Tuesday, June 19, 2007

If they really knew me

My single's ward is pretty cool here. I've been going to activities and starting to feel like I know people. Tonight I was surfing Facebook, looking up some of the people I've met. I found the profile of one guy who I've kind of made friends with. He's skinny and socially awkward like I am but just a really nice, good guy. He's one of the guys who I think could maybe become the type of friend I'd hang out with outside of ward activities. So I'm looking at his interests and favorite movies and stuff and thinking, "yeah, we could be friends." Then I looked at his groups and his top group is "No More Pornography-- The mission of No More Pornography is to eliminate both the use and spread of pornography throughout the world." That sounds like a great cause and everything so nothing against the group, but when I saw that on his profile, it hit me what a really good guy he is and how different I am from him and the first thought in my mind is: "If he only really knew me..." And suddenly I'm scared to make friends.

I sometimes feel like a poser. I miss having friends who know me and most of my issues and are still great friends. Maybe I'll eventually get to that point with people here. For now though I'm playing the part of the goody goody BYU grad. It's not a total act-- it's part of who I am, but it's not the whole story. Unfortunately it's just not really kosher to introduce yourself in Mormon circles like "Hello I'm [real name] and I struggle with serious moral / emotional / psychological problems." Actually that's not really kosher anywhere... except maybe support groups. I'm trying to be myself here. I'm trying to be honest with people. But I kind of have to be my best self if I'm ever going to make friends with the upstanding, churchy kids I need to be friends with. I'm just afraid of making friends and then a couple weeks/months down the line having them ditch me when they discover I'm not everything they thought I was. I wish I could give them some sort of disclaimer explaining that I'm slightly broken.

Writing this makes me realize how irrational this is because A) I can't think of a friend I've ever had ditch me cause I'm not perfect and B) even if that did happen I'm pretty sure I could get over it. It is something I worry about though.

Things are actually good right now. I'm trying to really become more like the goody goody guy I sometimes pretend to be. It's a process. I'm somewhere at the beginning but I'm moving forward. All this stuff takes time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

10 points for AZ

After two sedentary weeks, I decided to hit the roads tonight for a run. It didn't take long to remember why I hate running in AZ. Even two hours after the sun's gone down, the air temperature is still in the triple digits. I could feel the warmth steaming out of the pavement. Within minutes, the heat had overwhelmed my body. Like an overheating car, my systems were beginning to shut down. A couple painful miles later I was back on my driveway red faced and sweaty.

While I was cursing the heat I tried to think positive things about Arizona. Here is what I came up with:

1. No towels necessary. I'm dry in less than a minute out of the shower.
2. It's zionized. If I ever miss hearing people call each other "brother" and "sister" in the grocery store, I only have to drive 30 minutes to Mesa, where 10 percent of the population is LDS. Mesa is also home to one of the church's most beautiful temples. I'm part of a great ward which is part of an entire stake of singles wards. There's always something churchy going on. A new Institute building is opening at ASU at the end of the summer.
3. The ASU Supply Chain MBA program is ranked 5th in the nation. My job will pay for me to get my MBA. Now I just need to ace the GMAT and get my work schedule regularized....
4. Sweet escapes. Five hour drive or $59 flight to San Diego, LA, or Vegas. Three hours to Mexico or the Grand Canyon. Two hours to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, where there's forests, red rock, and icy cold creeks and the temperature is 10 or 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.
5. All the fine eats- Costa Vida, Cafe Rio, Chipotle, and Qdoba are just some of the good freshmex places in the valley. There's also In-N-Out, Church's Chicken, Pita Jungle (amazing humus), and tons of smoothie and shaved ice shops.
6. Mexiculture. Brown people are everywhere here. There's good spanish music on the radio. I get to speak Spanish most of the day at work.
7. Perfect swimming weather.
8. A decent place to live. Ok, really where I live is lame compared to the room I had in By a Thread's Taj Mahal, but it could be a lot worse. I've got a big bedroom, my own spot in the garage and my own bathroom in a brand new house. My roommate's a little strange (I think he has Asberger's syndrome) but he's hardly ever here and when he is here he's just in his room chatting with babes on LDSingles.com so it's a nice quiet place to come home to.
9. There's not a lot better than driving at night (like after 11 pm) with all the windows down, sunroof open, and Rihanna blaring on the radio, jamming gears on the smooth rubberized asphalt highway. It's a sweet feeling.
10. It's only temporary. I told the people at my job I'd be here for 18 to 24 months. Only 16 to 22 more months to go.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Old e-mail 4/23/06

Third and final in a series of e-mails I wrote last year to a new friend who found me through my blog:

