Wednesday, March 17, 2010

True Colors

I see your true colors shining through, I see your true colors and that's why I love you. So don't be afraid to let them show, your true colors, your true colors are a rainbow.

Damnit, it's true! Why can't we believe this?

This song came on my ipod as I was driving home late this evening...and in the quiet of my car as I was cruising through Sardine Canyon, it really struck me that there are some quite amazing people that love me and believe in me...I'm convinced that they see my true colors, and that's why they love me.

About a month ago, my mom called and shared with me a Sunday School lesson that she had in church. The lesson was about not judging yourself but instead making simple observations. The teacher shared the idea that we are often too clouded in regards to our own lives and that the judgments that we make are consequentially too harsh and unrealistic. As a simple example, when we mess up on a new goal, we judge that all our efforts to that point have just been rendered as vain and that we have just thrown ourselves back to the beginning to start over from nothing. While we judge our actions as thus, others would see the learning and building that we had done to make it as far as we did. They would point out that we are not left to start over from nothing, rather that we've gained the lessons and experience from coming as far as we have...and that these will help us in trying again to succeed in attaining our goal. The point is that we fail to be reasonable and/or rational in the judgments that we pronounce upon ourselves.

I consistently fail to believe that God still loves me and isn't ashamed of who I've become. I do this because I judge myself as a sinner, a deliberately lost sheep, and an unrepentant son. Friends who know me well seem to recognize different qualities in me - good qualities that draw their attention, qualities that make them proud of me. Often, I dismiss their observations and compliments by saying that they just don't know me as well as I know myself...or that they don't spend as much time with me as I do. Well, while I may know some things about me that they don't know, I bet that their evaluation of my person and character are more accurate than mine. I dwell excessively on things I haven't done right, on things I really should have done better, on things I haven't done yet, and on things I should do but am afraid to fail at. With all this attention spent disproportionately on negative observations, it's no wonder I might struggle to like the person I've become. It's no wonder I judge myself the way I do.

So, what to do about it? Well, if someone is engaging in a behavior that is destructive, you'd tell them to stop...right? Maybe you'd tell them to go about it in a different way. So, I'm going to try to stop judging. I'll make observations and simply decide if the choices I'm making are helping me to be a healthy person or if they are hindering me in becoming a healthy person. No more condemning myself. Just observations...and then slowly pruning my behaviors and choices so that I grow healthier and happier. No more applying these abstract, universal, superstitious, and often indescribable laws of good and evil...rather, just using these small observations to separate the helpful from the damaging. Maybe after a time of doing this, I'll be able to see some of my true colors.

It's quite easy for me to see the incredible value and greatness in my friends and loved ones. Without having to search at all, I could list pages of evidence in support of their goodness and value to this world. I've thought quite a bit about it...and if you're reading this and I know you, you fall into this category. Don't question my sanity, but believe my words. Maybe if we stop judging ourselves, it'll get easier to be convinced of our worth. I really do think that our true colors are beautiful. We just need to believe it and stop damning ourselves like we do.

P.S. The pics are from my recent shoulder surgery from which I'm one week in recovery. I got too brave off a really big jump while skiing on Powder Mountain and separated my collar bone from my shoulder. The doctor stitched back together three ligaments and bolted down my clavicle. Oops.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Plan B

“The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B.”   - James Yorke (1941)

Plan A took a dive and is out. What was it? Plan A required things like going back to church, no drinking or drugs, no dating guys, and doing all the things I'm supposed to do (like praying, scripture study, and the likes). Yeah, plan A is out. Plan B is what we called the alternative (whatever it looked like) to plan A. For now, plan B has three guiding ideals: (1) at any given point, I hope to be able to say that I truly am happy to be the person that I've become - that given the chance, I would really choose to be nobody else; (2) where I'm at, the actual place where I'm living and the city, it needs to be the place that I feel is right - I believe that location is important and that I need to be living in the right places as time moves on; and (3) what I'm engaged in, the purpose for which I'm laboring, is something that I really believe in - it's what I need to do if I am to pursue my personal legend (see The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho). Plan B is really all I want and it's what I can do.

Plan A is out because I'm sick of it - I got sick from it.

After the novelty of returning to church wore off, it became empty, hollow, and painful. I heard shallow words and echoes. Commandments and standards that seemed more subject to culture than love and God. The main reason I'm done with it is because while I can choose to be LDS, I can't choose to be gay. Sure, I don't have to "give in" to my feelings, but tell that to my feelings. If I don't give in to the desire and hope for love, then the venom of fear and depression will end me. Since homosexuality isn't allowed in the church, I'm out. I'm still searching for spirituality and I believe in so many things still...but I'm out of the organization.

Substances? Well, drugs are out. The occasional drinking? Eh, I'll just make sure to be safe. In the last eight months, I drank 3 times. No drinking-to-cope and no drugs and I won't find any problems with it.

Dating guys? Well, my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Haha. I've dated only one guy since returning to UT and being with him brought me the greatest happiness I've known in years. Walking arm in arm, smiling just because you're together, feeling vulnerable and safe because of him, sitting silently in one another's arms complete and content - why would I ever cut that kind of love out of life? It is real and virtuous.

What brought on the change? Oddly enough, it was church and family. You'd think that under their influence, I'd have stuck with plan A all the way. Ha! After being blacklisted and thrown out...yeah, I'm bitter. I'll admit it. Some of them say that they still love me...they just need space, I say whatever. I'll take a raincheck on this thing you're calling love. Some of my dearest family told me to stay away - to not even call. Some others are upset with me for "leaving the church." Do they think I wanted to? Do they think it was a quick or easy decision? Do they realize that it scares me to death? I thank God for the ones that love and support me in my journey to find peace. As far as church's influence in ditching plan A, it's pretty well explained above. Simply put, I just couldn't bring these two things (homosexuality and traditional religion) into harmony with one another. I could stand the dissonance for only so long before I fell ill from it. I'll have to try to find God in other ways.

Until next time.