31 March 2008

Random Funny

Some days I feel like the bird, other days I feel like the little kid.


The Apocalypse is Here!!!

Today I was enjoying a lunch at Baja Fresh, when all of the sudden my ears picked up on something. It was a mild irritant at first. Then the twitching began. What is that sound? It's driving me nuts! What?? No! It can't be! Yes, it was a Mexican "banda" version of the Billy Ray Cyrus song, Achy Breaky Heart. Listen to a sample, and buy it here.

And here there are those in our midst saying that the people from south of the border are destroying our society. I think it might be the other way around.

Seriously. Achy Breaky Heart? Couldn't you guys think of a better song to translate? I mean, there are so few songs in English to choose from...

25 March 2008

The Aftermath... So Far

Well, as you all saw in my last post, I came out to a whole bunch of people. I said that I would tell you all why I decided to start being open about it, so I will.

The problem with being gay and Mormon is that you feel alone. You feel like nobody understands you. You talk to your leaders, parents, friends, but nobody really understands. They lend an awkward smile, and maybe a hug, telling you that they're behind you all the way and will support you however they can, but they are clueless. So, time passes and they may or may not infrequently ask you how you are doing. The infrequency at which that happens becomes greater and greater until you are back to dealing with it all on your own. One day comes where you are feeling particularly down and depressed about things, and you begin to search online for other gay Mormons thinking that you can relate with them.

This scenario then becomes something of a "choose your own adventure" book. But with the notable exception that it's not as much of a choice as it is dumb luck.

You end up meeting other gay Mormons online. You converse with them. You become friends with them. This is the same for both outcomes, but here is where they diverge. In one case, you have the person who meets the 10-20% of gay Mormons who have been able to reconcile their sexual orientation with their beliefs. In the other case you meet the 80-90% who have not reconciled the two together and have left the church.

In the former case, the majority are helpful. Some are not so helpful. They are clinging onto life by the skin of their teeth, and have a white-knuckled grip on their sanity. But the majority are comfortable in their situation and very supportive of anyone else like them.

In the latter case, the majority are helpful in convincing that person that the church has done them a disservice in their life, has repressed them, and wants to control them. They do everything they can to convince the person that staying with the church and being happy are two incompatible paths. Some are supportive of staying with the church, if the person can reconcile it, but aren't really much of a cheerleader in those regards. They aren't anti, but they are neutral at best.

I don't ever expect all people who deal with with being gay to accept and stay in the church. Everyone has different backgrounds, and different hands that they've been dealt. But, I do believe that with the proper resources to turn to, a lot more than 10-20% of gay Mormons will find that they can reconcile their faith with their sexual orientation and be able to comfortably remain active members of the church.

The problem, as I have seen it, is that you can't find resources out in the open. You have to go through underground methods to find them. At that point, it's a crap shoot as to if you'll meet the active gay members, or those who have left the church. People shouldn't be relegated to forming their life based on a search engine ranking.

Part of this problem is that the subject of homosexuality is taboo in the church. It is only spoken of in terms of the evils of having sex with someone of your same gender. It isn't spoken of in terms of 3-5% of the population has those sexual inclinations, and therefore on average there are 8-15 people in your very own congregation that are secretly dealing with this. Since the members don't think of it in these terms, many hurtful and homophobic remarks are made in front of and to these people. It is a catalyst in driving them to leaving the church.

I just feel that it's time that people opened their eyes to the reality of this. If you personally know someone who is gay, and are friends with them, it will give you pause before you say potentially hurtful things in front of others. That in turn will help those who are still keeping it a secret to feel comfortable and accepted in the church. And when the day comes that they decide to deal with their sexual orientation, it will be much easier for them to reconcile it with their faith.

That's the reason I decided to be open about it.

And, so far the response has been very positive. There are several people that I sent the email to that have not yet responded to me, but the really important ones in my life have. They've been floored by the fact that I hid it from them so well, for so long. And all of them have apologized for if they have ever made a gay slur that was offensive to me. They are all thinking a lot differently about us gay Mormons now. I'm going to call it a successful endeavor.

We'll see where it goes from here.

21 March 2008

Getting "Out" There

Well, I came out to about 25 of my friends today. We'll see how they respond. Hopefully this weekend I will get the time to sit down and write about why I decided to start telling people en masse. Here's the email I sent:

Good morning!

