Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Open Meadows

Well, for the last week or so, I've just felt as though I were walking in an open meadow in the middle of a beautiful valley and even a stream running playfully through the middle of it. I know that sounds kinda corny, but it's the best way to describe it. Just wonderful and peaceful. I have just felt really, really great the last couple weeks. No, I'm not drunk or high. (I think I'm done with that now)
December has been quite radical. For Halloween (yeah, I know it's not in December...) I went out with some friends from Provo, a friend from downtown SLC and another friend from south SLC. WOW, that was really crazy. I had a little bit too much to drink and then smoked a little too much pot...I stayed conscious all night, but that only happened with considerable effort. And because things were so horrible at the end of November, I think back on Halloween night and say that I really enjoyed it. My friends tell me I'm just about the most kind and loving drunk person ever. It's odd, but when I'm under the influence, I'm so grateful for the people I love and who love me. But, into December, I continued drinking more and more until I was hiding wine and vodka in my underwear drawer. I had term papers and projects, semester exams, the GRE, researching and applying to grad schools, and all of that while I was drinking more and more (bad combo). It really was too much and radical in an unsettling way. As December progressed, I didn't like it...but I don't know how I could have made it through emotionally without the escapes the alcohol, pot, and my friends gave. PS, I haven't drank in a while now (two weeks-ish) and I'm feeling really, really good about it.
What else in December? Well, a relationship. I got really attached and close to a guy that I've been friends with since September. He hangs out with the group I spend most my time with. I had originally crushed on him big-time and, unawares to me, he did the same. So, in December, we found out about each other's feelings'll stop there about that. Because of him, I started questioning what I would actually end up doing in the future. It's not that I think "he's the one," rather, I'm just shocked at how it felt to be in that kind of relationship - in a relationship with someone of the same gender/sex. I don't mean to sound mushy, but it was really different than I thought it would be. Different in that it was way more.
Because of the above, for the majority of December, I was really questioning what I would end up doing. I'm feeling pretty unsettled. I really feel ashamed writing that because everyone I know knows that I know what I'm supposed to choose (wife or celibacy), but the truth is - I'm unsettled. I don't really see myself with a partner, but I never saw myself even debating about it. I could see myself being celibate, even though thinking about the lack of a someone to share life with is abhorrent. I can see myself as a husband and father, but I don't exactly see myself courting or engaging in procreation...both are kinda necessary. So, door 1, door 2, or door 3? What's it gonna be? (I promise I don't think about it so causually)
I really, really enjoyed reading and commenting on others' posts this month. I had some really incredible awakenings because of what others wrote and the questions they made me ask of myself. If you promise not to make fun of me, I cried several times when reading posts (when I read most any post)...even if the post wasn't especially deep or heart-wrenching, I cried because I was thinking about the person that wrote it and how much I feel with him/her and love him/her. Just the thought of the fingers that typed the post and the depth of that person's thoughts, feelings, and soul was enough to cause me to tear up. My emotions were pretty close to the surface over the last month, especially when I was reading blogs. I think it's because of this great tear inside me and because of the deep empathy and love that we bloggers share. When I read others' words, I feel them so strongly.
Also, something that someone wrote made me go back and read a few of my older posts. This is post #14 since April of this year when I faced up to the truth. I've written about fears, friends, coming out and trying to come out, kissing, drinking, smoking, and toking. I used to really believe that being gay meant I was broken; now, I just accept that gay isn't broken, it's just the way that I am (not who I am) and I can't change it. I started out with a ton of optimism that I'd be able to lick it quickly and still get married in time to avoid serious questioning from family and, was I ever naive. I touched alcohol, tobacco, and mj for the first time in 10 years and I've still got alcohol to kick before I'm good on that front. I've talked about wanting to give up and about wanting to run away. I wrote about things that I know regarding God and love and forgiveness and acceptance. I wrote about things that I don't know like the future, me, and the big "why." I was touched by some of the stuff that I read from months past. I had a few moments of real clarity and inspiration. All in all, I'm so glad that I started posting. Because now, I've got friends and allies and advice to such an extent that I could have never found otherwise. Because now, I can track the way that I've been channeled by my experiences so that I can stand back and redirect myself to paths that are of my choosing instead of taking paths that are no more than reactions to experiences. And also because now, I can go back and read the things I said in those critical moments of clarity and awareness. We don't think well all the time. We make decisions that are seemingly unimportant, but that place us months later far from where we aimed to be. If we don't stay conscious of where we are versus where we planned to be, and where we want to be, then the natural/initial reactions we have to life's trials will be the determinants of our future instead of our conscious selves. If we don't decide our lives consciously, then other things will - other things will.
I thank God for these last days of open meadows. I'm thinking more clearly again. I feel so much these days and I like it. I love my friends and family (that includes all my friends and family). So...what now? I guess we'll see.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hey Robert, look closely, be honest.

Beer, MJ, clubbing, and kissing guys. You'd have never believed it if someone had said that you'd be doing these things again. It's not you, it never was, and was never supposed to be.

In the past month, I've made the first two habit, I seek them out. I'm not me anymore... Even now, typing this, I just want to go smoke some weed, have a couple beers, and kiss a guy. Not just anybody, but someone close. That's the reason for the long silence - things haven't been well. I can't stand keeping it in/secret anymore. I'm terrified to publish this post because I don't want to hurt Hillary. I'm not sure that I'll hit the "Publish Post" button. But, I've got to be honest. I'm not me anymore. I'm someone different. She's dating other guys and I'm so happy for her. In the most sincere and utterly honest way, I hope that she finds someone that loves her like I do, but that can offer her everything. This blog has to be the place where I'm honest and real. It was created to be the place that I can write whatever because it's me that I'm writing to. For the first couple of months, I didn't share the address because I didn't intend for it to be public. I started it so I could get it all out. So, this is it, this is what's real. I am sorry for it.

I'm sorry that it all sounds so dramatic. I know that being mormon and attracted to guys is not a death or damnation sentence. I know that we make our lives and are held to the consequences of our choices. It's simple as that. My challenges aren't beyond those of many of my friends that still choose the right. Gay LDS guys can be totally happy, get married to a wonderful wife, and have a great family. It happens! What hurts is that I know I'm not who I've become. I've lost the true me. I don't think much anymore. And here I am, I'm sorry for who I've become.

