Friday, January 22, 2010

Mission Experiences: Elder Greenhorn

I've been following Mr Curie's stories of his mission and have found them to be fascinating. Granted, my mission happened a lifetime ago, much of the stuff is probably been erased from my mind, but I do recall some of my experiences that may have/should have triggered some flags.

I didn't get to go to the Provo MTC. The training center I was assigned to attend didn't have the communal showers others talk about (damn!!...just kidding!). Either way it wasn't a big deal. The one thing I do remember from this is that about half of the missionaries had not yet gone to the temple, so some elders walked around in their G's and others walked around in their regular undies until everyone went to the temple. I saw it as nothing different from being in a high school locker room. Still I was severally repressed & none of this was even an issue for gayness.

Living/working 24/7 with another missionary wasn't that big a deal. My trainer was kind of a hard-ass and he was one of those that had the choice extending his 18-month mission to 2 years only to spend the following months regretting his decision not to go home earlier-- He was an interesting character. We had a tradition on my mish that we would pray every morning and night together and we had to hug our companion, (woot for whoever came up with that!!) and whenever we met other elders for conference or transfers the situation would turn into a huge hug-fest, I wonder what people used to make of that little ritual, but as it is, public display of affection is already a normal thing in that country so again, no big deal, just interesting.

Not that there weren't enough cute elders ones out there, believe me, there were plenty of them!!--But I can honestly say that I didn't have a crush on other elders or my companions

---until I became a trainer---

Here came this greenie, fresh off the bus, ready to be taught, mentored and shown the way and I was the one to 'break him in' in a sort of way. He was the youngest in his family so he could get away with pretty much whatever he wanted, he was handsome, playful and frankly quite adorable!!! Still he was a hard-worker and went right along with everything expected from an elder. The months I spent with him were probably the best part of my mission. We taught tons, we baptized the most out of any area, I seriously thing we were allowed in many places because of his charisma. I seriously loved this guy (but not in that way--well sort of---uggghh!!!)...Anyway, the one thing he LOVED to do on P-Day, after going to play basketball, he loved to lounge around in the apartment in nothing but his tighty, I probably have never sang more hymns than when he did this, but I for one was not about to tell him to please jump in the shower and put his G's back sir! I can see how my brotherly love was slowly turning into a full-blown crush and obsession with him...

Towards the end of our companionship we did this game of waking up the earliest and literally pouncing on the other as soon as the alarm went off. I remember he'd win most of the time but I managed to beat him once, jumped on his bed (well him), then laid next to him for a minute before getting going and he had this raging erection going--it was morning after all, LOL. I immediately got up from his bed, started singing again, went to take a shower and never mentioned anything to him--nor did he-- He was reassigned shortly after that but I don't think this had anything to do with him being reassigned--not that I'm aware anyway. I remember the last morning we were together before taking him to the bus station: We studied, prayed, hugged and I held him there, I didn't want to let go off him and I seriously started bawling and told him how much I loved him--probably the first person I ever told openly that I loved them--how much fun it had been working, baptizing and sharing with him and how much I was going to miss him. The next guy had nothing compared to him, although he was a greenie too and I probably antagonized the companionship while I moped around and mourned the loss of my favorite companion...

Thinking in hindsight, I probably had more than a crush on this elder (no really?) and while I knew deep down my ulterior motives, at least I was able to vocalize it as simply brotherly love, no way would I ever divulge openly or privately that I had fallen in romantic love or even the possibility with my companion. I was lucky to see him again a few times after our missions, very briefly and I never got any indication that he might have been freaked out by my excessive love towards him; heck I'm sure everyone loved him the same!!! I don't keep in touch with him--not that I haven't tried to find him-- but in a way I'm glad he remains a current enigma for the most part. :-)

Oh memories...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January Theme: What are your personal goals for 2010? What do you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year?

Again, thanks to Abelard for coming up with these exercises that keep our minds going.

I had posted on FB that I don't like to make new year's resolutions only to forget them by 1/1 at noon. I do realize that things in the last few months of my life have been at times accomplished literally by managing just one more day, just one more hour and while that is not the best way to live, it gives us coping skills. However, I do have definite things I want to accomplish this year, this may be boring for some to read about, nothing juicy or confessions to make (is this the part where most people click to the next blog?) that's OK, we all have our interests! :-)

1. Financial-- I have finally started a budget. I was telling a friend that I decided to plot one on Excel and then became extremely scared to realize that I have no fiscal sense. This is probably going to be big focus this year, learning to literally account for everything I spend, where it goes, how in the world I have managed not to get into deeper trouble. I work a lot--I MEAN A LOT-- and make OK money and it is scary to realize how fast it goes before I'm even able to cash my check! But in hindsight, it is nice to realize that I can set financial goals for future needs using some of the methods I'm implementing...gee, isn't it about time? I'm only 42 years old!!!!

2. Marital--I have been making good progress in the relationship with my ex. Sure we get into little spats here and there but a lot of the anger and issues have subsided--yet I want to figure out a way to get to a comfortable place where we can talk about an amicable divorce--yeah I know, way to improve the relationship, ha, ha, ha!!! But in all honesty this is a critical part in my mind. But I do want to have this done before the summer so I have a lot of work to accomplish and assure her that I'm not going to take advantage of her or the kids, but I'm not necessarily going to give unconditionally. We'll see how that goes.

