Sunday, April 22, 2007


Flip once coined the phrase “Right Sizing”. It had a certain resonance and I gladly expropriated it on occasion. Today I realized my problem with the phrase. It implies that there is an appropriate size for things and while I can tell you twelve ounces are the right size for a can of soda – not the monstrous mega-gulps that Seven-eleven wants to foist upon us, I am less sure of the right size for my gayness.

This weekend was the third Friday of the month: Married Gay group at the Center. I look forward to this monthly event – an interesting group, a safe environment to continue to grow, and a mass migration to a Gay bar after the meeting to hang and drink.

This weekend was also “fence” weekend. My son-in-law was coming down to help – okay, more than just help – replace 120 feet of fencing (a daunting task). Another son was also coming to be part of the crew – family central. The festivities fully commenced Saturday morning, but the masses were gathering Friday night.

A few months ago I would have fixated to the last moment on how to spend my Friday night: this time by mid-week when I realized how things were breaking, I announced to Carrie that I would be home Friday night, home where I should be.

Normally the right size would be to go to my meeting – it is only once a month and it is not as if I am going out for a CL style hookup. But this week it would have been the wrong size. And as I thought about it today I realized that much of the rest of my life will be a balancing act – balancing an already incredibly full life while integrating new pieces into my puzzle.

Part of the problem is that while Einstein gave us relativity, Newton gave us conservation of matter. If life is measured by hours and all my hours are accounted for, then anything added will create decisions and choices which can be summed up in one word: conflicts. Carrie and I are trying to create a responsible framework – my nights out and the same for her – if only for a glass of wine with a friend. But on many weekends the commitments of life fill the schedule before any chance to create the separations.

It has been a great weekend – surrounded by family: building, eating, drinking, and of course talking. We had a festive dinner last night – nine of us – and I was in my customary place at the head of the table. Not much more I could ask: which is ultimately the problem – balancing the joy of this family weekend with being gay. Not “being” gay in the essence of Nate sense – I am out to the family and my gayness is pretty much accepted in many ways. No, the problem is living gay – meeting men, developing relationships. Heck, with my schedule even hooking up is more complicated than I would have thought.

So I have no magic answer today. I realize that having a busy life is not an excuse to stop accepting - and growing with my gayness, but I also realize that my family has to maintain a clear primacy. It has been a year and a half of challenges: I suspect I will find my way through this also – being true to my family without denying myself. And I am sure there will be times when I choose poorly, but hopefully more often I will choose wisely.


grace said...

I do not get why being "gay" (i use quotes only to describe what seems to be your particular notion of "gay") is all wrapped up in activities that take place outside the rest of your life. Is that what being "gay" is all about for you? If so, you shame many gays with that interpretation. You are gay, or not, right? Or no?

Fraternizing specifically with other gays, and certainly hooking up for sex....should be WAY DOWN on your list of priorities as it concerns your FAMILY. Yes...I'm being judgmental. You give "the gays" a bad rap when you seem to equate (maybe it's just my perception...but i very sincerely think not) your gayness completely with your activities outside the home environment.

HOWEVER...if that is indeed all being gay is about to you...then you probably should very thoroughly reconsider the "outing" of yourself and subsequent demise of your marriage that you are embarking upon. "Being gay" in and of itself, should not interfere with the well-being of your family and the continued building and nourishment of the relationships there established. If it is...then maybe you have a warped view of what "being gay" really means.

you continue to frustrate me,

however...i offer nothing but...

love and grace,

Nate said...

I don't know Grace - I frequently accept your comments as being on the right track, but methinks I am getting a bad rap here which means maybe I expressed myself poorly.

My priorities are my family - immediate and extended, my career which I enjoy and supports us all, and my friends - a very straight crew at that.

But being gay is not just a state of mind or excuse to look at raunchy porn. It is - at least to me - about meeting people, developing friendships and relationships with like minded people and yes, having sex with the right one(s).

And yes, would it be nice someday to sit with my family and with a gay friend engaging in the day to day activities of real life: absolutely.

I do not think my view of gay is that warped but I do think it is that difficult to start a new life at my age.

I wrote of "integrating new pieces into the puzzle." The puzzle is my life, my family and an ongoing deep and abiding friendship with an respect for Carrie. The pieces are being gay and the pieces must be fit into the existing puzzle, not the other way around.

Sorry for writing another post here and believe me, I wish I did understand the place I currently am better.

Grace - thanks for challenging me, even if in a rare mode I choose to "fight" back.


grace said...

thanks for at least listening to me, nate... may have sounded like (it does to me a bit) that i am trying to get you to fit into my perception of what a "good" gay in your situation might look like. i've had so many dealings of late...with folks who write off ALL gays as hedonistic and such....i'm may be a bit overly sensitive to someone like you...a supposed "family man" coming "out" and behaving in ways that a family man would not typically the name of being gay. i'm reacting to that aspect more than i should...probably....

being on the "front lines" of this gay/christian debate thing tends to warp you after a bit...and so...i'm certainly wiling to admit that the warping may be on my end in this instance...

i'm find it refreshing that you are so completely transparent with your thoughts and feelings....i admire that about you....even if it tends to provide a bit of fodder for some of my sometimes ill-conceived notions about what you really OUGHT to be more concerned with...

with love and grace,

grace said...

as a teacher of english...i'm compelled to make all aware of the fact the there are several TYPOS in my last comment...that appear to be the work or an semi-literate person..

those are TYPOS!! not grammatical errors!! lol

i feel better now....
(not a WORD about my lack of capital letters in this follow-up!) hee hee!

grace said...

"or an semi-literate person.."

GOOD GRIEF!!! the above correction should have read

"of a semi-literate person..."

I think I'll go on to bed now.

nitey nite! ;)

Paul said...

Interesting observation. Just because you're gay doesn't mean that your family doesn't come first.

Flip said...

Hi Grace,

You said:

"a supposed 'family man' coming 'out' and behaving in ways that a family man would not typically the name of being gay. i'm reacting to that aspect more than i should...probably...."

I can't say how this applies to Nate, but it certainly applies to me even though I wish it were not so.

To me there are two challenges. 1) Being COMPLETELY honest with yourself. Completely doesn't mean only honest enough to justify self-centered behavior. 2) Putting others' safety, health and well-being first - and this starts with ones' family.

For me, it takes a whole lot of growing up, courage and honesty to try to achieve these two goals. And it is a daily challenge.

It's often no fun growing up...being a family man...but it does have its rewards. And if that's the path one has chosen, it's not right to leave the path before the journey is finished.


Brad said...

Being gay and a father are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I'm happy that this is becoming apparent to you.