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Friday, December 31, 2010

The Five Stages of Grief

Today my mother and I talked about my sexuality for the first time in ten months. While it definitely could have been better, it has definitely been worse. It's clear to me though that my mom is still clinging to her rigid rules and is afraid to let go. I think it scares her, and what's more, I think she feels guilty.

The conversation started out talking about going to grad school. I mentioned that I want to go to the U, and she asked why. I explained the benefits of the program at the U, and she followed up by telling how one of my younger sibling's friends has spent the last semester there and hates all the protesting. She specifically mentioned the LGBT protesting. And then it all went from there.

At first the conversation carried as if we were talking about a group that neither of us belonged to, using "they" and "their." But I eventually opened up the issue. She said that she believes that some people are legitimately gay. That they are never attracted to girls, etc. But others, perhaps people that have been hurt and don't want to take a risk again, aren't that way and choose it. That's when I confronted her about it. "That's how you think I am." A statement rather than a question. 

"Ty, you loved the girls growing up." Obviously she was referring to all the girls I spent time with as a child. I didn't know how to make it clear to her that playing with the girls was proof in my direction. I told her that as I read all the common traits and experiences of gay people growing up I feel like I'm reading my own life history. 

So she pulled out the crushes and the dates and my relationship with Jessica. But human beings are not so simple that dating a girl means you are heterosexual. I told her that for me, attraction to romance was a huge thing. And that romance for me meant having someone that loved and accepted you, someone whose love didn't need to be earned. And growing up I felt I had to earn everyone's love.

At one point I looked at her and said "Mom, you need to know that this isn't you fault." She teared up a bit, and told me that I had said differently when they confronted me a year ago. Now, whether I actually said something to that effect out of frustration or whether she interpreted anything I said that way out of her own personal guilt, I don't know. But I do not blame my parents in the slightest for my attraction. I looked at her and said, "no, mom. It's not your fault. You have been a wonderful mom." I walked over to her and hugged her, her guilt obvious in her wet eyes. I held her and assured her that in no way did she cause this, and that she had been wonderful to me.

I don't know whether or not she believed me, but it needed to be said, for her sake.

As the conversation carried on things shifted to the religious aspect of it and she held her ground as a good member does, with little acceptance that this is a legitimate issue. I made some points that she obviously didn't think of, like the fact that we haven't had direct revelation on the issue for four thousand years, and that it may have even referred to something besides a committed relationship. 

Apparently she'd read "In Quiet Desperation," because she quoted the mother who said she was grateful her son had died before he broke his covenants. I'm sorry if I offend someone, but that disturbs me. She was more grateful that her son killed himself out of absolute self-hatred and agony than see him in a gay relationship. Rather than see him become a happy individual who loves and accepts himself. I'm sure if I offered that deal to my mother she would immediately refuse. Suicide is not the answer. Love is. And when we still have so much we don't know, we need to be working to find the answers.

But when it came down to me, she said "I just don't understand why you would have chosen this when you've had such incredible spiritual experiences." Why wouldn't I choose a celibate life, when I've had so much. I didn't think she'd understand if I bared my soul, so I let it rest.

As I have thought about it I can see that my mother is going through the five stages of grief. Everyone goes through these stages when they experience loss, and loss of the image she believed her son to be is no exception. 

The five stages are:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

These can manifest themselves simultaneously. It's not a one or the other type of thing. She is definitely still in the denial/anger stage, and perhaps even a bit in the bargaining one. She still doesn't completely accept that I'm legitimately gay. She gets upset about it, and even talks about me living the gospel over my desires, a form of bargaining. So I am trying to be patient. In time she'll separate herself from the issue, and she'll see the difference between unconditional love and endorsement. Until then, I'm just going to let her know that I love her. 

But each one of us goes through these stages of grief as we cope with losing that person that we think we should be. I went through this in the course of the last year. I spent my teenage years denying that it even existed. When I was 20 and serving a mission I finally admitted to myself that I was gay. That was near the end of 2008. From that point up to December of 2009 I was both angry, working to change it, and asking God to do the same. I was bargaining. 

