Friday, November 30, 2012

I Dreamed a Dream...


Les Miserables is one of my all time favorite musicals. The music is beautiful and so powerful. My favorite song is I Dreamed a Dream and it is performed in the first act by the character Fantine.

Some background information: Fantine is a working class French woman very much in love with a man named Félix Tholomyès. Tholomyès abandons Fantine, leaving her to to care for Tholomyès' daughter, Cosette, by herself. Fantine out of lack of means to provide for Cosette, is forced to leave her in the care of the corrupt and selfish Thénardiers. She sends money to pay for Cosette's keep. 

Unbeknownst to Fantine, Cosette is being abused and used as labor for the Thénardiers' inn. The Thénardiers lie to Fantine about the costs of Cosette and use the money for their own selfish wants.

Fantine is later fired from her job at Jean Valjean's factory, because of the discovery of her daughter, who was born out of wedlock. Meanwhile, the Thénardiers' letters and monetary demands continue to grow. In desperation, Fantine sells her hair, her two front teeth, and is forced to resort to prostitution to pay for her daughter's "care." Fantine is also slowly dying from tuberculosis. 

At this moment when singing I Dreamed a Dream, Fantine finds herself at the lowest point she has ever been in her life. She laments the state of her life, how she started with so many dreams and expectations. Her lover left her. Her daughter is no longer in her care. She lost her job to provide for her daughter. She sold her hair, her teeth and is attempting to make money being a prostitute. In anguish, in sadness, in frustration, in utter despair she questions what went wrong in her life. 


I included the trailer of Anne Hathaway singing in the new Les Miserables movie. She may not have the best voice but that doesn't matter. She was recorded singing the song live on set. She really cut her hair for the role. She really lost all that wait to become Fantine. The song proves it. You can hear her pain and anguish when you listen. 

I've never felt so close to Fantine as I do now. Not that I've lost my lover (yeah that's a good one), or my hair, my teeth, my child or forced to become a prostitute. I just feel all my dreams, my plans, things I envisioned and wanted, attempted to do have not only not happened, but failed. I feel like the whole gay card causes a lot of that. My emotions over the past week or so have caused me to rape the replay button on my iPod and play this song over and over and over again.

I had a dream my life would be... 

Cheers,
GMSW

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stock Market


Friendships are like the Stock Market. It's dangerous, risky, and you're not always guaranteed a return. Invest too much into a bad stock and you'll lose everything. Invest into the right stock, you become rich. Continuous trading of your stocks will put you at a stand still, you will not progress in the marketplace and will become quite discontent with your situation.

I've been doing a lot of thinking the past week or so just evaluating friendships and people in my life, or more accurately stated attempted friendships in my life. I take an interest in someone and will generally want to be their friend. In doing so I'm investing anything and everything I have to that friendship. Texts, Facebook, phone calls, little favors just because, going to lunch, hanging out. I sincerely care about a person. I have a theory that my intensity with friendship is a sort of compulsive behavior which overwhelms people. So more often than not I make this investment and instead of the investment being worth it, I'm let down by people who don't care or really have an interest.

I promise I'm not that bad. I promise that I'm a damn good friend if you actually let me be one. I'm raw and honest. But I have a complete and unconditional love for my friends.

It seems though will all my efforts I still fall by the wayside. My returns are bad, people don't see my stock as something worth investing in.

It's frustrating because I don't know what else to do. I don't know how to make people care. I know how to listen to someone, to love someone, to care about their life, to ask questions, but I don't know how to have them do the same for me.

I'm at the point right now where I feel like I've been kicked one too many times and I've had it. My money is gone. I'm broke. I'm ready to declare bankruptcy and file for Chapter 11.

I don't want to try any more, I don't want to continue to feel hurt and alone. I don't want to sit in the shower and sob as the water drowns out the sounds.

Cheers,
GMSW

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Love To See The Temple


Today was a big day. I went to the temple with my sister. It's the first time I've been to the temple in a long time. It's the first time that I've done an endowment session in over a year. It has taken me so long to come back to the temple because of mistakes that I made acting out on my attractions a year ago. I never confessed them to a Bishop and though I've never done those things again, I have still felt constant guilt and unworthiness.

