Saturday, December 16, 2006

The reality of my Christmas

Life has calmed down quite a bit from the melodrama of October. I am working and finding life relatively enjoyable. I don’t think I have life figured out any more now than I did before, but at least I have some clarity to think. I have a couple really good part-time jobs and I am getting myself out of the financial hole I put myself in back in October.

Part of my being hired though was the agreement that I would be able to work through Christmas and New Years. I agreed without much hesitation. I prided myself that I could put economic sensibility in front of holiday fanfare. Besides, I really like the job. It’s a lot of fun.

Earlier tonight when I went into work, there was no snow outside at all. It wasn’t until one of my co-workers went outside to empty the trash that he commented on how beautiful it was. In my mind I was dreading the pending season and was disappointed with the reminder that a cold, dead winter was just getting under way.“Is it sticking?” I asked. “Not too much yet,” he replied. “But it’s perfect! It’s the kind of snow you want on Christmas Eve.”

After work I went outside to my car. Most of everything was slowly disapearing in the white snow. The pavement, however, seemed to resist the snow and was more slush than anything else. I grumbled as I shook the sogginess from my shoes and climbed in my car. I didn’t feel much like going home so I went and visited a friend for a little while. He was excited about the snow that was coming down. We looked out the window. The pavement’s defiance to the snow had weakened and it too was beginning to disappear under the mantle of white.

“Do you love the snow?” he asked. When I was a kid I used to love the snow. I looked forward to winter just for the snow. Where I grew up we got snow a few times in winter, but it only ever lasted a few days or weeks at most and then it was gone. I always wanted school to be canceled so that I could go sledding on my oversized black inner tube. It was a great thing. I would take to the river in the summer and sled with it in the winter. It was an essential part of winter to play in the snow when I was growing up. I was the one that always encouraged my brothers to come out and play in the snow with me. It didn’t matter how cold it was, I was out there.

Things are so different now that I am an adult though. It’s not all fun and games anymore. Snow means getting out earlier to start my truck so that it is warm when I drive it, brushing off the snow on the windshield, driving through bumper to bumper mountain passes, bringing soggy shoes into the house and wading through puddles that my careless roommates created when they didn’t brush the snow off before coming into the house. Cold. Wet.

“I guess I like it all right,” I lied. “It is beautiful.”

“I love the snow.” He said.

I got into my truck to head home. It was remarkable how the landscape had changed so much in just a mere inch of snow. The night sky was lit up with the reflection of civilization against the snow and clouds. I guess I don’t mind driving in the snow since I have four-wheel-drive. I welcomed the strange hypnotic feeling of traveling through science fiction outer space as the snow flew over my windshield.

Shortly after returning home, I went back out into the snow to the grocery store with my roommates. Neither one of them has a car and one of them doesn’t even have a license to drive. So we always run errands together even if it’s late. The real reason we went tonight, in the snow, had more to do with my roommate’s addiction to Pepsi than an actual need for groceries.

We walked up and down every isle to make sure that we had everything we needed. Trips to the store are more difficult for them because of their mobility handicap so they are sure to take advantage of the store while they are there. I wandered around not really wanting to buy much of anything. Christmas paraphernalia was on every isle and the Christmas music blaring. I used to love Christmas music –to sing it, to listen to it. I just bothered me tonight though. It wasn’t even beautiful to me. It was obnoxious.

Last Christmas was probably the worst ever. My parents had found themselves in one of the most trying times of their lives. My father just a few months earlier had been diagnosed with late stage-three cancer. He had undergone major surgery and now he was going through intense chemo-therapy. He had lost his personality and sense of humor in the process. He was pale, grey, and wilted. Things between mom and dad had also not been the best over the last several months and their marriage was strained. To make matters worse, because of my father’s cancer, he was unable to work and the only way they could survive was to sell their home, their sanctuary of 14 years so that they could live off of the equity. They moved into a small rented house in town just 15 days before Christmas. When I arrived home for the break from university, everything was a mess, in boxes, and piles; my parents too emotionally exhausted to even face the work of sorting and unpacking their life. I wanted so badly to organize everything for them, but I just couldn’t do it all. I came down with one of the worst cases of the flu ever. I was out with a high fever for nearly a week. I hated being home unable to move in the midst of such a life-wreck. We didn’t even put a Christmas tree up last year. No one was happy.

Even though I had a week and a half left before school started, I left to go back before New Years just to get away from everything. I sat on the edge of the futon packing my things, grateful to be leaving the horrible place that my parents were living in. My mom walked in and watched me pack. She started to cry. My mom hates crying in front of other people so she always tries to hold it in. She walked over and knelt down in front of me. Trying to sniff back the tears so that she could talk. “I know this hasn’t been how you wanted it to be –that it’s been hard for you,” she sobbed. “I just don’t want you stop coming home.” I wanted to cry, but I was too angry at life to cry. I just sat there paralyzed as her tears soaked my knees…

I continued to wander aimlessly through the grocery store amazed at the embellishment of normal products under the guise of Christmas spirit. I saw a display of Mother’s brand Circus Animal cookies. Ever since I was a child, these cookies have been a snack favorite of mine. The top of the display had the normal pink and white cookies where as the eye level and arm’s reach portion of the display had the holiday version of the same product in green, red, and white. I reached high for a bag of the non-holiday cookies. But before I could grab the bag I noticed that to buy the normal cookies I would have to pay nearly fifty cents more than if I bought the holiday version. I didn’t want the holiday cookies. I wanted the pink and white ones that I always ate, but the store probably realized that they basically had until Christmas to sell out the holiday cookies and consequently lowered their price to accommodate the upcoming deadline and to persuade customers to dish out their cash on the festive cookies alternatively.

I stood there and stared at the bag of holiday cookies that I didn’t want. The Christmas music played the worn out tunes and I subconsciously hummed along with it. Unexpectedly I was overwhelmed with the sadness realizing that I would be spending Christmas by myself in my apartment. There would be no Christmas decorations, no family or friends or even roommates to watch Christmas movies with, no feast. Nothing. I will spend Christmas all alone hundreds of miles away from those that I love most. I just stood there glaring at the stupid bag of holiday cookies. I tried to swallow the knot of sadness welling in my throat. I miss my family. And as much as I lie to everyone and tell them that I will be fine, the truth is, I will be lonely without them this year.

I continued staring at the cookies, the familiar Christmas feeling sweeping over me and leaving a heap of sadness in its wake. My eyes burned from not blinking as I was lost in my thoughts.

My roommate pulled up with our shopping cart. I continued staring. “You gonna buy some?” He asked noticing my fixation. I looked over to him, gave him a dry half-smile, grabbed three bags of the holiday cookies, threw them into the cart, and continued to wander.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Rest of the Story

At Last! I know you all have been waiting with baited breath for the rest of the story to unfold as to the meeting between JS and myself. The following are excerpts from emails:


I am sorry that you felt compromised by meeting my friends, I guess that was my fault for assuming that you would comfortable with them like I am. Forgive me for not taking your feelings into more consideration.
All I ever said to them was "you were someone I met on a blog." The end. I didn't tell them it was a blog dealing with gay issues, or anything about your blog. They know nothing of the intimacies of your life, I don't out people like that. The only connection they had to the fact that you were even remotely dealing with issues was that I wanted to meet you because I'm the same way.

