Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dissonance Or Why Going To Church Is Hard 30Oct2011

Today was Stake Conference.  I found myself feeling like I didn't want to go to church.  I felt hesistation, anger, resistance inside of me.  Sometimes I feel that going to church doesn't help my problems.  Instead, I feel like it makes things more intense.

I entered the church, and saw a picture of the Savior when he was young, teaching in the temple.  Instead of feeling the warmth of the Spirit, instead I felt aloof, callous, hardened against it.  I felt anger and bitterness inside of me.  I felt anger that I felt so much bitterness instead of peace.

I got into the main meeting room and sat down in the back.  I was feeling many different negative emotions.  Some days at church are hard.  Today felt like one of the harder ones.  My head was full of ideas about acting out, how it would feel, or the desire to look at pornography.  Feeling quite disgusted with myself, I pulled out my phone and started to text a friend of mine.  Something to try to sort out what was going on.

Finally, the thoughts of acting out left, but I still wasn't feeling very peaceful.  The speaker was talking about how, as members of the church, we need to reach out to other members of the church.  We need to befriend them.  All I could think about is how lonely I feel, especially at church.  The times I have felt to reach out, I generally don't feel like I get much of a response.  With few exceptions, I judge that the other person isn't interested in really getting to know me.  When I'm not reaching out to try to make friends, I'm often feeling intimated or afraid of the other people around me.  I feel dissonant, out of sync with them and with the church in general.  I let the fear of "If you really knew me, you wouldn't love me" rule my mind and my heart.  The fear of rejection is one thing that gets in the way of me trying to connect with the members of the church.  The other is pain from perceived rejection.

As the person continued to speak, I continued to feel the pangs of loneliness, and a deep feeling grief.  It was strong enough, that I started to feel physical pain.  I felt that pain in my chest, and even felt it in my hands.  I looked around, and could see so many signs of love.  There were many families in attendance.  I watched them, and seeing them show their love for one another made me feel even sadder and more hurt.

Part of that pain comes from not feeling very connected with my family.  Growing up, I grew more and more withdrawn emotionally from my parents and to some extent, my siblings.  When I see a parent showing love for their child, taking interest in them, it reminds me of that hole I have inside of me.  I've tried working around the issues that I have with my parents, but oddly, I still feel disconnected from them whenever I'm with them.  I know they love me, but for whatever reason, I just can't make that emotional connection with them.

Anyways, I sat there, watching families show their love for each other.  I found myself watching the father's the most.  I realize that's because it was the connection with my dad that I've probably missed the most.  I saw a father picking up his two girls and sitting them on his lap.  I saw another father leaning down to listen to his little girl.  I saw that same father holder her in his lap.  I could see another father rubbing and scratching his sons back.  I saw another father chase down his little boy and pick him up.  I saw a husband rubbing his wife's shoulders.  All of these things were beuatiful, but they were also painful to watch.  Tears escaped my eyes many times.  I found myself hoping deep inside that someone who was listening to that talk would see me, notice my sadness, and come to befriend me.  After all, I just want to be loved and accepted.  All I seemed to feel was loneliness.  I wanted to go, run away, go sob in the bathroom by myself, go play a video game to take my mind off the pain, go numb myself with something else; I wanted to do anything but sit there in the pain and acknowledge it was there.

Finally, that talk was over.  The feelings of loneliness gradually faded and were replaced with emptiness.  Eventually, stake conference was over.  I helped put away changes and picked up programs.  I took time to talk to another man, smile at others.  The one man I talked to briefly asked me one of my 'dreaded questions': "How's your family doing?"  I said something like "I think they're alright, I haven't seen them in awhile."  He actually waved goodbye to me.  I don't know why that touched me so much.  It struck me as unusual when other men I knew from my ward smiled at me.  One even waved to me as I drove past him on my way home.

Inside, I feel a hope that maybe I can make some friends in the ward.  There is also the fear inside that some of what happened today was a "special" thing, and that it won't happen again.  Although, what I really want is for it to be a constant.  I want to be connected to my elder's quorum.  I want to feel like I have friends among the men in my ward.  I really just want to be loved and accepted.  After all, isn't that what every person craves?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Strange Dreams 28Oct-29Oct2011

I dreamed I was fighting a man.  He was big.  He was built like a body builder.  I could tell because he didn't have a shirt on. If he caught me, I was done for.  Still, I could fight him because I had a little guy that I could shoot that would shoot out white beams of light.  Those seemed to be able to hurt him, but not very much.  I was running around and shooting when I realized I could climb up on top of something so that he couldn't reach me.  I climbed up a metal light pole and was shooting him with light bolts from my hands when somehow I fell off.  I ran away and climbed up a pipe that was outside of a building.  A little child showed up, and somehow that made me fall down to the ground again.  At one point, we were throwing apples at each other.  I remember throwing angrily, but I couldn't seem to hit the guy.  When he threw them at me, he always seemed to hit.  Afterward, I helped clean up, and the apples were partially eaten.

Then I had a dream where I was part of a military unit.  We had to go into an insane asylum to help calm what was going on.  We stepped in, and found ourselves on a bridge that went across to a building that had two rows of windows on it.  We got inside one of the buildings.  I remember a body sudden flying up from below and plastering itself onto the ceiling, as if it had fallen onto the ground.  There was blood.  Then there were some of the inmates attacking us and we fended them off.  I remember the prison warden joined as at that point.

