Thursday, December 30, 2010

PL Needs a break...

I've been catching up with Moho blogs lately, some of them are heart-wrenching, some give hope and some I just can't make sense out of. This happens ever so often so it is OK; maybe I just need to detach myself from blogs for a while.

I've considered just ending this blog since I personally don't have the conflict of being Mormon and gay, or being gay and married and all of its complications. I won't shut the blog down because I do believe that my story does have a moral to be learned in the Mohosphere the one about DONT GET MARRIED TO A WOMAN TO CURE YOUR GAYNESS!!!! I recognize that I need to pay it forward and help those that might be in the steps that I was a couple of years ago, when I started peeling the layers and figuring out what my life meant and the train-wreck that it became for a while, so if you need me, my email address is in my profile, I'm more than willing to talk on the phone or text  and if you want and there's always Facebook!!

But for my own sanity, I think I need to start getting a real life...


Monday, December 27, 2010

Got my freak on for Christmas!

In years past, somewhere after Labor day when someone would bring up drawing names or plans for the holidays I would immediately feel a tight knot in my stomach that would send me into depression, only to be exacerbated by the first time I heard "White Christmas" that used to make me cry with sadness. It could have been the stress of how to impress people and all that is tied with it and I was especially not looking forward to it last year going through the turmoil of a separation. I had commented to the babe that I wasn't a big fan of the holidays and I'm sure it probably raised red flags for him but somehow it ended up being a pleasant experience.

This Christmas things were much better. I did have the initial angst but things are different, I realized that I have a lot of control of my attitude and how I would handle situations this time around. I really enjoyed my family's party, went to a few other friend's parties and dinners through the month and even got an official invite to the X's family dinner on Christmas Eve, but I told the kids I wouldn't go. I seriously didn't want to put anyone in the situation of having to deal with anxiety and family drama; been there, done that! Instead I focused my efforts on the kids and I was able to join the babe again at his church's midnight candlelight service on Christmas Eve which in my mind is the best way to reflect and feel the spirit of the season.

What a difference a year makes! I did spend a lot of  time alone but I also found things to keep busy like learning to bake (well more like learning to clean the oven over and over again after some of my failed attempts!) I was able to listen and sing along to Christmas carols (I still find a couple of them sad!) but the babe and I spent more time together this year (some with his own family) and creating some of what we hope to be ongoing traditions for us. Just like last year, he managed to come up with some amazing presents and somewhere between fighting the tears and an incredible amount of gratitude I managed to tell him how great it is to feel that I matter to someone.

So big thumbs up for this holiday season, I know that in spite of my happy post there are plenty out there who struggle with the holidays and I sincerely hope that if that was the situation, at least someone reached out or if nothing else you reached out to others to make even a slight difference in a life and help make the season better all around. I've been there and I know how bad and lonely it can feel even while being in the middle of a celebration or a crowd and if nothing else, hope that there can and always be good times ahead!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Please have snow, and Misletoe!!

 Hopefully not in the same location, lots of love to everyone in Moholand and Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite moment of 2010: When the planets aligned

I was driving the kids back to mom's last night and my son asked what was my favorite moment of 2010. While I was trying to pick my brain I blurted out: "Well anytime I'm hanging out with you guys is my favorite time" to which my daughter replied: "Aaaaww dad, that's so corny!"

"Fine, I said, if I had to pick a favorite moment of 2010 it would be my birthday" I remember writing briefly about it back in October and I said I'd come back with more details but I don't think I ever did. A few months ago I had sort of confessed to the babe that if I could have one thing for my birthday it would be to have the three people I loved with me on that day, the kids and him, maybe dinner even if I had to cook it and just be together.

He had already met my son earlier so that wasn't that big a deal, I knew that meeting my daughter would be a whole other issue and I wasn't even sure how to approach the topic, because I had been made feel that there was no way that would ever happen, so the only thing I could do was to maybe mention things about him to my daughter. I started out by showing her pictures of some of the cakes that the babe has made for his nieces and nephews and how he does that as a tradition. One day she just said: "Well what does he do if he can make all these things?" She then asked, where he lived, did he have pets, etc?

I figured, well here it goes and I asked her how comfortable would she be meeting him on my birthday? She didn't even hesitate for a second and said that it would be just fine. My heart leaped a little but I still knew that anything could potentially change up to the minute she would actually meet him, so I hoped for the best but expected the worst. I think we were all anxious (hell, I know I was and so was he--he told me the night before!) but all things went as planned/expected and he arrived  to my place, brought a cake he had been working on and after meeting her he immediately asked her to help him do the final touches on the cake during which they talked about everything like old friends about books, movies, music and other stuff.