I think the one thing that probably offended me MOST was you assuming that I would lack respect for you. Let me assure that if there is anything I have it's respect for other people and their privacy. I would never ever ever give your blog link out or tell anyone about anything on your blog. Your anonymity is safe. I promise you that. I KNOW that "this" can be hard, and that blogging is a help to many. No one around me knows about these blogs except me. I respect you and your privacy, the privacy of everyone who blogs actually. I'm not trying to endanger anything you all do by sharing your feelings and honestys. For the record, you weren't being an ass, you were protecting yourself. Been there, done that. Again, I have always respected you, I would never even THINK of leading people to your blog.

I'm sorry for the disorienting nature of what happened. I had the inclination to say do you want to go somewhere and talk, but I didn't.

Let me tell why I didn't. Because I was under the impression from the second you got there, that meeting me was a letdown for you and you were not interested in me more than 2%. After all, you did engage in FAR more conversation with my friends than me. In fact, I felt quite ignored. The reason why I made comments about a "brotherhood" etc, and wanting to be your friend, etc. is because I was making feeble attempts to reconnect with you once I felt you lost all interest in me. I'm not trying to be self-centered, I'm just giving you my prespective. Part of my personality and the way I connect with people is through intimacy (the non-sexual, non-physical kind). I thrive on my personal honesty and openness and if I trust them I will self-disclose...pretty much anything. I get the impression that you are not like that and want to keep your struggle to yourself. That is your perogative and I will respect that. But it's interesting the next sentence you wrote: "I am willing to be friends, but friendship takes time and needs to be built upon multiple commonalities." Those comments on brotherhood and friendship were again, a feeble attempt, to establish commonalities...because I didn't have anything else to go on, and frankly, I was floundering to connect with you.

I agree with what you said that my friends have not earned the right to know the intricacies of your struggle and what is going on with you... not even I have earned that. All they know is hey, one more guy who is kinda like JS; gay, or whatever I can call you since you don't want to be labeled. And not that it matters, but in their defense... they are completely chill, gay, bi, hetero, whatever. They don't judge anyone, ever. That's why I like them. I know them and they aren't the people to fixate on that topic if you don't want to. And as I remember, the conversation didn't.

You said you need me to understand and I'm trying. I'm sorry for not considering how uncomfortable other people would be for you. Again, they do not know anything about your privacies or struggles, I am not one to share other's lives. That is yours and your decision to share, or not. In no way was I consciously trying to center on that and draw it out as your distinguishing feature; sorry if you felt my comments did that. On no level have you hurt my feelings or offended me. I RESPECT YOUR FEELINGS. AND I RESPECT YOU. ALWAYS.

I don't know what else I can do to right this. Clearly, the word "sorry" does not repair damage done or uncomfortable feelings felt. It only shows I regret not considering how you would feel and how that would be.

A rocky start indeed, but yes, good to meet you. If you wish to continue our interacting, and/or try again, I am willing...alone this time. lol Just drop me a line.

And my reply:

Phew! Thanks for the email!
And I do feel TONS better now. Yes, you are right that you have also not earned my trust, but you were in a slightly more trustworthy position than they... probably because of the intense surprise that I felt upon meeting them -surprise to be meeting them. I know that I "ignored" you. The primary reason was because I felt that I needed to feel out your friends to see if I could trust them. I needed to know what they knew without "outing" myself to them.

I apologize if I was neglectful, but it wasn't for lack of interest as much as it was for trying to calm my awkwardly pounding heart.
And, the truth is that I DO indeed thrive on intellectual conversation -to uproot the rooted, to whether the raw, and to filter the unrefined. I felt like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs and I apologize if I seemed somewhat distant... I was nervous and on the defensive.

Thank you so much for respecting my feelings. And as far as I am concerned we can consider the matter closed and no longer a need to fret over it.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Just a quick note:
In my post Man vs. Self I said some pretty strong words... I need to clarify and so I have posted a dialogue between myself and Scot as a further explanation.



Well, I feel like I may have made a mistake that has compromised my anonymity here in blog land. I got an email from a "fan" of my blog and he expressed interest in meeting for the sake of support and discussion. I agreed. Things did not unfold as I had expected. I was pretty miffed about the whole thing and when I got home I wrote this email to him:

I just want to make a couple things clear so that you understand where I am coming from and for the sake of transparency.

I really wasn't expecting to be introduced to any of your friends gay friendly or not. You need to understand how completely awkward of a situation you put me in. You introduced me to them as someone you met on a blog. Ok, I guess, but they seemed to understand that this was a blog that dealt with gay latter-day saint issues. Immediately I begin wondering, "Wow have they read my blog and now know who I am?" "What has JS told them?" "Can JS accurately describe my ever-changing feelings or do I need to offer and explanation to these two strangers?" As far as I know they haven't read my blog and I assume and would appreciate it that you won't share with them the link to my blog nor the contents of my blog. You have to know that it is intensely uncomfortable to walk into a situation where you have no idea what the other people know about you, but simply know that they know about the intimacies of your life on some level and you know NOTHING of them.

That's the reason why I have my blog, I want to remain anonymous. I broke a personal rule by meeting you. I was not expecting to meet anyone else. Don't get me wrong, your friends seem like great people and I am sure we would get along just fine. But I am forced to put a lot of trust in strangers with one of the most intimate struggles of my life. Even if they know next to nothing about the details of my struggle, they have not earned the privilege to know; the privilege to be trusted. Even some of my dearest friends that I am closest to do not know about my struggles. Call it closeted if you like, but I say its keeping my sacred struggle sacred.

I also want you to know that my blog still remains my one place where I am able to be completely honest. Don't be surprised if you read something on my blog that mentions my frustrations about tonight. And, yes, I will respect your anonymity. If this meeting has compromised my ability to be both transparent and anonymous in my blog then I will delete my blog and start over. Do you understand? I'm not writing this to be an ass. I need you to understand where I am coming from and why it is important for you to respect my wishes.

I am not ready to be identified as either gay or straight or bisexual. I am not part of an underground gay LDS community. I am me. I have friends and support. You expressed interest in meeting me because you wanted to know more about my stance and opinions -an open dialogue. And simply because you and I share one thing in common, it doesn't mean that we are instant friends with an instant kinship or "brotherhood." I am willing to be friends, but friendship takes time and needs to be built upon multiple commonalities. You may very well find that you don't particularly like my personality and that's ok. We aren't expected to be friends with everyone we meet. Simply because I am a Mormon it doesn't mean that I am friends with the greater part of Provo.

JS, I am sure that my forthrightness may be a bit harsh sounding,but I really need you to understand.
I'm sure on some level in writing this I may have hurt your feelings as well and I am sorry. It is not easy to write something so critical to someone that I hardly know and then expect them to respect my feelings. But that is what I am asking you to do. I also hope on the same token that you will be frank and honest with me. After all, this is partially my fault for being so careless with keeping my privacies private.
So that is what I wrote... I am left feeling pretty uneasy right now too. Ya know, I mean hell, the fact that I have same-sex attraction whatevers doesn't mean that it is the only defining feature of my life.... there is a helluva lot more to me than that. That is one reason why I don't feel such a need to share it with even my closest friends.

