Getting a B+

Two small, related experiences from this evening:

I was meeting with my bishop and to start off, he summarized my situation and the things that we talked about the last time we met. "...And instead of saying, 'Screw the Church!' and leaving, you've decided to stay because you have this testimony. And in the meantime, the best you can really hope for is a B+ kind of a situation." Well, I don't remember exactly how he said it but I thought he described my situation very well. The main point I want to make is his mention of this B+, something he brought up several times throughout the meeting.

I fully agreed that I am shooting for a B+. An A grade would mean getting married to someone I'm fully attracted to. My B+ would be either a mixed-orientation marriage that works or a worthy, single life in the Church (Note that these grades are self evaluations of happiness and success, not evaluations of worthiness from the Church). And as far as I'm concerned, any option outside the Church is a failing grade. I told the bishop that I'm okay with a B+ (Incidentally, that might end up being my average grade from this hellish semester).

So then, after getting home, I was watching a very good, three part recording on youtube of a recent meeting with Dr. Ted Lyon at BYU. I strongly recommend watching it-- at least the first segment and perhaps his final testimony in part three. Show me a humble man and I'll show you a man who has my complete respect.

In the first part, he says:
People ask me, "Have you seen a change in BYU students over the years?" One thing that I can say is that there is an incredible amount of gradism at BYU now that didn't used to exist. You don't know what gradism is, do you? Requiring high grades; you're smart and you have to have good grades. If I give an A- on a paper, a student is upset and wants to know why, and a B+ is a bad grade. It didn't used to be that way. I could give Cs and Bs without too much serious problem. That's been an amazing change that I've seen. People come with a very high expectation of getting very high grades. I hope you don't fit into that category. I hope you're learning for learning.

I didn't think anything of his words when I first heard them, but later I was in the kitchen, drinking Cherry Coke that belongs to my roommate who went home for Christmas today. And I remembered the last part, "I hope you're learning for learning."

I'd love an A+ life. Boy howdy I would. Instead of being so focused on the grade, though, I hope to get to the point where I'm more focused on what I'm learning. Life may never be ideal. I want to be okay with that.

Mika, Anyone?

So, I really want to go see Mika in Salt Lake on February 8th, but I need someone/someones to go with. Tickets went on sale today but I'm waiting to make sure I don't have to go alone. Anyone interested?

Right and Wrong

Some would have us believe that the area between good and evil is largely gray and that it is difficult to determine what is right and what is wrong. For any who so believe, I recommend this beautiful statement of Mormon, quoted by his son Moroni: “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God” (Moro. 7:16). -Gordon B. Hinckley

I don't know where so many of us get the crazy idea that we're not ever supposed to label anything as "right" or "wrong". Using my God-given ability to do so is a process that has been vital to choosing the path I've led so far in life. It has helped me steer away from wrong choices and toward right ones (Imagine that!). I honestly don't know how a person could ever lead a successful, moral life if he suspended all judgment and viewed every action by every other person by saying, "Well, maybe that's what's right for him." I'm pretty sure there are people who believe this is the best way to live, but I haven't yet heard an argument for it that makes sense.

Of course there are limits to proper judgment, and we should never cross those limits. But in my last post, the "right" and "wrong" I spoke of were mainly referring to full devotion to the Church and gospel compared to disobedience. We may enjoy debating inherent rightness or wrongness of an action using our limited understanding, but disobeying the word of God is one thing I hope we can agree should be labeled "wrong".

The side I recommended we pick is the side of following the gospel (including the Church's standards) to the best of our abilities. Conversely, those who choose to think of themselves as more intelligent than God and his prophets and choose a different path are the "wrong" side. I'm allowed to say that.

Sure, there are a few things in the gray areas. But thank goodness prophets help us out in a lot of ways by giving some clear boundaries. Thank goodness we have the Spirit of Christ and the right to personal revelation. We can expect that revelation to clarify truly gray areas; but we shouldn't expect it to contradict the gospel basics and the things our leaders tell us.

I apologize if I sound like Ann Coulter. I read a bunch of her book while waiting in line at Circuit City this morning.

Where To Go From Here

Last Wednesday was the first time I've come out to a bishop before. It went much better than I ever suspected it would. We did the normal small talk stuff so he could get to know me-- I had only met him once before, due to things like being out of town or working on Sunday and going to the ward that the kids I help go to. I was hoping I could somehow naturally bring in the topic of my homosexuality, but I couldn't. Just as I had feared, it got quiet and he asked, "So, what can I do for you?"

