17 December 2009

Not My Trial

I don't believe my life has been easy. I've been through a lot of stuff, and a lot of really difficult stuff for being 26 years old. I'm the first one to tell you that I don't think it ever will be easy for me. But maybe that's because somehow, I am able to handle tough stuff. Somehow, I make it through, even when I don't believe I ever will.

I look at my sister (Liz) and she seems to have the picture perfect life. Things come easy for her. She's more of the "silver platter" kind of girl. It doesn't seem to me that she's had to work hard for the things she gets. Of course, that's from where I sit. She might tell you differently.

I really think sometimes that being gay is not my trial. I've got plenty of other things to test me. And I'm at the point now where it's not 100% difficult to be gay. I don't struggle with it like I used to.

Maybe it's a trial for my family. Maybe me being gay is their test. Maybe it's to help them learn how to have a greater kind of love, to see me like my Savior sees me, with unconditional love.

If it's a test for them, I hope they will learn how to pass.

14 December 2009

Ultimatums, part II

Thank you to all who commented on my last post. It was comforting to feel of your support and reassuring to know that many of your reactions were similar to mine.

I've thought a lot about the things Liz and Jeff said. Going into the conversation, my mindset was one of wanting them to have a space to say what they were thinking and feeling. I know that they are entitled to their reactions and opinions, no matter how they differ from my own. I was prepared to shift though if I needed to stick up for myself, and it nearly got to that point. I noticed that I felt a bit of anger at their words and the tone of their words, but it was a defensive kind of anger, as if I needed to protect myself.

But as I've thought about their position, I've also thought about their potential motivations for saying what they did. I would like to believe that their intent was not to hurt me. I know that they are trying to understand the best they can, and to do that they are leaning on their faith and understanding of the LDS Gospel.

I've done the exact same thing.

What I do know is that it doesn't completely work. There is no chapter of scripture that provides conclusive and specific details for why some of us are gay, what will happen to us, where we will end up, or what God will say to us when we meet face to face. And I am aware that the path I am currently on is a path that deviates from what LDS leadership has laid out. But if God came down today and said "you either have to stop loving her or come with me," I would say "let's go then," because I've lived the other way, and I can't do it again.

The other thing I know is that I am responsible for my life. I don't like feeling as if I have to make the decisions everyone else wants me to. I've spent too much of my life like that. If I want to support the Human Right's Campaign or Equality Utah or whoever, I should be able to do so. I think using my niece and nephew as a bargaining chip is a low blow. Losing contact with them would be probably one of the most painful things I think I could go through...and if that happens, I don't know what I'll do. But I can't be afraid of that.

I don't feel like I am living an "extreme" lifestyle. I get up every day, I work full-time, I go to school, I spend time with my friends and my family. I don't party. I don't get high. Okay, I swear a lot, but I really do try to be a good person. And it just so happens that I'm a good person with a girlfriend. I don't think I am a bad influence on those kids. But I'm also not their parents. If Liz and Jeff decide their children are better off without me, that will be their call, not mine.

I don't want or need to feel threatened or attacked by my family. I won't put up with it. I don't need to be in an environment where my well-being, in this case emotional, will be at risk.

Maybe I need to come up with an ultimatum of my own, and hope there is room for compromise.

06 December 2009

Ultimatums, part I

This is a post that I would like to get feedback on. If you have any thoughts at all, please don't hesitate to share them with me, because I'm still trying to make sense of it all and any input would be appreciated.

For the sake of this post, I'm going to label some people to try and cut down on some potential confusion. I'm going to call my middle sister Liz and her husband Jeff.

During the Thanksgiving discussion, Liz and Jeff did a lot of the talking. It pretty much opened with Liz asking me how I came to the conclusion that I was gay. So I told her about how I felt different from people around me, I felt like there was something wrong with me but I couldn't put my finger on it, and it just unsettled me for a long time. I reminded her that I didn't date much because I didn't have a desire to. Guys were always my pals, not my interest. I told her about how I thought I might be gay when I was nineteen but it scared me so much that I threw it away and buried it. I tried to be the "right" person and follow the path that had been laid out for me. I told them about how being married was no picnic, more like one big traumatic experience. And that now I was just to a point where I couldn't keep hiding anymore.

Liz said that she and Jeff had been spending a lot of time reading talks from General Authorities, reading press releases, searching the scriptures, and trying to make sense of it through their faith. She asked me if I thought I was born this way. Both of them are very adament that God would not allow us to be born this way. Jeff cited the first chapter of James, where it says this:

"13: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15: Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16: Do not err, my beloved brethren."

Jeff then went on to say that God doesn't ever give us temptations, but we open ourselves up to them. So maybe when I started thinking that I felt different, that was the first step, and then it just kept growing and building on itself until pretty soon, here I was thinking that I was gay.

He said that the more I continue on this path, the more I reject the family, the closer I will get to the day when I have to choose between where I've ended up and my family.

Liz said that she wasn't planning on not letting me see my niece and my nephew, which is one thing that I've been very worried about. Jeff said that it wouldn't be a problem as long as I didn't start supporting "the gays" and joining campaigns for gay rights or supporting organizations that do. He said that if his kids could one day get on my Facebook page and be exposed to that, then he would have to talk to me about it, because it would be a problem.

Both of them said that they don't want to ever meet the person I'm seeing, and they don't want her around at all.

So what do you think? I'm still trying to make sense of it, and I have my own opinions and responses, but I'd like to hear from you first before I get into my own feelings on the subject.

02 December 2009

Aftermath

Thanksgiving is over, which is more proof to me that there is indeed a loving God. And somehow, I survived.

The family discussion happened. I wouldn't necessarily say that it went well. Most of the talking during the hour and a half "conversation" was done by my middle sister and her husband. Even my mom told me later that she thought it came off as an attack, and she's not as sensitive as I am. But they said what they felt they needed to say I suppose. As I think more and more about it, I'll probably blog more about their point of view in a later post.

My dad is blaming himself, wondering where he went wrong. "I got all three of my girls to the temple, I thought I was good." Sorry to ruin that, Dad, but I don't know why it has to be anyone's fault.

My mom didn't say very much, because we had already talked. My youngest sister and her husband didn't really say much either. But I sure appreciate my brother-in-law, because what he did say was this:

"Amy, we've talked and you know how your sister and I feel. What I want you to know is that I think it's very admirable and shows great courage for you to tell us this when you could have obviously guessed how we would react because of our faith. That says to me that you want us to be a part of your life, and I appreciate that."

I'm glad he's part of the family.

It was weird the next day in the house. I don't know how it will be at Christmas. After that though, the holidays are over and everyone can get on with their lives.

I'm sad that the Jazz aren't playing on Christmas like they did on Thanksgiving, because getting tickets to that game was probably the best judgment call I've ever made. I went with my girlfriend and three of my best friends. We all commiserated about our families and had a great time unwinding from the stress that family can bring. Sometimes I feel like they are more my family than my real family is, so it was good to be with them.

I guess now I just hurry up and wait. There are some things that can't be mended overnight. I only hope that Time will heal...eventually.

24 November 2009

Thankful...?

I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving and having all the family together for the first time since I came out to them. NERVOUS. I won't actually see everyone in the same setting until tomorrow morning, when we all show up for family pictures.

My focus is on being the person I've always been. The truth is that I am changing as I go through my coming out process. The burden on my shoulder is lifting. I feel free and lighter. I smile more. I laugh more. I hate myself less. These are good changes I believe. But as far as my personality goes, I'm still the same. I want my family to see that. Maybe they'll see that I'm happier too.

I don't know what will happen on Thanksgiving when we're all gathered for dinner and stuff. I know my mom has mentioned that she'd like to have us all sit down and talk about what's going on with me. Hurray. I'm hoping it will be acceptable to be as honest as I can while being as respectful as I can. There are some questions I don't feel comfortable answering, and I'm thinking I'll probably have to say just that. But I'm also nervous about being able to be true to myself and not sacrifice my own happiness so everyone else can be happy. I've done that for so much of my life. I feel I need to tell them that if they don't want to know about the relationship I'm in, that's fine, and I'm not going to bring her around if she's not invited and won't be welcome. And at the same time, it's a relationship that is so important to me, and I won't spend every holiday apart.

I'm sure it's going to be fun. But I'm also sure it will be a difficult experience that will help me in the long run. Happy Thanksgiving.

20 November 2009

Finding A Place

I was thinking today about my blog and other blogs that I read, particularly in the MoHo blogging world. There are definitely varying degrees of involvement when it comes to being active in the LDS Church, both in daily life and in the thoughts that are posted. I guess I've been wondering about where my blog and my thoughts fall along that spectrum.

I was raised in a strong LDS home. My parents and my sisters are very active. They hold callings, they put all the artwork on the walls, they do their home/visiting teaching, and so on. I was baptized and confirmed when I was eight. I've done baptisms for the dead since I was twelve. I got my patriarchal blessing and my Young Women's Medallion when I was seventeen. I received my endowments when I was twenty, got married in the temple a week later when I was twenty-one. The foundation of my faith is based on LDS doctrine. That probably will never change.

While I consider myself LDS, I would not say I'm an active member right now. I don't go to church because I don't like to, and haven't since I was ten. I don't like how uncomfortable I feel when I'm there. So I choose not to go.