And I do feel that my struggle is sacred. It is what I was destined to have as part of my life. Its what I do with it that matters. Isn't that how it is with all aspects of life?

Why? Why do I do this to myself? Why do I stress myself out??? Grrrrrr.

I need some feedback on this one guys...


Monday, December 04, 2006

Man Vs Self

Learning to undo years of self loathing was a painful but liberating process. But the tables have turned. I used to really love my life and my goals and who I wanted to be and what I believed I could become, but hated myself and was afraid of my SSA. I knew that the only way I could ever become the person that I wanted to be was to somehow let go of all the pent up energy, fear, self loathing, and shame. I finally did it and I was free.

However, now as I look at my life, I hate the direction it is going. I have lost my goals, my passions, my beliefs, and I don’t like what I am becoming. But I love me, I have accepted me and I wouldn’t want to change who I really am.

I find that I no longer hold myself accountable for my actions. I consequently victimize myself. I make poor choices and then just
ify them and say, “Well, I can’t blame myself for this because my set of challenges is unique and God cannot judge me for this.” I am not happy.

In the end it is just a fight against myself.

In my last post Elbow commented that I am at a cross-roads and that it is an exciting time for me. Well, as exciting as it may be at times, I am overwhelmed by indecision. It seems like I am trying to regain some sort of a direction for my life again and I can’t seem to get it right. I have made peace with myself, with who I am but I have not yet made peace with my life. My path is so cloudy and unsure and I am used to making decisions and just going for it and being at peace with it. But now everything has changed. Every choice I make it seems leads me to even more unhappiness and dissatisfaction with my life.

It would seem that in order for me to unconditionally love myself I had to sacrifice my happiness. How bizarre! Shouldn’t loving yourself bring complete happiness?

I spent some time out on the “scene” this weekend. I was reminded again of how repulsive the gay lifestyle is to me –that I don’t want to live out my pornographic fantasies as my life. I don’t identify with the gay lifestyle. I identify with heterosexuals and the heterosexual lifestyle. My closest friends are all straight and many of them married. The gay lifestyle is nothing more than a fantasy for me that I live out on an occasional weekend and return to my heterosexual world with disgust for my fantasy. My fear is that because I no longer have a base from which to draw personal strength from (as the Church once provided for me), that I will eventually try to make my fantasy my reality and that I will be left without a real life –a life without meaningful relationships, family, and ultimately making a difference in this world. I’ve said it before; I was called and created to make a difference in this world –to really do something special, to become someone. But my fantasy has begun to dismantle my goals, hopes, and dreams into a life of vanity and self serving attitudes.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Going Home

Going home for Thanksgiving was good. Over the last few years when I have returned home from school for one reason or another I am always inundated with a flood of emotions; sometimes positive sometimes negative. The last few times had been really good, but this time I was surprised that I felt so disconnected from my family –as if I lived in a different world than they. Perhaps there is some validity to that. I have been acting more on my homosexual tenancies in the last few months than I ever have in my entire life. And conversely, as it is no surprise, my family lives in a very heterosexual world.

I first came out to my parents when I returned from my mission. I had such gained a level of self confidence from my mission that I felt ready to tell them with some assurance of support. My parents are wonderful and have always been particularly in tune with their children’s feelings. After the first time speaking openly about t
he fact that I struggle with same-gender attraction issues, it became somewhat of a closed topic –not because my parents were in denial or particularly uncomfortable with the topic, but mostly because I wanted them to know that I struggled and leave it at that… I didn’t want any prodding or pushing for more information. My parents were simply there for me if I needed. Years have passed since that first uncomfortable discussion and very little was ever discussed again. However, again, the time had come for greater transparency with my parents, and Thanksgiving provided me that opportunity.

ntially I shared with my parents everything I have written here in my blog save the detail that my blog provides. It felt good to share and be completely honest in my feelings and my parents truly respect that I trust them enough to share these things. The bulk of my discussion centered on my unresolved feelings toward the Church. (See my Nov 15th post.) It’s not that I don’t believe in Christ or something as much as it is that I’m unresolved and un-reconciled to the doctrine of Christ –that it just doesn’t make sense to me.

My father is a convert to the Church. He joined several years after marrying my mother, but even so, my upbringing in the Church was less than typical. And though they tried to hide it from us kids for fear of negative influence, my parents still drank occasionally and had their morning cup of joe until I was in High School. I used to resent my father’s wishy
-washy attitude towards the commandments. I wanted someone who was firm and stern in the gospel. I used to stand in judgment of him for being so lukewarm. My father always had a respect for the sacred. It wasn’t that he had a wide rebellious streak as much as he really just struggled with his testimony. Fearing that his un-sureness would influence my siblings and me, my father never spoke of the Church or his testimony. In fact my father was never a leader in the household for the most part. We never had family home evening or scripture study or family prayer except at dinner time. My father just didn’t want to lie to himself nor to us. He never really spoke of this concept that I am writing about, but I have put the pieces together as I have gotten older and completely relate to where he stands with the Church. However he has my mother and she supports him in his times of doubt, but it is still difficult for him.

So anyway, there I sat on the couch across from my parents pouring my heart out about my concerns. Mom cried, Dad understood. I find myself echoing the same concerns that have haunted my father and consequently trouble
d my mother for years. We are not your average Mormon family. Neither my father nor I have ever felt the truly lasting, permanent conversion feelings that so many members claim to have from living the Mormon lifestyle. I’m not saying that the Church is false or wrong or doctrinally flawed, but merely that I have had no long lasting testimonial witness. I won’t deny that I have felt things at times and that the Church has done much good in my life, but that overwhelmingly I have never been converted. I tried, forced, and have lied to myself for years about the Church because I wanted so badly for it to be true and for it to rescue me from my homosexuality. [Note that I wanted it to be true and to rescue me. Not simply to be true for the sake of rescuing me.]

Like I said already, my parents are very intuitive and incredibly connected to their children. My parents actually confessed to me something of particular interest this last week. Apparently when I was five or so they took me to a psychiatrist because they had concerns that I might be… ummm… how do I say it…. Gay? Yeah. They had some inclination early on.
get me wrong, it's not like I’m “obvious.” Even my gay friends wouldn't have guessed. I’m not feminine or walk swishy and most of the time I do all of my own work on my truck. About the only truly “gay characteristic” I have is that I know how to dress well, but even straight guys can do that (though not all).

Anyway, as I shared openly my concerns about everything from the Church to tryin
g to identify my sexual orientation my parents were able to voice concerns that they had had for some time but were unable to discuss because of closed lines of communication. Marriage, my future… My mom is concerned about my salvation. I don’t really know what to tell them as to where I go from here nor do I want to make them promises. Really my mother knows what a struggle it has been for my father to be in the church and for her to see me come forth with the same concerns but with the added burden of homosexuality she really worries that there is really no hope at all for me to ever stay in the Church.