I know it can change...that I can change it. Somehow, it will...I will. I quit smoking and drinking for a month or so...but I'm drinking again and now I've smoked MJ a few times as well. What have I done? I don't see clearly because I refuse to look closely at life. I don't believe that things will drastically change as a result of this post. No, not drastic change, it'll be slow and eventual. I'll be a temple goer again someday, I'll be helping families again, and I'll be me again. I hope sooner than later, but that has yet to be seen. Who am I? I am RedSageWarrior and BrightMedicineHorse, I'm Elder Stahl and Uncle Bobby, I'm Boy Wonder and Obie-One. That's who I am. It's these scales and tar that I've got to shed. They're abrasive, they're heavy. It'll change - I'll change. Watch, but just be patient Robert, be patient.
P.S. I am so incredibly grateful for the friends I've made and the people I've met through blogging. Wow, we're fortunate to have each other, especially because of the diversity of our experiences and understandings. I'm grateful for that every day. Also, I didn't mean to sound like I'm severely depressed or struggling. I really only get sad when I think about what I'm doing - about how I really want to be right with myself and God but at the same time, I'm doing things that I know are not ok and lead me away from the kind of me that I want to be. I've been good before. Good in the sense that I loved who I was because it was the best expression of me I'd ever seen. That's who RedSageWarrior and BrightMedicineHorse, Elder Stahl and Uncle Bobby, and Boy Wonder and Obie-One are. They're versions of me from the past where my actions and desires were in sync. Who I was was who I wanted to be; where I was was exactly where I wanted to be; and what I was doing was exactly what I wanted to be doing. I've never really been this dissonant before, but, I will get back to good. It's just not happening like I want it to, and as is reality, it's hard. I do laugh and have fun and I've got great friends to spend time with. I thank the heavens for that. I just fear to wear out God's patience or not stop this before I do something really harmful. I don't feel that it's good to "take my time," but on that same note, I can't be impatient...change, lasting change, takes time.
P.P.S. I haven't been kissing a lot of guys...or even certain guys a lot. I just really want to, wish to, and I think about it somtimes too much.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What do you wan't first? The good or the bad?

The Good:

Well, for the last year or so, before I ended up confronting same gender attraction, I've been very close to an incredible girl - Hillary. She's the third girl that I dated seriously, and definitely the closest person that I've ever been connected with. Words can't describe the relationship that we share. We've toured Europe together, had numerous life or jail experiences in numerous countries on two continents, we've shared a bed many many times during our travels (of course nothing ever happened nor was anything even hoped for, it's just incredible to wake up next to someone you love so deeply), we've driven some 10,000 miles over our several cross-continental road trips, and she's done emergency surgery on me and I did emergency care on her when she fell off a cliff and couldn't get to a hospital for 4 days. We were going to get married, but both of us found that the fear we were experiencing was more than just nerves...lo and behold, last April, it all ran over and spilled out - I'm crazy attracted to guys. Hill stuck with me through a cancer diagnosis, surgery, and then coming to terms with being gay. She's still the closest person I have and we continue to help each other forward every day (she says that I help her too).

About a month ago, we had a serious talk. Our relationship was still reaching for romanticism and hopes for the future were around every corner. The possibility that, if I could figure myself out and get right with things, we might marry some day was really about the only anchor line holding me in place so that the storms didn't blow me away to being completely lost. Well, we had this serious talk because, for a while, I had felt like something was not OK. I had been feeling something was wrong, and I finally asked her how she felt about about us. She asked if I wanted her to be totally honest. I said yes. What she said was exactly how I had been feeling...the reason that I asked the question in the first place. It was this: I was struggling and stuck in a rut...and she was staying there with me while life passed on. Of course friends help friends out; but if I get lost, she couldn't help if she was lost with me. She could help me best if she was on solid ground following her promptings in life. We are so close that we've just stuck together through anything; and while we still will, we can't be lost together. And yes, I'm lost. I'm trying to follow guidance to get me out of being lost...but I'm lost. She had to move forward in life. The thing is that while she can help me with my problems, she cant do them for me. They're my life problems and, truth be told, only I can do them. Well, with that conversation, the hope for marrying her extinguished. My strongest tie-down and anchor line (I know it should be the Lord, but that's not the case now) was cut, and I felt very different inside. One day I caught myself thinking that if someone plowed into me on my motorcycle and I died, that would actually be OK - I could then be in a place where I'd have the possibility to move forward on the whole baptism, deacon, teacher, priest, elder, rm, married,... path. Now, just understand, I'm not suicidal.

Fortunately, my thoughts lead me to a bit of a discovery. It dawned on me that I needed a different purpose in life - a new something for my mortal existence to culminate in. I mean, shoot, there is no other right life aside from the track of baptism, priesthood, mission, married, and children. That's the purpose of life! or was... Well, I thought about it for a while, and I decided it was OK if my life's culminating purpose - the thing that I could say was my mark for having lived - was my work with adolescents and their families. I hope that doesn't sound like a build up to a mediocre answer, cause in no way do I hope to have only a mediocre impact on a mediocre number of individuals. I thought, "If I don't have a family, then all the time that would have gone to them can now go to my work. The people I work with can be my family and expanding and building that business bigger and bigger so as to increase our capacity to help more and more families could be my life and the thing that I invest my heart into." My question to the critic would only be: "What else am I going to do with it?" I see that this is quite idealistic, but "ideals are like stars," right? I mean, I'm not foolish enough to believe that things will turn out just like I see them in my detailed daydreams; but, that's not to say that they can't actually turn out to be better than the dreams. The biggest reason for failing, I think, is cause people fail to dream and then believe in themselves. And again, I can see that this is a stretch, but it's what I'll shoot for. So, the good is that I might have found a new purpose in life.

The Bad:

I'm drinking and smoking more. I'm afraid of the future...of me in the future. I'm afraid that I'll become someone that I'll regret, or that I'll regret living alone, or that I'll regret marrying, or that I'll regret something I didn't want to type. I know what I want, I know what is true, and I know where I should be...but knowing all those things has never precluded me from making grave mistakes. It always comes down to that moment when you face the decision. I think it's that moment that I'm afraid of. No matter what I want or know or see for a hundred days in a row, that moment is decided by what I am able to see then and there. I'm afraid cause I don't have a good track record. I'm a wild card, even to me. I feel like a coward by saying all this, or like a person that plans to fail, or like a premature quitter. But I'd be a liar if I was to say that I know what will happen or that I know I'll be where I'm supposed to be in 2, 5, or 10 years. Don't misunderstand, I don't question my testimony; I don't question my love for God and Christ; I don't question prophets, revelation, leadership, or the power of faith. I question that moment and me in it. I've just learned from so many other experiences...that no matter how I feel now, I can't tell you for sure what will happen at that moment. I'm afraid of not being where I should be some day down the road when I stop and take a look around and then look at myself.

There are the good and the bad. I'm not in a crisis. I love my friends, I love my family, I like my work, and I really don't like my classes. So, I guess I'm normal...maybe I am.

