Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The 75th Swan & Likening Scriptures

I'm oddly obsessed with the way that words can be formed in one construction, but be interpreted in so many different ways based upon our different experiences and perceptions.  I often excuse my terrible poetry by saying it meant something to me in the way I formed it, and if it doesn't mean something to you, that's just the failure of words to truly communicate an exact meaning.  (Surely, this poet cannot err!) I also blame this for my inability to understand an incredibly witty friend of mine.  He just communicates on an entirely different wavelength than me, but I know if I was smarter or communicated in a language closer to his perception, I would get it more often.  Derrida's line of thinking is really to blame for this peculiar fascination of mine with the weak-sauce nature of language.  While it can be seen a weakness, though, it's also pretty amazing how much words live and breathe.  

This brings us to this morning's drive to work.  I listened to a song I've listened to probably over 100 times in the past year.  It was 11 months ago that I heard "74 Swans" by Bell X1 for the first time.  At the time, (oh how time flies!) I was feeling pensive about my latest love labors spent in vain on a girl that chose "the other guy."  I cried as I listened to the lyrics of the song.  (Wow, this is the second time I've written about a song making me cry. I promise there are only like 3 songs that in and of themselves caused me to cry.)

Consider the lyrics and see what you think of them, I suppose: (it's not too long... bear with me...)
You counted 74 swans on the canal 
You counted 74 swans on the canal 
And you were glad it was an even number  
Everybody had another 
No-one was facing this cold alone

They were gathered between bridges 

in the steely sunshine 
Bookend by ice on either side 
Here comes a pair on final approach 
Wings like great white bellows 
Gathering inward to land 
and it looks like grace 

You counted 74 swans on the canal

You counted 74 swans on the canal
And you were glad it was an even number 
Everybody had another
No-one was facing this cold alone
I thought you were right there with me, on my left side

Too eager to get where I’m going, 
I left you behind
But you were on the last watch, 
The passing of the torch
You counted 74 swans, now there’s 75

My tear-inducing interpretation was that I was the 75th swan.  I was with that girl, and then I wasn't.  I was facing the bitter cold winter (and it WAS bitter cold) alone.  I wasn't a good enough guy to win her heart.

This was also in the midst of my last sincere effort to be soooo good at church that God would bless me with a woman to make that SSA stuff all just disappear.  I thought she was her.  She wasn't.  I also learned that despite how good I was being... my attraction to men was neither going away nor even fading.  I would have never admitted all of that at the time, but that was the truth.

Today, I found a new meaning for this construction of beautifully written words.  I was going somewhere.  There was a reason the 76th swan was gone.  She was a she!  I was eager to get to the 74 gay swans on the canal.  I kind of laughed as I thought of it, but it also made me really happy.  I've joined a rather small minority of people who have experienced things similar to what I've experienced, and that find themselves as Gay Mormons.  I might be an odd swan (oh... wordplay!)... but I'm happy where I am!

This reinterpretation of a song that had previously had profound emotional meaning that was quite different made me think about the oft-mentioned religious idea of "likening scriptures."  It's a pretty great concept.  You take the words of the scriptures, think about yourself, and you come up with your own interpretation of them.  But be careful, only do so with the guidance of the spirit.  Your interpretation might be wrong.  But it could also be right.  It might guide you to go to a certain school.  You'll think everything in your life will be amazing because you got your answer to your prayers via likened scriptures.  When you discover that that school was a disaster for you... you must have just likened wrong all along.  It just wasn't what you were supposed to get from those words.

So... I guess that was my cynical way of saying that likening scriptures is kind of a catch-all for individual answers.  I know there were times that I was seeking answers through prayer, and interpreting a scripture in some goofy way was my "answer."  Certainly I believe that if there is a god that does communicate with us, then he/she/it could certainly communicate via the living nature that words have.  However, I don't think that any of the times I thought I was communing with God through that form of communication were ever more than me thinking about what I thought the answer should be and finding it through my ability to interpret words in varying ways.

I don't love writing about my doubts.  But this remains my space to do so, I suppose.  I do love reminding myself how much happier I genuinely feel now that I'm out of the closet though.  Whatever you may believe about God, religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or anything else... if you're in the closet... I find it highly likely that you, too would benefit from coming out.  Do so in your way, and in the timing that's right for you.  But if you're like me and you just don't do it because you're afraid of the outcome but are pretty sure it would be better... just do it!  (Hey! That same construction of words has been motivating sales of sporting goods and clothing for years!  Now I'm using it to tell closeted Mohos to come out of their wretched wardrobes!)

Dear reader... whomever you may be, I wish you happiness.  It's available to all of us.  Take it from an odd guy that just found himself... found himself so happy he couldn't believe what he'd found could be real.  Take it from a 75th swan that found his home... found a home amongst some of the greatest people he's ever known to exist.  Take it from a man who has found self-confidence and true belief in happiness... found a polar opposite so striking that a desperately alone man who just months ago lay crumpled on the floor of an office, sobbing and considering the ways he might end it all would never dream of thinking it up.  Take it from a man who presently is weeping that he could ever have been so blinded to the happiness he's found that he considered blocking himself from ever having it.  Please look.  You'll find it, too.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

What I Still Believe & Time And I Have Made Up

"Do you still believe in God?"
Hmm... I don't know. Yes? Yes, I think so.
"So, are you agnostic?"
Uh... honestly, I think I'm just apathetic? I know that sounds terrible... but I think it's the truth.
"What's your relationship with the church now? Do you still go?"
Uh... well, no. No, I don't. Honestly, I just feel like I'm just moving further from the church all the time. I still value it, and I'm happy if you're happy in your pursuit of it. It just doesn't feel like there's a place for me.
"Did you just leave it behind because it was easier?"
Well... probably yes. That's at least part of it for sure, because my life is definitely a ton easier without the church.

 These are some roughly accurate portions of some conversations I've had recently about my beliefs. Guys... I don't really know what I believe, and that stems from an apathy that kind of washed over me when I realized I was gay and that I didn't believe in the church anymore... at least not fully. A friend of mine recently commented on how despite leaving the church, he still believed in families being sealed. This baffled me at the time, but I think I've come to understand a bit of what he meant. While maybe he doesn't necessarily believe it works exactly the way the church teaches, he still probably believes that our families can be united into the hereafter. That sounds great. Why not believe it? I realized today as I was standing on a rooftop, putting up Christmas lights and enjoying the crap out of a fairly warm day with plenty of sun, that I think I still definitely believe in a hereafter. I believe that there is at least something about us that continues into the cosmos. Put in church terms, I think we do have some kind of a spirit that endures. I think this mainly because I think I've felt the presence of my grandfather after his passing. Which was a particularly powerful feeling because he died while I was on my mission. I missed the last year and a half or so of his life, and I didn't really get to say a proper good bye. As I write this, I think I'm realizing how mad I really was deep down about that. I knew the drill, though. I knew what was expected of me. I had to just keep my head down and work. Work for the church--build the kingdom--follow all the commandments--don't question the commandments--don't question the rules that pass themselves off as doctrinal commandments--don't think about your sexuality--never ever admit that you could possibly be gay. (Well that subject changed fast! Didn't it?) I just think the church is ridiculously rigid about a lot of things. Heaven forbid we let a kid fly home for a week of his TWO YEARS of service to say goodbye to someone that meant a lot to him. Literally... I think people in the church believe that heaven forbids that.

Ugh. Ironically this post was meant to be a pretty calm and casual listing of what I still believe! Now I'm all emotional! Moving on, nonetheless...

I still tend to think that the church has a lot of teachings on morals that are spot on. I think that generally following the commandments (the real ones, haha) leads to people being pretty good and well-rounded folks. This is leaving aside my feelings that people who are only attracted to their same gender should be given a lot more freedom to have the emotional connections that truly work for them. It also leaves aside the absolute fear of sex that is attempted to be instilled into church youth. I think I thought I was doing the most mature thing possible in shunning any thought of sex or sexuality. Nope... turns out it's actually most healthy if you allow yourself to gain some understanding of who you are and perspective on the value of sex by asking questions about these things. It won't kill you to let kids think for themselves and realize that sex isn't that big of a deal. In the grand scheme of things, it's just one part of healthy relationships.

