Saturday, November 29, 2008
It's kinda pathetic, seeing as it happened 7 years ago now. It's significant, though, because it catapulted a great series of events that brought me to where I am today. I don't know exactly why, but I feel impressed to share this experience for the first time in writing:
I called him Ty Ty. I met him through his best friend and roommate, J., whom I thought was beautiful and super nice. One night, J. invited me to hang out with him and his rommies. I accepted, only to find out that it was a group date - haha. I was the 7th wheel that night! Still, I knew the 3rd roommie who was in the group, and all the girls were super nice. I remember stuffing myself on the floor in front of the passenger seat of Ty Ty's truck, while the others squashed onto seats. Ty made sure I was comfortable as possible as he drove us out to the dunes for a movie night. After that night, I became an unofficial roommate to their household. Ty, J., and I became the best of friends, practically inseparable.
A month after we met, Ty Ty and I decided to go back to the dunes alone. We ended up coming out to each other, had a romantical evening, and came back home in the morning in time to watch General Conference. We kept things pretty innocent for 3 weeks. We shared every dirty secret we'd never spoken before, and grew to love each other more than I thought was ever possible. One night, we slipped up, and went way farther than we ever meant to. We felt terrible at first, but we didn't slow down. We kept things up for another month, before Ty Ty felt so guilty that he put our romantic relationship to an end. I was so numb by now, that I didn't feel the same way Ty did. I was so used to living the double life that I didn't try to fix it. But Ty was trying to be good, and get right; I respected that, and I tried to move on. Just after Thanksgiving, at the end of November, I found myself losing grip on the one person I could share EVERYTHING with.
Throughout the remainder of the school year, I became more and more distanced from J. and Ty Ty, and I built relationships with other guys whom I could potentially share everything with. But no one was Ty Ty. Deep down inside, I was still so in love with him that I couldn't share certain intimate things with the other friends I made. I left all of that behind in November.
In April, Ty and I hung out again. We were in a very nostalgic mood, and we had one more intimate moment that did not go as far as we did in November. We went our separate ways after that, me still totally numb, and Ty suffering so much that he decided to try and take care of it.
In June, I got called into my bishop's office. I thought we were going to work on my mission papers. My parents thought I was going in to interview for the Melchizedek Priesthood. We were all wrong. The bishop received a call from Ty Ty's bishop, revealing my deepest, darkest secret to someone I never was going to tell. I was caught off guard, and as I listened to the bishop speak to me, I knew it was over. Today was the day that I would have to choose which way to go. He asked me why I hadn't told him anything til now; I told him the truth: I was scared, and I didn't want to hurt my family.
I remember the drive home from the office with my mother. She knew something was wrong. I ended up spilling this terrible part of me with her for 3 hours. She listened supportively, not totally understanding me, but she let me know she still loved me, and gave me wonderful motherly advice. She told me not to tell my father, that she'd worry about it. She told him herself, and he avoided me for 3 days as he cried. They both blamed themselves, and I reassured them that it was NOT their fault. They continued to support me, and encouraged me to participate in the local single's ward.
That's where I met my best friend Tommy. He took me out to a late dinner one night after FHE, and asked if I dealt with feelings for the same sex. I opened up to him, and we conversated the entire rest of the evening about things we had in common. It was so nice to finally have someone else around that understood me. I told him how I got disfellowshipped, and shared my experience with the bishop. He was surprised that I got outted to the bishop without an opportunity to come forth of my own accord and confess my sins. He asked how I felt about it. I realized that I wasn't angry at all. I thought about Ty in Idaho, and how hard it must have been for him to talk to his bishop. I thought about how tough it must have been for him to tell his bishop about me, and to know that his bishop would contact mine. I knew how much he suffered before, and how numb I was. I knew that if it weren't for Ty, I would still be stuck in the corner of my own closet, and I would never have talked to my bishop, my parents, and maybe not even Tommy. I decided I was grateful that Ty told his bishop.
In September, Tommy and my other besty Jerr Berr took me to my first EG Conference in SLC. It was a great experience for me, meeting other guys in the church who dealt with the same struggles I deal with. The big bonus for me? After 5 long months, Ty and I got to see each other and talk. He felt terrible for what happened to me, and spent the entire summer worried about it. I told him how I felt, and we enjoyed a pleasant night - as friends.
Something wonderful and terrible happened: I was brought closer to God, and had my life changed immensely for the good thanks to what Ty did for me. What happened to Ty Ty? He lacked the support system I had, and he gave way to the world. The boy who once suffered because of all the guilt he felt decided to stop feeling it by giving in to things that numbed him the way they numbed me. I felt terrible! Why couldn't I have been a positive force for Ty when he needed one? Instead, I was a bad influence. How ironic: the one that should have been saved because of his decisions ended up saving the lost boy that wasn't even trying to be saved.