When I finally grew tired of trying to change what I was and got sick of denying myself what I really wanted I entered the depression zone. It was a dark time for me, and my newly found boyfriend was my only consolation. This continued up through March when I started seeing my therapist, and she helped me to ease out of that depression. Over the last nine months I have come to accept myself, my sexuality, and find joy in the world. And I really don't want to go back to where I was before. There is no happiness in the first four stages of grief. And so I move forward, even if others can't see why.

But they'll come around. In time, everything will work out. Because if you're optimistic and can take joy in the little things, everything always does work out.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Retrospection: Freshman Year

I moved to Provo a month out of high school. I found a left over summer contract at a condo where I lived for two months with some upperclassmen that I almost never saw. I worked a construction job from 7-5 every day, and spent my evenings by myself in the apartment. It was a really lonely time for me. Add to that the fact that my hormones were shooting off the charts making every good looking guy a challenge not to stare at, and it wasn't the best experience. I was very happy when school finally started.

I moved into Heritage Halls for my freshman year of college and met my incredibly energetic roommate Carlos. He was a mix of about everything latino, both South American and European, and he was the most out going guy I knew. He was always ready to go to the next party or get together. Certainly not my personality. But he opened up to me really quick and we became really good friends. 

I am grateful that he wasn't my type, guy-wise, because that would have been really difficult. Now, he had great pecks, that's for sure, but overall he wasn't what I was drawn to, and that made it a lot easier to feel at home when I was home. 

As the year started I was called as Elder's Quorum President, something I didn't feel ready for, especially since the summer had been one hormonal mess. I didn't know that I was worthy with the effect guys had been having on me. But I did my best and it was a good experience. 

I'd like to think that I did a good job. I definitely tried. And I think the guys in the quorum respected me. But I never really felt like one of them. I never felt like I had the connection with them that other guys had. But I was kind, none the less. But it was just one more sign that I was different. And sometimes it was difficult.

College presented another new opportunity, and that was long term relationships. I had always thought that I never had a girlfriend in high school because I couldn't have the type of relationship I wanted while I was there. But college was different. I wanted a relationship, and had a crush or two through the first semester. But they never went anywhere. I had a good time dating. I was comfortable with girls. But once again I felt more like a friend, rather than a guy for dating. Even in my spare time I would go to my FHE sisters' apartment and spend time with them, just "one of the girls," as it were.

There was one girl that I really liked, and I was convinced that she was going to be my romance story. Once again, I was infatuated with romance. In the end I crashed and burned hard. And it was actually that crashing and burning that would lead me to Jessica. 

As the second semester started things were not going well in my "predestined classic romance" efforts, and it took a toll on me. One Sunday evening after family prayer I got to talking with Jessica, who was the ward choir director (of course I was in the choir). She had just sent off Braden, her boyfriend from the previous semester, to serve a mission in Europe. And she was having her own depressive episode. But as we talked we felt a common bond, and we ended up talking for several hours.

Through the next month we spent a lot of time together, taking comfort in one another's friendship. We were just comfortable together, kindred spirits, as it were. Looking back, she was definitely one of the best friends I'd had. Things just weren't so bad with her. And then the day came that I got over the "crash and burn" crush, and I found that I liked her.

At this point I want to clear up that to some small degree I have been able to be attracted to women. Or a couple of them. But any attraction has been much more of an emotional one. Jessica was one of the few that I did feel an emotional attachment to. I still try to analyze that relationship to understand what it was exactly that I felt, but I'm not sure. Perhaps it was just one of those rare occasions that I was attracted, though to be honest, the physical attraction only came after the emotional relationship was in place, and it was when she was on top of me, kissing me. Really, feeling a physical attraction to a girl was shocking to me, because I'd never felt it before. However, my attraction to guys was definitely still there. 

In time Jessica and I started dating. No, she didn't write off the missionary, but somehow I was okay with that. I still had my own mission, after all. But it was difficult, because she still loved reading his letters to me, as if I were one of her girlfriends. So I felt like I was always competing for her. Trying to beat the other guy.