For me, the presence of the actual Church has never been as strong in my life as my own personal faith. I've always been more about individual study, learning on my own, being the one to find answers to my own questions. In finding meaning that is relevant to my own life, thoughts, and emotions, it means more to me and it stays with me.

I feel like I followed the path that was laid out for me. Perhaps my mistake was that my heart was never really in it completely. I feel emotions very intensely, and the way I feel in Church settings is overwhelming to me, which is probably why I've always been about learning on my own terms.

Where I stand on the LDS spectrum, maybe I don't know, but I think we fall where we need to in the scheme of things. I learn a lot from other blogs, whether it's about doctrines or daily life, someone's actions and someone else's response, the feelings someone else has, the thoughts they have, the way they put their phrases together. I think it's good for me to think about things in a different light.

When it comes right down to it, I rely on a faith that is unique to me. I can't keep leaning on the faith of my parents or my bishop or my whoever. No, I'm not active, but I still very much think in LDS terms. I'm finding my own path, and I really feel like it's going to be okay.

We all have to do what we feel is right, because at the end of the day, none of us can live the life of another. We have to work with what was given to us. Some of us have to work through it. Whether it's at church every Sunday or not, we all have a place. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding it.

Gratitude List '09

I am not a fan of how commercial Christmas is. I hate how Thanksgiving pretty much gets skipped. Instead of being appreciative of what we have, we're more concerned with what we're going to get, generally speaking. So in junior high, I started a little tradition of my own and for whatever reason, I've kept doing it. Each Thanksgiving I make a list of 100 things I'm grateful for. I've added one more thing for each year I've done it, so this year it's 112 things, but there's certainly more that I could list.

It keeps me focused on being thankful for little things and big things, for people who are important in my life, and for the way some things become more meaningful with time. So I thought I'd post it, just for fun.

112 Things I'm Grateful For (in no particular order)

1-Amy
2-jet noise
3-American citizenship
4-black ballpoint pens
5-DBT
6-my job
7-Nat
8-Ryan
9-Aliyah
10-Xander
11-Tabitha
12-Rocky
13-Mom
14-Dad
15-Anne
16-Jace
17-Sheila
18-Alex
19-Caedus Kai (my car)
20-US Armed Forces
21-love of reading
22-ability to learn
23-Stacey
24-Canadian heritage
25-adidas shoes
26-root beer
27-root beer float popsicles
28-calculators
29-MoHo blogging community
30-my 30 list
31-digital cameras
32-Mountain Dew
33-indoor plumbing
34-sense of responsibility
35-compassion
36-patience
37-chocolate
38-Utah Jazz
39-Philadelphia Eagles
40-five senses
41-my iPhone
42-Matt
43-Tim
44-gum
45-courage
46-memories
47-sensitivity
48-Utah snow
49-snowboarding
50-space heaters
51-diversity in people
52-road trips
53-new socks
54-Star Wars
55-support of my friends
56-creativity in myself
57-creativity in others
58-determination
59-learning experiences
60-music
61-being able to read music
62-having musical ears
63-that I can/will forgive
64-that others have forgiven me
65-everything doesn't taste like oatmeal
66-the Wright Brothers
67-electricity
68-leadership opportunities
69-living in a place with four seasons
70-iTunes
71-imagination
72-earphones
73-my tonsillectomy
74-knowing how to type
75-knowing 10-key
76-extended blood family
77-extended "family" in the LGBT community
78-Skunk Works
79-free agency
80-ice diving
81-I'm learning how to like myself
82-giving love
83-receiving love
84-500+ days and counting
85-my baby blanket
86-Nicole Malachowski
87-USAFADS
88-snickerdoodles
89-post-it notes
90-bookstores
91-dogs
92-Arby's French Dip sandwiches
93-Ozzie
94-encouragment
95-living by an Air Force base
96-Amelia Earhart
97-Hot Topic
98-crossword puzzles
99-poetry
100-Christmas is only once a year
101-I didn't have a cell phone in high school
102-contacts
103-pears
104-walk off home runs
105-pizza
106-ancestors
107-literature
108-I live through key moments (work)
109-being able to tell jets apart
110-my car is automatic
111-junior high and high school are over
112-faith that is unique to me

18 November 2009

When The Wrong One Loves You Right

The weekend was absolutely amazing. The airshow was PHENOMENAL! I loved every second of it and got some great pictures. It was the first airshow my girlfriend had been to and she really enjoyed it too. She likes the jet noise and she liked seeing me so goofy happy.

When my youngest sister and her husband met my girlfriend last week, my sister invited us to stop by on our way back from Vegas and see their new house. When we arrived, my sister made us dinner and we hung out for about three hours. We got the tour of the house and were just talking, enjoying each other's company. It was such a simple thing but it meant so much to me. My sister very easily could have been like, "nice to meet you, see you around maybe." Instead, she invited us into her home. She took the time to talk to us and spend time with us. I can't describe how monumental that feels to me.

I know my family is having a difficult time with this, particularly with me being in a relationship. I know my parents think this is wrong for me. I'm guessing my middle sister does too. And it's easy to hate a situation when you don't know anything about it. It's more difficult to hate a person that you've met and talked to and gotten to know.

Whether or not they think she's wrong for me, she loves me the way I've always wanted to be loved. She genuinely cares for me. She's very respectful and honest and just an all around good person. And she's good for me. She's good to me. And I'm grateful that my sister got to see that.

I'm hoping there will be a day when the rest of my family will meet her and get to know her, but for now I'm very happy that my youngest sister and her husband have been so hospitable and supportive. After being afraid for so long that I would lose my entire family all together when I came out to them, feeling that support means more than any phrase could accurately describe.

13 November 2009

Nellis Safety Net

Tomorrow morning I'm going to Vegas for Aviation Nation 2009 at Nellis Air Force Base. I'm so excited, I can't even tell you! Home of the Thunderbirds, they put on a great show. I'm like a kid in a candy store when it comes to military aircraft on display.

My youngest sister and her hubby are up for a wedding right now. We had a long talk last night about how things are going with the family and what will probably go down at Thanksgiving. It was a nice heart-to-heart. I really have appreciated their support. It means so much to know that I don't have to stand alone when it comes to my family.

We talked about my girlfriend too and they want to meet her, so we're probably going to do that today before I have to go to work. I'm kind of nervous but I think it's going to be okay.

I guess we'll see. If nothing else, if for some weird reason it ends up being not so good, at least I know I'll still have a good time over the weekend. And if it does go well, then the air show will be the icing on the cake. Nellis, here I come!

11 November 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

I consider myself to be a proud American. I love this country and the freedom I enjoy because of the sacrifices of others. My grandpa was a captain in the USAF and my other grandpa was a Merchant Marine. I really wish I would have been able to join the Air Force, but alas, not eligible. So instead, I do everything I can to support the men and women who can serve.

I live by Hill Air Force Base in Layton and I love every second of it. The F-16 is my favorite jet and I could watch them fly all day, every day, and never get tired of it. When I hear some people ask "how do you get used to that?" or complain about the noise, it completely stuns me. I hope I never get used to it, because the sound of that Pratt and Whitney engine is the sound of freedom. They get up and train and fight every day so I can live.

In the fight for gay rights, I hear a lot of things, positive and negative, about this country. And yes, some argue that we aren't really free. Perhaps we are limited, but at least I can be who I am. I can be gay in this country.

I am grateful for the military, for the men and women who serve and do it willingly. They risk their own safety, even their lives, so that I can be safe, so that I can live.

If anyone is a veteran or active duty military, the restaurant I work for is running a promotion today to say thank you. Across the country, if you eat at an Outback Steakhouse tonight, you can get a free Bloomin' Onion and beverage (Coke product in Utah, Budweiser elsewhere if you're so inclined).

Happy Veteran's Day!

05 November 2009

When Someone Suffers

Have you ever crossed paths with a complete stranger and without saying a word, just by the look of them, you can tell they have suffered?

That was the case for me a couple weeks ago at work. I held open the door for a party and a boy, maybe seventeen, walked in. I knew right away that he was family, but there was something else about him--maybe in his eyes, his demeanor, his posture--that just made my heart ache for him. I can't really explain why but I just wanted to reach out and hug him and tell him it was all going to be okay.

I don't know what has happened in his life. I'll probably never see him again. But I doubt I'll forget him.

02 November 2009

The Rules of Opposites

This is a blog post my friend Geoff just posted and I really liked it. Thought you might too!

The Rule of Opposites

Opposites exist to contrast and compliment each other and to exist in place of each other. I'll explain.

In a pitch black room there is no light. A single lamp in the middle of the room will expel the darkness to everything in line of sight. There still will be shadows behind chairs, tables, people, etc. but the dark of the shadow is not as dark as it was without the lamp on. Light and darkness are opposites. Where light exists, darkness leaves. The light always seems brighter after a period of darkness and vice versa. A lot of people have probably heard this analogy used for religious purposes, but today I use it for something else.

Love and fear are opposites. Where love exists, fear leaves. How much is love brightening up the room in your mind? What/who casts shadows of fear for you? Is there a big couch of commitment? Does a person's past cast a long shadow on the wall? Do social pressures and expectations put a lamp shade over your love?