I don’t kn
ow why God has never really ‘come to me’ and put something permanent and lasting in my heart. Why hasn’t he done the same with my father? If I knew the Church were true and I believed in Christ and had a firm testimony that the Church was true and that Christ was who they say he is and that he would support me and aid me in my battles I could continue on being a member of the Church. I could deal with my homosexuality and being Mormon at the same time. But without any sort of foundation to build on, it’s somewhat unreasonable for me to expect to continue to wander in the halls of Mormonism and keep confusing myself.

And for clarity’s sake, I want to explain that I don’t expect that God would sudden
ly put some testimony out-of-the-blue in my heart, but rather that from day to day, church act to church act, I would receive sustenance that would build me up. Instead it was always a battle reading my scriptures. I never felt like it got me any closer to God and it only served to frustrate me even more. So I still remain unresolved. I don’t know where I go from here and I don’t know what the future holds for me. I fully recognize that I am the author of my life and that I choose where I want to go and what I want to do. I want to be happy, and I want to be close to God and I think that those two ideals are completely achievable. I have no idea how to achieve it though and I don’t want to give up on either one or to feel like I have to give up one to have the other.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'm going to my parents house for Thanksgiving. I am going to be more open and upfront about whats been going on in my life than I have ever been with them. I am scared to death.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Missing Person

I am disappearing. I hardly recognize myself anymore. I don’t know what’s happening to me. Sometimes I just try to feel nothing because the reality of what is happening to me is such a tragedy. I'm not trying to sound fatalistic or mellowdramatic. If you were to talk to any of my close friends they would tell you that I am ambitious, a leader, a dreamer, and that I am really going places with my life. Most of them still think that of me. But that is all changing. I can hardly cope with my daily life anymore much less really think of cultivating a truly meaningful life.

When did this metamorphosis begin? How did it all come to this?
I suppose it was last January that I had a huge break through. For the first time I really began to live my life. I began the beautiful process of learning to love myself unconditionally. I no longer cared what anyone else thought of me. It was at that
point that being a member of the Church was no longer about keeping up appearances or doing church activities such as scripture reading and home teaching out of fear of not doing EVERYTHING perfectly. Through that process of letting go though, I completely had to reevaluate my reasons for being a member of the Church. Do I really believe it all? I began taking steps backward to find out what I believed in. Essentially over the next several months I began to take the “house” down to the “foundation.”

God –is he there? Yes, I believe he is. Beyond that I don’t know so much.
What does God want from me? Why did he make me as I am? What does he expect from me out of my life and do I have the courage to pursue that?

I am so tired of fighting this, and I don’t feel like I have any strength to fight the battle against my homosexuality any more. I feel like because God never has “rescued me” from it that perhaps I can’t be held accountable for embracing it. But that’s not even the heart of the matter… It’s like the more that I try to accept things that I cannot change and try to do the best that I can, the less desire I have to progress personally and spiritually. Ever since coming to grips with life, I have become more apathetic towards it and a disillusioned pessimist.

I won’t deny that God has played a role in my life. He has helped me to overcome much. He has put me through so many many learning experiences (i.e. trials) that have shaped who I am. I am grateful for them too because I like who I am. All of these learning experiences however have brought me to the place I am at now –that God has lead me here. But now that I am here, I feel like I am left in the dark. Like I was lead into an endless hallway and the door was shut and locked behind me and all of the doors in this endless hall are either locked or lead into another dark endless hallway. I don’t know where to go anymore for answers.

I want to have a meaningful life, but it seems impossible anymore. I am like a musician who has lost his muse. I have begun this downward spiral where I am willing to settle for less. Can you believe it? Mediocrity! Someone as wonderful, as talented, and as great as me is settling for bare minimum out of his life and I don’t even know why damnit! Why have I lost my strength? Why have I lost my zeal for living and making a difference in the world? Where did it go? How can I get it back?

If the real me continues to vanish, what will happen to me? It scares me to death! I don’t know where I’ll be in the next year. I used to have everything planned out and now I don’t even know if I’ll even attempt to accomplish any of my life goals. What am I supposed to do?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

God, Jesus and Satan

In response to the thoughtful comments to my last post, Personal Value, I would like to clarify a few things. There are reasons for leaving the Church, and excuses for leaving the Church. The gripes listed in Personal Value would be excuses for leaving the Church. I have long time friends who have left the Church because of excuses. I want to try to dig into my reasons in this blog. I’m not about to leave the Church just yet, I just need to get this off my chest. I also want to say that I am not questioning my religion based on the fact that I am a homosexual. These are deep rooted concerns that have gnawed at me for some time. The difference now though is that I am being honest with myself about my religious concerns.

I need to start by saing that I KNOW God loves me. He loves me for who I am, how he made me and for who I can become. But mostly he loves me because he created me and in me is a part of who he is. He will always love me infinitely. He is concerned with the details of my life and he wants me to be happy and live with him after this life. I don’t know God personally as much as I would like to, but I need open lines of communication with him again so that I can know him better.

I have a really hard time believing in Satan. I look at all the good and evil in this world and see that the contrasts between good and evil essentially distinguish good from evil. In other words, you cannot have good without evil and you cannot know the difference without experiencing the two. Isn’t that the whole teaching in lessons derived from the Garden of Eden?

However, sometimes I look at the concept of Satan as merely an embodiment of the concept of evil but that he is not a real being. Evil is what evil is –the opposite of good. I see Satan as the mythical definition of evil. I think Satan is often used as a scapegoat for temptation. When I am tempted to do something “evil” or to give in to my “natural man” tendencies, isn’t it more just simply a concept of mortality? Of course I am tempted to do this or that thing that is evil; it is in my nature to do so! It is not because there is some mysterious evil being is lurking and trying to convince me. I am mortal with mortal passions.

Conversely, I struggle to believe in Christ. I think his teachings are beautiful. The thought of his suffering at the hands of evil men is a bitter irony to the contrast of the good he did while in mortality. But the idea that someone who lived so long ago having any connection with my life today seems very difficult to embrace. Do I really need a savior? Is Christ simply the embodiment of the longing for good and to be better people? Is it the hope that there is someone there to heal the wounds of mortality? Is the concept of a savior simply a remedy for the need to feel loved and infinitely understood and appreciated? And why can’t God the father do that? Isn’t he all knowing and all powerful? The idea of Christ is nice I suppose, but I have no evidence in my personal experience to believe in him as having any such personal connection with me.

And from what would Christ save me? If our divine purpose here is the experience of learning as mortals as proposed in the Garden of Eden dilemma, how can I be held accountable for the fact that I am flawed? God intended me to make mistakes and to stumble, that’s why life is as it is –flawed, difficult, and painful. But when we learn from life, when we learn from our mistakes, doesn’t that balance out the scales? “Where once I felt and acted this way, now I feel and act this way.” And even after that, I am still a flawed human beyond reconciliation on my own. Essentially, I was put here on Earth with an unfair disadvantage: Mortality. No matter how “good” I try to be, I still won’t be perfect. How can a just god hold me accountable for being short-sighted and weak? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that it doesn’t matter how I live my life, but moreover that grace and mercy should be extended freely as I seek learning and wisdom through the struggles of life.