I do also very very very much appreciate church teachings that are about serving others. Other-focused living is really the thing I want most to grasp on to as I pull away from my religious moorings. I definitely neither HAD nor do I presently HAVE an other-focused mindset that is the one I really want, but if I'm working toward it I'm happy.

I say I'm not bitter toward the church, but in many respects that's just not true. I do have things about the church that I'm bitter about. I think when I say I'm not bitter, I just mean that I'm not combative. I mean no outright war on the church, no desire to pull others from it (unless they're gay... haha... that makes me pretty evil probably... but it's the truth, because this is my honesty space, ain't it?), and no real compulsion to make it change. I just kind of want to step away myself.

 So, yeah. There's that stuff.

Furthermore, I have often said in these past few months and years that I was really upset that I'm so old to be discovering my sexuality. Ya know what? Who cares? I mean, yeah, I am a complete moron when it comes to dating. I have very little experience. But who cares? I feel more now like a deaf person that can hear. My past is my past. I had plenty of good times with how I was in the past, and I'm content with that. I'm just really happy that I know who I am now. I still have plenty of time. I'm enjoying dating. Even though I kind of have very little clue what I'm doing... I am enjoying it. I'm just being me, I'm learning, and I'm growing. Time, I forgive you, but I will also not waste any more of you complaining about how much of you has been wasted in striving to follow a religion that I followed so closely that it masked my true sexuality. So I'm done now. See y'all later.

(I'm not really sure what I've just written and I'm not going through to edit it at all... I'ma just leave it stand as a testament to however I've felt this afternoon.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cynicism Killer & An Easy List

I'm just cynical enough that often times when something is blatantly trying to get me to smile and be happy... I will hate it.  (Once in primary when I was maybe 6 or 7, the sharing time instructor saw that I was upset about something and brought me in front of the whole primary so they could sing the "if all the little raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops" song to me to make me happy. I, however, defiantly sat there with a frown, never giving in, and then returned to my seat when they finished.)  Though the above music video by Pharell Williams falls into the aforementioned category... I still love it!  The guy hopping at 1:40 and so many other moments are just tremendous.

My life isn't perfect... but I'm really starting to love it, and that is an incredible difference from where I've been before.  I've called it being happier than I've been in years, and it's the truth.  Though I still haven't found a boyfriend (obviously a process that could take me some time), I can't help but feel great about where I stand.  Looking up!  Not looking down in shame all the time.  Not burying my head in a blanket and crying.  Not turning off all the lights and sleeping through almost entire days because it was the only way I was comfortable living with myself.  Fuck depression! I'm kicking depression's ass.  Pretty stellar.

That said, I know that this euphoria might not last, but I think I'm equipped to handle a crash... if one happens.  I now have a strong support group that I know how to utilize.  I have many people who've offered to help. I have a lot more respect for myself, and I have the hope I mentioned in my last post that I could possibly end up truly happy.

I was asked by my date tonight what I want from a relationship.  To my surprise, a list of things started spilling out of me rather easily.  Apparently I've been thinking about it a lot!  I don't even know if I could recreate it now as easily as it came to me then, but here are some things I remember:

  • I am me.  I don't have any sort of act going on, because I don't need one.  My partner is so supportive that I'm at ease being myself.  
  • Not only that, but there is a general ease about the entire relationship.  We're both relaxed about where we stand together, and we both really know what our past, present, and, to the degree possible, our future entails and means.  
  • He is comfortable disagreeing with me and has an opinion of his own.  Certainly, I'm not saying we argue, (though that might happen if it's important enough, and I think that can be helpful so long as respect remains between us) but we can each be our own selves.  Together we can arrive at happy cooperative solutions to things, but it's not always my way or his way.  
  • It's a mutually respectful and balanced relationship in which we both contribute, and I feel both supported and needed.
  • Oh, and the sex is pretty damn great.  (That, too!)
That's actually fairly close to the list that I said.  I don't know if that really sums it all up (surely there are other things that are kind of givens like being able to laugh, to get away from it all sometimes, honesty, fidelity, and not being a drug or gambling addict; then other preferential things like not being a smoker (I just really really hate that smell), him being beautiful, obviously!) but I'm pretty satisfied with the list.  Pipe dreams that I get something that sounds so cordial and peaceful? Maybe, but I think it sounds fairly reasonable.  

I don't know why I shared that, but I did.  I guess I'm just saying to myself (because honestly I think that's why I'm writing tonight... it's for me still guys!  Sorry!  I'm selfish like that.) that I'm sorting out what I want and I might actually be ready for a real relationship should my guy find his way to me.  

K, enough of this shit.  Bye!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Possibility Happiness & My Love

Guys, I'm just really, really happy.  I have finally accepted the possibility that I might end up truly, truly happy.  And that makes me happy.  (Your thought: Three sentences in a row that end in "happy?"  Who the Hell's blog am I reading?!!)

Something pretty simple, yet amazing, happened to effect this change.  I had needed so badly to see what being my true self (while being in public with friends) is like.  I had the chance to see it!  I have found some incredible friends that know the things about me that have caused me so much misery, and they don't judge me for them... and they don't treat me any differently because of them... they just are fun.  If you haven't found that for yourself, trust me... it's out there, and it's incredible.  If you are among these few great people who have managed to just give me a taste of you being you while I was being ME... thanks!

(Hmm... I feel like I'm really rusty in writing right now.  Oh, well!  Deal with it, bitches!)

I'm also happy because I came out to a couple work friends, and I have at least a couple people there that can allow me to be me.  I'm very relieved to finally have that, because for forty hours each week, I felt like I needed to keep hiding like when I was completely in the closet.  I don't want back in that stupid closet.  It's dark in there and it smells like mothballs.  (By the way... WHAT THE HELL IS A MOTHBALL?)

Oh.  So in this analogy, mothballs are secrets, and moths are happiness?

So, I've been thinking a lot about the one last step to being "truly happy."  Finding him!  Mr. Truly Happy.  This is a troubling thing though, as I worry that he might have the same love-style that I do.  When I fall in serious like with someone, I get this like ache for them in my stomach, they occupy a spot reserved just for them and people like them in my brain like a penalty box in hockey, and some other part of my brain is hell-bent on destroying any sort of hope that might fill that box.  I have this weakling sort of love that is all-too anxious to destroy any entity to which my hopes of love are attached.  Does this all sound crazy?  Well, it feels like I'm crazy.  Love should be losing yourself in the hope, being totally annihilated if it doesn't work out, and being reborn into some other relationship... right?  Or is that crazy to want, too?  I think the point is that I don't really know love, because I always sabotage it's growth in me by simply telling myself that I'm not good enough.  That seems to always be all it takes.  What if my Mr. Truly Happy is the same way?  What if his anxiety keeps him from asking me out because he somehow has deluded himself into thinking he's not good enough for the likes of me?  What if I miss out on him because I don't take the early steps to shout at that moron and tell him he's all I've been dreaming of...?  

Say something if you're out there.  I'll do my best to remind you always how beautiful you really are, how you're the best thing that ever happened to me, and how we both need to strengthen our love-styles and recognize that we're both worth it... we deserve love and happiness.  Truly.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Learning How To Be A Friend Again & Learning How To Make Friends Again

Something has changed about me in the last few months or years that really snuck up on me.  I didn't realize that I was starting to become a really terrible friend.  I think being in the closet has made me become really closed off, guarded, and frankly, not very fun to be around.

I want to be fun Graham again.  I used to really be able to laugh with and entertain my friends, and I just don't feel like I can do that anymore.  Maybe I'll never feel quite like I did before, but why can't I lighten up again at least?

