Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Location, Location, Location

I have come to the decision that I must tell you all where I live because so much awesome stuff happens here that I want to write about.

I live in The Big Apple, The Big Easy, the city of cities, The City That Never Sleeps, the most populous city in the US, The Greatest City in the World, The Crossroads of the World, Manhattan, New York City itself.

In New York, you can’t help but feel like you are part of something bigger. I love the culture, the diversity, the opportunity. In New York, you never have to be bored. We have Broadway, the best museums in the country, headliners, the best dance, opera and music performing groups, art galleries, sports, celebrities in the streets, world class restaurants, amazing parks and more.

We also have Fleet Week. This week, active-duty service men and women flood the city as military ships dock, open to the public and let their crews roam free. So now, thousands of wide-eyed, clean-cut, fit young men are looking sharp in their uniforms as they wander the city, making New York all the more beautiful. I love this city.

So if you ever want to visit, send me an e-mail. I know my way around this town and definitely have an empire state of mind!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Unexpected Text

I was at work today when I got a very unexpected text from my dad.

I talk with my parents on the phone almost every week. My family is by far the biggest support in my life. My dad hardly texts, so I am always happy to see one from him appear on my phone.

This one caught me a little off guard:
"I was thinking about you and had to tell you how much I admire you and all you do! I am amazed at your ability, your resourcefulness, your dedication. I didn't mean to go on like that, I just wanted to let you know how terrific I think you are! I love you."
Talk about the warm fuzzy!

I hope when I come out to him in July he will still think of and love me the same way. I don't want to disappoint the best role model I have had in my life.

But that is July. Right now, I am happy with the positive affirmation.

I love you too, Dad.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Body and Mind

I have been avoiding this post. I have attempted writing it several times. I am still learning how to open up and be completely honest with myself. I encourage you to read the entire post before reactively commenting on the first half. So here goes.

I hate my body.

Since the fifth grade, my body has never done what I told it to do. I told it to be athletic, but it wasn’t. I told it to like girls, but it didn't. I told it not to react the way it did to cute boys, but it didn't. I told it to trust my faith, beliefs, logic and common sense so we could be happy together, but it didn't and we never were.

Because of the rebellion of my body, I frustratingly determined subconsciously that in order to prevent my body from winning the war with my spirit, I would force it to not have any satisfaction. I would not let my body serve as a distraction or a temptation. From that point on, I hated my body, and it became my reality.

I convinced myself that I was not attractive. I didn't exercise anymore. I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want to feel anymore.

I convinced myself that if I detested my body, others would too. I convinced myself that I cared what other people thought of me, so I would try to make them not like me physically. I thought that if I didn't like myself physically, no one else would. And I would be safe.

Relationship with girls never worked out because I wasn’t that interested and because I didn't love myself enough to understand how someone else could be attracted to me. Personality aside, I was not comfortable in my own skin and wanted it to remain that way so I would never be comfortable enough to be tempted in any way. In short, I took away my own confidence in order to protect myself.

My body and my self-imposed lack of confidence was serving as an impenetrable wall that my mind could not wander over. I could hardly look myself in the mirror without feeling depressed and angry at my body, then detesting my own existence.

But when living in the dichotomy of two worlds, sometimes walls have to fall.

When I came out to myself, I also made the determination that it was time to change more in my life than just my sexuality. I wanted to be free not only from my imposed moral beliefs but also from the subconscious prison of my own inadequate body.

I started to take care of my body by actually paying attention to what I put in it, by caring more committedly to cleanliness and by exercising. It was like saying hello to and old friend I had lost contact with. My body and I now have an agreeable partnership rather than the open hostilities of war. I have lost a noticeable amount of weight and am going to need a new wardrobe soon.

And most importantly, I am starting to actually like what I see in the mirror.

Together, we are starting to feel more rather than trying not to feel at all. Instead of compartmentalizing the pain and grief, we are trying to address it more openly and productively. Sometimes it hurts, but having lived in an isolated protective stance, the pain only makes happiness feel that much more wonderful.

I know that I am a mental victim of the objectification of the male body. I will never be a model or a dashing actor. I probably will never be hit on or catch someone’s breath away. I will never be eye candy.

