Thursday, June 22, 2017

Talking With the Dead

I was scrolling through my phone yesterday, while on one of my daily walks I take. It's a ritual of mine I've had for years.  I set aside time in the morning and afternoon to get outside, stretch my legs and clear out my thoughts. This time has come to be invaluable for my self-esteem and overall well-being. Yesterday I happened to find myself in my contacts list on my phone, which I rarely ever find myself in. While I was in there I noticed the myriad of numbers of people whom I no longer had contact with, many for several years.

In the spirit of clean up and declutter, I decided to sift through all the numbers. The idea was daunting at best; I had 1,000's of numbers saved (that's not an exaggeration). I didn't even know where I would start or if I could finish while staying sane. But it also felt like the right thing to do. Lately, I've been going through my closets, both emotional and physical, and getting rid of what I don't need. It seems like a necessary thing to do regularly to maintain any sense of balance.

So here I am, sweating profusely in the 95° weather as oncoming traffic watches, scrolling through my contacts list, deleting numbers left and right. The person whom I asked out as a nervous return missionary from the yogurt shop. Gone. The parent of a child who I supervised while performing humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic. Deleted. That person I home taught while going to school at BYU. Sianara. I honestly think I only ever saw her once anyways.

I was on a high, saying goodbye to all these numbers of people who no longer served a purpose for my life. Like the way Leslie Knope comically described eating a brownie she thought was loaded with pot (see Parks & Rec Season 2, Episode 2). It just felt good. Really really good.

Then I came to another number I hadn't seen for years. But this one was different than the rest. This number I hesitated to delete. This number was my Dad's:

I was speechless. I still am, really.

Here it was. My Dad. Not even that but it was my dad's number with his face right with it. Like he was still here. Like he never left. The number he used to call me from, always in a hurry. Anyone who knows my Dad knows that if there was ever a word to describe him, it was: Efficient. He did not like wasting your time or his. I don't think I ever had more than a 30-second phone call with him on the phone. He was so "efficient" that when the time came to hang up the phone, he would never even say "goodbye". He'd just hang up.

It's been 2 1/2 years since my Dad's passing. And seeing his number again for the first time in years, it brought me back. And a big part of me in that moment wished I could go back. Even if just for a moment. To be able to call that number and hear my Dad answer on the other line. Even if it was just to say "Hello Bryan, How are you", in his very strong but sincere tone. A moment ago I was riding a high and racing through life, and now, I felt humbled. Bewildered really. Was it respectful of me to delete my Dad's number and move on, or was it better to keep his number there for safe keeping? Just have it there, because what harm would it do?

I know my Dad loved me.

No one more than myself needs to remind me of the issues my Dad and I both had, up until he died. Issues that felt defeating and otherwise insurmountable. Issues that nearly cost me taking my life.

But he loved me. And acknowledging where I am now, from where I was while he was alive. I feel closer to him now than I did then. I can actually think of him or "talk" to him and not be afraid by that. And as crazy as that sounds, I'm really glad. I'm really glad for my own sense, that I can now benefit from my Dad's influence, rather than feel hindered by it.

I miss you Dad. You were a remarkable man who loved greatly. And my life is all the better because of it.

So for now, I've decided to delete his number from my phone. I can't call it again and ever hear his voice on the other end. I won't ever have another phone call where my Dad reminds me to get home and clean my boxes in the basement. I won't ever see him physically again and look at me with pride, like he used to, knowing that he didn't have to say anything. He saw how precious and worthy I was of his affection.

But in my own metaphysical world, I've been able to find other ways to connect and talk with him.

And that's making all the difference for me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Self Insight

Hi There.

For any of you who followed my blog previously may be able to presume, much has changed for me since my last post. I don't feel the need to cover the details leading up to those changes, as I'm sure those who were curious to know anyways have already come to their own conclusions. That works ok for me. Life is a constant progression of thoughts and experiences and I am no longer the same person I was before. I wouldn't want it any other way for myself, or for any of those who are reading.

