Monday, July 14, 2014

Don't Let Them In, Don't Let Them See

Many times when I'm talking to people they ask me a common question "Are you out?"  The answer, I've found is 'kind of'.  My family knows about me, a small handful of friends know about me, anyone who reads this blog knows about me, but I still don't feel like I'm 'out'.  What drives that?  Honestly, I'm still terrified of what people would think about me at work or at church (sometimes they feel like one and the same).

I'm still scared to tell people about me.  I'm really worried about what could happen at work or church.  Would people treat me differently? Would I get persecuted?  Would I get rejected?  Would there be even less interaction between people?  Even just the attractions is the tip of the iceberg to what goes on.  All sorts of thoughts from innocent to sinful swirl through my head.  What if they knew?

Many times it makes think of some lyrics from Frozen's "Let It Go".  "Don't let them in. Don't let them see."  Many times I keep myself withdrawn from other people.  I'm afraid what would happen if I let them in close.  From the church community, I fear their judgement of some of the thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs I'm trying to grapple with and understand.  From the gay community, it's a different set of fears.  I'm afraid of their judgement of me choosing not to act on the sexual feelings I have toward men.  Many times I've referred to myself as a 'non practicing gay'.

To speak further on that frustration, physical touch deprivation is something that frequently bothers me.  It's a big challenge.  I could go to church and ask for it from other members of the church.  I fear they either wouldn't understand, or they wouldn't be willing.  Granted, the latter isn't nearly as bad as the former.  If I go to the gay community, it's a different set of challenges.

Me: "I like to cuddle."
Guy: "Cuddling leads to sex."
Me: "I don't want sex."
Guy: "Not interested."
Me: :(

Funny how the 'Cuddling = Sex' formula can show up anywhere.  It even shows up in my mind, no matter how much I hate it.  Personally I like how Cuddle Parties (http://www.cuddleparty.com/) approach the problem.  They set out clear boundaries to keep everyone safe.  The events are strictly non-sexual.  Somehow I wish I could find a sense of safety with other men in my life.

I keep wondering, hoping, wishing that one day I'll find some people that may understand that (and are available for it).  Sometimes all I want is a hug.  Sometimes it's just some strong arms to shelter me from the storms or a shoulder to rest my head on.

It's more than just the touch.  Touch without any kind of emotional connection is empty.  Often times, it's led me to situations and encounters that I've regretted later.  The emotional connection with another person is very difficult for me.  I know that I isolate.  I know I have trouble reaching out and connecting.  (Personally I wonder how my medication can influence this).  Maybe if I was able to develop a stable, emotional connection with another man, maybe the touch issues wouldn't be nearly so pressing.  (My therapist and I have talked about how I jump to physical contact to try to form a connection).

Now that I've written this, I'm scared to hit the publish button.  So many people know about me.  I've found that few people really talk to me about the issue.  It would be nice to have an open and honest discussion, but am I ready to confess how I feel towards other people?  Am I ready to openly share some of the wants that I've had?  The prospects are terrifying, but if you're reading this, then I've probably hit that Publish button anyways.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Strange Dreams Night of June 26, 2014

I had the strangest dream last night.  Apparently sea salt roasted chickpeas and melatonin have strange interactions.

I woke up in a bed in my parents house, my dad came in and gave me a tray full of things made out of watermelon.  I asked him what it was for, and he said he heard I wasn't feeling well.  It was really nice of him.  Then I put on a shirt, but was still wearing my pajama pants when we all decided to go out to lunch as a family with my sister's family (Aubrey).  One of my nephews was goofing off and fell backwards with his head right next to a brick fireplace.  I asked if he was ok, and he said he was, but he didn't move, and blood started to flow from his cheek.  I picked him up and held him, then rushed him to the hospital.

The doctor was taking a look at him, and I hung around for a few hours, while she talked about different therapy things.  I realized I wanted to go home, but couldn't go anywhere because I didn't have the keys to Synthia.  I wanted to call my dad, and I realized I didn't have my phone on me.  I asked the doctor and she said the hospital had appropriated it, and it wouldn't be available for two weeks.  I was pretty upset.  I kept talking and asking, but she wouldn't relent.  Finally I left to find her director, and went wandering through the hospital.  Apparently his office was above the library, so I started walking and it was a huge spiraling amphitheater thing that went up and up.  there were all these rooms were people were having piano recitals.  One guy said he wish he didn't have to go.   Finally I got up and asked some people who were heading down what was up there, and they said more rooms, so I decided to go back down.