Monday, October 13, 2008

About me

I'm sitting in prison in Utah with a little heater fan blowing on me and an inmate taking a personality profile measure next to me. The measure is 567 questions long, so I've had some time to do some thinking and I'm going to have some time to do some writing. What do I think? Well, life is most always a better deal than I feel it is. I say most always because sometimes, I am able to see it for the radiant and transcendent marvel that it is, and the beautiful future that it urges on us. Funny, I usually start to see that life is better than I give it credit for after talking with a few inmates. I guess, compared to them, I've not got such a hard case. Hahaha.

I hesitated to post this cause I'm not sure how good of an idea it is to open yourself up like so. I edited it down quite a bit and tried to make it as clear as possible. I'm posting it for two reasons: so that I can read it a few years down the road and maybe see how my thinking about the past has changed and because I really appreciate being able to learn about others' lives and the things that lead them to where they are now, so maybe others will appreciate reading this.

Well, I'm a small town boy. I feel so at home in the woods and in can be the outskirts of a small town, a cow pasture, or some meadow a hundred miles from anything and I'm home. Yeah, corny. But, really, you've seen man vs wild? Yeah, that's totally my thing. I finally acknowledged being SGA in April 2008, but that's not to say that I couldn't have admitted to it before. I got into trouble with boys starting at about the age of six. Sometimes we got caught sometimes we didn't. I never treated girls with anything but the utmost respect. I thought I was such a good guy. All of the immoral stuff stayed really well hidden, even from my parents. I played most every sport, fished, hunted, camped, and got into plenty of trouble - I've got a juvi record a mile long.
We moved to another town when I was 15 and on probation for the second time. This probation officer was a really good guy and helpful. That was the start of a new life. I remember my dad saying to me, "This is your chance to start new. Nobody here knows anything about what you've done." I don't know why, but after all the things that my parents said trying to turn me around, this time, my dad got through. I started being good as far as what people saw, but nothing ever changed with regard to immorality. I had some pretty life changing things happen in the latter teenage years. The most significant was a car accident that involved my whole family (mom, dad, me and my four sisters). I got some pretty serious head injuries that left me with few memories from my past and a bit of a changed personality. For the 4 months after the accident, I was on my own. I was one of the two people in my family that could walk and because of that, I was expected to take care of myself. It was a really rough time, my brain couldn't handle coherent thought, but I was on my own. After it was all over, I had become very independent and comfortable being alone. I had plenty of fun with friends, but my favorite time was being quiet and alone or having good talks with one friend.

When I went to college, I told my parents that I was planning on going on a mission, just because if I didn't tell them that, they would have probably broken (I'm currently the only active child of the four that moved out...and they don't know I'm gay); but, I definitely knew that I would never choose to go. I had tried so many things to get the Lord to fix me (I knew something was wrong) that by this time, I was really resistant with Him. Fortunately, I had some miraculous roommates that first semester and an incredible mentor...I decided that I did want to serve a mission. I went out on the mission right before they "raised the bar." Now, believe me when I say this, I served with everything I had and the most unspeakable things happened on the mission. Wow, I learned that I was where the Lord wanted me to be; and that God, his offer for redemption through the atonement, and the reality of his closeness are so true, real, and actual.
After I came back, I taught at the MTC for a year. These three years (the mission and the MTC) stood in sharp contrast to the rest of my life. After the MTC, I left UT cause I didn't know where life was suppose to go. I moved to Arizona and started working for a program that helped children who had gotten in deep trouble with the law, drugs, immorality, or other defiant or destructive behavior. I loved it, and I got a second job working with children in group homes and emergency care shelters who were wards of the state. Both of these were in Arizona. The two years there brought me to the knowledge of what my calling is in life - to help young people and their families to learn to walk together in harmony through the challenges of this world. I needed more education to do this, so I sold my house in AZ and moved back to UT to finish school. I'll be done in April and then move on to whichever grad school accepts me.
April will be the one year mark from when I admitted to SGA. I have nightmares sometimes that my family finds me out. It's going to happen some day. I don't have a partner and I don't ever plan to, but being single for too long is just about as much of a give-away. At any rate, the other questions and evidences will eventually give me up. But, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, no?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ideals are like stars...

Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny. -Carl Schurtz

I came out to my bishop back toward the beginning of summer. I talked with him two weeks later and then never went back. I felt so gross talking with him about how I'm attracted to dudes. Out of the blue, he called and asked if I would meet with we did, last Sunday. I was scared to death, but I figured: "He set up the meeting, I'll let him have charge and see what he wants." We chatted in general about life and such for a little and then he asked; "So, how are...other things going?" (I think that he's as uncomfortable as I am). I told him that this has been probably the hardest summer of my life, maybe matched by a summer or two from the worst of my teenage years. I told him about smoking and drinking...and that I've quit that (I have). I told him that at this point, I wish I hadn't ever even gone to that meeting where I came out and confronted this; but, I acknowledged that life goes on and I told him that I knew my feelings would change somehow.

The other night, I talked with Hillary for about 90 minutes. We had a good talk, but when we ended it, I was troubled cause I couldn't see how things were going to get better. So, I've been thinking about it. I think I've forgotten that some problems don't get fixed, some challenges can't be vanquished, and some trials are life-long. So, what's left to say but "get over it!"

Today, I was thinking about the things that I have that I can be happy about. Dang, there's a lot. I've got some of the best friends, roommates, cousins, sisters and parents that a person could imagine. So what if I'm gay and can't seem to change it. I remember when I was working with others that were experiencing trials and challanges, I would say to them that they needed to focus on things that they both wanted to change and could change...or cause to change. Worrying about anything else was not only futile and wasteful, but harmful and destructive. Well, it's plain to see that I need someone to share that very principle with me. I've been concerning myself so strongly with things I can't change that I haven't even had safe control over things I could influence or change for the better.
After thinking about the good fortune I experience in life, I thought about some of my most cherished memories, including touring the museums in Washington, DC, with Hill(ary). In one museum of art, there were tons of quotes on the walls accompanying masterful paintings. One of the quotes was from Carl Schurz: "Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny." I think I've been following my feet - or at least looking down all the time while saying that I'm trying to follow the stars. Yeah, doesn't work. I think he means that we've got to stay focused on the things that we do want and can accomplish and not let ourselves be distracted or turned from our path by other seemingly valid concerns - concerns that we might be able to affect, but that would prove to be less important than the grand plans and ideals that we chase and could otherwise be accomplishing if we would but stay focused. So, I'll spend the next while working on understanding how best to stay focused on the stars and be guided by ideals. Of course, it'll be a process; but perhaps, it'll be the reminder that I need to recall to me the way of being I once had - the one that brings joy and fullness to work and relationships, and love and life.