The brighter, truer and more open your love is, the less fear you will have in life. Raise your lamp high to shorten the shadows that are there. Take off any lampshades that filter the light. Let it shine to every corner of your life. Being loved is the best feeling in the world when you love them equally back....and two lamps are brighter than one. :)

(reposted by Ames with thanks to Weasle)

Sisters

I love being a big sister. I have a sister who is seventeen months younger than me. When my dad dropped me off at my grandma's before my sister was born, he told me to be good and that they were going to get me a new baby. He says that I just lit up, and was so excited.

I have a favorite Big Sister Moment with her. When she was in kindergarten and I was in first grade, she had to get stitches in the soft spot of her hand, between your thumb and your pointer finger. Because that's kind of an awkward and sensitive spot, her entire hand was pretty much wrapped in gauze. She didn't want anyone at school to tease her, so she asked me to walk her to class for a week, because I was her big sister.

I think that's one of my favorite memories with her because we didn't really get along much growing up. We're like night and day in personality, in the things we like and do, in almost everything. Once we got to junior high and high school, she wanted nothing to do with me, because, as she told me on more than one occasion, she was embarrassed to be my sister. I was always so proud of her and I never understood why she couldn't just be my sister.

It's a wound that's been reopened in the last month. As my sisters and I have gotten older, we get along better and we're friends. Or at least, we were. I look at my parents and they don't really talk to or see their siblings except for special occasions, and I've never wanted that with my sisters. I've always been closer with my youngest sister, but things were getting better with my middle sister, and we were getting closer, getting along, being friends.

I know that it's difficult for her to know that I am gay. I know she's struggling with it. I'm trying to give her time and space and I'm hoping that someday, we can be friends again.

But I miss her.

29 October 2009

The Meaning of Matthew

A few weeks ago, I picked up The Meaning of Matthew. I couldn't put it down. It's a book written by Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, who was killed eleven years ago because he was gay.

In October of 1998, I was 15 years old. I remember hearing about it, but didn't really have any reason for it to have an effect on me. My teen years were rough and I was just trying to make it through another day. So before I read the book, all I knew about Matthew Shepard was that he was killed in Wyoming, tied to a fence and beaten to death, because he was gay. Reading about who he was and the influence he was on his family, how much they loved him, and the raw details of his ordeal was very overwhelming and very powerful for me. Yes, he was killed horrifically, but he also lived. He's more of a person now instead of a headline.

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This adds the qualifications of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability to the already existing federal hate crime laws.

Matthew Shepard died eleven years ago. Without him, everything would be different. His sacrifice and the sacrifices of others have made it possible for me to live a little easier, to live honestly as myself. He didn't give up and he didn't give in and the price he paid is still being felt today. He was a kind-hearted young man, compassionate, passionate, and true to himself. He cared about others.
So thank you Matt, wherever you are. Because you died, we live, and each day move closer to being able to truly live free. That's the meaning of Matthew to me.

27 October 2009

Facebook Results

I took a baby step on Facebook. Those of you who are my Facebook friends might have noticed. I know a couple of you did, so I thought I'd follow up, because if you're like me, your inquiring mind wants to know.

I changed my relationship status to "In a Relationship." I got 17 comments and 3 likes on it.

To break that down in little further...

Comments
9 came from people I currently work with
3 came from people that used to work at the restaurant
3 came from blog followers
2 came from people who work with my mom and I see a lot because of that

Likes
1 came from someone I currently work with
1 came from someone I used to work with
1 came from a blog follower

Given that I met my girlfriend at work, I think it's understandable that the majority of the comments came from other co-workers. There's been speculation and we've told some people, but this last week we decided that we didn't want to hide it anymore. We're very professional at work and we don't want any dramatic problems, but if people ask me there's no reason I should be ashamed of dating her. When we're at work, we're working, plain and simple. Both of us are very clear on that.

The overwhelming response is very positive. People are saying they're happy for me, proud of me, that they support me, and that my girlfriend and I are so cute together. I've had some good conversations with people I've worked with for a long time and was able to be really honest and not feel bad about it. I think it's funny that some people thought it was so obvious and some were completely oblivious, but both groups are just happy that I'm happy.

I'm pretty happy with the result. I know that if I write a note that spells it all out, that says "Dear Facebook World, I'm gay," the results could be drastically different. But it might not be all bad.

The most incredible part is that I feel like I have a freedom I've never felt before, and that makes me feel like I'm making the right decision to come out, even if it's just in baby steps.

22 October 2009

Where I Am In My Journey (October Theme)

First off, thanks to Abelard for making this the theme this month. I think it's kind of interesting and ironic that he would pick this for October, because it's been a year now since I acknowledged to myself the truth of who I am. It's a good chance to reflect on where I've been during the last year.

How did you get to where you are today?

It's been a painful process, that's for sure. For a lot of my life, I thought there was something wrong with me. During junior high and high school especially, when being a teenager is all about how you compare with everyone else, I felt very different. I would look at my sister and at the other girls my age and I just knew that I wasn't like them. But I never really had a reason that could explain it.

I spent my first year of college at Westminster College in Salt Lake. Coming from a very conservative town and a high school where 90% of the student body was enrolled in LDS Seminary, it was a very eye-opening experience. I took a philosophy class and one day we had a discussion about gay marriage and things along those lines. That class got me thinking, and that's the first time I wondered to myself if I might be gay. As a nineteen year old, it wasn't something I was ready for, and it scared me. I was scared of what it would mean for me if it was true. So I buried it beneath anything else I could.

I met my husband in early 2003. We dated for about five months before we got engaged and were then engaged for six months before we were married in 2004. We got married in the Salt Lake Temple. Marriage was not easy for me. I was more than happy to blame it on my emotional/mental health issues, and so was my husband. Intimacy was anything but easy. Every single time we would have sex, I would end up in tears, because it just felt wrong. There were other issues too, but we really shouldn't have gotten married. We divorced about a month before our 2nd anniversary. I think it was being married that really made me take a close look at who I am though. If it wasn't for that, I don't know if I would have had the courage to say that I'm gay.

I came out to myself in October 2008. I didn't tell anyone until February of this year. But as I've let more people in and felt their support, acceptance, and love, it's become easier for me to be who I am. I've only recently told my family and they are struggling with it. But I can't blame them. I struggled with it for a very long time too.

Are you happy with where you are?

I wouldn't say I'm necessarily happy, but I'm feeling better about what I'm doing and how I see myself. I've always struggled with self-compassion. I knew though that if I couldn't accept myself I could never expect anyone else to, so that has been something I've had to learn to do. But I'm glad I have. And I think the more I can be at ease with myself and be happy with who I am, the easier it will be for people around me to feel that too. I'm a work in progress, but I'm definitely progressing, and I'm happy with that.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I don't think about the distant future a whole lot. I hope though that I'll still be with my girlfriend. She's absolutely amazing to me and I have completely fallen in love with her. I hope that I will have the support of my family, but if I don't, as painful as that will be, I know that I'll be okay, because I'm finally living for myself.

What roadblocks do you have and/or have you overcome?

The biggest roadblock for me is just part of my nature. I am a HUGE people pleaser and have always been, most often at my own expense. So trying to be who I am in spite of what others may say or think has been really difficult. Being gay in this day and age is easier than it has been, but it's definitely not easy, especially when you're surrounded by Utah Mormons. But I've finally realized that the opinion that should matter most to me is my own.

What advice do you have for others following a similar path?

As alone as you might feel, you're not. Through the miracle of the internet, there are people all over who can help you and support you if you feel like there's no one in your daily life who can. Find whatever resources you can to support you. Know that there are days that are better than others and there will always be people who care about you, even if it's someone you only know by a screen name.

What advice do you have for family and friends?

Like I mentioned before, this is a painful process. As much as it might pain you to hear that someone you know and love is gay, I promise you that it hasn't been a walk in the park for that someone either. No doubt it has taken them a lot of sleepless nights, fighting through moments of fear and panic, and soul-searching thought before they were able to come out to you. I know with my family, they will never understand, and I won't ask them to. I just want their love and support, not their judgment. The rest of the world certainly has no problem judging me, and there will always be people ready and willing to share their opinions in harsh terms.

Be willing to get more information. Look into finding supportive and accurate resources. Above all though, remember that we are still your son or daughter, brother or sister, and the only thing that really changes is that we trust you more with our lives than we did before, because we're letting you in.

21 October 2009

Recent Discoveries

1) There is joy in a 20 minute shower. I used to only take 5-10 minute showers, never knowing what I was missing out on.

2) I think laser hair removal would be worth it if I never had to shave my armpits again, but I don't mind shaving my legs.

3) Baseball is more amusing to watch when you're watching with someone who is really passionate about it.

4) I like being random.

5) I can be completely comfortable with my life and how I live, be a good person, be myself and be happier than I've ever been, and the fact that I am doing so still might be a trial for someone else.

6) Standing up to my own fears takes a courage that I didn't know I had, but I'm grateful that I've found it.

7) I've been really busy lately and I've actually missed blogging.

8) Giving unconditional love is completely worthwhile and life-changing.

9) Receiving unconditional love is completely worthwhile, completely life-changing, and absolutely amazing, and I continue to be amazed at its power every day.

10) Life goes on, life is good, and I can have sad days and still not be sad.

19 October 2009

Tell Me What You Think, Part I

I'm thinking about coming out on Facebook.

