Last FFAQ resulted in a near-tie between two questions. This one edged the other (about boy scouts) out by one ditto. Here it is (posed by anonymous):
Everything that I’ve read or heard from you and Lolly about your situation has been positive. Is it all rainbows and sunshine all the time? I know that you’ve made the best decision for you and your family, but aren’t there times when it’s hard?
A parallel to my own life: I know that eating healthy is what’s right for me, but sometimes I just want ice cream, darn it. But I can occasionally indulge without hurting my loved ones and ruining my life.
Do you face frustrations with your lifestyle, and if so, how do you deal with them?
Great question, Anonymous!
First of all, let’s get one thing straight (do you see what I did there?): what you’re reading here is a blog. This is not, of course, a real-time reflection of our life. What you would get if you were seeing a real-time reflection of our life would be reeeeeeaaaaallly boring.
*Josh wakes up*
*Josh stays in bed for 37 minutes looking at nothing-in-particular on his phone*
“Get out of bed now,” says Lolly.
*Josh stays in bed 15 more minutes playing a game on his phone*
“Do you even have work today?” asks Lolly.
*Josh rolls out of bed, takes a shower, goes downstairs and tries to find a bunch of healthy stuff for lunch*
*Josh runs up and down the stairs about 4394 times to get the various things he is trying with all his brain power not to forget (e.g. keys, driver’s license, lunch, water, briefcase, computer, phone, phone charger, etc)*
*Josh leaves the house with precisely 15 seconds to spare, hoping that every single traffic light he encounters is magically green*
*Josh says a swear out loud when he hits every red light imaginable and also gets stuck behind a school bus*
*Josh arrives four minutes late to work*
*Josh swears out loud again when he realizes he forgot the key to his office*
And so forth….
Because of this lack of real-time data, often blogs get pretty hyper focused on one emotional pole. If it’s a sad blog (like this used to be when it was about my ADD the first few months it existed) then the posts are often maudlin and ridiculous and really embarrassing and I have half a mind to take them down except I have ADD so I never get around to remembering to. If it’s a happy blog (like it is now) then the posts often talk about happy or funny things, or at least tend to paint some difficult topics in a humorous or optimistic way. This is just how blogs and online “presence” work. You can’t share everything so what you choose to share becomes an inaccurate, though earnest, representation of life.
Thus, it might appear that we are happy 100% of the time. Or that we might be trying to pretend to be.
I assure you we are not.
I assure you that Lolly and I bicker regularly.
I assure you that my three daughters spend about 75% of their lives either crying, yelling, or saying the words “so and so hit me!” or “I didn’t make that mess!” (The other 25% is spent being too precocious and adorable for words, thus making the other 75% totally worth it.)
I assure you that our life is filled with all of the challenges of any life. We have stresses and illnesses and cars that break down and messes to clean and sometimes we’re really grumpy. Sometimes I’m running groups all night and don’t get to kiss my girls goodnight. Sometimes work gets daunting, and we get overburdened. Sometimes this new life of ours–with all its amazing opportunities–gets really, really overwhelming. Right now we’re trying really hard to make sure we don’t lose sight of what’s important to us: God, each other, and our girls.
Today, for example, I felt horrible when I woke up. I felt bad that I hadn’t posted here enough, and that I hadn’t written enough in our book, and I worried that all the public stuff we did last week was a disaster and we just didn’t realize it yet. I felt that I was just not measuring up. I kinda freaked out and Lolly had to soothe me because she’s a miracle worker.
So yeah, sometimes we have meltdowns. It happens.
There are definitely times when our situation is hard. But it’s probably not harder than most people’s lives, if that makes any sense. We’re just living a life. And it’s a pretty joy-filled, awesome, fun, fulfilling life at that.
As I reread the question, I think what I’ve said has only partially answered your query. I infer from the ice cream comparison that you’re wondering if my attractions themselves are difficult.
Yes. They are. I’m not gonna lie. I decided to never have romantic or sexual interaction with the gender I am oriented towards. That can be difficult sometimes. Really, really difficult. I gave up something pretty huge to live the life I live, and I would never claim otherwise. And Lolly, likewise, sacrifices important things for our marriage as well, which would probably require its own post. (Future FFAQ???)
At the same time, I’m pretty sure any man who is being honest will tell you that there are times when he feels sexual attractions toward people that aren’t his spouse, and that those feelings can, at times, be very compelling. Learning to appropriately manage those moments is what adulthood is all about in my opinion. All married men (and married people, for that matter) need to know how to process powerful attractions that arise, and then choose to focus on the one person they’ve chosen to love. It’s possible that my situation makes those moments a little more intense than for other guys. Perhaps it doesn’t. I think it might only be possible to assess on a case by case basis.
But the fact is, while I have hard moments (just like any person) I am not in turmoil. There’s no seedy underbelly to my existence. The reason it sounds like rainbows and butterflies as I write and talk about our life is because we live a life that is filled with joy–squeaky clean, brilliant, family-oriented, unadulterated joy. The kind that sinks deep in your soul and sustains you and helps you go to sleep at night with a smile on your face–like napping after a large delicious meal. You can’t fake that kind of joy. You just can’t.
Plus, I find that when it comes to being gay, it is other stuff (besides attraction) that seems to be difficult for me. I’ve written a lot now about how difficult friendship has been for me, and how I’ve only just in recent years learned how to be at all vulnerable in that arena. Also, now that I’m out, there are other hard things. I’ve been blatantly discriminated against (though, admittedly, I do generally enjoy privilege that many gay people do not because I am in a hetero-normative marriage). I’ve had opportunities shrivel up into nothingness because I’m gay, and even because I use the word “gay” to describe myself. I’ve had some pretty hateful mud slung at me and at my family. None of that is fun. By no means do I intend to minimize the difficult and over-emphasize the wonderful. I think with my check-ins and various posts about my struggles, as well as my utter honesty in any interviews Lolly and I do, you hopefully get a decent representation of what our life actually looks like: a life that is cheesy, Hallmark card, Christmastime commercial happy interspersed with occasional hard moments that are also very real.
Fact is, things are really, really good for us. I love my life. I view myself as incredibly lucky. I have two jobs I love, a gorgeous woman I get to spend my life with who is my best friend and lover, three beautiful daughters, a wonderful home, a connection to God, amazing friends, and a life filled with incredible opportunities to share and grow and interact with awesome people (like you, whoever you are.)
In fact, this is part of why I do FFAQ in the first place, and why those posts tend to be my most vulnerable. I want people to know that they can ask me anything. I have nothing to hide, and I’m not afraid to talk about hard things. Here at The Weed, I try very hard to be real. Hence our tagline “All kinds of real.” I see absolutely no value in sugarcoating or avoiding hard things. I have nothing to be ashamed of, and sugarcoating life is disingenuous and leads to poor mental health.
So please know that what you’re getting here is as close to real-life as I can possibly muster. And if you have questions about hard things, continue to use FFAQ as an opportunity to explore complex issues. I love answering hard questions. I don’t have time to answer all questions, but I will try hard to answer any question voted on with integrity and honesty. And if you ask a question one week that doesn’t get chosen, do what anonymous did and try it again! You never know when it will gain critical mass.
All right, time to go make this day my biznatch.