People talk of there having to be someone to pay a price for the mistakes and imperfections of my mortal life –a mediator, or a savior, -that justice must be served. Why? Why must someone pay some sort of price? I don’t understand. And if there was a need for a mediator, why should I be tearfully, overly, grateful for having one? Like I said, I was put at an unfair disadvantage to begin with, I deserve one. I deserve my “get-out-of-jail free card,” I didn’t stand a chance anyway.

Here at the university, each student is different. All of us have some level of intelligence and work ethic. Some are more gifted than others, and the life situation surrounding each student may add to the success or detract from the success of the student. Sometimes the classes are hard. Some of us get A’s and some of us get B’s and some of us C’s and D’s. However only those who receive F’s do not graduate. Furthermore, there is no one who makes up the difference in the gap between the A student graduate and the D student graduate. We all graduate just the same.

How is that any different in life? As long as we don’t give up completely on growing, learning, and becoming, how can we be held truly accountable for every flaw of mortality? This is why I don’t understand the need for a savior.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this as a justification for any behavior. This IS my doctrinal dispute. I have always had a hard time understanding the role of Christ in the church. Most people struggle with accepting the Book of Mormon, prophets, Joseph Smith, temples, authority and on and on. I have never understood Christ or the Atonement.

When I was preparing to go on my mission, I told my stake president that I really didn’t understand Christ and that I didn’t feel like I had any kind of relationship with him, but that I loved God and loved praying to God and that I felt like he heard me. But why close prayer in the name of Christ? What does he have to do with anything? My stake president told me that it really wasn’t something to worry about, serve honorably and just to give it time and eventually I would gain that relationship.

I have spent YEARS reading my scriptures and praying every day, or nearly everyday. The gap between Christ and me has never closed, and I have never felt any lasting feeling of admiration for what people say “Christ has done for me.” I am tired of “reading and praying.” Whenever I express concern for my life or sins or anything, my ecclesiastical leaders tell me to read and pray. I feel like they are telling me to go say ten “Hail Mary’s” and that everything will then be ok. I strain my brain trying to figure out the meaning in the scriptures. As I sit and read I think to myself, “Maybe that is applicable to my situation? Am I receiving personal revelation? What if God is trying to tell me something?” In the end it feels more like superstition. I don’t really get anything out of reading.

Prayer can be good though –really good at times. But again, Christ plays what role for me in prayer? People say we close in the name of Christ because everything we have comes from Christ and that everything we do should be in the name of Christ. Is Christ some heavenly postman who delivers my prayers to God?

I hope I am not seen as sacrilegious or disrespectful. I fundamentally do not understand and I never have. I know to some of you I must also sound terribly arrogant, but let me explain. I have come to know that God loves me. I know that I am of infinite worth regardless of what happens to me or what I do with my life. I really believe that. I also believe that a lot more of us will make it in the end than we think. I’m not about to say that I am happy with my life, but I am happy with who I am –the unique creature that God created. I am being more honest with myself than I have been in a long time. I won’t deny that at one time, I really believed in the Church and that I have had wonderful, spiritual experiences in the Church –amazing experiences. But there was more fear than faith at that time in my life. I can’t live in fear of my own mortality; I won’t.

But to be completely honest… I don’t know what to believe anymore.

PS: If you made it all the way through to the end here, THANK YOU! You guys really help me think and reflect on all angles of this crazy situation I find myself in.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Personal Value

I know it’s late and I should probably force myself into bed, but I was thinking –a dangerous thing at times.

Why should I leave the Church? I’m trying to look at this very objectively. I have no reason not to believe and yet no real reason to believe other than it’s the latest thing at BYU and all my friends are doing it.
I guess the only real reason I would want to leave is to pursue a same-sex relationship. Is that a good enough reason? How does God feel about it? Does he even care? I know I can’t live both the Church and “The World.” I am so tired of mulling this over in my head. I wish it were simpler. I wish I could just be and be content.

I hear so many others on here with such strong convictions and faith. How do you do it?

I am just so confused and disillusioned with it all, I mean the mainstream Church, my ward. I see just as much (if not more) fake believers as I do real believers. [Yes, I know I am stereotyping and judging]

There is this one guy in my ward who just makes me cringe. At family home evening a few weeks ago he made some comment about how our purpose here on Earth is to prove ourselves to God that we can do his will. As if any hint of imperfection and sin would suddenly make us unloved or less loved by God. In the missionary discussions there is a similar line. It always seemed so backward to me.

How can I prove anything to an all-knowing being? I may sound Calvinistic but doesn’t he know the beginning and the end? I believe it is my choice and that I have agency for many things. I can change and grow and live my life to the fullest. It’s my doing, not anyone else’s. But to “prove” my self??? God knows me and my capabilities. There is nothing to prove. And to say that that is our purpose is so narrow and trivial.

And there are many people I see that live their lives in the “doing” phase.
“I can pat myself on the back today because I read my scriptures” or “I did my home teaching” or “I have ____ as my calling” or “because I paid my tithes” or "I went to this confrence" or "I fasted for so long" or "I served as AP on my mission." And they really come unglued if they are perceived as not having filled such duties.

I also hate it when someone gets up to give a talk and immediately discredit everything they have prepared by saying something to the effect of "Yeah, this talk is probably gonna suck because of...." or "Sorry you have to listen to me." Don't they believe in themselves? Or is it just a formality to insult yourself and God?

I’m not bagging on doing good things, I am saying that our value as human beings doesn’t change based upon what we do or don’t do. Our value is based in our heritage as children of God; with the capacity to become as God. And who has that heritage? Everyone! Mormon, Pentecostal, homeless, inmate, Asian, African, Bishop, and yes, homosexual. We are all the same. No one is better or worse. Besides, we are all in the same hell-bound boat right? God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance so the scripture goes... You, me, President Hinkley, everyone... Granted some are living more fulfilling lives than others, but no one life is more valuable than another. I really believe that.

I see so many people base their personal value on what they have accomplished rather than who they are. Well nobody can do it all! That kind of a mentality breeds low self-esteem and perfectionism. Because I see so much of that I have a hard time buying the “doing” mission of the Church members (as opposed to the true doctrine of pure love in action). Again, I am not bagging on doing good. I am merely saying that motives are everything.

It’s my problem that I allow this to interfere with my own interaction with the Church… I’ve just become, well, disillusioned. I hate it how people try to get you to do something simply to support their own social psychology. I may be judgmental for saying so, but I hate being someone’s project for their own personal insecurities. I hate being someone’s assigned friend when I am Home Taught. I hate it when others think that the only happy people on Earth are Mormons. I hate others valuing me or devaluing me based on my perceived contribution to the Church. Am I just crazy or is this for real?

Can’t you just love me for me? I do.