Ok, I know that sounds kinda corny, but I really mean it. There is a way of being, a song that your heart can sing, a presence that you can develop; whatever you call it, when you are this way, the people and places and events in life are all good and right. They didn't change, you did. It only ever results from or is the sum consequence of the fine choices that you make every day inside yourself that nobody knows about. I say this mostly to myself, because I forget it too easily. The way that you are inside - your way of being - is not something that you get to choose directly; rather, it is a sum of the choices you make in your thoughts and heart throughout the days. This presence of yours is ever-changing, formed by who you are in the places where nobody but you and God can see. I feel ashamed for being who I've been this last little while...kicking against the pricks. So...change doesn't happen in an instant. It requires time and effort. I've already started towards it; now, I need to continue and soon, I'll start to see as I was able to see some time ago. There'll be more light, more purpose, and more why's to work every day and follow the ideals that guide.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back at it

When I was a sophomore in college, I became really angered and isolated because I didn't know what I was doing... everything was pointless and nothing was going anywhere. So, I dropped out of school and really planned never to return. I took a job and spent two years working in Arizona with youth who were in serious trouble tied to drugs, the law, or other defiant or depressed behavior. I bought a house, had a good salary, and LOVED the friends that I had and the way that I felt about life. I was being great and my focus was on helping others, faith and God, and progressing in life. My plan was to stay there for a decade or so and see where my life and a family took me. After one of the LDS general conferences - the priesthood session in particular - something happened that caused me to unquestionably know that I had to go back to school, get my degree in psychology, and then continue to work with adolescents who were in trouble. It was incredibly hard and scary, but I applied to return to BYU, sold all that I had, bought a car and left behind the best life I had ever known. I moved to UT for the same student life that had brought me to depression two years previous and I was seriously wondering "why?"

Every time I had ever changed stations in life, it was because of the same feeling inside me that was so clear in directing where to go and what I was to do there. As long as I followed it, I knew that I was where I was supposed to be and doing what I was supposed to be doing. When I left Arizona, I knew where I was supposed to go - UT, and I knew what I was supposed to do - go to school, but I had no idea why. For two years in AZ, I had been engaged in as good a cause and effective a cause as that when I was a missionary. Why was I supposed to move back to UT where I had crashed in stress, anxiety, and trouble? In April of this year, I went to the Mattis meeting (a supportive kind of evening for gay or lesbian LDS members). I finally started to deal with my homosexual feelings. All the sudden, I knew that this was the reason I was supposed to move to UT. I had to deal with it. Now, after all the events of the last five months, I'm asking, "What was He thinking?!@#?"
I don't know what I'm doing. School and work offer some direction or at least they offer to occupy my time. I still know that I'm going to finish psychology, get my license, and help young people; but, aside from those outward things, I have no idea where I am or where I'm going or how to have the heart and ability to do what I feel I'm supposed to...inside. Like Cadence said, I feel completely empty, pointless, and lifeless. Why? I think it's because of the way that I've withdrawn my emotions from day to day life. I think it's because I'm not truly engaged and invested in spiritual progression. And I think it's because of the the ways I've allowed myself to stray or walk away from how or who I know I should be.

I don't know. It's like I know where I should be when all is said and done, but I don't see the way to get there and I'm only facing that direction when I stop, turn, and look that way thinking, "Look, that's the final destination." I hope that this lost feeling will pass. Maybe it's a temporary transient feeling. Probably, it's the case that I have to work hard to start feeling found again. Definitely, there are some things that can never and should never change - including God and his nature, the truth and reality of faith, and one's history and origin; and on the other hand, there are other things that are meant to change - a man's character, desires, nature, abilities, and future. Time and work. That's what can change things. Both necessary and costly; but some things are worth eternity. If only I could really feel this all the time. Thanks to the Creator for family, friends, and their and His love...and thanks to them. Here's to letting those you love and can't do without know it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Please don't be

Please don't be disappointed. Please don't be upset.

So, when I took that last vacation...and I relaxed the guilt and responsibility and obligation feelings...I went too far.I had some mixed alcohol drinks at a few of our dinners and I smoked some. The drinking stopped when I left Alaska. It never was something that I really did a lot, but the smoking...well, it's continued. My thought was: "Well, I'm taking a break from everything. So, I will." and I did. I haven't been to church in a month and a half cause I've made no effort to attend while traveling.

When I came back from Alaska, I threw away what cigarettes I had and, like with the alcohol, I said I was done. If you've ever smoked, you know that they feel like they have a calming and numbing effect. So, with that being such a fresh memory, when I wanted to be numbed to frustrations, anger, dissappointment, or sorrow, I bought some more; and, it's been going on for the last few weeks. I thought and said, "If I trade smoking for masturbation and pornography, that'd be ok. Immorality is much worse than smoking and I know that I can quit smoking with no problem; so, if I only smoke when I want to masterbate or view porn, then that'd be a good plan. As the immoral cravings deminish, I'll be smoking less and that's that." Looking at it now, I think I just wanted a reason to be able to continue to numb myself with the flick of a lighter. Even now, writing this, I want to be numb. But I'm not going to. Physical cravings are nothing compared to psychological cravings. I know this absolutely. The problem I'm going to face with quiting smoking - starting today - will be the desire to be numb. To be numb, all I had to do was go outside away from anybody, and smoke. I don't think that we're supposed to be numb. Christ wasn't numbed when He'd have liked it. So, I've got to come to terms with feelings undiminished. This is hard to say and write. I quit as of now...not after one last one, but now. I quit because I was choosing and paying money to break promises - both temple and BYU promises; because I have to have integrity - if I don't, then what do I have; and because I'm sick. When I say sick, I mean that I'm so far from what can be the only good relief - the Creator - that I feel physically weak and sorrowful.

For life, God allots us certain burdens. If those burdens become too much to bear, is it not often (not always) because we have made them so? I've always had a very hard time asking for or accepting help. "I need to take care of this on my own." That's all I can think. Well, I can smoke on my own. I can't get help, forgiveness, strength, or love from God or anyone else if I'm going it alone. Alone and support are opposite. Alone and love are opposite. Alone is opposite from anything that I ever want to be; but, I feel that I need to take care of it alone. It won't work. It can't. I can't.

Is pain a step in the healing process? Where do I turn when I've estranged everyone from what's really going on? I know there are those that read this that truly love me. Thank you. Thank you all who comment and email. You must know the help that it is. Sorry for the sad post, I'm just feeling so much right now that I can't wait till I've got it figured out.

I feel horrible for persisting in smoking, especially given my enrollment at BYU. I'm done now.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I don't know. What do you think?