Today was different. Today I went in feeling that I truly needed the upliftment and peace that only comes with the Temple. For one thing, I hate Black Friday. When I say hate, I mean LOATHE ENTIRELY. I feel like it's complete hypocrisy. Thursday we're giving thanks and putting others ahead. Then the next morning people are literally crawling over each other to buy things for themselves. It's disgusting. Plus all the people gives me so much anxiety, but I digress.

I wanted to withdraw from the world and find peace. I love being able to take of my watch, leave my cell phone in my locker and just shut off the world and devote myself solely to the Lord.

As the session progressed, I felt actually peace. I felt the Holy Ghost. I felt like I was worthy (mostly) to be there in the temple.

Somethings that saddened me though was seeing how many more sisters there were there in the session than brothers. The ratio was probably 10 to 1. Wives are going alone and husbands are staying at home. Brothers are falling by the wayside as Satan focuses his attack on the family and specifically fathers. Though I'm not married, I do believe that married couples should go to the temple at least once a month together. I think it is absolutely essential for a successful and healthy marriage.

I do confess that as I watched the witness couple at the alter, I couldn't help but wish that I could be there too... with my own spouse (but sadly in my head it was a guy). I know that that will never happen. I know that thought was just the weakness of my flesh but yeah...

Cheers,
GMSW

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012


I swear I'm not meaning to sounding like Debbie the Downer especially since this is Thanksgiving and all. This should be a post where I express my gratitude for everything that I have in this life.

I do have plenty to be thankful for. I have parents that love me and are still together after 30 plus years of marriage and are actually happily married. I have a Mother who is one of the most spiritual if not most spiritual faithful women I have ever met. I have a Father who has taught me how to work hard and provides continually for his family. I have the opportunity to attend a Church sponsored school where my education is high quality but at low cost. I have the gospel, I have friends, I have my intelligence, I have my siblings, I have not only a working car, but a beautiful working car, I have a laptop, iPod, iPhone, I have nice clothes, I am able to fly home and see my family several times a year.

But still none of this seems to fill me right now. It's the end of the day and more than anything I just feel empty. For one thing, this entire trip has been my sister (who doesn't know I'm gay) bothering me about my dating life and girls. It gets old and extremely frustrating. If anything it makes me put up a wall.

I sent out so many texts today to people telling them why they're important to me and why I love them. The returns were at most minimal. I do selfishly do things at time because I want people to feel like they need to do the same for me. It just gets so damn frustrating being the best possible friend I can to people, being so genuinely caring and honest, and in return you get nothing. You don't feel important, you don't feel like anyone gives a shit if you were there or not. You're simply not important enough or worthy enough for that person's time.

Cheers,
GMSW


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blogging from a Mile High


This evening I had about 45 minutes before I had to leave to go to the airport to catch my flight to go see my sister for Thanksgiving. I ran outside to go move my car so it would be out of the way while I was away over the holiday. I turn on my headlights and nothing happens. No lights on the outside of the car come on, though the inside lights up just fine. I call my parents to let them know what's going on. My mom chews me out and makes a comment about wanting to know what she is supposed to do about it. We both know that any repairs made on my (rather expensive to fix) SUV, will be paid by her. I have no money. I go to school full time, year round. I'm preparing to graduate and take the MCAT. So it makes sense that I would call her and tell her what was up with the car since she was the one cutting the check.

I get off the phone with my mother and ask my grandmother if she can follow me over to the shop so I can drop off my car and have them work on it while I'm gone. She gets pissed because she just finished making dinner and we have to leave to the airport soon. I tell her we have time but she still acts annoyed and I have to convince her we can do it. She's super anxiety ridden all the time and has to have everything her way exactly how it's planned or she freaks out.

At this point, I was about ready to scream/cry/curse out anyone who spoke to me. Things don't ever go as we have exactly planned them. Life happens, shit happens. This is gonna be really selfish sounding, but did it ever occur to anyone that life never asked me if I wanted to be gay. I didn't ask for this. I didn't plan on having homosexual tendencies while being a member of the only true Church on this earth; the Lord's Church. I'm really grateful for the Church and I know that it's true, but because of the stance of the Church and often hostile environment created by misinformed members of the Church, it makes it really hard.

But what it all comes down to, what the fact of the matter is: I am gay. I have to deal with this whether I want to or not. I can complain and moan and say that it's not convenient, I can get upset, I can cry, I can curse, none of these things help me at all.

My orientation: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my True North. This is what I identify with and where I find true and lasting joy. I know this is true, though some days are much harder than others.