I walked down and my family was waiting there, and I was wearing my work pants.  I reached into my back pocket and found a random phone that I realized I could swap out with my phone.  I couldn't leave, even though I had my keys, because I really needed my phone.  I went back to the doctor, who was suprised about the miraculous appearance of another phone, so I traded it out and got my phone back.

My phone had all this tape on it that I needed to scrape off, so I went to the hospital front room and was scraping red paint off of white pottery tea pots, when a lady approached me and told me not to be doing that.  So I walked out, and found a UPS store.  I asked if they had anything to clean off phone screens, and he took me into the back and started trying to sell me on buying a GPS.  He handed it to me, and I realized he was probably on commission sales for this, but then realized I should buy something I didn't need out of pity.

Monday, June 2, 2014

North Star Conference 2014 - Nuggets of Wisdom

North Star International had a conference over the weekend.  The first of its kind!  North Star International is an organization that promotes members of the LDS church who experience same gender attraction to keep and live the covenants and commitments of the gospel. (Learn more here).  Needless to say, it is a wonderful organization.

The conference was also wonderful.  I only attended the Saturday session (had to work on Friday).  I was able to learn some great information.  Only two things have really stuck in my head. Maybe because they were some of the more insightful things that I'd love to integrate into my life.

Feelings
One of the workshops talked about compulsive sexual behaviors (although arguably it could be applied to any compulsive behavior).  In talking about the cycle of compulsive behavior, the instructor talked about feelings.  Feelings are actually how the mind seeks to heal itself.  "Negative" feelings are things that we are often taught to suppress.  I remember thinking growing up "Well, boys don't cry" or "I don't want to get angry. Getting angry is bad!".  Really, anger and sadness are how my brain was trying to cope or heal through things.  Ignoring or suppressing feelings leads to disassociation (or apathy) which can lead to compulsive behavior.

Life lesson: I need to feel my feelings not ignore them (or bury them under video games).

Solitude and Community
I wish I had taken better notes during the last keynote speaker.  He was speaking about a pattern that the Savior showed in his life.  First, the Lord went into the mountains to pray. Second, He called his apostles.  Third, He reached out to minister to others.

The speaker went on to say how important alone time with God can be.  It is alone with God that we learn what our worth is.  We learn of His love for us.  He then spoke that an individual can then create community with other individuals who know what their worth is.  He said the purpose of a community was not to teach the individuals that they were beloved of God.

That hit me pretty profoundly.  I realized I was looking to other people, to community, to feel loved and wanted.  I've been looking for love in the wrong place!  It's God who can help me find that feeling of being loved.  Then, I can reach out and form meaningful friendships with other people around me.

I thought these were some interesting points.  I hope that they are able to help some of you out too.

It was also awesome to see my parents there.  They're awesome too. :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Have A Pet Black Dog

I watched a really interesting video the other day about depression.  Some of you readers may know that I experience depression.  I thought the video was really insightful into how it can feel and how it can influence me.  I hope that it helps all of you understand this better.




I haven't been posting much lately here on this personal blog.  I guess I haven't had much to say.  Life has been a blur.  Thanksgiving came and went.  Work has been pretty sporadic. Some weeks are calmish and others are really stressful.  For the most part, I'm just trying to hold it all together.

Take care.
-Andrew

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Perspective

It's been a long while since I've blogged on here.  A long time indeed.  I can admit that a large part of that was probably due to pride.  I've been afraid to share what has been really going on in my life.  I know that I've been wearing a mask, and not admitting to people, even my closest of friends, some of the deep struggles I have been going through.

In summary, I have been under a lot of stress.  My depression seems to be wanting to come back.  I've been struggling with loneliness.  I've been over indulging in playing video games.  I've gone to work tired and left exhausted.  I've felt annoyed by my co-workers and by working.  I've been struggling to stay on task.  On top of it all, I haven't been diligent in my scripture studies and my prayers.  I've tried reaching out to friends, but I kept thinking 'this just isn't helping'.

To make matters more complicated, I made a rather grave mistake last week.  I will not go into details here (it is something rather personal).  I can say that there may be far reaching consequences.  I spent a good deal of the weekend feeling numbness, regret, sadness.  Going to church and serving in my calling was difficult.  I did manage to stay most of the 3 hour block.  I left just after the sacrament had been passed.  I am really uncertain what all of the consequences for my actions will be.  I feel that I do have to face them head on.

