Monday, June 18, 2012

Fathers Day edition

This is my first Father's Day away from my children.  It was HARD.  Those critics of my situation would say, "well you CHOSE to be on this path, suck it up" (yes I have heard this) does not make it easier to deal with the distance.  I visited with a couple new friends I have been able to connect with, called John numerous times, talked to be children, and cried a bit. 

I am used to the children making some sort of scrumptious breakfast, laying in bed with them, them eating most of my breakfast, then me cleaning it up.  This usually pertains to the younger children.  They light up my life every time I see them.  When I visited Kansas City over a week ago, it was nice to have Connor and Isaac both jump into my arms. 

Yesterday while I was at church, the young children usually sing Father's Day songs.  One of the regular songs is, "Daddy's Homecoming"

I’m so glad when daddy comes home,
Glad as I can be;
Clap my hands and shout for joy,
Then climb upon his knee,
Put my arms around his neck,
Hug him tight like this,
Pat his cheeks, then give him what?
A great big kiss.
I choked up over this song.  I always did before, so it really was not any different....other than I was by myself.  This song reminded me of the 2 youngest jumping in my arms.  They both are not shy about showing their unconditional love for everyone around them!  What I have learned from the children while they are young is to not be too concerned about what others think about your silliness, or honesty.  I got here to Orlando and need to remind myself of that....Be ME!  If people do not like what they see, then I move on to the next situation.  It really is freeing to think that way.

I spoke with some of the children on skype today over lunch.  It was comforting.  I wrote Zachary a letter....i wish i could talk with him.  He was always a person that I could trust and he would be honest with me.  I miss that interaction.  I am gratified that Paisley is this same way, talking to her is always refreshing. 

I was also reminded in church that my life did not fit the correct model that needs to be produced, and that I was am a sinner because I disbelieve.  I got up and walked out after that.  I called John and he asked me why I torture myself by listening to those things that are hurtful to my soul.  I told him I made a commitment to do this.....after thinking about it, maybe I am trying to pay some sort of internal penance.  I don't know!!!  Sunday was full of highs and lows.  I am leveling off somewhat today. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I had a friend I answered.....


Chris, I have a question for you- I pray that you will appreciate my honesty. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around homosexuality and the LDS church. Since both these topics are prevalent in your life, I'd thought I'd pick your brain. I guess I am wondering what your take on the church is- you support your kids going (and your son on a mission) and take them and sit with them, etc. How does that mesh with your gay life now? They seem in contradiction. Please know that this question comes from a place of love and seeking understanding. I always tell people I'd rather you ask the question than go on in ignorance. I believe that is a feeling we share.

Hoping you can shed some light on my quandary...



Zachary is in Mexico City on a mission, Paisley will attend BYU-I in the Fall, Ayden and Kaleb are at Scout camp this week with the ward, Isaac is at Day camp with the ward. This is not something that I can ignore. Being LDS means that your life is meshed with the church, its programs, systems, and culture. I have to accept that that will be the case for everyone in my family and to NOT rock the boat too much.

Me coming out was enough of a "rock the boat" situation. I think that if I was negative and persistent that my children have other experiences in a broader sense....would be more harmful to them. I do not agree with the doctrine of the church, PERIOD. I do not want to influence the children to be too critical of the system in which they are a part. That would be unfair and unnecessary.

I have attended church here in FL a couple of times. Good ward (noisy with lots of little children). I know that if the children visit me I need to continue that consistency for them regardless of my personal beliefs. The church is a helpful, useful, good organization. Individually people can be hateful and hurtful. I have stored up a lot of bitterness over the years for the church, but I have to remember that those were individuals. I know the church is not inclusive of people like me. Organizations and systems are set up based on common beliefs. The church has the right to be exclusive. Just like I have the right to exclude people from my life because of dissonance.

I do not like going to church, but I think it is necessary. First, for my children....second, to help people see that I truly am a normal person and not some evil aberration! I am the same person that I was in Idaho, Texas, Kansas and now Florida. I care, serve, love, listen, learn and laugh just as before. The unfortunate thing is that my bedroom activities now define me differently. Your bedroom activities define you too....but your activities are acceptable and the standard within most systems and organizations. I do not think it fair that that difference should be there....but that is up for political, emotional, controversial discussion.

I hope this makes sense.....I am probably will make this my next blog entry! Thank you for asking and for your love and kindness.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Here is what I believe a relationship is built on.  Trust...Communication...Love....Patience.  When you have lost or do not have these qualities in your relationship, the relationship will have difficulty.

We all come into relationships with different characteristics, values, practices, views and baggage.  When each party is honest and open about who they are and what needs they may possess, the relationship can grow bit by bit as experiences are shared. 

I am at a point in my life and relationship where my partner knows EVERYTHING.  I do not think there is a page unturned.  What was so hard in my prior relationship was that the system I was a part of would not accept me for who I am.  It would only try to cure me from my "perceived illness".  I do not think I could have obtained the same acceptance then that I have own insecurities did not allow me to. 

It truly is powerful when one has the ability to share and be open without the danger of being judged, scolded, or put on the defense.  I see that this has happened in others' lives too.  It is disappointing to witness the scolding and childish acts of others.  Maybe that is why people cannot open up....there is all kinds of fear attached to that, making one vulnerable!  I guess I did feel some of that in my experience. 

John and I have very different backgrounds and come from varied belief systems.  I think that we each need to demonstrate patience and understanding with each other to begin to mesh other things that we do have in common to build a strong foundation for our relationship.  That is happening and I am gratified for that.  We remind each other when we are experiencing some difficulty....that we are in this for the long haul.  It is good to trust and communicate those things to each other. 

This is not meant to diminish anything I had before, I am using the experiences that I have gleaned to become a better partner and companion.  Every transition is hard, but I am happy that I have John next to me to help me on this new path.  We have trust, we know each others' story completely and accept that, we have unconditional love, and patiently help each other navigate through life. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

things on my mind......

Isaac's birthday was yesterday.  I sent him a card and called him.  All he wants is a pocket knife.....funny boy.  I love him!!  :)  I fly home today to see him and the other children for the weekend.

This is a BIG week for Isaac.  Birthday, starts cub scouts, and he gets baptized as a member of the LDS church. 

Prior to my exit from the church and my heinous life....I would be the person baptizing Isaac.  I cannot perform this ordinance because I an not a member of the church, priesthood rights and power are gone, and all because I am his gay dad.  So my father is traveling from Idaho to perform the baptism.  For this I am grateful.  I am glad that Isaac has this opportunity to become part of the organization that he was born into.  I know it is important for each of my children to take this step, then to formulate their own beliefs and practices as they grow and learn. 

I know within the Mormon faith (I am generalizing) that there is this undercurrent of expectations.  Parents get married in the temple, have children, live faithful, conduct all doings according to church policy and doctrine, raise your children to repeat everything that you have done, go on a mission with your spouse, die, celestial kingdom.

In my script, I have deviated from it.  I am not the one baptizing my son (which I am OK with).  I do not sustain the principles of the church because it is an exclusive organization.  I appreciate the formal need for my son to be baptized.  I hope that through his life he can learn to be more inclusive than the organization that he is joining.  That does not require that he would have to leave the organization but to have an acceptance of diversity and differences. 

