Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Have I Given Up?

While playing a game the other day, another player dealt me a pretty nasty blow, that left me in a rather crippled position.  Rather than stick it out to see if I could still somehow manage to scrape through the game, I opted to leave at that moment, mostly because I wasn't enjoying the game all that much (being behind in a game can make me irritable at times).  At the time, I thought of how manly I was at speaking my mind and cutting my losses.  Afterward, I felt very guilty for leaving the game the way I did (in a huff).  Somehow, it made me feel like how I approach life: if things get difficult, there's a good chance I'm going to simply give up on the thing, even if it's something good for me.  Friend gets married, I give up.  Too hard to continue interacting with them.  Friend moves away.  Give up.  Too hard.

I'm saying this, because I feel like I've 'given up' in a sense on my healing journey.  I'm exhausted.  I'm worn out.  I regularly engage in numbing and isolating behavior   I build emotional walls between me and the people I spend time with.  Two years ago and two months, I went to Journey Into Manhood.  I was regularly talking with people.  I had a good friendship with another man forming.  I was participating in a community, reaching out to other men.  Giving, growing, and learning.  I was connecting and getting my male to male needs met.  I was even starting to feel sparks of attraction toward a girl I've known since elementary school.

Fast forward a year.  I was barely even talking to this friend.  I had deeply distanced myself from him.  I was slipping into depression.  I had given up on our friendship because it had become very difficult and painful for me (I was overdependent on him).  Fast forward another year.  I came close to acting out with a good friend of mine.  I acted out with four other times with men.  I nearly gave up going to church multiple times.  My depression worsened and I started taking medication.  I grew very isolated.  I've become bitter.  My same gender attraction has become very strong.  I feel a sense of shame as I compulsively check out people to see if they are attractive.  I struggle daily with inappropriate thoughts that are highly distracting.  In short, I almost feel like I've given up.

On a surface level, I try to look confident, as un-needy as possible.  I try to appear aloof.  I often get snappy.  I'm nearly always tired.  Inside, I just want to cry, or act out, or have the nearest object of my lust hold me and help me feel loved.  Guilt and shame seem to be with me nearly every waking moment.  I struggle with feeling connected.

I feel like I'm stuck between two choices: continue to resist (and struggle with acting out), or simply give in.  Honestly, the latter is highly undesirable.  I know there is at least one more choice: open up.  Start to connect again and let the wounds heal.  Forgive, and let the poison seep out. feels very difficult to open up.  Two years ago, it was very natural, if scary for me.  Now, it is so terrifying I clam up at the thought of doing it.

On the bright side, I've also felt a stirring in my breast.  I've felt the Spirit working on me.  I've had moments where my selfishness abates and I feel genuine pain, empathy, and caring toward other people.

It means I haven't quite given up yet, despite how hard the journey is.  Still, I'm afraid of opening up and being vulnerable.  Almost mortally afraid.  I know it can hurt again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New LDS Church website

Just this last week, the LDS church released a new website called "Mormons and Gays".  Needless to say, I was quite ecstatic about it (and promptly started sharing it on various forms of social media).  I think it is a wonderful step forward by the church to reach out to everyone who may be influenced by the issue of same gender attraction.  It's a website for those who experience it, their friends, their families, and their ward members.  Overall, I think it teaches the lesson that all people need to be treated with love and kindness.

That aside, I haven't posted anything on here in about 2 months.  They've been kind of rough.  Last week, things have started to calm down somewhat.  I was able to move into new place, and I started attending a local singles ward.  I can tell that I'm trying to isolate and not get too involved there.  I got a new massage therapist, who has been excellent with helping me work through some personal issues.  I'm continuing to attend church.  Helps that one of my new roommates also goes to the same ward.

I encourage all of you to check out the new site!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Music That Speaks To Me - Stand in the Rain

The song from today is one that I relate to very well.  I've often found that when I'm with other people, especially friends, I feel alright.  When I leave, I find that I feel like I'm slowly falling apart.  And if I've learned anything in life, standing up to my trials often gets me through them faster than simply running from them.



She never slows down.
She doesn't know why but she knows that when she's all alone, feels like its all coming down
She won't turn around
The shadows are long and she fears if she cries that first tear, the tears will not stop raining down

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found
You stand in the rain

She won't make a sound
Alone in this fight with herself and the fears whispering if she stands she'll fall down
She wants to be found
The only way out is through everything she's running from wants to give up and lie down.