He recognized it was difficult for me to blurt it out, so he let me take my time. I was able to say it with surprisingly little difficulty, compared to coming-out experiences with friends or family before. And he was just great about it. He told me that had actually crossed his mind earlier in the conversation when I hesitated to answer a question about girl troubles. He went on to tell me about some of his gay friends from throughout his life. For example, while attending BYU, he found out his home teaching companion had the hots for him and was jealous of his fiancé. Then, while living in New York, he was assigned to visit one of the original BYU bathroom toe-tappers who was dying of AIDS.

Anyway, I was left with the impression that I had been led to this man, whom I knew would seek to understand my situation and could help me out. He was of the opinion that a person in my situation-- a person who sees the potential greatness of living according to his attractions but who is "cursed" (his word) with an undeniable testimony-- could use some help in figuring where to go from there.

He kept using that phrase-- "where to go from here." In any event, he recommended I go back to the counseling center to see how they can help me move forward with dating girls (my goal, not his). I'm happy to go back but had started feeling guilty earlier in the year when I felt like I was wasting their time. Hopefully I'm messed up enough to get in.

I'm really happy I went to see him. Similarly to when I felt instant connections to Mohos when I first started hanging out with people in April, I feel like I have this sudden connection with my bishop, who I feel I can always count on. I'm glad I went despite some less than enthusiastic responses from a few people close to me when I told them my desires to tell my bishop.

I guess I agree with him. I could use guiding help from trustworthy sources. Really, any person who has to navigate life amidst homosexual attraction and gospel beliefs would do well to have a spiritual leader by his side.

I've been wanting to put my two cents (or less) in regarding the recent Mohosphere drama and side-picking and all that. It's true that we all go through phases of varying degrees of devotion to conservative ideals and more liberal lifestyle choices. That makes it difficult to judge those who are making what we might think are mistakes, just because we happen to be spiritually sober at the moment. My opinion, though, is that that doesn't change the fact that full devotion to Church standards is always the best option.

Um, in other words, we're all at different stages but it's my firm belief that we're always more correct when we're safely on the gospel's side. It's in those moments, when we feel the prick of the Spirit to try harder in life, to pray more earnestly, to go to the temple and get rid of all the stupid sins we fall into, that we're on the right path. I've never found myself at the other end of the spectrum and thought, "This is exactly where I need to be!" In the midst of an immature, teen-like crush, I've never felt the prick motivating me to be more active in gay dating or encouraging me to get to the gay club more often.

I guess my advice to myself and to everyone else is to pick a side (for your own life choices) and stick with it for as long as you possibly can. And for goodness sakes, pick the right side. And be nice to the people who are wrong.

Agreeing to Disagree

I'm growing tired of having to defend my beliefs in talking with friends. Friend, I mean-- in talking with friend. The same thing happened back in May. I heard statements like, "For some people, the gospel isn't the right answer; other paths in life are better for them," or, "It's better to gain experience through sinning than to remain in innocence," coming from some of my closest friends. And I had to defend the beliefs that I thought were pretty standard among Mormons. Maybe I attract more liberal types, but it just seems like Mohos are more liberal than they need to be.

I had a break for a few months, but now I'm back to the endless defending. I find it exhausting to have to defend my belief that, for example, gay dating is against the standards of the Church or that it's okay to control how we're influenced by choosing friends wisely. I mean, I can take small doses of liberal viewpoints about the Church and its doctrine through blogs. But it's sad when the people I trust and am around most just seem to be on the other team so much.

That's not to say I don't flip-flop in my views fairly often. In the course of a day, depending on my experiences, I may go from thinking that a certain amount of physical intimacy with a guy is okay to being certain that I can go the remaining 60 years of my life without anyone else.

One of the reasons I don't want to deal with it is that I sometimes am actually influenced by the other side. That's not something I want happening right now. When I find something to criticize about the Church, it only makes me unhappier in the end.

So I face several decisions about how to handle the friend situation. I have to act carefully because my course of action in May led to a good friend going on a rampage of hate, turning several others against me. I'd like to think that this time I can find a happy middle ground-- some sort of relationship where we're simply friends with differences in doctrinal belief. Yeah, I know, people create such friendships every day. But I have little experience in them. And it's disheartening to think that perhaps all of my Moho friendships have to just be safely distant friendships.