I do have wonderful children, that are independent, stubborn, opinionated, loving, compassionate individuals.  Isaac has these qualities.  I love him, and hope he has a great weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Starting things

So last night I finally completed the first step in what I want to do with the rest of my life.....I created a website for gay fathers!!!  Here is why I am doing this:

Initial Phase......

Share stories of other gay men whether they choose to stay in the situations that they are in, or do something different
Show the progress that can be made with individual people
Provide online and some personal resources for men that are struggling
Become an advocate for men in these situations

Long term goals.......

Be financially supported by grant projects, health advocacy groups and philanthropic organizations
Be in a place to help men in need financially
Be able to connect men immediately with local groups and organizations that will assist in their lives
Advocate to change laws to be fair and reasonable with divorce, custody and alimony for all parties involved
Advocate for change to federal and state laws that are discriminatory against the GLBT population
Have a speakers bureau of individuals that are wanting to tell their story, to show that we are not so uncommon
Have legal counsel that can assist in cases where parties are clearly being discriminated against

So after I created this website and posted it on Facebook, I received multiple messages from individuals that were VERY encouraging.  I reflected on the many men that I have met and hear their stories.....I began to cry.  There are thousands out there floundering, not knowing where to turn.  They are seen as the instigator of pain, the pariah, the mentally challenged, the confused one, the evil one, the sinful one......there are guilt, shame, pain, anguish, hatred, loneliness, worthlessness, heartache associated with all of these labels.  These men need a place to turn.  I want to create that place.  I have to create that place.  I am driven to create that place. 

The other day I was extremely distraught from hearing a man's story of not being able to see his children over the summer.  He was scheduled to have his children for much of the summer and days before they were to visit, his Ex filed an injunction to the court indicating that he was harming his children because of his "gay lifestyle".  The childrens' court advocate did the same.  Now he cannot see his children.  He has no legal help, no money, and is in a hopeless place.  People like this need an organization behind them to so "STOP THE MADNESS"! 

I cannot and will not go to court and indicate that my childrens' mother is harming my children because of her "hetero lifestyle".  That sounds ludicrous....right!  Well of course it does.  This man still loves his children, treats them right, and just wants time with them.  Now he can't. 

I hear of stories like this ALL the time.  I need to be the one to affect change.  That is what this blog is about anyway.  Here it goes.......

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Someone mentioned to me a while ago about my situation and how people were expressing that they were "Team Rachel" or "Team Chris".  I have taken some time to ponder that immediate divisiveness.  Here is my take......(and I will not even go down the route of the RIDICULOUS, JUVENILE, DEMORALIZING series of Twilight)

Instead, I am taken back to grade school, when choosing teams.  No one would really think that that ONE action of choice could have such a profound impact on an individual.  To set the stage, I will reenact a scenario: 

13 children....2 of the more sporty, popular kids are by default the "team captains" and get to choose their teams from the remaining 11 kids.  One by one the teams are chosen

  1. the friends of the captains are chosen first regardless of performance
  2. the mediocre kids go next, usually based on performance
  3. last to go are the kids who are "perceived" as the under-performers, under-achievers, less popular

The last group just wants to be included.  They want to play.  They hope that they can find connections with the other kids by staying involved.  They want to be noticed and felt like they are part of the group. 

At one point or another each of us fall into the few that were chosen last.  Recall how it felt?  What was going through your mind?  Where there other chosen even after you?  How do you think they felt?  How is it that you are immediately able to recall this situation?  Think of the impact it had on you?  Are you mimicking a behavior that is undesirable for future generations?

Now having gone through that self-reflection.  What are you doing today to either continue this hurtful cycle.....or are you on the other side, trying to include people when you can and when appropriate?  Are there things in your experience that you need to modify so that "TEAMS" are not chosen, compared, and judged?  If so, change them!

I hope the offending parties read this.  I hope they realize how childish and degrading this practice really is.  I keep hoping.........

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trying to normalize

I went to church today….in FL for the first time since moving here.  I called the Bishop earlier in the week.  Asking when church started and the address.  Instead of the usual benefit that members give when they move to a new ward….I will probably become an unwanted burden (this may not happen, I am only expressing how I feel).  John went with me also.  This was his first experience in an LDS service. 

General observations were, it was rather loud and irreverent during the service, John even mentioned how loud it was.  We really could not even hear the speakers.  We left sacrament meeting, passed the Bishop and his 2 Counselors in the hallway.  No acknowledgment, they probably see tons of people come and go.  I will reach out to them the next time and see what comes of it.

I desire to accomplish 2 things as I reach out to the LDS community locally....1)  to have a place for my children to connect when they are with me.....2)  to advocate for change or inclusion or tolerance, or acceptance, or compassion, or caring, or simply being Christ-like.  My second aspiration might be a bit lofty.  

Getting settled in any place is always a HUGE undertaking.  Expenses for set up, deposits, rent, and other things you don't think of.  I have exhausted my resources to the Nth degree.  Moved into a cute little place that will fit my needs for a while.  I agonized over finding a place.  Glad I found this one.

Glad summer is here for the kids in KS.  I don't worry about them as much....making sure that they get off to school.  I am gratified that my children are so strong.  They are such great examples to me.  I love them desperately.  I have my crying fit daily because I miss them so.  It usually happens early in the morning or late at night....when I have time to think about it.  I am trying to make their life better, but there are so many times I think I am failing them miserably.  In reality I felt the same way when I was with them 24/7.  Somehow I need to find out where the balance is and move forward with that comfort.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I have been reflecting on my journey and being on the outside of things, and peeking tentatively back into those prior structures....I am seeing things that are quite disturbing.  When I came out to people that were part of my support system 2 years ago.  I looked up to these people with admiration and respect.  I know that I have distanced myself from most of these individuals because I have left the construct that provided commonalities for us.  Now I feel that those friendships were only there because of the organization that we belonged to.  It is unfortunate to see, feel and sense.

I was told by some of these individuals that my option in coming out would be to live a celibate life and harbor those feelings and desires for the rest of my life.  Or in my case to continue to do that!  :(  Analogies were drawn to those unmarried (heterosexual) people within the church.  This is where similarities would stop.  Heterosexual single people have the opportuntity to date those they are physically attracted to, hold hands, kiss, and show affection.  Whereas, individuals in my situation would be relegated to complete abstinance from any form of affection towards those they are naturally attracted to.  This is in NO way equal or acceptable. 

I am very satisfied with where I am in my life.  I am glad I am independent enough to stand on my own when it comes to my decision as of late.  That I stood up for what I feel and am confident enough with those feelings.  When individuals are offering solutions for those in my situation, they need to STOP offering canned answers that suit their own view of things and need to realize that they just need to listen.  Offering advice can be harmful and damaging.  Give advice when asked, be considerate of the person you are advising, and do not give ultinatums.  (My children get ultimatums, they DO NOT like them even though sometimes they may be reasonable)  A person experiencing guilt, shame, stress, feelings of worthlessness, suicide.....DO NOT need ultimantums.  They need love, compassion, understanding, a listen ear, and someone that cares.

I am gratified that I had a few of these type of individuals in my life.  I continue to find a few others that have this type of skill and love.  Try to be that person, a person that is Christ-like (if you consider yourself Christian).....or as i refer to these type of individuals as.....INCLUSIVE!


I really like it here in FL!  I was initially petrified of embarking on this journey mostly by myself.  Not knowing anyone in FL.  Arriving with a car load of essentials (reminds me of a friend, Jen Harris, that did something similar.....she is an inspiration).  I am still living out of my car for another couple of days until I sign my lease on the rental house that I found.  It is a cute little property outside of Orlando.  It will meet my needs for now. 

