Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Disney World

I am very excited because this week we are going to Disney World (one of my favorite places on the planet). This will be my four year olds first time and he can hardly wait for this adventure. School, work, and my fragile relationship with my wife have made this vacation seem like one of the greatest vacations of all time. The break will be a great time to reconnect with my wife and her family and give me time away from the grind of life.

Anyway, while making preparations for our trip I had a sudden flashback. The last two summers of my high school career I was lucky enough to be selected as a member of the Idaho Quiz Bowl team which meant that I got to attend the national competition which was held at Disney World. For a week we got to stay at the Contemporary Resort and have park passes. I was lucky enough to have team mates and an advisor who thought that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously so she made sure we had more than ample play time to have fun in the parks. While most of the other teams were buried in study materials in their rooms, we were allowed to run free through Disney World.

These trips were two of the greatest most exciting trips of my life up to that point. I remember how much fun I had hanging out with my friends and exploring the parks on our own (our advisor was very hands off). The first year was very uneventful but fun. The second year however is the setting for the flashback that I just recently remembered.

We had decided to go to Epcot (which is a pretty fun place though not my favorite). Eventually we made it to the "Honey I shrunk the Audience" ride/movie/whatever it is. I remember standing in line and seeing two guys, in front of us,  holding hands as we were waiting to enter the building. I had never seen two guys do this before and at the time it seemed a little odd to me.  After standing in line for a while with me staring at this couple, we finally went inside and found a seat. We were situated a few rows behind these guys so I was able to watch them the entire time, I couldn't take my eyes off of them. I guess that's why I don't remember what this attraction entailed.  At one point one of them leaned over and kissed the other on the cheek, I was shocked, my naive little Idaho boy eyes could not understand what I had seen. I don't even remember anything about this "ride" because I was so fixated on these guys. Once everything was over we headed outside and I saw them yet again, only this time they kissed full on the mouth. I had no words to describe what I had just witnessed, I didn't know what to think, I only knew I was interested in this gay couple. I finally had put two and two together and realized I had spotted my first in the live gay couple (let's just say for being on the quiz bowl team representing an entire state, I am not proud of how naive and dimwitted I was at this moment).

We moved on to the next attraction and I never thought about this experience again until two days ago as I was getting things ready for our trip, suddenly a wall of sounds, colors, and then these images came to the forefront of my mind. I was so happy for that couple. They seemed so much more brave to me now with the knowledge that I have about the struggles of being gay, let alone an openly gay couple in one of the most family centric locations on the planet. This trip took place in 2000, there are still far too many places where the affection between these two men would be mocked or scorned and possibly result in physical harm. I never realized that two men could love each other and be in a relationship like theirs when I was a stupid 17 year old kid.  I may not have understood their relationship and I definitely didn't realize that I was gay, but I knew I was ok with their expressing their love, and I didn't know why.

Well, today I know why, I am gay and their relationship is the one that I desire. I however am a married mormon man so this presents a predicament that still requires some sorting out.

This Disney trip will be a very different experience from that wonderful trip nearly thirteen years ago. I will not be shocked if I see a gay couple holding hands or kissing (though I may be a little jealous), this time I will have my wife standing next to me probably questioning silently if that's what her husband wants and wondering if our marriage will last. I don't know what the future holds but the past is giving me some insights. All I can do is go forward each day being honest with my wife and try to insure that we continually communicate so that we make sure we are in agreement where we want our relationship to go.

1 comment:

  1. That's fascinating. I knew of my gay orientation when I was only 12, so I would not have had the same experience that you did. Knowing myself at 17, I probably would not have been okay with the couple. I had such a hard time dealing internally with my emotions, that I would have been mad at the couple for bringing them up, and judged them very harshly (in my head, of course). But at the same time, it would have been so hard not to stare longingly.

    After I grew a little, I became better at dealing with my orientation and the emotions that hormones tend to accentuate. I've never questioned my commitment to my wife and family, but I still find guys attractive.