Today would have been the 20th wedding anniversary---
I reflect on it, not because I wish I was still married or because I miss all of that craziness that should have never happened, but because of how far I've come since I took a deep breath and decided I had to do something about it all or it was going to end up killing me.
Yes, back then I wanted the fairy tale, I wanted the family, the house with a white picket fence, kids and a dog--hearing from my religious leader at age 23 that getting married would give me a sexual outlet and do away with my feelings felt like the silver bullet I'd been looking for all along--yes it was naive of me to think that way--but even in 1993 there didn't seem to be any other viable alternative. I didn't know any out/open gay person, I didn't know of affirmation, evergreen (thank heavens) or other support groups, although they apparently existed back then--even so, the possibility exists that anyone who would have wanted to knock some sense into me would not have succeeded--I was that determined to make everyone happy--everyone but me--and prove that I could do this.
I struggled for years figuring out how to undo the mess I had created and how dragged my now ex-wife and two children into it all and realized over and over that no matter what I did it was going to be painful if not deadly. How could I say the words out-loud, how could I admit that the choices I had made back then caused more damage and kept increasing the misery day by day? How could I have done that to someone else? To myself? Just how? Sleepless nights were spent thinking about this, crazy days were spent worrying about that; days turned into months, months turned into years, when was the madness going to end?
Years later I very much realize that what didn't kill me did make me stronger, and surprise, it really got better---I have my two children who in spite of it all still want to have a relationship with me, love me and make me proud to be their dad; a relationship with a loving, caring partner who is my best friend and who motivates and encourages me to be a better person every day--something that I couldn't even wrap my head around a few years ago; I have caring friends who have been there for me in many ways in my deepest, darkest times.
My current life can probably only be explained as a combination of luck and blessings--and yet it is still product of the decision made 20 years ago so I really can't complain, it would be silly of me to say it was a mistake, I wouldn't be where I am had it not been for where I was on 7/23/1993.
It is still interesting how life makes one reflect...