Monday, April 30, 2012

Is It Hard Understanding I'm Incomplete

The following is a comment I posted in response to another commet by the writer who responded to my previous comment.  Hopefully you followed that.  I felt like this comment is helpful to understand me and my view a little better.

My disagreement lies with the tone of that post and the previous one.  Both seem to dictate to reader what will make it better for an individual.  The ambiguity does not only allow the message to be heard to mormons and non-mormons or mormons who have opted out of celibacy.  Ambiguity provides a platform for the intended viewers to decide how it can get better in their lives.  The self empowerment can help an individual who has been told how he or she should live to break free and think for him or herself. That is something that is important for the good mormon boys and girls to do, or at least in my opinion.  Like you said in this post there are people who don't really fit into the path the church gives and the church doesn't offer real solutions for them.  So the individual has to look at their path more meticulously to know how to govern their lives, if they want to stay connected with the church.  

The reasons you state that it gets better seem too conclusive and simple.  Leaving the church isn't always easy.  As a person who grew up LDS, being LDS is apart of my identity.  Also there are many doctrines that I personally feel are true with in the church, as well as events pertaining to the church's creation.  Because the church teaches once you have a testimony of one then you have a testimony of all, it makes it hard to go against the current policies.  What makes it better for an individual with in the church who wants to stay with in the church is very complex.  For me personally making it better not only involves my relationship with the church, but relationships with my family. While I need to learn and am learning how to better "tune out the haters," I also want to help specific haters change from that hate.  The haters I want to change are within my family and close friends.  I am not going to push my parents or immediate family out of my life willingly.  I want to help them understand me so that they can better love me as opposed to "hate this part of me."  As for the church, I want the same general understanding of love to our community.  So that the LGBT mormon community doesn't have this dichotomy of being gay and being mormon.  I personally can not see myself being happy without both.

I questioned the reasoning of being apart of the project more than once.  Kendall told me I was just keeping it real.  I didn't understand the wisdom of my involvement at the time.  In fact I didn't want to do it.  For some reason I decided to.  Yes I was depressing and there wasn't much hope in my voice. I see the wisdom of my message with the others.  There is the more obvious reasoning that I would be more relatable to the struggling teen or that I grab the attention of the viewer so it doesn't become just another 'It Gets Better' video.  I think that my involvement sends the message to the young person contemplating suicide that maybe for now you just have to trust the ones you love and that love you.  That is what I have decided to do, trust the ones that I love me.  

As I have been able to do that, things have gotten better for me.  While I don't feel like things are going well enough to make the grand statement 'It Gets Better.'  I am able to say that I have hope that it will get better.  Since I have been shedding off the facade I created to hide myself, it comes increasingly hard to be anything but authentic.  I've lied to myself and others for so long about not only my sexuality, but pain and dispair I felt through the years.  And a big part of what will make it better for me is rid myself of this toxic shame I developed of years of reenforcement of the idea that I am less than human.  Until I can significantly decrease that type of shame things will continue as they have been.  For now I will continue to work to make it better for myself so that I can not only enjoy my life, but to help the poor souls like me make it better for themselves.  

I am thankful for evolvement in this 'It Gets Better Project,' and the Kendall's Far Between project.  I am thankful that I have gotten to know Kendall and been able to discuss with him.  This project and learning from Kendall has really helped me to think like a person who wants to make it better as opposed to a person I pitied.  It has given me more purpose to my life and drive to make my life better.  And I can not thank Kendall without thanking my sister, Misty, the one who originally thought I was more likely to molest my children.  If it weren't for her dedication to helping me through this depressive episode we wouldn't have changed each other.  She no longer believes as a gay man that I am more likely to molest children.  I know believe that someone can love me in spite of my sexuality. That is why I believe in Kendall's project.  It was through understanding each other that we were able to change and understanding doesn't come without an honest, respectful dialogue.

Here are links, first being the blog I posted the comment, the other to the Far Between website:

What every faithful, same-sex attracted member of the church must know.

