Last week Jonah and I spent time in Las Vegas and also Cedar City for the Shakespearean Festival. We had such a great time. It was so nice to see and be with him after a few months apart. I didn't realize just how much I had missed him. We had a nice dinner our first night together. I gave him his birthday present, which I can now tell you about. My sister has a scrapbooking program on her computer, and she used it to make a photo memoir of a recent trip my mom took to Nauvoo. I'm not really into scrapbooking, but what the program was able to do and how it creative it came out made me want to do something similar for Jonah. So I took all the photos we had of things we've done together or places and events that are special to us, and I compiled them using this program. I really put a lot of thought into it, and it was quite a time-consuming project, but I knew Jonah would love it...and he did. It was really a great gift, I think; something that meant a lot to him (well, to both of us, actually). Jonah brought to my attention a fringe benefit I hadn't thought about: we can continue adding pages to the album as our relationship continues. I thought that made the gift even better.
The next day Jonah and I hung out and did some shopping. Then we slept (read: slept) together, which was nice. Later that night I got to see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. I'm not a huge fan of the show. I saw it back in 1989 on Broadway and was rather nonplussed by it. I think the plot is weak, the songs are average, and it's just basically a show about special effects. However, I did have a very good time this time. I still don't care for the show itself, but the special effects were amazing, the performances were very good, and because the show has been trimmed for a Vegas audience, it was much better time-wise.
Jonah says they had like a $40,000,000 budget or something, and it shows. It really was an amazing show visually. After the show, Jonah and I had a quick bite together, and I met some of his friends, which was nice.
The next day Jonah and I went to see HMS Pinafore in Cedar City. I am not a Gilbert and Sullivan fan by any means, but I thought the show was excellent. One of my friends was in it, and he was terrific. The show was well-acted, sung, choreographed, costumed, and directed. I just thought it was a very solid production. Jonah agreed. I am surprised that a Gilbert and Sullivan show turned out to be the best show I saw, but it was really good.
We had dinner with my friend, and he surprised me by letting me know that he and his wife of two years were getting a divorce. They had dated a long time before getting married and seemed very compatible to me. He didn't go into details, but it was a shock to me. I guess it's for the best.
I got to schmooze with some big-wigs at the festival, too, which, hopefully, will be good for my career later on. I got to meet a director I've always wanted to work with and also met the Festival's artistic director. Three of my college professors, who happened to all be there the same day, talked me up as did my friend, so that was nice. One of the professors was a man I hadn't seen in 15 years. I was in his last show before he retired. He was still of sound mind, but looked quite frail physically. He was in a wheelchair, and it bothered me a bit to see this man so sickly.
Jonah and I took a nap at the hotel before seeing Room Service that night. It was funny and had a pretty solid cast. Another friend was in that show, and we arranged to meet with him for dinner the next day. I think Jonah really liked Room Service.
Jonah and I cuddled together that night, and it just felt so good to be with him. I just felt right, and the scripture about a good tree not bearing evil fruit came to mind. I thought, "This feels good, and it feels right, so how can it be wrong?" I prayed to God that night and asked him to just let me be with this man and be okay with it.
I will say when you're used to sleeping alone most of your life, it's an adjustment sleeping with someone else. I'm sure I'll get used to it, though.
The next morning Jonah and I made out, which was really nice. I'm still not ready for sex yet, and Jonah's okay with that. But it sure was nice to be with him, and I didn't feel guilty at all, so that made me happy.
We had breakfast the next morning. I think I got a touch of food poisoning, but it wasn't too serious. We did some more shopping and window-shopping, and then we went to see On Golden Pond. I thought, overall, the show was pretty good. The two leads were quite good. Jonah thought the pacing was too slow, and he may have been right. We both liked the set, and we both agreed that the nineteen year-old who was cast as a thirteen year-old was miscast. I didn't believe for a minute he was thirteen and thought he was trying too hard. We found him annoying. I also felt the actress who played the daughter was a bit exaggerated. But it was a decent production.
We then went to dinner with our friend, and that was enjoyable.
We then watched the Greenshow, which was entertaining. I was somewhat tired, but not too bad.
Then we saw Hamlet. Jonah didn't care for it. I thought it was a decent production; not the best I've ever seen, but certainly not the worse. I thought Brian Vaughn, who played Hamlet, did a good job.
Then Jonah and I drove back to my house in Salt Lake City. We had a really nice talk on the way up. We talked about a lot of different things, but also talked about our relationship and love for each other. Jonah bought my sister a lighthouse in Cedar City. She loves lighthouses, and Jonah was using her room to sleep over, so he thought it a kind gesture. Jonah's very thoughtful like that.
The next day my mom took Jonah and I to breakfast. I'm so glad Mom likes Jonah and am so glad she's being supportive of us and our relationship.
When we got home, I mowed the lawn for my mom while she and Jonah chatted. I'm glad that gave them the chance to get to know one another even better. I know if our places had been switched, I'm not sure I would have felt nearly as comfortable chatting with Jonah's mom alone for an hour.
After I mowed the lawn, Jonah wanted to go to the mall. Jonah likes to walk and window-shop, which aren't necessarily my thing, but Jonah's very supportive of activities that I like to do that maybe he doesn't necessarily want to do, so I guess it's only fair to do what he wants to do, too. I guess that's what relationships are about. It turns out we had a good time.