Last night, after another soul wrenching feeling of despair, I realized that I needed to change some things in my life.  First off, I really need to reduce the amount of video games I'm playing, especially at work.  I also need to reduce my YouTube watching at work, and reduce the amount of foul language and other cruddy content I'm putting into my brain.  I need to seek out wholesome activities.  I want to stop feeling like all my free time is 'busy' with video games.  I want to be the sort of person who can drop a video game to go to a church meeting or to interact with a friend.  I want to drop the priority that they have taken in my life.  Second, I want to start putting God first.  I'm not entirely sure how it is going to work out.

Last, but not least, I want to try to stop stressing out so much.  I remember hearing once that 'Stress comes from arguing with reality'.  I know I've been doing a lot of stressing and hence, a lot of arguing with reality.  Thoughts like 'I should be perfect', 'I shouldn't have any doubts about the church', 'I should have a fervent, burning testimony', 'I should want to help out other people' have not been helping me.  Instead, they have been draining my energy and leaving me feeling hopeless, angry, frustrated, annoyed, or even numb.  I know the root of some of those ideas are positive.  There are many righteous desires in there!  I think the key word that I need to eliminate from my thoughts is 'should'.  Should indicates duty, obligation, or correctness.  Should steals away my agency.  When I say 'I should like the color green', I've mentally taken away my ability to not like the color.  I do not want to use 'shouldy' thinking anymore.

Instead, I want to have a fervent testimony.  I want to help out other people.  I want to place God at a top priority in my life.  I want to have meaningful, deep friendships with other men in my life (and possible women).  I want to fully live the gospel, the true gospel.  I want to let go of faulty beliefs I have around the gospel, the church, God, the Atonement, and many other things.  I still want to play video games.  I just want them not to be my defining feature anymore.

Like I said in a recent Facebook post, a D&D character partially helped me receive the inspiration to change my perspective on life.  The character is a cleric and he worships the 'Elder' or 'Father' god.  He is a firm believer in fate.  If someone dies, then they were meant to die.  If his healing manages to save them, they were meant to be saved.  In fact, on of his most common lines is 'it was meant to be'.  He is free from stressing over the past.  He is free to live in the present and to make choices as he sees fit.  Overall, he's one of my favorite characters to play.  Well, the fact that he can pretend to be a really big dog kind of makes him fun to role play.

That aside, I love you all.  I pray we can all continue on this journey called life, and can find the true joy and happiness that comes from doing what we know is good, right, and just.

My mission is to build a world of light, love, and truth.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Come Share In My Hobby - New YouTube channel!

Those of you who are new to the blog may not know of my passion for video games.  I've actually even enjoyed it to the point of watching other people play through the game and make commentary.  I decided to try out doing the same thing myself.  I'm still really knew to it.  I laugh at my own voice and jokes many time. I've really enjoyed doing it.

So, if any of you share in that passion, feel free to check me out on youtube!
http://www.youtube.com/user/Beutimus <- Click here! :)

Oh, and video games have been eating up most of my time, and friends.  I probably could due to put up a status update here sometime soon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Music that Speaks to Me: Jesus, Friend of Sinners

I'll just preface this, by saying that I really relate to the first verse of this song.

(You'll have to watch this one directly on YouTube)


I'll admit to a deep dark secret.  I'm a very judgmental person.  In some ways, I am idealist.  I have idea of how thing are supposed to be and how people are 'supposed' to act.  I find myself pointing the finger of judgment to the people around me.

That person should not have made that left turn!
That person ran a red light! (Traffic violations tend to be a pet peeve of mine)
That person took advantage of me!
The people around me don't befriend me!
That person just won't leave me alone!

Just some examples of the sort of things that go through my head.  I often find myself repenting in the car and feeling guilty for judging the people around me so harshly.  Perhaps that judgmental attitude keeps me from getting close to other people.  Instead of opening my arms to help, I'm pointing a finger at them and keep them at bay.

I've been trying to be aware of this.  Instead of thinking that a person is an idiot for running a red light, I try to say 'That action was idiotic."  I try to separate behaviors from the worth and goodness that people have in them.

I'm one to complain that people in the church aren't very Christlike, that they are judgmental, unfriendly, and distant.  I am a hypocrite.  I am the one that is mean, judgmental, unfriendly, distant, and cold to the people at Church.  If I want the church to be Christlike, loving, and friendly, then perhaps I should be the one to be loving, kind, and friendly.  Perhaps if I am that way, I can make a small change in the world.  And that small change would be me.

Feel free to leave comments, questions, confessions, etc, below.  Comments are moderated, but I read them all.