did. It was one thing to view porn or to use self gratification, but to have gay sex was a completely different thing in my mind, and I actually thought about killing myself that night. For the next  8 months or so Brian and I would hang out a few more times and would have sexual relations. After a while I eventually asked him if us ever being in a relationship was in the future and he told me that it wasn’t. He told me that he was “married to his job” and that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship. He told me that he wanted to just show me the ropes. I was pretty sad, I thought that he was the one for me and he had helped me through so much that it must have meant that he wanted to be with me.

Eventually I had to move on and I met my current boyfriend John. We have a lot in common, including being burnt by members of the church because of our orientation. Now almost 2 years later I plan on spending the rest of my life with John. He’s not only my life partner, but my best friend and someone I know that loves me. He gets my humour, puts up with me,  and genuinely wants to see me be the best person I can be. To this day I still have to deal with the scars Rich inflicted on me with his way of teaching me about God. Brian and I are still friends today too, and I genuinely hope he finds someone special that he can spend the rest of his life with, because I owe him a lot. He helped me accept who I am and helped me build the courage to break free from Rich. Rich has tried calling me and texting me a few times in the last 2 years and I haven’t given him any of my time. Last year around Christmas I actually texted him the Christmas card I designed that has a picture of John and I on it.

I’ve come to terms in my own ways with Rich and what he did. Maybe he thought the way he was teaching me about God was right, but that in no way excuses him for never calling me out for my way of thinking and tell me that it was wrong. I’m sure my OCD played a major part in my way of thinking so I can’t put all the blame on him, but he saw the self destructive path I was on and he never tried to stop me. Coming out of the closet and learning to accept myself flaws and all was the best thing I’ve ever done and I now that if he had his way it never would have happened.

Last weekend after going to the zoo, John asked me a question and it really made me think. We were talking about ghosts for some random reason and I told him that I would have to see one to believe in them, and then John asked me if I believe in God and to be honest I had to think. I had to think because with everything I’ve been through in life and how everyone says that God is love and that he wants the best for each and every one of us, why would he bring himself into my life by using Rich and by making me feel like I have to punish myself for being who I am to feel good enough for him. I told John that I want to believe in God, but it may take me seeing him to ever truly be convinced that he’s there.

And that’s where I am today: left searching for God.

Thanks for reading