I know, at least, that the answer is not to remove myself from the Moho world. It's nonsense to think I could go back into the closet (the partial amount I've come out of it) and be perfectly happy. I need to figure out how to be my complete self in the place that I am, and to be fine with it; and perhaps how to let other people be themselves, and to be fine with that too.

...And Britney's new album, which leaked tonight, is bound to do well!

Nothing in Particular

Visiting my blog tonight, I was pleasantly surprised to see a comment on the last post asking why I don't write anymore. It's your lucky day, anonymous, because I've decided to finally just write something. I've been wanting to post for several weeks but always put it off, like it's some sort of paper for school. Maybe all the talk of procrastination in General Conference had some small effect. Wait, no... I'm supposed to be writing two papers for tomorrow but am up until 3:00 blogging instead.

I don't really know what to talk about, but I think it'll be good to just let some things out before I go crazy. It may be too late.

There are a lot of good things about life. Living with (Moho) friends is super. It's the first time I've lived with actual friends at school, so home is a relaxed atmosphere rather than a lonely trap full of awkward silences. And I can completely be myself with no fears. If I want to watch a review of red carpet fashions, I do it. If I feel like listening to Britney's new song, I do it.

Hmm, I'm having trouble thinking of other good things. School is fine-- I'm pretty much keeping up as much as I need to and enjoying having every other day off. I'm on a full tuition scholarship and just remembered that I had mentioned my homosexuality on the scholarship application. That means either that they didn't read it or that God doesn't hate gays! I'm still looking for a job but not really LOOKING for a job, you know? Sometimes I feel like I want to go volunteer somewhere but I really need to earn money to pay my dad back for my Japan program and at least partially for my new Scion xD.

I was trying to update my Facebook profile tonight and it annoyed me how difficult it is. I spent forever trying to find a photo of me that I didn't hate. Then I stared at the "Interests" and "Activities" sections, trying to think of anything I could put. It made me kind of realize that not much else is happening in my life. I'm not someone who gets bored (at least not when I'm by myself), but there's not much I could say I'm doing.

In some ways, I feel like I'm changing back into a kind of pre-April me, or at least a combination of pre-April me with a newer me. I feel like I've kind of fallen out of the happy Moho world I was living in a few months ago. I realize that spring/summer was spring/summer and frequent activities aren't too feasible anymore, but outside of my roommates, I rarely see anyone. I never had very close friendships with most people, but being in the same place with them helped me feel like I belonged. I recognize that it's largely my fault. I'm never good at initiating things or doing my part to keep friendships going strong, but it's still sad to see the relationships fade. I enjoy the meetings at the Matis home every month, but even there my inability to mingle or talk to new people gets exposed and I find myself praying that those I came with will let me get away.

It all begins to feel like the time before April, when I'd occasionally hit patches of despair and wonder why things had to be so difficult. Admittedly, some of the reasons why I'm finding things difficult again have changed slightly. Before, it was more of a "I'm lonely and I hurt" feeling. But last week I was walking to my first class and very nearly began crying because I felt like I wasn't allowed to be really happy, to be in a fulfilling relationship. I think all of the Sunstone sessions I've been listening to have been affecting me strangely. I'm pretty conservative still, though!

I guess I don't mind too much that I'm reverting to pre-April mode, because back then I was pretty good at relying on the Lord for everything. My prayers were always full of heartfelt pleading, and I had reached the point where I found myself thanking Heavenly Father for the trial. Between the tough times, I felt like was able to "make it". More recently, not only has the pleading been reduced, I doubt I even gave much thought to whether I was "making it" or not.

I don't think I have sufficient reason to return to the Counseling Center yet, but I'm looking forward to talking to my bishop and seeing what happens. I've never told a bishop anything before.

Good books, great music, a few wonderful friends, downloaded movies, sleeping in, haircuts, good cologne, Robert Millet's Institute lessons, Spider Solitaire, Goldfish crackers, new car smell, Halloween costume ideas, inside jokes, Heroes, hugs-- those are the things that make everything okay. Now I'd better get to my homework.