I suppose it's a lot to ask of myself to just suddenly be comfortable in what feels like entirely new skin.  Perhaps I just need some time, but I wish I hadn't been such a sucky friend the last while.  I have things I can blame for it, but that's not important.  What's important is that I just want to change.  I want to be better.  I want to be the best version of me that I can be.  I hope that my mind is really ready to grasp that the best version of me might look, act, feel, and sound quite different than the old best version of me.

I'm just ready to not suck at life.

I'm also faced with the realization that after all these years, I've also kind of forgotten how to make friends.  I'm kind of making some friends at work right now, but I don't know if they're the kind of friends I need at the moment.  Old Graham would have gotten along swimmingly with them, and they likely would have gotten along very well with old Graham.  But I'm not him anymore.

I find it difficult to introduce people to me anymore because I've been through a couple years of identity chaos.  Yeah, poor me, and stuff... but the thing is, I started coming out so that I could have support.  I'm just finding myself lacking in my ability to properly embrace that support.

Is any of this making sense?

I hung out with an old friend last night that is extremely understanding and supportive of me in going through what I'm going through.  However, I felt like I was a drag to hang out with for him.  Am I just getting old?  Haha, oi.

See, old Graham would have kept all this stuff to himself and just dealt with it.  Present Graham whines about everything it seems.  That is not something I want to be a part of the best version of present Graham.

I got some learnin' to do.

Uh... k, bye.

And a salamander?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hear Me Hear & The Wonder

I'm terribly sorry.  I've written another poem.  So if you find yourself compelled to read everything I write, you also will find yourself compelled to read said poem.  Without more ado, I give you:

Life is a song.
It's only on for so long.
Freely flowing time ambles about,
Exerting a force jettisoning those who can't figure it out. 
I found that I admired its introduction.
Somehow it sounded like my most pure reflections. 
A while later and I see the value of these discordant choruses and verses. 
Somehow I think it melds together if I learn the emotion of love,
Or at least I learn how to move on from the introduction above.
Never you mind what happens when it's all through.
Get going at learning to love others and most of all, you.

Well, maybe that wasn't so awful for you.  Maybe it wasn't much of anything to you.  I write poems for me, and then I think that they're so deep.  I think this because they're about the emotions I'm experiencing, so of course I have an emotional connection with them.  That doesn't make them good.  Poems are good when almost anyone recognizes a piece of humanity in them.  Whatever.  I am just me.  I don't know how to be one of you.  And that's kind of what still has me down.

I'm not depressed in NEARLY the same fashion that I was when I was in the closet.  (Yes, I'm still being anonymous here, but that's mostly because I've written extremely personal things here that are quite different than saying, "Hi long time friend! I'm a gay now, ok?")  So I count myself as pretty well out.  And I'm not crushed by sadness anymore.  That's how I felt with the depression of finding out I'm gay and not feeling like I could share that with anyone without destroying everything I liked about my life.

I'm free of all of that.

Now I think I'm just a bit depressed because I'm still me.  Ha!  Why was it that I thought embracing gay would make me so much better at making friends, at being able to love, at being loved?  (I don't know that I really thought that, but I had a lot of general optimism at first glance outside the closet.)  Now my anxiety that I'm not good enough, I'm not attractive enough, and I'm just not going to be loved is pretty well back.  I thought it when I was trying to date women, and even in just thinking about dating men I still think it.  The wonder is... will I ever find love?  I sure hope so.  I still just have that nagging fear that I might have gone through all this coming out business to no avail.  I may as well have just stayed silently gay if I can't find someone through being openly gay.

I'm sorry guys.  Not the most fun shit to read.  I hate sharing this kind of thing, too.  It leaves you either genuinely wanting to console me, feeling forced to console me, or repulsed by my lack of confidence.  It doesn't really put me in a stronger stead, but solidifies to myself that I lack confidence.

Oh well!  Guess I'm still being honest.  Even if it's painful.  That's something... isn't it?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Testimonies About My Life & Music

I haven't wanted to blog in here because this blog is mostly full of my shit-storming.  (Similar to brain storming only instead of thinking about ideas it's mostly full of thinking about the shit going on in my life.)  My life has been going pretty great lately, so I haven't had much to vent or write about.  However, I have had a shit-filled night... so here I am to shit-storm.

A couple days ago was National Coming Out Day.  As it came to a close, I decided I still wasn't going to let it get past me without finally coming out to all of my closest friends.  So sometime after midnight yesterday I started writing a bunch of personalized letters to my friends.  I sent them off probably about 5am-ish and fell asleep.  Throughout my Saturday, I read the responses, talked to some friends on the phone, and generally felt great about what everyone was saying.  There were four people who hadn't responded when I started getting ready to go to sleep last night.  One finally texted me, saying she was upset that I hadn't told her in person, but I told her I'm just a coward and don't want to see people's gut reactions to all of it.  Plus, writing a big long letter lets me get everything out about everything before people feel the need to interject with advice or well-wishing or whatever.  So anyway, today I didn't hear from any of the other three.  Then, I heard from the one that I was most worried about.  He's "Zach" from a story I told previously on here.  Luckily, he sounds like he's very shaken, but that he's going to be alright.  He kind of already joked with me, which I take as a very good sign that our very close friendship will survive and remain strong.

Then, tonight, like they had colluded on how to make my night as miserable as possible, the other two finally wrote me messages.  The first, was a friend that I'll call Tom.  Tom and I haven't been very close the last few years, partially because of living very far from each other, and partially because he got married about a year ago.  Before all the space though, we were very close friends that could talk about just about anything.  So, I decided to include him amongst the friends I was going to come out to.  He had the same kind of knee-jerk response to convince me that the church was the only right answer that a couple of my sisters had.  Only his was a LOT longer and LOT more personal and a LOT more strongly worded.  He was saying all the things that those of us that are MoHos who are kind of jaded REALLY don't want to hear.  "I know you've been attracted to girls."  "I know you have a testimony." And then there was the real kicker: "I have no doubt that you could be VERY happily married to a woman in the same way that I am happily married..."  !!!  Some of the things he said, brought back the desire I had to be a bisexual.  The desire to just be able to have sex with at least one woman who could love me despite my SSA, etc and that I could be sexually attracted to.  He appealed to my doubts that I know I'm gay.  I took some time to calm down, gather my thoughts, and then I sent him a message back.  I tried my best to use forceful language to state my positions and let him know that I didn't really appreciate him testifying about his perceptions of my personal experiences and sexuality.  I was as clear in my arguments as I could be.  I know where I stand, I would never have come out to my family and friends if I weren't.  I understand where he's coming from, and I appreciate his concern.  (I told him as much.)  I just really don't like being told that I should take a chance on a marriage that could be full of resentment and that would certainly be a troubling sexual experience for both parties.  I told him that he kind of "poked the bear" and that a lot of what I was telling him was built up emotional stuff.  While I've had a very supportive friend group and family through this process (especially considering how negatively many peoples' families react), it still hasn't made everything about this easy.  It still sucks in a lot of ways.  And Tom just brought a lot of emotional shit-storming up.  Then, just a few minutes after I finished up with that emotional response to Tom, I got a message from the last remaining hold out.

This was a message from the last girl that I seriously pursued dating.  She and I have still kind of been hanging out.  Her message made me cry.  It was the final straw in the shitty night I felt like I was having.  She told me she was fine that I was gay, but that she was sure that I had basically used her as a beard (She never said that word, but that's what she meant) that I had deceived her, and that I had led her on.  She felt like it was "obvious" that I had already made up my mind about being gay even while I was still acting like I was pursuing her.  She and I have had a lot of exchanges like this.  She is really good at being a victim, but to be fair, she has been a victim a LOT in her life.  I love her, she deserves to be incredibly happy... so it broke my heart to read that she felt I was using her and lying to her.  In my message I had explained that I had lied a lot to everyone around me about me being gay, etc... but I didn't explain the exact timeline of these lies and that most of the lies were just little things I would say to convince people that I thought women were attractive or that I wasn't gay.  I never intentionally used this girl as a beard, and I did not pursue her intentionally after I came out to myself.  I did have one night where I kind of flirted with her since then, and I told her as much, and that I felt awful that she felt betrayed.  Anyway, so she's spent the last two days feeling like shit because of me, and I tried to get this message through to her before she went to bed, but according to Facebook she hasn't seen the message yet, and probably went to bed still feeling like shit.  I HATE communication.  It's so damn hard sometimes.  I wish that words just meant what they meant, and that we all just understood the exact truth of what other people are trying to communicate and no more.  I realize that she'll probably realize she was wrong when she finally reads this, but I still feel like shit that I made her feel so betrayed.    It was just a lot to deal with on top of the other emotions that are just kind of always in the background these days.