I took a really well-placed vacation. Three weeks - one on the bike in Montana with my family and two in Alaska with very dear friends. I decided that it would be a complete hiatus from all the things that were on the table in my mind. It proved to be a little more difficult to clear that table than I had expected, but I did it. I relaxed everything, including my responsibility and guilt mechanisms. Wow, has this been helpful. It's like there's this wall and I'm pushing on it with all my strength and I won't give up till I push through. After some time, while I was still pushing with all my strength, the force that I was applying to the wall was a quarter of what it was when I started. So I stopped and stood up from my slouched position to re-evaluate if, where, and how to push.

Now that I'm nearing the end of the trip, I'm allowing stuff back onto my mind's table one issue by one. I've come across some questions and I'd like to write them (this helps like talking things through with somebody) and possibly hear some others' thoughts on them.

1. I am still ashamed and sick for experiencing same gender attraction. When I talk with anybody about this, I feel so gay. I would never want anybody to feel offended that I associate so many negative feelings with that term, but I can't call myself gay and not be very offset and upset with me. I'm really ashamed for these feelings and attractions. I know that there is a difference between attraction and action; nonetheless, I still feel this way. This needs to change, but how is it done. Sometimes, I think that I need to set this right to before I work on moving forward; and at other times, I think of this snag as being something that is slowing me down on my attempts to move forward and that I just need to detach the snag and let it take care of itself. The feelings of shame and guilt are potent and very unsettling, so I don't like to linger there. When I talk with some body about it, I feel dirty afterward. When I see an attractive guy, I am reminded of these desires and I feel dirty. I don't like to feel that way and I feel it constantly. That's a big part of why I've liked this vacation so much. How does one fix this...make it so that they don't feel wrong about it. I've read the church pamphlet "God loveth His children" and I've talked with the Matis' and my bishop, and in spite of all they've said, I can't get past the anger of being this way.

2. I was on a walk tonight and I realized that I feel like I went too far in coming out to myself. I've been allowing myself to say that I'm gay. I don't think that I'm going to say that anymore. I'm going to stop it at saying that I experience strong same-gender attraction - sga - and that it's really an obstacle for me. When I'd say that I'm gay, I felt like I was saying that I experience these attractions and not only am I ok with it, but I'm accepting of it and even allowing it. This is totally a result of my definition of the word, but all-the-same, I think it'll be helpful to change my language for now.

3. Relating to the first question, should I fix things or change or correct something before I try to move forward, or should I just move forward? If I try to do the former, then I feel like I'm starting on the way to be stagnant; and like stagnant water, I start to rot. If I do the latter, then am I setting myself up for disaster down the road for not fixing the problems or am I saying "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down!"?

As a concluding remark, clearing the table in my mind has been a very good experience. Relaxing my responsibility and guilt mechanisms has been equally wonderful. I can't do this all the time cause usually, there are important decisions to make and relationships to be responsible in and people to be responsive to, but the hiatus has been effective in helping me to find that I can be...experience sga and not have my family know and still have an amazing relationship with them. With sga being kicked from the concerns table, I was able to feel so there with my family and with the people in Alaska and not feel distanced. Hooray. I also realized how much I love the people I know in the sga community whether in person or through blogging.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Hiding

It'd be so nice if they knew; but then again, would it?

My dad and I recently spent a week together on our motorcycles riding to and from and around AZ. Camping, talking, advising, cliff jumping and everything else fathers and sons do. I was indescribably excited for this week; but during the week, things started to feel short-changed and when it was over, I was really upset. From the outside and maybe for him, the week was great. We did anything that you could have wanted to do. But there was something very real putting distance between us. This thing that is 60% of my life (I'm trying to bring that down...) I couldn't say a word to him about it or ask for his thoughts or philosophies.

I used to talk with my parents a lot-each one,twice daily. I know it sounds excessive, but they were always really nice calls and we always had good stuff to chat about. Up until April (when I "came out") there wasn't a part of me or a worry or a joy that I didn't share with them. Now, we talk twice a week, and our conversations seem to take place because they're supposed to. It's not their fault. My mom has asked me if something is wrong...she wonders why we don't talk much anymore. My sisters and cousins,who I see often, have asked the same thing wondering why I'm not as energetic and outgoing and happy as I used to be.

As I've described, I tried to tell my sister. That didn't go well. Today, I spent the whole evening with my dearest cousins, but a large part of me wasn't there... I've come to understand what Calvin meant when he said that if he continued on without telling his parents, he felt he would explode. I'm slowly isolating and distancing myself from my family, and they're asking me "why". SGA would explain so much and they would understand so many more of the things that make me feel empty or full.

This evening, with my cousins, I did a little imagining of what it would be like if my family knew.........
It was horrible. People would walk as if they were on egg shells. I would be the "gay cousin" that had everybody confused for so long. If my parents knew, I would go from being their only son to their gay son. They wouldn't alienate me or shun me. They'd love me; but, I would no longer be their only son, I'd be their gay son. Everything would change. The distance between us would grow, not diminish. It would grow cause I hated myself for being the problem and because they wouldn't know what to they wouldn't say much at all. The gay bashing would be stopped at the tips of the tongues and the resulting silence would be mystery to none, rather would serve to remind everyone as to why we don't make those jokes anymore. There would be a homosexual in the family, and so things would have to change...........
I know that I could keep it at just telling my parents, but that would start nasty secret keeping that would be really rotten whenever more of the family was together and either shared their views on homos (you'd be surprised at how often this happens) or asked some "why" questions of me wherein the answer would be "well...cause I've got this gay problem."

I was really starting to consider telling my parents and maybe some others... No, not after tonight. Maybe I can fix this distance problem without disclosing anything. Our relationship has been excellent in the past. It just seems that now, the hardest issue I've ever known - the one that kicks my butt; the one that's been the source of the greatest fear, shame, and uncertainty of my life; the one that I need help most in - I have to hide...
P.S. My imagined outcome of "what could happen if..." is just my best honest guess at what coming out to family would cause. My family really is incredible, they think that I'm going to be and do great things. They really do give me a lot of credit, maybe I'm not giving them enough. I'm just too afraid that what used to be so amazing could be lost for good. The less risky thing would be to try and bring things back to the way they were without telling them about this struggle.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cool Conversations

So, I've had some really nice conversations lately via email, over the phone, or in person that have really given me some food for thought. Some of the people I talked with were really liberal, none of them were ultra-conservative, and the rest were in the middle.