I am settling in at work.  I find it invigorating to set things up ideally as I would have them.  My ideal may be less than perfect, but at least I can influence some change right now.  I report directly to the VP.  This is exciting and terrifying.  Exciting because I have moved up the food chain....terrifying because it comes with additional responsibility.  Delicate balance!

People are VERY interested in my personal situation.  I have photos of children and John on my wall.  I get verying reactions to my narrative to them.  Some excited, some repulsed.  I am generally interested in these reactions, mostly so I know who I am trust.  I know that may be an unfair judgement, but for now I am in survival mode.  I do not need more negativity in my life.  I have PLENTY to go around. 

I contacted the Bishop of the local Mormon congregation that I am geographically a part of.  I will start attending there.  Bring John if he is interested.  I need to connect with this congregation for my children when they are here visiting, and to be an active voice of inclusion.  I am nervous about it, but know this is what I have committed myself to do.  I know that I will be met with more negativity, but I am preparing myself for it.  I am not meaning to judge people based on their beliefs, rather I am trying to set myself up for reality when the congregation is aware of my situation.  I hope someone surprises me by being inclusive.

My support continues to be my children, John, Gigi and few other friends and family that continue to reach out to me.  Thank you all for your kindness and love!

I did travel to KC over the weekend, but that will be an entry on its own.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Adolescent boys

Something has been weighing heavy on my mind for a couple of weeks.  As most of you know I have 5 boys.  Each of them very different, unique, loving, energetic, fun, and challenging.  They have all (so far) followed a pattern.  Everything is just all boy until about 11 or 12 then POW!!!!  I am caught off guard by their emotional state, pushing limits, finding themselves, finding balance, dealing with hormone (testosterone), and their wonderful belligerence.  My boys are really wonderful young men.....just this age is particularly tough for all involved.

I can remember when my oldest would have emotional breakdowns, crying fits, feelings of uselessness, and not liking the people around him.  I sat with him on the bathroom floor a couple of times just watching him weep.  I remember the next boy hiding for long periods, getting extremely angry, running away (not really that far), and expressing feelings of rage.  The 3rd boy is going through the same commotion.  The tough part is that I was present for the beginning stage of this change....right now I am not there to help (in a local sense).  I skype, text and call as much as possible and as much as he will accept.....but it is tough to personally see this happen from a distance.

Each of the older boys sailed through this experience, relatively, unscathed.  My heart REALLY goes out to my 3rd son.  I am not available as much for him as I was the others.  It is hard to rely on others to assist, but realize that is what will happen.  I can't wait to see him this weekend and hope that we can have some very overdue talks and work through his changing life.

I love him.....he turns 12 today!

Just keep swimming.....just keep swimming

I don't think Kathi realized that when she left this comment on my last post yesterday.....this quote from "Nemo" is something I say in my head ALL the time.  When I know I need to just plod on, with zero motivation, I quote Dori from Nemo.  Dori keeps me going!  Thanks Kathi!

There have been days when I had thoughts that I could not carry on.....all I could do was place the next foot in front of the other and slowly move in the direction that I thought was suitable.  I do not experience those type of days as frequent as I used to.  A couple of days ago I was reminded of those situations.  When I would observe thoughtless people making derogatory remarks about individuals that are different from them.  These type of people congregate in packs.  2 or more people......drinks in hand.....they stare.....say a hateful comment....then everyone laughs.

I am sure you can recreate the scenario in your head.

So the other day, I saw this go on.  3 men, obviously macho, hetero, same age as me were standing outside an eating establishment.  2 women, holding hands, pierced, tattooed, and mohawks passed by then.  The men's eye-brows went up, they gawked, stared, did double takes, and watched them walk by.  As soon as the 2 women passed, mostly out of of the men made a very hateful comment about the women and the other 2 men broke out in laughter.  I watched this from a short distance away.....approached the men, told them off.  I know it was risky.....I know that it probably was not my place....ignorance and small mindedness like this infuriate me.

What is the purpose of this type of behavior?  Is it to compenstate for insecurities?  Is it to deflect awkward feelings?  Is it because others are able to express honest feelings and individuality, and those that mock cannot do that?  Is it lack of understanding and exposure to differences?  Is it because they are down right hateful?

I for one will continue to advocate for change, understanding, inclusiveness and compassion.  I will just keep swimming......UPSTREAM!  Thank you Kathi for this gentle reminder.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Out of pocket

How is it going?

I realize that I have been neglecting my blog for a bit.....but every transition requires extra time and focus.  I do know that I need to get back into the habit of writing.  I need my therapy since most of those people, places and things that helped me cope I left in KC.

My new coping mechanisms are??????? I really have not found anything yet.  Settling into my new job is overwhelming.  Finding a place to live....overwhelming.  Only being able to skype with my children.....sad....but exciting every time I do it!  Planning for Paisley's graduation from a distance....hard.  Living in a hotel with a microwave and frig....gross.  Living without a paycheck for a month......UGH!

I have met some very nice people so far.  Valencia College is a wonderful place to be.  Very similar to JCCC.  Great school, great students, good people that I associate with....with a culture and ego that go with being the best in the business!  That "ego" can be good and bad.....good to be so certain of what you are doing and how you are operating.....bad because at times you cannot see how improvement can help.  I am not saying I have experienced that, but know it will happen.  It happens in most organizations I have been in....I am not being critical, just realistic.

It is nice starting at a place where I do not know anyone.  I do not have certain self-imposed expectations that go with familiarity.  This one thing will be a HUGE benefit in this new position!  That is what is most invigorating about coming here.....starting with a clean slate.  To be honest that was probably one of my largest barriers at JCCC, was familiarity with so many of the people.  One of the difficulties that I am currently experiencing is trying to get to know people.......everything is a delicate balance.

Found a place to live.  It is a little further from the campus that I will work, but it is exactly the type of residence  I was looking for:  quiet community, close to the turnpike, central to all the campuses I have to visit, place comfortable for our children.  Finding that was a HUGE weight off my shoulders, now I just have to work through the logistics and pay the lump sum for deposit and rent....UGH.

I have been very honest with those that inquire about my family situation.  Funny to see the different responses to my situation.  These responses range from shock, surprise, encouragement, tolerance, acceptance, abhorrence.....these reactions help me "categorize"people, or place them on my social continuum.

This change has been hard, but worth it so far.....guess that is what this blog is about.....CHANGE!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Why control?

From a historical perspective, I can think of Rulers, Dictators, Regimes, and Religion as examples of control.  This list can go on infinitely.  What type of characteristics do these type of systems/people have in common?  The need to perpetuate their beliefs, wishes, desires, actions and/or outcomes.  History has seen many of these situations come and go.  Portions of their influence or control has been imprinted on societies and individuals for centuries. 

Seeing this pattern, how does an individual know where to balance that control in their personal life and the affect it may have on others.  In general when a person/people are compelled to do something....rebellion ensues.  I know that is EXACTLY how I am.  I value choice, freedom and the values I am able to learn and accumulate through those experiences.  I firmly believe that each individual needs those same opportunities or there becomes a general mistrust and sense of unfairness that is learned. 

