Tuesday, July 11, 2006
A little calmed down
I am still not ready to see anyone in my family(most of all my dad and older brother) so I am hanging out here at the library until they kick me out, then I'll drive around until everyone is asleep before going home. I'm trying to see that my family is doing this out of love, but I keep feeling that when they look at me all they see is the gay, as if that is the most important part. In the end it will work out, I hope. If it doesn't, well, I'll be at college in less than three months. I just have to keep from doing something self-destructive just to hurt them. Deep breaths, Jason, deep breaths.
Jason, man, I would be pissed too if someone invaded my privacy like that.
One thing I try to remember when parents FREAK out is that often their concept of "gay" is not based in reality. It is based on lies they have heard from anti-gay leaders and based on their experience of seeing what happened to gay people from their school days.
I know for my folks, they thought I would have a dreadful life because of the gays and lesbians they knew growing up ended up violently killed or miserable. My mom (who is totally cool with me and my gayness) reminds me that it is hard for some parents to understand the world today and that they need a big learning curve.
Of course I don't know your folks, so they could just be psycho, but more likely they are incomplete souls like the rest of us desperately needing grace (and lots of good education).
Yeah, nothing self-destructive. You are too precisou for that. Be pissed and sin not...or something like that.
As one blogger told me when I had dropped off the radar screen for a while:
"If you're OK, stick your head up and let us know you're OK.
If you're not OK, stick your head up and let us know what we should be praying for..."
Keep the faith and keep writing!
I just found and read your blog. I can empathize a lot with what you are feeling. I kept my battles and struggles silent and to myself for 30 years until the Lord finally gave me the right people and the right time to begin to deal with the trauma of my childhood and the self-loathing I had for so long because of my SSA.
I am praying for you...
Monday, July 10, 2006
I'm pissed, and I don't mean drunk
I am not an angry person. No, really, I'm not. People would try to piss me off at school but they never could. The one time they did see me get pissed was when they weren't even trying: I went to the bathroom and came back to find that a kid had dug around in my books and pulled out my journal. I almost killed him right then and there. The only thing that makes me really angry is an invasion of my privacy. Today, I found out it was majorly breached, in more ways than one.
My dad told me he wanted to have a talk with me. Fine. I didn't really want to talk to him because the only time he ever wants to talk with me is when he has something to say about my sexuality, but I figure that since he is my father, I should talk to him.
We make the obligatory smalltalk(you know, where we talk about pointless stuff until I want to scream) and he says something along the lines of, "I was searching through the glovebox of your truck and I found something." Shit. That is my only place to keep anything private: right now I am living in a one bedroom apartment with my dad and brother. He had found my journal and the first entry just happened to be basically what I talked about in this post, except much more raw. He of course saw nothing wrong with it("As a father it would have been irresponsable of me to put it down once I had read the first line"). He then went on to say that he had talked to my older brother to see if I had had any conversations with him(which I had) and see what I said.
Am I not supposed to be pissed here? He didn't understand why I refused to look at him when I see that basically anytime I let out what is in my heart and head he automatically requisitions it. And it gets worse. He wants me to go to a Christian therapist that he picked out who will report everything I say to him. Fuck no. I'm not gonna pour out all my deepest secrets(like the fact that I think Adrian Grenier is a total hottie) just so they can be reiterated to my parents.
In an attempt to perform what I call Parental-psycho-fucknalasis my dad asks me "Tell me who you are" and I tell him point blank i am not playing that game where he basically uses everything I say to tell me how fucked up I am and how much help I need. Then of course he throws out that origonal line, "We only do this because we love you." Bull. Since when does love demand that someone else change? I show people I love them by listening to them and discovering what their passion is and spending time with them. My parents show love by trying to turn me straight. They have never once asked me what my passion is. They don't ask about my dreams and aspirations. The only time my dad has ever wanted to do something with just me it was so we could talk about the fact that I am a fucking fag. They say they want to get to know me but that isn't true, otherwise they would focus on something other than the fact that guys make me horny.