"Happy Sunday. The weather's been amazing this weekend. Hopefully you've been enjoying it. I've been studying for finals and trying to pack up my apartment. This was my last weekend ever in college and I ended up not going out at all any night. I am lame. But I kind of felt like being lame this weekend--well and trying to catch up a little on school.
Yeah I am jealous of you and the girl situation. I think I said that I've dated girls and stuff but just never really felt like I was all there. Problem for me is the girls who like me are never attractive to me (yeah I know that sounds shallow on my part) but it's hard enough thinking romantically about any girl but it would sure help if she were hot... And I know the argument is that you get to know a girl and then she becomes attractive. That's true to a point, but I've gotten very very close to several girls (mostly the girls I dated and didn't get physical with, like no kissing) and I just don't feel attracted. Sucks that I compare it to guys and with guys it's a whole different story.
I guess the idea of changing those desires seems so impossible that I don't see the point in trying. It would just be frustrating. But then I want a marriage and family and stuff so I guess I need to look at the whole picture and just realize it's a sacrifice--which means giving up one thing for something better, and I could give up the passionate element for all the other things I want... too bad passion is such a strong drive and so hard to just tell to go sit in the corner and be quiet.
I try to be strong on this, but really I'm mostly just spinning my wheels, counting the days, waiting for time to pass and hoping that maybe some girl will just come sweep me away. I'm waiting for a miracle pretty much. I forget that I have to be the one to make it happen.
My best bud just started dating a girl from our dance class like 2 weeks ago (he's SSA). They're holding hands and kissing now and it reminds me that I can do it, cause I've done it before.
About having this weakness. I agree with you. Like you, I've been amazingly blessed and really my life would have been a cakewalk without these desires. Even with these desires, I still have it good. But it keeps me humble. It breaks me and makes me really have to rely on the Lord. Too bad I'm kind of stuck in the broken stage and not completely letting the Lord heal me quite yet. Eventually.
Feeling gay is tough to reconcile because really a lot of the feelings I have are so good and Christlike, like being able to love more profoundly and listen to people and care, but then there's this evil twist to them and that's what is frustrating.
Since the last e-mail I have been doing a lot better with reading the scriptures and praying. Church was great today and I did my hometeaching. My roommate is out of town so I took all the initiative myself and it felt good. It always feels good to do what I know is right.
So you called me brave. Ha! Thanks. I'm really not brave at all. I only talk to other SSA guys pretty much. I didn't meet them with bad intentions, just to have people to talk to. It's been good. But I'm probably as scared as you are to tell anyone else.
The thing about me and my friend who is depressed... yeah. It's not cool and I don't know what to do. I just got off the phone with him and he's all messed up. It tears me up in inside. Don't feel like you have to solve that issue, I just wanted to vent a sec.
About telling about yourself and stuff, no worries. I totally understand and honestly, it's nice having an anonymous outside opinion. I'll tell you as much or as little about myself as you want. Anything you tell me is safe too. Meeting other SSA guys is scary at first. It can open you up to bad stuff, but there's a lot of good from it too. I don't regret for a second meeting other guys and I've only found it easier to deal with stuff since then. But for me, I needed it. I was at a point where I felt very dark and alone. I was spending hours chatting with creepy old men online and even had almost met some just to experiment. Our conversations were dirty and I didn't even like it at all, I was just starved for some sort of connection with someone. So I made a conscious decision to meet good ssa guys around here. I've met my best friends ever. We're totally normal. Three of us go to the gym together, we ran a half marathon together, we go on double dates (yes with girls), have dinner, whatever. With my two closest friends we have kept it very under control-- I mean it isn't something that needs controlled, it's just naturally good. So, I guess what I'm saying is if you ever do need to talk in person I'm here for that too. But take it at your speed. You know what's best for you.
Anyways, yeah I consider you a friend too and that's cool. Write whatever whenever. I'm heading to Mexico and Arizona for a couple weeks on Wednesday then I'll be moving up to SLC and living with my grandma for about a month so internet access will be spotty but I'll find a way I'm sure.
[el veneno]"

Old e-mail 4/20/06

Second in a series of e-mails I wrote last year to a new friend who found me through my blog. This is my response to questions he sent me:

"Good questions and good to hear a little about you. You seem to be at a good point about all this--honestly probably a lot better than I am. Of course you're still going to have questions and worries, but the big thing is just that you can go on with life and not let this thing smother you. Sounds like you're doing that and that's sweet.
So you like girls. Lucky! Have you dated a lot? I really haven't. I've had 3 quasi-girlfriend things for a couple months each and I've really only kissed two girls... I like it ok but it creates all kinds of emotional issues.

So for whatever it's worth, I'll answer your questions.

First of all, how long have you been admitting to yourself that you are dealing with SSA?
First time I realized it I was cub scout. First time I realized it was here to stay was freshman year at BYU when I had my first girlfriend and doing mission prep and stuff. I still kind of hoped it would go away or get easier or something through some miracle on the mission. The mission was fine but I came home with raging hormones... didn't really deal with it for a year more, but I think I was admitting to myself that it was serious by then. Then about a year out, I chatted with some people online anonymously and started chatting with people in provo/orem and stuff just to get the LDS perspective. I ended up meeting a guy who was transferring to BYU and we talked a lot, I felt comfortable with him (not in love or anything) so ended up telling him my real name and stuff. When he came out here we were buddies (about two years ago). We were both the first gay guys the other had met. Meeting him is what really solidified it. Being around him and knowing he was gay and all that and everything I hated about myself but seeing that he was a really good guy made me realize that maybe I could be gay and be a good guy too and it all kind of clicked.

