Thursday, 02 November 2017

My Unwanted SSA Journey

By Shivisi

by GYE Member (See all authors)

I have been struggling with unwanted same-ses attraction (SSA) since before my bar mitzvah and have experienced the struggle in different ways over the years of my journey. I find my anger seems to come out when seeing other younger guys (I'm kind of stuck as an older bachur in yeshivah because of the SSA) succeeding in their lives. They seem happy, carefree, and eventually get engaged and married while I'm stuck dealing with the same stuff I was feeling in 6th grade. That really can be hell!

I don't have solid suggestions for dissolving the anger partly because I'm not convinced that is what Hashem really wants/expects from us. "Lo nitna torah l'malachey hashareis"! Hashem who gave the struggle understands it and doesn't expect us to pretend it isn't a struggle. The pain might serve some greater purpose which we can't understand, but this knowledge doesn't mean it's not painful. A gadol in E"Y told me that I should view myself as an elite soldier handpicked for a difficult mission. My understanding of that is to acknowledge the pain and difficulty but realize the incredible nachas ruach that my struggle provides Hashem.

There are some ways that sometimes minimize the pain/anger I feel. I have found that when I compare myself to others I feel worse and anger arises at my situation, myself, and eventually Hashem. Therefore, to the extent that I can limit comparing my life with others' I can stay more positive.

Also, for me understanding the pattern of developing SSA helped a lot. I could see myself as broken rather than sick or crazy, and I continue to attempt to learn about my real needs from the SSA. It might leave me with anger about the situations I faced that led to SSA, but not the same feeling of a cruel G-d randomly picking me to suffer or whatever I thought beforehand.

One last thought that is kind of out there, I'm still not sure if I really understand it. I know that my feeling of connection to Hashem has been strongest in some of the worst times and weaker when things are going ok. Now, it's hard to measure from our own feelings of "spirituality" which aren't necessarily authentic representations of where we are holding in ruchnius in Hashem's eyes. (Women of the wall, Christians, and a bunch of other people all feel "spiritually" uplifted from whatever baloney they are doing.) However, I davened the most when I felt that there was nothing else to do because I hit rock bottom. And now that I'm b"H generally doing better I actually miss being able to cry when I'm davening. I don't know what would be if I didn't have SSA but it might be that through this I was able to have a very personal relationship with Hashem that I might have missed otherwise. I want to think about this a little more, it's similar to the idea of Hashem making the avos and imahos not have kids to have them daven, or how E"Y needs water to keep a relationship with Hashem through tefilah as opposed to mitzrayim with the nile, and same idea with the snake always having dust as food available so no connection to Hashem.
Anyways, hope my non-answer is somewhat helpful. All the best in the continued journey!
Hazthlacha!