What right does my dad have to even bring up my sexuality? He is the one who was too much of a fucking pussy to even have the sex talk with me(ooh, is that some of my latent anger towards my father that caused me to be a fag?). They say that we all failed to talk in this last year(in which they knew I liked guys but we never talked about it). Bull. They made one attempt to talk to me about it. It seems to me that love doesn't give up that easily. The people I care about know I love them, because I have always been there for them. Where were my parents when I was beat up for being American? Where were they when I was spit on because I was white? Where were they when I sat in school every day, carving bloody shapes into my arm with a pencil. Where were they when I didn't have a knife, so I ripped a nickel-sized chunk of flesh out of my hand with my fingernails? All those times when it should have been obvious that something was wrong, they weren't there. Apparantly those things weren't important enough for them to get to know me, to find out what was wrong. I guess I have to get off on guys fucking before that happens.
I have to go now, I left my dad sitting at the park because I wasn't willing to ride home with him, and I am writing this at the library. My time is up and someone is waiting behind me.
And asking you to go to a therapist who would report to him? Does he not understand therapy? One of the reasons it is ever effective is because it is a safe environment. By asking the therapist to reveal what you talked about, it is no longer safe.
About the other stuff, I can't even speak to it as I have never been in that place (cutting), and I have no idea why your parents didn't intervene. But their reaction to your gayness is obviously rooted in 'fear for your eternal soul', which -- though it may sound extreme, at least tells you that they care. That's what I try and remember whenever my mom and I get into it.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
The cruelest of cruelties
I can deal with my older brother thinking that I had given up in trying to become straight: he has no inkling of what I am dealing with and what I have gone through because he has never dealt with it. But what if I met someone(in real life... sorry to all my internet peeps but it just isn't the same) who was dealing with the same things I am? I read what people have to say online and it is easy for me to only see the things I want to see: I find myself reading almost exclusively things written by Christians who are gay. Sometimes I see myself easily accepting what people who I agree with(gay Christians) have to say while discounting the other(ex-gay) side. I have to ask myself, am I doing this because God has given me discernment or because I am happy where I am now, and don't want to change?
The reason all these questions are popping up right now is that yesterday I got to talking with someone I had hung out with a few times. We talked about God and things in his past and different stuff and something he kept saying really struck me. He said, "I have basically gone through everything a guy can go through." To me this either made him an idiot who didn't realize that homosexuality was something some guys deal with, or he had actually gone through it. He didn't seem like an idiot and he said that phrase enough times that it seemed like he was trying to tell me without telling me... i.e. it was something I would only notice if I was looking out for it.
We start talking about trust and then for a while I get real silent and he asks why. I tell him that I am deciding whether or not I can trust him. So finally I realize that besides the possibility of him telling others(which didn't seem very likely) the only thing I could lose by telling him was our friendship, which was new and therefore easy to risk.
So in my very blunt, direct way(sarcasm here) I tell him, "Well, I am not really attracted to girls." If he hadn't got what I was saying or was like "what do you mean?" I think I would have screamed, or possibly my head would have exploded. There is nothing worse(and I have had this happen) then telling someone one of the hardest things in the world and them not getting it. I think my biggest fear is telling someone I am gay and them thinking I am joking.
His response was something along the line of, "Yeah, I used to be attracted to gusy too." Forgive me for saying this, but at this point I was so happy I about creamed my pants. Finally, a real person who knew what I was going through. Woohoo! But part of his phrase struck me, used to??? When I had hoped to meet a Christian who knew what I was dealing with, I always assumed that being gay was part of the deal. Grr.
So we had a really good talk(which my next post will be all about) but the end result is that, gosh dang it, he sparked something in me that I thought was long gone. Something that I remember tearing my life apart. Sometimes I wonder how cruel God can be, playing all these tricks on me. What he gave me is much more sinister than shame or self-hatred. He gave me Hope.
Screw hope. I was happy with who I was.
I really feel for you, whatever the outcome. I remember going back and forth for years - and honestly, it was really really distracting. I hope things work out.
This post addressed a lot of those instincts. I'm not coming out for anyone but me - and I'm doing it because the truth should come out.
I love this quote:
The closet is not where homosexuals hide - it is where the truth is hidden until we take it out into the light. (from Rob Eichberg's classic book Coming Out: An Act of Love.)
And the reason I love it is because it's true. The more that people know about me, the more they can't deny that good, decent, loving and caring men are also gay. We aren't all drug-crazed circuit bois or child-craving pedophiles. We work, we vote, we contribute and we volunteer. We are not sex-crazed monsters - but we are tired of living in a closet, or in a box of celibacy.