I've got a friend that nobody knows that would like me to "just be what God made me, the way that he made me; because He evidently intends that I be that way." He wants me to accept who I am because if I don't, I'll just cause a lot of pain to anyone who I include in my guaranteed-to-fail attempt at a hetero lifestyle. He said that he had done a ton of research about these attempts and said that they really did fail. I know that he wants to keep me from sadness and so he's really just sharing what he's experienced. I wrote back that I've done a lot of research too. Ultimately, I've found that there are so many strong opinions out there about this (really, try to find someone that doesn't have a strong opinion about this issue and I'll give you a candy bar) that I've got to base my hopes and beliefs about future possibilities off my own experiences and the ways that God helps me to understand them. I know that I'm gay. It's been a long time and a hard road for me to be able to say that. But at the same time - or even before that, I was and am Robert; and Robert is whoever I make him to be. Homosexuality and homosexual characteristics is and are an influence in my life - they influence me, they don't determine me. This is the hardest, scariest, and biggest challenge I've ever known. Sometimes, it seems like it controls me. With the challenge being such, I don't think that I can hope to win by exerting any amount of effort, faith, patience, or trust that I've exerted in the past. For this challenge, the difficulty of which I haven't even fully fathomed, it'll take effort, determination, endurance, and heart the likes of which I've never known before. I'll be required to go deeper within myself and trust, not seeing, in the Lord in a way that I've not yet done. But...if I do...if by some miracle, I can have a will strong enough to last in this...then I can only know that I'll find myself grateful for enduring the indefinite trial. The indefinite part may well be the hardest part. Being gay doesn't necessitate immorality or compromised integrity. I can still hope and work to be totally moral, in spite of sga. I never need to break covenants, oaths, or promises - my word should and can be my bond. I know these are lofty goals, but it was revelatory when they hit me...and they hit me hard.

The other conversation was with an elderly couple. We had a chat about their son and his challenge and their subsequent involvement in the lds sga scene and the things that they learned in light of it. Our talk really helped me to remember that I once knew that God knew where I would be long before I got there and that where I am now is not by mistake. I'm Robert, born to Mike and Billie, sga lds, brother to four sisters, and friend of amazing souls all because that's exactly the slate I was asked/allowed to take and accepted in pre-mortal existence. I really learned, a few years ago, that where we are and who we are now was foreseen before we were born, and that there are more callings on the road ahead...all of them shaping and molding each individual in the only way that he or she could have been shaped and molded. This couple shared experience upon experience that affirmed and re-affirmed this principle. In consequence to their sharing as well as in consequence to things that I've learned in my walkings, I saw once again a very large picture. Same gender attraction was put into the context of mortality and trials, and mortality and trials was put between pre-mortal preparation and post-mortal progression, and that was put between eternity and eternity; all in the context of the work of Heavenly Father and Christ and the Holy Ghost for bringing more souls to live in celestial glory, love, and light. I know that our conversation sounds like it was all a little melodramatic, but it wasn't. It was really just a very fitting, quiet, and comfortable chat to have shared.

Someday, I'll have a family. God asks us to remember the things that He's taught us in such a way that we can make decisions based on those things even if we aren't filled with a burning belief in them a the time that the decision needs to be made. If once, long ago, we learned, undeniably, that in spite of our wrongs, God was willing to guide us out of our dangerous corners to light, happiness, and destined callings, then we can rest assured that the same is the case now...and forever. For a bit of humor and irony, a quote from The Boondock Saints fits to end this post: "The question is not how far. The question is, do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed?"

Sometimes, I don't think I posses it; sometimes, I think otherwise; and then again, sometimes, I just don't think about it cause it feels better not to. Sometimes, I don't think I can do what I know I should...or more truthfully said, sometimes, I don't do what I know Heavenly Father would help me to do because I lack the heart to continue to try...that is, if I'm being totally honest. But, often, I remember what I've experienced and the awakenings and testimonies that God has shared to me...and I make choices based on what I know I once knew (and therefore still know)...and I do better.


Saturday, June 14, 2008


Hmmm. It’s been too long. Since I last posted, I’ve messed up a lot. Boy, I’m really sorry for that. I’m at the point now to where I don’t know if I should just throw up my hands with this or whether I should keep fighting. “Throw up my hands” doesn’t mean “embrace homosexuality.” It just means “drop the issue and live life aside of it.” I know it won’t go away, but I don’t think it’ll do any good to turn a lot of attention to achieving progress—especially when I don’t even know what kind of progress to achieve. By throwing up my hands, the pathway I’m living life on will no longer be measured by success or failure in being gay or straight. I’m not sure whether this is a bad case of give-it-up-itis or whether it’s smart…or both. Whatever it is, I’m doing it.

I haven’t talked to my bishop in a little while because I don’t want to tell him how things are going unless I can tell him how it’s going well. A little more than a month ago, I started to do a nightly scripture and prayer with Aaron via video chat (skype). Wow, that was really nice. One of the thoughts that he shared was from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. It talks about divine love and goodness.

“By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right. And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness—the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy. What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact not so much a Gather in Heave as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see the young people enjoying themselves’, and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.’ Not many people, I admit, would formulate a theology in precisely those terms: but a conception not very different lurks at the back of many minds. I do not claim to be an exception…”

And about love: “The lowest type, and one which is ‘love’ at all only be an extension of the word, is that which an artist feels for an artifact. God’s relation to man is pictured thus in Jeremiah’s vision of the potter and the clay, or when St. Peter speaks of the whole Church as a building on which God is at work, and of the individual members as stones. The limitation of such an analogy is, of course, that in the symbol the patient is not sentient, and that certain question of justice and mercy which arise when the ‘stones’ are really ‘living’ therefore remain unrepresented. But it is an important analogy so far as it goes. We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the ‘intolerable compliment’ (basically that God loves us so much that he will not leave us alone—thus intolerable and complimenting). Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work he loves...—he will take endless trouble—and would, doubtless, thereby give (be the source of) endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and recommenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumbnail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.”

Maybe we’re not supposed to fix every broken thing in life. Maybe, we’re supposed to do the most possible good with what we have. Maybe, these broken things are the very same things that will enable us to achieve greater levels of service that would otherwise be impossible. Maybe, we’re not all supposed to have the “traditional” life here...or maybe it’ll just happen a little later on. And along with that, what can we hope to become without learning to deny or control our passions…ourselves? Please don’t think of me as trying to preach. The only person I’m trying to teach here is myself. Otherwise, I’d be bordering hypocrisy. Maybe, we should just do what we can, find happiness where it is now, and hope (sometimes blindly) that the rest will work out according to some/the divine plan…

And maybe I just think too much…

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Coming Out

It's been a few weeks since I last wrote. And quite a lot has happened. With regard to "coming out" (it feels odd using that term) I wasn't even entertaining the possibility of it, but because of Calvin, Aaron, Jake, and now Michael (another friend I recently met), I came to the feeling that it would be good to talk to my two closest friends about it. Both are girls and I dated both and loved them both-and still do. As a side note, we didn't kiss-I haven't kissed a girl since I was jumped by one at the age of 15. I also talked with my bishop about sga and tried to talk with my little sister (we're really close) but that didn't go quite how I was hoping.