What I do hope to convey in this blog post are some of the insights that have benefited me, from my experiences, both dark & cheerful, that I've had. I don't see myself making blogging a regular thing again, at least in the same light I went about it before. I prefer to keep my more vulnerable thoughts and feelings for more intimate settings, where I'm able to control the narrative in a healthier fashion. I do however find meaning in sharing the ideas and beliefs that shape my life in an open setting like this, which I find more valuable anyhow.

 I wholeheartedly believe the ideas I share will benefit anyone looking to improve their lives and feel happier with themselves. And I'm grateful that to this point I've been able to surrender what was needed, in order to gain such understanding. The past 2 years have not been easy. In spite of this, I can say with sincerity I am happier, more loving and more devoted than I feel I've ever been. So without further adieu, I'd like to share the self-insight I've recently acquired:

1. There will always be people who care, no matter what happens. While my own relationship with myself should always come first, the relationships with those who care should be the ones I value next highest.
2. Self- love should always be the top priority. I can't fix the world's problems and it's selfish of me to think I can. Doing so will only make me worse off. The healthiest way to change the world is to change myself.
3. The best medicine to prevent mental/emotional exhaustion is to stake a step back and breathe. Be in the moment. Allow the moment to be as it is, without feeling the need to fix it.
4. It's human nature to develop coping mechanisms when dealing with struggle, whether good or bad. My primary coping mechanism is to over compensate when I feel insecure about the situation or problem. This mechanism only ever ends up making things worse off for me and exhausting me of my resources needed for survival. 
5. It's important to surround myself with people who help me recognize the ways in which I inflict self-harm and remind me to get out of my head & follow point #3 above.
6. I should be more confident in myself and not doubt my instincts, nor seek validation from others. Validation from others is cheap currency and low-quality happiness.
7. The more I allow myself to know myself, the more I allow others to know me, the more I'm able to control what others see/think.
8.  Be secure in believing the best of myself. No other opinion matters.
9. The agreement I currently have the most need to work on (of the 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz) is: Not taking anything personally. My life is better when I remember that every person is doing the best they can. 
10. I value sensitivity & kindness above all else. Any other traits and qualities are just ice cream toppings, and should not be considered the base on which to build my sundae (I can't make a post without making a pun referring to my love of ice cream 😄).
11. Kindness (for myself and for others) is the only way I've seen to live a happy and peaceful life.

So, there they are. As I said before, while these past few years have been the toughest years I've yet endured, I am so happy to be where I am now. There has been kindness and love everywhere I've looked for it. And that's a really beautiful thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Wedding Vows

I've struggled to keep up this blog, I have to admit.

It's been one of those goals I always want to be better at, but rarely am. Maybe it's because I already have it in my head that it's more of a "chore" than a hobby? I also often think as much as I want to blog, I rarely have things worth sharing. That's a belief I'm struggling to overcome. I don't just want to write anything, so I think I psyche myself out a lot.  Another obstacle is I don't want to feel tied down to talking just about "The gay thing", which a lot of my ideas seem to stem from. That's a significant part of me, albeit there's so much more I want to be known for.  It seems I'm in the never ending midst of re-focusing how I intend to make my life mean something. I keep trying, but I still haven't really found a sure answer.


I thought it would be worth sharing my wedding vows to Derek. I can't believe we've been married a month and a half. I still have to remind myself that I'm married and that Derek is my husband- it's been an adjustment I've still not yet fully realized. But I'll tell you a very cool adjustment! I've said it once and I'll say it again, Derek is the most wonderful human being I know. I feel so lucky to live in a time I do, where I have the opportunity to marry whomever I choose to love.

On the topic of weddings, you also don't realize how stressful weddings can be, until you're planning one. Really- don't talk to me till you've been through it and can empathize. Constant stress. Melt downs. Fighting. Tears. "The wedding is off" talk. Starving/Binging to try and fit into your ideal pant size you've yet to this point ever achieved. Well mainly binging, lots and a lots of binging (while you rationalize that you'll run 50 miles the next week to run it off, to never do such). I was such an ass for a lot of the process (excuse my language). But really, I didn't think I'd be a bridezilla and lo and behold-- I was! I take some comfort however that Derek was also-- just ask him, he'll tell you. ;-)