I've had to come to my own undersanding of God - one that will take me exactly where I am, and love me unconditionally. I've had to come to understand that there is no asterisk in the verse God so loved the world* that he sent his only begotten son that says *this means the straight world, moron.
God wants me to be happy, joyous and free. No matter what the Christian right says, I didn't choose this; I was made this way.
If you'd like to read the thoughts of one closer to your age, check out Geek Boi's reflections on my post over here. It's a very worthy read.
I'm just glad you continue to post and struggle. It's only through the struggle that you'll find your way to peace, and eventually, to acceptance.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
My brother is an intense person; he focusses on his ministry and not much else, anything that doesn't align with that is unimportant. While it makes him a great minister it can make him lousy at relationships. Despite our differences, I know he is a man of God, and has gone through a lot to get there. Yesterday I realized that he expects everyone to come to the same conclusions he has, to reach where he is at without the intervening years of experience. I cannot and will not let those expectations be placed on me; I am where I am at today because God has brought me here, if God wants me to come to the conclusions my brother is at He will bring me there. My job is to follow follow God, not to "become" anything.
Expectations have nearly torn me apart before and I won't let it happen again. No man can say where God will take me and no one has a right to. The only expectation I will live up to is seeking God first in all things. In the end He makes the decisions, not me, my brother or anyone else. If I am doing what I think God wants then I won't beat myself up when I make a mistake. If God wants me to become straight then He will bring me to the place where I believe that to be His will. Is self-deception possible? Yes, but I will not let it force me into inaction.
Does any of this clear up any confusion for me? Not really, but it calms the turmoil in my heart. I can sleep easy knowing that God won't lead me wrong.
What impresses me about you is your integrity. It is easy to stuff our feelings and desires, make believe they don't exist or don't matter or are less important than others' needs. From what you write, seems you are willing to be honest with yourself and others, which can help so much in hearing God's heart.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
More fragile than I thought...
Right now I am in a bit of a funk. The past two years, and especially the past six months have been all about coming to terms with who I am. These months have been the happest, ever. For the first time I bared my soul and allowed myself to feel. When someone said they loved me I felt it inside of me, instead of just thinking, "Yeah, right. Not if they knew." When someone hugged me instead of recoiling at their touch because I was unclean, I hugged them back, thinking that maybe, just maybe I deserved to be loved. I actually had some real conversations with my parents. I showed them my heart, who I really was and even though they may disagree my relationship with them is better than ever. And best of all, I really discovered who God was. I discovered that I don't need to change for him to love me. I can be gay and Christian. It was like all my efforts to change were preventing him from working in me. Now I feel like all of that is slipping away.
When I arrived here in the US, I was so sure of myself. I could say I was gay and not cringe. The other night I had a long talk with my older brother. I love him so much. He is a real man of God and has always been there for me. So we are talking and he wants to know what's up with me, and I tell him(he already knew I was "struggling with homosexuality(he was the first I had told)") that I have accepted the fact that I am gay and may never change. First of all he made sure I knew that he loved me. Than he responds, in his most loving manner(he can be fairly blunt at times and tends to steamroll the opposition), saying that it seems like I've given up because I am afraid of failing. He talked a bit about being decieved and says I am putting myself in bondage, because if I choose to be gay and celibate(I am not sure what I believe about that yet) that I will be fighting it my whole life and will be putting myself in bondage to homosexuality. I try to explain that having my life revolve around homosexuality by trying to get rid of it is bondage but he doesn't understand. He goes on to use a cancer analogy and says that if he had cancer wouldn't I want him to get treatment, even if the success rate was very low?
I tried to explain what I felt, what has happened to me over the last six months but I just can't get it across. It seems like all that is irrelevant. I am starting to wonder; is it? Was the last six months a lie? Was my conviction that I am doing the right thing really just deception? I don't know what to do. My brother said that the way I was last summer, when I was fighting it, is better. Last summer I hated myself. I looked in the mirror and wanted to throw up. I would lie in bed thinking about running a knife down my chest, then thrusting it in just below the sternum. Or maybe drawing it across my arms, and watching the blood well and begin to pour as my life seeps out of me in a crimson cascade. I've thought a lot about it. Last night I was looking at the knives, and wondering, is that it for me? I set the phone down beside me and prayed that God would send help, that someone, anyone would call. If he can do miracles why can't he make someone pick up the phone and rescue me? It seems like I am losing myself. Do I have to resign myself to a life of deception or a life of self-hatred? Should I just end it? I don't want to have to go back to the way I was, but if what I have gotten over the last six months is all a lie I don't want that either. I don't want any of it.
