The Cages Of My Life

The purpose of this post is to open the window into my life and the experiences that I am currently dealing with. I do not write this post to hurt anyone but to expose truth – bringing situations into the light. To the gay teen readers and gay teens who stumble upon this post, I write this to share that there are other people going through the same things and hopefully we can all go through them together so that we will see a brighter day in the future.

I have come to find that parts of me are caged; parts that every human has that I cannot use. My heart is caged. With living in my parents home, I cannot have a boyfriend for they feel that it is sin. Loneliness is getting to me yet there is nothing I can do at the moment. There will a day when I leave my parent’s home for good but that day has not yet arrived unfortunately. My voice is caged. Being on Facebook, my dad has to be friends with all his children to monitor what they do. In the past, he has asked me to take down a Facebook status, about the topic of gay, down because he did not agree with it. He has also texted me about being “offended” for liking two pictures of men in their underwear. I love and respect my dad though he is close-minded and in denial of my sexuality. I wish he would see though that all he is causing is pain and hurt and is not doing anything to help. When we talk he cannot truly listen to me and what I have to say – everything is just filtered through his “Josh is not gay, he can change. I see Josh as a straight man.” mentality. I thought he was being open and willing to talk until we would make a comment that just shattered everything. How I needed a hobby to get other my sexuality or laughing at the idea of having an experimental boyfriend to figure out more about my sexuality. How I had to explain to him what “ex-gay” and “ex-gay ministries” were because he will not do the research to further understand me. Him not doing that research says to me that he does not really love me. If he loved me enough, he would do it because my sexuality is important to me and it should be important to him. He does not do it because he does not believe I am gay. As I write this I feel anger and just want to cry but this is what I deal with. I wish I had accepting parents. God is using is though so that when I look back on it, I will be stronger because of it. I feel no other choice but to move out of the house when the time is right and distance myself from my parents.  I will not hide when I get engaged from them, if that happens in my lifetime. It does not change that I still need to be real, honest, and myself to everyone. At the end of the day, I just want to be happy. God wants me to happy and enjoy my life but where I am at, with the caged heart and voice, I can only feel less than of a person and defeated. Though I do have hope that God will use these experiences to help me and others. I look forward to what is ahead and that gives me strength to carry on. We all go through times of trial and heartache, but it helps us become better people. We would not learn those lessons without the pain.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as my next step  is to write a letter to the leaders of my church about my experiences as a gay Christian man in the church. Hopefully it would not have a lot of backlash but I need to “be real” to the people around me about myself and take a stand for what I believe in. One of the reasons why my dad asked for the Facebook status to be removed was because that status “effects our whole family”. It just tells me that he is ashamed of my sexuality and in turn ashamed of me. I will never be good enough for him (because I am not straight) but I have excepted that because I do not need his approval to be successful in my relationships, in my faith, in my career, in my life. Part of my story is I was abused at the age of 10. People will look at my dad differently because of that, whether they want to or not.

In conclusion, I challenge us all (me too) to come into friendships/relationships that we have with other people, that we listen to them openly and honestly and strive to give them what they need. Let us be humble enough to step back sometimes and say “I think I should do this for this person but they really need this so I will do that instead.” Let us not become so hardhearted and close minded that we cannot love people and help when we are in need.

-Josh

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17 responses to “The Cages Of My Life

  • sketchbookguy

    Josh, I have a great deal of respect for you. it is not easy to live life honestly, and yet that is what we are called to do. I was reading in Revelation 22:15 this morning about the consequences for “everyone who loves and practices lying.”

    I came across some very good resources last night at http://www.gaychristian.net/ The link on the right-hand side “Watch GCN on TouTube” was very helpful to me. There may be something there that might help your dad and you some even if you never see eye-to-eye on everything. (Which seems to be true with most fathers and sons!)

    It’s possible that he may not hear you very well because you are his son. He may be better able to listen to someone different. The short video titled, “What makes people gay?” was especially enlightening.

    I realize that this is not the most direct approach, but it may be helpful when speaking with family and church leaders to say, “Take a look at this and tell me what you think.” The tone of these videos is very non-confrontational and seeks to find common ground. Perhaps that is what may help in this situation.

    • jmtromm

      Thank you! I really appreciate it. In writing this post, I realized that sometimes it is hard to know how to love and be honest. So many people just want to speak their minds without a filter. A balance of love and honesty is key in anything a person does or says.

      I am actually a member of Gay Christian Network’s message board though I have only looked at their “The Great Debate” resource. I will have to check those out. Right now I do not think he will accept anything. I have done all that I can do. I have shared my experiences and have shared some videos that I have found but he denies all of it. All I can do now is give it to God and He will work on his heart and the situation.

      The letter to the church is not going to be sided one way or another and from the beginning that is what I have decided. The pastor and I are open to talking about it but he is not accepting of gay marriage or anything of that though he does support me and what I am doing. The purpose of the letter is to start a dialogue within the church to cause a change to reach out to gay people more with the love of Christ. I plan to share my personal story and struggles being a member of the church. With my own beliefs on what I should do with my sexuality in question, I am not going to pick a side though I would lean towards accepting same sex couples and no matter what would vote for gay marriage.

      Thank you for your insight!

  • sketchbookguy

    Thanks, Josh, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  • raidinglife

    Keeping you in my thoughts. You’re stronger than you know and I hope you get a chance to share that with the world.