Second of all, who have you talked to about it? Did you talk to church leaders, family, friends? This is where you have me beat. So that guy was the first guy I talked to. We were real close (like hanging out every single day) at first then decided to not spend so much time together. I felt lonely and kept talking to guys online and got more daring and met a couple of other people, none of whom were the type I'd want to be friends with. Anyway, eventually I did meet some other like-minded individuals and I'm still really good friends with that first guy so I've told all those guys... and pretty much that's it. One of my friends' sister's knows about me and a couple of straight girls, friends of my friends. I haven't told my parents and I haven't ever told a bishop or anything. I've never had anything serious to confess and I've just never felt the time was right to talk to my parents but I know I need to tell them... Have you talked to yours? How'd you do it? Most of my friends have told their parents and they've all had good experiences. All of my friends are trying to do what's right even if they've messed up in the past or whatever. That makes it a lot easier for parents to accept. Most of my friend's parents have just kind of listened then never brought it up again or just once or twice a year and they say their relationships haven't changed... except maybe not so much pestering about marriage.. so I don't know what I'm scared of. About bishops, because the church has no clear policy on what is and what's not expected of SSA men in the church (well broadly yes but specifically no), I think it's very important to talk to the bishop to find out for yourself. So again, what am I scared of? I don't know.

Third of all, if you have talked to people about it then how many people know what you are dealing with right now. For instance, is it public knowledge to everyone in your classes and stuff. In general how has that been for you?
So pretty much no one knows, not even my roommate who is a long time friend. I act pretty straight (whatever that means) and I just try not to make a deal of it. Some people I know have made a point to tell tons of people, like everyone they trust. Some people need that. It changes the dynamics of the relationships though and I really don't want to do that. The main reason I want to tell people sometimes is just kind of to shock them and help them realize that all their preconceived ideas about fags are wrong.

What have been your biggest challenges in dealing with this by yourself (or with leaders, family, etc...or just with your other SSA friends?)
Biggest challenge-- the fact that there are just so many questions. I just try not to think about it but sometimes it kind of hits me in the face. My strategy right now is just that I don't want to act on my feelings. I would love to be able to get married eventually, so I'll just do my best. If I stray or stumble or whatever I'm always going to come back. That's my strategy....
Other hard stuff... falling in love with a guy and then finding out he likes me too and that all he wants is to mess around and he'd be willing to give up his faith and everything for a couple minutes of fun... and yeah, that's tempting.
Having friends who are depressed and suicidal. I care about them but I really just can't help them... well I can, but not as much as I'd like... especially when that friend is the one who loves you and all he says would make him feel less depressed is being able to be intimate with you.... yeah, drama. I don't know, there are more, but I'll tell you about them later.

Do you think about marriage (obviously 'yes' because you can't go to BYU and not think about it) and is it something you are considering?
Yeah I do. I want kids. I want someone significant in my life. I want a house that smells good and Christmas trees with presents and neighborhood bbq's and school plays and all that. But I also want to really love my wife and give her my whole heart.. I know it's possible but not right away. I still go on dates and stuff. One last weekend and two the weekend before but I take it slow. At this point I have a lot to work through. If I find someone willing to work through it with me, sweet. If not, I am convinced that I can be happy single for a long time.

Where do you feel like you stand spiritually right now?
Spiritually, this is sad, but I'm not too good--not bad considering, but about as bad as I've ever been. I stopped reading my scriptures sometime this semester and only really pray when I think about it. I believe in God and the church mostly but I have all kinds of doubts about Joseph Smith and everything... I've been to the temple once this semester when I used to go every week. I used to be really really good about all this stuff. I still go to all three hours of church and do my hometeaching and all the outward stuff. I just kind of adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with God. I don't ask God for help with my questions and he doesn't tell me... I've been thinking about this a lot recently and wondering what went wrong. It's not just gay stuff, actually hardly at all. It's just that this is my last semester and I have two jobs (three now) and keeping busy with friends and stuff I'm just so tired. I've been slacking on everything and I guess the religious stuff is just part of that....
Anyway, I know I probably sound all lazy and dirty now... but I'm not. I have a 3.8 at BYU, my scriptures are marked like the best of them. I read the BoM for the first time when I was 12 and have read it at least once a year since. I've had spiritual experiences that I can't deny and I have an awesome family who I know prays for me and basically I just don't think I could ever leave the church. For all the questions I have and all I do to just try to forget everything I really can't. And yeah, writing this makes me realize that I should read my scriptures at least a little before I go to bed.
Ight, I'm guessing you didn't even get this far... this is mostly for me anyway. I should think of some questions for you... later. For now, write back when you can. What do you do with yourself? School? Work? Hobbies?
[el veneno]"

Old e-mail 4/17/06

First in a series of e-mails I wrote last year to a new friend who found me through my blog:

"Good to hear from you so quickly. Honestly, my blog is probably not the best place to get to know me just cause the nature of blogging is that we write all our deepest and darkest crap that we wouldn't really say to people's faces---but then maybe that's the best way to get to know me. The blogosphere honestly is full of of some crazy ideas though, so don't think that's the way you've got to think or anything. Sounds like you're doing something that works for you so keep at it.
About meeting other SSA guys, I totally understand. I met my first SSA friend a little less than 2 years ago almost on accident. That gave me a taste of how cool it could be to have people to really relate to and honestly it gets kind of addicting... it's a new fight just to make sure that I don't spend all my time with SSA friends and ignore my straight friends. But it is good, and I wouldn't do it differently. My last two years at BYU have definitely been my best just cause I have finally had people to really be friends with. Pretty much all the SSA guys I've met at BYU have been nothing but supportive and helpful as I've tried to scrape my way through this crazy life. Now I look back and wonder how I ever did it alone.
Anyway dude. So you go to BYU? Good luck with the last couple days of school and finals and stuff.
Keep in touch,
[el veneno]"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reach Out

"In the anguishing process of repentance, we may sometimes feel God has deserted us. The reality is that our behavior has isolated us from Him. Thus, while we are turning away from evil but have not yet turned fully to God, we are especially vulnerable. Yet we must not give up, but, instead, reach out to God’s awaiting arm of mercy, which is outstretched 'all the day long'"

- Neal A. Maxwell, “Repentance,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 30

Old email, 2/2/06

I feel like updating my blog but I'm still sorting a lot of things out and what I could say right now is really not the kind of stuff I want to remember in the future. I found some stuff I wrote in years past. I'll post some of that.

Part of an e-mail conversation with another blogger:

"I took the music video off my blog. Sad day cause I loved having that alternative way to express my feelings but it was causing technical difficulties for various readers so it's probably better. Does my blog load ok now?

I'm usually doing stuff on weekend nights and try to be in bed before 2 am on weeknights (I work at 6 am most days). I'll try to post a comment on your blog this week.

The thing that I want to say basically is that I think you are oversimplifying a little to say that all we need to do is begin to question the LDS church's doctrines on homosexuality. I have questioned Church doctrine since I understood it. Honestly, since I was like 12 or something I have openly questioned this stuff. All of my friends have similar questions. So I guess point 1 is, we do question this stuff and it bugs me that you assume that anyone who isn't opposed to the church must have that stance because they simply haven't questioned it yet.

So the problem is when I question it and get answers. I've tried to be patient with my questions and sincere in my search for answers. I've evenutally gotten satisfactory answers. There are things about the church that I am questioning today. They're different than the things I questioned when I was 12 or when I was a missionary. The church's fundamental stance on homosexuality isn't something I question anymore. I accept it. The way the church deals with that stance, especially the individual members, and why the church isn't more vocal in communicating its stance is something I still question.

I just have this impression that you imagine me and my friends as these like zombies who just sit in church meetings and kind of droll and take it all in blindly and then go and flagellate ourselves cause that's what the church says. I've seen organizations that encourage mindless discipleship. The LDS church is not one of those organizations.

I'll admit that some people do not allow themselves to question the LDS church. These are many times the same people who don't allow themselves to accept the whole truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the people who see the gospel as a list of things not to do. They try their darndest not to do these things. They try to make themselves perfect. Many people who are gay and LDS are also very perfectionist and have a little OCD. For these people, questioning the church is painful. Likewise, accepting the full mercy of God's love is impossible. Sadly, the ideas that cause these people so much pain and confusion is not the gospel taught by the LDS Church. These people go to Church and hear about forgiveness and hope and they don't believe it. They don't understand the Church's view on homosexuality because the refuse to understand. They don't believe that God can love us if we feel gay when the Church says again and again that He can and does. Do you see my point? They don't questions God's law and justice, but they do question his mercy. That's why they finally run away from it all. Because they can't handle the constant reminders that they sometimes aren't perfect, so they go and try to find something that they feel they can do perfectly.

The reason I stay close to the Church is because it gives me hope. Really, I wish you could see me and my friends. I wish you could see that we are happy because of the church and not in spite of it. I attend BYU. I'm surrounded by this stuff everyday. The Gospel of Jesus Christ makes people happy like nothing else in the world. I know I'm only 24 so maybe that will change, but I've been to Chile, Mexico, Canada, Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong. I've lived in SoCal, NoCal, Virginia, Texas, Washington, and Utah. I've had friends from all sorts of backgrounds and ideologies. I'm just trying to say I'm not clueless. I haven't found anything that makes me happier than staying close to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I kind of want to show you a family picture or something. I wish you could see the youth at our youth activities or my dad helping the widows in my congregation or the face of the people I baptized in Chile, or me and my friends at Denny's last night at 4 a.m. talking about being Gay and Mormon and smiling like crazy. I wish you could really understand.

hmm... well I guess I that's pretty much what I wanted to say. I think I'll post that to your blog too. Thanks for listening, and again thanks for trying to understand us and help.
-The Freak :-)"

Friday, May 4, 2007


Emo boys = hot
Emo super heroes = not worth staying up til 3:30 am to see on opening night.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hang on, hope on, try on

Watching PBS's documentary The Mormons, I wondered if I might be crazy to believe the things I do. As someone who tries to follow reason and rationality, it's strange that I hold so tightly to beliefs that are in many ways unreasonable and irrational.