Sorry about the stuff with your brother. I do not mean any disrespect to him (or any of the people in my life who feel the same way, for that matter), but I cannot understand how people feel that living in a state of self-hatred is better than accepting God's love, and learning to accept yourself.
I cannot say what God wants for your life... celibacy, relationship, heterosexuality... but I can say that God does not want you to hate yourself. If the last six months of your life have been about accepting your sexuality, then perhaps the next six months should be focused on something else... maybe just let the gay thing lie for a while and once you're over the 'trauma' of it, then think about it. I don't really know you, so it's hard to even think of giving advice (and if you read my blog, you know, I'm hardly the person to be doing that anyway), but it's possible the whole thing is too raw right now anyway.
Just my thoughts. Have fun in the US!
I am not convinced that when God looks at people, he sees what is bad, I think we do that (myself excluded of course, as I am SO bad, God hates me, but everyone else he likes!). Maybe it would help to find someone who can explain to you how God sees you. I can already tell that you are articulate, caring, sensative and eager to the point of desperateness to be a good person, to do the right thing. These are the signs of a good person; perhaps a very fragile person.
The difference between us, of course, is that I'm nearly 50, and I've been hiding in the church for 15 years - and coming out has been like tearing a bandage off a hairy chest.
I know you're out - but the arguments for coming out and "staying out" are very similar. My friend Tom S. wrote this great post about why being out is best. I highly recommend it.
This quote made me want to cry, though:
He goes on to use a cancer analogy and says that if he had cancer wouldn't I want him to get treatment, even if the success rate was very low?
No, as a matter of fact, I wouldn't, for three reasons.
I watched my father spend 2 years fighting tooth and nail against cancer. He spent every waking moment trying to stay alive. He bought a 2 year pass to the YMCA, even when he could no longer get out of bed without assistance. He died anyway and was a complete mess for most of those 24 months.
In contrast, 15 years later, I watched my friend Steve spend a year and a half knowing he had cancer, and saying "screw you" to the medical community. He lived five years worth of life in those 18 months, and only spent the last month in real physical distress. He filled his life with people and living, rather than spending it all fighting to stay alive.
So no, to your brother's point, I'd much rather try to live for what time I'm alive than spend all my time fighting the dying process.
(In fact, given that the Divine design for humans is for 100% mortality in this life, I'd say that fighting God to stay alive might be considered a form of idolatry... but I'll leave that for college theologians to argue about.)
But more than that, all this talk about cancer misses the really important central point: homosexuality is not a disease that needs to be healed. It is the way that your brother's Creator God made us.
We didn't "give up natural passions" (Romans 1:26); we never had 'em to begin with, though many have tried to manufacture them. We didn't choose this - but we can choose to accept it, and go forward.
A great read - especially for those who have Christian friends - is Mel White's Stranger At The Gate, where he talks about trying reparative therapy and drugs and electro-shock and thousands of hours of counseling - and still ended up (as the saying goes) as gay as a goose.
The hardest thing for me to have done - over the last 3 decades - is decide that who and what I am, as created and shaped by God, is exactly who I'm supposed to be.
And when people try to tell me that "the Bible says it's wrong," I point out to them that "the Bible also was used to defend slavery, and to persecute Kepler and Gallileo because the church thought the earth was the center of the universe. Were they right, too?"
The ancient Hebrews didn't understand even the concept of innate sexual orientation, any more than they understood astronomy or organic chemistry. So how can I govern my life using their rulebook?
It's simple. I can't. For 90% of my moral life, I can point to the Bible as the guide of my faith and life. But I don't trust the Bible when it comes to sex, biology, or astronomy.
When people ask me about homosexuality, I keep pointing them to this post, and asking, "So how do you answer THIS? How do you answer the call of Jesus, versus the call of Leviticus?"
You hang in there, brother. No brother, no father, no job, no nothing is worth your life. As Popeye would say, "I yam whut I yam, and that's ALL whut I yam."