If you find yourself struggling with these feelings, throw away any labels. Throw away identifying yourself as gay. Orient yourself towards Christ and all things will fall into place.

Cheers,
GMSW

Monday, November 19, 2012

Same Sex Attraction: Reconciling Faith & Feelings


This weekend I was privileged to attend a conference put on by the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists (AMCAP) called Sex Attraction Conference: Reconciling Faith & Feelings. It was "the first-ever public presentation brings together a number of people who have experienced same-sex attraction, including several persons who now have successful opposite-sex marriages. They will offer insights into how they have reconciled their challenges and their traditional moral values, including the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other therapists and scholars will provide additional perspectives." 

Before I talk about the conference, let me preface with an apology. This blog post is going to be pretty bipolar and all over the place because I'm going to be copying down my notes from my journal, so bear with me.


I was initially super apprehensive about going to the conference because of my previous experience with Journey into Manhood. Long story short, JIM was not what I thought it was going to be. I was expecting a gospel oriented agenda and spiritual upliftment, which at least for me it wasn't. The cool thing about this conference, it was exactly what I thought JIM was going to be like. It was completely gospel oriented. I felt the spirit the whole time and came away feeling filled and full of hope like most people do after attending the temple or general conference. 

There are so many thoughts put forward, I think honestly the best way to go about this would just be to bullet point some important points:

*The key to overcoming same sex attraction is to not make it the central focus in your life. Focus on living the the gospel and as you do you will over come compulsive sexual behaviors. With the gospel as your central focus, your view of SSA will change, you will find joy, you will stop hating yourself, your homosexual feelings will not go away but they will diminish. One of the speakers made the point to say that any appetite that's fed (sexual addictions, SSA), grows in strength. Make SSA your focus, you feed it. Make God your focus, you feed yourself, he feeds you. 

*Hope with a capital H is what's most important. The goal for those helping treat those who experience SSA is to give hope. To let them know that there is hope, there is a road, there is a path for them in which their faith and feelings reconcile.

*The most powerful and sustaining type of change that occurs in someone who experiences SSA is the change in one's heart. Having the faith to believe in a higher power and truly be able to say "Thy will be done." Change though is individual and it all comes down to what the individual wants.

*SSA can be likened to speaking english. One wasn't born speaking english. Though one may not remember it, you learned how to speak english. SSA is the same. No one was "born this way." Certain experiences and tendencies led to this place of SSA. Missionaries learn second languages all the time. They still think in English but are able to adapt and be proficient in another language. 

*When one first starts accepting and choosing to deal with their same sex attraction, they tend to ask the organizing question "Can I or can't I change my sexual orientation?" Ty Mansfield said that this is a red herring that is presented to us. We don't need to worry about sexual orientation. We should worry about changing our own story! A spiritual change is much more important and key to overcoming this mortal overlay. One speaker noted, "I may like women, but when people ask my orientation, I tell them it is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ". 

*"Either I'm in the driver's seat or my emotions are."

*Ty also made the point to say that loneliness and sexual attraction are often thrown together into one when it comes to SSA. He said it was important that they be separated from each other. Those feelings of isolation and emotional starvation need to be treated, so you can be healthy first. In deepening your relationships with people and feeding yourself spiritual and emotional, SSA will be treated as well. Though it is important to note that one can't base their happiness on another person or relationship. We can never learn to be happy married if we aren't happy single. 

*Ty spoke on how his SSA is a gift and a blessing. It has taught him so much about the Savior and has given him such great faith and patience.

I would like to close this post with a quote from one of the speakers. Her Bishop felt prompted to say this in sacrament meeting (it just so happened to be her first Sunday back at church in 6 years). She knew when he said this, it was for her and her experiences with SSA:

"My greatest fear is that we get to the other side and realize that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ could have healed us."

I am so thankful for this opportunity I had to attend this conference, to be spiritual fed and reinvigorated to keep moving forward. I'm grateful for the atonement, for a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who knows exactly what I'm going through. 

Cheers,
GMSW











Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words


When I was in elementary school I didn't have a lot of friends. I was quiet, not athletic, and blissfully ignorant. I was the definition of "nerd". I wore the pants thats you could zip off the bottoms and become shorts. I would wear the white socks half way up my shin. I had large round glasses, I was pudgy, I wore my Old Navy Tech Vest almost every day - yes I was that guy.