PS: After reading over this I realize that I sound more annoyed than I really am... I just wish people could love themselves and stop breeding insecurities. I thought that's what the Church is for -to help people love themselves as God loves them... but I guess not. I am a judgemental SOB. Kind of ironic... I am judging people for judging themselves and others... ha.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Missing Piece

I’m feeling a bit melancholy today. The last week has been one of much reflection. I am kind of a blur of emotions right now. I want so much to live the life I was born to live. What I am about to say I recognize is very controversial and I am not trying to stir up the dust or offend anyone. These are merely some of my thoughts.
The causes of homosexuality have been debated time and time again. Ultimately, I believe it is a combination of both environment and genetics. But I guess it is relatively unimportant, because I am who I am. And, in my case, I think it is may be a bit more environmental than genetic but who knows. I’m not about to pour out the story of my childhood and parents and so forth. Rather it will suffice to say that I had a relatively happy childhood with loving parents who did the best they could despite their own significant shortcomings.

I have been in and out of counseling for nearly ten years and I am only 24. I was to my recollection neither abused or unloved nor severely psychologically disturbed in any part of my life. Why such a need for counseling? I certainly have had some deep buried issues that have needed resolution. Counseling has been good. I don’t think I am inherently crazy or overly emotional. I don’t suffer from serious clinical depression or any other diagnosable psychological disorder. I have certainly been through bouts of serious depression and anxiety and even taken medications for brief periods, but this is not characteristic of me or my life.

In any case, I know I am not unique in my struggles and that the struggles I face have similar roots with other men who struggle with same gender attraction issues. I do however recognize that each case is unique yet shares similarities on one or many levels.

Now that I have thrown out my preface and disclaimer, I will cut to the chase. If there are obviously serious psychological issues that many if not most gay/homosexual/SSA/SGA/bisexual (whatever you want to call it) persons struggle with, and a portion of their attraction is caused by their psychology, can they ever have a truly meaningful and completely fulfilling relationship with someone of the same gender? If both partners are wading through heavy emotional/psychological difficulties, doesn’t that set them up for a not-so solid relationship? Isn’t that one of the reasons why the gay community is seen as so promiscuous? And likewise, can they have a fulfilling relationship with someone of the opposite gender? Can this psychology be overcome?

I hear those of us with SSA (for lack of better terminology) that are married talk of the intense struggle they bring into marriage and then the subsequent pain –that many of their sexual relations are forced, and unnatural. I am not questioning their choice or saying it is or was right or wrong for them to get married, but it’s something I must consider if I am to deem heterosexual marriage as an option for me.

Then on the other hand I look at my gay friends and my perception of the gay community. I don’t see many true fulfilling relationships there. There is much pain and many fleeting relationships. I can’t force a relationship there either. And if I was to pursue a same-sex relationship, I can’t help but see it as me giving up on getting to the bottom of my psychology, and really figuring out why I am the way I am, and more importantly who I am. I love self discovery. I see a same-sex relationship as suddenly confining myself to a lifestyle that doesn’t necessarily represent me.

I’ll admit, I have tired the gay scene; albeit only briefly. I found that the fantasy is much better than the reality. Many gay men speak of having a “need to be held in the arms of another man” and that close personal affection is what brings a feeling of resolution. I don’t feel so much “need to be held” however, I understand that “need” as I have felt it in the past, but I have changed and really have confidently grown into myself. I have very mutually satisfying relationships with regular straight guys. I am confident in those relationships.
I think in order to have a truly satisfying sexual experience there must be a level of emotional satisfaction. My experiment upon the gay scene brought sexual satisfaction only to a degree because I received much emotional disappointment.

So I guess the best way to describe how I feel is that I am not emotionally attracted to men, but only physically. I don’t think I feel the need to receive intimate masculine affection emotionally in a homosexual way. I receive the affirmation I that need from my heterosexual male friendships.
Yet somewhere inside, emotionally, I still seek a same-sex relationship. Why?

Consequently, I must ask myself how I feel about women. First, it’s hard to find a woman that really catches my heart. However, when I do find a woman that does, I immediately take on the role of “provider.” I very well can fit into the role of being the leader in a relationship, and that’s what I prefer. I am strong, opinionated, and aggressive with decision making. My relationships with women are fewer than that with men. This didn’t always used to be, but it is now. Maybe I am emotionally attracted to women, if I can find the right kind of woman. It is difficult to say.
And then in response to marriage, what if I was to find the “right” kind of girl, settle down and marry? Would things go great for the first little while and then, because suddenly she is my “everything” would my male relationships suffer and I find myself desiring male intimacy?

I feel as if my life is suddenly put on hold until I can figure out what I really want. I feel like I have to guess and take risks to find these answers. I don’t know how I identify myself sexually. I am a man through and through. I love being a man. I love being masculine. More importantly I love me. I want to have someone else who loves me, intimately.

Yesterday, as I was waiting in a line I watched a couple interact. I watched as they exchanged words of affection. He pulled her close and kissed. I was jealous. His need for love and affection in a monogamous fulfilling relationship was being nurtured. Looking at my options as I have stated above, I don’t know that I will ever have something like that. It saddens, frustrates, and worries me to no end. It’s natural to feel the need to love and be loved. I just wonder if I will spend my entire life with this piece of my heart

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I’m feeling kind of blue. This has been an incredibly difficult semester for me on a number of levels. I feel like I have suddenly lost myself this semester. I used to be able to accomplish things, set goals, and live life without hesitation. I could achieve anything, and I believed it. I really was prepared to take on life by the horns. I was fearless, confident, strong. Now I don’t know what has happened. I feel as though my life has begun to slip out of my control. I hate school now. My grades reflect it this semester too. I had big dreams of really doing something great with my life and I worked for it. I enjoyed working hard and seeing the results but I don’t even care anymore. Certainly our long term goals evolve and become new and that which we used to want changes; thus is life. But my dreams haven’t changed, they’ve evaporated. I have no idea what I am doing with my life. I am walking a path that scares me. The academics I used to enjoy are a burden and now, even my favorite subject that I have studied for five semesters with an A every time is bogging me down and I feel awful. I know I am smart. I am really intelligent and creative. It’s all trapped inside me though. I don’t know why. I see my professors and really like them. I always try to keep somewhat of a relationship with my professors. But I am ashamed of my grades. I want my professors to know that I am smart; to know that I can do anything and that I can be successful even in hard classes. I took a test today for one of my political science classes. It’s an incredibly difficult course, the most difficult of the major and arguably one of the most difficult on campus. I sat down with my test, knowing that I wasn’t really prepared to take it. It was insulting to my intelligence. As I looked over the test, I knew that I could have studied and done well or at least passed. It would have taken preparation and work, but I could have done it. Instead I just BS-ed my way through the test, knowing full well that the professor is no idiot. He can smell BS just as well as anyone. Which is why I feel so stupid. The test didn’t reflect my intelligence and my ability. I didn’t even bother to check my work or fully follow the instructions… I just turned it in half-assed. I almost would rather have not taken the test at all. It’s embarrassing. It says, “I’m a lazy-ass son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t give a shit about school.” Even if it is true at the moment, it’s not characteristic of me or my deep desires. I feel humiliated.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sick of this!

