Behind The Mask

I have worn a mask most of my life something which brought me to the edge of attempted suicide not just once but twice. When I wrote the following poem a number of years ago I honestly believed that suicide was the only way to remove the mask, How wrong I was. . .

Behind The Mask

I wear the mask each day
I put it on when I awake
And face the day anew.

As long as the mask is in it's place
Then none shall see the inner face
The hurt, the pain, the inner hell.

Sometimes the mask is heavy
It seems impossible
To lift it into place.

On days like those I hide and wait
until the mask feels lighter
or at least I get it to my face.

The Pain it hides
Keeps my soul on fire
Unseen unto the world

The thing becomes too real
Forget I sometimes do
What lies behind the mask?

The pain it hides lies deep
Please, do not let others see
No matter, others must not see.

I may not survive
If others see what lies behind
The mask I wear today

So on it goes
It hurts
No hope

If others saw what lie behind
They would turn and run
Turn and run would they

If I saw myself what lie behind
Would I turn and run?
Turn and run I would

Now when I try to take it off
The pain becomes severe
For stuck in place it is

This mask I wear
To hide the pain and tears
Works no more for me

The pain it creates
Is far worse
Than the horror it hides

Without the mask I cannot survive
With the mask I die inside
What is a soul to do?

Can’t someone see my mask
And take if from my face
To see what lies beneath

Will they scream and run
from what they see?
Death, sorrow, emptiness

One day it will end
It is written in the plan
It is the only way

There is only one way
To remove the mask
For good

One way!

Often the only way to survive as a gay man in the LDS community is to create these masks of all varieties and shapes and to constantly wear them. After a time one can lose their identity from hiding behind the mask. Sometimes you think you have removed the mask only to discover that it has merely been replaced by another. As long as you are hiding in the closet the mask will remain in place. Life had taken me to the place where I truly believed the only solution to getting the mask from my face was suicide. Each time I was near the point of accepting myself I would hear another talk in church or another lesson in priesthood and the mask was put in place stronger that ever. It got to the point where I honestly thought that suicide was my destiny, it was the only way out. When you feel this way about yourself due to what you have been taught life losses it's meaning, you feel like you might as well end it now because there is no hope for you anyway. Why live, why fight, your going to hell no matter what you do, when even God hates you for who you are why not make it come sooner than later. Oh my friends this is such a fallacy if only we knew the truth. The first step is to remove the mask and in order to do that you have to be able to accept yourself as a Gay Child of God and know that your Heavenly Father loves you as you are. The only problem here is that because church teachings many have come to believe that they are unlovable even by God himself. This is where Suicide enters, it often becomes the only solution you see to "removing the mask permanently". Too many have chosen this path. If only the church could help it's gay members to realize how wonderful they are how much they are loved by their Father in Heaven rather than constantly pointing out the evils of who and what they are. The church's official position is to love those who "suffer from such affliction" but let me tell you, as a gay man, that is generally not what happens. As a result most remain hidden away in their private hell afraid to tell anyone their inner most "secrets". Years are spent in self loathing because you know who you really are and you have been taught since your earliest memories that being gay is next only to murder in it's heinousness. You spend a lifetime trying to be something other than what you are, and it simply does not work' So the mask remains in place. I do not ask the church to necessarily change it's doctrine just the way they treat their gay members. I believe it is as a direct result of the church's actions and preachings of it's brethren that so many are led to suicide. I pray that someday the Brethren will change their approach to the issue. Remember I am not asking them to change doctrine just how they go about dealing with their Gay and Lesbian members. Whether one chooses to Follow the church's council and remain celibate or they choose to find a partner and make a lasting commitment, the important thing to remember is that they are wonderful Children of God. I believe with all my heart that God has a special place for his gay children and that many in the church who have judged so harshly will someday be quite surprised. With the help of your loving Father in Heaven I plead with you to remove the mask, accept who you are and be grateful that your Heavenly Father created such a wonderful gay soul as yourself. Only after that has been accomplished can you truly move forward and accomplish all that you were meant to be and do in this life. I wore the mask for too many years and yes upon it's removal I did lose a few loved ones, there are some who just cannot deal with the issue, but eternally that is their problem not mine. Yes it may hurt along the way but the pain is so much less than that of having to wear the mask every moment of every day. God help you on your journey. If you ever want to talk just leave a comment with some sort of contact information and I would love to chat. All comments come to me for approval before they are posted and I will NEVER post a comment which contains personal contact information, these things will be held in the strictest confidence.

1 comment:

  1. Hey I found your blog tonight. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write this. Just over the past month I have finally decided its time to remove my mask, Im tired of living in a private hell while everyone around me thinks Im a happy son, Elder, and friend. Today during sunday school we were reading about Moses and him taking the people out of Egypt, they get to the point where the red sea is in front of them and the armies are coming from behind. They have no where to go. the lesson book asks the question; How can we develop faith that is strong enough to sustain us when we are filled with fear? It made me think of the times in my life where I have seen the Lord bless me and those who I know. I decided today that I am not going to live in fear anymore, I am finally going to come out to my parents and see where that takes me. Thanks again for sharing your personal thought and feelings.