Each person as they grow and learn develop from an infants' needs for a controlled system to an adult system that is more individually adaptable and is subject to change.  Persons that we may be responsible for need to feel the latitude of options and choices available to them when they are able and ready to handle those situations. 

Am I doing all I can to promote that ability to learn and grow?  Am I too controlling, even though I feel like I am the antithesis of control?  What things to I need to re-examine?  A friend recently corrected my reaction to a situation (for which I am deeply grateful).  Was my reaction my exhibition of control?  Or was it my abhorrence of controlling situations that lead me there?  I need to do some self-examination to root out the foundation of this reaction and see what I can do differently in the future.

I too am trying to find a balance......

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Today is my first day out of KC.  Have feel like a huge weight has been taken from me.  I almost feel guilty for feeling this way.  I consider myself a VERY responsible person….and the level o responsibility that I was committed to in KC was daunting and overwhelming.  Many will say… placed yourself in those circumstances, so buck up and quite your whining….others have said…….this new journey you are on will define more of who you are and help you heal.  I am leaving behind SO much, that that is where the guilt lies.  I am attempting to set up things for the children financially to be engaged in activities over the summer for their benefit and involvement.  I am visiting or having them visit Orlando (hopefully) once a month.  That will be dependent on finances and availability.  I have set up a Skype account for the children.  I will get that schedule proposed and firmed up. 

I did enjoy my time at JCCC, but I think there were too many things that happened in my life (personally) over the past 2 years that made things more convoluted and murky.  I did not intentionally make myself less effective, I think the circumstances that I was dealing with placed a few things into question.  I recognize that, and hope that in my new endeavor I can compartmentalize things appropriately for the health of my professionally relationships. 

I am going to Orlando knowing only those that I have met through the interview process.  I have not reached out to the LDS church yet.  I will most likely do that in a couple of weeks once I know where I am living.  I know that brings into question……WHY will you reach out to an organization that does not accept you for who you are?  I feel that I will need to establish a relationship with the local LDS congregation for when my children visit, to continue with some of that normalcy that they are used to.  Also, I plan on attending the local congregation as much as possible by myself.  The reasoning for this is to help diffuse the “mystery” of gays in the church.  There are SO MANY times that when interacting with members of the congregation that I attended for years in KC…..these individuals seemed uncomfortable, not able to have a conversation, not knowing what to say, making small talk with no meaning or substance.  I was generally disappointed with this dissonance.  Part of that dissonance I am responsible for also, because this congregation was/is there to support Rachel and NOT me.  I truly do appreciate the kindness and thoughtfulness of the few who stepped forward and were not bound by social/cultural parameters and reached out to me.  For that I will always be grateful, and those few know exactly who they are!  When speaking with one of these individuals, she rehearsed with me a conversation that she had with someone in the congregation……..This person said, I wish we could have been kinder to Chris and helped him in his situation……Hopefully this individual can learn from lessons past and be a kinder person to those similar to me.     

I will continue to be a voice within/without the church to help people understand that I am NOT a sinner, I am NOT someone to abhor, I am NOT confused, I am NOT soul-less, I am NOT from Sodom and Gomorrah!  I will not be hopeful that the church will change doctrine…..but I want individuals to be more thoughtful, compassionate and truly Christian towards others that are not like them.  If I can help a few come to realize this, my attendance at church will be worth it.  I will be there to “kick against the pricks”!  (that has many meanings, but it is actual a scriptural reference in the Doctrine and Covenants, LDS scripture).

I packed my scriptures; it was also refreshing and liberating.  I will continue to read them, to find sense in my journey….to balance things in my life a bit more.  I do feel well grounded, more stable and committed to my path than ever before.  It truly is a wonderful feeling to have about my person as I move forward. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Varying Goodbyes

It has been interesting to witness all of the goodbyes that have been happening over the past week.

The office had a reception for me.  It was well planned, executed and orderly....probably the more formal goodbye that I have had this week.  I truly appreciate all that went into the planning of this event, and am thankful for those that came to say goodbye.  I did a lot of crying!

My last gay dads group was on Wednesday.  I drove back from Topeka to attend.  These men have had a profound impact on my life.  I wish I could transport them all to Orlando with me so that I can continue having healthy, meaningful conversations with them.  I love them all.  The hardest person to say goodbye to was our mediator.....what a wonderful man!

MY KASFAA family was excruciatingly hard to say goodbye to.  These people have been there for me professionally and personally.  I could call a number of them on the spur of the moment and receive guidance on a myriad of topics.  We played hard and worked hard.  What a great group of people.  Many of them will still be on speed dial!

My church associations was particularly interesting.  After having provided many in the ward congregation with years of service, countless hours of volunteer work, I had 4 people say goodbye.  Many times when it is the last Sunday for a given individual or family, they have an opportunity to get up and express their love, appreciation and thanks to those in the congregation.  Being a rouge in the congregation, that opportunity is one I cannot take.  I have to sit there in silence, and hope someone listens.  I guess there were a few that I connected with.  Those few that I connected with, I have DEEP feelings for....and could talk to each of them for hours.  For those that had an opportunity to say goodbye, and just came up to enjoy an awkward sentence or two.....I tire of people not being able to be real and authentic.  Maybe we can all learn from these experiences, but I think my hope is empty.

I said goodbye to my children.  The 4 younger boys either don't recognize the length of time that they will see me, do not know how to express themselves, or they are interested in other things.  I love my boys.  I will continue to express that to them and be their greatest fan (from a longer distance).  I cried VERY hard when I left them.  I called a friend after leaving them and I could not get out a full sentence.  Each of these boys have a bright future ahead of them.  I hope to be a positive influence in their lives.  An example of honesty.  An example of Equality.  An example of Love!

Paisley was the hardest one to say goodbye to, so far.  What a beautiful woman.  She is bright, loving, and head-strong.  I love the twinkle in her eyes.  She brings joy and comfort to my life.  I wish I could be more like her....she is so mature and understanding.  I love her with all my heart!  Thank you Sis for some wonderful experiences lately!  There are so many people in your life that are looking after you.

The 2 people I am not looking forward to goodbye....are Gigi and John.  I will need to write a novel just to express the words that I will be feeling for each of them.  I love you both....and hope we each will be able to adapt to being apart for days, weeks or months.  When John finds comparable employment, his distance will be minimized of which I am thankful.  Gigi and I will need to find way to see each other in the future.

Thank you all for a wonderful ride!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hard day

I know, I bring upon myself my own grief, pain, and disappointment!

When I first started telling everyone that I was offered a new job, it was in Orlando and of my impending move.....they would say, "Wow, why not change everything in your life!".  