Maybe that sounds kind of cheesy to some of you, but that would cover coming out to a lot of people in one, rip-the-band-aid-off, quick motion.

I know there are some of you who have done that, so if you'd like to let me know what your thoughts are about it, I'd appreciate it. Pros? Cons? Would you do it differently if you could?

I'm feeling like it's something I want to do. Open this closet and let me out. I'm done hiding. I want to breathe.

14 October 2009

Feeling the Stress

I think that pretty much says it all.

Because the conversation with my parents was so short, I feel like I have a lot more that I need to say, so I'm working on a letter. Maybe that's a chicken way to cover everything but I think that's the best way to have it go down. Then they can do whatever they want with that information. If they're not going to speak to me, I can at least make it for all the right reasons instead of the ones they're imagining.

My middle sister hasn't talked, texted, or contacted me in any way since I sent her that email.

My youngest sister has been my lifeline.

Despite it all, my girlfriend has been amazing, has been there for me, and has promised me that we're going to get through it together. And because of that, even though I'm really stressed, I think it's going to be okay. Every day I get up and it gets a little easier to just be me. What other people say and do will probably always affect me, but it's not going to change who I am.

Someday I hope it won't be so stressful. I just have to get there, one day at a time.

28 September 2009

Ka-Freaking-Boom

Don't know if you can tell from my last post, but this week has been very explosive. Both my sister and my parents confronted me about whether or not I am gay. So now everyone knows, whether I was ready or not, whether they wanted to or not. What's done is done.

Cue the tension.

Unfortunately, the conversation I had with my parents wasn't very long. They didn't get home from church until 2pm and I had to be at work by 3pm. I think I would feel better if it would have been a knock-down-drag-out conversation, because I still feel like there's lots more to say and talk about, but I don't know when that's going to happen.

My sister (the middle sister) sent me an email asking me flat out if I was or wasn't gay. She mentioned that she didn't feel comfortable talking about it, so I sent her an email reply. She's having a tough time with it.

My youngest sister, who has known for a few months, is feeling like our family is being torn apart. Both my mom and my middle sister have been calling her and leaning on her for information. To her credit, my youngest sister has told them over and over that it's not her information to share. But that takes its toll.

My mom wanted to talk to me over Sunday lunch. She did all of the talking. My dad pretty much just shut down. He stared at his plate and wouldn't look at me or my mom. I got the impression from my mom that she thinks it's just a phase to get through and everything will be better on the other side. I know that she thinks being gay is a choice, and there were a couple times where I felt like she was saying to me "you know better than this."

Today, both my parents are acting like nothing happened yesterday. But for me, it will never be the same. It can't be.

So the TNT left a big crater, but no one wants to look at it, or talk about it, or find a way to live with it. Maybe we'll just keep walking around it for the rest of our lives instead of trying to build a bridge across. But what's done is done.

Ka-freaking-boom.

23 September 2009

Dear God...

I've never been really good at talking to you, because I always figured there were more important people you would rather listen to. But if I could just trouble you for one spare moment...

I don't understand what you want from me. I don't believe that you want any of your children to be unhappy or to be in pain. I've spent a lot of my life that way, I know that it's miserable, and I don't want to feel that way anymore. That's why I've embraced the happiness that I've felt during the last 44 days. I think about the way everything happened, and it's hard to think it was all just coincidence and chance, because it feels more like it was meant to be. My heart doesn't hurt anymore. I'm happy to wake up in the morning. I laugh. I smile. I finally feel alive.

People say that it's wrong. People say that it can't be and shouldn't be. People say things that hurt, people who are my blood, people who say that they speak for you. People say you wouldn't make me this way. But for the first time in my life, I feel normal. I tried to do things the way I was taught, I tried to believe, I tried to go to church and say my prayers and have a temple recommend. I tried to get married the way I was supposed to, because I thought it would make me into the person everyone, including you, wanted me to be. And it felt wrong. It was torture. I hated every second of my life and I hated myself.

Is that really what you want from me?

Should I give her up and go back to wanting to die every day? Should I tell her I can't see her anymore and go back to hating every breath I take?

I don't know who you want me to be, because I feel like I can't give anymore than I already have. I can't be someone I'm not anymore. So please, if it's not too much trouble, please just help me understand what I'm supposed to do.

21 September 2009

Truth

I found this while I was going through some things in my room the other day. When I was in a program called DBT, we were given a sheet of paper and told that we were to fill it with nothing but the truth about ourselves. No judgments, stating your emotions as emotions, and just 100% factual information. It was a somewhat difficult activity, since I'm all about judging myself. But it was also a really good experience. So I thought it might be fun to post some of it here.
  • I'm the oldest of three girls
  • I don't have a middle name
  • my favorite color is black
  • I have never broken a bone
  • I can write in a straight line on unlined paper
  • I hate writing in pencil
  • I've thought about getting a tattoo but I'm too afraid to actually do it
  • I still have my baby blanket
  • someday I want to have a pilot's license
  • I had my tonsils removed when I was 22
  • I get migraines
  • I'm afraid of spiders
  • I hate being the center of attention
  • music has been a part of my life since before I was born
  • my favorite band is Incubus
  • I would wear a cape every day if I could
  • I hate Christmas
  • my left leg is slightly shorter than my right
  • I had a stalker in high school
  • I love Star Wars almost more than anything
  • I would give up Star Wars for the rest of my life for one ride in a F-16
  • I think darkness is more fundamental than light
  • I never got a 4.0
  • I love new socks
  • I can write with both hands
  • my favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham
  • basketball is my favorite sport
  • one of my earliest memories is of being embarrassed--I was four
  • if I had a million dollars I would give it away
  • sarcasm is my favorite kind of humor
  • I hate crying in front of people
  • I know that capitols for all fifty states
  • I am fiercely loyal to people and things I care about
  • I have a lot of empathy and compassion for other people
  • I was in marching band
  • I have met my two biggest heroes
  • my zodiac sign is Aquarius
  • I like musicals
  • I taught myself how to snowboard
  • driving calms me
  • I've had 57 stitches
  • my favorite weather is rain
  • I live
  • I breathe
  • I want to be accepted as I am
  • I am Amy

So if anyone wants to try it, just look at yourself objectively and be honest with yourself. I know it was a good thing for me.

13 September 2009

Why Stay?

I think the decision to stay an active member of the LDS Church is a personal one. In the blogging world I read a lot about "should I stay or should I go." I think it's a question that weighs on all of us. The LDS Church, like any church, has standards and expectations that have been established, and being raised a member, we certainly know how high that bar is set.

I myself tend to go back and forth. Sometimes I think I can stay and make it work, sometimes I'm ready to just say "forget it" and walk away. Most days I'm just on the fence about it and don't even want to make a decision.

So I'm honestly asking...I'm not trying to be a smart aleck...why stay?

Knowing where Church leadership stands, hearing what they say in General Conference or reading it in the Ensign...why stay?

Knowing the way a gay member can be stereotyped and misunderstood, can even be punished for being sympathetic to gay rights...why stay?

Knowing that there are other religions out there that are more accepting and want you to be who you are, love who you will...why stay?

What do you think?

12 September 2009

Picked Up On Gaydar

Is it a good thing when you set off someone else's gaydar?

My friends have told me, and I agree, that I'm not someone who comes across as obviously gay. There are little things here and there that they notice, but I guess it's not glaringly apparent...perhaps unless you're looking.

A lesbian couple who came into work last night. I was managing and ended up seating them. Then they spent their time in the restaurant debating over whether or not I was gay. They even asked their server. He is brand new and didn't know, but that was a fun conversation when he announced to the kitchen that the girls at his table thought I was cute and wanted to know if I was gay (I'm not out at work, by the way. I don't think much will come from it because my friend who does know said she was proud of how well I played it off. I'm not really worried about it, so we'll see...).

The couple eventually just asked me, and it wasn't a big deal to tell them the truth. They were really nice to talk to and I thought it was amusing that I was their dinner conversation entertainment.

Oddly enough though, I was kind of reassured by the fact that other lesbians could see that I was a lesbian. And it was a good laugh. I got picked up on gaydar.

10 September 2009

Lucky

I like how hearing someone else's perspective can help you change your own. I was talking with my girl and somehow we got on the subject of regrets. Neither one of us have had a really smooth sailing kind of life. There's been a lot of pain and difficulty. But she said that she tries to not regret things in her life, even when it all goes sour.

"If it wasn't for those things, even the things I didn't think I'd live through, I might not be here in this moment right now, and I wouldn't be the person I am right now."

Can I tell you, I just think she's so amazing? Cuz I think she's so amazing!

And I think she's right too. There are things that I regret. There are things that have absolutely sucked about my life. There are things that I've done that I'm not a big fan of. And without them, I might not be who I am right now or have the people that I have in my life right now.

Life is tricky and difficult to handle sometimes. It comes in different sizes and colors, it has different moods and expressions. There was a time where I would have given anything to be someone else, someone new, and I was thoroughly convinced that I would not live to see 24, so forget about seeing 26. But I'm still here and I'm glad that I'm alive. I'm glad that this life is mine. Good, bad, or ugly, it's mine.

And I finally feel like I'm lucky to have it.

09 September 2009

A Day In The Life

Sometimes I get caught up in the magnitude of trying to make two different worlds work for me. That's why I started blogging. I need to sort through my thoughts and my feelings and my history, and I've always been one that does that best through the written word. Blogging is like therapy and I know that it's helped me so very much in finding who I am and being who I am. It's given me a voice.

