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.