- Reject my orientation and live according to what I was told was right by the church and continue an existence that held no place for love. Continue feeling like I was living a lie, that I was a walking hypocrite. I would simply be waiting to die to enjoy my existence.
- Reject the teachings of the church and embrace my homosexuality, living as a gay guy, seeking companionship and enjoying life to some extent, but also always believe I was going to hell.
- Commit suicide.
The second choice scared me. I didn't want to go to hell. I wasn't a bad person. I really believed that choice #2 would mean an eternity in hell.
So that left third choice. I decided that dying would be better than living a miserable life waiting for death to relieve me. It would be better to make one offensive choice than to go on racking up a list of sins as I lived as a gay man. It was the best way I could think of where I didn't have to make the choice between hell and a miserable life. Just end it. The last choice I'd ever have to make.
Thinking about death was the only source of relief. I would dread the night. I knew what the night would be like. I wouldn't be able to sleep. I'd be in physical agony wanting so badly to die. I didn't know what to do or who to trust. My mind wouldn't stop. I would think about all the different ways I could kill myself. Then I would get online, and research. I would gather information about all the different methods I could think of. Success rate, level of pain, materials and preparation needed, etc. This went on for weeks.
I'd be going to or from school and unintentionally notice a tree or stair case that was high enough. I would make mental notes, "that would work. I could hang myself there in the early morning when people were asleep. People on the street wouldn't be able to see." I'd catch myself thinking those things all the time. And while I realized that was dangerous thinking, I didn't care much. The only thing that kept me from doing it was because I knew how bad it would hurt the people I loved. I couldn't do that to them. I couldn't hurt them so badly. It wasn't long though before I realized that I would hurt them no matter what I did.
I drove home for a short visit in August. I wasn't planning on telling my family, but I didn't rule it out. While I was there, my mom talked to me about things that were going on in my siblings lives. I listened to her as she blamed herself and her relationship with my father for the faults or struggles of my siblings. I knew right then and there that I couldn't tell her. She would take this "sin" upon herself, blame herself for the way I am. She already had so much going on, already on the brink of a mental breakdown.
Then, the news came on and announced that Prop 8 was being turned over to the courts to determine if it was constitutional. You have to understand, my parents were both active on the campaign. They were on the phones and going to people's doors just like the church asked them and organized them to do. So this news definitely brought out reactions. Comments were made by everyone. For example, we had been shopping at the mall together, and I tried on a shirt. My sister said, "eww- that's a fag shirt." I asked her if that was the only problem she had with it. The most stinging remark in response to the news about prop 8, was made by my dad who said, "they used to just kill the gays, that's what they should do." My mom was more subtle in her negative responses, but they were there nevertheless.
In the past, all this negativity was easily dismissed by my extreme denial of my own sexuality. In fact, in some ways I embraced it. I figured if I could hate gay people, I could hate the gay right out of me while fooling everyone else too. But now that I had come to terms with it, and knew that this unwanted orientation wasn't going anywhere, these comments were personal. They were about me. I didn't sleep much that night. Nor did I sleep at all the next night which was the last night before I was driving back to Utah. Instead I was online, finalizing my plans for suicide. It was done. The decision was made. I realized that I couldn't subject myself to that kind of talk from my family any longer. It was too painful. And while they might not say those things if they knew, I couldn't tell them because it would hurt them too much. They would hate me and blame themselves for me being so disgusting. So there it was, I was going to hurt them no matter what course of action I took.
I hated the thought of being around to remind them of how much I hurt them and embarrass them. I hated the thought that I would live knowing my family was ashamed of me. I figured, everyone dies... it was a part of life. It is natural. Not everyone is gay. That wasn't natural. So they would be able to get over my death much quicker than they would be able to get over me being gay.
The next morning, I had breakfast with everyone. I said goodbye for what I knew to be the last time. Despite only sleeping a few hours over the last two days, I left for Utah. I didn't care, I had to get away. I went over my plan. That week I was going to buy the materials I needed, write goodbye letters, and get things in order. I hadn't cried since I was 12. But, let me tell you, I was bawling. For over an hour. It wasn't because I was afraid to die. I was so upset that I was going to be such a source of pain for my family. I was distraught over how much I'd hurt them. But I knew the pain was inescapable.
The drive was emotionally draining. But that week was actually the best week since this whole situation blew up in my face. I was in control. I knew the end was coming and that it was in my hands. That was such a source of comfort. I found peace in the death that I would be inflicting upon myself. I wrote my letters. I went shopping for materials. I even started a playlist of music I was planning on listening to as I died peacefully.
I really didn't feel irrational in my approach. I really did feel that death was a logical and legitimate method to deal with my situation. I was open to any possible thought or idea that I hadn't considered that may provide a good reason for living. But I had honestly thought through everything I could think of.
After finishing a goodbye letter, I got a message from a guy in Salt Lake who I had expressed my situation to. He sent me his perspective on his experience. It was beautifully written. More than that, it had a scent to it that smelled a lot like hope. Hope was something my life was drained of long ago. But it sparked something in me. He demanded I read a book called "No More Goodbyes" by Carol Lynn Person. I knew that if that book was anything like his words, I needed to read it. It was a matter of life and death.
I went straightaway to Barnes and Nobel to buy it. This friend in Salt Lake (who I hadn't actually met in real life) kept checking up on me to see if I was reading. That wasn't a problem because I devoured that book. The words breathed life into me. It spoke of hope. I wasn't alone. There were so many people just like me. There were good LDS people out there who cared about their gay brothers and sisters. I didn't have to die. I could go forward in confidence and determination to live a good life, regardless of others opinions on what a good life was.
It gave me the courage to live in the last days of breath that I had left. It also gave me the courage to tell my family. Before I was even done reading, I purchased another copy to have mailed to my parents house.
I have to make a note here. If you feel like I describe in this post, please, PLEASE find "No More Goodbyes" by Carol Lynn Person. It saved my life. Also, send me an email. I will talk to you. If possible, I would even be willing to visit you and talk to you face to face. Life is worth living. And you are not limited to the three choices I thought I had. Happiness is waiting out there for you. More happiness then you can imagine right on the other side of thick hedges that surround you. You CAN break through those hedges into the light and there are people that will fight along with you to cut your path through. I will always be willing to help anyone in their fight because I know how painful it is to do it alone.