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!