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So, You Want To CHANGE?

Written by An Anonymous JONAH Guy

I was thinking about a statement I recently read from a mental health professional.  It was a warning against the whole “change movement” and how guys who try to change, and “fail”, are prone to pain, grief and even suicide.

I realize that I am part of this “change movement”.  I talk with a lot of guys, participate in seminars and experiential weekends, and am frequently quoted.   I have become aware that this involvement is not trivial.  We’re talking about people’s lives.  I often say that I would never encourage people to take on this “journey”.  I would never tell a gay person that he is wrong or bad or shouldn’t be that way.  This journey ain’t no picnic either.

But give me a guy who “wants” change.  Someone who has it in his heart to find a new life . . . to connect with G-d and his true self and not be lead around by the hole in his chest (and then his penis) . .  and I’m off and running.  I’ll jump in with both feet and all 2000 minutes of my cell phone.

But what of men who hit the “wall”?  Those whose ego, willfulness, humanness, whatever, just revolts.  The ones who get stuck right smack dab in the middle of the pain. They can’t go back to the lie fully and they see no future for themselves.  I know them, because I have been one of them . . . and some days, I am one of them. If we tell the truth, we all feel like this at times yet if we don’t let our transitory feelings define us, then we can start journeying again once the crisis has passed.

Two years ago I wanted to put a gun to my head.  But I couldn’t.  I decided that a sick, messed-up father, who was fighting for his life, was better than a dad who killed himself.  I can be selfish, but not that selfish . . . nobody is better off if someone kills himself.  But still, I was willing to give up, to just say “F*** it!  They are better off without me.”  I hear that from lots of men.

What am I getting at?  I guess it’s the responsibility of taking a stand, of speaking my truth that change is possible. That for me, it is, and was, worth every second of the pain, confusion and failures.  It scares me when the reality of people’s lives comes crashing through.  At that moment I am all too aware that after someone calls me, they are then alone at night with their thoughts, fears and pain.

I am often harsh, flip and irreverent when I speak on this issue . . . I guess sometimes that’s needed.  But again, these are real people with real lives and what I have to say actually influences people.  That scares me.  I am fearful when I hear statements like the one I heard from the psychologist about the damage this “change thing” can cause.  And I believe there are lots of people who mean well but do cause damage.

There are people in AA who kill themselves, they just can’t seem to get sober . . . the pain and humiliation gets too great and they end it.  AA is still a great and awesome spiritual entity.

How do I end this rant?  I guess with speaking what’s on my mind.  I have a mixture of deep love for the men and women who take this journey . . . and I have a fear of taking a stand.  But I’m willing to push through that fear and take a stand, with reality staring me in the face.  MY truth is my truth and if it makes waves, so be it.  Seems I can’t shut up when G-d wants me to talk.

And to those who are in the thick of it, in what I call “no man’s land” . . . that place of confusion where the past doesn’t work, the future is unclear, and the pain of the present is almost too great to bear, I say hang on, pray with all your heart and soul, yell, scream, talk, and stay connected.  The miracle may be closer than you think.  Please don’t give up on life.

And to Ben, Arthur, Elaine, David M and Richard C . . . I honor you for taking a stand and speaking your truth.  I believe in you and your missions . . . and am awed by your courage.  Thanks for saving my life and countless others.

UPDATED DECEMBER 2004