But the other guy was handsome, smart, and athletic (I was screwed there). But more than anything, he was a guy. A guy guy. And I just wasn't. Looking back on that relationship I never really felt like I fit with her. I wasn't the yin to her yang. I didn't complete her as an opposite. And I think to some degree that she felt that. But she was the promise of romance and a classic mormon family life, which I wanted more than anything.

We had our struggles, mostly over this other guy, and over the fact that deep down we didn't feel we were supposed to be together. But we needed each other. We weren't strong enough on our own. And so we finished out the semester, and then went home to our separate states. It would be a month later when I knew I needed to end it, and I did. 

I think I knew deep down that she wasn't meant for me. But the thing is, I didn't know what type of girl would be. I remember looking at couples and seeing how they were together, and I just didn't know what kind of girl would fit with me in a relationship like that.

But I am grateful for Jessica, and for the role she played in my life. She helped me learn to smile after my heart had been broken, and she taught me a bit about what love is. And I think I did love her. And in some ways always will. 

I wonder sometimes if I could sustain a heterosexual relationship, simply because for a while, I did. That relationship, while worthwhile, was not a healthy one, though. Not to mention the fact that I still had this underlying attraction. Interestingly enough my attraction to guys faded a bit while we dated, as attraction to others always does when you start a relationship. But I am positive that had we lasted longer, enough to pass out of that infatuation phase of the relationship, that attraction would once again take the predominant place. 

Maybe with the right girl and the right circumstance I could have a straight relationship. But when it comes to emotional and physical comfort and intimacy, a guy feels more natural. And interestingly enough, I feel more masculine dating my boyfriend than I ever did dating Jessica. And my boyfriend feels natural, comfortable, and fulfilling. 

Anyway, back to the timeline here. I went home to work while I got ready for my mission. And by the time I left for Eastern Europe I was single and planning on attraction taking a back seat in my life. But as you might imagine, spending two years surrounded by guys is not easy for someone like me.

At Last I See the Light

Today I saw Disney's Tangled for the second time. Not only do I have to give it tremendous credit for being just as amazing as the classic Disney films, but it is so full of symbolism and meaning that not mentioning it would just be a shame.

A major symbol of the movie is the sun, shown all over Rapunzel's home kingdom. It is the symbol that ultimately "sheds light" on her true identity as a princess. But by far one of the best scenes of the movie is when Rapunzel and Eugene are in a boat waiting to see the lanterns that are lit every year to beckon the lost princess home.

Rapunzel, who has spent her whole life locked away in a tower has dreamed of nothing more than this moment, to see the lights rise into the sky. As they're waiting for the lanterns to be lit, she asks Eugene what she's supposed to do after her dream is complete. What's left after that? He responds, "That's the beauty of it. You get to go find a new dream."

And then the lights lift into the sky and the two sing this beautiful song.

As I watched today, I couldn't help but feel connected to all of this, to the whole power of the movie.

Rapunzel, who has lived her life bound by the tight rules of the old woman who kidnapped her as a baby and posed as her mother, has a really difficult time sneaking out of the tower to go see these lanterns. She has a huge internal battle as she tries to reconcile the rules that she has been taught define good and bad and the incredible joy she feels out in the world pursuing her dream. Eventually she continues on her journey, ending up at last in the boat with the dreamy Eugene as the lights rise majestically into the air.

To go after her dream she had to disobey the very rules that established the world she lived in. And while it wasn't easy, something pushed her onward. And in the end that dream and the journey to it brought her joy beyond comparison.

I often feel the same way. In order to have what my heart desires I have to defy some rules that once defined my world. The conflict that ate at me when I first chose my current path was terrible. But now, on this end, I find so much joy. And I feel so much more complete because of my journey.

One last aspect that I love in this movie is the celebration of individuality within it. Perhaps it was something that I personally got out of the movie, but I find it valuable nonetheless. Through the whole film we see how much joy Rapunzel gets out of being her true self. As the city prepares for the festival of the lanterns Rapunzel dances all around the square, simply loving being alive. I personally think that the symbol of the sun, which is also seen through the power of Rapunzel's hair, is used to express that inner beauty and show its true potential.