The first person I told was Hill. She is on the other side of the country finishing her masters. I had some "Thank You" cards and I decided-quite quickly-that I would write the card to her and tell her the "rest" about me. Now, Hill and I have a great past and some very extra-ordinary memories with each other. We spent a month on the road together, and for anybody that's been on long road trips, they know how much takes place. We became better friends than I could have imagined. Well, in the middle of studying for a final, I decided to write it cause I was in one of those really reflective and deep-pondering moods. When I started to write, it really felt like it was coming from deep inside me. It took me about 4 hours and a few times of putting my head down on the table to hide the tears, but I got it done and I was really happy with the outcome. I'll include the text of the letter later. I called her and asked her if I could share "that thing about me that I said I could never before have imagined sharing." I had told her that there was such a thing about me that I just couldn't imagine sharing with somebody. She said "yes," I said "why," she said "when," and I said "well, I wrote the letter and I'm putting it in the mail collection box right now." A couple of days later, I was really starting to wonder if I shouldn't call her up and ask her to not read the letter. I WAS TELLING HER THE I WAS ATTRACTED TO OTHER GUYS!!! It made me feel so gross. Well, in the middle of the day, I got a text from her that said "I love you Robert. More later." (I saved it on my phone.) I immediately knew that I had a true friend there. She called me and we talked forever (the good kind of forever). I remember her telling me that she took the letter and sat on the steps of her apartment in the sun and opened and read it. She said that the whole time she was reading it, she kept on thinking: "I love this boy." In the letter I said that I am still the same Robert that I've always been-I have the same dreams, goals, desires, and passions to do great and effective's just that I'm trying to figure out how to allow myself to be a better me. She said that she totally saw that. Two other things that she said that meant the world to me were these: "I was really surprised at how little it shocked me," and "I still love you and everything I learn about you makes me love you more." Wow, what a good first coming out experience.

Then, a day later, I traveled up to Rexburg, ID to camp a night with Addie. Addie and I had a really interesting relationship in that so very much of our pasts were similar and because of that, we identified so well with each others experiences and feelings. When I got to Rexburg, Addie had another friend with her, and we chatted and had fun setting up camp and making the fire. As soon as the friend left, Addie and I gave each other a really good hug and started eating hot dogs...not exactly related events, but sequential. I really don't quite remember why I started-if there was some thing that kinda triggered me-but I just started to tell her what had had been happening over the last four weeks. I told it to her like it was a story, and in telling her about those four weeks, I had to include (for clarity purposes) some of the kinds of things that I had experienced that lead me to the situation preceding that fateful Monday night at the Matis'. I do remember that I couldn't look at her while I was talking and I had to say it all as if it was another me talking-one that, once started, wouldn't stop. It was my first time doing this in person. I knew that Addie was a specially understanding person and safe and non-judgemental, so I really believed that she wouldn't disengage our friendship because of this. To my great relief, she told me that she was grateful for me having confided in her and that she was honored that I felt such a way about her that I could do so. Addie told me that she hadn't ever learned anything about me or my past that hadn't made her love me more, and she said that this was no different. I told Addie that I will be a father and husband someday and that I know that Heavenly Father knows what's going on and that if I do what is right, I'll end up in the wonderful place that he's planned for me-even though and even perhaps because doing what's right is going to be so hard (I don't mean refraining from a homo relationship, rather, I mean the experience and process of dating and marrying a girl). Addie and I spent the whole next day enjoying each other's company and being glad to have spent the night together.
I drove back Saturday night and on Sunday, I asked my bishop if I could come to him after church to get one of the new bar code temple recommends. He was good with that, so I went up after priesthood and waited. Well, the bishop seemed pretty busy and he asked me if it would be ok for me to do the interview with the first counselor. The interview went well, and because of this new development, I could honestly say that I was living a chaste life. Yesss!!! But, I still hadn't talked with my bishop about "it." I almost just left to go for an interview with a member of the stake presidency, but thinking about telling Michael, Aaron, Calvin, and Jake that I backed out kept me there. I waited till the bishop had nobody left and I asked him if I could have a few moments...I had a couple questions to ask... Because I had come out twice in the last 36 hours, I was able to clearly and quickly tell him "what's new in my life." The first question that anybody would ask you after not seeing you for a while (he had been my bishop a few months earlier and now I was back). I'm sure that it wasn't the answer that he thought he was going to get. I made sure to tell him what it had been like to come out and have friends in this (I felt better, more capable and ok to have the the Spirit, healthier, a little more afraid, and quite unsure of what to do about it all). I also told him about the things I had truly learned by the Spirit and uncompromisingly knew (that Heavenly Father will always take me in as long as I am willing to come to Him; that if I do the things that He helps me to know that I should do, I'll be where I need to be-where he wants me to be; and that because of Christ and his sacrifice, someday, way out there, I can become right enough to live in Their godly presence). And thirdly, I made sure to tell him that I want to find out how to move forward and, as my patriarchal blessing tells me, be a father and husband someday. My bishop is a stud-a really great man. He said that he was glad for my attitude and for the way that I was working on understanding what was going on. He gave me some things to look out for, especially regarding the new friends that I was meeting and their attitude toward the gospel and the church. Most of all, he helped me to finally feel that I really was ok. That I was an ok person, that I was ok and going to make it, and that I was ok and worthy for the Spirit to be in my life. He really just brought me round to where I need to be in thinking about myself. "Wow," I was thinking, three in a row and each one very good.

So, after a week or so of thinking about how good it everything had turned out, I thought that maybe it would be ok for my little sister (who lives in the same complex as me) to know...maybe then she wouldn't rag on me so hard for not being married. It's gotta be known how much she pushes this! Well, while were in the car driving, I asked her something, and it all went like this: "Do you love me?" "Of course I do, I love you sooo much." "Will you always love me, no matter anything?" "Yes!... What's going on?... Are you moving?... Did you start to date another girl?..." "No, no, hahaha. I was just wondering. you really want to know why I never married Hill or Addie?" "Yes..." "Well...(now there were quite a few pauses here)sis...I don't know why...well...ever since I can remember...I've, well...I've been attracted to other guys and not girls." ...[silence]... Then my little sister BUSTS out laughing and saying "b__ s___! b__ s___! hahahaha!" and she just kept laughing hysterically, and not the nervous laugh, but for real laughing. I tried to say that I was serious and not joking, but she just thought it was funnier and funnier. So, finally, I said, "Haha, but I really had you going. Ha ha ha." Then she pulled out her phone and dialed up mom and dad and she told me that I had to play the same joke on them! Yeah, so that didn't go too well...I didn't play the "joke" on my parents and my sister still thinks I was being funny.

