27 April 2009

Oh, The Irony...

This was too good to not post.

I went to a missionary farewell yesterday for a friend of our family. This meant that my parents went too. My parents don't know that I'm gay and I plan on keeping it that way for a while longer.

Inevitably, the question came up...this time it was from my mom..."so do you think you'll ever date again?" I responded with the usual "I don't know." She said that my dad has been tweaking out about it, now that I've been divorced for three years. I guess he'd really like it if I would get back into the dating world (even though I've never really been into dating...wonder why). But this was my favorite part:

My mom tells my dad that if I date someday, it's fine, but if not..."I raised her well, she doesn't need a man!"

I'm still laughing!

26 April 2009

Asking For Advice About Asking For Advice

Tonight at work, I met Elder Neil Anderson and his wife. They stopped by to eat on their way back home to Salt Lake. I wasn't their server, but I was managing tonight and part of my job is to do table visits and make sure the guests are happy. It was interesting to speak with them and I can't tell you how humbling it was for me to be in the presence of an apostle of God, and his saintly wife.

I know he's new, but I have to admit that the thought did cross my mind to ask him some questions. I thought about David's letter to the First Presidency and maybe asking Elder Anderson to check on it, see where it was and all that. I thought about telling him that I try to have an appreciation for the leaders of the Church and I try to sustain them, but it's getting harder to do. I thought about telling him about the difficulties and the pain that comes from being LDS and gay and not feeling like you can be both. I wondered if he would have had an answer for me, some little tidbit of Twelve Apostle Wisdom that could give me a glimmer of hope.

But I didn't. I just made sure their food was cooked how they wanted and they were enjoying everything and I shook his hand. He asked what my name was and said it was a pleasure to meet me. It was still a good experience for me, and one that I'll remember.

It made me think again about the possibility of seeking counsel from a priesthood authority. My records are in a singles branch, but I don't currently attend. I use the excuse that I work on Sundays, which is true...but it's also true that I could find a way to get to church if I really wanted to. I like my branch president. He seems like a down to earth guy. Then again, I've really only spoken with him a few times.

But I don't know if talking to him about being gay is something that I really want. I don't know if he could give me any advice that would be helpful. I worry that he might say something that would only offend me or hurt me or cause me to have bigger issues with the Church than I currently do. I don't want to think of it as making a confession, because I don't think I've done anything wrong.

Sometimes I want the relationship between me and the Church to work. I try to have a relationship with God, and I know I don't have to be active to keep that. But sometimes I miss Church.

I haven't made any decisions yet, but I'm kicking around the idea. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Is there a right choice? I'm not sure. If any of y'all have any thoughts on this, I welcome your comments! :)

24 April 2009

I Am

I am in the calm center of the universe,
and in that center,
I am me,

just as I am,

without judgment or shame,

fear or pretense.

In this moment,
I am me,

and I am safe,
and I am at peace
with the truth of who I am.

I am who I am,
just as I am,
and that is okay with me.

23 April 2009

Quiet Moments

Sometimes I see this fight with myself as a storm. The intensity of it shifts like the wind. Sometimes it spins me completely out of control and I feel like my feet are no where near the ground.

Sometimes I feel like I am standing in the eye. I feel centered and calm and right. I feel like I know who I am and what I'm doing.

The problem with being in the eye is that you're still surrounded by the storm. The eye of the storm still isn't safe. And it doesn't last.

The more I work on trying to accept myself for who I am, the more I am starting to see that there is real freedom in knowing who you are. The process of trying to understand who I am has been and continues to feel complicated. I'm sure a lot of that is the pressure I put on myself. But it's a process that I'm willing to go through. Today, I really want to. I want to let a little sunlight into these hidden corners and clear out the dust and the cobwebs. Today, I am willing to be me for all of who I am.

