Saturday, January 26, 2013

Good Things to Come



I have been so incredibly blessed over the past couple of months. My life has continued to move in a positive direction. I've met obstacles and have overcome them. I've had one or two stalwart people come into my life who have really changed it.

With all the good that has happened, I will still every once in a while express frustration and anger at my Heavenly Father for things that aren't the way I want them to be. Without going into specifics, I've really asked questions about why things have to be a certain way. I often find myself day dreaming about how things could be and then shake myself with sadness that they aren't that way and never will be.

I don't have an answer as to why I experience SSA.

I can't tell you why many good people are diagnosed with cancer every day.

I can't tell you why a young mother loses her little baby girl to a deformity of the heart.

I can't tell you why the Sandy Hook Shooting happened.

Things happen in our lives and sometimes there's no reason for it other than like Nephi, the bow just breaks.

Elder Holland has a quote I like to apply in times like these:

“Don't you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in Good Things to Come.”

I don't have the answers to the many unfortunate things that happen in everyone's lives. But I do know that if I follow and trust in my Savior, IT WILL be alright in the end.

Cheers,
GMSW

Monday, January 21, 2013

Haunted


I spent the holiday weekend with my buddy Brian who doesn't know that I'm gay. We went snowmobiling, watched movies, and ate a ton of junk food.

Brian had gotten two new roommates this semester and they spent the weekend with us having fun and (unfortunately) avoiding homework.

One of the roommates Josh had recently returned home from his mission. The entire time I was there Josh got up early and went to bed early (missionary schedule). He would stay for hours on campus doing homework. He spent his Saturday at the temple. In general he seemed pretty quiet and Peter Priesthoodie.

Sunday night Brian was annoying the hell out of me. He's hyper and immature. I love the kid, but he doesn't know how to take things seriously when he needs to. I needed to do a huge amount of homework, so I went into Josh's room and worked on homework while he was writing in his journal.

At first we exchanged meaningless conversation about music, and then things took a turn.

I told him that "I like you Josh, you're a good kid."

His response "I like you too GMSW. You're the type of friend I need to surround myself with. You know how to take things seriously, you're a hard worker. You're upfront with people. You are the type of friend that people need, not necessarily the type that they want all the time. You will tell them straight up if they should or shouldn't be doing something."

It was very touching of him to say.

He talked a bit about his family life and things that he had gone through, repented of and things that he still struggled with.

Then it happened. I just felt compelled by the spirit to tell him I was gay. It was eating at me. I told him I felt I needed to tell him something... which was weird because I had known him for only 3 days. I kept trying to muster up the courage to say it, but I couldn't. I would start and my throat would get caught.

He made the suggestion that he guess.

Josh: "Law of chastity?"

Me: I shook my head.

Josh: "Does it have to do with same gender attraction?"

Me: (eyes wide and slightly terrified, my heart jumping out of my chest) "Why would you say that?"

Josh: "Because you're not the only one here who has dealt with it before. I see the pain in your eyes."

I would describe my surprise as getting hit in the head with a hammer. What the hell? This guy has a girl he plans on marrying in the fall. Is he saying what I think he's saying?

He told me that some of the issues he had to clean up before his mission were homosexual ones. He told me that he had those inclinations before and the pornography and masturbation had amplified them.

When he cleaning up for his mission, he told himself he was going to get past it and that he wanted a relationship with a woman. And somehow he did it. He told me he no longer has any attractions towards men (which I find hard to believe, in all honesty I think he is in denial).

I told him about about my past, my mistakes, and my needs as being a gay man and wanting to stay in the church.

He kept making comments like "Don't give up hope" "I'm living proof that you can beat this".

It rubbed me the wrong way and I told him that. I told him that I'm not having a hard time right now, which is why I found it funny that I had been compelled by the Spirit to tell him. I also told him that I have no idea how he "beat" it. But for me, it is more deep rooted and a day to day struggle. The pain, the sorrow is a constant ache. I've tried relationships with girls and they do nothing for me. I don't have this attraction or connection with girls and honestly I don't have a desire to have one right now.

Things became silent and I asked him what he was thinking.

What he said next sucked:

"What's happened here stays here. What has been talked about is not going to be common thing or be brought up. I don't believe in coincidences, but also, I can't be a part of a support group for you."