It also needs to be said that there seems to be so much added pressure to carry out a "gay wedding", like that somehow is supposed to change everything. Everyone expects perfection-- and I being my own self also expected perfection. Perfection+budget does not equal bliss. I can't tell you how many people told me in sincerity how excited they were to see a "gay wedding", or how wonderful and spectacular our wedding would be; certainly all of it said with good intent. I honestly worried to the point of insanity that the wedding we planned wouldn't be good enough and that I'd give a bad name to gay people everywhere. I can't let my people down! Ugh. Did I mention that Derek and I even made our own cake? That alone was the cause of at least 10 major meltdowns on my part. Oh and here's a picture of how that turned out:
There's a lot I would tweak looking back and/or do for the future, but when all is said and done I think we made a cake to feel proud of. And for any reading who are interested, I'd love to help with your future wedding cake! It's a hobby I hope to pursue more of.

Anyways I'm getting carried away. The wedding happened and I think it was beautiful, and I was so happy on how everything turned out. From the decorations to all the people who came to show support, down to the beautiful ceremony that our friend George performed, I was so very happy about it all. I couldn't have asked for better. And really, for those who did show support- it meant the world and more to us. I had no idea how loved I could feel. Thank you thank you to all of you. I have such an awesome life, and I'm teary eyed thinking about the experience and how meaningful it all was.

Story short married life is awesome!

On to what I originally intended, here's a copy of my vows:


Can you believe we’re standing here now?
I deeply, madly, endlessly love you.
From our first real visit, not including the time we met at the yogurt shop, I felt something I never had with someone before. Sharing Magnum bars, watching Modern Family, and discussing how we’d change the world, I knew my life would never be the same, nor my waist line. You sparked an endless fire in me. You inspired hope where hope where was nowhere else to be found. You’ve endured it all with me: the good, the ugly and everything in between, and yet you stand here with me still.  You reached for me in places where few have ever gone and you stood by me and you loved me still  in spite of it all. You gave me worth when I had none. Thank you. Thank you for walking into my life. Thank you for braving the storms with me.
In the wise words of Dr. Seuss “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple”.
Facing our future together, there are a lot of questions to be had. I can’t promise you things others perhaps marrying a woman could. But I can you promise you this: I promise to give you all of my heart. I promise to be my best for you.  I promise to choose you. And I’ll choose you, over and over and over, always. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I can’t promise to fix all your problems but I can promise you won’t have to face them alone. I’m not perfect. I’ll annoy you, tick you off, say stupid things and then take them back. Putting those things aside, I vow to encourage you, trust you, and respect you. As a family we will create a home filled with learning, laughter and compassion. I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone. I accept you as you are and I offer myself in return. I will care for you, stand beside you and share with you all of life's adversities and all of it's joys from this day forward and all the days of my life. In sickness and in health I promise to take care of you, even when you've over indulged the night before. For richer or poorer I promise not to spend all of our money at JCrew. I love you

And here's a video that our friend Emric graciously surprised us in taking of the event:
And on a completely unrelated note Christmas is 37 days away! Yippee!!!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Marriage Eve Introspection

So I'm getting married in a week.


7 days. 7 extremely short, stress filled days.

I'm incredulous, really.

To think I'm about marry Derek is an absolutely beautiful feeling as it is equally terrifying. Can you feel me here? It's only just the biggest decision of my life that I'm making, Pha, no big deal! I got this, no brainer!.... But really,  in all serious I don't take this decision lightly, even more serious for me as I'm altering my path completely from what I originally intended for myself. No, feel me out, it's not an easy thing to step beyond the bounds of comfortable tradition and sure promises to pave a new path for yourself and live within the realm of uncertainty. A big part of me misses the dream I for so long had and am now giving up. We all make sacrifices, one way or another I suppose, and this is one I am having to bear. Why does it so often have to feel so hard to carry?