So, yes, I'm out to my closest friends and family.  They're largely being very loving and supportive.  No one has said that they don't love me.  No one has said that they'll stop loving me.  (Well, the girl I was just talking about said that she felt like we could never be as good of friends as we have been.)  But, largely I'm a very lucky guy, and I wish that all Mohos got the kinds of overwhelmingly positive responses I've gotten.  Yes, I'm getting a lot of pressure about my feelings on the church, but I understand that, and I'm learning to deal with that.  But tonight did suck.  So there's my shit-storm for the weekend.

While I was writing back to "Tom" about his belief that I had a testimony, I felt compelled to talk about some of my doubts.  One of the doubts that came to mind that I didn't actually write to him about was about "feeling the spirit."  I have had experiences where I was convinced I had "felt the spirit" from the time I was a teenager up into my twenties.  It almost always feels the exact same.  Sometimes I felt like I had a simple message come to mind, but otherwise I would have one of those feelings that is genuinely hard to explain.  I remember one experience I had when I was a teenager.  I had already felt this kind of feeling before and had identified it as "the spirit."  One night, I was listening to a U2 song that I enjoyed and I "felt the spirit."  Oh wait... did I feel the spirit?  Well, whatever happened, it was the exact same feeling that I felt most of the other times.  This really puzzled me, but, as I was wont to do as a young Mormon, I shoved it down and pretended it didn't happen.  But it would come to mind multiple times throughout my adult life when I would doubt the spirit's authenticity.  That wasn't an isolated experience either.  I have had other encounters with good music where I felt that way.  Music that certainly wasn't about the gospel, or about truths even.  Just music I liked.

I don't explain that to make other people doubt, but it just came to mind tonight as I've been listening to music that I use as catharsis.  I am so grateful for music.  It has a way of healing me that nothing else does.  It's hard to explain.  So many (probably the vast majority) of my spiritual experiences have revolved around music.  So many of my nights spent being depressed were recovered from through music.  The not-so-great night I had is being recovered from currently through music.  I think it just helps me to feel things.  I don't know what I'm writing about anymore, but I'm just glad that music somehow helps me get things out.  Kind of like the way shedding tears sometimes can just feel good, listening to music that matches my emotional state just feels right.

I don't know what's happening next in my life, but I'm ok.  I'm so very happy that I'm ok after coming out to the people who matter most to me in my life.  I just hope I can figure out how to make this happiness last.

Well, good night, Mohos.  You're incredible and your blogs lift and inspire me probably more than I tell you.  Please know that at least this guy loves you.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dear Family, I'm Gay & Blue Whales

I thought I'd have some epic chronological story about coming out, but I just don't know that I have the energy to extract the data from my brain to author something like that for you.  It seems I've been through so much that my brain haphazardly filed everything away.  Let me try to at least construct the Cliff's Notes on my story of coming out to my family.  (Do people even know what Cliff's Notes are anymore?)

So, the family party seems like a decent place to begin.  Everyone except my sister's family that lives on the east coast was there.  We had fun.  We all laughed.  We talked about celebrity crushes... oh man... that was odd.  I knew that that conversation would never go the same way for me ever again.  I told them Rachel Weisz, which certainly was a celebrity crush of mine in the past, but if I had been honest, these days it's definitely Matt Damon!  I was looking around at all the smiling faces, and I worried, what if this is the last time I get to do this?  What if it's never like this for me again?  I pulled out my phone and took covert pictures of everyone around me.  I have been to dozens and dozens of family parties like that, but I will always remember that one.

That night I personalized a letter for everyone.  Each of my siblings and my parents.  I poured so much into those letters.  I felt completely emotionally drained after writing all of them.  The next day, was the Monday that I had set as my goal.  I was determined to make it happen.  I locked myself in my room.  I set up an email to my sister that doesn't have Facebook, and I set up a Facebook message to each other member of my family (attaching an extra file to my message to my mom, for her to print out for my technologically-challenged father.)  I poured through each one... making sure it was just right.  I went to the one for my mom... hit a button... and away it went.  I hit send on each other message, and on the email.

There!  I had done it.  I came out to my family.  What I felt more than fear, was that I should be feeling some emotions.  I didn't really feel anything too strongly.

But that changed when Facebook informed me that my mom had seen it, and I got a message back from her moments later.  I was scared.  Until I read, "So how do I print these?"  She had read the message on her phone and thought I'd texted the letter attachments to her.  So, maybe both my parents are technologically challenged.  :-)

Anyway, she then read it, and texted me a brief message about her love and support.  Then Facebook said my brother read it a while later.  An hour after it said he'd read my message, he called.  We had a good short talk, and he told me he loved me and understood where I was coming from.  Then my sister sent me a text... no wait, two texts... no 3...4.... oh... that's right... 37 texts all at once!  (I have two technologically-challenged parents, and apparently a technologically-challenged sister!)  She actually thought she was going to type it out on her messenger and then email it to me, but instead it came in 37 texts that came in in random order.  I got the gist of what she was saying though... she loved me, and was surprised because we'd talked about women I dated before, and that she knew the gospel would bring me happiness.  Then I got two emails from my other two sisters... each saying they knew the gospel would bring me happiness, they loved me, and had no problem that I was gay.  The next day, dad called to tell me he loved me.  (He's not a man of many words and pretty much left it at that.)  I also got a call from my brother-in-law.  He's the kindest man I know.  I'll leave it at that.

So, it wasn't a dramatic experience.  Everyone just made me feel so relieved.  And for, I think, the first time in my life, I had said  "I love you" to each member of my family, and had heard it from each of them, too.  Each of my sisters expressed that they were worried about my feelings about the church, because in my letters I explained that I was considering leaving the church behind, but that I hadn't made any concrete decisions as of yet.  I started to feel somewhat pressured by them already, but I just deflected and didn't engage on those conversations with them.

Point being, I'm through it.  I came out to my family, and I'm fine.  I still have pretty much the same dilemma to sort out.  Do I continue looking for answers from the gospel?  Or do I look for answers from the world?  How am I supposed to move forward?

...I figure that... I'll just figure it out as I go along.  I'm not in the hurry I may have previously felt like I wanted to be in.  I honestly don't know what's in my future, but my sister gave me some good advice that stuck... I should move forward remaining cognizant of my spirituality.  I am a spiritual person, she said.  I should still keep that as part of my worldview, whether it includes the church or not.  I appreciated that she said that a great deal.

Moving along chronologically, I have indeed gone on a trip.  I am presently blogging this from a hotel room in Southern California.  It's been great to get some warm weather and avoid the first snow of the Fall/Winter (Fwinter?).  Today, I went out onto the ocean and saw a pod of blue whales feeding on top of the ocean!  It was an incredible experience that I'll never forget.  There were a few gay couples on board the ship, too, and I found myself watching them quite a lot.  I just want to know what it's like to be able to just be out to the world like that.  I had the thought today that we gay folks are kind of like the blue whales.  Blue whales were hunted nearly to extinction, but then were protected by laws when it was found they were being unfairly forced from this world.  I find myself a bit like a blue whale born into the world after protections have started to be established.  What would my coming out have been like if I had done it in decades past?  Certainly I wouldn't have gotten, "It's no problem that you're gay," quite as thoroughly as I have from my family.  Maybe even if it had been five years ago it would have been a little rougher.  I'm just grateful for my family's love and support.  I worry about whether they'll really be as supportive if I do, in fact, leave the church... but I can understand that.