When November came back around, I was a totally different boy from the one that existed the previous November. I was on the path to getting my life back in order, a path that was totally different from the one I was on just a year prior.
Every November, I am reminded of the tender mercies of the Lord, and for the wonderful people He's placed into my life. I would not be where I am today without them. I am also reminded, though, of the beautiful one who was lost. To this day, I still blame myself for what's happened to Ty, and will forever regret the fact that I was much too weak and selfish to help someone who positively changed my life forever.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
TOP 10 THINGS EJ's GRATEFUL TO HAVE
10. Motorized Vehicles - Man, the ability to go and see any part of the world within hours, or the opportunity to be at someone's side within minutes... what a blessing. Cars, airplanes, boats - if a place exists, we can typically get there without too much trouble.
9. Clothing - Getting dressed is so much fun! Mixing and matching colors, patterns, washes, styles, layers - I know, not always the most exciting thing, but it can be! Building up your own personal wardrobe can be such an adventure, and it's an opportunity to express yourself in a unique way, without wasting words.
8. Plumbing - For pretty obvious reasons, right? Getting those clothes you love laundered within an hour or so, taking a nice hot bath at the end of a stressful day, or quickly removing evidence of a visit to a man about a horse; I am grateful EVERY DAY that I live in this day and age where I'm not spending a lot of time boiling water, or digging holes.
7. Modern Day Technology - Some of my favorite pastimes include watching Heroes and Ugly Betty, playing video games, talking to loved ones on the phone, and blogging. Get it?
6. Food - When I'm stressed, I eat. When I'm happy, I eat. When I'm bored, I eat. When I'm hungry, I eat. Don't ask where it goes, I just know I put it in my face.
5. Good Friends - Man was not meant to walk alone, right? Thank goodness, 'cause it'd make for a pretty boring life. I've had wonderful people leave special marks on my life over the course of my young lifetime so far, and I'm grateful for their love and support.
4. My Health - It's brought me so many blessings that I rarely think about. But man, it's so important to me. My job relies on it, my callings rely on it, I rely on it. I thank God that I have my health.
3. Music - My soul: music lives in me, and I breathe it in order to survive. It's what has helped me to sort through my emotions, understand others' perspectives on life, and gain testimony of things that God would have me know are true. It's the most personal thing I'm willing to openly share with people. I love music!
2. My Eternal Family - I have the most AWESOME family in the world! My parents are always there for me, and are quick to respond to my needs. My sisters are beautiful, and are my angels. My brother is my best friend, and is my right hand man. I am so grateful to have my family, and to be sealed to them forever.
1. A Loving Godhead - I could never express truly how grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father, who has done much for my preservation. He listens to my prayers, and answers, even when I forget to be grateful. He sent His son Jesus Christ, who bore all of my sins and afflictions. He is the truest friend. And there is no denying the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life. He has affirmed truth to me on so many occasions, and has brought my soul comfort in so many instances. I would not still be here if it weren't for these three loving companions.
So Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Eat, drink, and be merry, but not the way you're not supposed to.... right. I love you guys!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I am not what most people would call "butch." Don't get me wrong - I'm not a flaming rainbow boi, but I know I could be "manlier." However, as I've aged and experienced, I've learned a few things about masculinity that have helped make me secure in the man I see in the mirror:
*A man is mature. He takes responsibilities for his actions, and is accountable for his performance. He can see through perspective beyond his own, and is willing to change his mind when he's wrong.
*A man is respectable. He earns respect by giving it. He is fair in all of his interactions with others. He treats people the way they want to be treated, not just the way he wants to be treated. He is honorable, honest, and good. He takes care of the things he loves, and the people he loves even more.
*A man is humble. He understands that he does not hold complete control, and is submissive to his loving God. He is grateful for what he has, and works hard for things to come.
With this kind of understanding of what true masculinity is all about, I have had next to no trouble interacting and befriending even the manliest of heterosexuals. Some of my closest buds are construction workers, military officers, engineers, hip hop stars, firefighters, etc. We share those common traits I described above, which gives us a lot in common. We find ways to relate to each other easily, and 80 percent of them know about me. They love me, and are physically affectionate with me. We hug each other upon greeting and departure, and tell each other we love the other. They need the positive effects of the physical and emotional touch of another man just as much as I do.
Some may say I'm just extremely fortunate, and they're right - I am very blessed. However, I think that I relate to so many guys despite myself because I exude the confidence that everyone wants to have, even if I have to fake it sometimes. I am happy for the friends I have, these wonderful people who encourage me to be myself, and still love me after meeting all of me.