View From Above

1. I climbed Mt. Fuji on Friday! It was miserable and amazing. On the way up I was trying to make it into something of a spiritual journey and was looking forward to some good personal time at the summit. Unfortunately, toward the top it got very cold and very wet and my time at the summit was spent trying to stay alive. We had hiked about seven hours through the night to see the sunrise and we were only rewarded with dark gray mess turning into lighter gray mess, as shown above. I still loved it.

2. I've been busy with a lot of things, as one would hope to be while in Japan. For those of you who thought we were friends but are now questioning the thought, the lack in communication doesn't mean I hate you. It means I'm a bad friend and you knew that already.

3. I came out to a friend I've made in our group. It was kind of landmark because she was the first straight person I've told that wasn't a best friend or a family member or a Moho group member or a fellow group counseling member. Surprisingly, she said she pretty much knew already but thought I wasn't out to myself yet! I suppose I've been letting myself be more open with true thoughts and feelings recently, even in straight crowds. The fact that I bought a manbag (I prefer "satchel") and jokingly said I wished I could be Cinderella at Tokyo Disneyland are both fairly good hints, I suppose.

4. A billion things have happened in the past few months. Things that I could have written pages and pages about, and perhaps should have. I've gone through interesting phases of loving that I'm gay and hating that I'm gay. I've felt happy about things I've never felt happy about before and cried about things I've never cried about before. I've felt panic and I've felt calm. Things are almost always up, though. It's amazing to think how recently it was that I would go into my room after a thoughtful walk home from school, lock my door, and just cry on my bed. Cry it all out. I love how much I'm growing.

I'm so thankful for my experiences this summer, especially this time in Japan. Although I spend more time doing karaoke and less time meditating than I had planned, I'll soon have a few weeks on my own to ride some trains and see some friends from the mission. I hope I can accomplish something here. I feel it's a time given to me to sort things out. I want to figure out where certain people fit in my life. I want to rediscover my testimony. I want to figure out my approach to life starting this fall. Yeah, a life approach. I can do that. After all, I climbed Mt. Fuji.

Taken to Trial

I guess it's been a full three weeks since I last posted. I swear I've wanted to post things but always manage to put it off. I've realized that my blog is becoming no different than any other journal I've tried to keep-- I don't recall ever keeping a journal for more than about a month straight, even on my mission. I'm glad that at least I have recorded my experiences in coming out to my parents. That was the main event that I was looking forward to record as I started the blog. Those were kind of official, well-thought-out posts and I think they unintentionally drew me away from more of a journally feel. So, to get back into posting, I've decided to delay all the serious topics that I've been wanting to write about and have some fun.

Partially inspired by by Original Mohomie's list of signs, I've started to think of evidences for and against me being gay/SSA'd. If I were in a courtroom where I was suspected of being gay, this is the material I'd expect either side to use. These are just some things I thought of after a few minutes, so the lists will definitely grow with time. It's interesting, though, that several of them are pretty recent; it will be interesting to record where I am now and compare it to my earlier and later self.

-I've unknowingly started using glittery lotion. The words "soft shimmer" and even "infused with subtle light reflectors" didn't tip me off. The first time I wore it happened to be the first time I met Danish Boy and he exclaimed, "How cool-- you sparkle!" or something like that, after which Hidden looked at me and said, "You are so gay."
-I have, in a hidden folder on my computer separate from my "straight" music, a collection of music by artists such as Aqua, Backstreet Boys, Clay Aiken, Kylie Minogue, Madonna, and S Club 7.
-Behind my bed is a secret stash of books including In Quiet Desperation, Carol Lynn Pearson's No More Goodbyes, Kim Mack's The Unconquerable Soul, and Jason Park's Resolving Homosexual Problems.
-I'd rather watch one episode of So You Think You Can Dance than a lifetime of sports games.
-Total items in my roommate's medicine cabinet: 6. Total items in my medicine cabinet: 39.
-My web browser checks every four hours for RSS feeds from 31 blogs written by gay Mormons.
-A large portion of my wardrobe is from Express Men; it also includes five scarves and eleven pairs of shoes.
-Three of the last four friends I've had over are feminine enough to cause suspicion. The fourth one happens to be gay too.
-Every look in the mirror includes time spent looking for pluckable eyebrow hairs.
-I was recently enjoying (really enjoying) my first listen to Mika's album Life in Cartoon Motion when I started realizing how gay the album is, especially the song about Billy Brown falling in love with another man. The song about big girls then reminded me of my several of my friends.
-Also on my computer is a collection of 42 music videos or live performances by Britney Spears, totalling 1.5 GB. Wow. Wow.