Now that I only have a few days left in Kansas City.  A place that I have truly learned to love in the past 2 years.  My blog name is "change is the only constant" so I need to learn from my blog!  LOL  

Let me list the changes, large and small:

Came out as a gay man over 2 years ago
No longer have a calling in the church
Gave up membership in the church
Moved out of my house I lived in for a handful of years
No longer garden (hobby)
Write more now than I ever had in my life
Kept a journal for 2 years, more than I have done in all my past existence
Send my 19 year old son to Mexico City for 2 years
Getting a divorce
Starting a new relationship, with a man
Moved a couple months ago
Got a new job
Daughter is graduating from high school
Leaving my children in KC
Leaving behind so many old/new friends
Left a wonderful job at JCCC
Not participating in Scouting because of who I am
Cut back on cooking (one of the stress relievers that I have)
Lost weight, changing wardrobes
No longer teach at church
I pray more than I did before
I am more honest with myself
Started a blog
Became an (informal) leader with John in our gay dads group
Go to counseling
Gave up the Spirit (according to the church)
Am in love (not lust, like so many believe)
Know who some true friends are, they manifested themselves through many of these changes
More sensitive and vocal about bullying

I am a bit emotional today.  I guess I need to allow myself that emotion at times.  Good to feel, but hard when it continues on for too long.  I recognize that I am just at the starting point of the change in moving cities and my job.  I need to remind myself that I need to grieve about each of the changes above that was a loss.  Move through them in a healthy mature way, not lashing out in anger and confusion.  Keep going has gotten better!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heart strings

So I have been getting everything ironed out for Paisley to go to prom tonight.  I probably get overly involved and drive her nuts.  If you follow me on facebook, you know that we went dress shopping, shoe shopping and logistic planning for tonight.  Her next event is graduation and I am cooking as much as I can to prepare for the event before I leave next week.

After taking the obligatory photos with everyone (almost a group of 20 kids), they were spirited away in a Hummer Limo.  She sent me a text saying, "Thank you daddy!"

I do not hear those words very often, and today it hit me hard!  I love my little girl!  I cannot believe that she has grown into a marvelous young lady.  She has some rough edges about her, but those she inherited.  She has stubborn parents....she got 2 doses.  She is delightful to be around.  She is learning her way in decisions and choices that she is making right now.  I am proud to be called her daddy!

Thank you for 18 wonderful years, Paisley.  Rachel and I thought she would be the death of us in her first few years of existence.  Paisley did not want to do anything the easy way, did not conform to the ordinary, and plowed her own way through these years.  I am happy to say, I like what I see.  She will make it.  She just needs us as expert advisers, occasionally.

I am sure this experience will happen again and again......just needed to record this one!


Number 26

Do you know any magnanimous people?  By this I mean, are there individuals in your life that feel like nobility, larger than life......given their "supposed status"....they attempt to influence things for their benefit only?  I have encountered a few of these people in my life and they are the most difficult people to associate with!

I find that these individuals are extremely self-centered, focused on their possessions and always want to be obeyed (level of rightness).  Here is what I have done to adapt to these individuals, and not to allow them to take over my presence and influence my actions:

1)  Just listen to them, listen to them with great attention....they feel validated
2)  Do not become a close friend to them, hold them at a healthy distance
3)  Give them positive feedback as often as you can....again they look for validation
4)  Challenge their need to be obeyed, or always right.  Show them that you have rightness according to your standards and things can work within both frameworks
5)  Encourage them to see things from another viewpoint.
6)  Love them, they are insecure.

It has taken a while for me to get to this point with these individuals.  They are misunderstood and just need love.  I hope with all of the changes that I have recently experienced in life and those that are coming....that I will be able to follow my own guidance.  Putting things into practice is the hardest thing to do!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Number 27

I have not fully recognized the importance of friends over these past 2 years, I think I have taken for granted their love and support.  I have gained some phenomenal friends recently and need to stop and say a few things about them.....and how hard it was to have strong friends in the past.

When I was growing up I usually had a group of friends that I would hang out with.  One or two were REALLY close.  The type of close that you could finish each others' sentences, know what was on each others' mind, and react exactly the same given most situations.  Those couple of people know who they are.  I still hold them in high regard and respect their love, support and kindness.

There have been others in college and beyond that are similar to those first few.  I will mention a few that have had significant impact on my life during that period.......Winston, Rachel, Robert, Rachelle, Carl, Matt, Rich, Miles, Gigi, John, gay dads group.

I have had a hard time connecting personally and intimately with people because it take so much time and energy to keep up close relationships.  So in an effort to conserve personal energy my close friends have been few.  Plus there are always those times (one anticipates) that a each person may move on.  I have kept myself guarded and closed off to many for these very reasons.  Those of us that are introverts know what I speak of....few deep friends, but those friends are extremely connected to you and have a lifelong influence on you.

My list above is quite short since leaving my boyhood home.  Winston was someone that was everyone's friend.  He was helpful in encouraging me through my college years.  Rachel I have known for 35 years.  She knows me better than most and we have had many wonderful years of experience together.  Robert was my first friend/mentor professionally.  We still chat, he is a wonderful influence on my life.  Rachelle and Carl were both there for me in Texas...professionally and religiously.  Rachelle is fun and energetic, Carl is practical and grounded.

Matt was/is a wonderful friend and helped me become a better parent.  He was a great listener.  Rich helped me become a better leader.  He encouraged me to be more independent and my own individual.  Miles and Gigi helped me out in my transition, both in their own individual way.  I appreciate and will never forget their influence.  Reflecting last night made me realize that most of these influences have gotten me to where I am, characteristics that were acquired or fostered while interacting with these individuals has helped me immensely.

The gay dads group that I am part of meet (officially) twice a month.  There are also many other occasions where we plan something at the spur of the moment to feel the strength we have as a group.  These have been special occasions.  We can speak freely, we know so much about each other, there is love and compassion present, and there are true friendships built!  I have never been connected as deeply to a group of individuals as I am to these men.  I never thought it possible to have deep feelings for men.....before I kept myself guarded so that I would not make myself vulnerable in any way.  Now most of those vulnerabilities and insecurities are gone.  It is truly relieving!

John is part of the the dads group, a friend, partner and confidant.  I am grateful to have him as part of my life.  I can share with him.....everything in my mind.  There are parts of my soul that have been dormant for decades, that only he has seen.  I do not fear sharing anything with him....he understands completely and honestly!  This is what I need at this point in my life to survive, subsist and progress.

Thank you all be being such wonderful friends.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

I think it is helping

Number 27

I have had numerous people come to me, call me, message me, email me regarding my blog.....they have all had very positive things to say about one post or another.  Here are a few of the comments:

Your blog helps me understand my brother, who is gay.....this is a start....thank you.

Have you thought of writing a book to help other LDS individuals that are in your situation?

My cousin committed suicide because he was gay.....I wish I could have been there for him....your blog helps me understand more or what he was experiencing.

You are brave.

Thank you for enlightening me on your situation.....I would have never of understood your situation living so far removed from you.

Thank you for your honesty, many people can't be that honest.

My husband was going through the same thing and I totally treated him like crap.  I never reached out to understand all that he was going through, I permanently lost that relationship.

I wish I would have been more compassionate to my daughter....thought tough love would solve the problem, it just made it worse.

I never knew all of those things that happened in high school, I was blind.  I wish I could have helped back then. 

I am gratified that it seems I am helping a few people.  I wish there was a more broad audience that I could impact.  I think eventually there will be a venue that will fit my delivery style and day.  Each one of these comments bring such emotion for me.  I sit here in a recessed corner of a coffee shop hoping that the strangers sitting next to me do not sense the overwhelming sense of emotion that I feel.  They would not understand unless I could explain why.

I am continuing to write.  I do have ideas of broadening the scope of what I do....there is so much change going on in my life right now that I will need to take a hiatis from those plans for a bit. 

I want to express to the reader that I do apprecitate your kindness, thoughtfulness, and honesty also.  This certainly is theraputic for me, I hope it helps you in the grand scheme of things too.  I *heart* you.

Bullying part trois......

