Today I awoke to find this piece of good news. This past week has been full of news and blogs related to the Federal Marriage Amendment, better known as the "constitutional ban of gay marriage." I posted a message to my Yahoo! Group that was my own personal take on the matter. After emailing it also to a few friends, their response was that it needed to be more widely published on the internet. I don't usually do this, but I have decided to go ahead and post it here on my blog. It reads as follows:

This week, the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is being put before the United States government. As is expected, the conservative right is pushing heavily for this amendment, in the name of "protecting marriage."

However, I do not want to focus on ideas of marriage at this time. Rather, I wanted to share something more personal, that expresses my views as a person. I am doing this not so much because I want to ignore the marriage issue itself, but because I feel that many people fail to take into account the fact that the amendment is going to affect people. People: brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, parents, children, friends, neighbors. People.

My experiences thus far can only be described as trying, exciting, but most of all, challenging. I have been a long time coming in accepting a part of me that has always been so, despite my not allowing it to be. Youthful bliss gave way to fear. Fear of the unkown. Fear of the feelings coursing through my soul. Fear of being the person I am inside. Fear of what others would think of me once they discovered this part of me, as I knew they inevitably would. I was, and to some degree still am, afraid of myself.

I cannot count the hours I spent wishing it were not so, trying with all my might to not let that be me. I remember sitting down at one point, lost in a sea of thought, and suddenly one question popped into my head: Why me? Why should I be so lucky?

What was a question of despair turned out to be a turning point for me. Lucky. I could not fathom it. But when I thought about the concept of what it means to be lucky, I suddenly started questioning why the sorrow, why the despair. Indeed, I am lucky. I am alive. Every day I get to see the shining sun, and each night I can look to the moon and the stars in wonder. Life is all around me. I have family. I have friends.

Much of the sorrow I felt inside not only lay in those feelings from which I tried so hard to escape, but also on what they meant for someone who wanted to make a difference in the world. For a long time, I believed that others would not accept what it was I had to offer if they knew the real me. Thankfully, I was wrong. The result of this belief was a number of superficial friendships, kept so by the guy who was afraid to even get to know himself: me.

While the idea of regret has crossed my mind, I refuse to believe that the path I have walked is in any way wrong. Unless, that is, wrong means learning how to let go, to look inside myself and at last see something good, all in my own time. To be at peace with what I feel inside, and to suddenly find joy in a life that was quickly losing it.

I have learned to trust myself. I have learned that people see only what they want to see, having done so to myself for far too long. I realized, when I opened my eyes, that I was so much more than what I saw in myself. And that maybe, just maybe, others might see that as well. As I've grown and made new friends, I've discovered the true depths at which friendship runs. I've discovered that integrity counts for something, and I've discovered that hiding myself away to shelter others benefits no one.

I never imagined I would say it, but the truth is I am thankful to be the man I am today. I have come full circle. Whereas before I saw my homosexuality as a source of sadness, frustration, and shame, I now recognize that it is none of these things. I have been blessed with a unique gift: to see the world from another perspective.

I may not always be happy about it, and yes, there are still times when I lose sight of the good, but having recognized its presence, I know that it is only a matter of time before it fully becomes a part of me. It is all part of growing and living, and I would have it no other way.