We went out to dinner and the focus continued being on them, never in a condescending way. There was never a mean or disrespectful word between them at all. The kids are pretty outspoken about things they like, feel and believe but never felt threatened by anything from his side. After dinner we came back to my place and had cake and milk. I was so happy my heart felt like it was going to burst. I don't think I had felt so much gratitude to God, Karma, or whatever made that happen and aligned the planets to make it happen. I felt so much love for the kids for giving me that. The babe kept saying how great the kids were, but in my mind I kept thinking how amazing he really is and I probably fell 200 more times in love with that man for making it happen and making it look so effortlessly.

So there it is, my happiest moment of 2010. Do you have a best memory of the year? Blog about it or discuss it here, whatever is best!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Facebook Connondrum of My So Called Life...

I’ve debated posting this note on the infamous Facebook for several months and it I think it is about time it gets published but would like to know if anyone has any wisdom to share. I think it is time for me to stop tippy-toeing around many issues and post about more about the stuff I really want and talk about and so forth. I have the example of a few Mohos that have done this part of me says it isn’t a big deal and part says it is, so that’s where I don’t really know what to do. So I drafted something that goes like this:

I signed up for this social network roughly in November of 2008, not really knowing what to expect and soon enough I was connecting with people back to my days in middle school back in Mexico, high school in Houston, mission, church days, past & present work, old and new friends made all in between all those times and of course, immediate and extended family.

I don’t consider my life to be that extraordinary, but experiences and events in my life have made it what it is & the people who have been in and out of it through the years have definitely shaped to be what it is, for better or worse… So where does that leave little ordinary me? While I don’t expect everyone to know everything about me at all times, and agree/disagree with me, I find that I censor myself here a lot (who doesn’t?). The people that are close to me know enough of what's going on and I like that, but there are times when I am still in fear of offending people's feelings and I suppose in an attempt to make everyone aware of what’s really going on in my life and the people I interact on site together, here it goes:

I used to go to middle school, but I don’t anymore
I used to go to high school, but I graduated many years ago! 
I was a missionary in Mexico for the LDS church a long time ago, but that was then
I was married for 16 years, but I am divorced now
I have two amazing and beautiful children who are very smart, outspoken, and feisty and the light of my life
I have not been an active Mormon for several years
I am a gay man and I am finally comfortable with who I am and who I’ve become. I am dating someone at the moment (he's doesn't do the Facebook thing, BTW) at the same time learning how to mesh and combine all the parts of my life that have got me where I am and where my life leads.

If you’re still reading this far, I need to clarify that just as all the different areas of my life it is just that, things about me; they all are components of my life, not the one thing that makes me as an individual but one of my goals in 2011 is to work hard at  being a better me. I don't expect everyone to agree and sure enough I wouldn't be surprised to lose some of you, that's OK, it is part of life and I accept it.

Is it even worth posting it? Any thoughts?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Opera Company of Philadelphia "Hallelujah!" Random Act of Culture

I heard this mentioned yesterday at the Babe's church and boy, would I have loved to have been at Macy's when this happened! This is one of my very favorite Christmas songs. I'll blog more about Christmas songs when I have more time to talk about it, but at least for a little bit, here's a real treat!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Movie Review: The Kids Are Alright

I went home sick from work yesterday and the kids were not due to come home for a few hours so on the way to my place I stopped at Red Box and rented The Kids are Alright. I had wanted to watch this movie for a while and even gave the babe some hell for not wanting to go watch it with me (something always came up)...

Anyway, so I sat down and watched this movie which is about two lesbians who used a sperm donor to have a child each; when the kids are older the daughter seeks out the sperm donor and connects with him. There are a couple of graphic scenes (well it is a gay movie after all) for hetero and gay sex but it was interesting to see the dynamics that this family goes through when someone new comes into their circle.

I've always loved Julianne Moore's acting, she is a classy lady and I watch almost anything she does, also love Annette Bening. They have good chemistry together --in a lesbian kind of way I guess--I don't mean to offend any lesbians out there since I don't really know the first thing about it, so I admit I'm ignorant; yet it is interesting to see how even in this type of "non-traditional" families there is always a dominating person and one who assumes the subservient (sp?) role. 