Nothing I saw in the program was new or faith shaking. The darker aspects of Mormon history and culture presented in the program are things I've known and dealt with since at least high school. I spent a lot of late nights during high school and my freshman year at BYU reading about Joseph's Smith life, Book of Mormon archaeology, polygamy, blacks and the Priesthood, and, probably most personal to me, homosexuality and the Church. It would have been nice to find one thing that unequivocally proved the Church was true. At the same time, part of me would have been relieved to find something to prove it a farce. Instead of providing any sort of concrete answer, most of the interpretations I read just inspired more confusion.

Through many small experiences and a couple more intense ones, understanding the answers to my questions became less and less important to me and I became more and more aware of God's undeniable influence in my life. I knew that the gospel made my life better. I knew that the Book of Mormon taught true Doctrine. I knew that Joseph Smith had been called by God to restore Christ's gospel. I knew that Gordon B. Hinckley was a modern prophet on the earth. Most profoundly, I knew that I was a child of a loving father in heaven who I could trust completely. For the first time in my life, I developed a real and personal relationship with Him.

There was an amazing power and happiness that came from being close to God.

When I left on my mission, the scripture I chose for my missionary plaque was Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

My trust in God has gone up and down recently. When my life events didn't meet my expectations I think I started to wonder if He really was directing my paths. I've been especially concerned the last few years about being gay and Mormon. I think I always imagined that if I read my scriptures and went to church and did everything I was supposed to that a wonderful life would magically roll out before me. Things have honestly been hard though and despite praying and searching, the path before me is increasingly obscure and a little more intense than I expected. It's like being lost in a jungle and your guide keeps telling you to walk deeper and deeper into the bushes. When the night starts to set in and you start to hear strange animals around you it's hard not to want to run back the way you came or just at least stop walking and hunker down and cry.

I have wandered a little bit, but never too far and I always come back. In spite of logic and intense emotional and physical pulls, I've stayed close to the Lord and his path.

Am I crazy? A couple times while watching The Mormons, I thought I might be. It didn't take long to remember though, that despite all the questions and things I don't understand, I still trust God. I still trust that He leads this church and I still trust Him to lead me. For now, I'll stick with Him.

I love what Elder Holland said in his interview with PBS as quoted on the PBS.org website:

"I have spent a significant portion of the last few years of my ministry pleading to give help to those who don't practice [homosexuality] but who are struggling with the impressions and the feelings and the attractions and the gender confusion. Or if they do practice or are trying to deal with it, ...if nothing else, just saying: 'Hang on, hope on, try on. ... Get through the night; get to the light.' ... I believe in that light, and I believe in that hope, and I believe in that peace."

Monday, April 30, 2007

Then the morning comes

Life is pretty dull right now. I sleep a lot and I'm never really excited when the morning comes.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

My Friendly Neighbors

My neighbors at the Bountiful High School Parent Teacher Association are threatening to withdraw from the National PTA over an ad in the PTA national publication advertising a college scholarship for homosexual students. I know most people in Bountiful are nice people trying to raise good families but it always scares me when people who think they are doing what is right do something that is so clearly wrong.

Click here for the link:
Ad for gays in PTA magazine attacked

I should probably try to find a copy of the actual letter before ranting too much, but based on the article this looks pretty bad.

One quote that particularly bugged me from the article:
Allowing the advertisement "to appear in a publication supported by our dues monies" assumes Bountiful PTA's "support of 'gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning high school students and their supporters.' ''

It's like they're saying that straight kids get parental and educational support but if you happen to have feelings that make them feel icky you're out on the curb.

The whole idea that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that can be promoted or caught like the common cold is probably what upsets me the most. I wish people in general and people in the church particularly could somehow find out that homosexuality is a condition, not a choice. I wish they could understand that attempts to hide and suppress even talking about it in Utah may keep it out of their puritanical little minds for a little while but will only aggravate the pain and loneliness for those of us who deal with it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Open Minded

Ad on Craigslist from an LDS guy renting rooms in Phoenix:

"What I'm looking for:
Someone who is responsible and will respect my house
Someone straight (sorry if that offends anyone)
Someone who will pay rent on time

I'm Mormon/LDS and so is the other roommate, but we are more open-minded."

I thought it was funny.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

All F'd Up

A scene in Little Miss Sunshine comes to mind. It’s the scene where Dwayne realizes he’s colorblind and all his dreams of becoming a fighter pilot and escaping his miserable life come instantly crashing down.