Saturday, June 10, 2006
My Labels - Christian and gay
Jason the gay Christian
I was in first grade when I began to realize that I wasn't the same as the other kids, but I didn't really think anything of it. As I grew older I found that most of my friends were girls. The other guys would talk about who they had a crush on, but I never had one. At least not on a girl. Even though I was too young to even know the word “gay” or all its connotations, I knew that I had to keep it a secret.
By eleven I had gotten the idea that there was something horribly wrong with me. The attitudes I saw in my small, Western town had made this abundantly clear to me. I tried to ignore it and, for the most part, I succeeded. Little realizing the damage I was doing to myself, I made sure to keep it hidden and act like the perfect child.
When i was twelve my family moved to the Middle East. At first life in the was an adventure. It was exciting and I loved the newness of it all. That lasted for about three months. Tensions ran high in our home as my older sister made sure that everyone knew how much she hated living there. My little brother followed suit. When I saw how stressed my parents were I didn't want to add to their burden, so I kept my dislike, and eventual hatred, of my new home to myself. This set me on a path of withdrawing from everybody. No one suspected that I wasn't a perfectly happy twelve year-old boy.
In reality I was extremely unhappy. I was at a British school where it seemed like I would never fit in. The teachers were mocking and overbearing. I remember a teacher shouting at me on my first day of class for making a joke, and being failed in assignments because my “presentation” was bad. Through three years and five different schools life just got worse. I was hated and attacked for being American, and even though my bruises faded, the pain and the loneliness only got worse. My attraction to other guys became stronger as time passed, and I hated myself because of it. I was so ashamed of myself; even looking in the mirror made me sick to my stomach. Sometimes the pain and the loneliness was too much and I would take pencils and carve in my arm till it bled. When the blood dried I would carve again.
Relief was nowhere in sight. Out of necessity I became numb: I turned off my emotions because they were too painful. Although it made life seem less painful, it cut me off from all the good emotions too. Joy. Happiness. Love. At this point I couldn't feel any of these. I couldn't make other people feel them either. My life was an empty shell, a human carapace with a void inside.
In the summer of 2003 I was vacationing in the States, staying in the little Western town I grew up in. One of my sister-in-laws came to me and asked whether I wanted to join a small group of Christian youth that she led. I declined; being forced to go to church once a week was bad enough. She asked again. I still refused. Insistent, she asked until I gave in. What the heck, I thought, if I don't like it I don't have to stay. I remember every detail of that first day.
I walked into the store-converted-church prepared to bolt if I didn't like it. No one noticed me; I stood unobtrusively in the corner while they, seventeen youth sitting in a circle around my sister-in-law on faded brown carpet, talked. Instead of listening I watched them. I looked at their faces and at how they interacted. All of them were smiling. One of them began talking and started crying. The others reached out and touched her. Those nearest hugged her tightly. A dam burst within me. All the emotions I had held at bay came flooding back. I wanted to go over and tell them my story, so I could be touched. So I could be hugged. So I could be loved. Instead I stayed in the shadows.
As I watched them with a wonder bordering on awe, I saw joy in the way they talked and moved and the expressions on their faces. It was such a contrast to the feelings of worthlessness, of self-hatred and shame that filled me. I wondered how they could feel that way. The people sitting in that circle weren't strangers: I had grown up with many of them. One was an orphan, another had a father in prison for murder and another was an illegal immigrant who knew she could be taken out of the country at any time. Most had similar stories, yet there they were, smiling. I couldn't remember the last time I had really smiled.
I spent the next couple of weeks becoming part of the group. When I talked to the other youth I discovered that all had one thing in common: the focus of their life was Jesus. Technically I knew who he was; I had grown up going to church and hearing stories from the Bible. But as they talked about him I discovered that, to them, he was more than someone who lived and died 2000 years ago. He was their reason for living. I knew that I had to see if this was real. If it was, I wanted it.
I started looking through the Bible(something I had usually avoided at all costs) and discovered something incredible. I am loved, or rather, God loves me. Although I had heard a lot of this before it had never really registered. I found passages that said things like “We love Him because He first loved us” or “Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If true, this was beyond amazing. How could God love me? I didn't even love myself. I looked back at some of the things I had done and wondered how anyone who knew everything about me could look on me with anything but revulsion. It says in the Bible that Jesus died for us, to save us. But did that really include me? My shame and self-hatred said no, but this book, the Bible, said otherwise.