Far Between

Title song: Artist - My Chemical Romance; Song - Famous Last Words

Sunday, April 29, 2012

At Every Occasion, I'll Be Ready For the Funeral

Graduation weekend is over.  The weekend was full of happiness and dispair.  It was great to see my family, for them to see where I have been the past few years.  In our family most visit the married people its nice that this single fella gets a visit.

It was nice to actually graduate, it has been a long difficult road.  It was nice to put on my resume, under education a bachelors degree.  It was nice that so many of my family came to show their support and excitement that I graduated. I liked showing my family my life in Utah and my campus, where I spent many, many hours.  It was nice to for my department chair to hug me when I received my diploma.  I enjoyed cooking for everyone.  I was glad that Ashley got to meet a lot of my family.  I loved running into Ed and sitting with him at the commencement.  Over all the weekend was a success.

On to the despair.  At the commencement I ran into a previous roommate and the greeting was awkward and different than normal.  We had shared many intimate emotional moments and had become good friends.  Previous encounters had been a little weird and thought he had caught wind about my sexuality.  This time instead of the usual hug he offered his hand.  If he doesn't want a hug I'm perfectly OK with that,  in fact I am rarely the initiator of hugs with straight guys.  I think the reasoning is clear.  However a handshake felt more of a way to prevent a hug.  Which implies he is uncomfortable with my sexuality.  I felt rejected.

Then I heard a group say "He's that guy in the video." So then I got really self conscience and insecure.  To add to my insecurity and self conscience as we were walking into the Marriott center we passed by the Deans, administrators and Elder Oaks.  I felt someone staring at me so I turned to look, it was Elder Oaks.  He is not one to smile much and his stern face was not comforting.  I nodded and turned away.  Then I wondered if he saw the video, and what did he think of it?

Once I was in Marriott center my mind went to probably my biggest fear, rejection.  I proceed to feel rejected from my Alma Matter, my religion, my friends, and the worst my family.  Even though I have been at BYU for an obscene amount of years I felt rejected by the community.  I don't fit one of the biggest parts of the culture, I am not dating or trying to get married.  The worst is I feel like I have to hide my sexuality to avoid awkward and painful experiences.  The secrecy only perpetuates the shame.

Rejection is what consumes my nightmares.  When I say nightmares, I speaking in the literal sense.  Because I have not been able to accept myself, I rely on the acceptance of others.  While this is not an ideal way to live, at least I'm still living.  Or at least that's what people tell me.  While I hope that I will get a better job, related to my studies and interests will bring more happiness, I hope that I will be able to accept myself.  The acceptance of my self needs to be all inclusive, it needs to include my flaws and talents.  When I honestly believe that I have an inherit worth all the circumstances in my life will become circumstances I experience, instead of devastating blows.

Over all the weekend was a success, despite the awkward moments with my parents and other tense moments with my father.  Family events, seeing friends I haven't seen or talked to in a while always is stressful for me.  I feel like I have to prove myself to them. Show them that I'm doing better, improving.  Because I am never improving fast enough, or feel good enough the title song always comes to mind.  Here is a link to the song, enjoy.

 Title Song - The Funeral; Artist - Band of Horses

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Winding In and Winding Out, the Shine of it Has Caught My Eye

The 'It gets better' video was released over a week ago now.  I was shocked at the response.  It went viral here in Utah.  The out pouring of love and support has been great and even over whelming at times.  I am glad that I went way out of my comfort zone and participated.  Not because of all love and compassion that has been directed in my way, but because my mormon community needs a reality check.

The pain that I have experience and continue to experience is horrific.  Thankfully the frequency has decreased.  However as time goes on my desire and energy it takes to make it through decrease and thus making the episodes more intense.  So I still can't say it gets better, but I can say that it can get better.  Unfortunately the "getting better" is not entirely in my control.  This trial and error process of learning to properly handle my emotion and pain is long and strenuous.  Like I've said in the past and continue to say, I can not promise a natural death.