Number 26

I friend texted me after my previous post and indicated that many times the person that is labeled as the “bully” usually has some bigger problems going on in their lives.  At times they bully to overcompensate for the uncertainty and chaos in their own lives.  There might be abuse, alcoholism, drug use, or disregard from them within their own households.  Their way to garner attention and “take control” of their own situations is to make others’ lives more difficult. 

Many of the problems related to bullying are systemic on a society and disregards expression,  honesty, and real conversations…….and the way to adapt to these failings are to self-medicate, self-diagnose, and/or make others’ miserable.  If something happens to an individual silence is the most used solution.  Each individual has status, moral structure, or associations that they must keep active in their lives.  The best way to secure these supporting factors is to be quiet. 

Separating myself from past constructs has helped me be more aware of my social environ.  I speak up more (much to some people’s dismay), I express how I feel (even though it may be honest and hurtful), I also listen better.  I am attempting to extinguish my bitterness so that I am not too quick to judge and dismiss the situations and people that may be in need.  I am gratified by this increased self-awareness.  Also, to be fair to the bully….to recognize that there might be something that is amiss in their lives that they need assistance in overcoming. 

Many people do not recognize that their words and actions are excruciatingly hurtful.  Not sure how each person can be self-aware enough to see this impact.  I remember sitting in my room when I was 16.  Listening to my “medicating” music…..contemplating who I should include in my suicide note……that way my bullies would know exactly how harmful they were to me.  I am sure there are many who do follow through with their plans that contemplate the same thing! 

How can each of these individual scenarios be rectified? 

1)       People need to speak up

2)      All parties involved need to come together to mediate differences

3)      Solutions need to be agreed upon and a better plan set forth

4)      Each person needs to recognize that “weakness” is alright and to seek out help is appropriate

5)      Of course general societal attitudes need to adjust

I do see more people attempting to reach out, speak up and to get help.  This seems like a grass-roots effort to positively affect change……but to me it is too insignificant.  The unfortunate thing is that the divide between the “haves” and “have nots” is becoming wider…..the “haves” become so focused on status, belongings, and personal impression that the above list would be immediately disregarded as foolishness. 

I will continue to advocate for change because the victims are so varied and in need.

Friday, April 20, 2012

More on Bullying

Number 25

I had an interesting talk with one of my sons and his best friend a couple of days ago.  My sons friend said, "Mr. Christensen, Tom (name changed) is being mean to me and is calling me mean names.  Tom is a year older than these boys.  He called my sons' friend gay, weak, a pansy, and stupid.  That this young boy needed counselling for his flaws.  I instructed both boys to not associate with Tom, to do activities where Tom is not.  Tom is angry and a bully and needs to be ignored.  I also asked the boy to talk to his dad and see what he would suggest.

All these boys live in the same neighborhood.  I do not live in this neighborhood anymore.  I asked Rachel to talk to the needed interested parties to rectify the bullying problem.  I will make sure that this loop get closed and complete.  Kids today need as must love and support as possible.  Bullying behavior needs to stop.  These boys came to me, we had a good conversation about it.  They trust us adults to help.  I am gratified that we are giving this opportunity to help.

I remember when I was experiencing some of the similar name calling and bullying....I did not know who to turn to.  Most adults were distant, not as caring, and had a "just deal with it" attitude.  It seemed that there would be no recourse for the bullies back then.  That is why it is SO important to abhor behavior like this and correct it immediately.  These type of negative interactions can have lasting influence on an individual.  It needs to stop.

This next part is to show the differences in generational attitudes.....this is NOT to disparage the people involved.

I remember when I was at the point in my life 18 months ago....fragile, unsure, exhausted, shamed, unstable, and frightful.  I was speaking with my parents about all the things that have gone on in my life, being brutally honest.  The response I got from my father was, "We all get hurt and have been abused in our just learn to deal with it and get over it."  I know that this was not meant as hurtful or uncaring.....this is merely the method that my father had used to adapt to his situations.  I, on the other hand, will not keep quiet, will express my continually, and address each issue as needed.

I believe that because of the "deal with it" attitude that has been prevalent in society for decades has fostered the secretiveness of abuse, bullying, and hateful acts against individuals in less fortunate circumstances.  That is why we see in the news people coming forward against these type of acts.  Bullying and hate crimes take center stage because they are unacceptable acts.  People feel that they have a voice (or are getting one) and there won't be as much retaliation as before.  Generation Y is standing up for injustices that have been ignored.  My parents generation (generally) have not addressed these "under-ground" activities.

Back to my son and his friend.......the boys were asking for help and we as adults MUST help them.  This will ensure that they trust us and the "system" and will continue to reach out for help in future instances.  I am so grateful to be here for them and hope that they will continue to trust.  Wake up parents....listen and react in healthy ways to foster a safe place for all.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Free Agency

Number 24

Free Agency......something I have been thinking about for years.  I have spoken to a few people about my thoughts, people that would not jump down my throat the minute I started articulating my view on this "LDS related topic".  Here it goes......

According to LDS doctrine, practice and lore.......the individual is free to choice liberty and eternal life according to God's plan.....or to choose captivity and death which is Satan's plan.  Adam and Eve "falling out of God's presence" when in the garden, made it possible for each individual to have the ability to choose.  Now the LDS faith has defined (through scripture and prophets) those "liberty-like" choices that people are to make in order to return to God's presence.  The principles to choose are set for for all to adhere to.  If the individual does not adhere to those specific principles, there are consequences, worldly and/or heavenly.

Now the tough question.......Does the existence of the principles themselves create a structure that freedom of choice is not really an option?  Only following and adhering to said principles are acceptable.....which in essence takes away freedom of choice, freedom of thought, and only promotes compulsion.

I am not trying to paint the church's practice in a bad light.....I am truly trying to understand this doctrine, even as it pertains to someone outside the church.


Here is a talk with E. Christofferson about Moral Agency that  friend directed me to:

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Number 23

At some point we each need to take responsibility for what we are doing and where we find ourselves in life.  No one else placed us here......exactly at this place and time.....we each have made decisions that lead us to where we are.  The HARD part is to accept responsibility, acknowledge ones placement, and celebrate that space and time.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1)  I continue to struggle (although it is lessening) that the institution of church got me into the mess.  There was no way to come out in a closed institutional structure without excruciating pain and anguish for the individual.  I was not ready or willing at the time to come out in my teens or twenties.  I did the "normal" thing....married and had children.  Part of me accepting responsibility is acknowledging what I did have in those years.  Wonderful children, great associations with good people, and a good work ethic.  Those are the things that I have to continually focus on....sometimes I get down, blame, have inordinate amounts of guilt and transfer that responsibility to others.  I cannot and should not do that any more.  I am responsible for where I am, who I am with and those lives I affect (positive or negative).

My suggestion to those reading..........TAKE responsibility!

2) I have learned this next lesson in the workforce.  Do not allow the choices of others determine your attitude, mood and personal condition.  At times we are reliant on others to perform certain tasks.  We rely on their skills set, knowledge and expertise.  If any one of those characteristics are lacking, your expectations will not be met.  This problem may persist and continually be present in your life.....but what can YOU do to not allow this imperfect system to bring you down.  One very influential person in my life continues to say that "it is outside my ability to control, I need to let it go".  Part of that letting go is to not let the situation or persons take over your thoughts and feelings.

My suggestion to the reader........TAKE control of your reactions and interaction.