And so it is with us. Each of us has within us that light of individuality, that part of us that makes us unique. And as we share that with the world it fills the world with light. Light that is empowering, light that is humbling, and light that heals broken hearts.

This part of the movie hits me so strongly, because I feel like light has been coming back into my life throughout the past year. It has been an incredible journey, just as Rapunzel's was. And just like Rapunzel, I had a companion on my journey that really made all the difference.

And so, here's to you, the one who helped me to see the light.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Glory of Blogging

As I'm sure will come as no surprise to those who note the time on this entry, I've been up late...reading blogs. Something that has come to be a favored past time for me. I just love the way a good blog can latch onto you, and how you suddenly care for this person you've never met. But the mere fact that they are a real person, that they live and breathe and laugh and cry, just like you do, creates something beautiful. I spend hours following a new blog, and I simply love living through all the experiences with these, my fellow bloggers.

I also believe that it is an incredibly healthy outlet for those of us who need to express this part of our personalities but have very limited opportunities to do so. As a BYU student, anonymity is paramount, and blogging gives me the opportunity to tell my story, express my opinions, and make my voice heard, while keeping my identity safe.

I've read in several blogs in the past few weeks that blogging has helped others to eradicate destructive behaviors that would normally follow a bad day. And I would have to agree with that. I find that even on a bad day, when nothing seems to matter, if I can get myself into the blog world I can get whatever is eating me out of my system and onto the computer screen. And it refreshes me.

But I think what I like most of all is the opportunity blogging gives us to bypass all of the formalities that would accompany any other relationship and see to the very heart of another person. Whatever our station in life, blogging opens us up and lets others see the most majestic part of us. It's frightening, of course, knowing that your deepest and most personal thoughts are being projected for others to read. But the daring honesty is part of the glory of it all. It makes us real. It makes us human. And it makes us one.

Because no matter what you believe or how you live your life, blogging gives you the chance to see the beauty that resides in every human being. And seeing that beauty in others brings it out in yourself. And we become just a little bit better, simply for having connected to another human soul.

So for me, blogging is one way that I see through eyes of glory.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Problem With the Rest of Us Mormons

So, having read many a blog and article about being gay and mormon I have come to recognize a very distinct voice among those commenters who belong to the mainstream opinion of the church. I read it at the bottom of blog posts, underneath youtube videos, on facebook pages, I hear it in BYU classrooms and in sunday school lessons. And honestly, it is really just starting to irritate me.

Basically the comment goes something along the lines of briefly (and usually insincerely) acknowledging the difficult and conflicted position of those of us who fancy our own gender, but then laying down the law, declaring that gay relationships are against the laws of God, they should not be tolerated, and further normalcy should never be given to gay relationships in society. And that's that.

But that's not that.
Not for me.
And not for millions like me.
Because when it comes right down to it, the members of the church who are so willing to become a martyr for this issue have no idea what they're talking about. They have never experienced these things. Most have never even spoken to a gay person about what it's like to be gay. Their only exposure to anything gay is what they see on television and what they hear in church meetings. And somehow they're suddenly experts on the subject?

The psychologist in me looks at the situation, especially at how firmly they deny anything other than the cut and dry, black and white positions handed to them from church pulpits and how quick they want to end the conversation, and says that really, the whole issue scares the hell out of them. They quote a scripture or an apostle then change the subject. They don't want to hear about my experiences, or the experiences of everyone else who suffers in silence. They are terrified of facing something that might actually arouse sympathy within them. They realize how absolutely insignificant their understanding of the topic is and the unknown scares the pants off them. But fear was never a good way of judging other people.

The fact of the matter is this: I have experienced this. I have studied myself for over a decade. I have researched the topic in my free time for years. I have looked at both sides of the situation judiciously because frankly, I am on both sides. I'm the one with the proverbial split personality. But because I have a dual perspective on this I believe that I hold greater authority on the subject than brother so-and-so who speaks as a self-proclaimed expert.