That feeling right there is pretty much what I’ve been going through recently. I got really sick at the beginning of March. I was with my extended family at a baby blessing in Roy on March 4 when I got some text messages from a friend. The text messages were harsh and painful but they were true and they were about me. Reality blindsided me like a linebacker. The sick fantasies in my head had become real life along with their equally real consequences. Suddenly my denial and smiles couldn't contain the things that had been brewing inside me. It all came bleeding to the surface in literally the most terrible feeling I've ever felt in my life.
I wanted to go home and curl up in fetal position and cry myself to sleep but I had to keep the smile on a little longer. I had some friends from the ward coming over for dinner. By the time they got here, I was beginning to be physically sick. I blamed cutting the onions for the redness in my eyes. I made an excuse to go to the garage to collapse on my knees and swear words I've never said before.
When my friends left, my head was spinning and I was shivering uncontrollably. For the next week, my head never really stopped spinning. I didn’t want to eat and everything I did eat flowed right back out. In eight days I ate what I would normally eat in one. I got a terrible cough that came in fits and felt like vomiting. I slept a lot. I passed out in the shower on Tuesday morning. I was late for work every day.
Work was crazy busy so I couldn't get a day off. Because I was sick, everything took longer. I worked a couple 12 hour days. All day long, I felt like the customers were yelling at me over the phone. I got really angry with a couple of customers. I made the biggest mistake I've made at work in months. It turned out not to be an expensive mistake but it was a serious mistake and one I shouldn't have made. My promotion got announced and everyone wanted to ask me about it. I rudely let people know I didn't feel like talking about it.
Other weird stuff happened that week. A friend who had deliberately cut off contact with me for several months reached out to me again. It was great to talk to him but also a little overwhelming. For the whole week I kept getting texts and voicemails from other friends which I never felt like responding to. A couple of friends quietly gave me space. Others got offended and told me I was “no fun.” One friend said I was a “meanie.”
I went to Dancesport that Saturday with some friends in Provo. ATP was there and kept asking me if I was ok. I kept telling him “yeah.” When he asked for a third or fourth time I said something nasty like “yeah, I'm fine and I hate when people ask me that.” I said it across A Girl Who who was sitting between us. Both of them just kind of pulled away from me. ATP's one of the nicest people I know and is a huge support for me and I know he was genuinely worried about me so I immediately felt terrible for being such a bitch to him. John and Isaac showed up later and Isaac was being friendly and asking me something about my job. I blew him off completely. I felt bad for souring their night and for making a lame first impression. LatinStud was a couple rows ahead of me. He saw me and waved but didn't come up to talk to me. He was surrounded by friends and busy and if I really wanted to I could have gone and talked to him myself, but for some reason I was mad that he didn't come and talk to me. I planned to meet Dances Alone afterward but wasn't feeling up to it and never texted or called to let her know what was going on. I felt like that friendship, one of my most valuable, was fading quickly. I went to Pinetree's apartment after the competition and tried to make plans for our trip to Vegas for a race the next weekend but it all seemed very complicated and awkward and I didn’t feel in any condition to run a race so we never decided anything. I went home feeling like crap all over. It was really a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It felt like my entire world had collapsed around me. I couldn’t deny things any longer or blame anyone or anything. Everything was my fault and I knew I had to take responsibility for it.
There are so many things about myself that I hate right now. I hate how I can’t make normal friendships. I never connect with most people. When I do connect with someone, I use them recklessly to fill my emotional voids. Doing that, I end up hurting the people I care about the most. I hate that I know exactly what I should do and I don’t and exactly what I shouldn’t do and I do. I hate that I try to forget God then beg him to remember me. I hate that I can’t keep up with normal people in normal conversations and social situations. I hate that I’m 25 and still sitting on the sidelines of life waiting for someone to come and put me in the game. I hate that I feel this way. I hate that this is the best thing I have to post on my blog.
The week of the 11th, things started to get better. I forced myself to eat on Monday night and I actually held it all down. I went running again on Tuesday and felt pretty healthy. By Friday my cough was going away. I had the day off, so I ended up going to southern Utah with Dances Alone and her mission friends. We slept under the stars. We wandered around in red rock canyons all day Saturday and ended up getting lost and having a pretty serious hike and getting pretty seriously sunburned. We followed a stream and got back to camp just as the sun was setting. Nature was therapeutic.
This last week has been crazy again and I feel like things are still kind of combusting everywhere. I feel like I should just lock myself in my room after work until I sort out my own issues so I will stop messing up other people’s lives. At the same time though, I need to stop sulking and start participating in life again.
My little brother flies in on Monday night to spend the week in Utah. He and I are good friends so I’m hoping we have a good time. Two other friends from Cali are coming out for conference weekend. I’m moving to Phoenix on April 16. I’m going to be busy. I know when I get to Phoenix I’ll finally be able to slow down and sort some stuff out and begin to heal the things I’ve done to myself. I have to believe that time and space will heal the scars I’ve left on others. I keep wanting to write that things are fine and I’m ok. Well I just did write it, but I deleted it cause it’s not true. I’m pretty f’d up right now. I'm scared and I’m overwhelmed. I will, however, be ok eventually. I got myself in this mess alone and I’m responsible to get myself out of it. Some scriptures hit me really hard this week about finding rest in the Lord. Right now I feel like He will give me the respite I need when it all is too much. I probably don’t want to talk to everyone about how messed up I am. If you’re one of my friends who I treated like crap recently, I'm sorry. Really, seriously, I'm sorry. I wish things were as simple as just saying sorry but I know they're not. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I have to do to fix things though. If you're not one of the people I've been a jerk to, I'm still sorry you had to read all this emo trash. Hopefully you at least watched the video clip and enjoyed that.
I guess I'll just end with this picture cause I think it's amazing.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

This is hell...
....and it's my fault.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Some Good News

The last post is kind of heavy, so I feel like I need to balance it with some good news:

1) Pinetree got a response to his letter to BYU and will probably get a meeting with someone in the administration. Well played, my friend
2) Pinetree and I are gonna run a half marathon in Vegas. We might go with a group and see the circus. Today I felt like driving into the desert. Vegas is in the desert.
3) I kind of got offered a promotion at work. I'm not sure I want it or that they'd even give it to me, but the fact that they are even considering me shows at least that they don't hate me.
4) My ward is really cool. Some girls in my ward invited me to dinner after institute yesterday.
5) Those same girls in my ward invited me on a cruise that goes to Florida, Yucatan, and Belize. I got the week off work, now I just need to convince my roommate to go with cause I can't afford to go alone. He's almost convinced.
6) Speaking of roommates, I have three. I am slowly moving into the new house of my old roommate. He's amazingly cool and his new house is equally cool. It's big and brand spanking new. We have a 62" TV, granite counters, and a dog. I have a walk-in closet (Latinstud would say "walking closet"), and a beautiful room. ATP helped me decorate the room. He should major in interior design.
7) Speaking of ATP, he's helping me redo my wardrobe to go with the new house. I've discovered the miracle that is Guess jeans and a new Sunday get-up from Express for Men. He also made me buy my first ever cologne--Chemistry by Clinique. Maybe I'll wear it someday. So thanks ATP.
8) And speaking more of ATP, he introduced me to Costa Vida which is now approximately 1/7 of all my food intake. The rest is V8 (I know, gross), peanut butter granola bars, Dole Fruit Juice, and Campbell's Select Taco soup.
9) Somehow on that diet, I've managed to get a disgusting little belly. I'm gonna work on getting rid of that.
10) I'm at my old apartment right now cause my new place doesn't have internet yet. It smells like cigarettes here. My new place smells better. We're getting the internet tomorrow. Yay.

The Lost Son

"But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."

There’s a feeling that I’m experiencing now. Unfortunately I’ve felt it before and I’ll probably feel it again. This feeling is a good feeling. It’s the stuff leading up to it that I hate. I really can’t explain the stuff that’s got me feeling like this so I’ll just use this scriptural analogy and maybe that will help:

If I were part of Lehi’s vision, I would be one of the people in the mist of darkness. Having once been confidently progressing along the rod, in a moment of weakness, I abandoned its path and sprinted foolhardily down slippery slopes, through bog and briars in search of some great and spacious building.
I was never stupid enough to believe the building could offer satisfaction like the fruit from the tree, but I thought for a minute that the building was closer, easier, and would be enough. It doesn’t take long after leaving the path along the iron rod to realize that the spacious building is an unreachable, empty illusion. There are a couple hellish moments where I realize that I am utterly alone. It’s cold, wet, and I feel so foolish. I feel like I just got ripped off by a con artist or like I just wrecked a new car--just entirely wasted. For a time I crouch there, trying pathetically to warm myself. The laughter and shouts from the spacious building echo in my harrowed mind. Those moments are the worst. It’s the moment where I feel totally helpless; out of reach of any goal.
It wouldn’t take long in that place until I’d start looking for ways to end my life. Fortunately, the memories of the iron rod are fresh in my memory and, having hit bottom, I eventually come to my senses, let go of my pride, and look up. The tree is hopelessly far away and steep, muddy slopes, rivers, and briars now separate me from it. Still, just looking at it gives me some direction. That glimpse is enough for me to set my course. The way toward the tree looks hellish, but I try to remember that it’s hell that I’m leaving and heaven that I’m chasing. Slowly, agonizingly, I crawl toward it.
Everything changes in that moment when I set my gaze upward and begin my journey home. It doesn’t take long for me to see angels rushing to my rescue. The arm of the High Priest of Good Things to Come reaches out to me and He gladly, lovingly offers to take my hand and lead me. When I’m tired, he will give me rest. He will light a path and direct me step by step back through the muddy streams and up the slippery slopes, back to the path. I am filled with hope. If I stay with Him (why would I leave?), He will see me through until I have tasted the fruit of the tree. There I will recognize my childhood home and feel my Father’s loving embrace and realize it was well worth the journey.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Soulforce II

I saw this at work in today's Tribune and it seriously bothered me so much that I called some friends to vent and I had to come home at lunch to post this and vent some more:

"Arrested last time
Gay-rights group plans BYU encore
But the university doesn't want them back, as individuals or a group