3. Personal--I have put this goal on hold forever, it just never seems to materialize. I have every intention of trying again, but will not die if it doesn't happen. I have a classical guitar I bought a few years ago. I want to learn to play it, even if it is just a few strums. I'm not a singer (not even in the shower!) but I think of how talented some people are and the ability to play an instrument seems like something I'd like to try at some point.

I think the first and second ones are big enough that I don't want to bring too much more stuff on, so the marching in the Pride parade in a Speedo, taking a pilgrimage to the Castro in San Francisco or going to a Lady Gaga concert are probably going to have to be postponed for later (ha, as if I honestly would do most of those....but the SF part does sound appealing, I need a vacation too!!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

BYU Men's Volleyball

I'm not big into sports (duh!) but I do like volleyball. I love watching the Olympics and I've played a little in the past (nothing more serious than stake tournaments-- it is always fun getting my face plastered with a spike ball thanks to the Samoan member--good times!!) Anyway, I got home from work today, trying to relax and while channel surfing the choices are Man vs. Food, Super Nanny or yummy BYU RM's jumping, hugging each other when there's a point and slapping each other's butts!

Too bad I can't post this as a Facebook status so this will have to do.

Damn, the eye candy is good! :0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Father's Daughter

I don't know if this qualifies as TMI but in an effort keep thoughts fluid I am going to write about it here and see if anyone dares give me an opinion and if nothing else it might just be pure entertainment as part of my blog narrative (see above for the train wreck reference).

I have a 10 (almost 11 year old) daughter. She is very mature for her age physically, mentally and quite precocious--of course I am biased and unashamed, I'm her dad!!!! This is the kid that the minute she was born she proceeded to wrap everyone around her little finger and me, along with her mom and brother became her staff. When she was in daycare she used to get bored and teachers actually sent her to the pre-school classes so she could have learned to write her name and started reading around age 3-4; she has always been ahead of the curve in that respect. Her family drawings were the best and even a friend of the family who was studying to be a psychologist mentioned that she had a very strong sense of family and God forbid, if that ever changed she'd have a real hard time dealing with it.

We have enjoyed as close as relationship as a dad/daughter can have. I've never been one to shy away from any topic and we've talked openly and candidly about a lot of things. When I came out to my kids a few months ago, almost immediately she said: "You two are going to split up, aren't you?" She was probably the last thread that kept me together with her mom for so long, I knew my son would likely be OK, and the last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt her--but I still did it. Her main house is at her mom's and I am lucky that at least when in school I get to see her almost every day. We sometimes get into deep conversations in which she tells me things that she says hasn't mentioned to anyone else, including mom--score for me, right?--however, sometimes I sense and feel her anger lashed at me. She'll say things like: "Dad, you're such a jerk" or "Gee dad, you're so dumb". She'll find ways to put me down, either being by ourselves or in front of other people. They may sound like innocent enough things but sometimes I sit there and wonder if I should do/say anything about it, part of me says I deserve it, I've pretty much wrecked her little life and part of me says in spite of everything I am still the dad, I should be respected.

I posed this question at the last Gay Father's meeting and received good input from other dads who have gone or are going through a similar situation. Among their thoughts were:

1. You're not her friend, you are her dad. You need to demand respect from her.
2. She probably has no other venue to express her anger/anxiety and although it might suck, she probably feels safe enough venting it on you, which is probably the better part, rather than her expressing her anger in self-destructive or other type of behavior.
3. She is going through a lot of changes, biological, mental as a tween and she'd probably still lash out to you even if you were still together with her mom, that's what 11 year old females typically go through.
4. Spend a lot of time with her 1 on 1. Do activities she likes to do, share a lot of things with her that both of you enjoy (and even some that you might not, the payoff in the end is amazing!) & continue letting her know that you're still there for her in every show and deed.

I honestly liked the input received. There may be more of the thoughts I heard, but that's the gyst of what I remember. I've tried to show her how important she and her brother are (and have even included mom in some of the activities we've done). The perspectives helped me see things not just from the "Look at me, I'm the abused one" in the relationship. So are there any additional thoughts or input that anyone might have? Any other pointers I can follow or anything else I need to be aware of? For what is worth I grew up with 5 sisters, but by the time this age hit for most of them I was much older and on to doing my own thing and don't remember any of it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Coming Out At Work

Don't worry, I didn't send a universal email announcing it to everyone :-)

I had written before about talking two of the 'family' that I had been affraid to come out in the past. I had talked to one of them after running into him at the gay bar, his response was very positive and supportive, nothing unexpected. The other one is a peer (we do the same job) and he had been transferred out to another office, but was working in the same building last week. I asked him for some 1 on 1 time and then went on to explain what is going on. I had possibly suspected that one of the people that I had already told may have talked to him, but to my surprise none of them had (which is great to count on people like that, rather than worry about grapevine rumors--even if they are true--being spread all around).

So after I came out to this peer he told me that he had suspected it in the past, but since I was married and had children and all, didn't honestly give it too much thought. He went on to tell me that he was there to support, help and do whatever he could to make things easier for me, that my personal business were not that of the entire office/organization and that he would maintain the same level of respect. Not bad, not bad at all.

So turns out that the ones I was affraid to talk to: I had nothing to fear...

The workers in my team did tell me about one of their suspicions, though: They see me texting someone and smiling at times and they all think I have a girfriend they think I'm dating; I told them I'm pleading the 5th on that one...if they only knew!!! :-)