As the dynamics develop I wondered at which point they were going to address the issue of how alright the kids were, maybe it was just inferred throughout the movie, but I don't think they really addressed it, instead the movie focused much more on the couple's relationship; so I can't say I was impressed and I'm now glad that we didn't spend a full movie ticket to watch it at the theater so the babe is officially off the hook! :-)

The movie itself was alright, I'd give it maybe 1.5 stars...

But that is only because you see Mark Ruffalo in various stages of nakedness......(need I say more?) Ggrrrrrrr!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Movie Review: Make the Yuletide Gay

One of the local gay couple does a gay movie viewing once a month or so. Last night they showed Make The Yuletide Gay. It is the story of a very openly gay college student who goes home for Christmas but he is not out to his parents. His boyfriend who was supposed to go to his own home for Christmas suddenly has a change in plans and surprises the first guy by showing up unexpectedly and the hilarity ensues.

I liked the movie, the acting is kind of bad, I have to admit that the mom was a bit too over the edge and the euphemisms were all over the place, but overall it was a good show. The main actor says somewhere in there that he worked with a lot of LGBT kids and some very conservative parents were more than accepting of their gay kids while very liberal parents completely rejected their kids--all great points. His main worry is that his parents might cut him completely off from their lives.

How many of us have worried about parents and relatives or those close to us not being accepting? I don't really remember having that angst while I was in my late teens or early 20's because frankly, I hadn't even accepted the possibility that I was gay; but seeing how other friends were being treated even by the simple grapevine rumor that they were gay gave me lots to worry about. We had an informal discussion about the experiences of some of the guys who were attending. Some did talk about the horror stories from parents after attempting to come out at young ages and at other stages in life but some relatives (sometimes in unexpected places) were the most accepting, even within very conservative LDS circles.

I've mentioned in the past that I'm a slow learner and I should have probably learned my lessons in acceptance, self awareness and confidence earlier in life, but one of the advantages I had by waiting to come out much later was that I was very much prepared to deal with the fact that some of my family might not be as accepting and in essence developed somewhat of a thick skin. Needless to say I admire all the young ones who have had enough of that self-awareness and are comfortable enough to come out while young and have all the open possibilities of life. In reality most of my immediate family have been accepting---sure none of them have offered to carry rainbow flags at the next pride parade but have been very supportive and accepting nonetheless. I am also glad that being gay is way more mainstream than it was say even 10-20 years ago. I'm glad that at least the media has contributed in part with shows like Will & Grace, Glee, Brothers & Sisters and my latest favorite show Modern Family.

So if you're looking for a movie to put on your Netflix queue, I recommend it, maybe 2.5 thumbs up, but don't expect too much!! :-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thoughts on God

Losing my religion (LDS Corp) was one of the most traumatic events in my life. I was trying to put this idea into context a few weeks ago and the best way I could do was to compare it to the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy and company found that the Powerful Oz was just a silly man behind the curtain. However in my experience there was no man behind the curtain of religion who could still give me a heart, the brains, the courage or tell me to click my ruby slippers to get back home. I was simply: LOST

All I had ever known about God and religion went out the window, but I think it is important to note that The Gospel (way of life or the manner we conduct ourselves) is not the same as a church (organization). For a while I used to visualize God as a possible "He, She or It". I'm not exactly sure when it happened but one day I think lost my belief in God altogether. I think it was a byproduct of losing my faith in the church and became so angry. Perhaps I wanted to blame someone or something and I could not conceive the thought of a being who could allow an organization to play such a number by telling me what to think, what to say, how to dress, what to read, even down to the kind of underwear I was supposed to wear and basically deny my right as a human being for self-thought, expression & individuality.

9-11-01 had already thrown me for a loop long before and may have started me on this path because even then I had a hard time conceiving in in my mind a God that would allow others to create horrible destruction and suffering in His name so by the time I left the LDS church I was no stranger to having crisis of faith. This was before I event dealt with the gay-me concept, what can I say, I'm a slow learner--I'd rather think that I'm a cautious learner, but the reality is that I'm just slow...