 I grew up wanting more than anyone out there to marry a woman in the temple. To live the LDS Dream: Marry, live faithfully, rear a beautiful family of my own biological children, serve within the Church, go on a mission someday with my wife and at some point after death receive all the blessings of exaltation. I wanted it so badly! Picture my younger self, being completely surrounded by this family ideal, with the examples I had of faithful woman in the LDS church, woman who are smart and beautiful and confident and inspiring, rearing beautiful families with their husbands to be good people. Woman like my mother, or my mission president's wife, my sister in law's, etc. etc.. I wanted what they had, I craved it like I craved anything. I even made a list of  qualities  I wanted in my future wife once on my mission and I reviewed it frequently. I prayed. And I dated, ALOT. And my recently returned missionary self was eager and excited to live up to that dream and be counted among those around me who had obtained it.  I'm not sure how sincerely I can say I really tried. Random, but I remember on a date one time to a Stake Fireside, the Stake President's wife who I had not previously met before took it upon her to come up to me in a crowd and say"You will make a great husband and father some day". I lived for that realization. I was the "It" guy in my local congregation, who I was told every girl wanted to go out with.

 As the months and then years went by, I saw all  my friends marrying off in the temple and starting families, i'd feel more and more anxious, worried that something was wrong with me. Why wasn't I married yet?  I had several opportunities to pursue a relationship with a woman and marry one,  and I hadn't. I couldn't. Really I could name off around a 1,000 reasons why, but among those reasons I never really ever thought it was because of my homosexual feelings, but more because I could never try enough, I could never be good enough. And I think I unsuspectingly also placed those similar feelings of insufficiency upon the woman I dated. No one could ever quite fit into the ideal I was living to obtain. I  cried over it frequently throughout the night. Every time I'd see a happy family in the grocery store, with their cute little kids, I'd want to bawl. I can be so sappy sometimes! Time wore on, and I feared that I would never really find someone to love up to my ideal.

And so it was. Fast forward to now,  I'm a different person with different dreams and ideals I'm living towards. Yet still there within me is that younger version of myself, that peeps in from time to time, wishing that somehow and someway I could make the LDS ideal of marriage mine. Terrible of me, I know. And perhaps I'll be taken advantage of by some for stating my weakness here, I can't really stop them from thinking what they will. I'm just trying being real with how I feel. Too real? If that's a thing I suppose. Sometimes it feels that way.

I am excited to marry Derek. I love him, I try to love him as best I can, despite the imperfections that impede me from being better at it, and trust me there are many (just ask Derek). Derek is a unique person, one among a million. Someone who genuinely cares about people, and I mean he really does! He worries about people and there needs and he gives beyond himself to help others. And you can feel his presence and smile light up a room, and bring joy to those who have the pleasure of knowing him.  Dang it, I can't even talk about him right now without crying! I'm a hurricane of emotions I tell ya! And I'm so grateful to him. It's because of how wonderful Derek is and how much I love him that makes the decision to marry him an extremely difficult one, keeping what I originally wanted in mind. People could try to tell me otherwise, but when it comes to tearing away from the Church's expectations to now choose to marry Derek, two pieces of my heart couldn't feel any more stretched.

There's a lot of things I have to admit if I'm being fully honest, that I don't know right now in facing my future. I don't know that I'm making the right decision in God's eyes to marry Derek. I can guess at it and I can hope for the best, but I don't really know in the end.  I also don't know with certainty what God would really have me do in my situation. Perhaps he really would want me to remain celibate, or work things out with a woman, I can't really say no to this either as I'd be barricading myself from the opportunity to learn and grow. I don't really know for myself that I won't look back down the road, filled with regret for making this decision. And I really don't know in the end what will happen after this life and how my relationship with Derek will end up, *if indeed there is an afterlife (I choose to carry the underlying assumption here that there is). And because I don't know these things and really can't pretend to in trying to please others, I therefore am left to make these decisions on my own, doing the best I can with what I do know, and what I do feel.

I do know that I love Derek. I do know that my life would be miserable without him. I do know that my love for him is as pure and elevating as enriching as anything I've ever heretofore experienced. I do know that he makes me happy. I also know that having the Church and believing in God has given me hope and peace in my life that I wouldn't have otherwise. I also know I need that hope and peace just as much as I need Derek. I don't know how to work the two out completely, but I know that I need them both. I also really know that Derek makes this struggle seemingly worth it to bear.