-Musicals just don't do it for me. I felt no deep connection to Mean Girls either.
-I apparently walk like a straight man. I've been told by a reliable source that I couldn't be pegged by my walk.
-I kissed a girl a few weeks ago!
-When it comes to noticing other people's advances, I'm known to be as thick-skulled as any SSG.
-I wore socks with sandals until 2003.
-My favorite music video is The Pussycat Dolls' Buttons (Hey, hot is hot!).
-Shoe shopping is boring to me.
-I have no desire to rid myself of body hair unless, one day, I find it on my back.
-I get crushes on some girls and am nervous talking to them.
-Most people I come out to tell me they never would have guessed. If everyone in the world assumes I'm straight, that's got to mean something, right??

Unfortunately, it looks like the prosecution has pretty strong evidence. Ah, who cares? The facts can be wrong sometimes. That one guy on the jury is pretty cute, though.

Telling My Parents - Part 3 of 3

It’s funny how much more comfortable I felt with everything as we naturally began speaking again of my issues. The warm sun was shining through the window and I curled up into the rectangle of light cast on the carpet, expressing how great it would be to be a cat.

My parents began by making sure I knew that they loved me exactly how I am and that they would always love me because I am their son. I mentioned how great this “coming out” experience had been—surpassing any expectation I ever had. I told them about my fear of the worst case scenario in which, after telling my parents, they would refuse to speak to me again and stop paying for my schooling (and rent… and food…). I guess deep down I knew I had nothing to fear because I knew the awesome love of my parents; I suppose I was just nervous, not scared.

Earlier at church, a former seminary teacher had asked if I was dating anyone at school (I’m not) and recommended setting a goal, like her son had done recently, such as asking one girl out a month. This fueled a discussion with my parents about dating possibilities for me and more about the possible reality of being alone until I die. My dad, full of concern, said, “I think the worst thing you can do at this point is to give up and think that things will never work with a girl.” I agreed and resolved to keep trying.

Speaking to my mom, my dad said he would be more worried for me if I were younger and hadn’t had some of the experiences that I’ve had. But, knowing that I’ve served a mission, come so far and accomplished so much, and recognizing my strong character and immovable testimony, he knew I would be fine.

The real reason we had gathered that last time was for my dad to give me a blessing. I hadn’t even considered the opportunity before coming home and was excited; I had desired a blessing while at school but was reluctant to approach anyone about it. In preparation, my dad asked if there was anything specific I wanted help with. I thought for a while and, getting up from my sunny rectangle, fought back emotion as I told him, “I guess I just need help with endurance. Loneliness is something that’s hard to be patient with.”

I think the tears began spilling from beneath my eyelids as soon as my dad placed his hands on my head. This was an amazing expression of love. I felt perfect comfort. The things he expressed were full of love and wisdom and were clearly guided by the Spirit. He warned me to choose wisely those with whom I associate. He explained that when the temptation is at its strongest and I feel I can’t go on any longer, that there would always be a means of escape; that I had to find that escape that would allow me to regain my perspective.

I don’t recall ever seeing my dad cry. Now, though, he had trouble getting the words out as he spoke for both he and my mom and expressed that they would do anything to let me not go through this; but that somewhere there is purpose in the trial. I felt the burning of true parental love and knew I was experiencing something similar to the love that the Savior has for me.

When the blessing ended I remained sitting in my chair as I wiped my face and expressed silent gratitude. My dad wasn’t going to wait for the traditional post-blessing hug, though, and embraced me from behind as he buried his head in my shoulder and sobbed. It is a moment I can never forget and that will never fail to bring me to tears. I felt infinitely connected with this man with whom I’d shared few hugs that didn’t feel forced.

We got up as time required that my dad get to the airport. He told me to call him any time, day or night. He added that one thing that was reassuring to him (in terms of possibility of change) was that I don’t have some of the typical effeminate mannerisms of gay guys. I shared a knowing smile with my mom, recalling our gaydar talk from the night before.