I wasn't sure how to do this, because I had a bunch of
people to tell. And I wanted to do it all at the same
time, but that wouldn't work out. Blah, blah, blah, so
it ends up that I'm sending all of you an email. Hope
you enjoy it. And, the first thing you're going to
think is "This is a really lame joke." It's not a
joke. This is one of the few serious emails you will
ever get from me.

You are all my good friends, and for one reason or
another I wanted you to get this message rather than
hearing it word-of-mouth or otherwise. No, I'm not
getting married. Far from it. In fact, what I'm
writing to tell you is that I'm gay.

I know that this probably isn't a big surprise to some
of you, but maybe it is to others. I mean, why else
could I possibly be this awesome and still single at
this age, right? (There was a little sarcasm in that
one. Just a little.)

Now, don't worry, I'm not about to announce that I
have a boyfriend and we're moving to Massachusets to
get married. I still have a very strong testimony of
the gospel that I can't deny. I have worked my hardest
over the years to remain a faithful, Latter-day Saint,
and I fully intend to keep on doing that. In fact, I
still have the goal of some day being married to a
woman and being a father. It's a lofty goal, and there
are tons of things to work through for it to happen
and be successful, but hopefully the Lord will grant
me that one. As for now, I'm at peace with the
prospect of remaining a single member of the church.

This last year has been the toughest year of my life.
Many of you probably noticed that I was less sociable,
and maybe a bit gloomy whenever you saw me. That was
because a year ago was when I finally decided to
tackle this issue head-on. I couldn't suppress it any
more, it was driving me absolutely crazy. I just plain
broke down emotionally in Feb 2007. It's taken a long
time to put the pieces back together and get to where
I am today. I won't go into the details of all of that
here. I think that's best left for conversation. If
you are interested, I am more than willing to talk
about my whole coming-out and reconciliation process.

Anyway, you are all my friends. I love you dearly. And
I hope that this knowledge doesn't change that for
you. Please don't feel awkward about talking to me.
I'm over the awkward phase. Some of you may not be
comfortable talking about it, and that's okay too.
It's the same with my family, some of them like to
talk about it, others don't feel comfortable. So I
leave it up to the individual. I'm not one of those
obnoxious out-and-proud fags that is going to shove it
in your face. I prefer being chill about it.

And also, if a situation ever arises where you're in a
conversation with other people and the topic comes up,
don't feel like you need to lie for me. I am okay with
other people knowing. I finally feel comfortable in my
own skin. Oh yes, for you married folk, feel free to
tell your spouse.

So, I'll leave it at that for now. I'm sure your mind
is blown. Have a great day! :D

By the way, please don't think that wearing the kilt
is a cross-dressing thing. I'm not one of "those"
types. Trannys are creepy, gross and disgusting. Eeew.
I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

Love you all,

P.S. A couple of the girls on distribution already
knew, and I just wanted the others to know who else
knew so that they could talk amongst themselves if
needed. Girls need that kind of thing apparently.

P.P.S. Joe/Kenny, remember how we all ended up having
to share beds at one time or another in the UK? Yep.
You slept with a gay guy. You guys are such fags. :P

19 March 2008

The Outtie Scale

The Outtie Scale is not a measure of the protrusion of my belly button. Rather, it is a measure of how out I am to those people I associate with.

I think that on a scale of 1-10, I would rate myself around a 6. It's not that 60% of the people I associate with know that I'm gay. It's more like, I feel comfortable acting completely like myself around 60% of the people I know. If they pick up on it that I'm light in the loafers, that's okay by me.

Well, there is a distinction I need to make before I go any further. I don't like to mix my private life with my work life. So, even though I don't put on an act at work, I really don't want to talk to any of those people about my sexual orientation. I go to work, do my job, and I'm work-me there. I don't hang out with more than a couple of people from work, so I'm just not keen on inviting all of the rest of my company into my private life. I think that would be the case for most people, straight or gay. Let work stay at work and leave my private life alone. So, the Outtie Scale excludes work.

Anyway, I'm working on feeling comfortable about "being myself" around everyone. I'm getting there bit by bit, as you can see from my post about telling a very close guy friend last week, and telling my Elder's Quorum President. Progression is coming. I think that the 60% I feel comfortable around are mostly of the female persuasion. It's the straight guys that make me nervous. They freak out about gay people too much. What's up with that?

Actually, nervous isn't the right word. It's not like I'm worried about being the next Matthew Shepherd. It's just the awkwardness that I don't like. I'm not a confrontational person at all, so I don't do awkward very well either. I dunno, maybe I should just rip the band-aid off all at once and come out during Elder's Quorum one of these Sundays. That would spice things up a bit. :D

All in all, I think it's great that I'm up at 60%. After all, it was only a year ago that I came out to my family, and before that only a couple of friends and Bishops knew. Progress is good. I feel comfortable in my own skin.