And from my experience, both in the church and as a gay man, I can tell you that the world is not so black and white as we may like to paint it! I'm sorry, but there are gay people who no longer want anything to do with the church who are more loving and Christian than members who go to church every week. Being gay is not a universal stamp of wickedness! It simply isn't!

But what bothers me the most is that while countless members are willing to stand up and become a martyr for heterosexuality and traditional marriage, not one of them has ever offered a solution for people like me. NOT ONE! All they can say is that it's evil and we shouldn't act on our attraction. But while that may bring some sense of closure for them, that still leaves me and hundreds of thousands of other members of the church without much direction. So if you don't have a decent solution, keep your mouth shut!

They need to understand that all of us gay and lesbian members know what the church teaches. We know the doctrine. We can probably quote the general authorities on the issue better than you can. And we have had our own internal battles for years. Your spouting of hell-fire and damnation doesn't do any good. Because while we know the doctrine and we have had those inner battles, fighting to keep the standards of the church, there was still something missing in our lives. We were still unsatisfied. It gets pretty difficult to fight to live according to a church that doesn't really want you anyway. At least, not all of you.

It seems as if the general attitude of the members of the church is that they'd rather we disappeared again, so that they don't have to acknowledge that we and our contradictory personalities exist. They don't want us to exist. They'd rather live in ignorance, pretending like all is well in Zion, than realize that their brothers and sisters are living with a very difficult paradox of a life. And that, my friends, is pretty darn selfish, and completely un-Christlike.

To all the members of the church, I'm sorry, but this isn't going away. The church can no longer ignore this. Because we're everywhere, in every ward, in every stake of the church. And I'm sorry, but the way the church approaches this needs to change. Not that they have to change their position on it. They have the right to believe and preach what they will. But the way they are approaching this issue is not working. Because the fact still remains that the majority of same-sex attracted members of the church will leave the church by age 40. If that's not proof enough that the current system isn't working, I don't know what is.

I'm not asking members of the church to abandon their apostles or deny their doctrine or beliefs. I'm asking them to have a bit of Christlike charity and love me, and accept me, even if you can't accept my orientation or my actions. I'm asking you to listen to me, and to take a good look at how things are from my point of view. I'm asking you not to see me as some awful abomination just because I grew up liking guys. I am a very complex being with incredible gifts and infinite potential, as are all other gay and lesbian people. But if all you can see is the one little part of us that you disagree with, then you miss out on some pretty incredible people. And you lose people who would enrich and beautify your lives.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Retrospection: Adolescence

As I got to high school I was able to investigate and pursue my own interests more fully. I had been in choir and drama a bit in junior high, and so my first year in high school I latched right on to the choir. I even auditioned and was accepted into the higher combined choir. I loved singing, and the people in choir and drama were much more accepting than those in other areas.

I avoided gym like the plague. I even took an online gym class, just to avoid being in that environment. Insecure jocks seemed to have an instinctive ability to find the more sensitive guys and make their lives miserable. The psychologist in me believes that it is because of personal insecurity, but who knows?

I also began pursuing creative writing. Writing was something that I had discovered in elementary. I had never imagined that those make-believe worlds I loved to play in could be written down in incredible detail and saved for later. I loved it.

I remember one day when my cousin showed me a short story another girl had written. It was scrawled in some random gel-pen color (I was part of the short gel-pen fad that went through some elementary schools). But it was a romance story. And although I was a boy, I was enthralled by it. I had no idea that such a thing could be written. And I realized that I could do that very thing. I wrote many of my own little romances, and they progressed as I got older, moving from lined paper and pen to computer files. My little brother and sister have inherited my old computers, and they loved finding old things that I'd written and lost. My little sister especially loves the romance stories that she finds. Personally, it makes me anxious, because I can't remember what kind of stories have been saved on those computers! Also, those stories were never meant for anyone else. They were mine and mine alone.

I took a creative writing class my first year in high school. Looking back, my teacher was as batty as they get, but she raved over everything we wrote, and I guess more than giving us a critical opinion on our writing, she fostered a love of writing within us. I don't know if that's what she meant to do, but it certainly worked for me. As I went through high school other students mocked her for her absent-mindedness, but I never could. She had a good heart, and she loved writing as much as I did. And that was all that mattered.

