Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Day At Church

Church was really good today. Very enjoyable.

Sacrament Meeting focused on adversity, and it was good stuff to hear. I haven't faced much adversity in my life compared to some people, and life is generally very positive. I do have financial worries, though, especially in this economy, and I have been feeling anxious about it, and I just felt like the talks today helped ease my anxiety and I feel if I just keep having faith, things will work out for my benefit.

I really enjoyed Sunday School, too. I so wanted to participate in the discussion today, but as an excommunicated member I can only listen. The subject concentrated on wayward children and how parents can deal with it. There were obviously many people there who had children that had made choices that were contrary to what the parents had hoped they would choose, and they obviously loved their children very much and felt pain regarding their children. But I didn't feel a lot of judgment coming from these parents regarding their kids; just a deep love and hope for their happiness.

All I wanted to say, really, was that parents need to respect their kids' free agency even if they make choices they disagree with. After all, isn't that what our Father in Heaven does with us? I also wanted to add that they need to love their kids unconditionally (which was brought up in the lesson) even if sometimes their kids' choices brought them pain and sadness. And I wanted to assure them that God holds these kids in His hands and is watching out for them and loves them. I wanted to say that the parents needn't blame themselves; sometimes kids are going to make the choices they make no matter what their parents have taught them. I wanted to say that in spite of their children wandering, that did not meant they were lost. Some guy in the group brought up the fact that all of us, too, will receive a degree of glory except the sons of perdition, and that should give us comfort. We talked about how no one is perfect. We all have weaknesses and sins, and in the end it is God, and no one else, who will ultimately judge us.

I really found the whole meeting very compossionate and spiritual. I also thought about my own situation. I am grateful for a family who, whether or not they agree with my choices, has shown me a great deal of love and support and has stood by me. I am grateful they see how happy I am and that they let my fate be in God's hands rather than judge me for my actions. I am grateful there is peace in my life.

I went to Priesthood only because it was a combined session with the Relief Society. Some guy spoke about the Church's 12-step program for addicts, which was was interesting, but didn't apply much to my own life.

Anyway, I really enjoyed it and just thought I'd write about it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Glad To Be Where I Ended Up

My relationship with Jonah is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Sometimes I think about what my life would have been like if other relationships had worked out, and I shudder at the thought. As I've said, my relationship with Jonah is the first and only one I've ever had with another man. Prior to him, I had had three serious relationships with women and then a couple of not-so-serious relationships with women. And don't get me wrong; these women were lovely people, and I've even maintained my friendship with most of them, but I am SO, SO glad I didn't end up with any of them. I wouldn't be as happy with any of them as I am now with Jonah. I am quite certain of that. And that isn't their fault. I just can't see myself being as happy and fulfilled with them as I am with Jonah. Of course, a big part of that is that living squelched in a heterosexual marriage when I am clearly homosexual is a big part of that. I'm not saying it doesn't work for others, but I don't believe it would have worked for me. But another facet is where we all are in our lives right now.

Let's take each woman:

Woman 1: We dated in junior high and high school, so obviously this was my first real relationship. We were both too immature to be in it, looking back. At that time, I didn't have a clue who I was, and I don't think she did, either. I was attracted to boys, but I liked her because she was kind to me at a time when not many people were. She came from a very troubled home life. Her parents were divorced, her mom was a nut who had already been married several times and who had just married a loser we suspected might be abusing my girlfriend's younger stepsister, and my girlfriend confessed to me that she was a cutter. It was all too much for me to handle. I wasn't emotionally mature enough to handle all of her problems, and so I finally broke it off. We still stayed in touch afterwards, even after she went to live with her father, although we gradually lost touch as the years went by. After she moved, she got into a relationship with her much older teacher, and she later changed her name. I have no idea where she is now, but she had a lot of mental issues and emotional baggage that I don't think I would have been able to handle.

Woman 2: My high school sweetheart. I wasn't physically attracted to her, but I loved her personality, and we were the best of friends in high school and during my mission years. I adored her. I would have married her. She knew I was gay, but at the time we believed I could overcome it. We planned on marrying after my mission. However, toward the end of my mission, and without any warning it all, she broke it off and announced she was marrying some guy she had only known for a few weeks. I was absolutely devastated and completely and utterly confused. It took me a long time to get over that loss, and at the the time I thought it was the worst thing that could have happened. I couldn't understand why God would let such a thing happen. In retrospect, I see that God sees things a lot better than I ever could, and it was an absolute blessing that we didn't get married.

Although she didn't know it while we were dating, she suffered from manic-depression and bipolar disorder, and she later confessed to me that when she broke it off with me and jumped into this other relationship, she was having one of her episodes. Her first years of marriage were very rough for both him and her, and they went through counseling. I don't think I would have had the patience her husband had during some of the most trying times.