I doubt this is the post I was hoping for after all of this, and maybe it wasn't the one you were hoping for either.  Who cares?  I'm happy.  I'm happy that my family knows.  Now I just need to figure out how to deal with each of my friends.  I get to sort out what's next for me.  It's kind of exciting.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Scary-Apt Pop Songs & Slumps

What I first thought was just another over-produced pop song from a band that I formerly knew and loved as a local stand-out, has seriously changed my mind upon a few extra listens.  I have a personal connection to the band Imagine Dragons, so I knew quite a lot about them before they were popular.  I think I honestly have their rise to fame to blame for my latest foray into listening to top-40 music.  (Pop music was something I used to abhor out of solidarity with my favorite indie bands.  Well, that's what I would have told you.  The truth is that I was just another (music) hipster in the making that thought I was cooler than the in-crowd for liking things that were different.)  So, anyway, when they make new music, I pay attention.  Just tonight I came across the song "Monster," which is apparently a new single they've just released.

Like I said, at first I just thought it was trying a little too hard.  But then I actually listened to the lyrics, and I guess because these past few months I've been in the most fragile emotional state I've ever been in (and because I've been kind of depressed today), I started tearing up a bit (I don't cry, I just "tear up.")  It became just all too apt for the situation I'm in as I come out and admit that I'm gay.  I mean, I just wrote a post partially entitled "I'm A Monster..." the other day. (granted, that was actually in reference to how I keep blogging too much... as I'm currently doing.  But the rest of the post may as well have been referring to that part of the title, too.)  I just really wanted to share this because lyrically it fit how I've felt so much lately.  (FYI, it just charted at 78 on Billboard.  Which likely means that even I will hear it more than I want to.)  The lyrics that really hit me: "Can I clear my conscience, if I'm different from the rest.  Do I have to run and hide?  I never said that I want this, this burden came to me, and it's made its home inside.  If I told you what I was, would you turn your back on me?  And if I seem dangerous, would you be scared?"

Seems kind of fitting right?  Yeah... but they made this song for a video game, so I'm sure Dan Reynolds wasn't thinking about his secret homosexual side.  (No, I don't know that about him, nor do I know him personally.)

I really wanted to hold off on posting until I had something real for you to read about.  And things are definitely about to get real.  But as I've said before, I'm a needy guy.  I'm always needing to get some thought out of my mind and to have someone tell me that it's not unusual, it's not boring, it's not horribly pitiful... or whatever else I'm feeling like I am, or that my actions are.

Like I said, though, I've been kind of depressed today.  I wasn't going to go to work today, and then I lucked out and my boss told me to work from home anyway.  I didn't accomplish much of anything.  I was supposed to write/edit about 32 pages worth of stuff today... and I wrote/edited about 8.  Why is it that I always seem to have a slump after I feel like I have a handle on my depression?  Am I freaked out about actually feeling good?  Am I scared that I'll miss the crutch of always blaming my depression for everything I do wrong or that I'm not good enough at?  Or is it just because I further realized that just because I may be accomplishing a lot by way of accepting myself, coming out, and moving on that things still won't be easy?  Or did I just need something to whine about on here again?  Ya know... I don't love reading others' posts when they hit depressive states.  I hope at least my attempts at humor (although sarcastic and self-deprecating) at least somewhat make up for this kind of stuff.

Hey, I could always draw another dumb animal!

I know that everything will be okay, but sometimes I need a day to panic and/or shut down.  Today was definitely a shut down day.  Well, I'm going to get a bunch more shit done tonight... so maybe after I sleep it off tomorrow, I'll be ready to kick some more gayness ass.  (Hmm... that sounds a little like I'm about to start attacking gay people doesn't it?)  Let's try, I'll be ready to slay some gay hurdles.  (Nope, now I'm just picturing slicing track hurdles (that are in love with each other, and I assume they're the same gender (but how am I to know hurdle gender?)) in half with a sword.)  Let's try, I'll be ready to just kick life's face in the ass.  (Whatever, good enough.)

Pop quiz!  How many parenthetical statements made an appearance in this blog post?
A: 8
B: 13
C: 23

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Racquetball Thump Heard Round The Skull & The Great Escape

Remember that one time that my brother, my friend, and I were playing racquetball?  Evidently it was tonight, but I don't remember it either!  (Joking)

I was actually playing racquetball tonight.  My friend hit the ball with some serious gusto behind me, and that's when I heard the loudest thump I've ever heard... as it hit my skull.  I reached back and couldn't find anything terribly wrong.  (If I was a liar I'd tell you that, for just a moment, I questioned whether the ball had gone inside my head.) But then my brother told me there was an indentation back there!  I felt around and found what he meant.  I spent the rest of the night reaching to the back of my head to feel it.  (It honestly wasn't until I sat in the car to leave that I found the opposing indentation on my head... reassuring me that the ball didn't cause some kind of skull collapse!)  I continued playing, and won our last game.  (Pshh, Jordan thought he was so great winning game 5 with a flu, well I won game 3 with a freakin' concussion!  (Lies again.) (About the concussion, not about me winning.)  I brag sometimes.)

So, I guess the biggest reason for telling you this riveting tale is that ... if you start reading gibberish... uh... make a comment alerting me to such, and maybe I'll go to the hospital to check for a concussion for real.  (I've passed my own tests, my brother's, and my friend's... I'm pretty positive I'm fine, but just in case.)

I came out to one more friend today.  He was a mission friend that has left the church and moved to New York City.  He's a very liberal person (we're talking left of most Democrats), and I knew he would support me as a gay man.  He did, however, kind of want to bash on the church, as some people do when they leave it behind, but I don't have any desire to do that.  I appreciate that the church has brought me a lot of happiness at times.  I appreciate that it can still bring a lot of happiness to others.  So, I don't see any point in trying to harm or even just to denigrate the church.  I just want others to respect my search for happiness, and I mean to not judge others' pursuit of the same.

Yesterday, was a good day.  I had a chat with my boss and he made me feel really appreciated.  He has been a bit bummed out that I'm leaving, but we finally talked openly about everything and it was a great conversation. (Everything work related, that is.  I just explained to him that I've had a lot of personal things going on.) Anyway, he directly implied that once he secures a few more clients, he'd be able to offer me the kind of money I need to be able to return and keep working this job.  (Oh, by the way, I'm SUPER poor due to a mound of student loan debt... long story.)  I have loved this job.  It's just such a fun environment.  That said, it hasn't been paying the bills as well as I need it to.  I'm moving on, but my boss made me feel a lot better about the whole situation.  It's nice to know I have options if my new job doesn't pan out.  (I was actually a little tempted to tell him, "Ok, I'll stay!"  That's how much I hate leaving this job.)

So, I was feeling so good yesterday that I had a really strong urge to come out to my family.  However, after talking with some goodly Moho friends (thanks guys!), I realized that I should maybe wait until I have one more normal family gathering with them.  We have a shindig planned for this Sunday... so, I've set the goal to come out to (at least) my siblings and my mom on Monday!  That's four days from now!  I'm nervous, but also excited to just be moving forward.  While I may damage the relationships I have with my family now... those relationships are at least partially built on lies, partially built on a faith I no longer have, and partially built on my inability to really truly be myself around them... and that's not how it should be.  The wise man built his house upon the rock... of truthfulness?  I think you get what I mean.  (Or is the concussion talking?)  So that's what I have to look forward to on Monday.

On Wednesday, I'll have my last day of work... and who knows what I'll tell my two bosses.  I trust them both quite a lot, but I haven't come out to them yet.  I wrote a post about almost coming out to my female boss before I had come out to anyone that knew me.  She and I have gotten very close and have shared a lot about our personal lives with each other.  I think I've almost come out to her about 4 times now, and still haven't despite her actually saying the words to me, "[Graham], are you telling me that you're gay?  Because I'm okay with that if you are."  (She was joking about something, but I actually detected that she might be partially on to me.)  I doubt I'll say anything to them now that I'm leaving.  I'm sad to go though.