But we all know that being gay is not all of who we are. It's just a part of us, just one more thing to love about us.

So I thought I'd do a post about the things I do in my life that aren't necessarily all about being a Latter-Day Lesbian. After all, we all have our daily lives that we get up and live. Here's a little bit of insight into mine.

I work in a restaurant. I have a few different jobs that I do when I'm there. I'm the office manager, so five mornings a week I'm there before we open, reconciling sales, paying bills, doing daily operations, payroll, things of that nature. Then I usually have four or five night shifts where I either serve or am a shift manager. That takes up a lot of my time.

Two nights a week I am in school. I'm taking a math class at Weber State. This also means that I'm dedicating time to homework.

I listen to a lot of music. Music speaks to me in a way that nothing else does. There's a style for every emotion, a lyric for every situation, and I love it. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Tool and I mostly listen to rock. But I like a wide variety. The only stuff I really don't do is techno and country. Can't take the twang.

I am a sports junkie, so if I can't watch a game, you might catch me checking scores on my phone. Basketball is my favorite and football is in a very close second. I like soccer and won't say no to baseball either. I've even been known to watch a boxing match or two. Not so much with golf or tennis though.

I have some really amazing friends and I love to spend time with them. I usually have movie night with a few of them once a week. Since a lot of my friends work at the restaurant with me, we like to go out after work and just hang out, unwind, and relax. I've noticed that restaurant people tend to be creatures of the night.

I like movies and television. Visual entertainment is a great vacation for me, because I can just focus on the story and get really wrapped up in it.

Every day I get up, sometimes I have ice cream for breakfast, I drive my car, I make eye contact with other people, I breathe, I sing along to my favorite songs, I see people I care about, I hope, I dream, I have new experiences that help me be the person I am.

And I live the life I was born to live.

07 September 2009

Unqualified

So I just started school again. But I'm only taking a math class. Good thing, cuz it's kicking my trash. And I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. But I know I'm not qualified to be the family therapist.

And yet that's what it seemed I was doing tonight. Who signed me up for that?

Family drama. At least I'm not the one causing it!

01 September 2009

Being Hit By This Moment

I listened to this CD kind of at random, but after the weekend and how eventful it was, the lyrics to this song particularly stood out to me. So I just wanted to share.

"I Won't Look Back"
Seven and the Sun

Sometimes you're hit by the moment
when suddenly everything seems to be clear
a time when the world moves so slowly
a time when the answers just seem to appear
sometimes it seems like a long road
wrapped up and caught up in all that you fear
finally you stand in a strange place
where you've learned and you've grown
and your moment is here

And I won't look back
I'll just smile at the world in a different back
and I won't look back
I've got so much to do
I've got so much to say

Heaven is here and the feeling
nothing or no one can take it away
sanity lies in just knowing
that all that you've done has led you to today
finally I stand in a strange place
where suddenly everything seems to be clear
a time when the world moves so slowly
a time when the answers just seem to appear

And I won't look back
I'll just smile at the world in a different way
and I won't look back
I've got so much to do
I've got so much to say

And I won't look back
I'll just smile at the world in a different way

28 August 2009

The Cost

Welcome to August. It's been ten months since I came out to myself. That doesn't seem like very long, and at the same time it feels like forever.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and as I look back over my life, there are things that make so much sense to me now. Sometimes I honestly don't know why it took me so long to come to the obvious conclusion that I'm gay. But that also makes sense if you really think about it.

I think it took me so long to say those three magic words because I was absolutely sure that I would never find acceptance anywhere if I was gay. I had never heard of someone being gay in any sort of positive light. It was always framed in an ugly, terrible, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it way. I thought for certain that if I was gay, I would be shunned for the remainder of my life, seen as some sort of disease, treated as a terrible and damned soul.

Consequently, once I acknowledged to myself that I am a lesbian, it took me four months to tell another living soul.

But I'm glad I did. I've told people that I trust and they have been very supportive, very caring, and very accepting. I've made new friends, gotten to know other gay people, other gay Mormons, and their families. I've been welcomed and I've felt an overwhelming sense of love and support. Since I never thought it was possible, that has been an amazing blessing to me. It's really helped me believe that I'm not so terrible after all.

I've met someone and we've been spending a lot of time together. She makes me happier than I ever remember feeling. When I'm with her, I feel normal. I feel like life makes sense. I feel like I'm complete and I belong somewhere.

Now I'm currently with my family, 300 miles away from where I live. My sister asks me if I've been to church lately. Of course I say no. She wants to know why and as much as I try to avoid this conversation, she's not happy until I give her a reason that will make sense to her. Unfortunately, this conversation doesn't go well and I'm trapped in the car with her, so it's not like I can escape. As soon as I mention the Church being involved with matters they shouldn't be involved in, she jumps all over Prop 8, tells me that she can't believe I don't have a problem with gay people getting married, or with gay people in general for that matter, because don't I know how disgusting they are? Don't I know how wrong that is? How can I possibly believe it's okay for a same-sex couple to raise children and get married and live among us when they're corrupting the very fabric of our society? And on...and on...and on...

REALLY? Get outside your box!

And that's where the comparison is. I have friends, I have friends who are gay, I have friends who support me in who and what I am. I have someone who lights up when she sees me and who brings so much joy to my life. And I have a family who loves me for who they think I am.

I honestly believe there will be a cost to coming out. I think I might lose my family. Perhaps it won't be permanent, and I certainly hope they wouldn't disown me forever. But there's a price for not coming out as well. There's a pain there that people just don't think about. I wish people as a whole could understand how much damage is involved with the negative messages they spread about gay people.

I've wondered today if I could walk away. I don't have an answer yet. But I've always been who I thought other people wanted me to be. I've never tried to just be myself, rain or shine, take me or leave me...until about four months ago. I'm tired of being someone I'm not.

I just want to be me. I wish there was a way to make it work for free.

25 August 2009

Slacker

I feel like a blog slacker lately. I honestly don't understand how the days and minutes can melt away as quickly as they do. Where did August go?

I've got a lot of thoughts that I'd like to post. Lots of potential blogging material has been popping up in my life lately. It's just a matter of finding the time. I'd like to get it out of my head though, cuz it's just all bouncing around in there and the resonance is getting ridiculous. I'm hoping to get my laptop up to speed soon so I can post from my room instead of at 3am, after everyone is good and asleep.

In the meantime, I'm just continuing to remind myself that it's not going to be crazy forever. And I hope everyone else is going well!

20 August 2009

How Did You Do That?

Don't know if I've mentioned it before, but a few months ago I made a 30 List with three of my friends: 30 Thing To Do Before I'm 30. One of the things on my list is to tell my immediate family the truth.

It's not something that has to be done right now. I have 3 1/2 years before I'm 30. But more and more lately, I'm noticing that I want to come out to them, specifically my parents. I think it's because I'm living at home again and I'm around them more. But also, I just want to be myself and stop being fake about certain things. That drives me crazy.

So I know that every situation is different...but I was wondering if any of you would care to share how you came out to your family. If you haven't yet, have you thought about it?

Thanks!

17 August 2009

Breathing

I think I've found what I've been missing out on.

I've seen her every day since Tuesday. She makes me laugh, she makes me feel safe, she makes me feel happy. She's told me that she really likes me and has since before I talked with her and honestly told her where I was at in this whole process. And I can't stop thinking about her. She's a great person and I love spending time with her. I can't wait to see her again even before I'm not with her anymore. This twitterpated feeling is thrilling and maddening at the same time.

Part of me wants to let go and just jump in. And when I'm with her and can just be there in that moment, it's amazing. I don't remember the last time I felt this happy. But every now and then, that little LDS voice in my head creeps in, and I start to feel guilty and afraid. "This is wrong," it whispers, and I hate it. I don't like my head telling me it's wrong to have my arm around her, or for us to hold hands, or to cuddle while watching a movie, or even kiss, because it feels right. Really right.

This feeling is like a breath of fresh air almost. Dating guys was just stale (no offense guys). I tried to do what I was "supposed" to do, tried to go down the "right" paths and make it work, and I see now that I was doing that for someone else, everyone else. These last months and especially this last week has been for me. I feel like I'm finally breathing.

I hope this next week is even better.

13 August 2009

Running the Bases

I went to the Bee's game tonight with the other Amy that I mentioned in a previous post. I'm not really into baseball but it was loads of fun. The Bee's actually won, and afterwards there was fireworks too. Then we all got to run the bases because it was a summer party for people who work for Larry H. Miller Companies. Good times!

It was really good for me to be there and be safe with other gay people. Amy's older brother is also gay and has a husband, and to be able to witness how at ease they are in every day life is just so nice. It's refreshing to see their happiness.

But the other great thing was that it felt right. If she put her arm around me, it was okay. If I put my hand on her back, it was okay. If our knees touched, it was okay. I didn't cringe and worry like I have before with guys. I don't know how to explain it other than it just felt right.

So I'm not really into baseball. But after tonight, I could be.

10 August 2009

Big Change = Big Stress

There are lots of things I want from life. I want a job where I don't have to be awake before the clock has double digits. I want gas prices to stay low. I want a house by a lake someday. I want to come up with a great idea to write about and sell books by the millions. I want to come home to someone who lights up when they see me, who I love more every day, and who I've adopted a King Charles Spaniel with...

