Monday, October 06, 2008


Chris over at My Journey Out [click here] has just posted something of a seasonal or "year-end" review. And that set me to thinking about the enormous sea-change in my life over the last two or three years, and how much of it has happened here, and, in a way, how little of it has happened here. As St. Augustine wrote some fifteen hundred years ago, the "conversion moment" may be years in the germination before it blossoms into view, and be as long in the ripening until it can be seen to bear fruit.

I sometimes feel borne down with fruits, which means that the real issue is the one that the Goat keeps beating on me about: my stalled transition [if that's what it is] to a gay mind-set. If this is another drawn-out conversion moment, it was some twelve years in coming to the bud and flower stage, and it may well be another ten or twelve years before I know what the hell it all means, and what I think about it. In the meantime, I am the skunk at the garden party [or, if you prefer, the turd in the punch bowl] in the gay community, because I do not buy its pieties any more than I bought the pieties of suburban America.

Our pieties are self-consciously and wickedly liberated, but they are pieties for all that. And I have to say we are pretty active in policing those pieties. God help the poor member of the congregation who fails to get with the program...

BUT, back to my blog review. I started blogging quite by accident at the end of March 2006, in the belief that I couldn't comment on a blog without having one--maybe that's a symbol of my awareness throughout the whole process. Who knows? I just sent my Christmas letters from the last three years to a former exchange student, and they form a kind of quick-and-dirty summary of the millions of words here...

Here's the back-story:

Married, Christian, gay guy who is pretty much completely at ease with the choices he's made, starts to come apart at the seams after his last child leaves home and his wife seems to be about to follow. Twelve years after trying to get his wife to deal with the facts of his "case," and seven years after first talking to gay friends about coming out as bi, he finds his ability to keep up the silence which has made his marriage bearable to his wife coming apart at the seams. Starts reading GMM blogs, and then blogging. Much heavy sledding.

And here is the blog summary, with major events at more or less six-month intervals:

December 2005:
Yours Truly celebrates the 12-month anniversary of his last real job.

January 2006:
YT starts seriously reading GMM blogs, and not doing much else.

March 2006:
YT finally works up the courage to comment on those blogs, and in the process, having debuted as "Twink to Troll," starts blogging as the "Troll at Sea: gay, married, Christian, and as mad as the March Hare" (a pretty accurate description of the sweetmeat...) Things start to heat up at home, and he is told, among other things, that if he tells the children, the marriage is over.

June 2006:
Things come to a boil while Isis is out of town and although they both still love each other--which is what makes all these stories tragic--they agree that the only way out of the stalemate is for someone to leave. Isis offers, and the Troll demurs: he is the one without any visible means of support in the area.

July 2006:
The Troll comes out to his kids and moves out, temporarily to his grandmother's house. conveniently located a few towns away. Decides to mourn his marriage for a year, and then see where he is. Starts looking for work and apartments in various job-possible cities. The beginning of months of debilitating depression, in the throes of which he decides that if he's doing this "Gay Thing," he may as well do it thoroughly. Starts Gay Reading 101, and gets more depressed than ever. As soon as he comes out and leaves town, his blog readership plummets. Hmmmmmmmm....

September 2006:
The Troll moves to Nowheresville, where he has a part-time job offer, and a chance at more pick-up work around the edges. Moves into the Weird Little House. Joins the local Gay Set, posts a couple of internet profiles for "friends only," and tries hard to fit in while still keeping the more aggressive cherry-pickers at bay. Meets nothing but uncomprehending kindness and patience locally; much as the Gay Set make him crazy, they really do let him come out at his own pace.

October 2006:
The Troll attends a Leather Social Night in a distant city so he can pretend it didn't happen if it turns out badly. Catches glimpse of a guy who makes his jaw hit the floor, first dubbed the Silver Fox, and then the Goat Man, and then the Goat. Friends put him in touch with other formerly married men about his age; almost all of them left home in their forties and have now been in gay relationships for ten years or so. Time has passed him by, it seems--depression deepens.