They asked if I wanted to ride with them to the airport and I did, but faced the dilemma of how to get upstairs and into the garage without my sisters seeing my puffy red eyes. Luckily my mom offered to sneak my shoes into the car while I escaped to the backyard through the downstairs window and met them in the driveway. A simple drive to the airport was never my idea of fun, but that day was different. I felt truly happy to spend another hour with my two new best friends.

Telling My Parents - Part 2 of 3

I'm not exactly proud of the quality of the writing but I'm glad to actually be getting this all down. I promise I'm almost done! In other news, judging by the post times of all of my posts so far, I think my most productive time is 2 to 4 AM...

One of the first things my Mom asked was something like, “Who are you attracted to?” I responded, “Like, specifically?” I wasn’t sure what she was getting at. “It seems kind of early to talk about that…” Thankfully my dad added, “Yeah, that’s not really relevant…” And with that, our discussion began.

We talked about possible causes. I said I couldn’t recall any instances of abuse in my childhood; I tried to explain that I felt loved and cared for by both of them. We talked about the process I’ve gone through since beginning to address the issue last September. I became emotional only as I described the difficulty of figuring out how to live as a Mormon with these feelings. I talked about my new friends and how they knew what I came home to do. “I have at least seven people praying for me right now!”

My mom didn’t understand much at first and I expected as much. Some of her first advice was, “Well, through prayer and scripture study you can overcome those thoughts.” I told her that was a nice thought but that she was wrong. She was genuinely worried for me and apparently frightened at the implications of what I was saying. “Can you promise you'll never act on it?” she asked. “I don't think you'll ever truly be happy if you pursue a gay relationship,” she said while looking at me with hope that I agreed. I completely agreed. “At the same time, though,” I explained, “and this will be hard to hear, I need to know that you would love me even if I did make that choice.”

My dad had little or no experience with the subject and knew so. He at least knew what not to say, though, and everything that he did say was helpful and insightful. He realized and helped my mom realize that I’ll likely deal with SGA for the rest of my life. He said he didn’t think that my basic dilemma in controlling thoughts was much different from anyone else. There was nothing wrong in finding someone attractive—for example, if he saw a woman with “big boobs”—but that the trouble came in dwelling on inappropriate thoughts. As an aside, I commented, “I don’t get what’s so great about boobs.”

I introduced and gave them copies of the Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman interview and In Quiet Desperation. After talking about the book I assured them that I wasn’t suffering from depression, that I wasn’t contemplating suicide and probably never would.

Our talk was interrupted by a phone call from a realtor wanting to show our home to a client, so we had to scramble to leave within ten minutes. The difficult part of my trip was over, though, and I felt great. It already felt like I had a much better relationship with my parents. I hoped we would have more chances to talk—and those chances came. Whenever my mom and I found ourselves in the same room, for example, we would talk quietly about things. I love her so much for her willingness to try to understand me. She would say things like, “When a thought comes, can’t you just say, ‘No, this is bad! Go away?’” or “Can’t you convince yourself to think a woman is attractive?” and I would try to patiently explain things.

That night my mom was ironing clothes in the sewing room and I joined her to talk(my little sister began to wonder why we kept going to that room…). She told me I probably shouldn’t ever be alone with a guy—and I told her how unreasonable that seemed. I reminded her of something she had said about a gay man we had seen on TV over Thanksgiving and how much that hurt me.

We talked about telling people. She assumed it would be smarter to not tell anyone but I explained how much good had come through telling everyone that I have so far. I revealed my desire to tell the older of my younger sisters before leaving on Monday. I said she might have already suspected it in the past, citing various incriminating facts about myself (lack of interest in sports, lack of girlfriends, etc). This led to a discussion with my mom about other common gay characteristics and gaydar basics.

The next day, I enjoyed an uneventful morning at church with my family and early dinner as the time to take my dad to the airport neared. According to plan, with an hour remaining, my parents and I made our way back down to the sewing room for the best part of the weekend.

Telling My Parents - Part 1

I apologize for the length, but this blog's main purpose is a journal-- so that's what kind of posts I'm going to put in it. I decided to post what I've written so far because the rest of the story will have to wait until tomorrow.

Tomorrow marks one week since telling my parents about my SGA. I’ve been scared to write about it because I’ve worked it up to be a bigger project than it needs to be. I’m just going to write it so it doesn’t end up become something like my big unwritten last-day-of-my-mission journal entry/final testimony (tomorrow also happens to mark one year since I was supposed to write that).