To give you a little more hope, I am working hard to make it better for myself.  I think that my family and previous therapist can confirm my efforts.  It bugs me that I still have intense depressive episodes.  Especially after the out pouring of love I have been receiving.  I have some theories as to why, but another post.

So to those people who have fire-hosed me with compassion and love, thank you.  I want to make things better for everyone and especially the mormon LGBT community.  Although, the painful experience have helped me become a better person, I want to lesson the burden on the future gays.  There will always be something new to that creates the same pain, but knowing that I can help prevent that pain due to homosexuality gives me energy to work harder at dying from natural causes.

Title: Song-Vindicated; Artist-Dashboard Confessional

Friday, April 6, 2012

I've Been Bleeding Well From This Old Wound

Being gay in a community that pushes its young adults to find another to participate in a traditional marriage is a frustrating experience.  At BYU the most important goal attained is a degree, but a close second is finding a life partner.  Unfortunately, that life partner is required to be of the opposite gender.  Otherwise a same sex relationship could jeopardized the purpose of attending BYU.

For me it was hard being immersed in social world where I was to date girls, ew gross.  As a gay guy who loves women, in a platonic way, it was nice to get to know great girls, but frustrating to know that you are not attracted to them.  I had a few girlfriends and for the most part I never felt anything. There was only one girl that I thought could be my bridge into the straight world.  However, it didn't work out, probably because she new I was gay.  I thought I was in love with this girl, but I think I was trying so hard to be straight that I mistook my passion for being straight for passion for a girl.

Please spread this video, while I am not against suicide.  I prefer others not participate.  I have meet so many great people who are gay.  They contribute a lot to society while experiencing exclusion, loneliness, abandonment, hate, and more painful emotions.  It hurts to be an outsider of community that you love.

We are making ourselves known so that we can envoke love and compassion into others.  We want to prevent other's from taking their lives because they feel unloved.  We want to know that we have straight friends who support us, love us, and accept us.  We want to make our Alma Matter proud.  We are good, God fearing, Christ loving, gospel spreading, charitable people too.  Please help the agony of being gay at BYU diminish.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

War Child, Victim of Political Pride

Its conference weekend, I decided not to watch, or at least live.  Many conferences in the past couple of years have left me upset and hurt.  Not necessarily because hurtful things were said, but because of exclusion.  When I go to church, listen to conference, or participate in any church function I feel excluded. I haven't been told to not come to church or participate, however, my sexual orientation brings that tension.

The current stance on homosexuality the church offers is unclear, directionless, and unsatisfactory.  It has improved over the years, but the sentiment seems to be lagging.  I hear messages of love, understanding, and compassion among the members, but I feel judged, misunderstood, lonely, and ultimately excluded.  I might feel this way due to subliminal messages or because of my own insecurities.

As I walking to Harmon's with my sister last night, I saw many people who must have been involved in conference weekend.  The thought that kept going through my mind was "I used to be apart of this, I miss it."  I continued to think of why I have limited my participation.  I eventually told my self to remember all those times I came home from Church angry or desperately depressed.  The energy it takes to overcome these results seems more than I can afford, however, I miss feeling apart of my faith.

I miss feeling of inclusion I received from the Church.  Growing up I rarely felt included, due to my "differentness" and the fact that I was constantly the new kid.  At church I was always included, until I came to terms with my sexuality.  USGA has helped me to feel apart of community, but I still feel somewhat excluded (mostly due to me being weird and shy)

It all goes back to what my sister Sariah has said and what I have felt ever since I came out to myself.  Can I be happy in the church or without the church? It must be possible many have/are doing it.  I just wish it was a easy as PV=nRT.  So if you have a magical equation that makes it possible for a gay man striving to do the right things can feel content with himself I need it.  Until someone shares the equation and how to use it properly in my life I will be stuck a trial and error process to figure out how I am to exist as a Christian.