The State of The Cocoon

My therapist told me that the more transparency I can have in my life, the happier I will be. I believe it. However, in my world, with my specific circumstances, it’s just not the best choice, either for me or for my family. I would experience more loss of close family than I care to deal with, and my wife and children would have to suffer multiple times more than they already do.

So, I continue to trust God for some kind of flourishing life within this cocoon…the shell that hides my straight acting, confident, hopeful, Christian, insecure, fearful, gay self.

It’s a place of safety. A place where I can hide, where all my stuff can be kept safely out of view of those who would never understand and who would wish me harm.

I work really hard at maintaining the shell’s strength and ensuring its integrity. But the tiniest fault line in this shell risks the oozing out of what I’ve kept so closely hidden for so long. I just can’t let that happen.

Except for the rare peek inside that I’ve allowed a few people to have, the cocoon remains intact.

I’m still here, alive and well…and doing a little better every day.

Thanks to the cocoon.

-Trevor

Religious counseling makes things worse

This is mind-boggling.

I’m working with an excellent therapist, a person who has the experience, knowledge, and heart to make it a bearable journey. Not everyone has that experience.

“Today, I’m ok.” That’s my daily theme.

GregComesOut

depressed

I’ve been in therapy a number of times in my life. The first time was when I was in college, at the strong recommendation of the missions organization that had just rejected me for experiencing “homosexual temptation.” The referred me to a good Christian counselor in my area who probed my relationship with my father, and with my mother, and my feelings of inadequacy. Blehhh!

The second time was when I went away to graduate school. I was stressed about living in a bigger, progressive city, and fearful that I might falter in the “progress” I had made in my fight against the aforementioned temptation. Well, I call it “the second time,” but it probably really shouldn’t count. I went to just one appointment at the university counseling center, and quite logically and eloquently (I’m sure…) explained how and why I was experiencing these errant impulses. When my counselor revealed…

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Microwave Fixes

When I was growing up, my mom would dutifully spend a great deal of time over the stove cooking our meals…all “from scratch.” It was to be expected that it would take a while. Still does. However, when it comes to leftovers, things have dramatically changed. Where she used to spend a significant amount of time warming up the leftovers on that stove, now she can just pop the dishes into the microwave and in 10 or 15 minutes everything is piping hot. It’s the microwave fix for cold leftovers.

The idea is not limited to refrigerated leftovers, but to many other things in life. Bigger things. Much more important things. Things like healing and reconciliation.

It seems to me that many things in life are addressed with a “microwave fix” in mind. Racism. Bigotry. Sexism. Religion. Politics. Sound bites are thrown around. The myriad of clichés that cloud our conversations. They are the shortcuts to health that we all use, but which prove eternally ineffective in addressing the deep issues that must be given the light of day. And when someone attempts to dig deep, we tend to dig a hole in which to stick our heads and hope it just goes away.

Only to discover – there is no replacement for the hard work of building healthy relationships.

My wife and I are in therapy. The sessions are focused, not on fixes for my sexual orientation, but on saving our marriage. A marriage that is very dear to the both of us. On learning how to have a thriving mixed-orientation marriage. This therapy is proving very helpful.

At the same time, though, it can be a dangerous thing. If we fall into the trap of believing that the therapy is the “fix-all” for our relationship by giving us some kind of silver bullet to fix our problems, or if we expect just a few sessions will iron out all the wrinkles we will soon be disappointed. Because of the nature of human relationships, the health of our marriage will take lots of hard work on our part, and it might just take the rest of our married life together to proactively work through all the issues.

Reconciliation is difficult to achieve, because we have to submit ourselves to the timetable of the process.

Health is difficult to maintain, because it requires discipline in an ever-changing environment.

In my former life as a minister I’ve taught from Psalm 23:2
He makes me lie down in green pastures
he leads me beside quiet waters
he refreshes my soul.

That passage is all about healing, restoration, renewal, and long-term health. And all that happens in the context of the right environment, the right sources of enrichment, and the right amount of time. It is the opposite of a few minutes in a microwave.

I have no illusions of what this journey holds for us. It will take everything we have.

And so it should.

I expect nothing less for the most important relationship of my life.

-Trevor