As for my attraction, high school simply exacerbated it. Boys were getting better looking, gaining muscle mass (another reason I didn't like gym. I liked looking at the boys, and it made me feel incredibly guilty). I wasn't the only one struggling with feelings I didn't understand, though. I remember overhearing a conversation between a boy from my choir class with another friend, and just from the small bit I heard I could tell that he was struggling with being gay. He was almost five years ahead of me on that one. I hadn't even admitted it to myself yet. But it certainly drew my attention. I didn't know why, but anything gay did. I was drawn to it, but I guilted myself constantly over it.

A lot of that comes from the faith I was raised in. Not all of it. My own personal perfectionism played its own demonic role. But the two combined were a nasty combination. I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church. I know that there are a lot of nasty feelings toward the church when it comes to its relationship with the gay and lesbian world, but understand that for me the church was something wonderful.

Ever since I was a child I loved it. I loved learning about Jesus and how to be a good boy. I loved the way that scripture and the things of God can pierce and change the human soul. And this love progressed through my adolescent years. But when my perfectionist nature combined with the rules and regulations side of the church things got more complicated.

Because I cared what people thought about me. I cared what my parents thought, what my sunday school teachers though, what the bishop thought, and what God thought. And I believed that in order to be loved at all, to be even remotely lovable, I had to be perfect. So, I latched on to those rules and I obeyed them as perfectly as I could, the same way I had with my parents.

The result was being a person that many looked up to, being the boy that mothers wanted their daughters to end up with, but also being very conflicted inside. Not to mention that all my achievements were hollow. I was an incredible student, a by-the-book mormon boy, but I wasn't satisfied. To this day, one of my proudest achievements is winning first place in a creative writing contest when I was in 9th grade. I entered all on my own, and I did it because I wanted to, not because I was expected to. And miraculously I won. And still today, almost a decade later, I am incredibly proud of the fact that my name is the only guy's name on the plaque at my junior high. And it's because it was all for me.

That, however, was rare in my early years. Most of the time I did all I could to try and be like others wanted me to be. And because of that need for acceptance I denied my true attraction with every fiber of my being. In bishops interviews, even up to my mission interview, I denied any attraction to guys. I was commended on my respect of women. I seemed to have no problem with that. At the time I just thought I was really good. The idea makes me laugh now.

But most of my adolescent years were spent trying to be "good enough" for God. Trying to meet every requirement perfectly, so that I would be lovable in his eyes. Looking back, I spent way too much time feeling guilty and not enough actually trying to be a Christian. That's what guilt does to you, if you let it control you. You actually lose your spirituality, and you lose your ability to touch others' lives.

I made it through high school unscathed, however. It may not shock any readers that by graduation I still hadn't had a real girlfriend or had a first kiss (or even held someone's hand). I believed it was because I just hadn't found the right girl, or wouldn't be able to have the relationship I wanted in high school. In reality, though, I never felt like I fit with a girl. Not like other guys did. And whenever I had romantic fantasies, I was always different. Really, in those fantasies, I was emotionally straight.

My lack of steady dating did not deter some girls, however. I had a few girls who pursued me in high school. All of which would get turned down. Nicely, though. I could never bear to hurt someone. One of those girls would become one of my best friends. We'll call her Monique. She had a definite thing for me during our sophomore year. Something that faded but would never fully disappear, in spite of my lack of interest. But I liked spending time with her. She was fun, and she laughed at my stupid jokes. I can't really even remember what point Monique and I became really close. It just kind of happened. She would be the only one I kept in touch with after high school. And she would be the only person from my past that I willingly told about my orientation. That's how amazingly good of a friendship we had. It's definitely been tested since I came out to her a year ago, and the more I look at it the more I think it's because part of her was waiting for me to fall in love with her, and when I came out I destroyed that. I think it broke her heart. And that makes me sad. But she's dating a wonderful guy right now, so I have high hopes for her.