Talk about punch to the gut. I wasn't asking Josh to be a support group for me or anything like that. I didn't share that with him in hopes of that. I shared it with him because I felt I should, I didn't know why. It felt like he was saying he wanted to pretend this conversation never happened, that he never wanted to talk about it again, and that he didn't want anything to do with me.

So in a cloud of hurt and tears, I gathered my things and left Brian's apartment at 1:00 in the morning making excused about having a family emergency.

Can't turn back now I'm haunted.

Cheers,
GMSW







Thursday, January 17, 2013

Good Conversation


This semester I'm putting myself through hell by taking the first half of organic chemistry. It is one of the many hoops I have to jump through in order to apply for med school.

I spend countless hours every day working on o-chem homework and getting minimal amounts of sleep. It's only 9:30 am right now and I'm already nodding off.

There's this guy named Tucker who sits by me in o-chem. He's really smart and pretty much understands everything. I on the other hand don't. So he as been very gracious and allow me to work with him on homework every night so that I can understand the class.

A couple of nights ago we were working on o-chem late into the night when the subject of Facebook came up. We both came to the conclusion that we did similar things with it: pictures or things that contain sarcasm or are uplifting.

Tucker made the comment that for a Mormon he is liberal, which surprised me. Tucker has always seemed very clean cut, perfect peter priesthood mormon boy. But he's not, he's a lot more open minded than I thought. I mean he's not out hugging trees and for a non-mormon he's very conservative.

He said he felt like he needed to voice his political views and beliefs in the homogenized bubble we live in because there are so many ignorant and narrow minded people.

I asked him what did he mean. His response: "Gay marriage."

He told me that his position on it was that it was not appropriate because the Prophet has declared that marriage was strictly between a man and woman. He has a testimony of the Prophet and sustains him, so he follows his counsel. He said though, if the Prophet one day said it was okay, he would support it.

Tucker also said that people are so narrow minded and hostile in the church towards gay people. He told me theres some statistic that about 3% of the population is gay. So here at school thats a good chunk of people. The things that are said at times in church and classes can be hurtful.

He told me that we need to be sensitive to and love these people. He told me he has a friend that's gay and he respects him so much.

Tucker knows that these feelings that gay people feel cannot just be told to go away. He knows that they are raw and real.

He then said something that really hit me. "I never realized what a blessing it was for me to be attracted to girls. I should be waking up every day and telling Heavenly Father thank you. You really take it for granted when you've never experienced anything else."

The conversation pretty much ended there. It made me respect Tucker so much more. It gave me hope. It's good to know that not everyone is hostile and hurtful. That there are good people out there in the Church that are moving for understanding and love who don't even experience SSA.

Cheers,
GMSW



Monday, January 14, 2013

Dating a Kardashian


Earlier last week I saw over Facebook that one of the girls I home taught had gotten back into town. I then decided that I was going to ask her (Kim) out and headed over to her apartment. I was surprised with my boldness. This girl is beautiful, talented, smart, funny, independent aka way too good for me. Kim literally looks like she could be a long lost Kardashian sister. Why would she want anything to do with GMSW?

I built up the courage and went over and asked her out, more than ready to be turned down. She surprised me because she said yes. We planned on going rock climbing (Friday night). After I went back to my apartment, I suddenly felt no interest in going on a date anymore. It was almost like I wanted to see if I could do it, which once I did I lost interest. I'm not attracted to girls and would much rather spend my time with my buddies.

As the date drew near, I began to dread it. I thought about canceling and using the excuse (though believable) that I was too swamped with school.

Friday came and I picked Kim up. I feared the car ride was going to be a load of awkwardness... it wasn't. We listened to some music in the car and it was super chill. It was easy enough to talk to her, for Kim being a girl. We got to the gym and it was packed, so we left and grabbed hot chocolate instead.

We went back to my apartment and spent time alone talking. Then we watched a movie together with two other couples (who were cuddling the whole time while we were sitting next to each other). I confess I felt super uncomfortable being so close to a girl. I wanted nothing more than to text and talk to my (guy) friends.

Overall the date went alright I thought. I took her home and while I was getting ready for bed, I received a text message from her. Kim told me that she had a great time and she wanted to know if it would be weird if she asked me out on a date. I told her no. So we made plans to have dinner together Saturday night.

Saturday arrived and we had to cancel because Kim was sick.

Sunday morning Kim wasn't at church. So I went over to do my monthly home teaching and check up on her. I shared the message I had prepared and then she broke some news to me: Her father was dying of cancer and she was flying home the next morning to California to be with him until he passed.