Then I have Thursday through Sunday off.  So I've planned my escape.  My chance to take a quick trip to get away from all the change I'll have wrought in a week's time.  To let any problems simmer, and to just be distracted from the stressful things.  I've actually asked a few friends to go with me, (and if they can't go... I may ask some beautiful Mohos I know), but I will go alone if need be.  (I've done it before!)  I actually heard from a couple friends, "OH!  But that's conference weekend."  Each time I thought, "And... your point is?"  I've listened to two GAs in recent weeks, and each time I didn't feel anything, and I frankly think it's just the wrong time for me to try to feel anything.  Also, for the last few years, even when I have tried to faithfully listen... I always fall asleep and then just listen to the delayed recordings online the next week anyway.  So, I told my friend I'd be doing that.  (Yes, real-life Graham told a fib.)  I just want this quick getaway to be a selfish retreat to do something I like, and to get away from the churning turmoil.  I think I kind of want a celebration for how well I'm handling things these days, too.  I'm pretty damn proud of that, because I could have and I did think about quitting earlier in this process... but I don't have a bit of quit in me now.  I'm actually loving the man I can see me becoming, and that's something I haven't been able to say in years.  Thanks Homodom!

...and then I'll start my new job on that next Monday.

That's the plan... let's see where this takes us!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bursts of Honestude & It Is Written **UPDATED** (I'M OUT!)

About to hit you with some bursts of honestude:

  • If you've been here before, you can see that I screwed up.  I hate my new blog layout/design.  I should have left the plain, simple, clean black and white I had before.  Oh, well.  Live and learn?
  • I intentionally waited until after midnight to post this to look just a little less pathetic, and to actually skip a day between posts.  It's an illusion (Michael.  A trick is something a whore does for money.)  It's funny that I make attempts to save face on this blog, and then I betray them by being as honest as I can.
  • I have now realized that there is a strong possibility that people may think my picture is some kind of play on Joseph Smith's first vision images.  NOT the case.  I was not thinking about that at all until I got looking at it on the blog full size.
  • NOT intentional...
  • If you scroll really fast, it's like I'm high-fiving the top of Blogger.
  • I still like the picture for some reason.
  • I honestly don't know why I'm writing in here right now.  I don't think it's really serving a purpose.  I got everything I was needing emotionally tonight by reading about others' experiences on their blogs.
  • I'm not artistic.  I'm really terrible at putting things together that match.  So when I decide to actually customize my blogs... they almost always look like a kid just randomly picked colors and randomly selected fonts.  I'm better with words... and even then I don't think I have a great grasp on artistry there.
  • I still can't bring myself to do an About Me page.  I figure the brief description on the right is good enough because I'm being anonymous, so there's not much to tell.  Duh!
  • NO ONE CARES.  Bla bla bla...
So, anyway, I guess I'll actually blog about something that matters to me now.  In the style of Chase from TR Unfiltered, I wrote my letter yesterday.  It was surprising how I tended to include far too much detail in explaining some things, and not even close to enough for others.  Today, I edited it a bit.  I then created a list of everyone I might consider coming out to right now... in other words it was two of my best friends, my siblings, and my parents... and I analyzed each for the pros and cons of choosing to come out to them.  My oldest sister and my brother were the two candidates that seemed to have the best pro to con ratios.  I might send it to them... but I would feel bad if my two other sisters found out that I came out to my other two siblings first.  However, I think if I came out to my brother first, none of my sisters would be upset.  (I guess my sisters are more jealous of one another?)  Anyway, it was weird thinking about each family member and how I thought they'd approach my coming out, and homosexuality issues in general.  The biggest problem with my pros and cons list is that it's riddled with uncertain comments like: Might be helpful in influencing others if she decides to support me.  The truth is that I have NO idea how any of them will react.  I want to be out, but I think I'm in denial about how hard it will really be.  I think I just keep thinking that I'll somehow come up with a formula for the perfect timing to release my secret weapon (the letter) at just the right time to just the right person, time and again, until I've convinced them all to love and support me in choosing a gay lifestyle.  NOPE.  Not. Gunna. Hap'n.  

I honestly don't know if ANYONE on my list will support me in choosing a gay lifestyle.  They're all LDS, and I think they all would likely believe that I'd do best to live a celibate lifestyle.  I can't help but shake my head at thinking about me living that way the rest of my earthly existence.  

...I just got the urge to say eff it and send the letter to someone... 

I just thought of a friend that I had not analyzed the pros and cons for yet:

Pros:  He’s way more likely to be supportive than any of my other friends because he’s been struggling with the church.  He’s very liberal about these things.  I don’t think it would hurt him nearly as much as anyone else (if it would hurt him at all).  He might be awake right now.  He’d make a good practice run for gearing up for coming out to my family.

Cons:  I might be hurting progress he could be making to regain his spirituality.  He might not be the best secret keeper.  I might not get the best advice and support from him, though, because he always has a weird worldview that I struggle to understand.  Our project that we’re working on together could be seriously strained if he, for some reason, doesn’t react as well as I hope he will. It might be a little complicated, because I think I've had feelings for him, kind of.  :-/

*deep exhale*

I'm going to do it.  I'm going to edit my letter for him specifically... and I'm going to send it.  Wish me luck!

AAAAAhhHHHH... *freaking out continues*

Came back... haven't done it yet.  This is scary!  And I hardly ever even see this guy!


Ok. It's edited.  I'm attaching it to a Facebook message.  OH BOY... I'm coming out to a CLOSE friend this time.  He was my mission companion.  He and I have been roommates, co-workers, and friends for years.

I've had the mouse on the "Reply" button for about 5 minutes.  Ok, really, enough melodrama.  I'm doing this.

I don't think it's actually sunk in as much as I freaked out before hitting Reply just now.  I ended my brief message with the letter attached with this:
I'm not likely to sleep for a while... but good night!

One last one:  AAAAaaaAAAaaAAaaAHHHHhhHhHhhhHhhH...

I started getting a super long string of Facebook messages from my good friend, to whom I came out last night.  For some reason, I was happy that he said he had no idea I was gay.  (Hmm... am I proud of how good at being in the closet I've been?)  I did worry that I might have pushed him just that much further from the church, but other than that, it was SUCH a GREAT experience.  He didn't have one bit of a problem that I was gay, and he just apologized if he'd said anything about gays that had offended me.  (He never said anything truly hurtful, he's just a constant jokester.)  I told him that I was probably saying them right along with him, because I had NO idea I was gay either.  Although he has had issues with the church, he still pretty much believes it and doesn't believe in gay marriage, but despite that belief he still told me he'd support me in doing what would make me happy.  I truly appreciate that.  It was a great experience because not only did I gain someone I could talk to about these things, but I also became another resource he has as he strives to figure out his relationship with the church.  I handle serious subjects with humor, a lot, and he definitely was able to do that with me in a way that was very comforting for my first coming out experience with a close friend.  Hooray, me!  I feel charged up enough that I want to do it again... but I seriously doubt any other coming outs will be this easy.  I maybe should have saved this one for later.  But at least he'll be there when the other ones get hard.  ****

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I'm A Monster & A Freak Of Nature *UPDATED*

I know. I'm back.  AGAIN.  I'm a monster!  A blogging monster.  *wheels start turning in Graham's head* and...

THE MOHO BLOGGING MONSTER A.K.A. Graham Lawrence A.K.A. Another name that you shan't know yet.
So, anyway... I blog A LOT.  Sorry about that, but like I said in my last post... it's about me.  Not you.

I went on an incredible hike today.  It was so beautiful.
I think this is the most beautiful picture I've EVER taken.  Pretty damn proud of it.  (But my phone did all the work.)
I was so out of shape.  It's become apparent that just lifting weights is NOT enough.  I need to add some cardio to the exercise mix, too.  It wasn't pretty.