This filled me with hope, but also with fear. I wanted to believe it was true, but what if it wasn't? I wasn't sure whether I was ready to risk it. But then I began to ask myself whether I could live the rest of my life this way: drowning alone in a sea of self-hatred.
Lying in my bed with tears streaming down my face I asked for help. Desperately hoping that this God was listening I told him that I needed him, that I couldn't live another moment the way I was. I was ready to do whatever it took to experience the love that I had read about, the love I saw in the lives of those around me. Something changed inside me and I began to feel different. I felt like I had been dragging around this enormous weight and someone had come and taken it away.
The rest of that summer was fantastic. My cry for help hadn't gone unanswered and I found a friend who loved me unconditionally. I loved quiet times of reading my Bible and talking to God, and I loved hanging out with the other youth. I learned more about what the Bible calls sin, things that are wrong in God's eyes, and decided to make sure not to do those things.
When I got back to the Middle East I was pumped: my life had changed radically over the summer and I thought everything would be perfect. It wasn't. After a couple months life got harder again. School was tough and I was becoming more attracted to guys. I would look at the Bible and see verses that spoke against homosexuality and wonder what it meant for me. "Christian" and "gay" seemed to be two mutually exclusive words. I started praying to God to make it go away. He didn't. I thought that if I only prayed harder things would change. They didn't.
For the next two and a half I felt like there were these forces tearing me apart. I had found God, and I knew that the love I had felt from him was real, yet how could he make me gay if it was a sin? I struggled so hard. Every time I messed up, whether it was looking at pornography or lusting or even just looking at a guy and thinking “he's cute” I would feel horrible and dirty. I started hating myself again because I couldn't change. Life became a perpetual series of ups and downs. I would have “gay thoughts” and go into a depression because I had “failed” at changing. Obviously I hadn't prayed hard enough. Then I would ask God to forgive me and feel like this time I could really make it. Then I would mess up again. Sometimes I spent hours begging God to change me.
I began wondering how a God who loved me, one whose love that I experienced, could let me be like this. It was like he made this mold that I was supposed to fit, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't.
About six months ago I reached the lowest low of my life. It was the last night of a four day youth conference and I felt like I was being torn apart. I had prayed for God to make me straight, but he didn't. Everything I had seen told me that being gay and being Christian were incompatible. I thought that either God was mocking me, giving me a desire to serve him while making it impossible, or that he was deaf to my cries. I begged for a sign that he heard my prayers, but none came.
From that point on I turned my back on God. I felt like I had done everything, like I had fulfilled my side of the bargain, but he didn't make me straight. It was like I gave him my heart, and he broke it into pieces. About a month passed and life was just horrible. My life felt emptier than ever before but I refused to go back to a God who acted to cruelly.
Then one night I lay in my bed miserable and crying and the most amazing realization of my life seemed to seep over me: God loves me. Period. Everything else in my life, including being gay, is secondary. I had felt like a failure because I had been judging myself, not because God had. Being gay had nothing to do with God's love for me, and nothing to do with how much I could love him. By hating myself for being gay I had stopped feeling God's love for me, and replaced it with some supposed condemnation.
I don't know where my life is headed, and I'm not betting on ever being straight. Despite that, I stand now more assured then ever of God's boundless love for me. For me, the words "Christian" and "gay" are no longer mutually exclusive.
Glad to see you blogging. Keep it up, it's a good outlet and offers a lot of other views.
Oh, thanks for the blogroll too. Do you mind if I ask how you found mine?
I believe you've answered a question I've been asking for months... which was "who is this person who keeps reading my blog in the middle east?"... honestly, I've been very curious.
Anyway, I'm glad I found you and I look forward to reading more of your posts. I envy your language abilities, I must say... I wish I could pick up some Korean!
It took a while for the simple answer to come to me.
You are acceptable to God.
And so am I.
Friday, June 09, 2006
My Labels - polyglot
Jason the Polyglot:
Ok, I call myself a polyglot more out of pride than anything else. A more accurate term is tri(ish)lingual(English, Arabic and some Latin) with a smattering of other languages thrown in. I spent time learning Arabic(and eventually Latin) and picked up phrases of other languages. Now I kind of have a "love affair" with languages; I love learning new phrases and can spend hours looking up obscure grammatical rules. Not much else to say here, except this only made me even less “American” culture-wise.