Saturday, February 25, 2006

The story of a hurricane

In September of 2005, I told my wife that I am gay. We had been married a little more than ten years.

Like many closeted gay men, I spent considerable psychological energy over the years trying to deny my sexuality. For a long time, I was as successful as one can get in such an endeavor. No one knew I was gay -- not my wife, not my family, not my parents, not my friends. I knew, but I couldn't admit it to myself. I couldn't be gay. Being gay didn't fit with the life I had envisioned and then built for myself. So just as New Orleans protected itself from floods and storms with a complicated system of levees and dams, so too did I protect my life from my homosexuality with a complicated system of emotional levees and dams.

A series of events over the course of 2005 led to the collapse of my levee-and-dam system and shortly after Katrina hit New Orleans, a perfect storm hit my personal life and I hit rock bottom. On September 17, just a couple of days after going to a therapist for the first time to discuss my homosexuality, I sat down with my wife and told her that I am gay. And with that, the city that was my former life was flooded and completely underwater.

My wife's compassion and acceptance was the first step in cleaning up. We've drained the the flood waters and have found that not all of the city left behind can be rebuilt. Some structures will have to be torn down. Some survived, but will have to be transformed -- including my relationship with my wife. New parts of the city will be built and allowed to flourish rather than be shut off behind another system of emotional levees and dams.

This blog will chronicle the rebuilding effort, which is already well underway.