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found
You stand in the rain

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
Stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found
You stand in the rain

[Lyrics from]

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Music That Speaks To Loss - Winner Takes It All by Abba

I remember a pattern happening to me in college many times.  At the start of a semester, I would meet about five new room mates.  Sometimes I would hit it off with them, many times I would find myself enjoying time with them.  However, it seemed like with the ones I enjoyed being with the most, something always inevitably would happen.  They would find a girlfriend.  When that would happen, it would almost be like my new friend had died.  I would hardly see them, hardly be able to interact with them.  A friend gaining a girlfriend was almost always accompanied by a huge feeling of loss for me.  It was even worse if they got married and there was a similar feeling of loss when the semester ended and we all moved out.

One song kind of helps capture that feeling of loss, especially since it was a loss that essentially felt out of my control.  Sometimes it feels like friendships are subject to cosmic 'tosses of the dice'.

Enjoy "The Winner Takes It All" by Abba.


I don't wanna talk
About the things we've gone through
Though it's hurting me
Now it's history
I've played all my cards
And that's what you've done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser's standing small
Beside the victory
That's a destiny

I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I'd be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules

The gods may throw a dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear
The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It's simple and it's plain
Why should I complain.

But tell me does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name?
Somewhere deep inside
You must know I miss you
But what can I say
Rules must be obeyed

The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always stay in love
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

I don't wanna talk
If it makes you feel sad
And I understand
You've come to shake my hand
I apologize
If it makes you feel bad
Seeing me so tense
No self-confidence
But you see
The winner takes it all
The winner takes it all...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Official NorthStar announcement

I've been off the grid for a bit.  I don't have very much more new information to share.  I can say that I've discovered (or rediscovered) that a lot of my frustration toward life is the fact that many of my beliefs are in conflict with my feelings of attraction toward men.  I do think that many of these 'beliefs' I have are lies masquerading as religious teachings.

In a conversation with my therapist, I told him "I don't ever remember learning that having feelings of attraction toward men was bad."  That's when he responded with "Well, that's because it's church doctrine." It was at that point that I realized that the adversary had probably whispered that lie to me and I had believed it, and taken it for truth.  I'm very excited to see what could happen when I start to uproot that lie.

That aside, I would like to pass along an official announcement made by Northstar.  Northstar is a community dedicated to helping members of the LDS church to work through or managed feelings of same gender attraction without sacrificing gospel values. It's been a very valuable community for me to be a part of.

They've started a 'Voices of Hope' project to encourage those who are trying to live their faith and who also experience feelings of same gender attraction.  I think that it is a wonderful idea.  There are many other voices out there that call for people to leave their beliefs and their religion in order to 'embrace' their feelings and become 'happy'.  I hope that the Voices of Hope will help encourage people to find peace inside of the teachings of the gospel.

Here is the link.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Excited - Guild Wars 2!!

I realize I haven't posted in a long while.  Part of that is do the fact that I can't think of anything all that new or interesting to write about.  Another part is that I've been writing posts on two other blogs.  I participate in the Northern Lights blog and write once a week for the Mormon Geeks blog.  I highly recommend checking both of them out.

Something new with me is that I tried out hypnotherapy for the first time.  It's actually helped a great deal with my anxieties with life.

On the Mormon Geeks blog, I'm going to start writing up about my trip to GenCon 2012 about once a week.  I was really excited to go to GenCon, mostly because we would be finishing a play-by-email Dungeons and Dragons game that I've been playing in for over 3  years.  I felt a bit anxious about the trip, but everything went smoothly (despite my water bottle being taken away by the TSA people :'(  ).  Arguable the only unpleasant thing about the trip was all the people I found myself attracted to on the trip.

Today, I'm feeling really excited.  Guild Wars 2 is coming out next week!  I never really played the first Guild Wars until I participated in the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend and fell in love with the game.  Guild Wars took a little longer for me to fall in love with, but I've been playing it quite a bit in preparation for Guild Wars 2.  There are a number of unlockable items in Guild Wars 2 based on things done in Guild Wars.  So far, I've unlocked 10 of 30 of those items. (You can track my 'progress' here).

That aside, keep a lookout on Mormon Geeks on Tuesdays for my posts about my adventures at GenCon!

Also, if you are a Guild Wars 2 player, I'm going to be playing on the Henge of Denravi server.  See you all later!