So I face this exciting and yet terrifying road towards my future. I'm nervous, I'm anxious and fearful, I'm also happy, reflective and everything in between. I'm walking forward with this decision to marry Derek, I may not have alot of certainty in my life, but I have Derek right now. And I think that's enough for me, right now. And I'll be damned to do my best to keep clinging onto him as we keep trudging forward. He is my life raft, my counselor, my confidant, lover and friend.

Wish me luck! There's bound to be a lot more  sunshine and rainbows as there will be turbulence and wreckless dream catching ahead.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Key Lime Cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcakes                                                                         Bryan Clark
Makes 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon key lime zest

For the Key Lime Custard:

3 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup key lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 tablespoon key lime zest
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Lime Zest Vanilla Frosting:

¾ cup vegetable shortening
5 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 tablespoon key lime zest
2 tablespoons milk (add more for thinner consistency)


For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line cupcake or muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar together for about 2 minutes. Then scrape down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time. After adding all the eggs, scrape down bowl and add the buttermilk, vanilla, lime zest and dry ingredients. Mix on low until well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again and hike up from low speed to medium speed for about 20 seconds, and then scrape down the bowl for the last time.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until middle comes out clean when tested with a toothpick.  Cool the cupcakes completely.

For the custard: Whisk the eggs, sugar and key lime juice in a steel bowl and set aside while you prepare a double boiler.

Put a small pot half full with water on the stove over medium to high heat. Place the steel bowl with the whisked eggs on top of the pot and mix with a spatula until your mixture has become creamy like sour cream, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the mixture and strain, getting rid of excess egg particles. Grab a second steel bowl and dump your egg mixture inside, adding your zest and cold butter. Mix until well incorporated and place in the fridge until it slightly thickens, 10 to 15 minutes (or until desired consistency is achieved).

For the frosting: Sift the powdered sugar and set aside in a bowl.

In the bowl of electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the shortening on low speed. Scrape down the bowl and add the sifted powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Slowly add the key lime juice, vanilla, milk and zest until well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed. Then hike up to medium to high speed for about 2 minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add more milk if needed until desired consistency.

Hollow out the middle of the cooled cupcakes with an apple corer or melon ball scooper and set aside. Fill the cupcakes with the curd. Put the frosting into a pastry bag and cut 1/2-inch off the tip. Swirl on the frosting, and then top each cupcake with a slice of lime.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Am I Good Person? And the Battle of Guacamole

I ask myself this question several times on a daily basis. Everything in the end seems to revolve around it for me. In wondering the answer I  can scarcely ever come up with one. Sometimes I'll tell myself one way , but when I do that nothing ever seems to last for long and the question still remains.

Example A.

Last night Derek and I were preparing some guacamole to bring to a friend's house for dinner. Ever since the day I first tried guacamole, we've been inseparable since, and disclaimer: I have become infatuated with an avocado salsa recipe I found on Pinterest that I think is the bees knees. I promise if you try it you'll feel a renewed sense of happiness in your life.But back to the story I had initially started to make the guacamole when Derek stubbornly chimed in and said he would make it I've learned in the nearly 2 years of our relationship to oblige him when he says he seems hell bent on something.

To fully understand the situation that comes next it's important to note that while Derek and I share many similar interests and tastes, we do vary when it comes to one thing, that being how we like our guacamole. Derek is on team creamy and dreamy, where as I'm on team chunky and hunky. It's not that I don't like creamy guacamole, I just think chunky is better.

(This looks so much better, right?!)


So when Derek told me he wanted to make creamy guacamole, I decided to take offense. Offense that he wouldn't be considerate enough to make it the way I wanted. And not just that he wouldn't make it the way I wanted, but I was offended that he would like creamy guacamole at all (silly, right?). But nevertheless it's how I was feeling.

Then this conversation ensued:

Derek: How about I do half and half creamy and chunky guacamole.

Me: No, that's stupid.

Derek: C'mon now! I'm trying to work with you. Can't you see that?!

Me: How can you even like creamy guacamole? I don't want to see you anymore tonight. I can't stand you.

Derek: Why are you being so mean?!

Me: Go away!

(Derek gets a frustrated hurt look on his face of disbelief and I rage off to the bedroom and slam the door shut).