...to name a few.

Some of these might be a little out of my reach at the moment, but they are sometimes nice to think about. And currently, I do have a job that lets me sleep in until the clock has double digits. What can I say, I'm just not a morning person.

Right now, all I want is for things to get back to "normal." I want to feel like I'm standing on solid ground again, or if that's too much to ask, maybe to just feel like the boat is not rocking so much.

Do you think that's unreasonable?

07 August 2009

Sometimes I Forget

This week has felt really weird. I haven't worked much because of my Great-Grandma's funeral, and I'm not used to having much time off. It's really thrown off my groove.

The funeral went really well though. There wasn't as much drama as there could have been and it was a nice tribute.

The reason I'm blogging about it though is this: I went around the corner from where the viewing was taking place to talk with my sister and her husband. My aunt, my dad, and a few family friends were out in the hallway as well. We started talking, they asked about what I was up to, and I told them I was just working and going back to school. My aunt started talking about nursing school and how she didn't like it, but she loved nursing once she was done with school. Somehow, she mentioned that there had been a few instances of female instructors, who liked other girls, hitting on students. This successfully launched an anti-gay conversation.

AWKWARD.

I agree, teachers hitting on students is not a good thing, no matter what the gender. I'm not sanctioning this choice by any means. But the other stuff, the "no morals," the "disgusting," the "plain wrong," all that stuff I could have easily done without. I excused myself from the conversation, but not quite fast enough.

I've been so focused on surrounding myself with supportive people that I'd almost forgotten there was still this other side, and that it was so close to me. I guess I've gotten good at ignoring their negativity. Of course in the moment, this further compounded the sadness I was already feeling. It was just another reminder about how some people can be really hurtful when they don't understand.

Thank goodness for my friends, both gay and straight, and how their acceptance and support means so very much to me. You're like my blanket, wrapped around me when it's cold outside, comforting and strong. It's good to know I always have a family in you.

02 August 2009

Why I Blush

I'm glad that I got out of the house and went to the MoHo party at Scott and Sarah's. I wasn't there for very long, but it was enjoyable all the same.

Hidden was nice enough to invite some of his lesbian friends and I was very grateful to not be the only girl. As I was talking to them, they started asking me about dating and the possibility of setting me up, which is all well and good and not a bad thing...and yet I turned a very bright shade of red. Yay for me.

There's reasons for this...first, I blush at the drop of a hat. Always have. Second, I am not used to being the center of attention and I got kind of self-conscious. Third, as much as I'd like to be someday, right now I am not a lesbian in my everyday life. Well, I am, but not outwardly. I don't often talk about the things I really want, like dating, like going out, like being out. It's not that I'm necessarily uncomfortable, it's just not familiar right now.

So I blush. That's probably why I don't like the color red very much.

But I did have a really good night and definitely want to say thanks to my friends for encouraging me to come and be with them. Y'all are the best!

01 August 2009

"Perhaps This Is Why I Got This Job"

You know when you're upset over something, how it's so easy to become upset over everything? That's how my week has been. Longest week of my life.

Therefore, much to my eye-rolling, insert-sarcasm-here surprise, I've been feeling frustrated this week with how things are going right now. I feel like I'm in, or very near to, a place where it just plain sucks to be so closeted. I don't want to be fake anymore. I don't want to pretend anymore. I don't want to be careful and worried and afraid anymore.

Important sidenote before continuing: have I mentioned that there's another lesbian at work now? She got hired a couple months ago and I absolutely love having her there. Funny thing is that her name is Amy too, so whenever I hear someone trying to clarify which Amy they're speaking of by saying "the one that likes girls," I just laugh.

Anyway, Thursday was probably the day when I was freaking out most, and I really felt like I was at a breaking point. So I took a couple steps out of my comfort zone, was a little bit brave and a little bit bold, and actually asked Amy if I could talk to her sometime. I didn't specify a time, but she waited around for me after her shift had ended. So I told her that I envy her because of how she is just herself, just free, no apologies, and asked her how she got to that space. So we ended up talking for about a half hour.

She also comes from an LDS family so she really gets it. She said that she has been where I am and she remembers that it isn't all that fun. In this case, the grass is definitely greener. And she said that she'd help me in any way she could. She even said that she believes things happen for a reason, and maybe helping me out is the reason she got the job at the restaurant.

I'm glad she's there. She's glad I said something to her. We're both glad I have no regrets about it.

It's so nice to talk to someone and know that they really comprehend what you're talking about. My other friends have been great and I appreciate that they will let me really be who I am with support instead of judgment. And at the same time, I know that they don't fully understand. Maybe that's why I felt so much better after my conversation with Amy.

Of course, a really good hug never hurts either.

29 July 2009

This Is Not Easy

I was lucky enough to have my Great-Grandma for 26 years. This last Sunday, she passed away at the age of 99.

It was such a privilege to know her and to have her in my life. She was spunky right until the last two months or so. Relying on my faith, I'm grateful that she's with her husband again. My great-grandfather died fifty years ago, so I never knew him, but I know that she missed him a lot. I know that she watched so many people come and go, and it was difficult for her to be left behind for so long. The last couple years or so, she would comment that she missed people. I think she was ready to go too. I will miss her, and at the same time, I'm really happy for her. Knowing her changed me for good.

My Great-Grandma was not a member of the LDS Church. Since I have two sisters, my mom has already planned out which of us is doing which ordinance next year, when temple work for my Great-Grandma is tentatively penciled in.

My temple recommend expired last December. My parents know this and my mom has told me that I have a year to get it back. I'm sure she thinks it's just a matter of me making an appointment with my branch president. Not so much.

When the work was done for my Great-Grandfather, it was a really powerful spiritual experience for my Grandma, and they feel like he's accepted it. So I think it will be a good thing to have to work also done for my Great-Grandma. And I would like to be a part of it. But if I work towards getting my temple recommend back just for that...is that doing it for the wrong reasons?

I don't know if I want it back for me. I haven't missed having a temple recommend. I believe that there's work to be done, and I also believe that I am probably not the person for that job, because of my attitude and my personal feelings lately about the Church. I don't think that's fair for the person who's receiving the blessings of the temple on the other side of the veil. They should have a proxy who's all pumped up about it, in my opinion.

Of course, I'd prefer to be so lucky. On the other side, you can accept the Gospel without having to put up with the people and the politics.

Maybe this isn't the best week to be trying to figure all this out. There's still a lot of planning before the funeral on Tuesday. But as much as I try to push it away, it's still weighing on me. And it isn't easy.

27 July 2009

The Updated Amy

I'm officially moved out! Yay! Unfortunately, I'm not officially unpacked. That takes much more time than packing. But I'm here, I'm done with the apartment, and it's not even the last day of the month.

Because of how everything went down with my old roommate, the options I was hoping to have didn't really exist. This is probably because I was planning for JANUARY and not JULY. So since I can't afford to find a place all by myself, yet, I had to move back home. This is not such a bad thing. Slightly inconvenient to be living with the parents again, but not entirely bad. In fact, I've made a list so that I can remind myself of the good stuff if I get frustrated with the situation.

--I have my very own bathroom. And the hot water lasts longer than 7 minutes.
--I can listen to more than half a song on the way to work. It's more like three or four.
--I don't have to listen to the people upstairs yelling at their kid in the middle of the night.
--I don't have to listen to the people downstairs getting frisky. Ew.
--I can save money! This is a big one. I can pay for school, I can pay off my car, and maybe save some cash in the process.
--I know that it's short term. I'm not going to be living here forever.
--my parents turn into pumpkins before 11:00. I don't get home from work until right around then, sometimes later, so I'll have time to myself.
--my mom is a big fan of keeping the refrigerator stocked.
--it's familiar. I lived here for eleven years before, and even though I'm in a different room now, it still feels like home.

All positive points. And who knows, maybe being back home will allow me to cultivate a better relationship with my parents, which might make it easier to tell them my truth...eventually.

19 July 2009

Drama

This is just a quick post to let you know that I might not be able to blog much for the next two weeks or so. I'm still here and I still plan on being here in the future.

There's been a lot of drama with my roommate and I'm moving out. I had planned on moving out when the lease was up, which wasn't until January, but things have just been like TNT the last week, so I'm moving now. Have to be out by the first.

For the most part, I feel like I handled everything with my roommate the best I could, and I think this is going to be better in the long run. However, I can't get this nagging suspicion out of my mind that this is going down now because I told her I was gay. That was two weeks ago and since then, it's just been a nightmare out of no where.

Oh well.

I'll keep you posted...I'm just not sure when.

18 July 2009

The Exceptions To My Rules

I am getting better at accepting the fact that I am gay. It's just who I am and most of the time it's really starting to feel okay. I like girls more than guys. That's just how I roll.

I do have three exceptions though, where if the planets happened to align just right and our paths crossed, I would just completely melt into a puddle. The lucky guys (ha ha) are Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz, actor Craig Olejnik, and Brandon Boyd of Incubus. It would be four, but Heath Ledger died. Sad day. :(

Thursday night was the Incubus concert and it was the such an amazing show! I'm still smiling about it! There's nothing like seeing your favorite band on the stage and having the chance to sing along with your favorite singer. That would be Brandon Boyd. He's nice to look at, but I think what attracts me the most about him is his artistic nature. He's so poetic, musical, creative, just talented. Seriously, he can sing to me anytime.

