Monday, January 18, 2010

Pieces of the Past: College, Pre-mission

By Mister Curie

It was only after my disaffection that I was able to see a pattern in my life indicating that I was not strictly heterosexual. This is part of a series of posts as I try to account for all the pieces to the puzzle of my sexual orientation. By documenting the pieces of the puzzle, I hope to be able to put the picture together. Only by being as completely honest with myself as I can will I be able to understand who I am. This third post in the series will deal with BYU my freshman year.

Shake, shake, shake. Out come more puzzle pieces . . .

Leading up to my departure to BYU I had several "good-bye" parties with friends. These invariable ended with giving hugs to everyone. I particularly enjoyed giving hugs to my best friend. He was at several of these parties and it was always the highlight of the evening. I assumed it was due to the close nature of our friendship, and maybe it was, but now I am forced to wonder. It wasn't a sexually charged hug, but I did feel a sense of giddiness after each hug, a lightness in my step, and a feeling that the world was a better place for having received that hug. I looked forward to each event that I knew he would be at, because I could anticipate a hug at the end of it.

I officially moved out on my 18th birthday and moved into the BYU dorms. On the drive there, I suddenly realized that I didn't know what life was like in the dorms. My thoughts fixated on the showering situation, did they have communal showers in the dorms? I'm sure I convinced myself that I was concerned about privacy, but my previous communal showering concerns of being made fun of and having others realize I was aroused by men played into it. I must have expressed these concerns somewhat forcefully to my mom, who was traveling with me. When we arrived at the dorms, she rolled down the car window and yelled out at one of the students exiting the dormitory, "What are the showers like in the dorms, are they communal or private?" I was mortified! But the student's confused response was reassuring, "They are private."

I was homesick at BYU. Anticipating this, I had prepared a photo album of family and friends to look. I regularly pulled the album out and stared at the pictures. I suspect I looked at the picture of my best friend the most, although, again it wasn't in a sexual way, but a deep emotionally connected way.

Not having my best friend around to encourage me to date, my regular dating schedule screeched to a grounding halt and I didn't go on a single date my entire freshman year. I just wasn't interested in the girls. I convinced myself that I was just really focused as I prepared to go on a mission and didn't want to be distracted by girls. I did have one potential mini-crush on a girl in my study group for microbiology, but it wasn't enough to ever get me to ask her on a date.

I took a mission preparation class at BYU my second semester and the professor told us that we should look at our missions as marriage prep. Our missions would teach us about the type of person we will want to marry and give us opportunities to learn how to work through personality issues. The thought of treating my mission as marriage prep may have helped me to maintain the delusion to myself of my strict heterosexuality, despite my mission experiences . . . which is a whole new post, but I'm sure he would have been appalled to think physical attraction would have played into his marriage prep analogy.

4 comments:

  1. Once again, I can really identify with what you wrote. It must be mandatory in the curriculum for BYU mission prep classes to compare mission companionships to marriage. It doesn't get much more ironic for a church that's so homophobic and dead-set against gay marriage.

    I was at BYU just for my freshman year. (I finished my degree at another school). I rarely dated, but was still very social. At the time I didn't realize it, but I had crushes on three or four guys that year. But, like you, I chalked up my disinterest in girls on focusing on preparing for my mission, and my being drawn toward guys as developing friendships that, again, would prepare me for my mission. This was one of the primary things that set me up for some big post-mission turmoil.

    Thanks for being so open MisterCurie.

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  2. Pablo, that is quite the irony. Thanks for posting your experiences, I appreciate it!

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  3. Frank Lee Scarlet24 January, 2010

    M Curie, I am so enjoying these puzzle posts, probably because it is so easy for me to identify with them. Thanks for your courage sharing!

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  4. @FLS - I'm glad you are enjoying them. I think they are helpful in helping us all to know we are not alone in our experiences.

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