I was completely blindsided. I guess my face showed it too. She told me I was completely emotionless. It's not that I had expected us to go anywhere, I mean the date was pretty good but I still have the whole gay thing to deal with. I thought that of course this had to happen to me. Of course I would go on a date with a girl and then she would move away.

She asked me to come over later that night and so I did. We spent a good majority of the evening packing and sitting on the couch across from each other holding each other's hands. We talked a lot about each other. I told her in all honesty I was caught off guard by how much I had enjoyed our time together and was still trying to figure out how I felt. I told her everything about her that made her attractive and that it sucked she was leaving, but she was going where she needed to be.

She told me she was always attracted to my looks and how I dressed, but she didn't realize that I had this emotional side to me (hahahaha). She thought I was always hard and cool acting. I told her it was a defense mechanism to protect me from being hurt, I'm a real tender bear when you get to know me.

One thing that bothered me is that she took away my phone. She said I was with her, and it was rude. It rubbed me the wrong way.

While we were talking about everything, she kept commenting on how I was so nervous and shaking. Which I was because I out of my element and uncomfortable.

Oh, get this: Her mother is a lesbian. So Kim already has feelings and knowledge about the gay world. Weird huh?

I got up to leave because it was getting late. We hugged and then hugged again. I could tell she wanted me to kiss her. I did, but on the forehead because I didn't want her to feel taken advantage of or like she was doing something driven by emotion.

She texted me after I left and said that she wanted to kiss me.

Which is where we arrive to now. I took her to the bus stop a little while ago. As we were waiting for the bus, she kept commenting on how it felt like a breakup. She said she wanted to keep in contact via Skype, texting, phone calls, Facebook, etc (which was all a little overwhelming for me coming from a girl). Then... we kissed. I felt nothing. No heavens opening, no fireworks, nothing.

As I sit here and type my thoughts, she is texting me flirting with me and saying she already misses me. This is where I feel awful. It was so easy for me to say goodbye. I was pretty indifferent for me. If I were saying goodbye to my best friend or one of my buddies I would be an emotional wreak. But here I am getting annoyed with all the communication as I attempt to write a blogpost and work on organic chem homework.

I don't know what to do. I don't want to drag her along. I also don't know how I feel about her. If I like it or not. I know I still am super attracted to guys and connect with them on every level better than women. There is a huge emotional connection lacking between Kim and I. But I love the way she makes me feel.

What to do what to do?

Cheers,
GMSW




Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Good Middle Ground


Do you know how you have a good friendship with someone? You know how you know they are a positive influence? They make you want to be better. You are better with them. Because of them you feel the need to try harder, to care more, to judge less. Your relationship is healthy and others notice it.

You know how you know how your friendship is unhealthy? There is constant drama, contention. Everyone else in your life does't approve. You're not happy, though you may claim to be. You succumb to peer pressure and go against things that you've been taught and believe your entire life. 

There is often times in the gay community of the Church the mistaken idea that just because you're gay and someone else is gay, you have to be friends. That is not the case. More often than not, being gay may be the only thing you have in common. You will probably have different interests, different feelings about the Church, and different life paths. 

On the flip side of that, there are a lot of people who are not gay who don't find it a good idea to be gay and hang out with other gay people. My own mother even once compared it to putting an alcoholic in a bar (you can imagine my reaction). 

What people don't realize is without those HEALTHY, honest, emotional connections with other guys who understand what we're going through, our inclinations to act out intensify. That's why it's important to have gay friends but why it's also important for them to not just be your friend because they're gay. You may both be gay, but that is not why you're both friends. 

I've said it many times before and I'll say it again; I have the most amazing best friend. We became best friends not because we are both gay, but that we share other interests in common, we really care about each other. Our friendship I am so proud of and would define as healthy because he makes me want to be a better person. He makes me want to continue to keep my covenants and continue to move forward. He often makes me realize that there is hope for me in this life with his example. 

The thing that stuck out to me so much today was one of my New Year's goals. It was to improve with my issue of masturbation and pornography. Since New Years I haven't looked at porn or jacked off once. That's a big deal for me. It's not always easy but I've been able to maintain it. I reflected on my life and wondered why. Then it hit me: my best friend. He was what made the difference. He is meeting the needs that I have as a gay mormon man. He talks to me, shows interest, charity, compassion, he's a real friend. It sounds so corny but I know that it's true! This friendship is healthy and moving me in the direction that I want to go in! 