Eventually, she got the proper medication to help handle her issues, and now she and her husband seem to be in a very good place. She and I took a hiatus from our friendship (at her request) so she could deal with her issues, but we are friends again, and I believe we are both truly happy that the other is happy. But we are in such different places in our lives. I think a marriage with her would have been disastrous.

She is ultra-ultra conservative and has a large family, and it's clear to me that our goals and focuses in life do not mesh well. We're just two very different people than we were in school, and I think we're both very happy with where we are, but I don't think either of us would be had we stayed together.

Woman 3: Our relationship was never serious. I was trying so hard to be straight at that time, and I actually did find her attractive, but she was never as interested in me as I was in her. We had fun, but she found some return missionary and married him. She's very conservative and has a big family with him, and they seem very happy.

Woman 4: The woman who finally helped me get over Woman 2. She was the first girl I dated who was not a member of the LDS Church. We were good friends (still are), but were not very compatible as boyfriend/girlfriend. That was clear to me early on. She also knew I was gay, but we thought we could make it work. But we just had different goals and interests. She also smoked, which I couldn't stand (nothing to do with Mormonism; I was allergic to the smoke).

As it was, our relationship was much better after we broke up, although the breakup was hard. She ended up marrying a mutual friend who I think has been a much, much better match than I ever would have. Of all these women, she still remains my closest friend.

Woman 5: Also not LDS. Our relationship was very casual, and it never really went anywhere. She was terribly insecure (still is), and I don't see that she's grown too much since we parted ways. She is someone who is always unhappy no matter what circumstances life throws at her. An eternal pessimist. I couldn't deal with it.

Any other women I showed interest in never showed any in me. Even so, my heart was lusting after guys anyway.

Jonah was the first guy I was ever interested in who was interested in me. I was scared to let go and enter into a relationship that my whole life I had been told was forbidden; but I'm telling you that once I did, I found the best relationship I have ever had and a freedom to be who I always felt I was, but could never allow myself to be. He makes me so happy. He is so generous, loving, supportive, compassionate, ambitious, trusting, and has such a tender heart. I have never been so loved by anyone (as far as a romantic relationship goes). He is good at so many things and is one of the best human beings I know. I thank my Heavenly Father every day that we are together. I know my Father knows I am happy, and I know he is happy that I am happy.

I believe, too, that Heavenly Father knew I'd end up where I am now and that it would bring me much more happiness and joy than I would have had otherwise. I'm just glad to be where I am. It's all been worth it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Random Stuff

This post has no particular theme. It's just a collection of various things I felt like writing about.

Random Musing #1
I was at the DMV the other day in a rather slow-moving line. A man in front of me said this was his third time at the DMV and that he had accidentally come on "Martin Luther Day," as he called it, when the DMV was closed. Another man proudly interjected, "You should call it by its real name: Martin Lucifer Day." Before he could get another word out, his adult daughter scolded, "Don't go there, Dad!" He shut up.

Granted, I'm currently living in a rural town that has its share of rednecks, but I still was absolutely shocked by the blatant, unabashed racism that emanated from this individual. He said it with such glee and pride, and I was floored by it. I guess in my naiveté and idealistic approach to life, I like to believe that we are beyond that. It was just a reminder to me that we aren't. And, actually, I wonder which is worse: open racism such as that which this man exhibited or the hidden, but just as potent, racism that lies underneath. People think the things that this man thinks, but don't express it out loud. I think both are bad, but the latter seems even more insidious.

Random Musing #2
An old friend from my mission recently found me on Facebook. I hadn't heard from him in about 16 years, but it was good to reconnect. He actually lives in America now (I went to Belgium and France) and is married and still active in the LDS Church. When I met him, he had just gotten baptized and was still an infant in the gospel and, actually, was struggling quite a bit. By his own admission to me the other night, not many missionaries had faith that he would last as a Mormon, including myself, to be perfectly honest, and he, himself, didn't know if he would be able to hang on to his new found faith. But here we are 16 years later, and he's very active, has three kids, a church calling, and has recently written a book about his conversion. And here I am, excommunicated. Funny how things turn out.

We also talked about his former sister-in-law, who was quite strong in the Church at the time. He told me she was no longer active and had been excommunicated, which for some reason didn't surprise me, although it probably should have.