3)  I have learned the next lesson most recently.  There are certain people in your lives that are unpredictable, unreliable and unfair.  These people live blindly to number 1 & 2 above.....then they get to number 3  and its set of circumstances.  These people live to make others miserable.  They blame others, never taking responsibility for anything and demand sympathy in their dire situation.  These type of people allow others to make or break their mood cycle.  These type of people are not in control.  These people are self-righteous, thinking that they are right and justified in ever thing they do.....they are the ultimate victim.  Before I go any further and since I was in a previous relationship....Rachel is NOT one of these people.  There are others that have manifested themselves in my life that are truly caustic.  The unfortunate thing is that since they are blameless, the victim and self-righteous.....these people will automatically say "I am not one of these people"!

My suggestion to the reader........EXTRACT these type of people from your life.  They are there to only create unnecessary DRAMA!

I am trying to follow my own guidance.  I am letting go of the blame and taking responsibility and control of my situation.  I am removing caustic people from my life and not allowing them to have such a negative affect in my life.  I have a lot to celebrate.  I hope that I can keep on keeping on.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Number 22

I attended my gay dads group last night.  It was a wonderful experience of sharing, caring and support.  I really enjoy the men that I have grown close to and the stories we have shared.  I hope that I can make it again sometime again in the future.  With me moving it will become difficult to see these fine men again.

In this group we talk about guilt, shame, celebration, relationships, health, support, love, regret, loneliness, hurt, anger, sorrow, religion, divorce, marriage, happiness, and a myriad of other topics.  The rules are confidentiality and to be respectful of others.  There was a dozen men there last night and it was an exceptional meeting.

I am most impressed with the openness of everyone, their ability be non-judgmental, and their appreciation of differences.  I came into the group with tons of baggage.  What I found is that their were some men with similar traits and experiences that could empathize, love and encourage.  I am deeply grateful for each of these men and the positive influence they have had on my life and John's.

Some weeks there may be a new man at group to scope things out.....try to find a fit and help.  Sometimes they keep coming, sometimes we never see them again.  I am gratified to see those that return.  I enjoy seeing their journey and reaping from their own feelings and experiences.  I am also saddened by those that I never see again.  I think of the guilt, anger, rage, loneliness, thoughts of ending ones life that I experienced and think that these men might be similar.  It angers me that their situation, society and homophobia has given them a sense of hopelessness.  It is NOT a place I want to frequent ever again.....and wish that others did not have to trod that same path.

People need to have more compassion about them, so people that find themselves in difficult situations like mine are not driven to suicide.  Weekly I read of someone that has taken their life from being bullied, belittled and/or mocked.  It is a shame that death is an option considered and taken.  Instead....the solution is to fix these "unnatural" feelings.  To deny people honest feelings and repress, condone, abhor, close the feelings of the individual for "normal expectations".  The system is messed up.....I for one an tired of it and will continue to advocate for change!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Number 21

This will be a touchy subject all around.....hope I can express myself thoroughly enough to make my point.  There have been many times I have felt abandoned in my journey through life.  I remember once when I was left at the store when I was young....I can look back on that one and laugh.  My parents had 10 children......many competing is a wonder I was not left places more often!  LOL 

I felt abandoned when I was entered middle school.  It was change that I do not think I was ready for, mature enough to accept and so many classes.  I did not feel prepared for that experience, and felt like I was dropped of and expected to find my own way through things with NO guide.  It was an awkward time in my life, as with most children at that age.  I remember friendships realigning and more definitive boundaries being created.  I do not look back on these years fondly....bullying started, unfeeling teachers surrounded me, and my self concept began to deteriorate.

I felt abandoned my freshman and sophomore years of high shcool because the bullying took center stage.  I felt helpless, hopeless and infuriated.  Friends helped the mother was my compass.....I survived.  The bullying was personal, situational and institutional.  I have shared many of those instances in prior posts.  

Most recently I have felt that religion abandoned me.  I do not mean God.  I mean religion.  I had inklings of this abandonment in high school when the Bishop would pull me into his office and ask me about my "sins" that I was purported to have committed.  The last handful of years, I have tried to "pray the gay away".  By that I mean I was to read my scriptures faithfully, pray to God, be obedient, and serve faithfully and all my problems would be resolved.  I endured long enough (I think) find out that this formula did not work.  What I have found is that more and more people have put that formula to practice and it did not work for them either.  It makes me wonder how many other people are conducting the same experience, not finding resolution, but continue to endure?  Did religion abandon me.....or did I simply abandon it? 

I do hear people remark that I took the "easy" way out.  It is hard to hear that because the unfeeling person that makes a comment like that does not realize the amount of things I have given up (social network, friends, acquaintance, organizations, family).  I do feel abandoned but many because of my separation from Rachel, the church and family/friends.  Not sure there is much I can do to improve that.  I do know that my children and Rachel had feelings of abandonment.  Some choose to talk about it others do not. 

My hope is that future situations allow me and those around me to not feel so abandoned.  I am working through that in many ways and I am not sure if I will ever attain that.  Here is hoping......

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dance dance

Number 20 those who know me....know I LOVE to DANCE.  Don't know when it started, know I have always enjoyed it!  In fact the first time John and I went dancing.....he took one look at me and said, "now how do people not know you are gay?"  I took it as a compliment and we joke about it all the time.  In fact the quote on my facebook account as my favorite is, "has the soul of a dancer and the body of a guy who hoards old newspapers."  (some people at work had fun with that one at my expense!)

I think you get the picture that I enjoy dancing.  Recently, we have been invited to go dancing at two nice establishments.  Both serve their clientele well (I am certain they meet their niche's needs)  In both instances I would have felt more comfortable being there with a woman.....and not coupled with John.  Interesting observation and realization on many levels.

Here are a list of the levels:  heterosexual environment, newness of homosexual environment, social norm, my new norm, and the dating scene.

Having been an active participant (sometimes unwilling) in the majority heterosexual environment, I see that it is dominate, prevalent, and ALWAYS every situation.  The ability to show affection, how close you can sit to one another, the acceptance of men and women dancing together.....or even 2 women.....throw 2 men in there and that is just STRANGE!  When I say affection, just placing my hand on John's knee is life altering (in a negative way) for many onlookers.  Many guys if with another guy, sit across the table from each other.  If you sit next to or adjacent to each other, with no one else is just weird!  I see many an eyebrow raised with just these rather insignificant situations.  Heterosexual people do not have to worry about this and no one ever questions the motivation or intent.

If you read my previous thread on "Here is what I hear" gender should not matter in these situations.  People want to feel love, acceptance, joy, to be heard, fulfillment.....etc....  These type of interactions should be more acceptable on a broad scope.  Instead......what do I do......I SEEK for places that are more accepting of my life and love.  That is a shame.

Being introduced and acclimated to my new normal, I do seek for homogeneous places that allow for acceptance and non-judgment.  I have to admit that these places aren't always the most innocent of establishments.....but they are inclusive of who I am.  Sometimes when I am at these places, I want the heteros to go away.....they are intruding on my turf now.  I want them out of my area, since I am not too welcomed in their areas.  I know that I am treating them the way I feel I am treated and I need to get better at dismissing my prejudices.....because this "societal" relationship is a 2 way street.