As an analysis, climbing up buildings and shooting from them, seems like the video game Infamous.  The gun that shot white beams is a weapon from Bayonetta.  The body builder guy and the insane asylum all seem like things from the haunted house last night.  They sure showed up pretty fast in my dreams.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Strangling Brothers - What is Fear? 28Oct2011

I just got back from a wonderful night out.  I went to North Star's chili cookoff, which was wonderful (I'll be putting up a "Resources" page explaining what North Star is soon).  Then I met up with an old high school friend to go to a haunted house called Strangling Brothers.  It was a haunted circus.  I love haunted houses, and I am glad I took the opportunity to go.  I wasn't able to go last year.  I miss going to one each year.  I love Halloween too.

I've been to many haunted houses with this friend.  This time, it was pretty different.  In the past, I've been utterly terrified, panicked, and very easy to startle.  All the screaming, loud noises, and people in my face would get to me.  Oddly, this time they didn't.  I can count on one hand the number of times I was startled, although there were two parts that highly unnerved me (so I don't spoil the haunted house, I won't share).  I found myself taking point most of the time, taking initiative, and pushing on even when other people seemed to pause.  Many times, I looked the actors straight in the eye.  I felt brave, and didn't let the fear get to me.

However, in some ways, I was giving in to fear.  Twice before we even got into the circus, my friend asked me where I was hanging out before I got there.  To tell him, I felt I would have to tell him about my same gender attraction first.  I didn't want to tell him the first time he asked because we were talking on the phone, and I wanted to tell him in person.  I didn't tell him the second time because too many people were around.  I had two other opportunities when no one was around to tell him, but he never brought it up.  I was too afraid to tell him.

I can make a whole list of excuses of why I didn't tell him.  I don't know him well.  I don't recall him sharing very many personal things with him.  Our friendship really isn't that deep.  We are guys that just like to hang out and do things together.  Honestly, I like our friendship and I like spending time with him.  I am afraid that telling him I have same gender attraction would change our relationship. I fear his judgements.  I fear that he wouldn't want to be my friend anymore.

Really, was I brave tonight, or was I a coward?  In some ways, I was both.

On another note, Strangling Brothers was a decent haunted house for $20.  It's located in Draper, UT on 138th south -ish.  They had some pretty clever tricks that I liked.  If you are asthmatic, or prone to seizures via flashing lights, I recommend not going.

Video Game Music that I Like - Riders of the Light from Bayonetta

Today's music comes from a video game that I've really enjoyed called Bayonetta.  The game really deserves it's own blog post, because I think it's that awesome.

Bayonetta is an action game created by Platinum Games.  The main character is Bayonetta.  Twenty years ago she awoke in a coffin in the bottom of a lake.  All she knows is that she has the power to summon demons and must slay angels in order to keep her demonic masters silent.  She also owns a gemstone that is one of the "Eyes of the World".  Her journey begins as she seeks out the other gem in the set.  Disclaimer: Bayonetta is rated M for Gore, Strong Language, Partial Nudity, and Sensuous Material.

Riders of the Light is a song that plays during one of the early cutscenes of the game, and is also player during many of the battles throughout the game.  Although it's technically 'fight music', the song sounds more like  dancing music to me.  Upbeat, fast paced, and full of beautiful piano parts.  I'm quite fond of good piano music.  In my opinion, good video game music will evoke emotion and mentally prepare me for whatever it is I'm to do in the game.  Great video game music also is entertaining.  This song has lifted my spirits, and made traffic much more enjoyable.  Although I've found while listening to this in the car, I'm a lot more prone to speeding.

Enjoy!  And as Bayonetta would say "I've got a fever, and the only cure is more dead angels!"

Music That Speaks To Me - In The Arms Of An Angel

Every so often, I find a song that I really like and that seems to speak about me and my life.  The song seems to capture a small piece of me and put it to music.  Today's song is just that.

Here is "Arms of the Angel" by Sarah McLacklan.

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance 
For the break that will make it ok
There's always some reason to feel not good enough 
And it's hard at the end of the day 
I need some distraction oh beautiful release 
Memories seep from my veins 
They may be empty and weightless and maybe 
I'll find some peace tonight 

In the arms of an Angel fly away from here 
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear 
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie 
You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn 
There's vultures and thieves at your back 
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies 
That you make up for all that you lack 

It don't make no difference, escaping one last time 
It's easier to believe 
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness 
That brings me to my knees 

In the arms of an Angel far away from here 
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear 
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie 
In the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here 

You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

This song almost never fails to bring tears to my eyes.  It resonates so well with my life and how I feel like things.  Most of the time, I find myself waiting for that 'second chance', that 'break' that will somehow make everything ok and good.  Sometimes that 'second chance' takes the form of a best friend that I've always wanted.  Sometimes it looks like being free from same gender attraction.  Sometimes it looks like a father figure taking time to hold me.

Distraction.  I live a good deal of my life distracted from my own emotions.  I find myself always having to "entertain" myself.  Sometimes it does make me feel good. Sometimes I even feel happy and content.  When it's over, feelings of fear, loneliness, and grief tend to come back.  When the 'usual' distractions of video games or YouTube don't work, I turn to more potent numbing agents like fantasy, masturbation, or even pornography.  In some ways, these distractions are a release for me.

Memories are not easy things for me to hold on to.  I have so many emotionally charged memories.  Some that are attached with anger, sadness, fear, rejection, or even memories of experiences that I interpreted as being sexual.  I've found it easier to suppress them, to let them seep away from me.  I have a hard time remembering specific things from my childhood.  It only comes with effort.

