Thursday, October 27, 2011

You're Gay

I have had several people ask me how I knew I was gay and when.  From what I gather, this is the question that many mohos seem to be interested in.  So let me tell you.  

I was 21 and had been back from my mission for a few months.  During these few months I had been spending some time with this girl that I had known most of my life.  After a few weeks I could tell she was starting to really like me and wanted to make our relationship more personal.  Me, on the other hand, was having a moral dilemma.  See I thought this girl was amazing she was beautiful, outgoing, and we had a lot of things in common.  Everybody had pretty much decided we were going to get married.  But I was feeling nothing.  Literally I was indifferent on the subject.  This really bothered me.  I couldn't figure out why I wasn't all giddy and excited about the possibility of having this beautiful girl to date.  I had said many prayer asking God what was up with me and if she was the right one for me.  A few days past and it was time for our weekend date again.  I don't even remember what we did that evening.  All I remember is when I pulled into her driveway we sat there in my truck looking at each other.  Then she finally asked me, "what are we?"  I laughed and tried to play dumb but we both knew what discussion was coming.  I tried to play the, "I just got home, I don't know . . .bla bla bla" card but it didn't work.  She said that she wanted to try and see how we did has boyfriend and girlfriend.  I laughed again and said, "ok let's sleep on it and I'll see you tomorrow."  Because we had already planned another activity.  That night was one of the worst nights of my life to date.  I couldn't sleep I was scared, because I knew I didn't like her like that and I didn't know how to tell her, more importantly I didn't know why I had no feelings at all.  So the next day came and it was awkward and I told her after our date that I wasn't ready for a relationship yet, and I left it at that.  It was this night on my drive home that the thought came to my mind, "you're gay, and you know it."  

I had never ever thought of this.  I was 21 not some teenager going through puberty.  I had never looked at a guy and thought wow what a beautiful man.  But as I drove home that night scenarios of my life began to flash through my mind and I finally started to realize why I had never kissed a girl.  I realized I wasn't physically attracted to them and that I was indeed attracted to the male physique.  I began to realize that when I looked at an attractive guy growing up I often tried to replicate the look, style or activity.  Whatever it was, I was trying to look like the person I found attractive.  And the rest is history.  

I still sometimes think that I am not gay and that it was a simple thought that my mind became obsessed with and the obsession has grown into a way of life.  I have talked with my bishop (past bishop) about it and that was an interesting conversation that needs much more time than I have tonight.  Regardless, I don't look at a particular even that made me gay, but I do vividly remember the first time I thought it.  I don't blame anybody or anything, I just need to decide what to do now.  Until then I'll run.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The BYU Crowd

Being the stalwart student that I am, I am delaying the homework to write a brief post.  I have a confession.  I finally summoned up the courage to go to the USGA meeting on BYU campus recently, and I have to say I was a bit disappointed.  This could be because I sat in the back and didn't talk to anyone and left early.  Maybe I went on a bad day and need to give it another chance but I don't know.  All that happened was a recap of random news stories on gay topics and some more random youtube videos.  Now, I don't know what normally goes on but I don't think I can take that kind of time out of my schedule to do a review of the weeks news with commentary.  I just don't think I'd fit in.  I'm quite opinionated and it seemed like my opinion was starkly different than those in attendance.  I know someone commented earlier about how they didn't think I was that different from other gay people, but from the ones I've met and talked to, I seem to be very unique.  Don't get me wrong, I wish I had more things in common with my gay friends but so far I've come up empty handed.

I suppose this is what causes me the most grief of all.  I wish I could find some guys here at BYU who liked to ski, exercise, fix cars etc.  I wish I had friends that I could hang out with and not worry about what others may think.  I know I'm not supposed to care what others think but while here at BYU I have no choice, I need friends that aren't going to out me.  Maybe I'm not doing my part.  Maybe I need to give people more of a chance and not stereotype people so quickly, so I'll try to do better. 