At all establishments, whether gay or straight, are meat markets.  One establishment was for the 50 and older crowd.  Single men and women, having fun and attempting to hook up.  John and I felt VERY out of place.  There was a GREAT band playing that night, but there is just this vibe that expressing who I am in this environment would have not been a good thing.  We went with some adorable friends, they did have fun and they did understand our hesitancy.   Another establishments we went to recently (I had been to before in my acceptable heterosexual days) felt even stranger.  I felt like I could receive bodily harm from other males that were there. 

One example was 3 of us got up to dance (all males).  Mostly women were on the dance floor.  When the 3 of us got out there......I saw an immediate reaction from a group of people.  One guy came straight out and began dancing with the women right behind me, mimicking what I was doing and brushing up against my back.  I could sense his mockery and disdain for who we were.  His antics lasted maybe a minute, then he went back and giggled with his straight, entitled, fake friends.  I saw him on the dance floor one song later touching his dance partner VERY inappropriately.....I guess that is acceptable and me dancing with a couple of guys is not.  Very disheartening.

I am not saying that the gay, dancing, dating scene is any better.....but we have to be sequestered in exclusive establishments for our meat market gyrations to happen.  My observation of both type of places is that there are not too many healthy things going on, un-fulfilling conversations, lots of alcohol, everyone is looking for one thing....the hookup.  The hookup for both types of lifestyles are riddled with risk.....STD, HIV, rape, one is immune.  Again you can take gender out of this part of the relationship game also.....because it is not an indicator with meaning. 

I still love to dance.....will attempt to find places that I can go and not feel so excluded and fearful.  I do know that relationship are complex animals, with lots of potential.  Again, take the gender out of it.......what do you want in that intimate relationship that you have?  Do everything you can to improve about it, be honest, give and take.......and dance a little!  ;-)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Poignant message

So I did not think this would happen,  but I am proud of some BYU students!  Bravery, courage, and love is shared in this video:

I am gratified to know that BYU has policies helping LGBTQ students.  Something one of the interviewees stated was that she thought everyone attending BYU was homophobic......she found that untrue.  I am happy that these students have found a place within their larger universe.  Many of us have to do that regardless of the situations or characteristics that make us who we are. 

My children give me hope.......this message also truly gives me some HOPE!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Here is what I hear......

Number 19

I have been waiting to write this one until I felt it time.....its time!

Myth:  Being gay is ALL about sex!

I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard this statement, or some similar iteration of it.  The number of emotions I have felt when I heard this statement is all over the board.....anger, guilt, frustration, misunderstanding,  rage, disappointment, humiliation (just to name a few).  These emotions change based on the person stating this also.

Some of this mis-perceptions are self imposed by the gay the actions of some, by stereotypes, by self fulfilling roles.  Other mis-perceptions are based on judgment, unfeeling, unknowing individuals that think it is sinful and degrading to the individual.

Step back and take gender off of relationships for a few minutes.  What does a person look for in a relationship?  Love, understanding, compassion, to be listened to, intimacy (sexual and/or closeness), empathy, concern, to serve, to be served, gentleness, honesty, trust, validation, partner......the list is endless.  I think you get the point!  Ponder what things make the relationship you are in.  Are there things that you would add or take away from that current relationship?  Are there other things that you would put on the list?

Now add gender back into the mix.  EACH one of us are looking for those qualities in a personal, intimate relationship.  What role does gender play in that?  I was instructed, told, compelled to live a certain way due to social/religious norms.  I did have many of those qualities in that relationship.....but there were some gaping holes.  That is NOT to blame the individual that was in the relationship with me.  It was due to a certain dissonance that was there because of unspoken, un-allowable, unlawful desires.....but according to an external force.

I cannot help or control the way I feel.  I tried for too long and almost annihilated myself.

Now I can make a more complete, fulfilling decision to find more of those things that help a relationship flourish for me.  I know this is not for everyone.  Many may disagree with me.  I am in a relationship that more fits who I am, without continual self-destruction.  I have said this time and time again....I am finally whole in my center.  It is amazing to be here!  Being gay is about forming relationships that are healthy, encouraging, loving and supportive.

Ima pleazzer!

Number Umpteen???

Since my earliest recollections I have always tried to make people happy, attempt to be liked, and to please others beyond a healthy medium.  Maybe birth order has something to do with it....being in the middle brings out the need to please.....maybe sexual abuse influenced this.....maybe my internal conflict I have hidden for decades about being gay has contributed.

Those that have served with me, volunteered, or know me in any way.....know that I will get the job done, effectively and efficiently.  I do see myself as reliable when it comes to accomplishing a task, planning an event or completing work.  I am starting to realize that most of the internal motivation to complete things it my need to please people and to get their approval. 

Last night this dysfunctional characteristic reared its ugly head.  I feel SOOOO responsible for things that I need to make sure that any concern, question or need is met.  John was looking for something and he was making statements.....not to alert me, not to put me on notice, not to ask for anything solution from me....just making statements.  Fairly benign statements.....that I immediately internalized and was thinking of solution.  "What could I have do different to not bring up these type of statements?"  "What solution could I provide?"  "Where did I put that?"

These type of questions go through my mind instantaneously!  I have conditioned myself to this "unhealthy" reaction.  I have been this way forever.  I tried to please my parents.  I tried to please my friends.  I tried to please church leaders.  I tried to please those I had relations with?  I tried to please too many people with too many needs with too many competing interests.  Well I broke last night.....I settled only after I realized that I have been this way, and now need to learn how to control it.  It is affecting my health and relationships. 

My new mantra:

I can only be responsible for myself and those few that I have stewardship for.  Everyone else is on their own!  :) 

I say that, and know that I will reach a happy medium at some point.  It has been enlightening to finally realize this, and accept it.  Now I need to put it into action.  I am glad I have someone close that understands these nuances and is willing to help me become a better person.  Thank you John G!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stop it!

Over the weekend was the Mormon faithful General Conference.....feast of sorts.  One quote and talk that I listened to and am gratified was said over the pulpit was from Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  He said the following:

"When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm — please apply the following: Stop it!"

More truer words could not have been said.  This means so much to one who is no longer part of the mainstream of the LDS church.  There are people that are judgmental and hurtful (at church or anywhere in each of our experiences).  One experience I will share to show the meaning this has for me...not necessarily to dually condemn those around this person.  I do still attend church with my children, 2 or 3 times a month.  I do and did have some wonderful associations there with people I loved and respected.  The majority of those associations have gone away.  Those that have been the most meaningful are still there and I appreciate those that have reached out and let me know that they are still thinking of me, I see that more now than any times in the past 16 months.

When I do attend church there is one person in particular, who I know very well and served with this person in a specific capacity.  I see the disdain, judgment and condemnation from this person just passing them in the hall or when I go to my seat in the main sacrament meeting.  I thought once that I would send this person an anonymous note to tell them what I thought about their actions and my fit of anger.....I wrote the letter......but I never sent it.

Now to generalize (not to focus on religion, but the human condition).  These type of people are all over in my life.  Not just in one isolated space.  So how do I deal with these type of interactions in a healthy way.  Believe me, I would like to write multiple letters....not all of them are on religion or sexual preference.....these letters could be written for people at work, volunteer groups, family, friends, etc...

What would I want the message to say that I would write these people?

"When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm — please apply the following: Stop it!"

Plain and simple.  Great message.  I do not know what is going on in any given persons life that would give me pause to pass judgment......I am as guilty as the next person.  I need to improve and exemplify this type of behavior.  IT IS HARD TO DO!  Hopefully, I will get better......and those around me will see a difference.