By Todd Hollingshead
The Salt Lake Tribune
PROVO - The Soulforce Equality Riders are coming back to Brigham Young University this year, and they are doubling their efforts.
The gay-rights advocacy group - which saw 29 of its members peacefully arrested last year at BYU - plans to return to Provo on March 21-22 and make an additional stop April 16-17 at BYU-Idaho in Rexburg.
The two stops are part of a beefed-up two-month, two-bus nationwide tour during which 56 Soulforce members will visit 34 colleges they allege discriminate against homosexuals.
Last year's Equality Ride featured 19 stops, one bus and 33 riders.
"If at all possible, I don't want to see [arrests] happen again," said former BYU student Matthew Kulisch, who joined Soulforce during last year's visit and is organizing the Provo stop. "It's not something the BYU and Utah communities understand very well."
Kulisch and roommate Emil Pohlig are two of five students who were disciplined by the LDS Church-owned university for their involvement in last year's protests.
Neither was kicked out, but the two friends have since transferred to the University of Utah and will be a part of this year's U.S. tour, which starts March 1.
"We want to get the word out and get more people involved," Pohlig said.
Soulforce Equality Riders were allowed on BYU's campus last year to speak with students individually, but administrators warned they would be escorted away if they attempted to assemble and use the campus as a public forum.
Several Equality Riders let administrators know they intended to break school policies and subsequently were arrested for civil disobedience. BYU administrators said Monday they will not allow a repeat performance.
"[Last year] they made it very clear that their intent was to be arrested," said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins. "In seeing that, we have let them know they will not be welcomed on our campus as a group or individuals."
Equality Riders also were arrested at Liberty University, Regent University, the Air Force Academy and the U.S. Military Academy during last year's tour. Jenkins said BYU policy prohibits any outside organization from using the private, LDS Church-owned campus as a public forum.
"We have responded to Soulforce as we would to any organization or group that wants to use our campus," Jenkins said. "We don't change our practices to accommodate any particular organization."
Kulisch said Soulforce has some special events planned for the BYU stop. The group already has distributed an e-mail soliciting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender current or former BYU students to air their grievances with the school.
Soulforce plans to create a "list of concerns" about unequal treatment and present it to administrators. They also will submit it as part of an official complaint to be filed with the accreditation office at the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The group also plans to stage a six-hour march around the edge of the Provo campus with hope of invoking shades of the biblical story of the walls of Jericho.
"We see a disconnect in [LDS] Church doctrine and how that doctrine is put into practice at BYU," said Kulisch, who during last year's visit declared he was gay. "But, in the end, this isn't really about BYU, it's about equality."

There are a lot of things that bother me about this. I want to have open dialogue about what it means to be gay or same sex attracted. I especially want to see this dialogue happen in the context of the church and BYU. I think there really is a possibility for the church and its institutions like BYU to become safe places for people like us. I'm opposed to Soulforce's methods and focus. Their methods are designed to attract liberal media attention in ways that make great sound bites but perpetuate a false view of reality. Discussion and education need to be a bigger part of their methods. Their focus is on universal acceptance (even approval) of a gay lifestyle. That idea is deeply flawed. It is especially arrogant ofSoulforce to come to BYU in a spirit of total intolerance and disapproval of BYU and the church and accuse us of intolerance and to demand that the church and BYU organizationally approve of man on man and woman on woman action. Last year I really wanted Soulforce to listen to me as a gay Mormon at BYU. They didn't.
I'm sorry that the one group of people willing to put themselves out and get people talking about these issues seem to only make things worse. Maybe this year will be better.
I'll write a coherent post later. For now, check out my thoughts on Soulforce's visit last year, check out: The Error of My Ways

Monday, January 1, 2007

The Best Year Ever

If today is any precedent for how the rest of 2007 will go, I'm thinking this will be a pretty good year. Monday Januay 1, 2007 was the second Monday in a row that didn't suck. The first thing I saw at 12:00 am was Pinetree doing something incredibly ballsy in a plaza in downtown Salt Lake with fireworks exploding behind him (Pinetree, you better tell about your heroic act on your blog). I didn't have to go to work today. I slept till almost noon. I got a free lunch (er breakfast) from a great family. I had a jamba juice and Costa Vida for supper and was introduced to Drop Dead Gorgeous. It's been 9 days since I was last at work. Going back tomorrow is not really appealing.
I spent Christmas and last week with family in Washington. Christmas day was one of the best days I've had in recent memory. My amazing family gets credit for that great day. I really, really love my family.
The delayed flight back to Utah on New Years Eve gave me plenty of time to think about life--where I've come from, where I am, and where I'm going. 2006 was a pretty sweet year, possibly the best year ever. I really think it was. I graduated from college, got a real job, moved a whole 40 miles from Provo to start a new life, made some great new friends. I basically grew up. The last semester at BYU was definitely one of my favorites. I took the classes I always wanted to take, worked out on a regular schedule, had the best group of friends, and was the king at both my jobs. There were lots of high highs in 2006 and a couple of real lows. I'm resolute about not repeating the mistakes of 2006 in 2007. There's one story line from my life last year that hasn't had the happy ending we always hope for. Time has healed some of those wounds. There are still cuts inside of me that I need to work on from that. I hope the pain I caused to others will continue to heal as well.
I have some goals and plans for this year that I may or may not follow through on. If I do everything I'm shooting for this year, you'll hardly recognize me when 2008 comes around--I'll be 20 pounds heavier, have a firmly toned body, be a spiritual giant, be making a lot more money, and be straight (kidding about that one).
Every new year I wonder where I'll be next year at this same time. I'm sure a lot of my plans for 2008 will fall through and I'm sure 2007 will have all kinds of crazy blindsliding twists and turns I can't try to predict now. I'm getting used to the uncertainty. It's good to know that I can choose my response to the things I can't control. Wherever I end up next year, I'm confident it will be just fine. Things always work out (eventually).