My favorite thing to do was to read. I would devour any book that I could lay my hands on. Harry Potter was by and large my favorite. I have easily read each of the books in the series over a dozen times. Not only did I like to read. But I was usually the teacher's pet and top of my class.

My less than desirable traits ostracized me from the guys (lack of interest or understanding in sports). My lack of athletic talent or body removed me from the interest list of any of the girls. Anyone that was left was then turned off by my teacher's pet qualities.

So I didn't have any friend. When you're ten years old and have five siblings, you don't really care. I was perfectly fine hanging out with my parents or my siblings and their friends.

Middle School hit though and I began to experience the angst of being a teenager. I desired friends. I desired to be accepted. I eventually made a ton of girl friends (girls that were friends). But it the back of my mind I sought and wanted to be with the guys. I wanted to feel like I mattered and I was important and that I had a life. Everyone at school at stories from the weekend and pictures of themselves and their friends on their binders and in their lockers and I had no one.

Fast forward ten years to my Senior year of college. I have a ton of friends. Now mostly guys. I gave up trying to fit in a long time ago. I just behave as GMSW since there is no one else out there that is me. My friends love me and accept me. My body is in way better shape (not like it was in High School since I was a swimmer, but better than Middle School). I dress exquisitely well (I actually won best dressed in High School). I'm successful and I would say popular on the superficial level, but I keep my number of close friends really small.

I still carry with me the insecurities of having no friends from when I was younger, so I've acquired the habit of taking a lot of pictures. Pictures seem to be tangible proof to my older self that I have friends, I have a life and that people like me.

Pictures are interesting though. When one looks back at a picture, one never thinks back to bad times. A picture only brings back the good and the positive memories. Though sometimes those memories are painful because a relationship has ended since the picture and you really miss the person.

I've been reflecting over relationships I have in my life currently and going through pictures. Some bring happiness, others bring back pain, others bring back regret, others make me nostalgic.

A picture is worth a thousand words. What story will your pictures tell?

Cheers,
GMSW

Monday, November 12, 2012

My (Gay) Mormon Moment


I'm an Exercise Physiology Major, and as such I am required to enroll in the Exercise Physiology class and corresponding lab. Today for lab we were required to do the skin fold test on our classmates and then have them do it on us.

I was dreading having the skin fold test done on myself. I was always the fat kid in elementary school and middle school. My body fat percentage was always a considerable amount higher than all the Ethiopian bean poles I went to school with. I'm in some of the best shape I've been in a long time right now, but I still have flash back nightmares of being teased and called fatty. So I was very shy about removing my shirt and showing my stomach. I quickly put on my shirt as soon as I could once I was done.

Then came the next part of the lab...

Each person in our group was supposed to find two people outside of class to do the skin fold test on. I called up a buddy I just met this semester, (who I do find attractive) and then I wandered into the fitness room and saw a guy just coming out of the locker room to work out. I've actually seen this guy several times a week when I'm in the gym and I may take some longer than needed looks.

Anyways... I had them both come into the lab and I took their weight and height. Then I had to ask them to remove their shirts so I could take the skin folds of their pecks and abdominal area. Lord, I've never felt so gay. I was really trying to not lust or notice too much how attractive these guys were. Both my age, chiseled body (with the "V"), tan, manscaped nicely. I kept telling myself "GMSW, they are not pieces of meat, they are people, stop it." I was pretty proud of myself though. I didn't pop a boner or anything like that, which was honestly something I was really afraid would happen. I kept it cool and remained professional.

Something my buddy told me which is what I'm trying to live by. It's okay to acknowledge someone is attractive (male or female) and then continue with your day. What is not okay is to obsess about it and lust. That's where you run into the whole sin issue.

Cheers,
GMSW



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Perspective


My older brother got married a couple years ago. Due to distance and serving a mission, I haven't had the opportunity to meet his wife until very recently. His wife came into town for a visit this past weekend. We were able to meet up for the first time and chat over some hot coco. We were both laughing because it felt like a date.

My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia many years ago. He has tried to kill himself several times. My family has been dealing with the trial that it is for over ten years now. We tried many experimental treatments to try to help and "cure" my brother, but to no avail.

My brothers medications have caused him to put on a lot of weight and lose the body he used to be so proud of (he was studying to be a personal trainer for a while).

My brother has a college degree and is a genius (like most people who struggle with mental illness), but his disease debilitates him, dumbs him down and makes it so he is unable to hold down a steady job. He is stuck with these remedial minimum wage jobs.

