By Jody Valley
Longing for Paris
Q: I know you have probably heard this time and again, but I just need to talk about my discovering I am gay and not knowing what to do about it. I am from a small town up north and I don’t think I have every seen a gay person where I live. People in my town are so small-minded about anything different. They don’t like anyone that’s not white, or anyone that isn’t Christian, and they make fun of gay people all the time and talk about what they would like to do to them.
About two months ago, my company sent me to some training in Detroit. There, I met a man that I fell head-over-heels with. We had great sex and partied far into the night. My training only lasted four weeks. During that time I have never been so happy, it seemed like I had finally found myself. Up until this encounter, I had dated a few women, but never felt much. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the women; it was just that they never did much for me. I did have sex with them, but it was nothing like what it was like with “John.” I guess what I am saying is that I never even knew I was gay. John said that he knew he was gay for as long as he could remember.
Anyway, everything seemed great while I was in Detroit. I was sure I was gay. I was planning to quit my job, move to Detroit, and live with John. Then I came back to my old life and doubt started creeping in. It seems like what was happening in Detroit with John is just a dream. I look back and it doesn’t seem real to me. I am scared to tell anyone what happened, and I don’t have anyone to talk about what is going on with me. My family and friends keep asking me what is wrong, but I can’t tell them. I am not sleeping, and I am having trouble keeping my mind on work. Some of my friends set me up with a girl last weekend. I couldn’t even get it up with her! I was so humiliated. If she tells anyone, I will just die. I told her it was just the stress of my job, but I know it was because all I could think of was John and how he felt, smelled, and what we did.
I don’t know what to do or where to turn. I want to just turn back the clock and not have to deal with all this any more. At first it all seemed so exciting to find out who I really am, but now I feel pretty horrified. What is wrong with me, do you think I am crazy? How can I figure out who I am, and do you think that maybe I’m not even gay? Do you think I can just go back to the way things were before?
After Having Seen Paris
A: I have heard this before because it is quite normal for folks to feel what you are feeling. Of course you are feeling a little crazy right now, you have just found out new information about yourself. Most individuals who discover they are attracted to the same sex and didn’t know it early on go through some of the same things you are going through. It takes time to look at what your experience was about and what you want to do. Don’t rush things. You ask if I think you are gay. Only you can define that for yourself. I think that one of the biggest difficulties you have right now is where you live. It will be difficult for you to explore and discover who you are in an environment that is so restrictive. In areas like Detroit there are groups you can attend to help discover who you are sexually. You can always go online and order books about discovering your sexuality and coming out. Chat rooms are available where you can talk about your feelings and look at web sites to gain more information. If possible, continue to visit Detroit or other metro areas and use that opportunity to engage in the gay community. Don’t rush this process, be gentle with yourself, you will go through lots of different stages while discovering the real you. Good Luck and let me know how things are going.
PS: Don’t forget to have safe sex.