This ignoring Derek and being mad at him situation lasted for all about an hour last night. He's really hard to stay mad at. In fact I'm willing to bet no one really could in good conscience ever stay mad at him for more than a hot second.

But it had me thinking again. Why am I so obviously mean sometimes, when I know I can and should be better? Why do I take offense to things when offense was never intended? Why do I treat someone as special and important to me like crap when he deserves better? How could I act exactly like the type of thing and person I despise? Am I really a good person in the end?

Derek has a host of experiences with me now he could hold against me and say "Here! I told you he wasn't a good person!". And he'd be completely right. So many guilt ridden moments like this silly guacamole fiasco, where things escalated to something they shouldn't have and I acted contrary to my beliefs and I do or say something I regret. This is actually a legitimate fear of mine I've often had but never spoken, where I worry if Derek will still love me, having seen the dark side there is to me. I wonder sometimes if he thinks any goodness to me is just a lie.

That fear seems to precipitate into other relationships of mine, most particularly the ones I have which are rocky at best, or now non existent. I make mistakes, and I worry about those mistakes and the barriers they've created for someone to see the good things that I desire.

And what it comes down to it, perhaps that's why I stress over it, because I'm all the above. And that's a strange thing to acknowledge.

Forgive my grammar but my goodness is just that, Goodness, and I couldn't claim it to be anything other than that. My badness also, is exactly that, and would be wrong to call good or anything else.

If I've learned anything in my life so far it's that there's no value in faking something that isn't true, or aggrandizing something that isn't so. The real value in anything lies in acceptance.

And I think the term acceptance has got a bad rap. I think we often see acceptance (myself included) as taking something for lesser value than what it could be. We accept the fact that we're overweight, when we should be thinner, or we accept the fact that we're "same sex attracted" when we could be "opposite sex attracted", or we accept the reality that we aren't making more than we'd like, or doing more than we should, etc. etc. So on and so forth. Really what I think might be most relatable to acceptance so as to help clear this subversive thinking is acknowledgement. We fully acknowledge how things are. I acknowledge that I acted wrong with Derek in getting mad for not wanting his guacamole the way I like it. I acknowledge that I've done things before that were contrary to how I wanted to be.I acknowledge how things can be.

Really we can't move forward in anything till we do accept things for how they are. When we can accept all of something or someone, love grows. We grow.

What I see now as the underlying notion in my fear of the answer to the question of whether I'm good or not, is the fear that if I'm not, that I'm not worthy of being loved.I can see now that that thinking is  irrational and uninspired. When it comes down to it there isn't anything I can do that will make me any less worthy of love. Every single person deserves to be loved, no matter what. That's what unconditional love is, and if was at all conditional on something, then it's not really love. And if it's not really love, then why the heck are we doing it?

Enough of me trying to be philosophical and prophetic.

I want to be a good person, the best person I can be. And I want to do good in the world.

And because of those good desires I think the wrestle with my initial question will always be there. It needs to be there.

But as far my guacamole goes, there is no question, chunky is best. Chunky is ALWAYS best.

“You couldn't relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole--like the world, or the person you loved.” ― Steward O'Nan

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Untold Tales of Living in the Closet

When it comes to things I decide to write about and share, I've received the critique not often but a few times that all I can seem to talk about are the "gay issues", or things related to me being gay. Furthermore I'm labeled a political activist with a gay agenda by somehow sharing my thoughts and related articles on such issues.  I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing to be seen as such so I don't take it as an insult but I also don't believe that to be necessarily true. How I see it is that I'm  a human sharing human emotions and experiences for the sole purpose of being understood. There's nothing else hidden behind my intentions. 

Anyone who can see where I'm coming from or has been in a similar situation I'm sure can see the benefit to being open and vocal of such things.  I believe the more voices who speak up freely, the better off we are. And being gay  really has become just one of the many parts to who I am. After all is said and done, I really see myself for me, which is without labels, and that's the type of living I would hope for for everyone.