The second verse seems to be very applicable.  There are many times I've felt weary of living the gospel, of trying to follow the 'straight line'.  It feels like the world is watching me, waiting for me to slip up.  I feel like I have to keep building lies to keep myself safe from them all.  It's easier to keep slipping back into destructive habits.

Ultimately, it all brings me to my knees.  It brings me to pray.  Many times, I've knelt and prayed for help, for answers, for friends, for guidance, for whatever it was I thought I needed.  Many times, I've looked at other men, and wanted them to rescue me.  I wanted to be rescued from the 'endless' nature of my problems and struggles.  I've wanted so many times to be in the arms of an angel, to be held, to be comforted.

Last night, I went to a fireside.  A man came and set next to me that I hadn't seen in awhile.  I honestly value the man's friendship, but I judge he's a popular guy, so I don't contact him very often.  It was nice to sit next to him, and have him put his arm on the bench behind me.  I wanted, crazy, desired, was that he would put his arm around me.  I wanted him to hold me and to shelter me.  As I was leaving, I saw a second man that I also wanted to hold me.  I've noticed my fantasies as I lay down to sleep seem to have a pattern.  I imagine up something strong and masculine to come and shelter me, to hold me.

Many times, my prayers to be comforted have been answered.  I have felt many times like a divine presence has comforted me, hugged me.  Sometimes it's been with another man in a safe and appropriate location.  It's been incredibly wonderful to be held again.

Even though I tasted of the positive aspect of this, I feel fear and frustration.  Why as an adult man do I crave being held by a father figure?  Shouldn't I be past this?  I think the answer lies in not bonding sufficiently with dad while growing up.  Because I withdrew and detached so early from him, I didn't give him the chance to love and shelter me when it was appropriate.  Part of the answer also may lie in my 'love language'.  I typically feel most loved while being touched.  That definitely is a part of me that needs to be explored in a separate blog post to give it justice.

I pray that soon I'll be able to pull myself from the wreckage, or that an angel is on it's way to help pull me out.  Feels like it's been too long since I've trusted myself into the arms of an angel.

My Strange Dreams 27Oct-28Oct2011

So busy dreaming last night that I forgot to sleep. Now I have a nasty headache, but that could be whatever cold thing I have coming on too.

I had a dream that I was in a world made of blocks (basically Minecraft). I was with a group of people and for some reason they had left me all alone. I realize we were pretty short on food, so I went over to a farm area we had. I tilled some of the ground and planted what few seeds we did have. Then I realized that we needed water to make them grow, and that I didn't have a bucket of water on me. There was a really pretty tree near the farm too. As I went back to a place where we had some supplies stored, we were mobbed by bunch of Creepers (see Creeper). They all exploded and destroyed everything we had, and most of the ground.

Anyways, we all died. We came back to life, and then died again. Apparently because we died twice in a row we had to get our bodies remade or something like that. There was a medical facility we went to, and there was some kind of remaking process that involved laying down in a pod of sorts. I didn't want to do it, because I was sure they were going to stick me with all sorts of needles. Apparently, the process also involved being cold and the possibility of being shocked. I remember walked almost into the room where they did it. I saw there were three pods, but there were four of us. Someone from our group realized that I would be left out, so he came back to come with me. Then a fifth person showed up. I don't think anyone ended up going in the pods at all.

Then I was on a starship. For some reason, we had to get someone who didn't want to be regenerated. Captain Janeway wanted us to go get him. I remember that he looked something like a cross between a man I met last night and Odo. The captain at one point was doing something weird to his face. His skin has some weird patches of color on it. He got angry and I think pulled a weapon out. There was an open door between us and the captain and some guards. the door closed, then reopened, and the captain was gone. Then Odo went after her.

There was a brief dream where I was driving at night and it was really dark. After weaving in and out of some lanes of traffic and going really fast, I realized it was really dark because my headlights were off. I reached with my left hand, and turned them on.

There was a dream where I was in a swimming pool, getting ready to race some other people on the other side of the pool. My team had three other people on it. I was wearing a pretty crazy rainbow looking wig. There were also two girls, one of which had this crazy red hairstyle (see jeweled band hairstyle). I finally took off my wig and was getting ready to race.

Then I was playing a game. This time, I was going to play through as the little girl. After selecting her, I started running through a ruined street (honestly reminded me of Infamous). I ran underneath and enemy because I was so short, and then started to shoot him with a bow. In order to shoot them, I had to hold down the fire button to draw the bow back. Even when I hit them, it seemed like it didn't do very much damage at all, even if I hit them in the head! The enemies looked like Reapers.

Some pretty crazy dreams if you ask me. Infamous seems to have influenced at least of them. I've played Infamous lately. I've been watching people play Minecraft. I don't understand that random Star Trek things though, although I've watched it before. Dreams are strange beasts.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blindsided - 27Oct2011

As a disclaimer, this post will contain some pretty emotionally charged material. Please don't read this if you aren't in a relatively stable emotional state. If you find that the post bothers you in some way, talk to someone about it, journal about it, etc.

Personally, I am terrified to share something like this. It's something that obviously is very personal for me. I am afraid how people will think of me as I share this. At a worse case, I could have information like this exploited. I could be belittled, ridiculed, mocked, and avoided. On the other hand, I could be accepted. Maybe it will help people understand me a little bit better. Maybe it can give some insight for people on how same gender attraction works, at least how my flavor of it works.