18 March 2008

Coming Out to a Few More Peeps

Within the last couple of weeks I've come out to two more people. It's important to note these particular instances, because this time they were straight guys. I've been a little gun-shy to talk to the straight guys, just because, well, it's awkward. Or rather, I don't want them to be awkward around me. I want to be treated the same way I always have and converse with them in the same manner, but just with a deeper level of understanding between the each of us. Catch my drift?

So, the first guy I came out to was my old friend Geoff. I wrote an angsty, angry post about him many moons ago. Yikes. Anyway, so he called me a few weeks ago, and we played phone tag for a while. I ended up just sending him an email, and decided that I was going to come out to him. So I did, and pointed him to my blog and told him to have great time catching up on my life. Well, it just so happens that I had forgotten about the angry post I wrote about him. Awkward! He emailed me back a while later and told me that he had read that post - along with the majority of my blog - and was floored by everything.

We ended up chatting on the phone this past Sunday for a couple of hours. It was so wonderful to talk to him again. And it was even more wonderful to have my emotions in the right place. I love the guy like one of my brothers. And, now that I have a lot more emotional stability in my life, I'm okay with just having the occasional catch-up conversation with him. It feels really good. By the way, welcome to my blog, Geoff. Good luck with the new baby. And I still think you should name her after me. Your wife will get used to it. Just give her time. :P

The second straight guy I came out to was this past Sunday. I'm the secretary for my Elder's Quorum, and have been for a year and a half. Well, over the last 6 months or so I've really been slacking in my duties. I've just had so much emotional baggage weighing me down that I haven't been interested or motivated to try very hard at my calling. Just recently I've had a resurgence of desire to get my church activity back to where it used to be, including doing better at my calling. When I woke up on Sunday morning and was saying my prayers I got the distinct impression that I needed to talk to the Elder's Quorum President and let him know why I had been a slacker, let him know that I was redoubling my efforts to do a good job, and to let him know of my struggles that I had last year.

It was kind of odd, but I felt I should do it. So, lo and behold, during Sunday School I was in the clerk's office doing some stuff and in walks the EQP. Coincidence? I think not. I asked him to sit down so I could chat with him, and I spilled the beans. He was so cool about. He offered his support in any way that I needed it, and reminded me of the great counselors he has and to tap them for help if I needed it. It was a great experience.

I also let him know that I was finally in a good place with it all and feeling a lot of peace about my decision to remain active in the church. I also mentioned to him that statistically, and on my gaydar, I know that there are several other guys in the ward in my same boat and if they needed assistance in the form of talking to someone who shares their issues, that he was free to have them talk to me. He agreed (almost too rapidly) that there were other guys in the ward in the same boat as I was, so I got the impression that he does know of a few others. No surprises there. :P

Anyway, chalk up another two good experiences with coming out.

15 March 2008

Hanging Out With Straight Guys

Yuck. What more can I say?

Ok, ok. I will say more. Tonight I hung out with a bunch of straight guys. It almost became painful towards the end of the evening. No, I take that back. It did become painful towards the end of the evening.

Last night I hung out with the other moho in Orange County (maybe I should just refer to him as OMIOC from now on). Good, enjoyable evening. Tonight I hang out with straight guys. Blegh.

Background info:
Recently I've been trying to expand my circle of friends. Most of the people I used to hang out with last year are either married, in relationships, or we're not on the best of terms anymore. So, that leaves me with few options for social activities on the weekends.

The other aspect of expanding my circle of friends has been to avoid expanding that circle amongst the females in my ward. I'm trying to get more guy friends to hang out with so that I can do guy stuff. I'm actually kind of sick of hanging out with the girls all the time.

So this afternoon my business partner came over to work on some stuff with me. There was also a guy from the ward that came over to my place because he wants us to do a job for him. The three of us got together at about 4:30. We spent a few hours doing business stuff, and then we decided to go get some dinner. At that point, my business partner's roomie called up to see if anything was going on tonight, so he ended up going to dinner with us.

Here I am with 3 guys. Straight guys. Nothing moho about them whatsoever. Two of them (my business partner and his roomie) I know fairly well. The third is someone that I inteded to try to become better friends with. Well, in a nutshell, I think I'd rather die than hang out with all three of them at the same time again.