The summer after high school I moved to Provo to work before I started my freshman year at BYU. As for the college experience, however, that will have to wait until next time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


So, I absolutely love this music video, and while I'm sure every gay in the continental United States has already shown it on their blog, I have to post it. :)


School is over. The holidays are upon us. I'm in Provo until tomorrow night, but I dropped my boyfriend off at the airport last Saturday. I miss him like crazy, but it's been good for him to be home with his family.

I haven't gotten this far with my personal story, but my parents didn't handle my coming out well. In all reality, I never came out to them. They forced me out. That was one night I would like to forget. Thankfully, things have gotten better, but they're no where near the point of letting me bring my boyfriend home.

His family, however, is something different. Not that they're waiting to plan our wedding or anything, but they can see the good that has come from our relationship. My boyfriend's mom is an angel, and the first time I met her she walked right up to me and wrapped her arms around me. She has been there for me in ways that my parents simply weren't able to be.

Imagine my surprise when I got a christmas card from her addressed from the whole family. Inside was a sweet note and a gift card. She is such a thoughtful woman.

Today, though, I got a text from my boyfriend. While we have never actually told her, we were pretty sure his mom knew about our relationship. But today he texted me and said "So I'm pretty sure my whole family knows we're dating." I asked him why he thought that, and he replied "Because they all just talked about how nice you are and [his older sister] was complaining to me about how she hasn't met you yet."

Having spent the last year hiding and covering up who I am, finding peace with my family only by pretending that my orientation doesn't exist, it was so nice to hear that. I could see myself spending christmas with them all, being counted as a unit with my boyfriend in the same way that his sister and her husband count as one. Having them know all about my orientation, our relationship, seeing it right in front of them, and having them love and accept me all the same.

I love my boyfriend. And the more I'm with him the more he feels like family. And the more I want to spend my life with him. And that would be a pretty good life, if you ask me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Look and Retrospection: Early Years

Alright, this is getting a little closer to what I want in a blog. I'd like to widen the post box if I could and edit the preset menu a bit, but my novice skills prevent me from doing that. If any more advanced bloggers out there would like to give me a crash course in blog design, I'm totally game.

Anyway, I keep thinking that I really need to get my story down. I need to see it in black and white. And even if no one else in the world reads it, it will be there.

I guess the best place to start is the beginning.
Even from a young age I was different. I didn't really understand it then, and I didn't really think much of it. I don't know that my parents thought much of it either, but me being the first child, they probably didn't know what to expect.

I wasn't rowdy like other boys. I didn't care much for wrestling or conflict. And I never liked toy cars or G.I. Joe or action movies. They were rough and harsh, and I didn't like that. I liked stuffed animals, Barbies, and Disney movies, especially the ones where people fell in love.

At the age of three my favorite movie was the Little Mermaid, and my favorite toys were my Aladdin and Jasmine barbie dolls. My father had fought getting me the Jasmine doll, and for my third birthday I only got the Aladdin half of the set. However, I received some money from a grandparent and I knew exactly what I was getting. My dad might have stopped me, but the fact that it was my money, regardless of how old I was, won out in my mom's eyes and she defended my choice. And so, at three years old there was already something different with me. Different, but not wrong.

As I got older and made friends the vast majority of them were girls. I simply related better to them. They weren't concerned with things that seemed pointless to me, like the boys were. I never much cared for sports, mostly because of the social pressure and primal competition. And so in elementary school while the boys played sports I played make believe on the big toy. And that's how I liked it. I loved the pretend worlds I could create in my mind. I was free there, and no aggressive sport could compete with that.

My inquisitive nature was always there as well. Once I learned to read I much preferred my small two-layer book shelf of books to other things. I always wanted to know how things worked, and why. And I seemed to be much more concerned with people's feelings than other boys were, not to mention more in touch with my own.

I didn't really interact with "normal" boys until I got to junior high. I spent time with a group of guys from my neighborhood, and while I could feel that I was different, I learned how to interact with them, something I'm grateful for. Spending time with boys taught me how to relate to them and that balanced out my personality. And apparently I seemed like a straight guy to everyone else, because coming out has been a surprise for most everyone. Except me, of course.

