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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Video Blog Numero 1

I thought I would change things up and do a video blog instead which is a perfect display of my personality. Enjoy! And thanks for watching:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Grasping At My Sands Of Being

I was on my daily run the other night, reflecting as I always do to pass the time when I realized I was getting lost in my memories of the past. In this particular instance I was reliving random moments from my childhood. Little things like the field next to our house I used to play in, or being in the car going to boy scouts while listening to Savage Garden, or eating a popsicle on a hot summer day. And these memories come and go on their own without me ever being even fully aware of it.

Memories coming and going like the people I've met, experiences I've had and things I've lived through. It got me thinking that I don't really count the times I spend dreaming or memories reliving as moments lived of my life. And more so I daresay I spend the majority of my days just
spending life in a place that doesn't exist anymore or
never has to begin with;
I think I dream more than I actually live.
These memories and dreams constantly surround me.

In comparing the dreams I had for myself and where I am now currently, It can be hard for me to cross
of my actual life from what
I had hoped for my life.
I never saw myself in the position I'm in nor was this any dream of mine. I don't necessarily consider it a bad thing, albeit it depends on the moment I'm in. Yet my life has been a constant metamorphosis of change, a constant shaking off of
cocoons and
re creations.
Life has done this to me.

And comparing my unfulfilled dreams alongside my distant memories it's apparent to me all the many intricate layers to my being  that simply can't ever be fully seen or understood. I live my life the best I can  to own all of me and to share as much of myself as I possibly can with others, but even still, there are things people will never fully know, nor ever fully understand, or really see and feel as I do. It's my experience alone to live. Those "secret" moments in a sense, are mine to keep.

Say for example the times I spent crying alone in my bedroom, wanting to push past the feelings of self loathing for being gay and not being good enough. Or the several prayers as a teenager I made, praying for a best friend to call mine.  You can't see me during my LDS mission, trying everything and anything to be the best missionary. You can't feel the love that filled my soul when I taught the Uruguayan people, or the joy I had as I served those people and tried all I possibly could to see my efforts touch them. You can't now or ever see the complete seriousness and devotion I've taken to follow God and to really help people. And on and on and on. And for me even, these memories are but now fleeting grains of sand, falling beneath my fingers as I myself try to grasp onto them. All I really am in the end, is a series of memories, none of which make me up completely and all together still don't make up one complete being.What, then, really is being?

I'm in the business of creating dreams.  All you see is the reality of things that have been and are. And the reality of it all is there is no reality and no one can quite possibly grasp the WHOLE of me.

So I guess my self reflection leads me on to ask then, am I making the memories I want to? Am I grasping onto the sands that are most precious? Can I make myself infinite in someway?

I want to create more of things that are not just in my line of being, and  not just live in my dreams that were or ones that never come to fruitition.

I want my sands of memory to make a beautiful tapestry, even if it's just to be washed away after. (And on this note, we saw this lady here do sand art with her fingers at Cirque Du Soleil... it was incredible, you can watch here: I want my brush stroke of being to mark itself in others tapestries, as much as it possibly can. To live on and be endless, in beauty and love. To create an endless state of beauty and love that's something more than the sum work of my experiences and memories. That's what I aim for.

For me I'm all about goal setting and making lists to my life, to help guide and remind me. So true to myself, here's what I hope to create more memories of to achieve my desires:
  • music
  • writing
  • good food
  • service
  •  heart
  • dancing
  • laughter and smiles
And I'll just do this. I won't fear. I'll just do. For I know how fleeting are the moments. I'll continue to grasp at the ones I've had as again It's not something I really could or would even want to control. Like C.S. Lewis once said I find myself seeking after things this world hasn't yet seemed to satisfy. I hope for perfection, I hope for completion. It's part of my human being to do so.

And here I try.

What it's all for?

Perhaps I'll never fully know.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Faith Reconciliation Take 2

I know it’s been awhile since I've written a post. I apologize.  I for one struggle with the idea that I have anything to say worth sharing. Moreover I typically prefer the learner label. I think it stems from my worry of aggrandizing myself to being something I’m not. I don’t consider myself any more special than any other person out there. I guess I see my worth more in learning and doing than I do in doing and sharing, something I'm trying to work on.  With that said I DO want my voice to be heard.

The past few weeks have been really tough. I don’t think I can say that enough. The toughest I can here to for recall in fact.

Most of my Facebook friends will have seen that my father passed a few weeks ago. While we knew he was sick and didn't have a lot of time left, it was still a shock that took us by surprise. I for one was in complete denial he was sick at all. He had just written me an email to come over the day before, asking me to pick some things up from home (an opportunity I missed because I was “too busy” that day…). My dad was the strong, healthy figure my whole life, I thought for sure he would be the exception to the rule. It's weird losing him, the whole thing is in fact. I can't think of any other way to describe it. With this said, my Dad was able to document his last few months in a blog regarding the illness he was dealing with; I think all of you would be benefited by reading from it here:

Losing someone close to you  is an experience unlike any other.  It's uncanny. It’s not just a feeling of sadness and loss, it’s all the feelings, constantly, over and over, spiraling in and out of each other, or sometimes all together. And for me at least, there is nothing I can do to control it. One moment I can be completely fine, and the next I can barely move I’m so emotionally incapacitated. And there is no antidote; there are distractions, but no real cure. Sometimes I wonder even how real my feelings are, like I should be feeling a certain way all the time but I'm not, so I feel heartless.