Tomorrow, the pressure may come back. I may once again find myself feeling helpless amid the turmoil. The way my thoughts can shift and have shifted doesn't make much linear sense. The colors change even when I don't move. The weather can change whether I want it to or not. The storm spins on, and with it come the questions, the shame, and the fear.
But I guess without those moments, I wouldn't really appreciate quiet ones like these.

19 April 2009

A Rock And A Hard Place

So I was talking to one of my friends at work (let's call her Sara) who I've told about being gay (she's been totally amazing and supportive, and I feel very lucky) and I was asking for her advice. Since she knows both me and my roommate (let's call her Carrie), I was looking for her opinion about what she thought Carrie's reaction would be if I let her in on my little secret.

I mentioned that Carrie thinks that gay people have no morals.


Sara has a brother who is gay. This is one of the reasons I felt safe telling her, and I'm sure it's one of the reasons she has been so cool with me.

Now Sara's opinion of Carrie has dropped quite a bit. Carrie has lost a lot of respect in Sara's eyes.

When Carrie says things like that, I absolutely hate it. I struggle with how to react in the moment and how to handle the situation enough so it doesn't become worse in the long term. I feel...just at a loss.

And yet, I feel like I've betrayed her in some way because of how Sara told me she feels now.

Does that make any sense?

And what do I do now?

14 April 2009

What If I'm The Bad Guy?

Suppose a boy steals an apple
from the tray at the grocery store,
and they all begin to call him a thief,
the editor, minister, judge, and all the people--
'a thief' 'a thief' 'a thief' wherever he goes.
And he can't get work, and he can't get bread
without stealing it, why the boy will steal.
It's the way the people regard the theft of the apple
that makes the boy what he is
(Spoon River Anthology)

In the wake of Iowa and Vermont, things have been a little...weird. My own feelings about the new legalization of same-sex marriage are not in harmony with the feelings of my church, my family, and some of my friends. I feel like the oil that can only float on top of water, never blending in.

I am very much afraid of what will happen if/when I inform the people in my life about this part of me. Part of me thinks that if I try to assert my feelings and thoughts about people who are gay, the world I know will see through me and my secret will be revealed. I really don't think I'm ready for that.

There are days where it is so easy for me to believe in me, and to trust in my own acceptance of myself. I can be happy with who I am.

Today was not one of those days.

Today was one of those days where I couldn't shake the grayness that had me in its grip (it wasn't the rain...usually my mood brightens when the weather is stormy...it's my favorite). Today I seem to be feeling the weight that comes from carrying this secret and hiding who I am. It's the weight of guilt and shame. And it seems to be pressing upon my shoulders even more since hearing my dear sweet Gram talk about "what a shame" homosexuality is, and my roommate comment on how "gay people have absolutely no morals," and the NOM advertising their own agenda. Yes, I feel a storm coming...but it's on a warpath and is ready to destroy any gay person in its path.

So when I say "I am gay" and it feels right...does that make me wrong?

Why does being gay negate everything else about you? Why does it automatically mean you're disgusting, and that suddenly everything in the entire universe which happens to be disgusting is now a part of your playground?

Why can't people just open their eyes? Why can't they see it when their words bring tears to my eyes?

I don't want to be told that there's something wrong with me. I don't want to be told that I'm a wicked disease, or that my feelings are going to take away another person's rights, or that this is a struggle that just has to be endured because it won't exist in the next life. I don't want to be told that the type of love I could give and that I dream about is shameful and immoral. I don't want to be told that I am not good enough, and that I can never be enough.

The more I hear it though, the more it wears me down. It's getting harder and harder to believe that it isn't true.

10 April 2009

Iowa and Vermont

As I'm sure most of the country is aware, both Iowa and Vermont have legalized same-sex marriage.

I'm pretty sure that I can theorize on what my church thinks of this. I'm fairly certain that they aren't happy about it, that it's another example of living in the last days and all the temptations that the world is facing because we're on our last leg. Yes, brothers and sisters, the end is near.