December 2006:
The Troll says, "@#$% it" and cans his plans to wait for a year, deciding to sleep with anything with a pulse and the vaguest hint of "chemistry"; there are no immediate offers. New Year's Eve: he gets groped by a drag-queen running a raffle, and his only offer comes from a guy in a lovely tuxedo who has unbelievably bad breath. He finds out that the Gay Set are running an informal pool on who will get there first...
Drinks to overcome feeling of desolation.

January 2007:
The Troll practically throws himself at the Goat, only to be sent off to another Leather Night, this time with a little present for one of the other attendees, who he now knows is the Goat's Regular Boy Friend.

February 2007:
The Goat calls and invites the Troll to a dance. This after much phone and e-mail dodgeball including details of an open gay relationship the Troll feels he could live without. He shows up at the Goat's place for the dance and almost doesn't make it to the dance, then does make it the dance, where he has to make nice with the RBF, and feels Really Weird about it. The Goat leaves town for a month, and the Troll finds out he is in serious trouble: love rears its ugly head.

April 2007:
Second encounter with the Goat. The Troll takes onboard the necessarily minor role of a third [or fourth or fifth] party in an open relationship, and the likelihood that he can expect to get a single evening a month to live on; he gets pretty depressed. Repeated sighting of Love's Ugly Head; alcohol becomes the Troll's monogamous partner.

June/July 2007:
The Goat and the RBF break up. Both of them assure the Troll he is not to blame, but the Troll ain't so sure. He wakes up to find out that his love, which barely dares speak its name, may even be reciprocated. General amazement.

August 2007:
The Goat gives the Troll a great going away present, now that it is the Troll's turn to disappear for a month, and the Goat's turn to get lonely--in actual fact, both of them go a little crazy. Much phone and e-mail traffic...

September 2007:
The Troll starts commuting weekends to the Big Woods, making his peace with the fact that a guy with one day off a weekend is not about to start driving 150 miles each way just to get laid. Only people with two days off can swing that one...

November 2007:
The Troll accompanies the Goat to the West Coast to meet his daughter and her family, and on a dog-leg to San Francisco, a bevy of former lovers. It turns out we are all meant to be "family." Troll gets his mind bent, but grins and bears it.

December 2007:
Thinking that the Troll has his kids for Christmas, the Goat takes off for a month again. The Troll, who gets to see his kids for a few hours over the holidays, nearly dies from Affection Withdrawal. New Year's Eve: the Troll is decidedly cheerful about the contrast with the previous year--with several previous years, for that matter.

March 2008:
The Troll accompanies the Goat to his Vacationland cottage and is seriously sick while supposedly getting to know another hundred close friends. The Goat is sweet during the bad days, and terrific once they're over. Trip turns into a huge fun-filled clambake. The much-discussed move out to the Big Woods is more or less cast in stone...

June 2008:
The Troll starts packing up his house, having worked out a wonderfully laid-back schedule to segue out of his current job and into the move. Rude awakening in the form of a Real Job after several years of no work at all in his own field. Schedule becomes insane--the Goat goes away for a month again. The Troll curses Vacationland and everyone in it.

September 2008:
The job reaches its final frenzy, the Troll is sent home before his work is finished so that the bean counters can say they saved money, and is plunged into the chaos of the move.

That more or less brings us up to date, except for the fact that I am now trying to unpack a household and start a major project at the same time. Sorry for the length of this--coming back to my grandmother's house has got me thinking about the long arc of this whole business, and of course, it seemed like a good idea to share the confusion. I could claim that I just wanted to spare newcomers the trouble of clicking back to the beginning to get the gory details. but who would believe me?

In retrospect, it simply amazes me how fast everything fell into place again after the upheaval, but looking back has become increasingly difficult--it feels like everything that happened before I left home has receded into the Mists of Time, which makes being back at the Scene of the Crime quite a mind-bender. At this point, you would think I would just be "bent" and get over it, but then, that would be the easy way out...

Hang in there, all.


  1. And, there you have it ...

    Troll, I think you left out a lot of substantive anguish.

  2. Paul:

    True, I suppose, but that's the repetitive part. I guess "depression" was sort of code for "substantive anguish," though the real anguish was all really in the first year, from March to March.

    It's not so long, in the scheme of things, although that is something you can only say in hindsight.

    It sure as hell didn't look like that at the time, as you may remember...