27 March 2010

Crossing My Fingers

Wednesday will be a big day for me.

Besides being a much needed day off (hurray!), besides being the day that my girlfriend finally gets new contacts (hurray!), besides having tickets to the Jazz game (hurray!), Wednesday is the day that I meet my girlfriend's mom and step-dad.

We're all going to the Jazz game because my girlfriend's niece is in dance and is performing before the game. Pretty much the whole family will be there, so I will also meet the only brother I haven't been introduced to yet. Since there are four brothers, I'm not super worried about that. According to my girlfriend, I've already met the brothers who are difficult.

The mom however...well, that's a different story completely.

And more nervous.

That's pretty much how it goes.

My girlfriend and I have been dating for almost 8 months. In that time, there have only been two days where we haven't seen each other. We have yet to have an argument. And even though she's my first girlfriend, I would be completely happy if she was my last. We're both of the mindset that we're meant to be with each other. That being said, meeting the Mom is just another step towards spending our lives together.

I've heard that she's really an awesome person. She has five kids, two of which are gay, and she loves them unconditionally. She still manages to be a faithful and active member of the LDS Church. The oldest brother has already said good things about me to their mom, and my girlfriend mentioned that her mom wants to meet me.

All things that I'm sure I'll be clinging to before the game on Wednesday.

Of course, I don't know when my girlfriend will meet my parents. Actually, I don't know IF my girlfriend will meet my parents. And I think that's where my little piece of excitement comes into play, because I know it would mean a lot to have a parental figure accept the relationship my girlfriend and I have.

I am grateful that our first meeting will be at the Jazz game where there will be plenty of distractions, as opposed to a dinner where you're more on the spot. The fact that the Mom and I are both die-hard Jazz fans certainly doesn't hurt either. Go Jazz! :)

So I'm crossing my fingers and holding my breath and really hoping that our first meeting goes well.

-- blogged from my iPhone --

24 March 2010

Found Out The Hard Way

Turns out that your ability to kiss someone is based on keeping air pressure in your mouth.

So if you have a crown fall off one of your back molars while you're eating and you break it by biting down on it, then your dead tooth beneath it breaks before you can get the crown replaced, then your dentist tells you there's not enough tooth to save so he has to extract it, and in the process of doing said extraction drills through your tooth roots and into your sinus, thus creating a hole that allows air to move freely between your mouth and nose without your permission and that will take 3-4 months to heal, your ability to kiss will also be extremely incapacitated.

And that's a sad day when you have such a kissable significant other.

-- blogged from my iPhone --

23 March 2010

Loving Kindness

May I be happy.
May I be at peace.
May I live with ease.
May I be free from suffering.

-- blogged from my iPhone --

18 March 2010

New Blog Title

I've decided to change the name of my blog, along with the layout and a few other things, because I'm thinking that I'm in a new phase of my experience.

I don't really consider this to be such a Rocky Path anymore.  I know that it has been and I know that there are times where it could certainly continue to be.  Coming out is a tremendous experience and it affords you the opportunity to feel many, many, many emotions at many, many, many different intensities.  As my girlfriend has told me on more than one occasion, it's one of the hardest things you can go through.

I don't consider myself to be completely through it or over it or standing in a place where stability is my foundation and happiness radiates all around me.  But it's definitely getting easier.  I feel good about who I am and the choices I've made and the direction my life is currently moving in. 

So I'm shaking off some of the dust, spring cleaning if you will, and changing the way I think about being LDS and gay at the same time.  It was something that I endured and had to endure.  Now it's something I think I can work with.  It doesn't have to be a bad thing or such a negative experience, or such a weight on my shoulders.  It can be frustrating and difficult, as I'm sure we all know, and I think I've accepted that fact, because it doesn't surprise me or bother me as much anymore.  And if anything, I've decided that religion should be about hope and spiritual upliftment.  I know that's written on the advertising banner of every LDS chapel in the world...and I hope that someday they can deliver on that promise for everyone.

This is my life and I'm going to make it as awesome as it can be.  This is my experience and it has to be what I want it to be, not what someone else tells me it should be.  These are my footprints on my path, and I'm so glad it's a path that isn't straight.

12 March 2010

Pride In Ourselves

I don't know if any of you have been following the story of Constance McMillen, but I've been paying attention to it.  Here's a brief synopsis for those of you who may not have heard about this.

Constance is an 18 year old girl who lives in Mississippi.  She wanted to take her girlfriend to her senior prom and wear a tuxedo.  Rather than allow that to happen, the school district canceled the prom completely.  While they are claiming it is due to "educational distractions," they canceled the event after the ACLU sent a letter to the school.

This is a very unfortunate situation and it's definitely a reminder of the difficulties the LGBT community continues to face. 

What really impresses me about this story though is Constance.  She is incredibly positive and in my opinion is acting well beyond her years.  She asked for permission to attend prom with her girlfriend in December.  I watched a clip from one of those morning shows and the interviewer asked her, "do you ever wish you hadn't asked [to go to the prom]?"  Her answer was a firm "No."

In the paper today, I really liked the quote they used from her.
My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I'm still proud of who I am.  The fact that this will help people later on, that's what's helping me go on.
She's more mature than I was at 18, and she's absolutely right.  We need to have pride in ourselves.  We need to have the courage to cultivate that pride.  We need to do what we can for those who have yet to come out, to show them that it's okay to still be who you are in the face of adversity. 