Anyway, I went with a few good friends.  These friends are all LDS.  On the way up, one of the friends and I got separated and we started talking about our gay friend from high school.  My friend, (who we'll call Brent) started talking about his opinions on that gay friend (who we'll call Steve) and gays in general.  I braced myself, and made sure to remind myself to be very careful with my words.  Brent started going on and on about Steve, and how Steve had "chosen to be gay."  I did my best not to get too defensive, because, honestly, I thought the same thing in high school... that Steve had chosen to be gay, but I replied to Brent that I no longer believed as much.  "Why would any Mormon who loves their family choose to be gay?"

Steve is the gay friend who I've actually come out to.  I learned about his story, and know that Steve started having feelings for men at a very young age.  He felt awful about his same sex attraction.  He tried everything to overcome it, but to no avail.  When Steve did start coming out after high school, his parents did not react in an understanding way and they were very against the idea.  This caused Steve a lot of pain and suffering.  Brent, likely doesn't know the full story.  I tried my best to not reveal how much I know, and also to persuade Brent that Steve did not choose this.  Brent said that he felt like, yes, there were some people who were just gay, but that he felt like the majority just chose to be gay because it's either a "cool" thing, an environment thing, or they were just convinced that they were gay, when they really weren't.  He brought up the Weeds and how they have had a successful marriage despite the husband's orientation.  Brent said that that meant that marriages could still happen for guys that have same sex attraction.  I still didn't want to act like I knew too much about the subject, but I definitely knew who he was talking about.  Their story had given me a lot of hope when I first heard about it, but I've since given up any hope of finding someone like Mrs. Weed.

We eventually caught up with the other two friends, and the topic later came up again.  Brent restated his opinion for the others.  Another friend fell a lot more on my side, that no Mormon would choose it, and that we need sex to have a truly fulfilling marriage.  Brent tried to say that mixed orientation marriages could work for most gay people if they could just find a best friend.  I pointed out that the Weeds are able to have sex, but some gay men are physically unable to really have sex with a woman.  And we talked about how the mixed orientation marriage thing can be tough for the woman involved because there might not be sex, or it might not give her the assurances of her beauty that she looks for, etc.  The other friend and I both agreed that to have a truly happy marriage, there needed to be something more than just friendship. (physical friendship?)  (I don't pretend to know what mixed orientation marriage is like, and obviously some people have such marriages and make them work.  I just know that at the time of the conversation, I was thinking about myself and how I think I would find myself unhappy in that situation, and that I believe my wife would ultimately be unhappy.  Just my opinion.)   The fourth friend, who I'll call Zach was silent.  He's pretty shy, so I wasn't surprised he wasn't spouting an opinion on the matter.  But it was pretty clear that Brent firmly believed that most gay guys weren't born that way, and that I felt otherwise.  I should also point out that to everyone's credit, no one believed it was a good idea to just tell gay Mormons to just fake it and marry the opposite sex, and that if mixed orientation marriages were going to work, honesty NEEDS to be involved.  I fully endorse those two opinions.  I had a few moments where I really wanted to say, "I would NEVER choose being gay, but I AM GAY!" But I didn't dare say it.  I've never considered Brent someone I really want to come out to until I'm so gay that I'm beyond his constant advice giving.  If I told him I was gay today, I'm confident that he would try to convince me that I'm not, or that I could still have a marriage to a woman.  As he felt about Steve.  Whether he'd actually say that to my face or not, I don't know.  But I DO know that he would talk about me behind my back, just like Steve, and come up with some reason that I'd chosen this.  (Most likely that I was just sick of being unsuccessful at dating girls.  Haha!)  It was a tough conversation to have with these friends, but I was glad to get to start dealing with some of the things that will certainly be part of the conversations I have as I begin coming out to straight LDS friends and family.

I wasn't very glad to have the conversation I had with Zach (the shy one) later on tonight.  I should tell you, that Zach is a scientist.  He studies wildlife and biology.  He is someone that I've fairly strongly considered coming out to, but I know that it would be really hard for him in a lot of ways.  I have, in some ways, been a role model to him.  He has looked to my example of how I've lived my life in various situations.  I feel somewhat like an older brother to him at times.  I've actually also wondered if he's gay or at least has SSA.

So, he and I were alone and he started by saying, "It was so hard for me to listen to that conversation about gay people and not say anything!"  And I said, "Yeah, I want to know your opinions."  He then explained that it biologically didn't make sense to him that people could be born gay.  He didn't believe that they could have a genetic makeup that made them gay, because he felt that if it was a genetic trait, that it would have been weeded out over time and there would be no more gay people.  I explained to him that there have always been gay people, and that in the past they likely just got married to the opposite sex more often. To which he replied that then gay Mormons now should just do that.  I replied that they (at least on Mad Men, haha) likely just had gay affairs on the side and kept their wives to keep up appearances, or that they had really miserable marriages.  Anyway, I kind of convinced him that gay people still keep marrying people of the opposite gender and that at least his theory that they should be genetically extinct was false in that way.  He then brought up the issue of how a random person can be gay in a family of straight people.  THIS hit home pretty strongly.  He then said that he felt like it would have to be a super recessive trait for that to happen.  Then he started talking about how on the nature vs. nurture spectrum he felt that it must be nurture.  He raised the point that autism can be complicated by surroundings.  He said he was sure that almost anyone can feel same sex attractions. (I actually think he kind of admitted to me that he had had same sex attractions, but he didn't say that exactly.)  He tried to say that you could feel a very strong love for another person of your gender, and then just get confused and bring a sexual attraction into the matter.  So I asked him if he thought it was like a mental problem where people just confused their feelings.  And he said yes.  So basically, he said that he felt like the only ways you could be gay were if your environment (upbringing, etc) created it, you'd been molested, or you were just mentally confusing yourself.  I wanted to just say right there, "I'm gay, so do you think I'm just confused mentally?  I'm pretty sure it wasn't my parents' fault, and I certainly haven't been molested!"

I don't really agree with much that Zach said tonight, obviously.  I think people are born gay.  I just don't know why I am... and this made me start doubting whether I am.  I started feeling like a freak of nature after my conversation with the nature scientist.  I DO have a family that (at least on the surface) is 100% straight, and I'm the exception.  Have I just mentally confused myself?  Or is it genetics and the trait is super recessive or is the trait just hidden by mixed orientation marriages or family that just has lied and said they weren't gay when they were?  Did my parents mess me up?  Did my having multiple sisters mess me up?  Was my dad not being what I wanted him to be, the reason?  I just started freaking out as I was driving home.  I think I must have been born this way, but I don't know.  It scares me, so much, that I don't have the answers for when I have to have these conversations as I start coming out of the closet.  After we'd finished talking about our opinions on it, Zach did say that he just didn't like thinking about it, and that he didn't really know what to think.  He just likes to pretend it doesn't exist.  THAT sounded very familiar to me.  (My denial for 25 years likely sounded a lot like what Zach said to me.)  I've wondered if he is gay and if I came out it would be easier for him to come out.  Who knows?

Anyway, that last comment about him not really knowing did make me feel a bit better, but I'm still left feeling really troubled.  My conversation with Zach just made me feel crappy.  I know that I'm attracted to men, and I haven't found a woman that I'm sexually attracted to. I don't think I could ever have a hetero relationship.  I'm pretty sure that I want a homosexual relationship.  I just am filled with a weird confusion still, and I think it might just be that I don't have the answers.  I just wonder if I'm the only MOHO who has doubts about the ho part sometimes?  I guess I'm still pretty fresh to admitting to myself that I'm gay, so maybe some doubts are still to be expected.

I'm just feeling so desperate to fast forward.  Can't I just get to the part where the dust has settled from me coming out of the closet, and I've found the man of my dreams?  Please?