An added bonus: lots of hot girls like Incubus too. It was an excellent night for me. :)

16 July 2009

A Split Second

I had a chance to catch up with my mom today. I stopped by their house because I was so unbelievably pissed with my roommate and couldn't be at home anymore. That's a story for another time though.

In the course of our conversation, she mentioned to me that it really, really bothers my dad that I don't date. It bothers him even more that I have absolutely no interest in dating. My mom isn't sure why that is. Her standpoint is that if someone comes along, that's great. But if not, she hopes that she raised us to know that we can stand on our own and support ourselves and be just fine. She also said that she couldn't imagine the kind of pain that comes with a divorce and she understood that it would take time before I'd want to reach out and trust someone again.

Also, I guess my dad is really hopeful that I'll meet someone when I start school again in the fall. I'm not opposed to it. It wouldn't be someone they'd expect me to bring home, that's for sure.

So for a moment, a split second probably is all, I considered telling my mother why I have no interest in dating (as far as their definition of dating).

Of course I didn't. But maybe a split second of consideration instead of immediate dismissal is progress.

13 July 2009

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

So I believe I mentioned in my last post that I have been feeling like the Gospel and the Church are two separate things in my mind. Today I also realized that I no longer consider myself to be a part of the LDS Church. I'm still a member. Yet it's not my church anymore.

This has been a long time coming. Since I was ten, I have hated going to Church. I don't like the feeling that I have when I am there. I feel terrible and I can't wait to escape.

I don't enjoy hearing that if someone isn't LDS, then they can't truly be a good person, or can't really be happy, or they are lost and must be saved, whatever and etc.

I've done a lot of thinking and soul-searching during this past year. Because of that, I feel like now I am more prepared to make these decisions for myself. Consequently, I don't feel like I can be a part of a church that hinders my right to spiritual experiences and my sacred relationship with my Creator. I think there is something amiss when I feel like my church does not, cannot, and will not value me as much as He does. If spirituality is important to me, then I have every right to strive towards God and pursue and participate in things that uplift me spiritually. No one can take that away from me, nor should they. I have appreciated the role the LDS Church has played in my life until recently, and I fully understood the good it does and can do for people. But perhaps it isn't for me.

I am at a place where I feel like it's time to make some decisions. I think I'm going to explore the possibility of finding a new church to attend. I'd like to see what else is out there and if I feel any differently in a different congregation. I am looking for a place where faith is celebrated, and all are welcomed, and people practice what they preach. Maybe it's out there, maybe it's not...but if I don't look, I'll never find it.

Ultimately, my faith is my own, and my relationship with God is my own. I do not believe I will be punished for following my heart, because it is the heart that He gave me.

I might be wandering, but for the first time in a long time, I absolutely do not feel lost.

12 July 2009

WWJD?

TEST: the things we face to prove ourselves to God, given to us by God
TRIAL: the things we face as consequences of our mortal state and the temptations/sins that come with this state of existence
TRIBULATION: the things we face as consequences of the decisions of others

The Main Street Plaza issue is just the latest train wreck between gay people and the LDS Church.

Lately I've been thinking about the relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lately I am sensing a rift. It always used to bother me when people would get up in testimony meeting and say "I know this Church is true," because I feel like your faith is based on the Gospel and not the Institution promoting it.

I feel like I am at a place where I cannot go to church. It's not just that I don't go anymore. It's that I won't go anymore.

I feel like my time and effort for things of a spiritual nature are better served in studying on my own and learning on my own. I believe in the Gospel and I'm grateful that I have it in my life.

The issues between the Church and the gay community are not going to go away. As more Mormons stand up for themselves and let others know that even the LDS Church is not immune to gay members, I'm worried that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Sometimes I wonder where the greater test of faith is. Is it for us--to endure to the end and weather the heartache that comes with feeling hated and striving to support a church that doesn't support us? Or is it for them--to open their arms and be charitable to people they don't understand, but people who are children of God nonetheless, despite what is being read over the pulpit?

Regardless, the test is here.

There's only one question.

11 July 2009

To The Monster Under My Bed That Is Organized Religion...

Which straw will be the last straw?

When is enough just enough?

Where is the point of no return?

Why does it feel like "the worth of a soul is great" only when it's convenient and fits your mold?

Why does it seem like there are better reasons to leave than to stay?

Why do I feel like I've reached my limit with you?

09 July 2009

Just Noticing

It never used to bother me that I didn't date. I had no desire to date guys, and still don't, so I just figured that was that, no dating, the end. Having been in denial for so long about being gay, I guess this isn't really surprising.

Now that I understand myself better, I'm noticing that I actually would like to date. I know it's not in line with Church teachings, not how I was raised, maybe it's a slippery slope, whatever and etc. But I'm noticing it.

When I thought there was no other option, this was not an issue. Dating wasn't fun for me and since I didn't spend a lot of time worrying about it, I didn't go out much. I never really understood what was so great about it. Now though, part of me feels like I've been missing out on something. So I'd like to see how it would be to date a girl. I'd like to see how it is to have a real connection with someone, to look forward to going out, to really enjoy time spent with another person when it's just the two of you and supposed to be slightly special.

Nobody panic yet...I'm not saying that I've made the decision to find a girlfriend. I'm just saying that it's an appealing thought that I'm not acting on. I'm just noticing it.

Holy Fetch

Need a little amusement in your day?

http://www.holyfetch.com is a website for Mormon Urban Legends, finding the truth behind all those Mormon myths.

It's a good place to visit if you're bored. Very entertaining.

06 July 2009

One Size Fits Most

The web of lies a person will weave for protection can sometimes become their very undoing.

There comes a point where the truth can no longer be denied, no matter what you tell yourself. You can look in the mirror and not recognize the person you see. And that's the day where you think "I can't do this anymore, I can't live a lie, I have to be myself for my own sake and sanity." And that's like flipping a switch. You can see that there is truth glimmering from beyond the things you've tangled yourself in, and even if it's not what you thought it would be, it's better than being trapped. Moving towards it is really an easy choice.

You experience a little freedom. You can move again. You find that maybe there is some joy left in life, and it comes from knowing and being who you are. You can breathe again. And this is wonderful!

But then, you're around friends and family who have been trained to see the threads that you've carefully created for them, and that's all they see. They don't know your truth. They don't know that you want to stand in it and live in it and be the person who has been trapped underneath all this time. How could they?

Suddenly you find that you have shrugged right back into those lies.

Someone says "you really need to find a guy." It feels like they're handing you that new pair of shoes from the first day of eighth grade, which were great at the time and let you fit in with the crowd, but now you've outgrown them. They give them to you and want you to wear them because it looks good to them, it looks normal, it looks...

...exactly how you wanted it to look.

And you don't know how to tell them that it's uncomfortable and painful to not be able to walk or run or dance. It's killing you to stand still, but that's all you can do. You can't move.

And you want to scream because it feels like it's your fault. You were the one who created that tapestry of lies that looks so good. And now, you want something different, but you don't know how to find it. You want someone to listen and really hear you, because then they might see that they can help you be closer to yourself. You want someone to listen so they might understand that it's better for you to be free of those lies. You want someone to really see you, so they might say that it's okay to wear adidas shoes in the right size.

It turns out that there's a vast difference between knowing who you are and being who you are.

One is a size 7 1/2 and is starting to feel very comfortable.

The other is a size 5. But I guess it sure looks nice.

05 July 2009

Sleepy Face

This last week was one of those weeks that are just absolutely booked. Between work and the festivities of the holiday and just life, I'm exhausted. I'm sleeping okay, just not getting a lot of time to actually sleep. And I've noticed something about being as tired as I am right now.

I think I'm more gay when I'm tired. Well, I think I just get lazy about checking my thoughts and eyes and dreams.

Clearly, when I'm really rested, I keep myself on a tighter leash.

Sometimes it's nice to just be tired.

28 June 2009

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

So I went to Scott and Sarah's party tonight. It was a good time! It was good to catch up with the two guys I knew, put faces to blog names, and meet new people. Plus I took the night off of work, which is always nice. :)

Once again though, I am a girl surrounded by guys. Thank goodness for Sarah, or it might have been awkward. I did have a lot of fun and really didn't feel as socially awkward as I have in the past. I consider that to be a success any day. While I don't always enjoy standing out, I've noticed that it's easier for me when I'm put in a social setting like this. As I was driving home, I realized that there are some really good things about this kind of situation.

First, there's really no pressure. I know that the boys aren't looking at me in any special way, and they know that I'm not looking at them that way either. It is really easy to just relax and enjoy the company of other people. It takes the speculation and expectations out of a social encounter, and I feel like it's more real in a way, more honest. And it's easier to be honest. And that's nice for a change.

Second, there's no one else with my name. I'm sorting through a lot of David's and Michael's, but I'm the only Amy.

Third, it's easy for me to step back and just watch. I really like people watching and just observing. Situations like this certainly afford me the opportunity. I can just be there, with people who are entertaining and caring and interesting to me, and enjoy the moments. I feel like I learn a lot about people this way and then it makes it easier to approach and converse with them.