Miraculously, he met his wife who married him knowing everything she would be getting herself into. They've been trying for a while now to have kids and nothing has proven fruitful.  The doctors think that my brother may be infertile from all the medicine and treatments over the years. My sister-in-law though doesn't think so. She told me that she will have one child with my brother. Exactly one, a little boy. He's up there waiting, it's just a matter of when. She told me that she knows because she had a vision - for lack of a better word. She saw her little boy, he was not adopted because he looked like her and my brother.

Now my sister-in-law doesn't know this, but my conversation were her was needed. This past week or so has been a big pity party for myself. Given it was a hard week though; screwy friends, screwy elections, terrible test results. I've been feeling really sorry for myself and cursing God for my 'gayness'.


Perspective.

Yes, being gay has made me more emotional and more attached to people.

I tend to like girly music, Broadway, and Keeping up with The Kardashians.

I'm attracted to men the way that other guys are attached to girls.

I may not marry in this life.

BUT,

Being gay does not prevent me from working.

Being gay does not make me really out of shape.

Being gay does not make me infertile. If I ever get married to a woman, I will still be able to have children.

Being gay does not diminish my intelligence.


Though I don't feel necessarily better about this past week. I don't feel as singled out or hated by God. Every single person in this life has their own cross to bear. Mine is just different than most.

Cheers,
GMSW

Monday, November 5, 2012

Marilyn Monroe



I must have this huge disclaimer on me that I can't see that apparently says "take advantage of me."

I'm a gay mormon, so I already the tendency to be more emotional than most guys. I give and give and give with all the relationships in my life. At times I do it from the good of my heart, and at other times I admit I do it because I want a friend to feel obligated to reciprocate that love and care to me. 

If some people would just look outside themselves and see that there is a person who genuinely loves them and cares about them. I stand there and most of the times these people just look right through me to other people in their lives who aren't even that great. 

I know I'm not perfect. I know I make mistakes. I know I have truly crazy moments of attachment from being gay. I also know that I'm a damn good friend to people. I have always prided myself on the caliber of friend I am to people. I am the best friend that you see in movies, on TV, that you always wish for growing up. 

I'm over people in my life who can't make up their damn mind. If you want to be my friend, then be it. Don't do it half ass. Make a decision and stick with it. Stop flip-flopping on your thoughts and your wants. Don't one second not want to talk to me and be completely detached and then the next act like you care about me. All that does is string my heart along and make it harder for me to move on. 

Cheers,
GMSW

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Love Priesthood Blessings!


I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I have so many short coming and things that I need to work on, but one thing I do have a testimony of and do have perfect faith in is Priesthood blessings. What I love about Priesthood blessings is that anyone can have one, you don't have to be worthy to receive comfort from our loving Father in Heaven.

I spend the majority of Saturday in bed with a terrible migraine. I've gotten migraines since I was at least 7 years old. They usually incapacitate me. I get a terrible headache, I can't stand noise, light, or motion. I tend to get nauseated, flushed, and dizzy. I can't sleep and try to lay perfectly still with a bunch of pain killers in me and a cold washcloth on my face.

Ever since I was little, I would ask for a blessing once I got migraine. I knew that if I got a blessing, I would be healed no matter what. I always did all I could for myself before I would ask for a blessing because we are supposed to help ourselves before we go to God. Like clock work, after I get a blessing, I am able to fall asleep and the pain subsides.

This particular migraine was caused by lack of sleep and stress. Last week was midterms and I was averaging a good five hours of sleep or so per night. I texted my best friend's dad to come over and give me a blessing. He promptly left work (which really touched me) to come over and help me out. He gave me the blessing and as he spoke, I could feel the spirit. I could feel my Heavenly Father using him as a mouth piece. My best friend's dad does not know that I'm gay (though I'm sure he has his assumptions). His blessing to me was not just about healing from the migraine but about my life as well. I've been wanting a blessing about the whole gay thing for a while, but didn't want to have to ask and explain it to someone.

In the blessing I was told that my Heavenly Father was very aware of my circumstances. He told me that I would find true happiness in serving others and fulfilling my calling. But in order for me to help others out, I needed to be healthy myself.

I felt the spirit wash over me and confirm the truthfulness of these words. It was as if my Heavenly Father was saying : "You're doing alright GMSW, you're doing alright".

I love Priesthood blessings!

Cheers,
GMSW