But I am trying to convince myself that I am attractive in other ways. I hope that someone can be attracted to my personality, my true friendship, my buoyant spirit, my willingness to dedicate time to others, my sensitivity, my passion and my dedication.

I still have confidence issues and lingering thoughts of bodily shame, but I am relearning to love my body, and love myself for who I am. The mental and bodily walls I have painstakingly constructed are slowly being torn down, and I am finding confidence and happiness hidden behind them.

If I have learned anything, it is that confidence begets beauty. Therefore, I am becoming more beautiful everyday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Google Knows I'm Gay

My blogging has finally caught up with me. I have started to be targeted online with gay ads by Google.

Actually, now that I think about it, quite a few companies should know I'm gay by now.

Amazon would know because I just ordered the books "No More Goodbyes" and "In Quiet Desperation." Come to think of it, Visa should know too because that is what I used to pay for them.

I don't think Apple could tell solely from my love of showtunes and pop music, but they should know because I blog and send e-mails from my iPod Touch and just downloaded the Grindr app to see what all the fuss is about.

Facebook should be aware of it too since you just know they store and read all of our chats and messages, right? Not to mention I left my "interested in" section blank which just screams gay.

Comcast should know too since they are my internet provider and they can track everything. And if all of those companies know, the FBI has got to know too.

Geez, more companies realize I'm gay than people I know. Come to think of it, I've been worrying about telling people I am gay when I have been telling faceless corporate America all along.

How is that for a comforting thought on the illusion of privacy?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One Month Anniversary

It has been one month since I started blogging.

In that time I have come out more to myself, taken down walls I have put up and been able to reflect more articulately on who I am.

I have made some great friends and even came out to a few. My confidence is up, though there is still a lot of room for improvement.

A month ago, I couldn't see where my life was headed. I am still not sure. But the comfort and acceptance I have felt from you have been a great support these past few weeks. I feel as if some weight I've carried around my whole life has lifted a bit.

I thank you.

Many more interesting things are coming. Most importantly, I am going to start preparing to come out to my parents, so I will need your continued guidance. But the future is looking up.

Let's see what awaits us on the horizon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Re: Should I Tell My Bishop?

Wow! I didn’t expect to get this much of a response on my last post. Thank you all for your sharing your thoughts, experiences and opinions with me about whether or not to talk to my bishop. Your comments were so sincere that I feel like I should respond to each individually.

To answer the question that many of you posed to me of “what is the benefit,” the advantage would be having the ability to tell my parents that I have talked to my bishop when I come out to them. They are very devout, and I think this would be comforting to them. Yes, I realize that I need to do what is right for me, but I want to make it as easy for them as possible because I don’t expect them to take it well anyway.

I haven’t made up my mind yet, though.

@Reina: You make a great point that bishops change, but I know I am comfortable about this one at this moment. So it may make sense now, but I don’t know how that might change, and like you said, wish I had never said anything.

@JonJon: I don’t expect many bishops have helpful training on how to help in our particular situation, since most of the bishops in the church are all normal people like you and me (well, almost). I think talking to others is actually helping and am slowly starting to open up.

@Abelard Enigma: I wouldn’t be talking to him to confess, but to seek counsel because right now I don’t know what course my life will take. And I have a hard time still identifying myself as gay, just coming out to myself very recently, and I think SSA would be easier on my parents, but might set them on a mission to help me be cured from my “problem.”

@Bravone: I am glad that there is no written record, but I know the church. News travels like wildfire. I just wanted to see if I could really trust my bishop in complete confidence, without him having to check a box somewhere on a computer that the secretaries and clerks see. That said, telling people, even just in the MoHosphere has been liberating as you have said. But I can’t help but feel more vulnerable than I ever have in my life.

@Gay LDS Actor: I have carried this with me for so long that I think I am still walking the line between embracing it and still hating it. I have to keep telling myself that I have not done anything wrong by having these feelings (except, perhaps, lusting after some hot boy who walks by). But I am glad you had a happy experience telling your bishop.