I had another conversation with "Zach" today.  He had done more research after our conversation last night, and had read about a study that had a very plausible genetic explanation for homosexuality, as well as the island issue (where one person could be the only gay person in their family.)  He also already seems to have come around quite a bit on things.  I really do think that I'm an influential person in his life, but I didn't think he'd change his tone so quickly.  Certainly he's still very against homosexuality as a sin, he says, but at least he's a little more understanding of a way that it could be natural.  As Matt pointed out in the comments, this really shouldn't matter for me, but for some reason, I just like that there's a scientific option or two to explain it. 

Here's a link to an article explaining the theory behind what Zach and I discussed.  ****

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Needy & Inspired

Sometimes I hate how needy I can be.  I think we're all a little needy, (except maybe true hermits), but I feel like I'm overly needy sometimes.  Not that I ask for help all the time, because I DON'T.  I'm terrible at asking for help.  What I mean is that I constantly crave admiration for the things I care about, and I'm unsettled if I don't feel like I have it.  I think I'm pretty pitiful because I care so much about people reading this blog.  That's stupid.  Seriously... this blog is about me.  It's for me.  It's for me to figure this gayness out.  It's for me to sort out my thoughts before I make big decisions.  (TANGENT: Hey, good news, despite whining right now, I'm definitely enjoying my dog's sleep barking at this moment!)  It's not about followers.  It's not about comments.  It's not about notoriety.  If those things come, I'm obviously happy about them... but they aren't what should matter to me most about this place.  It's where I can FINALLY quit all the lies and tell my truths.  Finally.  

That said, I like the interactions I have with other Mohos a great deal.  They inform my decisions, my feelings, and give shape to some of the more unidentifiable things I'm experiencing.  They also inspire me a great deal.  I have loved so many blog posts and the voices behind them, but this week I'm feeling particularly inspired by this post: http://trunfiltered.blogspot.com/2013/09/seen-at-805pm-23.html .  The short of it, is that he wrote a letter to come out to his family with.  I want to do the same.  When I have difficult conversations... I NEVER say exactly what I want, and I certainly never remember to say everything I want to say.  When I write... I can spew everything and more.  I can edit, pare down, spruce up, bolster... it's just my comfort zone when it comes to difficult admissions, questions, or answers.  Why wouldn't I stay in my comfort zone for spilling the beans to my family?  I've tried to make real life conversations happen for coming out, but the only time I've been brave enough to be successful in coming out was sending a Facebook message.  I'm going to steal a page from the book of whoever TR Unfiltered is.  I'm writing a letter.  I'm going to do it today.  And... I'm setting a goal to send it to at least one friend.  I'm not trying to force this process... I just know that I could use some pushes here or there.  And having more people that support me just sounds great.  I just need to convince myself that there's no harm in asking for help.  I'm done letting suicidal thoughts scare me.  I'm going to, for once, ask for help from so many loved ones that I'll have a base around me to fortify me from such thoughts.  They may still come, but at least I'll be able to reach out... and won't be alone with my secrets, my pains, and my struggles.  

I generally don't have a problem loving others, but loving myself is always a struggle.  I do love myself, though, and it's about time I prove it by being myself and ending the lies.  Protecting my health and happiness is worth some pain and sadness in some of my friends and family.  I can't keep letting the lies pull us apart.  I need truth to cut, sting, and heal these relationships.  Go me!

I can't let this post stay so damn somber... how about a giraffe?!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Well, You'll Be Walking In The Ocean!" & New Hope?

I'm a nerd. I sometimes make very nerdy observations. What follows, is certainly one of them.

I have been obsessed of late with a slow and pensive cover of The Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by some band called Sleeping At Last. I love the old song, too, but hearing it slowed down you can really appreciate the power that there can be in the lyrics. Anyway, as I was just listening I realized... wait... The Proclaimers were Scottish... and unless they were talking about a girl on a continent and NOT in Great Britain... they COULDN'T walk 500 miles and 500 more. I know it's pretty dorky to even think that... but alas, I did. I think the furthest they could walk for their walk-worthy gal in Great Britain would be about 650 miles. Perhaps they would require doubling back a couple hundred miles? No... I think The Proclaimers weren't thinking about geography. I suppose it wouldn't make quite as compelling a song if they said "I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 183.5 more, just to be the man who walked 683.5 miles to fall down at your door." Maybe, as a putative poet, the geographer inside me will let this one slide. Maybe.

As for my life... I got that job that I interviewed for. I decided, "It's more money, and it's not really a step down. Just take it and be an adult." Maybe I'm not as awful a person as I felt I was last night. Maybe I can just keep slowly working my way up to a real adult job. Maybe I can keep working out and get in shape. Maybe I can tell my family about my orientation and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe I can find the man of my dreams at my doorstep. Or his. Maybe.

An Adult Step & Sleep Barking

If outing myself to a man from a dating website who knew my first name, phone number, and what I look like was a baby step, I suppose outing myself to my high school friend (who is gay) counts as an adult step.  At first, I didn't really feel any different, and then it kind of set in... I have a supporter.  Someone knows... and they're ok with me.  He might tell his husband, too, so I think I am out to two people.  While I'm really happy about that... it obviously didn't solve all of my problems.  I still have this constant conversation in the back of my head every time I talk to a family member or friend.  "Should I tell them?"  "What would they think?"  "What if they react badly?"  "Do they already know?"  It's pretty distracting.  This isn't terribly unnatural to me though, I am a pretty anxiety-ridden person, but this conversation is particularly loud and keeps making its presence known, whereas most of my constant worrying is just dull background murmurings.  Anyway, I'm really quite proud of myself for finally being strong enough to admit it to one person, but I know there's a tough row to hoe yet.

Well, I went to church on Sunday.  Lo and behold, a general authority was there.  In priesthood, after he took over the lesson, the subject veered to dating.  I have never felt so incredibly disinterested in a block of meetings, or the words of a GA. There were so, so many generalizations that just didn't apply to me.  Eventually, I just kept looking at my phone, waiting for the time to run out.  It was a really long Sunday.  It started my week off on weird footing.

I have been so damn depressed.  Like, even to the point that my dog's sleep barking right this second doesn't cheer me up.  I usually love when he does that.

(In case you're only mildly depressed, or at any more positive stage of the sadness to happiness spectrum: )

I feel like there are four major triggers for my more serious bouts of depression:  loneliness, gayness, unfulfill-ed-ness from my career, and religion-ness.  (Had to keep the -ness train rolling!) I could probably also add ugliness... I keep trying to work out and eat right, but because I get depressed I keep eating garbage.  I just got home from exercising and then eating donuts.  Not a great plan for weight loss.  It ties back into gayness, though.  I feel like I'm not nearly attractive enough to be gay.  So many of us gays seem to be pretty damn beautiful.  Which ties into loneliness... I have never felt true romantic love.  I want that.  Kinda.  Kinda... a lot.  

And then we come to my career.  I have tried to get my foot into a few different fields, and have never found success or been able to stick with anything.  I think I might just be self-destructive.  
UGH--- I'm hating this blog post.  It's really stupid.  I just want to end it now.  

Oh, well... I am going to tell you about today.  I went to a job interview today.  It was quite disappointing.  I was sitting across a desk from two guys that seemed like they were my age.  And they had their own flourishing companies.  They each had started one that was growing and doing quite well.  I have some fairly impressive things on my resume... but I can never seem to turn it into anything so valuable (I'm still the brokest person I know).  I just got so frustrated that I was applying to be the absolute low end on the totem pole in one of these gentlemen's companies. Why haven't I done anything with my life??!!  I could have done something great by now!  It sucks when you've been given all the tools to carve out a very successful career, but you lack whatever it takes to just focus long enough to pick them up and use them all for a prolonged enough time to do the worthwhile things you daydream about doing.

I really hate this post.  I should have just written enigmatic poems so I didn't have to drag you all into my worthless depression.  It is worthless.  It does me NO good, and I KNOW that.  But it comes back time and again, and it feels like I feed it.  I just want someone to sweep me off my stupid feet and take me away from everything.  Damsel in distress, I guess.

LOOK!  A pony!