Why am I so damn emotional? I’m really coming unglued. I don’t even want to write this because I am so disgusted with myself and the situation I find myself in. This whole homosexuality thing makes me want to vomit.
Two and a half years ago I was a very different person. I was so deep into denial about my issues that I believed in, that I was vehemently opposed to the public gay community. I said to myself, “Shoot, if I can choose to be straight then so can they!” I saw them as people who had given up on making themselves into something “clean and wholesome” and I judged them somewhat harshly –but only as harshly as I judged myself.
In the city where I am from there was a huge gay marriage fall-out and protesters were everywhere. I joined the ranks in protesting gay marriage. I saw it as a threat to my success as one who was trying and working at a deadly pace to overcome my same-sex attraction. I never hated anyone, as many of the protesters there did. Some carried signs reading “God Hates Faggots!” and “Eternal Damnation” and a whole slough of nasty threats. I will never forget the bull horn and the jerk who, in the name of god, condemned everyone there. Even though I was terrified of my own self and my personal struggles, I could never agree with such statements. How could I? In fact I got into an argument with the ass that was carrying the bull-horn. He condemned me for not agreeing with him. I stood as far away from him and his other haters in the designated protest area. Really I just didn’t want gay marriage to be passed into legislation as legal. That would have been too much for me.
When NPR interviewed me I never gave my name, I wanted to remain anonymous. I still want to. Several other radio stations and newspapers interviewed several people, but I was interviewed a lot. I always made sure to say that I didn’t hate anyone and that I just didn’t think that it was right or something… I dunno… I just remember that I felt like I was more of a voice of reason amidst the battle…
Anyway, enough of the stupid excuses! While the political struggle went on for more than two days, I was only there for a couple of hours. I ended up being photographed by one of the major national news magazines, and it was published with me in the forefront. I am the central focus of the picture. If I mentioned the magazine, you’d recognize it. I didn’t know that they took the picture and I didn’t even find out about it until eight months later when a friend from church congratulated me for being famous. I was a bit uneasy then, but nothing like I am now.
One of the students in my building came up to me tonight and said, “Hey I saw a picture of you today. Well, at least I think it was you.” I said, “Oh yeah? Where did you see it?” I had no idea where she was coming from or what picture she saw. “It was a picture of you at a protest.” My stomach began to knot up. “It is in my textbook.” Apparently this picture has become quite popular. I am practically clip-art now! Yes, I have seen the textbook, and yes it is me in the picture.
No one asked my permission to be put in the textbook. Someone made hella cash off of me for a mistake I made and it just makes me sick! I want it out! I want it to just go away. If I had known that it would have come to this I would have never gone to the stupid protest anyway! Not only do I feel like a hypocrite on some level, but this affects me more than you might realize. I am a political science major. While I don’t plan on getting into big-time politics, I do plan on being somewhat in the public eye. I feel like my going to that protest is like stepping into a hornets nest and some how, at some point in time, it will come back and sting me.
A friend from out of state called me while I was looking at my portrait in the textbook. As I was talking to her I expressed my disgust about the situation. I stood outside in the cold wondering if she could really hear that I was upset. She has been a good friend, one of those people that you can really trust. In fact, I had already considered coming-out to her on a couple of occasions. In truth, I am “out” to almost no one. I explained that my position on the issue had softened and that I no longer felt the same way. I gave her some valid but generic reasons, but also being cautious not to “give myself away.” Her basic response crushed me. “Yes, but Cas, what they do is so disgusting. Every time I think about gays and lesbians it just… Ooh!”
I was crushed. Not only did I expect her to be more understanding than most, but I thought she would be able to see people for who they are. I still don’t know where I stand on this issue for me. But I do know that there is more to me than the fact that I am attracted to men. I’m forever tagged. Stereotypes that are so hurtful. I will forever be stereotyped as a fag –that I like to wear women’s clothes, or talk with a lisp or am ultra feminine, or that I wish I was a woman, or that I am a pervert or a wimp or a child molester or a butt pirate! I’m none of those things. Most of my friends would never even suspect me to be homosexual. I like being a man, like being masculine, and I am not a wimp. I’ve never wanted to be a woman nor do I pretend to be a woman. I am a MAN. I can lead, take charge of a situation, I am strong, and yes, I do have good fashion sense. But damn it! There is so much more to me than just that! I have already said in previous posts that I love me. I love who I am. I can see beyond the homosexuality for who I am. I just wish others could…

Letting go and finding my way

About a year ago I finally came to grips with my homosexuality. While I always knew that it was something that I dealt with and even sought help from professionals and my ecclesiastical leaders, I never accepted it as something that was inherently part of my life. I wanted so badly not to have to admit that I had a “different” side to me, that I labeled my self as a heterosexual who suffered from same-sex attraction as if it were a communicable disease. This “disease” I also believed had a cure. I was so far into denial, that I even criticized other LDS men that struggle with the world of problems associated with homosexuality. I saw them as weak for accepting it as part of them.

Nevertheless it was my enlightenment to learn otherwise. I threw away my pretense of perfection and began to embrace the flaws and follies of life. Suddenly I was free from worry and regret about the life that was mine. Immediately my self esteem and personal paradigm were redrawn and I finally began to live my life.
I’m not about to suggest that I was wanting to live a gay [gay having not only a social but also a political context] lifestyle nor fully give into the urges that I felt. Rather, I felt that by wading through my homosexuality, I could explore what I felt and why I felt it. Moreover, by fully recognizing my struggles as part of what has shaped me to be who I am, I would be able to transcend that which had held me down for so long. It’s a beautiful thought.

I love me. I love who I am –my personality, my hopes and aspirations, everything that I can be and want to be. I am a good man. Many good things have happened to me in my life, and I believe many more good things will happen to me.

In many ways I am an optimist with jaded edges. I am a man full of conflict –both good and bad have their way with me. I wouldn’t change a thing about who I am, and my struggles that have shaped who I am. Naturally then, where it an option, I don’t know that I would change my homosexuality as it has provided a world of obstacles have played a role in shaping the contours of my life. In essence, I wouldn’t be the same man that I am today were it not for the problems associated with my homosexuality.

Do I like that I am a homosexual? No, not really. It has provided a unique set of challenges that I have yet to figure out. Much of the time it is overwhelming. But there are many challenges that I face that I just have to live with. I’m not perfect, and I don’t expect to be nor should anyone else expect it of me.

Despite all of that, I am mourning. I mourn that I likely will never have a normal romantic relationship. I don’t see heterosexual marriage as something that I can manipulate myself into in hopes that eventually it will provide a satisfying sexual and emotional relationship. I also don’t expect myself to ever be a father. The classic family picture is not likely going to ever be a part of my world. I suppose if I found the right girl, I would be willing to give it a shot. But what a way to enter a marriage relationship! I’ll give it a shot?!?!? No, I won’t put my wife through the emotional trauma. Neither do I see a same-sex relationship as providing me with stability and long-term happiness. I guess I still don’t really know what I would expect a same-sex relationship to provide me with. Additionally, the social consequences of having an open same-sex relationship would be quite painful. My brother-in-law would only see me as an apostate pervert. He wouldn’t let me ever be around my nephews again. Additionally, what about all the people that I have known for years? I would feel that I would have to make excuses or explain myself as to why I pursued a same-sex relationship. They would shake their heads and never be able to look at me beyond my homosexuality –which I HAVE been able to do. I see an amazing person. I see the man that God has created –talented, intelligent, and full of love.