Once I made the decision to detach myself from all things religious I was probably an Atheist for 2 or three hours--just kidding--it could have been a few months while I was still trying to discard previous dogma, beliefs and culture while trying to sort out what I actually believed. One of the benefits of my my stint as an Atheist is that I allowed myself to at least explore and consider the possibility of other lines of thought like world religions, Naturalism, Secular Humanism, Buddhism among others and heck even evolution:
I also heard the very weird notion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and thought: Why not? Anything is possible, no? If I can make myself believe in something that I've never seen why not at least make it an animated figure. I actually did some research on the FSM and there's a whole cult out there. I know it is all satire and more for the sake of mocking the belief in something higher, but let's face it, at the end of the day, this is not any more valid than believing in any other kind of deity...

Of course I am not an extremist person by nature and over time my belief pendulum has swung back and forth a few times, but never back to one extreme or the other. After wandering and searching around I attended mass at the Catholic church for a while and I've attended other churches in my search: Unitarian Universalism, Episcopal, Presbyterian and a couple of others and I've concluded that I like the idea of a higher being, a higher power somewhere out there, it might be Buddha, it might be the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it might be the Holy Trinity, it might be Karma, it might be the Wind, sure it might even be a Human-like being dressed in white robes sitting in a throne up in Heaven (and still dare maintain that it might be a He, She or It!!)

I suppose I'm just a human after all (duh!) and I like the comfort that it brings me to think of something bigger than myself. Now one of the common threads that I found in all of the beliefs (including LDS) aside from the belief of a higher being is The Golden Rule-- basically treat others as you'd like to be treated. Is there a title for the kind of belief in a God that could be anything and reminds me to be a good person just because, not necessarily because He, She, It might smite me?  :-)

I recognize the role that organized religion plays as far as being part of a tribe or community and that may be important for some people, aside from personal beliefs if such delicate dance can be accomplished for better or worse. As for me, at least for now my quest has led me to think that I don't discount the possibility that a God exists BUT will probably never go back to being the unquestioning believer of God. The closest I can come up with a label is probably Hopeful Agnostic-- Again, I'd like to believe in that higher power but I've not seen convincing evidence one way or another.  I think it is fair to say that I'd be even a bigger fool to believe that anyone who doesn't agree or believe like I do is wrong.

The quest continues and perhaps will never end...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Facebook's Fight Against Child Abuse Weekend

I started noticing some of my FB peeps changing their profile pictures through Monday in the fight against child abuse. At first I fought the urge to jump on he bandwagon and this is the reason why:

My mother and my older sister think that someone sexually abused me as a kid, which is why I'm gay....

Well nothing could be further than the truth. I don't remember being sexually abused. Certainly by now in my 40's the memory as much as I would have tried to regress it would have found its way to resurge. I am not a professional in this field, but I certainly think I know myself well enough. Still studies (and I'm sorry I don't have references, this is just a blog post, not a college paper!) say that most of the child abusers are: 1. Heterosexual 2. Someone that the child knows and trusts.

Now I don't discount the fact that a lot of gay men were sexually abused as children. I've heard lots of pretty horrific stories about being abused by older brothers, cousins, uncles, neighbors, scoutmasters, etc. Still save a couple of the men who attribute it directly to the sexual abuse, most of the men say that the abuse in itself was/is not the wild card to their sexuality. This topic may have been brought up in blogs before: Is it nature or is it nurture?

Is it that gay boys have a tendency not to be overbearing that makes them ideal targets for abusers or is it the 'exploring' nature that makes them experiment?  This may be overreaching, but I believe that there's a big difference between sitting in a tent with a bunch (or one or two) of other teenagers all in their underwear and suddenly a wrestling match turns into something else OR as one of my friends explained (GRAPHIC WARNING HERE!): Being startled from sleep with the scoutmaster's penis in his mouth---Now that's sexual abuse!!

Other less graphic theories may include the lack of closeness to a male father figure, well I had plenty of those around, lots of church leaders, uncles, cousins and certainly my stepdad. I've talked about our relationship (or lack of) on this blog in the past but as far as I can I had no lack of access to manly role models. Others may say that I was raised with too many females around (growing up with 7 sisters might be a qualifier) and yeah I did learn to make french braids and the side pony tail on the Barbie--LOL-- but then again: So did my brother and he is not gay!! While I believe that the nurture theory does play somewhat of a role in someone's gayness--and again, I'm not a professional so take it for what it is-- in my mind role of nature has to be the clincher here.

Now this just about sexual abuse. I do believe that emotional abuse can probably be just as scarring and by no means it is less damaging to a child's psyche. This is ultimately why this morning I thought that abuse is abuse and a child should never have to live through any of it, so I joined in and changed my profile picture, I just had to think it over a few hours, sleep on it if you may.