Bishop, Dinner, Anger, DEFCON 2

A little introspection.  Every-now-and-then I have those days where I just feel down.  Today happened to be one such day.  I've never been able to pin point why these feelings come on, the best I can figure is they occur much like my migraines, randomly yet oddly consistent.  I suppose it began today at church.  You see, I have been trying to meet with my bishop for the last few months and either he or I end up being out of town or sick, so our meeting has yet to happen.  I decided this week that I was done trying, obviously some force greater than I doesn't want said meeting to happen.  So I left it up to the bishop.  He knows I've been trying to talk to him, and if he feels so impressed to invite me into his office i'll go, but until then I'm in this battle alone.  That being said, I left church feeling a bit inconsequential, apparently God doesn't care that I'm trying to follow his gospel.  (I know this isn't true but the thought frequently attempts to enter into my mind.)

Following church I made dinner for a few friends including my little sister.  While eating I was surrounded by people and still felt quite alone.  Next, I was invited to go watch a movie at my roommates fiancĂ©'s parents house with some other friends of ours.  But that was the last thing I wanted.  Who wants to go socialize with an engaged couple and girls your not interested in?  Not me.  So I stayed home and started watching a movie of my own.  My depressed feelings quickly began to escalate to anger.  I was getting mad, my heart was pounding and I just needed to hit something.  My body kept telling me I had to run or I was going to hurt somebody or break something, but it was dark and I had just ate, surely I would vomit.   So I did the next best thing.  I did laundry, cleaned my room, and sacrificed some money to the iTunes Gods.  It worked.  I calmed myself down, and am feeling much better.  My problems are not gone,  I have just successfully beat them into submission once more.  I worry that one of these days I wont' be able to subdue my feelings and I'll just snap, the idea of which keeps me constantly on edge and somewhat recluse. 

I need a new constant in life.  For the longest time my constant guiding star was the Church.  When that began to dim it was family, followed by school and capping off at being gay.  However, all of these defense systems are hitting DEFCON 2 and I don't know what will happen when they fail.  I currently find myself living for the day the snow falls so I can loose myself on the ski slopes.  But until then I will wait with all the patience I can muster for a north-star to appear.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hope It Works

I have many thoughts bombarding my already war-torn mind, so that last few nights I have retired to the trenches early.  I have a handful of posts that I have started and have yet to finish, and honestly probably won't, but they were great contemplating tools.   My thoughts, as of late, are rarely completed before a new idea begins, it's quite taxing.  So in an effort to calm my mind I've been pondering this, consider the Following:

I love motors, I have worked on them since I was a little boy.  You see, they are quite simple.  In order to function properly a motor needs spark, fuel-air mixture, and compression, if you achieve all of these you've got high octane fun!  I count myself as quite handy around cars, and as a result I'm automatically a cheap college students first resort when their car decides to go on a unscheduled hiatus.  As my friend's did today.  So what did I do?  I took work off early and spent 3 hours and 3 trips to Auto-zone fixing her angsty Honda Accord.  Now it runs like a champ, and I'm better friends with Auto-zone guy, who was not attractive by the way, slightly disappointing.

If only my internal combustion and timing could be harmonized with 3 hours and a local auto parts store.  But, no such luck.  However, I learned a valuable lesson today.  When diagnosing my friends car, I immediately thought it was a specific faulty part.  But convinced myself otherwise because it is a part that rarely needs replacing, so instead I replaced three other parts before finding the one that actually proved to be faulty.  If I would have followed my gut in the beginning the project would have only taken 30 minutes max.  But, in the processes other problems were fixed and regular tune-up type actions were done.  Her car now runs smoother and more efficiently than it would have if I had just replaced the specific part.