As he asked about my activity in the Church, I wondered how I should respond. I'm quite open about my sexuality with just about everyone except for the majority of my former ward members and the people from my mission. I am not ashamed of who I am or the choices I've made, but in the case of my former ward, it is also my mom's ward, and coming out also affects her, so I don't want to cause any awkwardness for her. Actually, those people in my former ward who do know haven't treated me any differently, and those who I think would react badly I don't care much about anyway, so I don't think I would have too much of a problem coming out. My main reason is simply for my mom's protection.

As for my mission friends, I have sort of written about this before in this post. I guess part of me just doesn't wish to taint the image people had of me as a missionary, specifically those who converted when I knew them.

In any case, I told him that I had been excommunicated and about my homosexuality and my relationship and that I still attended church, all the while wondering if I should be blabbing all of this right off the bat, but the conversation did lead that way, so I just did.

He admitted he was shocked, but was also very nonjudgmental about it, saying that he felt everyone should have the free-agency to live their lives as they choose, so I was glad for that. Anyway, it's out there now.

Random Musing #3
I just watched Obama's State of the Union address. Even though there a lot of problems in our country, and even though I don't feel that Obama has been perfect at handling all of them, I also feel very strongly that I voted for the right guy when I voted for him. I genuinely like him and I like the direction he wants to lead this country in, even if there are various forces trying to prevent that.

Random Musing #4
This has been a tough year for me financially. Part of it is because I took a job that has actually lost me money, part of it was paying for physical therapy for a knee operation I had, and part of it was buying another (but sorely needed) car. The job market has been less than kind this year, too, as far as acting goes. Last year I did pretty well and made about $26,000 (pretty good for me). I was working fairly regularly, which isn't always the case for a working actor. This year, practically no acting jobs, and I only made about $19,000. Anyway, if I don't get a summer job, I will be seriously hating it.

Through all of this Jonah has been very supportive and generous, and I am really trying to get back to Vegas on a more permanent basis because I miss him and the "kids" terribly. This has been the hardest stretch of separation for me personally.

I've had some auditions recently (good ones, too), so I am optimistic. I guess we'll see what happens.

Random Musing #5
My mom and I were at a Chinese restaurant recently, and one of the men on my disciplinary council (and also a friend) saw us and went out of his way to say hi and ask how I was, and it was good to see him again (my disciplinary council was the last time I saw him). I just felt it was a nice, positive encounter.

Random Musing #6
Jonah indicated he would like to start going to church again, but doesn't want to go alone nor does he want to go to his Pentecostal church. He asked if maybe when I get back to Vegas we can find a church to go to together. I said that was fine, but that I still wanted to attend my Mormon ward, too. He was fine with that. I even said if he wanted to come and attend my ward from time to time, that would be fine, too. He asked if that wouldn't be awkward for me; wouldn't people be put off by it? I said that's their problem, not mine. After all, what would I have to lose? So they'd know I was gay and in a relationship. Big deal. I am who I am, I'm already excommunicated, and if people in my ward have a problem with any of it, that's on them, not me.

Random Musing #7
There are many terrible things going on in the world. There are many serious things going on in the world. I try not to let any of it get me down. I'm generally a very optimistic person, but this year has been harder for some reason. I still feel I'm pretty good at maintaining a cheery disposition and am doing my best to keep the faith.

It's the little, insignificant things that sometimes brighten my day. That's why I'm looking so forward to the season premiere of one of my favorite TV shows: "Lost." I think it's such a well-written, interesting show with great stories and character-development. This is its last season, and I am eager to see how it all plays out. I can honestly say, too, that no matter how it ends, I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

Random Musing 8

I ran into a friend recently at an audition. He and his partner have been together for about 4 or 5 years. When I asked how his partner was doing, he sort of hemmed and hawed and acted a bit awkward about it, giving me the sense that they had broken up, but I didn't press him about it since it really wasn't my business.

Anyway, I went on Facebook to see if there was any indication that they had, indeed, broken up, and sure enough they had. This did not particularly surprise me as the second partner has a difficult personality, in my opinion. What did surprise me was that the first partner was in an open relationship with a woman. Now, I hold no judgment if my friend has decided to be with a woman just as I would want people to respect my choice to be with Jonah. I just found it odd, that's all.

I've also never really understood the draw of an open relationship. Being a "one-on-one," monogamous guy, I just don't see what joy there is in that kind of relationship. But to each his own, I guess.

Jonah has indicated before that he fears I might one day leave him for a woman, I think more because of my attachment to the LDS Church than for my attraction towards woman. I told him he has nothing to worry about. This is the best, most fulfilling relationship I've ever been in, and I'm very happy with Jonah.