  • Rich

    Josh, There is so much I could say to you right now, I do not know where to begin. I will begin with this: First and foremost, you have the right to be the person you truly are. You will be, and that will bring you happiness. I am sure of that.
    I wrote on Coming Out a while back. One story of a cousin, another from a video I had seen. These stories touched me and moved me to put a link to the Trevor Project in my banner. It is all about the “It’s gets better” videos. Josh, I swear to you, it gets better.
    I few years ago, a young friend came out to his parents. His father was angry, banned the boyfriend from the house and my friend lived in tension for months. Things are OK now, but it took a lot of time. The father is a rather conservative type. I decided the dad’s initial shock and anger were partly due to the fact that he had a certain vision of his son for 18 years. There was no reason to believe this smart, popular and athletic student was anything but what his father dreamed of for many years. When this was taken from the father, it is understandable it took perhaps a year for him to be comfortable with his son. Is it all better? I don’t know, but it did get better, a lot better.
    When I came out on the other side of hard times, no matter what they were, I could look back and see God’s lesson in them. You will too, and you will be able to take what you learn and help others.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am here for you and look forward to sharing thoughts on the books we read. I will send you a “cyberhug” for comfort, just as some of your previous posts were comforting to me.
    Rich

  • eaglebyposting

    I know for most of us our parents are ‘the’ relationship of our lives, but as gay people (and as anyone I beleive) I think we need to step back and try and understand that we are different from our parents, that they will never really understand us. No matter what we do. They are worth your effort, don’t get my wrong, to try and make them support you. But love should not be conditional. Hard words to understand, I know, but you can only try so hard. Maybe only an absence in their lives would make them understand how much they need you in their lives too?

    • jmtromm

      Thank you for your advice. I totally agree. Currently, I am in the process of getting things ready to move out. At this point distance and honesty are what is needed in the relationship.

  • Alex Diaz

    Dear One,

    You are one of the bravest souls I know. Thank you for showing the world that gays are human beings as well and that homosexuality itself is a small sliver of who we are as a whole. I hope one day your family will realize that the betrayal they feel from your “gayness” comes out of ignorance for understanding others.

    Much luck with your life endeavours,
    Alex

  • manleben

    Stay strong and I know its very cliched to say “It Gets Better” but it wil. I have certainly been in your shoes (but my parents refuse to go on facebook so they don’t know my facebook activities). While my parents are not very religious, they are Christians and I was raised in a Christian household. When I realised, I was gay, I used to pray to God to make me “normal” and I used to cry everyday/every time when I still felt attraction to boys.

    While I have not explicitly come out to my parents (major kudos to you), my mum said all gay people will go to hell since we are all deviants in the eyes of God. Also my dad said he will personally kill any of his offsprings who are gay. I don’t know how I survived in my household. My third year of high school, I was very depressed and suicidal and almost successfully committed suicide if my best friend had not come to my rescue. I was on anti-depressants up until my first year of college.

    All I can say is surround yourself with good people, whether online or in person. One thing I have noticed is that family is what you make it. I know blood ties are very important (my mum is like a best friend to me but she still does not know the real me…) but sometimes you just have to let go. I have only come out to a pastor and my older sister. My sister is very supportive but once in a while she slips as says “why are you gay”… I plan on coming out to my younger sister later this year as she boldly stood up for gay people as my mum slightly bashing us.

    Also have you looked into other churches, like a Methodist congregation that is open to people regardless of sexual orientation?? One thing I regret not doing is continuing my relationship with God after my suicidal attempt. While I don’t doubt God’s existence, I have completely distanced myself from any form of organised religion. Interestingly, I most went to a Methodist church growing up but I couldn’t come out at church as most people knew my family and words will spread like wild fire.

    I’m currently living on my own and working. My dad recently began talking to me about marriage and I quickly shut hip down. I have already told my mum that I wont be getting married..

    I will reiterate this again. Stay safe and keep praying as God works in mysterious ways and he already has a plan for you. You have wonderful people who read your blog and I’m sure we can all be a shoulder you can cry on.

    Best Regards

  • coarseheart

    Hey man, this is really cool.
    I can imagine that it’s really tough to come out when you’re surrounded by people who have such negative feelings towards homosexuality. I’m going to say it’s outright wrong for parents to say things like that and cause their own children to fear being truthful with them. That’s what parents are for! It’s troubling to hear about that.
    All I can say is that I affirm you in your truthfulness. Be real. With the people around you and especially with God.

    • jmtromm

      Thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate that you linked my blog in one of your posts. It makes me feel special. Though I am just one blog out of millions, to touch someone with one of my posts makes all the difference.

  • Gay Apostolics (@gayapostolics)

    I am happy to learn that you are willing to live and open and honest life. Sometimes it will be hard and other times it will seem like you are swimming upstream. I think it’s going to take some time for your family to accept the real you. My mother kicked me out of her house when I was 15 for being homosexual. Luckily for me my grandmother took me in. While I lived with my grandmother I too would be caged and ordered not to have any friends over and no dating. It took my mother more than 20 years to finally accept me. However, she still gets defensive with others, especially family when they ask about her gay son, as if, she is still embarrassed of me.
    Something that finally opened my mother’s eyes was that I was in a marriage that was from hell. Guess she realized that that was the way God made me and she witnessed me going down fast. In 2003, I came to the conclusion that I can not live my life to please others, anyways they will never be completely happy. I needed to pursue my own happiness.
    This was after three nervous breakdowns, my church rejecting me, going through an identity crisis and being diagnosed Manic Depressive.
    Still, this was just the beginning of my problems… Now, I have accepted myself, some close family members have accepted and love the real me, my partner loves me unconditionally and I have never been happier. David (my partner) and I are going on our 7th year and can I say, “It really does get better and it’s definitely worth it all!”

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