I bring this up, because often our struggles in the church are centered around something we know is broken.  [Not claiming that if your gay your broken, just roll with this].  So what do we do?  We fix that part of us, but soon find that is was only a temporary fix or it propagated another problem previously unidentified or ignored.  What if we spent less effort trying to repair our obvious defects and worked more on a spiritual tune-up.  Work backwards.  I understand this is somewhat of an unconventional method but maybe we can learn something from the angsty Accord I encountered this afternoon.  For example I often find myself not enjoying church, not reading my scriptures regularly, struggling with my daily prayers, and finding excuses to avoid FHE and other church activities. As a consequence I'm alienated from members of my ward and my leaders.  So what am I going to do about it?  I'm going to be a better friend and neighbor to those in my ward, which in turn will make FHE more enjoyable, which will help me be less bitter towards church in general, which will make scripture study and prayer more applicable in my life etc etc etc.  You get the point.

Now that I think of this, there are several programs that function this way (missionary work).  Simply put, work on bettering the system as whole not just one aspect.  We have a phrase in economics that says self-reinforcing effects generate extreme outcomes.  So, what this means is I need to do something in my life that will bring about personal change that in turn will generate more change, almost effortlessly.  That's how an efficient economy works so I simply need to identify my personal self-reinforcing effects.  To a person dealing with homosexuality in the Church, these could be; befriending your church leaders, voluntarily attending institute, contribute in church meetings, and I'm sure there are many others but I'll let you decide what is best for you.  I'm not suggesting that this will make our relationship with the church any stronger, I'm simply suggesting it will make it more pleasant.  If you want to be a part of the church, which I guess most BYU students do, but find it increasingly more difficult to get excited about it, this process may help you.  I think it will help me, and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Although, much more time consuming, this method can bring the desired results more permanently than the quick and dirty fix.  It will hopefully give you more time and mental bandwidth needed to address the larger problems that find us in life, and hopefully your thoughts will become less scrambled and you will stress less about the little things.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why God Still Loves Me

Today while exceeding the speed limit to a degree that some would call reckless I was reminded that God still loves me.  This epiphany didn't occur because of a near-death experience or a close call of any sort,  I couldn't have been happier.  Partly because I was joyriding but mostly because I finally picked up on a message the Big-Man had been trying to send me for some time.

I know my circumstances sometimes get me down and frustrated.  Today I realized that God didn't care if I was gay or straight, big or small, fat or skinny, or gorgeous.  He just loves me for existing.  After all he did create me after his own image and likeness with expert care and attention.  It's like a grandma who hangs up a page of scribbled lines because her granddaughter said it was a picture of them holding hands.  To the rest of the world the picture is ugly, uninteresting, and a waste of precious fridge space, but to grandma it is the most precious piece of art in her home.  That, my friends, is why God loves me.  Because he has a perspective that no one else has.  He knows and understands me in ways that no one will ever come close to.  My life of scribbled chaos is appreciated and priceless to him.  So today at 103 mph I was God's most precious piece of art on his fridge and I knew it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Here, Now What?

Nobody tells me anything these days!  I had to find out through the local news that today was National Coming Out day.  Now I have to wait a whole year.  Oh well, I'll get over it, I did however, almost give my blog address to my sister and a close friend, so that's got to count for something right?  Or not, moving on.

Today was my return to full activity.  I'm still sick, but I couldn't afford to miss anymore school and work.  It wasn't all bad though, my friend took me out for soup for dinner and then my sister brought over more soup.  During both soup encounters I was chastised for not telling them that I was sick, apparently there is some social memo I missed that states, "one will alert the presses and concerned parties when one is infirmed."  Yep, missed that one, sorry friends.  But it did help me realize today, that I have great friends.  I really wish the could read this blog and know how much I appreciate them, it's kind of nice to have someone care about you.  Which brings me to my next point.

So in a moment of boredom I found myself editing the style of my blog, which forced me to reread my subtitle.  This reminded me I started this blog to share my perspective on things, particularly things that affect gay BYU students.  So with out further ramblings the following is my perspective on dating guys/having a boyfriend/kissing etc etc etc while going to BYU.