Those are my random thoughts for now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"

Well, you’re probably all wondering where I’ve been. Let’s just say I’ve been a little lazy... and also a little busy. I had a fabulous Christmas with Jonah. It was so nice to spend three weeks with him after such a long absence. We had a really great time, and now that I’m back in Utah I really miss him; not that I didn’t miss him before, but being with him really made me realize how tired I am of being apart. I really hope when this teaching job ends that I will be able to find some way to work in Vegas and be with my husband.

I also miss our cats a lot. We, of course, have the two cats we’d had since we met, and as I wrote about previously read just adopted a new kitty. The oldest of our cats, even though she was originally Jonas’, has really taken a liking to me. She adores me and will often sleep right next to me at night, never moving at all. I’ve really grown fond of her.

Our brand new kitty is adorable. I just love his enthusiasm and his curiosity and his innocence. He can be a little hyper at times, and he loves to bite and claw (not in a malicious way, but in a very playful way; although he doesn’t realize that it’s sometimes hurts), but isn’t that what a child does? He’s so cute, and I love him.

Our third cat, the daughter of the first cat, is suffering from middle-child syndrome, I think. When Jonah moved into our house, I wasn’t yet there; our oldest cat had gotten lost; the third kitty didn't yet exist; so the third cat had Jonah all to herself, and I think she liked it that way. Once I moved in and once we found the lost cat, I think our third cat grew resentful. Now with this new kitty, she seems very annoyed especially since the new kitty keeps trying to play with her and she doesn’t want to. In fact, wherever the new kitty is, our middle-child cat is not. She craves attention, but unfortunately she doesn’t do much to ingratiate herself with the rest of us. I feel sorry for her. She seems so sad and grumpy.

But being away from Jonah and the cats has been hard this time around. I also feel especially that I’m missing our youngest kitty’s childhood. I can't imagine how I would feel if we actually had children. Anyway, it’s been hard, and usually I am the one that does well with separation. I guess I’m just sick of it. Oh, well. What can you do?

One of the best Christmas presents I got this year was the chance to see Andy Williams, the singer, live in concert for his Christmas show. If you don’t know who Andy Williams is, you can’t be my friend anymore. Just kidding. Andy Williams is one of my very favorite singers. He’s from the old school of singers like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Jack Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Steve Lawrence, etc. He’s also very famous for his Christmas specials in the sixties and for introducing the world to the Osmond brothers. One of his most famous songs is “Moon River.”

I actually couldn’t afford to see him. Tickets were almost $60.00, and it really wasn’t in my budget especially since I have a job that has actually been losing me money. At the same time, the man is in his eighties, and who knows if this will be the last time I’ll ever get to see him perform? But I really didn’t feel like I could afford it, so I decided not to buy the tickets. I had posted on my Facebook status that I was sad I would not be able to see him perform. Two of my friends saw my status and without any prompting from me offered to split the cost of the tickets as a Christmas present to me.

It truly was one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received. Actually seeing Andy Williams perform was a dream come true, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I actually started crying when he started singing. For his age he still sings remarkably well. His vibrato has increased and he scoops some of his notes now, but I thought he was terrific. He put on a very entertaining show. Jonah also bought me a signed copy of his autobiography.

I bought Jonah a Wizard of Oz Pez dispenser set and a garden statue, and he bought me some jeans, the book, and a DVD set of the most recent season of the television show “24.” In addition, Jonah also bought each of us a new laptop computer. He got a great deal on them. I was so pleased that Jonah loved his presents so much.

New Year’s Eve, of course, was our anniversary, and we ate our recently thawed wedding cake for good luck. Surprisingly, it tasted just as good as it did on our wedding day. Well, the frosting was a little crunchy, but the cake itself was delicious!

Now I’m back in the college town where I teach. I have two acting classes and a musical theater history class, and I teach every day now. I’ve also been given a raise, which will least help me break even instead of losing money. Because I taught both courses last semester I feel a lot more comfortable about what I’m doing this semester. I’m much more relaxed as a teacher and feel like I know what direction I’m going in. I also have smaller classes, which makes teaching easier, and I also feel like this batch of students is more enthusiastic and engaged in what we’re doing.

This job ends in April, and currently I have nothing else lined up although there are some possible prospects. If I don’t get a summer job I will really be hurting financially. Buying a new car and having my knee operated on took a toll on my finances especially since my current job has been draining my bank account rather than adding to it. But I do not regret my decision to teach here. I really think I was meant to be here at this time.

I miss acting a lot and I hope to be doing it again soon. Even though I feel like I’m a good teacher, I do not have the same passion for it as I do acting.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with me. Just wanted you all to know that I’m still alive and kicking.

Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors. I wrote almost all of this post using voice-recognition software, and depending on how well I enunciated, the computer may have typed some incorrect words. I didn't spell-check, either. Ah, the epitome of laziness!