I find myself really melancholy when I think about how it took nearly my 26 years of life for me to finally come out of the closet. 26 years worth of bottled up feelings of being self conscious, of active pretending to being somebody else, of lying regarding who I was and what I did. 26 years of hatred for myself because I felt like I could never measure up and be enough, 26 years of depression that I would never ever be  normal. 26 years where I belittled myself, my thoughts and feelings above the one's I was told.  26 years of daily anxiety that can't really ever be fully conceptualized without living it.

Those feelings as unhealthy and detrimental as they are were very real to me, which is why I place so much emphasis on them. I look back and still can feel to an extent how that version of myself felt. I honestly never thought during the majority of that time, not even once, that coming out was ever a viable option. Fear kept me out of the closet for so long and it's fear that keeps anyone who may be in it now there. I saw myself going to the grave before ever sharing anything. I've often surprised people with these feelings that I share now from my past; outwardly I may have appeared to have self confidence, but inwardly it was a kaleidoscope of confusion. And I have to believe if it was like that for me, it must be like that for others.

I want it said to those who haven't known me personally, that I am SO different now than I used to be. I have my fears and insecurities, but being gay is no longer one of them. And I'm so glad to be where I am. I'm working on the rest (including my fear that I'll die if I don't eat at least one scoop of ice cream every day) but I've learned that change is possible.

Perhaps the thing that caused me greatest stress above all, was concerning God. I was as true believing a Mormon as anyone else out there. And I spent so much of my unaccounted for thoughts worrying about how I would stand before God, and what I would say, and what would happen to me. I feared the worst. I constantly subconsciously would try and rationalize with myself thinking something to the extent that "if I ask God enough times on my own for forgiveness and I do all I possibly can to be obedient with this one thing still....  maybe God will see my intentions and excuse me". I also clinged to any and all compliments and praise, hoping that if this person thought that of me, maybe it's true, and if it's true, then maybe God thinks that also. Oh the countless prayers I offered that turned to cryings that lasted all night, fearing rejection from God, pleading to Him for forgiveness... for worth. And hope.


It's hard for me not to speak of such issues without getting tearful. It's a harrowing experience to live thinking God doesn't love you and that you are evil as you are, so as to hide away and pretend.  It's self punishment that SHOULD NOT BE.    

I remember one experience I had while at BYU, where I as actively pursuing a girl to date. She was beautiful, outgoing, social and good natured. She also wasn't someone I would normally go out with, being that she wasn't a size 1 model with perfect legs, but I liked her. We had been on a few dates and had interactions through a period of a couple months when out of nowhere she stopped responding to any of my messages. I did my best to put on my superman charm with sending flowers, leaving cute messages and befriending her friends, but nothing seemed to be getting any kind of response. When we finally got together to talk about it, she got the courage to tell me how she had been feeling, which was that I was "too good to be true". I know sometimes that phrase is used as a cop out for someone to not date someone, but in this instance it was sincere (so I found out at least a few months later). And in being "too good to be true" it meant she was afraid that I wasn't being real and that maybe there was something else to me that might not make me such a "perfect" person. It reminded me of something a girl in high school told me, after things had ended, where it was "what I was" that she liked, not "who I was".

I was devastated by that preposition. I hate those words now even. No one should ever ever ever be told they are "too perfect" or "too good to be true". Please don't say that. If you're going to tell them anything tell them they're just not right for you and move on. Whenever I've heard those words, all it's ever caused me to do is fear that my good efforts aren't good enough, and that who I really am, isn't a person worthy of loving.

I heard a quote once that went "Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless".

What I know is from my experiences, is that the more I face the fears I have, the more I find how okay life really is. The more ok I find myself to be. I realize as much as anyone It takes so much strength to come out of the closest. The closet may not be being gay, but it may be something that's happened to you in your past you feel embarrassed by, or something you like to do that others you love and know don't. It may also be that you're struggling with something but don't want others to appear you as weak or stupid or  weird. I just want it known that whatever it is, you can face it. Don't waste anymore of your life in fear. You gain nothing and do no good living with it. The grass on the other side of fear really is so much greener. The things you can accomplish, the help you can give, the person you could be, without any fear, really it's.... limitless.

I believe in a world where people aren't motivated by fear but by love. And if all else, I'm here to be that one person who will believe in you and love you no matter what. Life is best lived authentically, and that's the way it should be.