I suspect one of the hardest decisions any gay man married to a woman must make is if he should stay or go. Keep the life and family he has or start anew. It’s a painful decision. I know. I go back and forth in my mind about this multiple times a day, yet I can’t seem to make a decision.
On the one hand, I want to live my life honestly and openly. Today I can only think of gayness as an elemental, core, at a cellular level to who I am. Where once I thought I could cast out gayness with the right therapy or program, it proved impossible. On the other hand, I fear for what I’m about to give up: a beautiful home; a family that cares for me; wife that loves me, even as a gay man.
But I grow weary of the fight inside. I wish it were easier. I wish I had done it at a younger age. Coming out at 54 and starting over seems like the height of foolishness yet I don’t think I can continue to live a hidden life.
I’ve been reading (and listening to books on tape) autobiographies of men who’ve come out. I’m reading one now that is fascinating, A Life of Unlearning by Anthony Venn-Brown. While I’m not religious, (Venn-Brown was a Pentecostal leader and preacher), I see many similarities in his path and the choices he made. It’s a fascinating book both for its well-written prose and its honesty. So many autobiographies are written from the writer’s current vantage point. A Life of Unlearning has you feel that you’re with Venn-Brown as he grows and changes in real-time. While I’m not through the book, I’m at the point where he makes the decision to come out. I’m hanging onto every word to see just what he thought about and the decisions he made. I guess I’m looking for insight and help on what to do in my own life.
Two other books that I really enjoyed and found helpful were, Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock by Mark Tewksbury and Breaking the Surface by Eric Marcus and Greg Louganis. Both autobiographies were honest and gave me a perspective on the internal landscape and emotional process of two courageous men.
A fourth book that I enjoyed but also thought was a bit self-serving was The Confession by James E. McGreevey. He also had insights and events that I learned from, but I walked away with the feeling he was covering up some of the seamier aspects of his life and trying to look good.
I’m reading and listening to these books to help me understand my own life better and to gain insight on the choices these men made. I have difficult choices ahead of me and I’m looking for all the insight, learning and support I can get.