This also is saddening to me because I want so much to love and to receive love; real love. I want to be part of a relationship that is mutually beneficial. I want the feeling of being completed and complimented by another person. Is that too much to ask for? Perhaps.

Truthfully, as ironic as it may be, the people I would least be afraid of “coming-out” to would be my parents. I have great parents. Even if in some “environmental” way my upbringing contributed to my homosexuality, I have made peace them and my relationship has never been better. I couldn’t have asked for more kind, understanding, and loving parents. I am so fortunate.

I know that some claim that there is a cure for same-sex attraction. And if there is, then I have yet to find it. Whatever the cure would be, this much is true: The cure is a process. It is contained within the chapters of a full life. Learning, sometimes painfully, and moving beyond that which was previously thought of as true is the only cure I know of for any problem. Changing and breaking false paradigms is what life is all about. Whether or not my same-gender attraction goes away is irrelevant to the fact that the process of achieving and growing is what makes life worth living. So whether or not it goes away does not matter to me.

Finally, I cannot reconcile myself with the Church. I do not know where to fit in with the Church, the society. Anymore I feel like an outsider looking in. Because I have experienced so much in my life, I cannot look at humanity with an ignorant eye as so many Mormons do. I know I stereotype, but there is so much more to life than the daily doings of the Church. Good can be found everywhere –not just amongst the Mormon society.

I suppose I should clarify though. I view the Church and the Gospel as two separate entities. I have no problems with gospel doctrine. I think the doctrines are beautiful. When truly understood as it is taught, the father-child relationship as the Gospel teaches us is spectacular. God is not some distant Zeus-like being that is ready to punish us for our sins at any moment, but rather, loves us –flawed, imperfect, and completely bound by the laws of mortality. He didn’t set us here to be perfect or to even become perfect. Perfection is an eternal process… I’m ok with that. If my imperfections include homosexuality, then so be it. It is the life I was intended to live.

It's almost ironic how polarized my personal conflicts are, or apear to be. I feel so much sadness because of what can never be and yet an incredible joy because of who I am. This too may never be reconciled. I want so much to be an influence for good in a world that in many ways if falling apart. The Church used to be my motivation. I felt like I was part of something greater than myself and that I could make a godly difference in the world. But now that I have “left the Church” (mentally) I am part of no such altruistic force. I feel lost and alone in so many ways. God is with me still, but the Church is not.

Last night I spoke with an old friend. She spoke of moving to Provo and making life decisions. She said, “You know, I really have no idea why I am here. Why now at this time in this place.” I realized that I also have no idea why I am here now either. For someone who believes divinely that there are reasons why things happen the way that they do, I feel purposeless here.

Despite the tiresome challenges I face, I have hope for the future. There is a place for me somewhere in this world, even if it is hidden from me at this time. I feel like I have to forge a trail, and that in most respects, I must blaze this trail all alone –which makes the longing to love and be loved that much stronger, and the loneliness that much greater.

But I will find my way...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fish Death Wish

Augh! Gross. Ever opened up the jar of mayo only to find that the person before has used the same utensil to scoop a glob of mayo as was used to mash the tuna fish? Sick! Someone has a death-wish at my apartment. If salmonella doesn’t get them first, I will!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Black Tuesday

Ok, I hate to admit this about myself, but confession is good for the soul. I’ve been rather foolish during the last few months. I have been reckless with my finances. How did it come to this? I don’t know exactly, but my vanity has increased as my credit card debt has. The shameful thing about this is that it is exactly what my parents have done with their finances. I swore that I would never do what my parents have done, and I find myself paying debts with more debt. My parents have never been good with money. My father openly admits his weakness and is too paralyzed to do anything about it. Meanwhile my mother spends and then buries her head in the sand, and then when things start to put a pinch on her lifestyle, she blames my dad for not being balanced. Fortunately for me, I only have myself to worry about. I have a few debts looming in the background of my life that I really don’t want to deal with (I am burying my head in the sand like mom). Last year I got into a bit of an accident while running. I split my knee open and had to go to the hospital for numerous stitches. The scar is pretty cool, but the bill isn’t. Insurance was never billed and I have basically just eaten the $990.00 on my own. I could try to get my insurance to pay, but I’m too stressed about everything else to confront the “politics of getting things my way.”
I also have several bills left over from this summer –Comcast internet for one. It’s a damn screw job is what it is. When I called to get my service disconnected, they told me all I had to do was to come into the store, return my cable modem, and my service would be discontinued. I left the modem with my roommate and he had it returned (and I trust the guy). However, Comcast is still charging me for services I never received and they are saying that the modem was never returned. It adds up to a whopping $250 that they are charging me for service I never had. I have called them so many times too… Finally I called up yesterday and literally yelled over the phone at the lady there. I was so angry I was sweating. She really got it bad. It wasn’t just because of the $250, but because of everything. It was a real emotional workout for me. I emptied my frustrations out for nearly 40 minutes. Nothing was solved.

And, then the last major thing, I owe my parents $2700 that I borrowed from them this summer to buy a car. Borrowing money from parents is also something my father does to his dad. He was never much of a father to him and he has a lot of money –A lot. I think it’s my grandfather’s way of saying “Well, I know I wasn’t much of a father, so here is some money.” I planned on having a bigger paycheck at the end of the summer than I actually ended up receiving, and well, they are expecting some money and I don’t have it. I already paid off my $3500 credit card debt with my student loan. I could take out more student loan, but how will I finance next semester? This is so stupid. The main reason why I am so short of cash is because I waste it on crap –also a habit of my parents. I always criticized them for being so foolish with money, restaurants here and there, movie night now and again, new furniture for the house, and a variety of other comforts. They entitle themselves to the very best. So do I. I tell myself that I deserve more than the standard of living my budget requires. In a fit of depression I go and buy crap; whether clothing or a night on the town, or some activity with someone. I hate it. It’s as if I were trying to prove to others that I have money to spend, and I am reckless. I still owe $1000 on my American Express card and my habits haven’t changed completely. I keep telling myself that everything will be ok and not to worry. But I am banking on the future, and assuming that I can make ends meet. I could tell my parents but that would be so humiliating for me. I am independent. I like to think I am anyway. My parents wouldn’t trust me like they do anymore if I was to default on their trust. Maybe in some perfectionist way, I tell myself that I am beyond the problems of my parents. I am the golden child that can make things really workout while everyone else mires in their problems. In so many ways I am the embodiment of my parents –the good, as well as the bad. I thought I had left a lot of my perfectionist ways in the dust a long time ago, but maybe I have held on to a few of them. I feel stupid. And I, like my father, am too paralyzed to really find a solution… I just sit and wait for some sort of Black Tuesday to arrive. My credit is good right now, but for how long can I escape reality by fudging debt from here to there?