July 1, 2011

Manly Things...

Lately, I’ve been trying to engage myself in activities that don’t exactly interest me in hopes of releasing my inner-man. I know he’s in there somewhere, so I’m knocking on the door asking him to come out and play. As such, I have been planning on playing more sports, working out, camping, and other means of getting dirty.

So far, I played kick ball and, on my turn, got the ball stuck in a nearby tree, ending the game. I twisted my knee running. I actually took my shirt off at the beach the other day and pretended not to be self-conscious. I recently went shooting and last year, I went paintballing. I can’t exactly say that any of these have brought me any closer towards my goal of being more masculine, but it was fun trying.

Why would I want to do these things? And what do these things have to do with being manly? Your guess is as good as mine. But in my mind, it’s all about emulation. As much as this might be controversial to say, and as little as people might understand or agree with this, I want to be attracted to the opposite sex. I don’t know if missing a shower once in a while, or becoming an expert marksman, or getting tackled will get me to that goal. But, for now, I’m faced with some questions.

First off, why do I want to become more masculine? Carol actually asked me that question and I was surprised that I didn’t already know the answer. She apparently figured that out from my lack of response, so she said, “If it’s really something that you want to be, then awesome, but if it’s just for other people’s benefit…” And it made me think, ‘Am I doing this just for other people or am I doing it for me? Or, more importantly, am I doing it for the Lord?’

Even so, I told her, “I like being me, right up until I’m around other people.”

“Any other people,” she asked.

“Yeah, other people. Some girls, but mostly men. And it doesn’t even matter if they know I’m struggling with this problem or not. It’s just me trying to be more like them. Does that make sense?”

“Yes, it does. So is it so that you will feel more comfortable when you are around them? Or do you currently feel like they feel uncomfortable around you when you're being you? Does THAT make sense?”

‘A little too much sense,’ I thought to myself. But, as always, she hit it right on the nose. All this time, I’ve been trying to act straight, I’ve been doing it to impress or to fit in with other people.

“Okay,” Carol said. “So have you enjoyed the new activities that you’ve tried?”

“Mmmm, some of them,” I said, trying to be as truthful as possible.

“It sounds like you had a few setbacks, but really, twisting your ankle and getting a ball stuck in a tree happens to everyone.”

“It’s true. I'm not saying that I'm doomed to never be able to play kickball. Nor am I claiming kickball to be the manliest of all sports either,” to which we both laughed.

Going back to the original question (Is doing all these things getting me anywhere?), because if the answer is No, why do them? I guess I should ask myself if these things have already changed me for the better. And the answer is… yes. But not in the way I might have been originally hoping for. When I was playing kickball, I was not mindfully doing it to become straight. I did it because I wanted to participate in our Branch activity. I didn’t start working out so that I’d transform myself into some straight Adonis. I’m doing it to keep in shape. The more I really think about it, the times I’ve come closer to meeting my goal, are the times when I wasn’t consciously working towards it.

Perhaps this doesn’t mean that I can never think of working at becoming straight. Perhaps that isn’t even something that can or should be worked towards! But the more I do things that I don’t necessarily enjoy in hopes of achieving what I feel my Heavenly Father wants me to do, not only do I think He’ll be pleased with me, but I also think that I will enjoy doing those things. And, in a blog that is all about changing my desires, that conclusion is very comforting to me.