In a lot of ways, the moment came much earlier than I ever expected it to. I had been planning for it to happen after returning from Japan at the end of August. A quick change of plans gave me six days at home immediately after finals. My thoughts throughout most of the 14-hour drive home were filled with planning words, speculating about reactions, and wondering how the trip home had come up so quickly.

My dad works in a different state and wouldn’t come home until Thursday night. Because I was slightly distrustful of my ability to find a perfect moment to talk to both of my parents over the weekend, I told my mom after arriving home on Wednesday that I wanted to speak with them on either Thursday or Friday. Much to my chagrin, even the simple task of telling her that I wanted to talk was awkward and difficult—not because of the planned subject matter, but because of the nature of the relationship I had with my parents. I can only recall a handful of serious conversations I’ve had with either of them, none of which were initiated by me. My mom was visibly startled at my request and began guessing what I wanted to talk about. I expressed to her how disappointing it was that even wanting to “talk” was jarring for both of us.

Thursday and most of Friday came and went with no opportunities arising. I was half relieved and half let down. On Friday morning I was flipping channels on TV and stopped briefly on one of those Christian stations to chuckle at a man healing people by making them collapse on stage. It then cut to the same guy talking to the camera. “Today,” he said, “I simply want you to know that God loves you. He loves you in whatever situation you may be in. If we learn to trust him, he will support us.” I felt kind of bad for chuckling.

With the hope that the talk would somehow happen Friday evening, I stepped outside and called Drex, Salad, and Hidden for our planned pep talk. I’m now a firm believer in pep talks! I hung up the phone with a much needed feeling of peace and calmness that replaced the almost physical sickness I had been experiencing. I talked to my mom about talking; unfortunately, my dad had already gone to sleep and I wondered out loud if it should just wait until August. My mom told me she was much too curious now to put it off, especially after I told her that we would need more than just one day to talk about it. We set the time to talk for 9:00 the next morning. This time it would definitely happen.

I woke up with less than a “go get ‘em” attitude but was ready soon after 9:00 and lay down on the couch to stop myself from pacing. An entire hour passed and my nervousness had half turned to hopelessness. I could have gone and gathered my parents but they seemed busy, and… No, I probably couldn’t have done it. However, they finally walked into the room and were ready to talk. My thought was not, “Finally!” but rather, “Wow, this moment came faster than I expected.”

I had planned my first question: What do you think I want to talk about? My mom said she thought I was going to ask permission to date or marry a girl. My dad thought for a bit and said he thought I wanted money. I wish it were that easy! I hadn’t planned the next part well and the awkwardness was thick in the air. I mentioned something about how difficult the past eight months have been because of an issue I was dealing with; then, looking out the window, managed to say, “For as long as I can remember, through no choice of my own, I’ve been more attracted to guys than to girls” (Thanks to Drex for that line!). After I had said it, I felt fine. The nerves went away and I looked at my parents. “That’s it,” I said.

Skin on Skin

I hereby make the proud announcement that I no longer have virgin lips! The problem is, there really isn't anything to be proud of. In fact, this post will probably only prove to show how bad of a kisser I am. I'm not really sure how to approach it all so it'll be a jumbly mess anyway.

While I can't say that drex and salad's recent progress in the kissing arena is wholly unrelated, I should make it clear that Girl 1 (Note: I'll use "Girl 1" until I can come up with a better name; for those of you who know me, Girl 1 is who you think it is) and I had been tossing around the idea of kissing for several reasons.

Some of the reasons included:
-because I hadn't kissed anyone before
-because I felt inadequate and untrained; I needed lessons
-because Girl 1 has wanted to kiss me for five years
-because Girl 1 might have a magic kiss that will turn any guy straight-- hey, isn't it worth a shot??

I've rarely or never thought about kissing girls or guys. I wasn't opposed to kissing girls, though; the chance just never presented itself. I suppose I always just assumed that it would all work out well once I did it. Even since admitting to myself that I'm not attracted to girls, I've still believed that kissing would be fun.

This brings us to the scene last night: Girl 1 and I had just finished watching a movie in the back seat of her car, on the side of the road somewhere on the other side of Heber City. We were cuddling in our blankets and I decided to make a move in spite of my fears (here's where the evidence of me as a bad kisser begins). I couldn't do it though; I couldn't just plant one. So I asked her the most romantic quesion ever: "Will you teach me?" I hope you can feel my burning embarrassment as I type this.