Edited: Actually going to be playing on the Gate of Madness server.  Someone else I know might be on that one.

Edited again: I'm actually on the Yak's Bend server.  Turns out a community of LDS gamers is on there (

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hey Could You...

As a brief personal update, things have been going alright for me.  I participated in a very enjoyable beta test for the game Guild Wars 2, and I've been enjoying playing Diablo III.  I've also had some fun playing the XBox 360 version of Minecraft (you can see some of my musings on the game here).  I've been finding that I'm still experience some anger over some things that happened a few months ago.  I feel frustrated when people ask me about dating or when family ask me about girls I know.  I still have feelings of being misunderstood.  I have been experiencing some loneliness, but it's not nearly as intense as it has been in the past.  I had an excellent birthday party with parents and friends.  We played a lot of Magic.  It was a blast.  And oddly, the song from this post keeps running through my head.

Also, I've been become more keenly aware of how often I find myself "checking out" the men around me.  I feel an odd mixture of disgust and fear about it.  Sometimes I'm able to tell myself "Hey, this is a co-worker, you shouldn't be looking at them like that!".  Other times I feel ashamed about it, and I'm afraid that the person will know what I'm doing.  Part of the reason is that I somehow want to connect with the other man.  I want to feel his equal, or I want his affection/attention/love.  I try to tell myself that "I am a man too".  I've found that the idea that I am "less than" a man has crept back into my thoughts and it definitely is influencing my behavior.

So, I don't think I've touched on this topic before, but I have a deep fear of being asked to do things.  I recently received a new calling to teach in my Elder's Quorum on the second Sunday's.  I was terrified to accept.  When I did it, the experience was very enjoyable.  Many times I've been asked to speak in church, and I've always been terrified.  Although I shake like crazy when I do it, most of the talks come out alright.  I've been asked to participate in a number of other blogs, and I always feel that fear of 'Will I do a good enough job?' or 'Will people like me?'.   Yesterday, a member of the bishopric called me up and asked me to speak this Sunday in church.  Immediately, my mind raced about how unworthy I was and my body broke out into a cold sweat.  After a few moments of brain lock, my mind finally started working and I said yes.  I've been dreading the speaking assignment ever since (it hasn't even been 24 hours!).  I guess I suffer from performance anxiety.  I feel like I have to do an excellent job at what I do.  Or I just don't like that many people watching me at once.

Oh well, I'll survive.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Music That Speaks To Me - Better Than A Hallelujah by Amy Grant

I was driving in this morning, and this song came to play on the radio.  Lately, I've been struggling a lot with my faith.  I've adopted a somewhat apathetic approach toward the church, partially because I've felt misunderstood in something.  I had made a risk, a misguided attempt to make things 'work' that fell outside of the lines of the gospel.  Many times when I've shared it, I felt like I didn't get a chance to fully explain what had been going on or why I did what  I did.

That aside, I've felt a lot of anger, rebelliousness, and bitterness.  I'm surprised that I still go to church each week sometimes.  I've actually felt a lot less stress about life and my attractions in general.  I don't know if that's related to my general sense of apathy toward the church.  On the other hand, I've felt a better sense of connection toward my ward.  I don't feel as much shame being around the other elder's in the quorum.  I'm really excited about a new calling that I have to teach in the Elder's Quorum.

This morning, I also had a strange dream.  I was at some kind of part or gathering.  A man was speaking.  I remember I found him somewhat attractive and that he was a straight (opposite gender attraction) person.  I remember him stating that he didn't mind touching and holding men.  I remember feeling very drawn to that.  Mostly because it was something that I've felt cravings for in the past.  Some kind of safe, nonsexual connection with another man.  In the dream, I never mustered up the courage to go ask the man if he would be willing to hold me.

This song is about those prayers that come from the bitter, broken, or hurt places of people's lives and hearts.  I think it's a beautiful song, reminding me that Heavenly Father loves to hear about my misery as well as my joy.  He wants to hear about my heartache and what makes my heart whole.  In short, He wants to hear everything I have to say to Him, because He loves me.


God loves a lullaby 
In a mother's tears in the dead of night 
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes. 
God loves the drunkard's cry, 
The soldiers plea not to let him die 
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes. 

We pour out our miseries 
God just hears a melody 
Beautiful the mess we are 
The honest cries of breaking hearts 
Are better than a Hallelujah. 