Technically should you do it?  No, the Honor Code says so.  But I go on man-dates all the time with my buds and have a good time.  So why not go on a man-date with a man that happens to be gay?  So let's just not call it a date and we are good.  Personally I don't see anything wrong with this, honestly I wish it happened to me once or twice.  So what happens when you go on a dates and start to like the individual.  That's where it gets tough, is holding hands and kissing boys against the honor code?  Very much so.  So what do I think?  Well. . . this is a tough question that requires some tough love.  The honorable side of me says, no this is not ok, because you signed an agreement when you came to this university to live your life in harmony with the gospel.  However, the lonely side of me may think technically I'm not breaking in commandments, so what's the big deal.  If he makes me happy, why not?  I think this is a personal endeavor and if you decide to walk that path you better have had a solid conversation with the man upstairs, because you're going to need a foundation of decision to walk on later.  I feel if this is a conclusion you came to following your admittance to BYU you need to keep it low-key and within reason, because the environment of BYU is not one for you to disrespect.  The university has no obligation to you or your choices if you choose to disobey the rules.  So if you do decided to follow this path, don't expect the way to be easy.  If you have made the decision to date men prior to coming to BYU I believe you should not come at all.  You will be intentionally deceiving people from the start, and that is never an easy place to be.

I make the distinction between making the decision before or after coming BYU because I feel those of us who have recognized what being gay means and what role it may play in our life after coming to BYU should not have to switch schools, majors, jobs, or whatever else you have found for yourself because of this new life development.  But, never should any student disrespect the gospel standards this institution stands for, that is being extremely selfish on your part.  BYU has much to offer gay members of the church and  we should take advantage of it while we are here, those who graduated BYU will bless the lives of many gay or straight.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Off Balance

Being gay is an exhausting charade.  I know this isn't a new concept but it's all my brain seems to have been thinking about as of late.  See, I've been sick the last couple of days and have been restricted to the couch or my bed.  I've had nothing to do but think all weekend, this is a dangerous situation.  So. . . I have been pondering about all the effort I put into balancing my life between school, work, church, and friends.  Just thinking about it wears me out.  I'm amazed at the things I do and say, that have little conviction behind them.  It seems I'm trying so hard to balance everything that I'm missing out on everything going on around me.  I wonder if people take me seriously or see right through me.  I never have a personal conversation with people because I can't openly talk about my personal life.  If someone asks how I am doing, I'm programmed to automatically respond, "good thanks."  I have decided this isn't healthy.  I'm going to do something about it.  What I'm going to do is still up for debate, any suggestions?

I've often wondered if I was to meet some more gay people if I would open up and let my self have fun.  I don't think I would because I would continue to be worried that somehow, someone I know would find out.  I also face the dilemma of finding gay people that I would enjoy hanging out with.  I'm definitely the white sheep in a rainbow flock when it comes to the gay crowd.  So what do I do to become more sincere in my ways.  I care about people, and enjoy getting to know them, but it feels superficial when I refuse to let them get to know me.  I grasp the fact that there is more to me than the fact that I like guys, but really, how close can you let people get before they figure that out?  No one in my life  has crossed that line yet.

Recently I was told to loose myself in the service of others.  This is a great plan but with one weakness.  I would serve as a ghost, no one would know who I really am and everybody would be content with that.  I would find myself in the same situation I'm attempting to escape.