Jonah's loves jewelry. We went in a store that I've only been in one other time in my life, and that was to get my niece a present. I remember feeling awkward the last time I was there because it's a store frequented by pre-adolescent girls, and I remember feeling like a pedophile and was sure everyone was thinking, "Why is this middle-aged man here?" This time I just felt very gay. I joked with Jonah later that the store made me feel a lot gayer than I was comfortable with. After all, I'm pretty straight-acting.
Jonah has fairly gaudy taste in jewelry, but he knows I think that. I figure whatever makes him happy is fine with me. Besides, he puts up with my geeky obsession with all things "Star Wars," so I figure we're even. Jonah even says he's toned down his taste in clothes and jewelry since we met. I find that hard to believe (that's just a joke at Jonah's expense).
That night Jonah and my mom came to see me perform in my show. I thought that was cool that my mom and boyfriend were hanging out. They both enjoyed the show. This is my mom's third time seeing it, and she says it gets better each time. I think it's a somewhat mediocre show, but audiences seem to enjoy it, and Jonah and Mom had fun, so I guess I can't complain.
After the show, Jonah, Mom, my sister, and I talked, and then Jonah sang for us. He's got a great voice. Mine's pretty good, but Jonah has a very powerful, precise instrument. He sang, "Someone Like You" from Jekyll and Hyde. That song was once very special to me and my ex-girlfriend, but as I listened to Jonah sing it, it took on new meaning for me and really made me think about how it applies to our own relationship. Jonah later said it took on new meaning for him as well. I thought it was both odd and wonderful that I was staring at Jonah with goo-goo eyes in the presence of both my mom and sister, something I once never dreamed would be possible.
Jonah and I spent some moments together that night, and then the next day I drove him to the airport so that he could fly back home. But I'll be seeing him soon.
I was supposed to work at my other job, but was told they didn't need me, so I spent most of the day watching old episodes of "24," which was fun. That night my mom and I went to Logan to see Noises Off, which was a lot of fun. I also got to see some old friends, so that was nice, too. It was nice to have a week of fun and theatre.
I spent the majority of the next day doing my show. We had good audiences,, but my voice was a bit tired by the end of the day.
On Sunday I bore my testimony in church. I didn't particularly want to get up, but felt very compelled to do so. I said I knew the Church was true, but that knowing something and living it were not necessarily easy to do. I also felt very impressed to deliver the following message to the congregation: that there are many of us in the Church dealing with horrific problems and issues that are never talked about openly in Sacrament Meeting; things like abuse, addiction, alcoholism, pornography, divorce, mental illness, health problems, etc., and that we suffer in silence but put on brave faces and pretend that everything is okay. We're good, stoic members on the outside, but no one truly knows the battles we wage daily in our hearts. We feel that no one truly understands what we are going through and fear the judgments of our fellow man if they were ever to discover what we're really like. I said that in spite of everything, God knows and loves us perfectly. He knows exactly what we are going through and loves and understands us unconditionally.
I related a recent experience I had. While I was away at school, several of my friends and fellow castmates got on the subject of religion and talked about who they thought was the most upstanding individual they had worked with at this particular theater, and my name came up. On one hand it made me feel good that people view me that way, but it also made me feel like a hypocrite because I'm not living my life according to what I've been taught. That certainly doesn't make me a bad person, but I wondered if, in their eyes, it would. I swear I do not say this boastfully, but, like it or not, I am an example to others. Many people perceive me to be a very good Mormon, and the fact is, while I think I am a very good Christian, I'm not so sure that I am currently a very good Mormon. I said in my testimony that I never wanted to be somebody's example or posterboy and that I don't want people to put me on a pedestal because if I fall, what will that do to them? I realize in the end that's their problem, but certainly I'm not stupid enough to think that my actions don't affect others. But I stressed that I am human and imperfect and that I have my failings and that I'm dealing with one of the most difficult struggles I've ever had.
My last statement was a caution to not judge others because we never really know what's going on inside their hearts unless we actually walk in their shoes. I also made the statement that no matter what happens to me in the future, I love and have always loved this church and the gospel. On some level, it felt like a farewell address. After all, I don't know what will happen in the future. My relationship with Jonah may very well cause me to lose my standing in the Church.
In any case, I really felt the Spirit and many people complimented me afterwards. I wasn't looking for compliments, though. I just know that so many people are silently crying and need assurance that the Lord still loves them.
It's strange. I still believe the Church is true, but I believe there are things to be learned by following a different path. My relationship with Jonah no longer makes me feel as guilty as it once did, and on some level I really believe we're meant to be together. How that correlates with the gospel plan, I don't know, but I feel more and more at peace with the choices I'm making. I do fear how my actions might affect others, but I know God loves me, and I feel okay with where I'm going.
I found the recent articles about gay Mormons in heterosexual marriages very interesting. I'm glad that isn't a path I took. I don't think it would have been the right one. But I think each individual has to follow the path that they feel is right for them, and that's what I am trying to do.
Jonah and I have talked about moving in together, but we agree that, for now, the time isn't right. But I do see it happening sooner than later. And I think I'm feeling pretty good about it.
All I know is that it has taken me such a long time to find somebody I love who loves me, and I remember how empty my life was before I met Jonah. So if it's wrong, I guess it's wrong. All I know is that in spite of the challenges, I feel very happy with Jonah. I think we're enriching each others' lives, and I feel God has blessed us with each other. Again, I don't know how that corresponds with my testimony, but I'm taking it for the blessing it is.