I've always heard that it's a good thing for me to exercise. In the past, I've found exercise to be an unpleasant experience. It's not because I'm completely out of shape, but mostly because of the thoughts, memories, and feelings that come up with I'm exercising. These feelings seemed to be more unpleasant if I'm working out with other people, especially men, or if I'm in a gym, or if somehow a locker room experience is involved.

Let it be known that I am not a big fan of locker rooms for various reasons. Part of it is the fact that I don't have a very positive self body image. Part of it is the fact that locker rooms generally involved undressing in front of other men. Part of it is fear around becoming aroused in the locker room where all the other men can see. Part of it is fear around lusting after the other men there.

For the last few months, I've been able to work out about twice a week. I usually go down and run on the treadmill. I go down about an hour and a half before lunch. There tends to be less people in the gym at that time, so I don't struggle with the self-consciousness or tendency to lust so much. Today, I forgot to bring my glasses with me, and I'm wondering if that's a tender mercy.

As I walked into the locker room, I felt a stab of fear and excitement. I heard one of the showers running. Trying to retain my composure, I continued to a bench and started to undress. One part of me hoped that I could change and be out of there before the person finished. Another part really wondered what this person looked like.

I had just barely set my bag down when I heard the shower stop. Immediately I felt my emotions spike. I continued to change, trying to appear "normal", even though what was going inside of me seemed anything but normal to me. Well, perhaps it's a 'norm' for me, but I don't think it's something normal.

Finally, the man came around the corner. Thankfully, he had a towel around his waist. Although something else about him made my heart stop, and I immediately felt attracted to the man. After a brief glance, I continued to try to change and keep my mind off of what I had just seen. Thankfully, I was positioned where I couldn't see him without having to turn around. Although at least once I did glance at him again.

When I'm in a mindset like this, the shame, fear, and excitement are all overwhelming. I often have a hard time remembering what I was thinking about or what I've done. I remember I finished change, and left, looking into a mirror to take in the man for a brief moment before continuing out of the locker room to work out. As I worked out, I found the image of him returned to my mind a few times. I wish I could have gone back and taken a good, honest look at him, rather than a furtive glance at him. I definitely fear about what other men would think if I stopped and stared at them for more than a moment.

What was it about the man that I was attracted to? The man had a generous amount of body hair on his torso. Really, in and of itself, it doesn't seem like much. What matters is, I perceive that body hair, especially chest hair, is something that is masculine. It's an area that I feel a lack in. So, when I see a man with more chest/body hair than me, I almost immediately think that man is more masculine than me. Then I feel inferior. I feel like I can't relate to the person. An attraction to that perceived masculinity in the other man draws me too him. If not managed properly, those feelings can turn into fantasy about the person, or possibly even sexual fantasy.

Really, same gender attraction for me isn't so much something sexual. It's more about me feeling a lack of masculinity and feeling a lack of feeling loved/accepted/wanted around by other men. That for me feels like a large part of my same gender attraction.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If I'm Lucky, I'll Have Friends Who...

Shortly after getting out of a meeting, I was walking back to my desk alongside a co-worker of mine. He just barely came onto my team from another team. A group of co-workers from that team approached us and started to talk to my co-worker, inviting him to lunch. I felt really awkward. The man talking was someone that I knew as well and I judge that he and I have some kind of friendship. I knew many of the other guys from the group as well. After all, I'd played Ultimate with them a few times. At one point, I almost opened my mouth to ask where they were going. Maybe I did, I don't remember.

Finally, I decided to walk back to my desk to drop off my laptop. Then I went to the break room to see to my lunch. The break room was full of other people heating up there lunches, so I walked back to my desk. Both times, I walked past the same group. None of them said 'Hello' or 'Hi', but then again, neither did I. As I walked back to my desk, I thought to myself "I guess I wasn't lucky enough to be on a team where people go to lunch together."

I realize I do this a lot with my life. I rely on some kind of external influence, in this case 'luck' to develop friendships. If I was lucky, I'd be on the right team, or in the right place, or meet the right person. I would have lunch buddies if I was lucky. I would have gaming buddies if I was lucky. I would have people to do things with.

Really, it comes down to me making the opportunities. If I want friends, shouldn't I pursue it? Sure, sometimes an opportunity for friendship randomly plops itself down in my lap and says 'HI!'. Many times I've ignored those, especially if they require effort on my part. I just take a passive look when it comes to making friendships. Perhaps because I'm too focused on the fact that the other people didn't invite me. I guess I assume people don't want me around if they don't invite me.

Anyways, on the other hand, I do have friends. I do have people to do things with. Honestly, I feel like I want more. That makes me feel greedy and ungrateful. Although, being single, the only social life I have is friendships. Can I blame myself for wanting more? For wanting to fill my life with it?

My Strange Dreams 25Oct-26Oct2011

I had another series of strange dreams. I'll try to capture here what I can remember from them.

I had one dream where I was at a gym of sorts. Everyone at the gym was male though and a good majority of them had their shirts off. I remember walking around the gym, seeing people on treadmills. At one point, I had a tray with three glasses of ice water. I stuck one in a machine that produced filtered water. There were different settings for how filtered I could get it. The most filtered setting had a disclaimer that the process was really messy. I stuck in a full glass of water and pushed the button. More water poured into the glass, overflowing it. It left the bottom of the machine with a layer of water full of white sediment.