But you keep going, you keep breathing and simply put you keep being.  You don’t really have a choice on that matter. That’s the cruel part of this whole experience: Knowing you are still here and they aren't (I'm talking in the physical sense). What I want from this, what I crave more than anything (aside from having my Dad back), is to have peace with it all.  Real, heaven sent, long lasting peace.

I labeled this entry faith reconciliation because that’s what my father’s death has caused me to do: re assess my beliefs, and what is and is not working. I didn't again really have any choice in the matter, death forces that on anyone who tries to walk with him. 

Forgive me here in attempting to convey my thoughts, I’m trying to find the best words here, so pardon me if it doesn't come across well. In fact, I don't think anything has stressed me out so much as trying to get this across. I've come back to this post several times to then shove it aside because it felt bordering on the point of disrespectful; doing it so soon, publicly, or at all. That's how it feels. So I'm shaky here, but I've also received that uncomfortable inspiration to write about it.

In experiencing the moments surrounding my Dad’s death and funeral, I've come to feel in a very real sense the deep, enormous sore of beliefs that once were there, but aren't anymore.

Surrounding much of the funeral, I was privy to several moments with family and friends of reminiscing about my dad and hypothesizing his now post death life.  A lot of the discussion centered on him being free of sickness now, rejoicing with his ancestors, including his previously passed sister and mother. Other discussions revolved on him being with us in spirit now, helping us on the ‘other side of the veil’, as us Latter-Day Saints put it. And much of the peace found for my family and friends was in knowing we’d see him again. They were and are extremely beautiful sentiments. I can't express that enough. I understand why they’re said and where they come from. We also sang hymns, prayed and talked of and rejoiced in Christ. I think of it as a very beautiful thing and I saw the very real comfort that these actions and thoughts brought. What I want understood here is that I want to feel that same comfort. I want that peace and reassurance, but I don't have it. And it's not because I'm not trying or am not willing. And now, more than ever, I miss that.

I can't begin to describe the emotional turmoil this has put me in. And I know from experience many people may look at me and say "This is because you are weak, you don't have enough faith, or you're sinning and thus can't feel the spirit". And those may be true. I'm open to that. They sting, but perhaps necessarily so. I'm open to that if it brings me better fulfillment. What I have felt and done so is because my own personal integrity barricades me from accepting those faith filled sentiments wholeheartedly. I don't know how to believe them with the doubts and uncertainties I have. But I want to, don't get me wrong, I'm trying to find the way. I feel like I'm on the playground watching the cool kids play, but I'm the awkward kid in the corner everyone else would rather avoid. So for the time being,my hesitancy creates this well of hurt. Every time I hear something someone else takes great comfort in, and I knowingly in good conscience can't, it stings. It's like touching a bruise I had when I was a kid; there's this fascination with the pain and near pleasure, but it still hurts you each time you do it. It's still there.

So I've been in an emotional bind. On the one hand I want to believe I will see my Dad again, that we will be together and things will be alright. But then on this same hand I can't knowingly accept these things wholeheartedly while at the same time living my life, in partnership with a man. It just doesn't feel right to me to do so. So then on the other hand I'm left to either make believe my own beliefs regarding God and the afterlife that fit my lifestyle, or to then deny any of them at all. And those both  feel so naive, ignorant and cemented. So it leaves me stranded. And it seems like there's nothing I can really do about it. I know people will try and tell me differently, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, however for myself, I just haven't been able to despite my efforts.

I wish I could say I'm 100% all the time. The truth is I'm spinning back and forth constantly to figure it out, And I honestly think for me, that's how it needs to be. I don't want to ever be so sure of myself so as to neglect change or truth. It sucks though, being in this spot. It's so easy to get swallowed underneath it all. And it's taxing. I'm tired of it. Very tired.

I want to believe in God. I want to have assurance of life after death. I want peace and assurance in the choices I make in this life. Most of all I want fulfillment. I guess when it comes to seeing God as a possibility or not, I'll choose God. If believing in God despite my doubts brings me happiness I couldn't have otherwise, I choose Him. I'm not sure what to make of that, but I'll choose Him.

For now, I'll keep pushing my handcart to the wheel. I'm not sure where I'm going, I'm not sure what I'll do, but I do know it will include loving as much as I can, and doing my best with everything I'm given. It's a hard road to be on, one fraught with a lot of loss, pain and sacrifice. I know a lot people I know won't see it as such, if to see it at all even, but it is for me.

My brother Nathan told me once in the car after the funeral proceedings that in the end it's about following the Savior and no one else. Nothing else matters, He's the only one who can save. I found that extremely insightful. And I'm still trying to capture the depth of that.

 I'm here. I want my life to mean something.  I want to inspire, I want to encourage and I want to bring understanding to this world. So if anything else, please just know that.