Friday, May 18, 2007

Changes

Well, I graduated with my Masters degree nearly a week ago. Very long ceremony, but I really felt proud of my accomplishment. Now I'm getting used to the fact that I am done with school. It's weird spending three years of your life doing something and then realizing you will never do it again. It's good, though. I loved, loved, loved school, but I am also love, love, loving being done with it.

My graduating class and I had a barbeque on Sunday. It was weird to think that this might actually be the last time I see some of these people that I have intensively spent the last three years with. Obviously, I will do my part to stay in contact with all of these people, but you know how things go sometimes. People lose touch. It just happens.

I won't necessarily miss everyone in my group. Some people I was kind of done with towards the end. Maybe I'll miss them in a few months. :-)

I will really miss my roommate. Mid-June we will be parting ways. He has been a really great roommate and an even greater friend. But he'll be in LA, which isn't too far from where I am.

I have a good acting gig coming up in Utah. I even got them to offer me an Equity contract, which means I'll be able to join the union if I want. I haven't decided whether I want to yet, although most likely I will.

I'm not looking forward to paying back student loans, although I think I did pretty well. I only owe $13,000 ($4,000 of which I still have in savings) for three years of school. I think that's quite good.

Jonah and I have been house-hunting. It's been so nice to spend more time with him (although my job in Utah will again separate us for a time). Looking for a house has been both exciting and a bit scary. I can't believe I'm actually settling down. We've found some good deals. We'll see what happens.

I have been so impressed with how people respond when I come out to them. It really has gotten to the point where I feel very comfortable telling anyone who cares to know. I wrote a former missionary companion, who I was somewhat nervous about telling. I wrote:

Thanks for your email. In response to your question about my love life, I have some news that may disappoint you. It's actually a "him," not a "her." I came out of the closet almost a year ago. Believe you me when I say this was not a decision I came to lightly. You know full well how much I love this church and my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who we served together those many years ago in Belgium. I have not lost my testimony of its truthfulness, and I still have a great love and devotion towards my Mormon faith. However, I have been living such a duplicitous life for most of it, and no amount of praying, fasting, counseling, etc. has made the battle against homosexuality any easier. I had finally reached a point in my life where I simply could not continue the struggle any longer. I do not know all the answers nor do I know what my destiny will be either in this life or the afterlife, but I am at peace with my decision and know that God loves me and is supporting me regardless of whether this is the right choice or not. To me, it feels right even if that is a contradiction to everything I have been taught. The irony is that I feel so much happier and comfortable with myself and my life than I was when I was trying to put on a facade of who I thought I was supposed to be. I have prayed and changed a lot these past three years, and I am grateful for things I have learned about myself and about my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have met a wonderful man whom I love very, very much, and I really am happy right now.
I hope you are not disappointed in me or the decisions I have chosen to make. If you are, I apologize. I just feel this is where I am supposed to be right now. I will be very, very sad if I am disfellowshipped or excommunicated from the church I love very much, but I also understand that based on my choices, that may be a possibility.
I'm jealous that you get to travel so much. I hope you have time for pleasure as well as business.
Hope all goes well in your life.

Love,

Cody


and this was his reponse:

Cody,

I have a brother that is very dear to me that is in a similar situation as you have expressed; unfortunately however he has not retained a testimony as you have. This brother came out of the closet 5 or 6 years ago (he was about age 20 at the time), and he has expressed to me just how difficult life was living a fa├žade.

As a result of my discussions with my brother, I have thought at great length about the struggles of same gender attraction—not just in our society, but in our religion. The sum-total of my contemplation hasn’t given me a lot of answers--- I guess I have come to the same conclusions you have come to (that Heavenly father loves all His children, and that we cannot see the reasons behind all things). I see people like my brother and you, who are very good people—who struggle, and put forth their best efforts to align themselves with the teachings of the church. I am glad that through all the struggles you have gone through you have retained the knowledge that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you.

Through my experience with my brother, combined with what I know about Heavenly Father, His Son, and the gospel – I have come to the conclusion that ALL we can do in the is life (no-matter our sexual orientation) is our best--- we treat others with the up-most kindness and respect, we remain honest in our dealings, we reach out to others who are in need— we maintain a relationship with our loving Heavenly Father through prayer, we rely on the atonement--- and perhaps among the hardest things: we forgive those who say or do things that are bigoted and judgmental. And as we put forth our very best efforts, Heavenly Father will advance our knowledge and capabilities.

Please know that I am a true friend— and I wish the very best for you. I look forward to your continued friendship.

If ever you need help with anything (related to this issue or unrelated)—please let me know.

Kindest regards,

[your friend]


His response surprised me, but just reaffirmed what I feel God has been telling me this last year or so: "ALL we can do in the is life (no-matter our sexual orientation) is our best--- we treat others with the utmost kindness and respect, we remain honest in our dealings, we reach out to others who are in need— we maintain a relationship with our loving Heavenly Father through prayer, we rely on the atonement--- and perhaps among the hardest things: we forgive those who say or do things that are bigoted and judgmental. And as we put forth our very best efforts, Heavenly Father will advance our knowledge and capabilities." Hear, hear!

I emailed my sister-in-law about Jonah's love of gardening because she, too, shares that interest. I was a little hurt she didn't acknowledge Jonah in her email back to me. It may not have even been intentional. I don't know that it was. But I hope she doesn't think that not talking about it will make it go away. Jonah's here to stay, as far as I'm concerned. I want to say it wasn't intentional because my sister-in-law doesn't seem like that kind of person, but she also is very strict in her testimony, so I'm sure she doesn't approve of my decisions. Anyway, I just found it bothersome. Maybe I'm just being oversensitive.

I made some extra money acting as an agent for a singing gig that I recruited some of my friends for. I don't know how I even got roped into it, but I'm grateful for the extra cash.

I have to quit my job soon to move to Utah. I really like the job, and I've only worked there two months. I will miss it. Hopefully, I can come back, although it's a non-Equity gig, so if I join Equity I wouldn't be able to.

Anyway, that's all for now.

2 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

It warms my heart to know that some of my fellow mormons can see beyond the blinders about SSA and actually come to understanding and remember that we're people, too.

I'm glad that things are going well for you, Cody, and you'll have to let me know what plays you're doing here in UT so Miki and I can come and appreciate your performance. :)

Beck said...

That exchange with your mission companion was quite revealing and touching. I think it shows how the bias within the Church is changing.

"All that we can do" is all that is expected.

I wouldn't judge your sister too hard. She'll get there eventually as you continue to show her your true feelings of love and of testimony, and that you still are her same brother that you've always been!

Good luck in the summer performances!