My heart is full. 

Cheers,
GMSW

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Some Nights.


Today (Monday the 7th) I began my first day of my senior year of my undergraduate. I will graduate later this year and move out into the "real" world.  I've been really stoked for school to be back. I like being on a schedule and having things to do despite being completely stressed out of my mind most times.

Since I am a senior, all my classes are upper level and quite smaller than the at times 80-100+ GE courses. Most of my classes have 20 people in them. The cool thing is all my professors will know my name and I will have the opportunity to sit next people more than once and actually develop relationships.

My first class today just rocked me in a way I wasn't expecting. The professor is awesome, the course seems like it will be interesting. But out of the 20+ people in the class, it looks like I'm the only guy that's not married. That being said, I attend a church sponsored university and the fact the I'm not married or even dating is abnormal. There is the idea that if you leave this university without getting married not only is there something wrong with you, but there's no hope for you.

I'm hurting so bad. Longing for that eternal companionship. If I could make myself straight I would. I really do try to like girls in the romantic physical sense... but I'm always drawn back to men. I was sitting in another one of my classes between a guy and a girl that I know. The guy is married and I'm not attracted to him at all, but I found myself naturally gravitating towards him and talking to him more than the girl.

It's hard not to feel hopeless. It's so damn hard to not want to just quit somedays over the frustrations that lay in my heart. The deep rooted heart ache that NEVER goes away. It is muffled at times, but it is always there.

I can deal with it most days. I can attend the temple, attend my classes, go home teaching, workout, be surrounded by all my friends who don't know, fake a smile and pretend that I have the greatest life in the world. But at times when I'm alone and the thoughts come back full force and the tears start steaming.

***

In the process of writing this post a couple of things have happened. This semester is my hardest yet and I am getting coursework dumped upon me. I simply have no time. It took me a day or so to come back to this post.

I received an up-lifitnting email from my dear mother. I've included it here:

Dear GMSW,

I hope your first and second day of this semester went well!  I have been praying for you!  I listened to a conference talk today that made me think of you as you had this conversation with me before you went back. 

 Elder Anderson talks about his friend, 
"a friend served....a mission...followed by rigorous academic training.  He hoped to have a family.  His trial of faith: feelings of same-sex attraction.  He wrote me recently: "I am promised in my patriarchal blessing that I will have my own family someday. Whether that will occur in this life or the next, I do not know.  But what I do know is that I don't want to do anything that will jeopardize the blessings God has promised both me and my future posterity....Living the law of chastity is a challenge, but did we not come to earth to confront challenges and to show our love and respect for Him by keeping His commandments?  I am blessed with good health, the gospel, a loving family, and loyal friends.  I am grateful for my many blessings."  Elder Anderson goes on, "The world protests, how can you ask so much?  The Lord responds: "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways....for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."  "This follower of Christ and tens of thousands like him have felt the Savior's promise: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Love you son and pray daily for you to understand the things you are studying and for you to feel the Lord's love for you!

Love, MOM

This email was very appreciated. Though my mom has tried to understand what is happening with me, she still struggles a lot. This Christmas break was particularly difficult for our relationship. I felt hurt and distrusted, I wanted to be away from my family.

In addition to my email from my mother, I had a very tender experience with my roommate. We caught his girlfriend cheating on him and he took it pretty hard. He came into my room where I was relaxing on my bed. I asked him what was up and he asked if he could join me on the bed. He laid down next to me, turned on his side, wrapped his arms around me and started sobbing into my chest. He caught me so off guard. He's a super manly man and while he was crying he kept apologizing for tears. It was a special moment for me because I realized that not only did he trust me, but he knew that I was there for him and could understand him emotionally. This... a blessing of being gay.

I know this post has been all over the place, but my point here is that I have my good days, I have my bad days. Some days I am completely happy and optimistic about the future. Other days I feel hopeless and like I want to die or hurt myself.

No matter what though, I am extremely blessed. I have a Savior who is there for me unconditionally. Who knows what I'm going through because he has gone through it, he alone atoned for my earthly experience. I have a Heavenly Father who loves me so much and pours out blessings upon me continually. I have a dysfunctional, non-traditional, but wonderful family. They do love me though we can fight and have our times of discontent. I have wonderful friends who love and support me; including the world's greatest best friend. I seriously don't know how I lucked out with him. 

