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: .  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!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Somebody Found The Mute Button & Somebody Found The Butte Mutton

Can't write anything too meaningful or clear right now, but I need to write.  So, you're getting (annoying?) poems again.


And yet, I long to break out of these chains.
I cannot look out to any captor.
I want to end each day that reigns,
Over me darkly while I am stuck in this chapter.

Someone somewhere found the button,
The one that holds me bound.
There seems no end to the feast for the glutton,
Their focus is to silence my sound.

The freedom cry that yearns to escape me,
Is their life's joy to silence.
Despite all sense telling me to let it flee,
My captor remains in defiance.


There displayed at my control,
Someone found the lost soul.
He had been there all alone,
Wondering if the mountain was his own.
No, it wasn't, as he turned to see,
The creature that brought him to me.
They caught his intimate moment of thought,
As they, a beautiful nature vista, sought.
He looked back, feeling lost,
As though his loneliness no longer bossed
Him to and fro searching for,
What he'd never felt before.
They opened him up, and found the mutton.
No, not with a knife, but with the camera button.
His flesh all remains intact,
His soul felt the brunt of the attack.
He's exposed for my display,
I fear to feel just like him some day.

Spoiler: I wrote the sheep one first and kind of tried to somewhat loop them together despite the different rhyme patterns, speeds, and themes. No, I didn't have these planned out at all.  I originally just liked the phrase "somebody found the mute button" to give a name to my inability to speak to anyone about being gay, despite how WIDE open my opportunities with one person in my real life have been.  I just added the second half about butte mutton to rhyme, but it made me think of a picture of a mountain goat on top of a mountain that I often have displayed as my desktop photo. (see below)  So, for the sake of a better poem I pretended he was a sheep and that he was on a butte (for titular consistency).
As per my typical poetry style, these were written rather quickly, but have a very significant meaning to me.  Wish I felt okay enough with being gay to let you all see my poetry blog, but alas, it has my real name on it.  If you hadn't picked up on the meaning of the sheep poem yet, let's just say that I fear to be exposed for display.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Baby Steps & Hawk-eyed Amoebas

Well, I've made a small milestone.  Someone who at least knows my first name (my REAL first name) and what I look like knows that I am gay.  He also now has my phone number.  I've been chatting with a guy on a dating site, and I just appreciate how open he is.  It's the first time I've ever given someone my number from a dating site, too.  (I never got that far with girls.)  He's probably too young for me dating wise, but I sure appreciate him already as a friend.  He's a caring guy.  So, yay for a baby step in the direction of being free of my secrets.

I can't help but compare my approach to dating guys to how I used to approach dating women.  I think I'm already a lot more comfortable with talking to men.  Turns out, I might not be "terrible at dating" as I've said of myself for about a decade.  This should be taken with a grain of salt, though, as I'm still not actually dating.  I just feel more at ease with all the stuff that comes before dating.  Turns out that if you're physically attracted, it makes it easier to find the confidence to do all the pre-dating rituals.  All that said, however, I still feel that I have a fatal flaw with men that I had with women, too.  I have always really wanted the guys or gals that are far beyond my reach.  I'll start quietly obsessing about trying to pursue someone who I think is amazing... and then I'll find out that I'm in line behind a hundred other people.  As was the case with my roommate (who, much to my devastation, has now moved far away), I tend to want people that are really popular.  I think my roommate that moved out probably has about 60 to 70 beautiful girls (HONESTLY) that would agree to ten dates with him up front.  He's just one of those people that can't be bothered with being a loser at all.  So, to spend more than a nanosecond of my time trying to overcome the queue of girls, (yes, GIRLS, he's straight, to boot) is a completely farcical endeavor. I also realized that with the hundreds of friends he has, I guarantee that he has at least a few MEN in line ahead of me, too!
I just can't help getting the butterflies when I think about he and I though.  He's an all around great human.  I, on the other hand, have issues.  I'm not the most attractive guy, (shocker) I lack confidence, and I am not super motivated in life.  I don't have a lot of friends, and I'm still trying to find out who I am at 27.

I did this kind of thing with girls, too.  However, I have recently assumed that it could have been a defense mechanism against having to deal with my sexuality.  If I go after the beautiful girl that I know won't pick me (and if she does start to pick me... I'll freak out and make things complicated), then I won't need to ever be in a relationship that might require me to deal with sex.  The majority of the hints I had at my sexuality when I would let it be a part of my thought processes probably reenforced this non-dating dating method with women.