What followed was some amount of kiss preparation that I guess they just don't show in movies: awkward conversation, repositioning of bodies, sharing of breath mints. Anyway, it eventually happened. And then I said I messed up-- so we tried it again. I sat back again on the seat (and THIS is the real evidence)-- and started crying! "Grr... I'm not supposed to cry," I said. It's hard to describe what I was feeling. After all of the fear and all of the wondering, kissing was simply... skin on skin. Or maybe even worse. It was kind of like kissing a pillow-- but maybe more like kissing a pillow where the pillowcase has some odd-looking stains on it. Kind of like that.

"Why are you crying?" she asked. I didn't have a clear answer.

"How are things ever going to work out?" I wondered out loud. Realistically, I wasn't hoping for that kiss that would turn me straight. I just wanted a kiss that would mean hope for all of my goals to marry and have a family.

All I got was a kiss that meant, "I'm sorry, it's not going to be that easy."

I Think It's Time...

I think it's about time I told my parents. If I drive home early Tuesday the 24th, I can be home for almost an entire week before school starts again. I hate to put them through this in the middle of their trying to move. But I think it would be unfair to tell them after spring term and jet off to Japan the next day, leaving us with no easy means of communication. And I simply can't wait to tell them after I get home at the end of August. So even though I'm nowhere near figuring any of this (life, I mean) out, I feel like reaching out for their help now.


Today was amazing. My feelings were kind of a continuation of the weird things I was feeling over the weekend, except for one important difference: Today I started to understand what I was feeling.

Meeting at the stairs was, at face value, such a simple thing. Yet sitting there in the warm sun, talking completely openly with close (yes, close despite also being new) friends, made me incredibly happy. The happiness came back after the Gay-Straight Alliance Mac and Cheese party when I once again was able to spend time with people who I knew understood everything.

And walking home I realized that I felt happiness at those times because I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. After months, maybe years, of never feeling that I was acceptable, I found myself in a place where I could be me and that was okay. It feels good to have friends.

Sunday Will Come

Today has been my favorite Easter yet. In some ways that's surprising-- it's my first without family or as a missionary; it's my first without an Easter basket. But recent significant events in life have made it my first real Easter.

This past September I finally looked my same-gender attraction in the face and decided to do something about it. It was the most frightening thing I've ever done. What followed was some of the deepest anguish and confusion I had yet experienced. With some outside help, I was able to stop hating myself. Finally, within the past few weeks, I started the process of seeking help from close friends. I've seen incredible changes as I come to terms with everything. The crying hasn't stopped, though.

As I began accepting myself for who I am, attractions and all, I was scared of what the future held. I couldn't fully trust myself. So I decided early, and I continue to decide often, that my testimony comes first; that whatever the difficulty, I will stay true to what I absolutely know and that I will never turn my back on the Savior.

This past Friday marked the first time I've had any association with people I knew were gay and who knew I was gay. It put me in a mood all weekend that I can't figure out. That's perhaps a topic for a different post. Owing to the fact that I was in a very thoughtful state, and that I had forgotten to fast two weeks ago, I decided to fast on Saturday evening.

As I started my fast, I committed to try harder to overcome the weaknesses that I often give in to. I promised that I would stop defining myself solely by this problem, but by my other other talents and the fact that I am a child of God. I acknowledged that staying on the path I've committed to live will be harder than I can fathom. I acknowledged that it would require a miracle. I decided that it's worth it, in order to receive the gift of a family of my own, either in this life or after I am released through death, to keep the covenants I've made.

Today is the first Easter I finally understand the significance of the Resurrection. It's the first time I can look forward to the Resurrection with perfect hope. It's the first Easter I can thank my Savior with my entire heart for that gift.

A ward member today reminded us of Elder Wirthlin's talk from last conference about the Resurrection. Elder Wirthlin referred to the dark Friday on which Jesus Christ suffered and then died for us, and to the resulting doom and despair. Then he spoke about the following Sunday on which Christ rose triumphant from the grave.

"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

"But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come."

I don't know what life will bring. I don't know what I'll do with this blog. I guess I'll just use it to document my feelings and experiences as I wait for my Sunday.