I guess, that'll just mean that I'm keeping it to the two close friends that I've told and be happy with that. Kind of a count your blessings thing. At least, that's the plan for the near and not-too-distant future. All in all, coming out was so good. I think it does two things. It helps you to understand that you're not as bad of a person as you came to believe yourself to be, and it allows you to honor your true friendships in that you include your friends and allow their help and love and support to lift you from being so far down. Hopefully, you find out that they still love you and think well of you in spite of this thing.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fun With New Friends

So since my last post, I've made some friends in the sga community. Calvin, Aaron, and Jake. Well, communication started with facebook and messages therewith. Calvin and Aaron live in Provo and Jake is in Ogden (a couple hours north). They're all really patient and non-intrusive in the sense that they were there to help or they were totally ok if I decided that I would go back to the way things were and pretend like I never met or talked with them. I surpassed the nerves and worries and started talking with them over the phone and eventually decided to do lunch with Calvin and Aaron and some movies. Just try to imagine the meeting. I totally wasn't sure what kind of discussion they were thinking of and the same visa versa. There were definately a few um's and silences at first, but then, we started talking pretty freely. Some of it was about our shared problem and some of it was about anything. It felt pretty good to be talking for real and not hiding anything, but it was still aquard cause of how it was so arranged. We ended up going hot-tubbing and just talking until late in the night. The next day, we watched a movie in the afternoon and then went into the mountains in the late evening and made a fire and spent the evening (until about 2am) cooking steaks and shooting some guns.

Now, I know this sounds quite random and, knowing that we three have that same sga issue, kind of gay. Well...random it was, but gay it wasn't. You've gotta know this. The main reason that I wanted to meet up with these guys is cause they've been traveling this road of dealing with sga longer than me and they had both, via email, mentioned that their real goal was to have a real family of their own and be good, faithful husbands and fathers. I, too, HAVE NO GREATER DESIRE. Instead of this being some homo-endulging fun time, we really felt safe knowing that we shared this common ailment and common goal. Safe is a very great way to feel, especially when it is so rare. I've also noticed that I have been so much stronger at fighting this weakness since I confronted it, meaning that I've not had event the desire for inappropriate things since that Monday night thing with the Matis'. I was talking with Jake today and I described it to him thus: "Ok, it doesn't feel like this, but this description seems to fit what the situation looks like objectively. It's almost like there's this need or void inside me that I've been neglecting to acknowledge, and accordingly, it's gone to extremes to be filled. Now that I'm confronting it, the need/desire is getting met by meeting and talking with friends that have the same problem and I don't feel like it's killing me anymore-I feel like I'm ok to pray and try to have the Spirit. I feel so much better now-healthier."

I guess what I wanted to say with this post is that things have really gotten better this week with regards to my new friends and the things that I'm learning and experiencing. Some hope! Good friends mean the world. Really they do.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Light, A New Life

The last two weeks have been really different and pretty difficult...I'm trying to figure if it's a good different or not. I was invited by a few close friends to come to a meeting that was held for people dealing with same gender attraction (SGA). I went, telling my friends that I was there to support others and that I was really interested in the issue; all the while, thinking that maybe it wasn't a good idea to be there cause I might end up facing my own long hidden SGA issue.

It's really tragic, sometimes, how life seems to develop. My past seems like a blur cause of how I just refused to think about it for so long. I think this issue started for me when I was five, or at least that's the farthest back I can remember something happening. It pervaded my whole adolescent experience, always threatening to be discovered. I really expunged everything I could when I prepped for and went on a mission, but even then, I still had a hard time with it emotionally. My mission was great, and I've had truly life-altering experiences post mission(ones for the better). However, life has been bumpy especially since I've been off my mission (about 4 years). At one point, I talked to the most amazing bishop I ever had about "things I've never talked to a priesthood leader about that maybe I should have." But even then, I (as much in denial to myself as anybody) denied that I had any actual real attractions like that (it's shocking how much you can bend your own reality). I thought that it meant I was defective or marred and I couldn't be that, not if I wanted a family. Self-deceit, what a killer of hope and hearts. So, I've just been having a split nature - one half (the well meaning LDS boy) hating the other half (the SGA part), and man, it hurts.

So, after the SGA fireside/meeting, I met some people that I knew from previous classes. These were guys that were really great people, and that I thought of as model LDS BYU students (I think even higher of them now). We chatted a little and ate some refreshments and then chatted some more. Anyway, while I was there "for support", one stranger came up to me when I was momentarily alone and made some comment that assumed that I was gay (this term only indicates SGA challenged). Because he was a stranger, I dropped the pretense and, for the first time in my life, admitted the issue. This is when the different feeling from the first paragraph came in, almost like it flipped on inside me. I don't remember much that we talked about that evening because I was so worried and off-set by this really different and odd way that I felt. As the evening ended, and we went for our cars, I said to my friend, "Hey, Johnny (not his real name), remember how I said that this issue is something that I really have a lot of interest in? Well, I guess what I was trying to say is that this is something that I deal with myself. This is something that is a real problem for me..." My friend was really kind and understanding, having decided to face his own SGA one year earlier. So he told me to contact him if I ever needed help or support.

For the next week, this different feeling really kept me off balance and I stayed pretty secluded for it. I constantly felt exposed and afraid. I didn't want to explore what I was feeling; all I wanted was to be still and safe. I don't know that I've ever felt that way before, and I didn't think that I liked it, except that I did feel better for having been to the fireside and talked with people like I did. Just today, I think I found how to define this new something: a new light. It's kind of like I've had this door that I've refused to open or think about, and now, I've opened it and turned on the light, and there's all this stuff in here that I've always hid and it's time to maybe take a look at it and sort it out - the trash from the keepers. I'm still very lost as to where to go, and what to do. But, now I know that I'm not alone, and that I have good friends that have experiences and are willing to share with me ideas.

Long ago, on the mission, I made a promise to the Lord that the testimonial experiences that He had given me would never be discarded. That I would always know what He had given me to know: that He loves me and is always ready to take me in and comfort and heal me; that He is in control and as long as I keep my choices true to what I know He wants me to do, I am where he foresaw me to be and therefore safe in his hands; and that repentance is the way to become right again and is a gift given by Christ to all who will use it. I will forever keep that promise. I've come to accept that some challenges will never go away, but I have a real hope that the Lord sees the end of our mortal journeys and will lead us to the best exit.

So, this blog will chronicle a new beginning in life, and the places it leads me.