For whatever reason, though, I'm at it again with men.  I just have to want the wrong people for some reason.  I have developed a crush on a man that lives on the other side of the world.  He's beautiful.  He's popular.  He seems like a winner.  He doesn't know I exist.  The chance that I will ever get to be with him are this big:
(I made a dot with a font so tiny that a hawk-eyed amoeba couldn't see it.)

I know I'll keep figuring things out.  I will hold out hope that I'll meet an amazing someone that won't realize that they're one of these incredible humans that shouldn't even spend time with me.  I'll trick them into dating me.  It will be great.

See!?  I ended on a positive note!  Things are looking up for old "Graham!"

P.S. I wish I were a more patient writer.  I might actually write something people will not only read, they'll actually enjoy.  I must say that I'm pretty damn proud of the amoeba picture though.  :-)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Titanic of Opportunities & Breaking Bad

I don't know why... but I wanted to look my best.  I worked out.  I cut my hair.  I washed my face.  I shaved.  I dressed in my best looking outfit.  I got there early... so early.  I ate a good breakfast.

I remained silent.

As I look back on this morning, I don't think I really had the proper resolve.  Why was I thinking about what I'd look like as I told her I'm gay, and not what I'd actually say?  What's really important in this moment?  Why the hell does a married woman care what I look like, especially after I've told her I'm gay.  I certainly had a very low resolve indeed.  I mean... we talked about boobs!  We talked about my 12ish year old self watching Titanic with my sister, and what that scene must have been like for me.  We talked about people being falsely accused of being homosexual.  What better excuse, transition, segue could possibly come up for THAT conversation?  The one where I tell my boss I'm gay.  The one where this saintly woman who has borne some of her most private moments to me to empathize with my pains, sympathizes as I explain what has caused me all this pain.  Why didn't I just tell her?

I sat silent... with a stupid grin on my face as I thought, "Wow, who knew I'd get such a great opening to tell her?"  I sank my opportunities to finally be free of this secret known only to me and Graham's Blogdom.  Let's hope I can extract the remnants of the opportunity from the bottom of the abyss.  I've got to find my "big piece."  (On display at the Luxor in Las Vegas! ... I should get paid for product placements.)

For now... it's just another lost opportunity.  I hope another will come along.  I think I thought I'd derail our work day far too much.  I need a good few hours to really vent it all anyway.  I may still tell her, but I don't think I can do it while we're at work.

Well, that's that.  Tomorrow is another day.

I'm addicted to television.  Have we talked about that?  Probably not.  I think I've been so depressed and disillusioned that I love the distraction.  I love being taken away into another world.  Right now, I'm so glad I've stuck with Breaking Bad.  This final half of the final season has made it all very worth it.  I think it's been so, so good.

I devour television.  I can't let it go.  It's often all I have to look forward to.  I sometimes build my life around when I can watch.  That's tragic.  Especially when what I REALLY want to do is to travel... but I keep just settling for traveling through my computer screen to previously-recorded vacations to new worlds, new beings, and new places.  I am never sated.  I just keep coming back... expecting the hole to be filled.  One day I'll find HIM.  The one that can fill that void.  That can travel with me.  That can help me escape into reality.  For now... I guess I'm stuck in reality television.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Poems & Procrastination

I know.  I can't stop writing.  This is the only thing that makes me feel better.  Ironically... I'm writing in here so much that I'm procrastinating the writing I'm supposed to do for work.

I worry that it will simply spill out of me.
Just as the tears flow, and sobs surprise,
I worry that it will be told to an enemy.
I can't know enemies though, until I see their eyes.

Some can bandy it about like a joke,
A simple little trivial detail.
I feel like it's likely to evoke,
Anger, frustration, even betrayal.

I know I can't keep holding it in,
As emotions grow more and more erratic,
It's the fear of them spotting the sin,
That keeps the secret in my attic.

I crave for one, just one real human being,
I can trust, and tell, and they'll support my weary heart.
I can't stand having so much love no one's seeing.
I can wait no more for old to end, and new to get its start.

I go on.
I don't think.
I feel fine.
I live life.

Then a picture comes in view,
All I wanted, at his shoe.
Pick it up, kick it away,
He can have it all his way.