All in all, I consider it to be an evening well spent. Thank you Scott and Sarah, for opening your home and not only inviting, but welcoming those who come. I appreciate your generosity and sincerity. Hope to see you again soon!

26 June 2009

Contradiction Confliction

Something has been on my mind lately and has been bothering me. I've tried to find answers, and I have come up empty. Maybe I need to do more research, maybe I'm not looking in the right places or the right material, maybe someone can point me in the right direction. God Loveth His Children...I have only read this pamphlet thingey in the last few months, though I know it's been around for a couple years. Perhaps someone out there can explain this to me, because all I see is the contradiction.

In God Loveth His Children, it says this:

ELDER WICKMAN: One question that might be asked by somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is, "Is this something I'm stuck with forever? What bearing does this have on eternal life? If I can somehow make it through this life, when I appear on the other side, what will I be like?"

Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.

The good news for somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is this: 1) It is that 'I'm not stuck with it forever.' It's just now. Admittedly, for each one of us, it's hard to look beyond the "now" sometimes. But nonetheless, if you see mortality as now, it's only during this season. 2) If I can keep myself worthy here, if I can be true to gospel commandments, if I can keep covenants that I have made, the blessings of exaltation and eternal life that Heavenly Father holds out to all of His children apply to me. Every blessing--including eternal marriage--is and will be mine in due course.


Wait...gratefully? Good news? A circumstance that only seems to apply right now in mortality? Interesting. Perhaps it's my sensitive nature asserting itself, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Elder Wickman? If you're telling me that this part of who I am won't exist when I get to the next life, I have issues with that. This circumstance of mine...who am I without it? Who will I be without it? Are you telling me that there's something about me that is only good enough for the dirt and dust of mortality and beyond that it's eternally irrelevant?

But in Alma 34:34 it says this:

"...for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world."

I realize that this verse in context is talking about sin and repentance. And Church leaders classify acting on same-gender attractions as sin. And those attractions, though I am trying not to think of them as sin, will probably still possess me when I go out of this life, whether I act on them or not.

Seems like a contradiction between Alma and Elder Wickman to me.

24 June 2009

Is There Sunshine In My Soul Today?

I've been noticing that sometimes at home, I find myself feeling very frustrated and angry. Today is one of those angry days. So I'm trying to focus on some positives.

I took my math placement test for school today, so I should be able to register tomorrow. I'm looking forward to going back to school and doing something different. I don't want to work in a restaurant forever. At least I feel like I'm moving a little bit now, despite the depth of the rut I've been in. If anyone wants to help me survive Math 1010, I promise you I'll need the help. :)

Something you might not know about me is that when I was fourteen, I developed a pretty nasty habit and it continued for eleven years. I'm not proud of it, so I'm not going to get too specific here. I felt like it was absolutely impossible to give up. But I've done it. Next Thursday--only 8 more days--is my one year "clean" mark. This is HUGE for me! I'm so excited to finally have a life without it!

My great-grandma is still alive. She's 99! Recently she had to be hospitalized for a medical problem and severe dehydration, and she's been in a care facility for about the last two weeks. I've been really worried about her and it's been tough to see her as frail as her years might suggest she is, especially since she's normally such a firecracker. They are still concerned about an infection in her lungs that could possibly become pneumonia. She's receiving excellent care though, and is doing much much better. She's starting to assert some of that lovable spunk again. I'm so glad!

I got to see both of my sisters this last week. My youngest sister and her husband were up for a friend's wedding over the weekend. My other sister brought the two kids up on Monday to visit Great-Great-Grandma. I love seeing them and I always enjoy playing with my niece and nephew. It's like nothing else when they see you coming, drop everything to run to you and give you a great big hug. They call me "Maymie" and I just eat it up. They're almost 2 and 3, so they're so much fun.

Let the peaceful, happy moments roll.

I Like This

Maybe you've already heard or read about this. I saw an article on it in the Standard Examiner today and checked it out immediately.

http://www.ldsapology.org/

This is a petition to the First Presidency of the Church, a plea for reconciliation, to be delivered in November on the first anniversary of Prop 8 being passed in California.

There are already so many more names tonight than there were when I was on the website this afternoon. I've added mine. I haven't had much time to really peruse the site today, but I'm definitely hoping to spend time with it soon. This has done my heart some good today.

I like this.

19 June 2009

Sweet Dreams

For as long as I can remember, I have had difficulty sleeping. I would sleep in chunks. It seemed I'd spend the night looking at the clock...1:30...3:52...6:19...until much to my dismay, my alarm clock would be informing me that it was time to get up.

In the last few months though, I've noticed something absolutely AMAZING. I've started sleeping through the night. I can hardly believe it sometimes, but it's true!

There are a couple things that I've started doing differently. For instance, I've started hanging out with different groups of friends, going out on weekends, and I find myself generally in a good mood. It's funny how more people like to be around you when you're happy. For the most part, and more and more, I feel better than I have in a long time. I really think this stems back to just being able to be who I am. Finally.

And since I'm getting more sleep, the good mood continues. Sleep is nice!

15 June 2009

The New Normal

I bought a new book, which is one of my favorite things to do. As I was reading the other day, one of the passages really caught my attention, so I thought I'd share it here. As a bit of background, the character is in the midst of some serious family conflicts, and is here thinking of a memory.

"She was tired of crying and tired of being strong and tired of research and just plain tired. She was trying to be more like those palmetto trees after Hugo ripped through. Everything on the island had been indelibly scarred, but the palmetto trees stood tall, their ability to adapt and bend in all circumstances making them less vulnerable than their brittle, inflexible counterparts. Accept the new normal. That was the message."

So lately I've been caught up in a lot of emotions, mostly negative emotions about myself and my feelings. It seems like a hurricane sometimes and I admit that I don't know how to handle it.

I think I've been brittle and inflexible. I know that I get frustrated with myself for the feelings I have, the attraction that I feel for other women. The emotional part of me just happens, and then the reasoning part of me reacts based on what I've been taught, things I've observed and learned, experiences, memories, all that. The emotion just is what it is, and that's all it wants to be. Seems simple. But the reasoning part can't just let it be. The reasoning part of me is a fighter. It likes to work in a complex way, bringing in bits and pieces from the media and my parents and my junior high memories. I think I've been fighting still, trying to talk myself out of being gay, trying to shift my feelings to something more "normal."

And there's part of the problem. What is normal? It's different for everyone, and it can change. I think part of my misery is really because I've been trying to live a "normal" life by someone else's definition. I'm now thinking that if I'm going to be happy, if I'm going to be at peace with myself no matter where I am, if I'm going to be Amy, I should know what is "normal" for me. If I don't want to break, I have to know what is normal for me.

More importantly, I want to know. Someone else's definition isn't sufficient for me anymore.

09 June 2009

Rain Brings Rainbows

I went to Pride this last Sunday. It was my very first and for the most part, I had a good time. It was raining like the prophet could have been named Noah, and we all got completely drenched. Once I stopped trying to avoid the downpour and just accepted that I was going to get wet, it was a lot easier to just enjoy playing in the rain. I almost felt like a little kid again. Two days later, my shoes are finally dry.

The parade was awesome and we actually joined in carrying the huge rainbow flag. My favorite part was probably when we got to the parade's end and they were asking us to lay the flag down on the road. They didn't want it to get bunched up, and I heard someone telling us all this: "Don't say 'make it straight,' say 'spread it out!'" I loved that! We then walked around the festival at Washington Square, enjoying the booths, the people, getting pictures with drag queens, and munching on festival food. I went with four other girls. They were all so excited to be there and they pretty much loved every minute of it.

Of these girls, two know of my circumstances, two do not. There was a lovely little discussion on the drive down to SLC about gay marriage and Prop 8 and the involvement of the LDS Church. I didn't participate, but it was good to hear these other girls support gay marriage, despite what Church leaders promote. That helped me feel a little more at ease, and at the same time, I didn't feel the need to tell them that I was gay. That's where the conflict came in. In my opinion, it's a difficult thing to be at Pride and still be in the closet, hiding from the people you go with. There was so much freedom there, acceptance and love, boyfriends, girlfriends, families, dogs. I wanted so much to be a part of it, so much that it hurt. In the end though, my fear won out, and I stayed separate from the freedom that was surrounding me.

There have been some good things to come out of this though. First, I now know that there are two other girls that I work with are also lesbians. I had suspicions, but since it's a non-issue for me, I didn't feel the need to pry. We ran into one at Pride with her girlfriend. We saw the other girl there too, but I didn't get to talk to her until the next day. We compared notes on the festival, I told her that I was gay and we talked for awhile just about life. It was really, really nice.

Second, I've vowed that next year, I'm going to be in a place where it doesn't matter who I go with, I won't be in the closet for Pride. It's a celebration, and it's a place where it's really okay to just be who you are, no matter who you are. I can work towards being proud of who I am.

Third, I now have some more information about where two of my friends stand when it comes to people who are gay. I think that will come in handy when I decide to really open up more about who I am and I feel like I am perhaps a little closer to being able to tell them my truth.

And last, but certainly not least, I got a really good therapy visit out of my experiences with all this. :)

Amy fact of the day presents - Amy's teams: Utah Jazz, Philadelphia Eagles, Boston Red Sox. I like watching soccer but I don't have one team that I follow. I'll also take BYU over Utah. There's a story there, but that's for another time.