I then walked away from there, feeling frustrated resolve to stick in an empty glass next time. Then there was a problem in the gym. A group of guys had locked themselves up in a room. They had a microphone to talk to the guys in the room, so someone started to ask them questions. They answered strangely, always saying "We". They had somehow bonded their minds together, and there were twelve of them.

They finally let us into the room where they were sitting on these metal chairs with blue padding. Some of them went to go grab more chairs, some of which were blue and some of which were a light colored wood, for the newcomers. I went to go sit between two guys that I liked, but another man came up with a chair and basically said I couldn't sit there. Upset, I sat in the back row, a seat away from a man I didn't particularly like.

Then I was sitting right next to a couple from my old singles ward and I was naked, with only a white sheet to try to keep myself covered. I was very self conscious, but the couple seemed to be content with what they were doing: the girl sitting in the guy's lap and being romantic.

At one point during the dream, I had change into a round black thing. It had eyes, and apparently I was using it to travel. I had to travel across a very narrow, but deep canyon of sorts, so my idea was to let it fall to the bottom. Apparently it would break my leg, but I wouldn't need to deal with it until I turned back into my normal body.

When I was in my normal body, I had to ride around in a jeep to try to fend off some attackers that were raiding the place I was at. Somehow I was standing up, but riding around in a jeep, with a broken leg. That struck me as odd. I moved the broken leg, and it just felt sore.

I was then in some kind of strange facility. I remember jumping up on a table and looking down at a candle that was apparently some kind of breeder/producer. I heard a voice saying I needed to get it in line and that the tools to do it were in the garage. So I hopped off the table, went through a door in a dark and dingy room. There was a laptop there that was the portal to the garage. A small circle of purple appeared beneath my feet and I was teleported to the garage.

Except I was on a street, but it had walls of a room. A box appeared saying I had to rescue 100 people in a certain amount of time. A person from a group of people sitting on a couch pointed behind me to a 'person' I had to save that was on top of a TV. The person was a little waffle block person toy. I grabbed her, and stuck her in a clear box that I had. Then someone came to help me, and we managed to grab more people, and the tools, which included a clear plastic fork and a knife. I started to walk down the road.

Then I was in my bedroom with the same person that was helping me. I knew him. He was a friend of mine named Eric. Only now I was packing to go somewhere. He was very helpful, and it was annoying because he was being too helpful. He grabbed for me some jeans, but I didn't want those pants. I reached past him and grabbed a pair of my work pants to put in my bag. He made a comment about "Baby Blue" which apparently was a style that I was going for. Then I noticed he had removed everything from the top of one of my white dressers and had scrubbed it with something, leaving soap suds all over it. Then he had done the wall as well, which was painted white.

Another random dream snippet: I was in Brazil on my mission and the street number on my mailbox was wrong. I knew it was wrong because the post man had walked to the back part of the house where we lived to give us our mail previously. It was made of little plastic numbers I could slid in and out. I think the number it was supposed to be was 2798...or something like that. I was sliding the numbers in and out and the home owner came home. He said hello and I thought he was friendly. Then he came out a side door to read a newspaper.

Random snippet: There were two lions that had helped fend something off, and now where waiting to be picked up to be taken home. They waited on some white benches.

That was a lot of dreaming. I can see some influences of a game called 'Penumbra' for parts of the dream and 'Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker' for another part. I've been watching other people play through those games on YouTube. Funny they should show up. I could even sit a bit of 'Bayonetta' for one small part of the dream.

One piece, the part where I wanted to sit between two guys, is an actual experience I had. On Sunday, during Elder's Quorum, I thought we were going to split up into the two separate quorums. Instead, we were having a combined quorum. I moved up, and noticed a free space between two men. I have an attraction toward these two men. I was also thinking about a 'stigma' of a man sitting next to another man. Honestly, I've never heard someone tell me that it's bad for one man to sit right next to another man. I think it may be something I've just observed. On my way to sit between the two men, some men from the row behind them left, leaving a large number of spaces open. Not wanting to appear 'gay', I moved and sat behind the two men, instead of between them. By the time Elder's Quorum was over, one had left, and the other one had ended up teaching the lesson. Still, I was upset with myself that I didn't go and sit where I wanted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Names I've gone by, Part 1

Over the years I have gone by many different names.  I've used these names on role playing forums, in Dungeons and Dragons games, and even names to describe parts of myself.  Each of these names has a different feel, and seems to call to a different part of myself.  I find it interesting how I can find my personality in these names.  I find it interesting how I can label my

Dougal - I remember while young, I was looking for a name for a character in an online roleplaying game.  I wasn't very sure what to call it so I opened up a book of names and meanings.  Dougal means 'dark stranger' and I thought it was fitting for my character's name.  Even in my real life, I've felt like a 'stranger' to those around me.

Beutimus - While on one of my jobs, one of my co-workers turned to me and said 'Beutimus!'  I don't know why, but that word has stuck in my head ever since.  The name has no official meaning.  For me, it can signify a person who celebrates beautiful things including themselves.  Usually this takes on either a sinister or twisted aspect, as external beauty becomes more important than anything else.

Tumm - I've used this name while doing live role playing with my brothers while going up.  As I've been on my journey of recovery, I've found I use this name to describe a part of my personality. This name will get a special treatment in my second post of 'Names I've Gone By'.

Lohmi - My first World of Warcraft character was named Lohmi.  I got it by using a random name generator.  Lohmi was a tauren.  He was big and beefy.  However, he was kind to his friends, albeit a bit grumpy.