Friday, November 21, 2008
So you'll never believe what happened to me:
I'm going to make a long story short(er)~
I was speeding down a long strip on the way home last night, and I got caught. Not a big deal, right? I'm calm, very in-control of the matter... until the officer comes back to my car and informs me that I'm driving with a suspended licence! He asks me to step out of my vehicle, face the car, and place my hands behind my back. He places me under arrest, and escorts me to the back of his vehicle!
Normally, one would be freaking out, right? Especially someone like me, who totally DISLIKES cops. I know a couple in my own life that are the exception, but generally speaking, I think they suck. However, this officer was so nice, and so caring. When he placed me under arrest, he did so almost apologetically. He gingerly put the cuffs around my wrists in a manner that allowed for the most comfort while still serving their purpose. He read me my rights and asked me the questions he needed to, without prying into my personal life, or lecturing me. He was kind, quick, and helpful. He made sure that I got into and out of his patrol vehicle without hitting my head. He told me everything he was going to do before he did it, and respected me as a human being; he didn't treat me like a criminal at all!
When he was through issuing me my ticket, and explaining to me what I needed to do to take care of this matter, he offered to give me a ride home if I was unable to get someone to come get me. I let him drive me home, and ,again, he did so without lecturing me. He made it a point to gather my things for me before he or I forgot them in the car, and he asked me to relax, and made sure I felt okay. When I thanked him for making it such a painless experience, he told me: "Well, it's my job to do that. I'm not here to harass ya. I'm here to help you." Then he apologized that I had to go through that, and after I told him not to worry about it, because it was my own fault, he said, "Well it's not very often that people take responsiblity for their actions. Thank you, and you try to enjoy the rest of your night." Then he left.
I looked at the ticket he issued, to find his name. Would you know that he had the same initial as me, and the same last name?!
I thank God that I was pulled over by this officer, and not another who would have treated me poorly. Having already had one bad experience with a state patrol, I was very grateful to have that experience with a law-enforcement officer who epitomized the position and authority he held. And I'm grateful that I was able to get home, get my car back not 30 minutes later, and have things with my car taken care of so easily. I felt so blessed when I came home, and realized how much simpler a trial that was for me than it should have been, or might have been. I was arrested, you know?!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I walked into work, and the very first thing that happened was my co-worker Prema handed me a gift-wrapped box. It contained candy canes, a hot-cocoa packet, and an invitation to a white elephant party. It was adorable, with rhymes and everything! At lunch time, I spoke with my sister Audrey on the phone for about 10 minutes, just to catch up. I bumped into an old friend, Wasami, from high school, and her beautiful little boy. And on my way back to work, I got to help push the vehicle of a distraught woman out of the way of traffic, and to a place of safety. The only other gentleman that came to her rescue was such an angel, and his wife was so kind to wait and allow her husband to play the good Samaritan. The entire rest of the evening was pleasant, and I really have nothing to complain about tonight.
I thank God above for wonderful days like this: days when I get to see the beauty and good in people; days when I get to enjoy simple things; days when I get to be useful and needed; days when I can feel the love God has for his children and for me.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I was so grateful that things weren't any worse. The Lord preserved me once again, despite my insolence. Man am I stupid sometimes, haha. My brother, whom I was speaking to on the phone at the time of the incident, notified his girlfriend and my parents, and rallied their aid immediately. Karen arrived at the scene not 5 minutes later, and my parents were only 3 minutes behind her. Karen dropped me off at work, while my parents went and purchased a new tire, and replaced my old one. They dropped my car off at my place of work way before my lunch time so I could use it, and even put some more gas in the tank. Vivic called again later to check on the progress of my car, and make sure I was okay.
I realized again today how truly blessed I am, and how mindful the Lord is of me. I felt terrible for choosing not to pray this morning, after receiving the small but distinct prompting to do it. I've repented since, and thanked the Lord for being with me today, and allowing me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes, and to grow and mature spiritually. I am so grateful for my family, for the eternal bond we share, and how quick they are to respond to my needs. I love them so much, and thank the Lord that I am so blessed to have them in my life.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Anyhow, a student told me this riddle yesterday:
"I get laid in an alley, you can find me between splits, and I'm ready to go after you stick your fingers in my hole. What am I?"
If you figured it out already, way to go! I had so much trouble getting the right answer.
Want one more guess?
Want me to tell you now?
Alright fine: I am a......