Oh well, enough ranting.  I'm going to start with deprogramming my automatic responses.  When someone asks me how I'm doing I'll respond with something I can be confidant in.  Or when someone tries to get to know me better, I'll let them.  The less things I have to balance the better chance I have staying up right.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bless the Sky Spirits

It snowed in Provo today!  I can't wait until ski season begins.  I love skiing more than most things in life, which can be potentially harmful in social situations I've discovered, but that's not important right now.  What is important is that there is snow up on them ther hills, and it's got me all in the mood, I may just go put my ski boots on and stare out the window.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Gay Tax Credit

Today a I learned of the so called, "Fat Tax."  Apparently the higher-ups in our country are attempting to impose a tax on high-fat foods.  This is a bad idea.  First of all, I love fat!  The football shaped Oreos I had today were amazing and I'd be very upset if I was unable to eat them at my leisure.  I'm a student of economics and I understand the reasoning of the government.  Raise the marginal cost of an activity and the marginal benefit gets smaller, blah blah blah.  We get it.  But really?  Is it gonna work?  I think not, Oreos are too gosh darn delicious and if they cost me 12 cents more, those 12 cents are coming out of my vegetable fund, because those marginal benefits are already lacking and I want Oreos!  Now imagine the passion of a 300 lbs moody woman who wants her bacon?  Frightening, I know.  All this is going to do is raise crime because the marginal benefits of bacon are far greater than that of robbing the local 7-11.

I propose the Gay Tax Credit.  Such a credit would give gay individuals a tax break for liking men.   Think about it, we are doing the government and the people of this fine nation a service.  We are saving them the trouble of having to pretend to like us.  What if they just gave the gay friendlies a tax perk, and in return we'd stop all the underwear parades.  Oh better yet,  have congress vote on the either the Gay Tax Credit or Gay rights, now that would be a conundrum.

Anyway, moving on.  Clearly I'm being a bit satirical.  Recently in my religion class and during General Conference, all I seemed to hear were the benefits of not being gay.  Every talk seemed to translate into just that, as if to entice me to change my mind.  I kept hearing, "you could be this if your weren't gay"or "look what you could have if you start liking girls."  Unfortunately team it is not that easy.  The world could raise the marginal cost of being gay, and I'd probably stay in the closet forever, or they could lower the marginal cost and raise the benefit (see proposed Gay Tax Credit above) and I'd still probably stay in the closet.  Because I don't care what everybody else thinks.  I care about what I think.

The problem is there.  I care what I think about myself, I care how I feel about being gay, and currently that is up for debate.  The cursed fates just mess with me.  Whenever I think I have my life figured out they throw off the planetaria alignment and disrupt my mojo.  Rude.  I hope one day to understand myself and the complexities within in me.  This post represents that, an attempt to sort out my inner thoughts and see what drives me.  But for some reason all I can think about are the football Oreos in my kitchen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Benefits of Being Angry At the World

BYU is a joy!  I really enjoy it here, I wouldn't trade it for anything of equal or lesser value, that's for sure.  But I always hear of people who aren't enjoying their time here, be they frustrated, depressed, anxious, shy, or angry at the world.  I wish those people were easier to spot, I'd really like to help.  I'm a friendly guy and I like to think most people find me pleasant to be around.  I think I could help in some small fashion.

After all, many times I have had thoughts that threaten to put me in one of those categories, mainly angry at the world, but I mange to survive.  Why do people allow themselves to be like that?  [I understand some have legitimate mental difficulties that limit this process and they are excused from this discussion]  Just smile.   Maybe you are a bit over weight, maybe you aren't as smart as your roommate, maybe you're not as good looking as the Californian down the row, or heck maybe you gay!  Whatever the reason it's no justification to limit your self worth.  I'll have you know I like you just the way you are.  If you want to change something about yourself I'll be there encouraging you the entire way.  Maybe the lame show, The Green Lantern got something right, perhaps one of the most powerful forces in the universe is your own will.  I think it is.  No one can stop you, not even yourself if your will is supporting you.

If you find yourself thinking you are a lost cause, or you're so low that Moby Dick is blocking your sunlight close your eyes for a while and when you open them realize you are in a place that offers you more than you can possibly handle.  Your inner self will speak to you I promise.  Maybe it will say, "self, you should go play frisbee," or, "self, you keep telling yourself to do that, so do it!"  That's your will, follow it and you'll be surprised where it will lead you.  That's a promise.