Elementalist - While I role played on a set of forums, I went under this name.  Elementalist is more of a classification of magic users than an actual person.  It's from a story idea I've had bouncing around in my head for a long while.

Mika - A more recent name that I've used for a Dungeons and Dragons character.  He was a cleric that believed that he could only be safe if he could manipulate the others around him to keep himself safe.  He lived in a constant paranoia that people would know what he was up to.  So, he pretends to be nice if he can get something out of the person, and backstabs them if they appear to be threat.  As much as I hate to admit it, I do act like Mika.  I seek to manipulate the people around me.  In my post of 'Eternal Frustration' I shared that I feel intimated by larger men.  I do my best to try to 'pacify' them so that they won't hurt me, or possibly so that they will love me and affirm me.

Alek - Another Dungeons and Dragons character that has part of my personality.  Alek was never accepted by his father, but was accepted by an evil king.  He became the king's assassin (it was actually quite humorous because Alek was a wizard).  When he arrived at the party, he was quiet and wary.  What little he did say about himself was carefully filtered.  He lied and pretended.  He put up a mask so that the others wouldn't know what he was up to.  He assassinated a person that was the romantic interest of another character, and pretty crucial to keeping the world in balance.  He fully expects than when he has 'righted' things, that he will be executed for the assassination.

Simon - I've used this name frequently for different Dungeons and Dragons characters.  Simon is typically a wizard.  He is generally somewhat powerful, but overall naive and innocent.  He tends to not notice the obvious things and lives in blissful ignorance.  That is, until things come crashing down.  That is when he becomes deeply hurt and withdrawn.  He's taken on many different versions over the years.  I post under the name of Simon because I first used this account to play a 'play by blog post' Dungeons and Dragons game.

There is a set of some, but definitely not all of the names I've gone by.  The next post will cover Tumm, what the name means to me.  In the last post of this series, I plan on revealing my real name, and how I feel about it.

Music That Speaks To My Grief - Who Knew?

This is my first "Music That Speaks" post. I'm not entirely sure of the format I want to pursue for this. I believe I'll share a link to a YouTube video of the music, if possible, as well as place a copy of the lyrics somewhere in the post.

Today's music is "Who Knew" by P!nk. I like this song. It speaks to the grief that is inside of me. It is one of the three songs that helped me grieve when our last cat, Taz, died. Honestly, I was quite attached to the little guy. He had pretty orange and white fur that smelled of maple syrup. He walked on three legs part of the time, and four at other times. He had a limp. We don't know exactly when he got it, but our theory is that is from a time that my dad threw him out the front door. We loved him, limp and all.

Here's the song:

And here are the lyrics:

You took my hand, you showed me how
You promised me you'd be around
Uh huh, that's right

I took your words and I believed
In everything you said to me
Yeah huh, that's right

If someone said three years from now
You'd be long gone
I'd stand up and punch them out
Cause they're all wrong

I know better
Cause you said forever
And ever, who knew?

Remember when we were such fools
And so convinced and just too cool
Oh no, no no

I wish I could touch you again
I wish I could still call you a friend
I'd give anything

When someone said count your blessings now
For they're long gone
I guess I just didn't know how
I was all wrong

But they knew better
Still you said forever and ever
Who knew? Yeah yeah

I'll keep you locked in my head
Until we meet again
Until we, until we meet again
And I won't forget you my friend
What happened?

If someone said three years from now
You'd be long gone
I'd stand up and punch them out
Cause they're all wrong

And that last kiss I'll cherish
Until we meet again
And time makes it harder
I wish I could remember

But I keep your memory
You visit me in my sleep
My darling, who knew?

My darling
My darling, who knew?
My darling I miss you
My darling, who knew?

Who knew?

I acknowledge the fact that the song is romantic. It speaks to my grief at missing someone. It speaks to the holes that people (or cats) leave behind when they leave. It helps me realize that is is OK to miss someone. It is OK for me to miss seeing Taz, and miss the way he felt/smelt/walked/etc. It's OK for me to miss and grieve over friendships that, in my judgement, 'didn't work out'.

The song applies also to my grief that I have around friends that I once knew. There are many men who have entered my life, and blessed me with their presence. Sometimes I was too afraid to be myself with them. Sometimes I was too afraid to share who I really was or how I felt. Sometimes I simply enjoyed being around them. Generally, I felt attracted to these men.

Then, for whatever reason, they left. Maybe it took months, maybe it was years, in one case, it was only a matter of hours before I felt like the person had left me. Sometimes it was for a girlfriend or marriage; sometimes he or I moved out of state; sometimes we just drifted apart.

The reason or situation ultimately doesn't matter. At one point, I was with them, and I felt fulfilled and happy. And then they left. In some cases, I felt like the person would never leave. Secretly, I hoped in my heart that Taz would never die, or that it would be the next year that he would die. Secretly, I hoped that my friendship with whomever it was would stay forever the same. If someone would have told me things would change, I probably would get angry. I may even want to punch them out.

Yet things change. Friendships fade. People move away. People move on to other things. Cats die. Who knew?

Music That Speaks To My Grief - My Immortal

This is the third and final song that helped me after my cat Taz died.  This is probably the first one I heard, but I felt like saving it for last.  It some ways, it's the most poignant of the songs I've shared about this.

