Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Joseph: The Month of August

Ugh!! I am typically not an outwardly emotional person. It's driving me up the wall being bonkers over a guy like I am.

I can't tell you how much it would mean to me to have someone I could talk with openly about this. I have made it a bit of a quest to find such people, but unfortunately with zero success.

In a number of ways, I consider Joseph my best friend. He may not necessarily reciprocate that sentiment, but that's his prerogative. I am quite certain that if he was aware of the extent to which I am stricken for him, he would give me a wide breadth. I never intend to divulge that to him by the looks of things, but at one point, I do want him to understand the basic gist of my feelings, and that, notwithstanding those, I see him as a friend toward whom I have no ulterior motives (even though the irrational side of my heart longs so to harbor dark, underlying feelings), and that I intend to be the most loyal of friends for only the noblest of reasons.

But he can be elusive. I wonder at the moment I write this if he is struggling with a few of the intimate things he has willingly confided in me. Or perhaps in something deeper still.

Just a few weeks ago, I was in a really dark place, frustrated with the roadblocks I seemed to constantly run into. My pursuit of increased physical prowess always appeared to be followed by an unreasonable, disproportionate lingering soreness. The usual handicap I experience to hinder my career's progress went on, unfettered--business as usual, really. I couldn't for the life of me find someone to 練習する with (that's "practice", by the way). And all of my efforts to expand my social circle seemed in vain, at least in the temporal scheme. I reached out to a few people in an effort to stifle the overwhelming loneliness I was feeling at the time. I sent Joseph a simple text, just to see how he was faring, and ideally to hang out with him sometime. I looked at my phone all day, hoping to see a reply from him. It never came.

And you know what? I was really annoyed with him.

I have to constantly temper the obsessive feelings I have toward him with the obnoxious reminder to give him space and let him reach out to me, and let him show how much he values our friendship. The following Sunday came. A very embarrassing and uncomfortable Elders' Quorum taught by a sibling of mine (that's a story for another day) comes and passes. No Joseph. I catch a glimpse of him around the corner of the hallway. But I don't approach him. I'm assigned to a special home teaching class this one particular Sunday. Therefore, no Joseph in Sunday School. He ends up on the other side of the chapel during Sacrament meeting. I'm really quite irritated, uncharacteristically so, throughout the meeting. I let a bit of it display in my body language as I sit alone in one of the center pews. I stall for a moment or two after the meeting is through, and then finally go home when my frustration gets the better of me.

This is very unusual behavior for me. His failure to text me shouldn't come as a surprise to me. He doesn't seem to have much of an affinity for texting, as the sparce conversations we had when he was out of town for school would show.

Perhaps this is what a woman feels like, experiencing all the joys of the menstrual cycle. :-)

He showed up at our ward family home evening this time a week ago (the following day). I gave him distance. I'm glad I didn't get up and leave in irrational frustration the instant I saw him leave, though I was tempted to. Apparently he went to grab a Frisbee to play a few rounds of Ultimate, which is a favorite of mine. I treated him autonomously, just as I did all the other players, until the darkness stopped us. I definitely saw my prayers answered as a number of members expressed generally the desire to get together to do various things throughout the week. Joseph was one of them, wanting to organize a group to play Ultimate Frisbee that Thursday.

He approached me just after I said a general goodbye to everyone.

"Hey Aaron--I feel like it's been a while since we've talked."

Yep. He vaguely mentioned he had been busy.

"Are you coming to play Frisbee on Thursday?"

Do you really think by now I would say "no" even to playing a game of dolls with him?

Thursday was a blast. I caught a handful of important scoring throws. I teased him for nearly making me blush, given some of the praise he gave me for my work. Before the arranged carpool the next night to a local Institute activity, I texted him to see if he was planning on going. Turns out he wasn't--"I have some personal matters to attend to", he said. I could only speculate as to his meaning, but I renewed my invitation that he was more than welcome to come to me if he needed to get anything off of his chest.

This past Sunday: it's quite clear that he hasn't quite adjusted to our new schedule, as he is always late/absent for Elders' Quorum. Sunday School passes.

And then there was that moment before Sacrament meeting.

The halls were thronged. It was the missionary farewell of a member who also happened to be a recent convert, baptized in our humble young single adult ward. I was quite distracted between that and my waiting for the other ward to vacate the chapel to allow me to attend to my calling. Joseph approached me, in spite of the crowd. We chatted for a moment as I explained the circumstances behind the throng of visitors, and excused myself to attend to my calling.

It was his eyes. I had this overwhelming impression that still haunts me now that there were things that he wanted to say to me that he wasn't expressing. I spent the rest of the day with this internal struggle. I even prayed, expressing to the Lord that I was both eager and yet extremely hesitant to act on the impression to text Joseph and give him a chance to speak his mind if I indeed wasn't imagining things, unsure of whether this was a spiritual prompting or the product of my own frenzied mind.

As I reflected afterward, two impressions came to mind. One was to give him the opportunity to contact me himself, and if nothing else, I could voice my impression to him the following night at family home evening. The next impression was this: "Joseph does not need your distance."

Whoa. Talk about cryptic.

What could make this more interesting? Guess who was nowhere to be seen last night?

So I'm left feeling half-baked. Am I imagining things? Or is this the gift of discernment that I am absolutely certain that I have? There are certainly a number of dynamics in our relationship that I'm not even privy to, or so my gut instinct goes. Assuming that was a spiritual impression I had at Church; what is it that Joseph is leaving unspoken? Something more private than the personal challenges he has already confided in me? Is he uncomfortable with the newfound understanding that I experience same-sex attraction? Does he suspect that I am much more attracted and drawn to him than I let on? Does he see that as a threat to our friendship? These are the things that I suspect the most. But then again, what if it's something else entirely? What if he is much more intimately aware of my sort of human experience than he leads those around him to believe? What if there is indeed a reason why I have felt my gaydar triggered numerous times by him?

Crazed passion and unanswered questions seem to be the breeding ground for insanity. o_O


  1. i've been there. it stinks man. but hey, you're not the only person who has felt that way. so maybe that is some solace.

    1. Thanks :-). It just feels good to have a place where these things don't have to get bottled up.