Haha. I originally said the letter "L". Then I put my fingers up in an L and placed it on my forehead. She didn't think that was too funny~
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I'm listening to the new Beyonce album right now. It's what the fans have come to love and expect, and I'm happy with it so far. There's a beautiful track called "Halo" that is very touching. If' you're tired of "If I Were A Boy" or "Single Ladies," I'd totally recommend that song as a replacement.
There wasn't anything too exciting today, except that I got to talk to a client about his involvement with HIV/AIDS awareness, and how he is involved with a summer camp every year dedicated to supporting people with the misfortune of that burden. After hearing a friend's story of his own struggles last night, I have been moved by this cause. If you'd like to get involved, please go to your local temples and add the names of those suffering from HIV/AIDS to the prayer logs. And on the last Sunday of this month, we are going have a special fast for our brothers and sisters with this struggle. It's in conjunction with World AIDS Day, and we'd really appreciate any of your assistance.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"When I was 21, I was still disfellowshipped from the church. I was living in Pasadena, CA at the time with my best friend who also deals with SSA. I was working at the Banana Republic, and was poor as heck. I had way cute clothes though, haha. But it was the most torn I'd felt in my life. I was working so hard to get my blessings back, and to be able to have full fellowship with the Lord's church again. But at the same time, I was living in a very gay-friendly place, working in a very gay-friendly industry, and surrounded by gays and gay-promoting people. It was a very trying time, and there were days where I felt my head was going to explode. If I could have afforded it, I would have gone to get counseling, but I was so poor. I saved up enough money once a week to eat at my favorite restaurant, as a happy treat! And I worked all the time to be able to live, so I only made it to church on Sundays and Mondays, and occasionally morning institute. It was different from home, where I used to go to institute twice or three times a week, fhe on mondays, and two wards on Sundays (I know, I have OCD).
But I knew I was there in CA for a reason, and I knew I had a lot to learn. I had been prompted to move there, and to grow there. In my experience, people in CA are very interesting: the members are either very conservative, letter-of-the-law type people, or very liberal, open-minded people. Though I felt loved by the vast majority of people, there were times at church where ignorant comments or announcements were made, and they were directed at the gays. With the help of my best friend, I learned to not take those comments personally, and learned to be understanding of others who didn't know any better. I learned to balance SGA in my life with the gospel, and let the gospel take precedence whenever there were discrepencies. I learned a healthy fear of evil things, and learned to maintain strength in goodness. A month before my 22nd birthday, I was refellowshipped into the church! And the day after Christmas, I received my patriarchal blessing. I was so happy! After 2 1/2 years, I was finally able to partake of the sacrament, and hold callings, and speak and sing in church again! All of the pain, the tears, the struggles: they were all worth this, being this close to the Lord again.
It's a time in my life that I'll always remember. Whenever I start to feel weak, I can look back at those years, and remember how hard I fought for the life I have now, even when I wasn't sure why I kept going. I know that it was worth it. And if being refellowshipped into the church gave me that much joy, how much more will I feel when the Lord opens the gates of the Celestial Kingdom to me at the judgement day?!
Besides, the songs that I wrote during that time have been some of the best ever! Depression works wonders for creativity, and so does it's reciprocating joy."
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Remember when I said there's a lot going on in my head? Well, there still is... but I'm feeling a lot better about things. My best friend has settled many issues he was having with the Lord, and that has restored a fair amount of peace to my life. My homesickness for the cruise has diminished greatly, and reality is starting to settle back in. Things at work are still a little crazy, but I'm starting to figure things out there, too.
The biggest thing I'm worried about right now is my car. I don't know if the damage it received is fixable, and I don't know how much it'll cost me if it is. My insurance is not going to help (long story), and I'm not making as much money right now as I was 6 months ago.
I watched "Across the Universe" finally, for the first time this weekend. It was a beautiful film, and the adaptations of the Beatles' songs were wonderful. It's another film I wish I starred in. One day, haha. I also turned down an audition this weekend, for a role I think I would've been perfect to play. I didn't want to miss church, so there you go...
Oh, and I got to spend the day with a friend I haven't seen for at least 2 years. His name is Jason Nichols, from Seattle. It was so nice, he called me out of nowhere! Then he came down yesterday, and went to church with me. It was great. And my brother came back from Kansas, so we got to be together. And I got to hang out with my best friend Tommy after not seeing him for over a week. So yeah, I have a lot of reasons to be happy!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
So here's to a new week, and a new day. And a new me~
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I kid, I kid. All jokes aside, the decision to open this blog has been influenced by my creative need to express myself, to share my own opinions and insight to life, and to give myself the opportunity to easily write, daily, like a journal.
So there. Thanks for reading, or looking, or laughing.... or whatever you're doing here.