Rock music and I have a very interesting relationship.  In junior high and high school, I was convinced that rock music was evil and 'of the devil', at least on some level.  However, at a high school assembly, a band composed of some of my fellow class mates played "Wake Me Up Inside" by Evanescence.  I fell in love with it instantly, even though I still felt like it was 'forbidden'.  Lately, my attitude has changed.  I can now evaulate each rock song individually rather than simply dismiss the whole genre.

That aside, Evanescence is probably one of my favorite rock bands.  I like a number of their songs.  This song, "My Immortal", I first heard shortly before my mission.  I also heard it quite a bit in the first area of my mission. I remember being drawn and captivated by it's melody, haunted by it in some ways.

And here it is:


I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase


I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me
I've been alone all along


The song still brings tears to my eyes.  It still brings back the grief.

The song speaks to me about how people 'hang around' even after they leave.  Just because someone or something has left my life, their memories continue to live on, immortal in so many ways.  With my cat, for many weeks after he was put down, I still was expecting to see him.  My hands still remember how it felt to pet him and scratch behind his ears.  I can still remember the times he, and his brother Sly, seemed to love me.  They could tell when I was having a bad day.  They seemed to care, and they always seemed open to receiving my affection.  To this day, I still miss Taz when I go to my parents.  I guess with Sly, his passing has been long enough that I've stopped expecting him to be there.  The place by the garbage can where their food and water dishes were seems empty.  It's odd to not see cat hair everywhere or get random whiffs of the little box.  Yet, the memories live on.

I miss my cats.  I miss many people.  Memories of them live on.  Sometimes the memories haunt me.  Sometimes they bring a smile to my face.  And many times it feels like I left a part of myself with those people.  I think of the people on my mission.  I think of friends from high school.  I think of mission companions.  I think of people from where I used to live.  I think of the people I know who have passed on through the veil of death.

Their memories linger on.  The pain is real.  There are memories that time doesn't erase.  But eventually, all wounds will heal.

Music That Speaks To My Isolation - Out There

I remember one Sunday morning a few weeks ago, a song from a Disney movie popped into my head.  Interestingly, part of the song went along very well with how I was thinking at the time.

The song is entitled "Out There" from the Hunchback of Notre Dame:

 The world is cruel
 The world is wicked
 It's I alone whom you can trust in this whole city
 I am your only friend
 I who keep you, teach you, feed you, dress you
 I who look upon you without fear
 How can I protect you, boy, unless you
 Always stay in here
 Away in here
 Remember what I taught you, Quasimodo
 You are deformed

 I am deformed

 And you are ugly

 And I am ugly

 And these are crimes
 For which the world
 Shows little pity
 You do not comprehend

 You are my one defender

 Out there they'll revile you
 As a monster

 I am a monster

 Out there they will hate
 And scorn and jeer

 Only a monster

 Why invite their calumny
 And consternation?
 Stay in here
 Be faithful to me

 I'm faithful

 Grateful to me

 I'm grateful

 Do as I say
 And stay In here

 I'll stay
 In here

 Safe behind these windows and these parapets of stone
 Gazing at the people down below me
 All my life I watch them as I hide up here alone
 Hungry for the histories they show me
 All my life I memorize their faces
 Knowing them as they will never know me
 All my life I wonder how it feels to pass a day
 Not above them
 But part of them
 And out there
 Living in the sun
 Give me one day out there
 All I ask is one
 To hold forever
 Out there
 Where they all live unaware
 What I'd give
 What I'd dare
 Just to live one day out there
 Out there among the millers and the weavers and their wives
 Through the roofs and gables I can see them
 Ev'ry day they shout and scold and go about their lives
 Heedless of the gift it is to be them
 If I was in their skin
 I'd treasure ev'ry instant
 Out there
 Strolling by the Seine
 Taste a morning out there
 Like ordinary men
 Who freely walk about there
 Just one day and then I swear
 I'll be content
 With my share
 Won't resent
 Won't despair
 Old and bent
 I won't care
 I'll have spent
 One day
 Out there

[From: There]

I relate to Quasimodo very well.  For a good portion of my life I've hidden behind 'parapets of stone'.  I walled off my heart and my mind from the people around me.  I built a fortress for myself.  I built it out of video games, masturbation, fantasy, and pornography.  I put on a mask of a 'nice guy'.  I hid my true feelings and thoughts from people in an effort to keep myself and others "safe".  I played mind games with other people, rather than letting them actually know my mind.

I listened to the voice inside me that said I was a monster for having feelings of attraction toward other men. I was a monster for wanting to act out sexually with other men.  I was deformed.  I was ugly.  The voice told me that people would hate me, that they would like me.  They would hurt me and reject me.  The only way to be safe was to continue to listen to the voice and to stay inside my fortress of isolation.

At the same time, I found myself longing to be 'out there', to be among the people.  I wanted to be loved and accepted.  I wanted to be known and understood.  I wanted to connect.  I found myself watching the friendships that men had with other men and feeling envious.  I would tell myself that they didn't understand what they had.  I would give anything to have what they had.

I have been on a journey seeking healing.  I've put myself 'out there' in so many different forms.  I've tried to make myself known.  I've noticed that if things get dangerous, my first tendency is to withdraw back into the fortress and seal the gates so that no one else can get in.  I find myself inside the fortress many times looking out there at all the people in the sun, happy, loved, and enjoying life.  I find myself outside as well, feeling loved and accepted.

I prefer being out in the sun.