@El Genio: I too worry about the grapevine. For as much as we learn not to be judgmental in the church, I remember entire families being isolated for a single daughter’s pregnancy, for example. I want to be able to serve like I have in the past, without people being worried. Thank you for the book recommendation. I will have to read it and see what it might offer my parents. In a future post I am going to discuss the whole “coming out” issue, so stay tuned! I appreciated your comment on how to phrase my homosexual feelings in order to set the tone from where they carry on from. I will have to really think about that and create a game plan.

@ControllerOne: I am in a pretty liberal part of the country too, so I have hopes for people being a bit more open-minded (though friends and family in other places in the country might not be). I am happy that you received honest concern and compassion. I know that I haven’t done anything in any sense to require church discipline, but I am still trying to figure out if and how I want to move forward and not have that possibility, though I still can’t quite see how I can be completely gay, Mormon and happy all at the same time.

@j4k: I am happy to hear that you have had good experiences with it and that they still trust you with those callings. I can’t imagine telling 10 different bishops, but it is a good point that you bring up that if they don’t pass the information along, you would have to tell every single one if you were so inclined. I had never thought about that. I agree with you that your attitude affects the conversation. I also hold no mirth against the church but the prospect of telling him, or even just considering telling him, is nerve-racking. I hope looking back, the choice seems like it was just unfounded fear.

@Rob: Thank you for your honest opinion. Right now, I think I would be doing it more for my parent than for me, though I always have the hope that I would be accepted and comforted the way I am. I wish whether a bishop reacts well and the accompanying grapevine experience wasn’t ask chaotic across the church. One person might have a good experience and the other feels they have been burned. All because of the way that local leaders are chosen and how the church operates at a local level.

@CasualObserver: I think the whole grapevine issue boils down to trust. Some people in the church believe that the bishop is an infallible person to be trusted explicitly because of the priesthood calling. Others view him as a fallible man doing the best he can with what he knows and has learned. You mentioned the possibility of a bishop asking telling previous leaders about it and I wonder how much counselors in the bishopric are told. I think we all are a little paranoid analyzing it, but I try to believe in the best of a person first, giving them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. But in this case, I really do not want to be disappointed by placing my trust and then getting burned because it concerns my very core.

@Quiet Song: I think you make a good point about using it as an opportunity to address misconceptions our leaders may have. I have had been in a few high profile callings before (i.e. Elders Quorum President) and I think that being gay actually enabled me to better love and serve those in my quorum, not judging because who was I to judge?

Like I said at the beginning, I have not made up my mind yet. I think much of the decision will rest on how and when I come out to my parents and how I decide to both handle and prepare for that experience.

Thank you all again, and I am so appreciative of your concern and support.

- Horizon

Monday, May 3, 2010

Should I Tell My Bishop?

I need some advice.

Mentally, I am gearing up to tell my parents about my "struggle with same sex attraction." I phrase it that way because I believe that it would be the only way they could handle the news.

I'm heading home in the summer for a few days, and I feel a growing responsibility to share with them what my life has been like. (I'll write more about that and my family later, I promise.)

In preparation for their questions, many of which I do not have answers for, I am sure they will ask if I have ever talked to my bishop about it.

I never have. Should I?

I have not mentioned it up until now because I don't want the change in attitude I am sure would accompany such news. I am a solid member, trustworthy and responsible. The bishop is a good friend of mine and, I am inclined to believe, liberally minded.

But I am the same person I have always been, and I don't want the way people treat me to change.

One of my hesitations is that I don't want a negative mark on my church record. I don't want to open a pathway to disfellowship, even if it is just because of the way I feel. Right now I am not sure of what course I should take because I don't want to screw up my eternal salvation.

I have never consciously done anything "wrong." I am not a bad person. I have never talked to a bishop about anything personal besides temple recommend questions, and even then, most of those are yes and no questions.

I must admit that I am a very independent person. I have isolated myself and my emotions in an attempt to ignore the gnawing ache of my attraction. I hardly ever ask for help, so when I do, I have a genuine need.

What might a bishop counsel me to do, besides the obvious: pray, read the scriptures, etc.? I have already happened upon a church pamphlet on homosexuality that really didn't help.

I am also wary of organized support groups because of my aforementioned pride and independence. From the left (Affirmation) to the right (Evergreen), I don't want to be brainwashed. Plus, I don't think right now I could even show my face at a meeting.

So I need your guidance and knowledge based from experience. Should I tell my bishop?