I hope that there will be a prom on April 2 for this school, and if there's not, I hope they will take a hard look at their policies so that some good can come from this.

08 March 2010

In Need of...Something

I don't know if it's obvious, but I feel like I need a change.  Maybe I need to cut my hair or quit my job or take more classes at school or buy a new wardrobe.  Maybe I need something that's completely off the wall.  I don't really know.  But I just feel stuck...in a rut...like something needs to be different but I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

Things are great with my girlfriend.  No change needed there.

Things suck at my job.  Perhaps that's where this feeling is being generated from, perhaps not.

Maybe it's just a general spring cleaning sense and I should volunteer my time to my mother.  I'm sure she'd have me cleaning the house from top to bottom in no time.

Has anyone else ever felt like this?  Do you have any suggestions about anything I could try to alleviate this feeling of being stuck?

04 March 2010

Under Construction

I've been playing around with the elements and layouts of my blog lately, so you may notice a few changes.  I just feel like I need something different lately, so I'll be making little additions and subtractions here and there until I find something I like.

Please pardon the dust...just consider this blog as being in the middle of a remodel.  Hey, it wouldn't be a Utah blog if it wasn't "Under Construction," right? 

If you have any suggestions, please don't hesitate to comment.  I'm always looking to improve and I'd like to learn some new things about blog design, etc.

03 March 2010

What Doesn't Kill Me

I don't always have time to blog, but I do have bits and pieces of spare time here and there, and I try to keep up on blogs I like in those moments.  Last week, I noticed that there seemed to be a theme, and I assume it had to do with the 10th anniversary of the death of Stuart Matis.  It is still a loss that is felt very deeply, even by those of us who did not know him.

I think there are a lot of us who are no strangers to thoughts of suicide.  Being a gay Mormon and thinking about suicide seem to almost go hand in hand.  As I've thought about why that is, I think it's because the LDS religion is not just a religion--it's a way of life.  If you grow up in this faith, your life is completely centered around LDS activities.  Church on Sunday, mutual during the week, home teaching, visiting teaching, preparing to teach lessons, tithing settlement, prayer, reading scriptures, pictures on the wall, Sounds of the Sabbath on FM100.  It's literally in every part of your life.  You know what the standards are.  And unfortunately if you are gay, every part of your life becomes a struggle, because now you are below that standard.

For many of us, there is no other way of life.  And so we can't imagine a life that doesn't have the Church at the very center of it.  Coming out completely shifts that balance.  Even if we do everything that we're supposed to, being gay makes it not enough.  Even if you choose the Church life, continue to live in celibacy and be active in your religion, the very fact that you are gay casts a shadow on you that I don't know if you can ever get rid of.

It's a terrifying thing to venture beyond the iron gates of the Mormon Church when that is all you have ever known, when you've been taught that there is absolutely no other way.

I personally have attempted suicide twice.  I was nearly successful on my second try.  I've been hospitalized three times to prevent me from at least three more attempts.  I know what it's like to be in such a dark place that nothing else matters.  I know what it's like to wish that another car will hit me on the freeway and save me the trouble of pills or razors or bullets.  I know what it's like to pray to God to please just take me, because I can't take any more.

That is absolutely not a way to live.  There is no living when you're in that place.  You're barely surviving.

For me, in order to make it to my next birthday, I had to make a lot of painful decisions.  But I knew that none of them could be more painful than what I was already experiencing. 

I have not and I will never turn my back on my faith.  But that's my faith according to me, not according to the dictates of a specific religion.  My faith and my life centers on God and Jesus Christ and my faith in them.  It does not center on the LDS church.  The Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have become two separate things in my mind.  While being active in a religion is very beneficial for some people, I have found that it is more beneficial for me to cultivate a more personal approach.  I honor my moral values and I hold myself accountable to ethical standards and I find that I am constantly praying.  God is still very much a part of my life, even if I don't go to church on Sunday.

I realize that this is probably a disappointment to my family and perhaps some of my friends.  But I think disappointment is easier for them to deal with than the guilt and frustration that they could possibly feel if I killed myself.

I have decided to be gay.  By that I mean that I have a girlfriend, I acknowledge that I am attracted to other girls, and that Danica Patrick is frickin' hot.  And I cannot tell you how many people have said to me, "Gosh Amy, you look like you're doing so well," "Amy, you've been so happy lately and I'm really excited for you," things like that.  These are people who have known me for years, through the ups and the downs and everything.  They are happy that I am happy.  And I am indescribably happy. 

We've all heard the phrase "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  If I don't kill myself, I can only make myself stronger.  Everyone has a different life to live. I can only be accountable for mine.  I have to be my friend.  I have to care about myself.  I have to live in a way that lets me live, because I know that it's easy to fall back into that pit of despair, and I never want suicide to look so appealing again.

The scar on my wrist has faded a little bit in the last eight years.  It's not cute and it's not my favorite thing to look at.  But at least I'm still here to look at it.

If you're thinking about suicide seriously, please pause for just a few seconds, take a deep breath, and reach out.  Don't give up.  I know sometimes it doesn't feel like anyone would even notice if you were gone, but there are more people who care about you than you know, especially in that moment.  Your life is important.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The Trevor Project (specifically for gay youth) 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)

For a list of national and state specific suicide hotlines, go to suicidehotlines.com .

If you want to talk and you think I can be of some help, please just let me know.  You won't get judgment from me.  I've been there and I know what it's like.  We're all in this together.