My Strange Dreams 24Oct-25Oct2011

I had a number of odd dreams last night. I find my dreams to be an odd combination of things I'm worried or obsessed about with random things my brain decides to remember.

In one dream, I went and visited the doctor about back pain. After diagnosing me, he told me to come back later for treatment. I returned for the second visit. And one point, I remember that I removed my shirt. The doctor had to rub some kind of cream onto my back as part of my treatment. I remember there was a second man there as well. I felt the doctor put some pressure on my left shoulder, pushing from left to right along the muscle. At one point, I felt his stomach pushing up against my bare back. I liked that.

As an analysis to the dream, the whole stomach thing reminds me of the dentists office. I hate going to the dentist, but I really like my dentist. Sometimes when he's working on me, his stomach pushes up on my arm. I find it very comforting. Plus, I really like to be touched. The shoulder being touched reminds me of getting a massage almost. Although my left shoulder has a strange knot in it that never seems to come out. As for visiting the doctor, I've seen the doctor twice for some chest pain. It is something that has me worried because we haven't figured out what's causing it yet.

I had a second dream where I was on some kind of island, and then I was to go onto a submarine. I remember there being a number of black hoses, a set of metal bars that were a ladder into the submarine. The hoses had air in them or something. Inside the submarine, it was a large open space with a number of sets of odd platforms. The platforms looked like giant tennis rackets, for lack of a better description. They would twist and move depending on where people were standing on them. They had some stable ones set aside for people to play basketball on. There were a number of people. Apparently one of them, a girl, was supposed to be helping me understand what I was doing on the submarine. Not being a member of the military, I had no idea what was going on.

This dream is just strange. I'm not entirely sure where it all came from. The platforms remind me somewhat of video game platforms.

I had a third dream where I was out playing tag on a hill. Some of my nieces and nephews were there. The hill was very steep. I remember at one point climbing up really high so that I could rush down and tag someone. It was a night, and my shadow was large and cast all over the playing field. Later, the hill came up to a terrace and it was light. One of my nephews wanted to go inside, and I had to go with him. I got angry, and said I didn't want to at first. He started to cry. His mom told me he wanted to go inside and brush his hair. I finally agreed, and as I looked down to see the hair I would have to brush, his hair looked like the hair of the little boy of the family that I'm living with currently. As I walked back out of the house, I remember seeing my brother in law leaning against a garbage can.

Well, I've played tag many times with my nieces and nephews. The hair replacement thing is bizarre. My nephew's hair and the little boys hair isn't anything alike.

Dreams can be strange beasts. I find them oddly refreshing. It's something new and interesting that I've never thought or considered before. Sometimes, I find dreams to be vexing and troubling, particularly if they include me doing things that I normally wouldn't do in real life, or if they remind me of things I wish I could forget. They also disturb me if they have some kind of sexual component to them.

Have any of you had any strange dreams?

Monday, October 24, 2011

On Starting A Blog - What's at Risk

Terrified. It's the one word I would use to describe how I'm feeling at the moment. Yesterday morning, before I had a meeting with the bishop, I knelt down and prayed. I've been struggling with loneliness lately, something I've tried to let Heavenly Father know. I received inspiration that I should start a blog and write in my journal more.

I opened up the blogspot website, and opened up my profile to see what was on it. I didn't get any further due to fear. This morning, I opened up the tag at work and I was able to complete my profile...and basically publicly put it out there that I had feelings of same gender attraction. In other words, I'm attracted to men.

I'm terrified. I'm scared of sharing this information publicly, here on a website that any person could walk in and see. Why? Because I don't know how people will react. I'm terrified of being rejected. I feel like I'm setting of a nuke by posting this. I'll push the button, and watch the explosion and resulting fallout.

Maybe for a better analogy, I'm setting off a 'rainbow' bomb. I use the term rainbow, because every person is going to see something different in the bomb. White light is actually light composed of rays of light of many different colors. A rainbow is what happens when something allows those colors to be seen individually. I feel that truth and light are closely related. By sharing this truth about myself, I'm sharing some light on myself, allowing myself to be seen.

I realized recently that I feel lonely in groups, and that I don't feel connected to people that I spend time with. It is a longstanding problem. What causes it? I don't allow myself to be seen. I don't make myself known. I don't share the truth about myself, whether it's something as simple as how I'm feeling or some deeper issue that's going on.

What's at risk if I share this truth about myself? I could lose my job. I could be hated. I could be rejected. I could be subject to attacks and assault from every angle, including from the adversary. Yet, on the other hand: I could be known, loved, wanted, accepted, and finally I may feel like I belong to a group. I could belong to a group. That brings tears to my eyes.

I'm not going to say who I am just yet. If you read this post, and like it, please share it. Tweet it, share it on Facebook, show it to your friends. I feel like people don't know me, and this is the first step to being known. I may be the person next to you on the bus, or a person waiting in line with you. I could be a co-worker or your friend. If you think it's me, please be careful talking to me about starting a new blog. I'm already scared out of my wits by first posting this. I may be pretty defensive and guarded at first. Nothing personal, it's just how I've lived my life for so long.

Things I plan on sharing on this blog include, but are not limited to:
  • My own personal life experiences
  • Music that speaks to my feelings/life experiences
  • Video games and books that I like - my reactions to them, feelings about them
  • Random things that I like
If a post is potentially graphic, or intense, I'll do my best to label them as such. It's my hope that this blog will not be of detriment to anyone. I realize some things I share carry a heavy emotional charge for me, and may influence you, the reader, as well.