It was painful by the end of the night. And it's not like we didn't have common interests that we could talk about. There were a few good topics. But in general it was just obnoxious being around straight guy talk for sooooo long. I can't even list out the topics of conversation that came up, oh wait, I can: chicks. That's the problem with hanging out with straight, single guys. I have to sit there and feign my interest in girl parts all night. Of course, if they were straight and married, then they would just talk about sports. I'm not sure which topic is worse.

I need to find some different straight guys to try this out with.

12 March 2008

Improv Everywhere Strikes Again

Hilarious. I love the crazy stuff these people do.

Food Court Musical

11 March 2008

Checking In

I looked at my previous posts, and I haven't written anything worthwhile for a few weeks now. So, I'm sitting here trying to think of something profound to say. This may take a while.

Oh yeah, I wanted to mention something about the lesson manual for Relief Society/Priesthood this year. I think it's awesome. You know, there is just something about the teachings of Joseph Smith that just always rings home with me. I've enjoyed the other manuals that we've gone through over the past few years, but they don't seem to have the same impact on me as this one is having.

Of course, I think that part of it might have to do with our teacher. I think he is great. He was inactive for many years and just started coming back to church about six months ago. He has little knowledge, and a fairly weak testimony at this point. But, for some reason, the EQP was inspired to call him as a teacher in order to help him build his testimony as he prepares the lessons.

Each lesson is full of off-kilter statements, stories about being a Marine, and questions about if what he's teaching is really 100% true. It forces you to pay attention, because you are so interested in if he is going to say something totally whacked. But at the same time, his raw honesty about not having a very good understanding of the doctrine sparks some really good comments from the memebers of the quorum during the lesson. I love it.

Yesterday's lesson, in particular, was on the Atonement. He mentioned several times about how he didn't like the fact that Jesus had to suffer for him. Not that he didn't believe that Jesus suffered and died for us, but he didn't like it that Jesus had to do that. That steered the comments from the quorum members to focus on accepting the Atonement in your life. Jesus completed it. The Atonement is there for us to apply to our lives. He wants us to take advantage of it. Nowhere in the scriptures did He ever tell us to feel guilty for His suffering. He told us to feel sorrow for our sins, and then repent and forsake them and move on with our lives.

As I was listening to the lesson and skimming through the rest of the chapter looking at some of the quotes, I really felt caught up in the actuality of the Atonement and the importance of living a Christ-centered life. My struggles with holding onto my faith seemed to evaporate at that moment. All worldly aspects of my being melted away and I felt His presence. All of the sudden my earthly goals seemed unimportant, my homosexual attractions seemed like a distant memory, everything in my life that was not of a spiritual nature became insubstantive. The words of the Prophet about Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World, became the only important things to me at that moment. The white-knuckle grip that I've had on life for the last several months really loosened up a lot, and I was able to relax and feel comfortable with who I am and the challenges I face in this life. It was a really great moment.

I wish I could feel like that more often.

06 March 2008

04 March 2008

Life Over 35

My sister sent me this email today. I laughed. But then again, I turned 35 this year.

Dear Under-35 Crowd,

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what, with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning... uphill BOTH ways yada, yada, yada!

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that... I'm over the ripe old age of thirty five, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!

And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter...with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom , your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'asteroids' and the graphics sucked! Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just screwed!

Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your a$$ and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove or go build a frigging fire.... imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled!!!

You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980! Oh yea, and a seatbelt was Mom throwing her arm across your chest every time she hit the brakes.

The over 35 Crowd

03 March 2008

Do The Airlines Hate Me That Much?

Why am I always the lucky one? Why?

I don't cause any trouble. I mind my own business. I fasten my seat belt when the light is illuminated. I put all of my liquids, gels and/or aerosols in a 1 quart, sealable plastic bag.

Why then do I ALWAYS get seated next to a person who is far too large to fit in a single seat on the plane?!?!?!

Today's offender wasn't a fat person, he was just too tall/broad-shouldered for the seats in the commuter plane I was on. He was a late-middle-aged guy, probably early 50's, and my gaydar sounded the alarm the instant he stepped onto the plane. I think that God hated me today. I was already on the plane, in my seat, listening to a little Radiohead and casually thinking, sigh... I hope some cute boy gets the seat next to me today...


So, instead of granting my winsome desire of sitting next to some eye candy, God plants me next to a ginormous, old gay guy. It was depressing.

I don't ever want to be an old gay guy. But, that's probably an ungrantable wish.