I fight, and scrape, and sing my song,
I dance and shout, all the day long.
I'm the bird with the wounded wing.
It's some rare perhaps extinct breed that hears me sing.

I watch it work.
It seems so natural.
She likes him, he likes her,
I can only watch, analyze, infer.

I watch it work.
I try my hand.
It's another skill--
It's another tree where I cannot land.

Females of the Past & Hindsight

It's interesting how I claw for every scrap of silver lining I can get in my struggle to come out of the closet.  Is it weird that I take comfort in how unsuccessful I've been with dating women?  It makes me feel like telling my family and friends that I'm gay will be just that small bit easier because they can't have built up any preconceived notions that I'm a womanizer or that I'm way into women.  In fact, I've said to friends before that I'm a little surprised no one in my family has ever (even jokingly) asked me if I was gay.  I mean, I've never even kissed a girl.  Doesn't that make it that much more obvious that I'm gay?  I just kind of hope that none of my family and friends are completely shocked.  I think it's when people are utterly shocked that they have a harder time accepting it, and that they're more likely to react badly.

The clearest example from my past that should have left them with at least a little doubt about me being heterosexual is a girl we'll call Gretta.  Graham and Gretta?  Wow, I'm great at these pseudonyms!  Anyway, I got a serious crush on Gretta in high school when I heard her sing.  I was so drawn to her talent, intelligence, sense of humor, and our similar approaches to many things in life.  (Like dating... we both said that we didn't want boyfriends/girlfriends in high school.  I probably mostly only said that to have something in common with her.)  We became very very good friends and spent a TON of time together.  We graduated, time passed, and I was home from college and getting ready to go on my Mormon mission.  We spent almost every day together.  We would be alone in her parents' basement on the couch together, watching TV shows and movies galore.  I might have thought about kissing her once.  MIGHT.  I certainly never would have done it though... because "I didn't want to have a girlfriend before my mission."  So a two year mission passed, and I came home with loads of expectations from what our relationship would be.  She wasn't really into me the way I was into her, she said.  So we became just friends.  For years... and years.  We still spent almost every weekend that I came home from college together.  And summers... we were always together.  She was my de facto girlfriend... but without anything physical and without any of the expectations of a real relationship.  Now... along came one day that we were alone together in her apartment.  Sitting together on her couch.  Talking about us.  How we could definitely be married and have a relationship.  "But what about the physical stuff?" she asked.  We both thought for a second about how weird it would be to be physical... oh wait... no... it was probably ONLY me that thought that.  What the hell kind of heterosexual man who's alone with a female that is amazing to him, who he says he's attracted to, and who asks a question that is basically an invite to make out when he's sitting next to her on a couch DOESN'T REACT?  I was filled with so much regret as I drove home reflecting on that moment that passed us by.  That moment I could have just kissed her and gotten years of relationship, pain, and struggle out of the way.  That moment we could have either found out that we could, in fact, have something physical and emotional, or that I was gay and lacked any real sexual attraction to women. I didn't know about the latter part of that potential for discovery at the time... but now I look back and I do know that I could have learned something in that moment.  Maybe the lack of action should have been a huge clue... but it wasn't.  I just assumed that I was protecting our friendship from the possibility of trying and failing to start a relationship.  Oh, Gretta.  Why didn't you tell me to just kiss you?  Oh, Graham... why didn't you just realize and accept that there was an underlying reason you NEVER did anything (or even really thought much about doing) more than hold girls' hands or cuddle?

Gretta's married now, and we don't really talk much.  After giving her an ultimatum of sorts that she refused (wow, poor girl... had to lose her gay friend because he still didn't think he was gay and confused an incredible friendship with love) we drifted apart.  I became bitter that she took up so much of my dating time.  That she'd been so selfish in not letting me go.  Clearly, I see now that I was probably just staying in that impossible relationship because I didn't want to face facts.  I think that's why I never had a real serious relationship.  There was the girl we'll call Heather that I dated for about a month.  That was my most serious relationship ever.  I think I called her my girlfriend a couple times.  She and I had a lot in common.  I think she was pretty much what people call a "beard" though.  Which makes me feel terrible.  I think I only tried to date her because I wanted a girlfriend.  It's like... I would constantly date just to avoid suspicion that I was gay.  But it wasn't just for other people... I would convince myself that I had fallen head over heels about these girls and get devastated when things didn't work out.  This happened over and over and over.  I think I was really just trying to convince myself that I was capable of caring that much about a girl.  If I really cared, at least in the way that a heterosexual man would care... I would have just kissed them.  I would have given them the physical signs that I was as emotionally attached as I really was.  And I was emotionally attached... I just didn't have the physical attraction to back it up.  I wish sex just didn't have to be a part of all of it.  (See why I think I'm asexual sometimes?)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Free Agency & The Secrecy Trap