As I moved from elementary to junior high I began to notice boys more and more. I remember simply being drawn to them in ways that didn't make sense. At one point I even developed what I now know was a crush on a friend of mine. I just loved the way he looked.

But in spite of all this I didn't really get what was happening. I had always been a romantic, and romance stories have a boy and a girl, so that's what I sought. I thought girls were pretty, of course, but appreciation for beauty is far different from attraction. I had a "girlfriend" in sixth and seventh grade, but looking back it was much more of a bff kind of thing. I never really had a desire to kiss her, and never did. I went through the rest of junior high and high school having the occasional "crush" and date, but I now see that it was more attraction to romance than anything else. I was raised in a very conservative home and so the concept of love between two men never even occurred to me. And so as I grew up I was almost blind to the real attraction that was right in front of me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Under Construction

So, this isn't quite what I want it to be yet, but I'm working on getting this thing into a classier version of its former self.

As for the change of title and topic, I wanted to make it into something that I would use more, something that I could use to post my thoughts about anything, any time. So it's going to be about seeing life through different eyes.

I take the title from something I wrote about a year ago.

Beneath the surface lies a world so few see,
A world that most do not understand,
neither do they try.
A world of love and passion,
Of heartbreak and woe,
A world of shadows straining to find
who they are and where they belong.

I have found this world,
because I am a part of it.
Part of the shadow that flees the sun 
for a refuge of safety and peace.

I know the restraint of hiding from the day,
of seeking a place of solitude where my heart can find its home.

I know the chains of living one life by day,
and another by night.

I know the yearning of the shadow for love.
Need that the day cannot understand.

I know the fire of infant love as it courses through me,
reaching at last my aching heart.

I know the beauty of meeting the morn
with the eyes of glory looking into mine.

Though I am shadow,
I know the perfection of a completed heart.
I know its scarcity;
I know its grace;
I know its worth.

So how unlike the day can I truly be?
How different am I,
Though I walk in night to guard my heart?

My love is as yours.
My heart beats for peace,
As yours.

I am the shadow
But I am not the dark.
My soul is light.
My heart is love.
And my hand is strength.

Though I must hide from the day,
I will not fall.
I will not lose faith in the strength of human will.
Though I live in night,
I will believe.
I will live strong.
And when the world of shadow is finally ready to meet the day,
And when the day has found love and compassion for the shadow,
I will be there,

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Anniversary

I realize that I haven't been on here for a while. I'm planning to redo the whole look and purpose behind this thing and make it something that I'll add to more actively. I also realize that I haven't put much down in terms of my personal story, which was a major point in creating this blog. But that will come. I want to write tonight, because it's a special night, and I want to remember it.

Despite daily living below the radar, just over a year ago I was talking online with people like me. I was suffocating, trying to bury or fix this part of myself, and I needed to talk to someone. And I found people. All kinds of people. And it helped. But there was one boy in particular that I really connected with. Talking with him felt almost familiar. And it was a year ago tonight that I met him in person for the first time.

A year has passed, and hardly a day has gone by that I haven't spent part of it with him. I look back and I can see how much I've changed, how much happier I am, how much stronger I am. And I owe it to him. When we first met, I was naive and insecure. And now I can look in the mirror and like the person I see, for all his good qualities and gifts. I've learned to love myself, and in the process, come to love that boy.

Tonight, my boyfriend and I celebrate a year together. We didn't do anything special. In fact, most of the evening we just laid together, our arms wrapped around one another. But as I looked into those eyes that I have looked into for a year now, I felt a connection unlike what I've felt before. Maybe it's been there for a while, and I just haven't seen it. But tonight I saw it. Tonight, with him, I felt home. I felt family. And maybe the world isn't quite the way I'd like it to be, and maybe it's not going to change anytime soon. But that's okay. Because I have somewhere to go. I have someone to run to. And I have a future. Something I couldn't see a year and a day ago.

And so, tonight, I'm grateful. For the wonderful man that was brought into my life, and who has made all the difference.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A great video

I really liked this. Despite how it is for some of us, there are good people out there.