Cheers,
GMSW


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hey GMSW! This is Brother ________ from the Bishopric...


Friday I was on my way to pick up my roommate from the airport when my phone rang. It was a number I didn't recognize. I answered it and it turned out to be the 1st Counselor in the Bishopric. He wanted to meet with me on Sunday (today) during Sunday School. 

A couple of thoughts crossed my mind. I'm in the same Ward as I was in last semester so the Bishopric already knows me pretty well (not about the gay stuff, but just where I'm at spiritually). Since today was the first Sunday of the semester, I figured they were going to give me a calling. 

What scared me is that they don't give out Ward Greeter the first Sunday of the semester. This is when they give out the big callings. I could literally be called to be the new Elders Quorum President, Executive Secretary, Sunday School Teacher. All of these callings call for a lot of time, devotion, and in my opinion serious righteousness and spirituality.

I met with the Bishop and the 1st Counselor. Turns out they want me to teach Sunday School. They told me they take their Sunday School teachers very seriously and hand pick them. They believe they have a profound impact and make-it-or-break-it influence on young single adults.

While flattering and cool to think about, my anxiety set in. My mother has been Stake Young Women's President, Relief Society President, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, etc. She is stalwart. She spends hours upon hours preparing her lessons. Her Gospel Doctrine class was usually full to capacity and at time standing room only. She had this way of spiritually reaching people and truly having an impact on their lives and their thinking. 

It's quite intimidating when people compare my own spirituality to hers. I know I do it myself. I have such high expectations. I want to be able to have a Sunday School Class that people look forward to coming to. I don't want it to be boring. I want to be able to feel the spirit and convey the things that the Lord would have me to reach those in need. 

Not only do I want to reach others, but I want this calling to better myself. I want to take this opportunity to improve my relationship with my Heavenly Father and to listen more carefully for the still small whisperings of the Holy Ghost. I want to get to know the scriptures better. This calling though stressful, is not a curse but a blessing. I guess we will see where this goes.

Cheers,
GMSW

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Begin Again


It's January 1st, 2013. The ending of one chapter of my life and the beginning of the next. 

Over the course of the past year, I have grown more than any year previous. It has seem some of my highest highs and lowest lows. It has seen my heart broken and scarred, only to be shown new and greater light. 

In 2012:

I made fewer mistakes in regards to my SSA. 

I made progress with acceptance of my sexuality. I am more at peace with myself, being able to meet my needs; healthy physical intimacy, being told I love you. 

I made it through 4 straight semesters of college (with good grades mind you).

My temple attendance has increased. 

I had some of the most incredible, honest people enter my life. Wonderful men that are here by my side through my struggle, who understand and love me just the same.

I started this blog. 

Looking forward to 2013, I have much hope. There is so much to look forward to and experience. It will be once again a year of transition for me:

I have two semesters of my undergraduate to finish up and then I will graduate with my Bachelors.

I'll move away from the college bubble I've lived in for the past 2+ years to the big city.

I'll resume work at the hospital. 

I'll study for and take the MCAT. Then apply for med school.

As it is New Year's I will make some resolutions. I know a lot of people have pessimism towards these, but I'm really being sincere here so bear with me:

I want improve upon my struggles of masturbation and pornography. I won't say overcome them all together because I won't be so ignorant to believe I can fully commit to that. 

I want to attend the temple weekly, as long as I am worthy.

I want to continue my new found love of crossfit, and continue to keep exercise important in my life. I want to continue to attend the gym five days a week.

I want to go on more dates (with girls). 

I want to strengthen my current friendships and find fulfillment in them. I want to be a better and more compassionate friend. 

I want to better my relationships with members of my family. Become closer and more honest with them.

And last but not least, I want improve my relationship with my Savior and my Heavenly Father. I will do this by scripture study, prayer, temple attendance, church attendance, fulfilling my priesthood callings, giving more service, and counseling with the Lord in all things.

To anyone that reads my blog, know that I do have Christlike love for you and you got a friend here. I can be a douchbag at times and get pretty emotional, but I do care.

If you ever feel you need a friend or someone to talk to, I'm here.

Happy New Year y'all! May it be a good one. 

And you throw your head back laughing
Like a little kid
I think it's strange that you think I'm funny cause
He never did
I've been spending the last 8 months
Thinking all love ever does
Is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a cafe
I watched it begin again

Cheers,
GMSW