Mormons who read this (if there are any) will likely immediately assume from the title that my mention of free agency refers to the doctrinal concept associated with the fall and the plan of salvation.  Not exactly the case.  I was pleased to realize that titling this post so would create a great play on words, but I'm actually referring to the sports term.  In my confusion about who I really am, I began saying to myself "I don't know which team I play for.  I'm a free agent!"  I have alternately thought that I played for Team Straight (The Utah Saints?), Team Asexual (The Boston Celibates?), Team Bisexual (The Buffalo Bis?), and, of course, Team Gay (The Tampa Bay Gays?).  Turns out, even after all I've learned about myself and my sexuality in the last few years, I don't really know if I've been signed by any one team.  I do know 100% that I'm sexually attracted to men.  I really doubt whether I'm sexually attracted to women at all.  I've worried though, that because I've never had sex, I might not actually like it at all and that may be why I'm not very driven to have physical relationships with anyone... in other words, that I'm an asexual excepting masturbation.  Free agency is a tough place to be.  I'm just looking for a team to accept me, and I'm becoming more and more aware that I may never get signed to play ball.

And maybe that's ok.  I've realized that because of my 100% asexual nature at least until I was 25, maybe I'm the perfect person to be chosen to deal with same sex attraction and still follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  And maybe if I had discovered that I was gay before I turned 25, I could be living a gay-but-celibate lifestyle that still manages to follow Christ's gospel as I believed it to be true.  But, that's the very problem... "believed."  My testimony is a wisp of what it once was.  I don't even know if it really exists.  When I used to go faithfully and consistently to church, I would have Sundays that were incredibly uplifting and that I engaged and got a lot from, and others that I just got through... maybe bored, tired, or just feeling a bit apathetic.  Nowadays if I go to church I always fall into the latter category.  I'm just there to be in the Mormon culture, not to be uplifted or to worship.

It's this loss or severe dilapidation of my testimony that has left me feeling like I'm in a bit of a secrecy trap.  As I've said before, I want so badly to be 100% honest about who I am because I've spent so many years lying to everyone, including myself, about who I am and about other things, too.  Coming out feels like it's absolutely necessary.  Living with so much secrecy and with so little veracity is unsustainable.  I've learned this the hard way through severe depression and suicidal thoughts.  I want out of all of these lies... but I'm very aware that I can't do that without hurting people around me.  That is, unless I choose to embrace the gospel again.  Just as I feel that I no longer think I could have a strong heterosexual relationship, I don't really think I can ever reconcile the doubts, both independent of and related to my present predicament, that I've had about the church.  This is what will really hurt. The people I love most in my life will all be hurt by my separation from the church, should I choose to do so.  (Perhaps with the exception of my dad, who (even though, or perhaps because, he hasn't been an active member of the church since I was 5) will  probably be the least accepting of me being someone with same sex attraction.  I don't really trust my dad much, so I likely won't tell him for a long while anyway.)  So, if I'm going to hurt my INCREDIBLE mother, my amazing siblings, other relatives and my great friends who are virtually all active members of the LDS church by telling them that I'm gay and I don't intend to follow the gospel path... why not keep keeping the secrets?  Well, because it's unsustainable... as I mentioned.  I need at least one person I truly trust to be on my side in all of this.  I just really can't figure out who, if anyone, that should be.  Who should I hurt, at least a little?  I just get so frustrated.  I mean, there's still the good kid inside me that just wants to go back to church and do everything right and feel like I'm going to heaven and everyone can rely on me and my family doesn't have the pain that we all have dealt with in thinking that we'll be separated from my dad for eternity all over again.  (I think I need run-on sentences like this to express how quickly this stuff flows when I'm upset.  So lay off how terrible this blog's authorship is.)

Apparently I am no longer content to try to play for the Utah Saints.  Anyone want to be my agent and make a call to the front office for Boston, Buffalo, or Tampa Bay?  I'd appreciate it.