"As a Mormon, I have a responsibility and commitment to listen to my church leaders. At the same time, listening to my church leaders does not absolve me of the ethical responsibility to listen to the voice of the other."

This is a quote from Douglas Hunter. He is a filmmaker who documented the story of Rev. Susan Russell, a priest who also happens to be a lesbian.

When I hear about another state legalizing this rite for EVERYONE, it makes me really happy. Here's why...

...I can see the joy on the faces of those couples who now have the opportunity for the first time to declare their love permanently, publicly, and legally.

...I think about the children of same-sex couples, who are loved just as much as children of heterosexual couples, who will now know that their family is considered just as good as other families in the eyes of their government.

...I think about the teenager who is starting to realize that they are gay, and how they might have hope for their future, how they might feel joy and acceptance instead of guilt and shame.

Love is what drives us, what we seek after, what we want. It's what we teach our children about. We talk to them about the day when they'll grow up and get married and have a family of their own.

If you had two kids and you could somehow see that one was straight and one was gay, would it really be okay to tell your gay child that it's a dream that they have to watch everyone else achieve? To tell them that they have to be content with seeing their sibling find that happiness instead of trying to find it for their life?

Would you tell them that even if they found someone to love and who loved them in return, that their love would mean less than love between a man and a woman?

from an interview about the movie "Brokeback Mountain"
OPRAH: Whether or not you think being gay is controversial, whoever you are, I think a lot of people think that marrying and having kids and maintaining a gay relationship, if not controversial, it certainly is conflicting. You would agree with that, right?
HEATH LEDGER: I still find it personally disappointing that people kind of go out of their way to voice their disgust or their opinions against the ways in which two people choose to love one another. I think that's really unfortunate.

So do I. In my eyes, when you say that gay and lesbian couples don't have the right to marry each other, you are saying that these people are not as good as everyone else. You are saying that there is something so wrong with them, that they don't deserve love. That's the message that I've gotten. States like Iowa and Vermont are working to change that message. That gives me hope. It's not hope that one day, I'll marry...it's hope that one day, I can say "yep, I'm gay" and know that it doesn't mean I'm less of a person.

07 April 2009

blog stalker

My sister loves blogging. She has a whole network of blogging buddies, special scrapbook software, and photoshop to spruce up her page. It's quite the set-up, and no blog that I conjure up will ever compare.

My brother-in-law loves blog stalking. This is a term I hadn't heard until talking with him one day. Most people have links on their blogs to other blogs that they read. Blog stalking is clicking on a link, then another link on the new page, then another...you get the idea.

Recently, I too have become a blog stalker.

As I've come to the point in my life where I no longer want to feel alone, this blogging community has been my oasis in the desert. I never imagined that all of you existed. I hoped that you did, because my thirst for understanding, my need for people who I could relate to, was becoming unbearable. Reading your posts and hearing your thoughts, your wonderings, your struggles, has helped me know that I am not alone. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

This uphill slope is sometimes made of sand, causing me to slip and fall and lose ground. But knowing that I'm not alone helps me feel like there are times where there is stone beneath this hill after all, and climbing it does not seem as difficult.

06 April 2009

Matis Fireside

Tonight I attended the Matis Fireside in Lehi. I hadn't been to one before.

I wish I could describe how amazing it felt to be in an LDS type of setting and feel nothing but acceptance. I didn't have to hide who I am or make excuses. Before they even asked my name, Brother and Sister Matis welcomed me with a hug and told me how glad they were that I was there. Coming from a kind of parental figure, this was incredible to me. I haven't told my parents because I am so afraid of what their reaction will be.

For that hour or so, I was free. I was among friends. I was safe. And I actually felt the Spirit touch my heart. I don't remember when the last time that happened was.

It was wonderful to hear Camille Fronk Olsen speak (she's the reason I decided to go...I really like her books).

It was so good to meet other people who are on the same path as me and feel their support. I needed this today.