The woman holding on for life, 
The dying man giving up the fight 
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes 
Tears of shame for what's been done, 
The silence when the words won't come 
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes. 

We pour out our miseries 
God just hears a melody 
Beautiful the mess we are 
The honest cries of breaking hearts 
Are better than a Hallelujah.

Better than a church bell ringing, 
Better than a choir singing out, singing out.

We pour out our miseries 
God just hears a melody 
Beautiful the mess we are 
The honest cries of breaking hearts 
Are better than a Hallelujah.

We pour out our miseries 
God just hears a melody 
Beautiful the mess we are 
The honest cries of breaking hearts 
Are better than a Hallelujah.

Better than a Hallelujah sometimes
Better than a Hallelujah
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

Friday, June 1, 2012

If You Only Knew

Just as a disclaimer, this post is more referring to my thoughts.  It isn't directed toward any one particular person.  In fact, it's more directed toward many different people.  Mostly, it's me just venting things that come on my mind that I feel like giving a voice.


If you only knew what went on inside my head.  What if you knew that I was attracted to you?  What if you knew that my eyes tended to wander to you?  What if you knew that I liked how you look?  What would you do?  Would you shun me? Reject me? Be afraid and awkward around me?  How I wish at times that I could just touch you and not feel uncomfortable about it, to reach out and connect and not accuse myself of acting on lust.  You may never know how good it is to see you smile at me.  You may never know how I felt that time you randomly came up and rubbed my shoulder, or patted me on the back.  You may never know how enamored I became with you, or how secretly obsessed I became with you.  If you did know, would you still act the same around me?  What if you knew I wanted to hug you?  Or that I enjoyed the feel of your arms around me?

If you only knew, how I felt with you around.  How afraid I was because of the feelings I had for you.  Or how little I cared for what you were saying, or even for you.  How afraid I feel that you would found out how little I really cared for you.  Or how sad I was that we couldn't connect.  Or sometimes the wild fantasies I have with you in them.  Or how many times I wondered what you looked like without a shirt on.  Or how hesitant I am to spend time with you because of how attracted I feel for you.  Or how many times I questioned if I was trying to be my friend because I liked you or because I "liked" you.

If you only knew how I felt the last time I saw you.  The shock at seeing you, the grief, the fear, the rage.  How I watched you to avoid you.  How I felt the piercing anger of your glare.  How distraught I felt afterward.  How much seeing you remind me of my past and how manipulative I've been in the past and my fear that I continue to live and breathe the same lies that have cloaked from so early in my life.

If you only knew how misunderstood I felt, or the pain I've felt.  Or how many times I've let my unrealistic expectations get dashed.  Or how many times I haven't cared.  Or how many times I've cried over you, or over me wanting to connect with you.  Or how many times I've felt like shaking my fist at the heavens only to find the finger of blame to be pointing at me.

I don't know if I could ever explain in words how much it means when you contact me or talk to me.  The little inside jokes.  The ability to say and act how I feel is right.  Understanding when I feel down.  If you only knew how much more I wish I could spend time with you or talk to you.

If you only knew.


Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Music That I Like - Alive by Natalie Grant

It's been awhile since I've posted on here.  Having a second blog to post on (Mormon Geeks) has been sapping some of my writing creativity.  I'm going to share another song that I like.  Interestingly enough, I also heard this song first on K-LOVE, probably one of my favorite music radio stations.  The song for today's post is called 'Alive'.  The song comes from an album where the artist was portraying scenes from scriptures from the character's perspective.  This song is from the perspective of Mary Magdalene, when she first sees the risen Savior.  The song has a lot of power and energy to it.  It helps capture the feeling of joy and triumph that  knowledge of the resurrection brings as well as the miracle of the atonement.



Who but You
Could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies
And dream of me?
What kind of Love
Is writing my story until the end
With Mercy's pen?
Only You
What kind of king
Would choose to wear a crown that bleeds and scars
To win my heart?
What kind of Love
Tells me I'm the reason He can't stay
Inside the grave?
You. Is it You?
Standing here before my eyes
Every part of my heart cries

Alive! Alive!
Look what Mercy's overcome
Death has lost and Love has won
Alive! Alive! Hallelujah, Risen Lord
The only One I fall before
I am His because He is alive.

Who could speak
And send the demons back from where they came
With just one Name?
What other heart
Would let itself be broken every time until He healed mine?
You. Only You
Could turn my darkness into dawn
Running right into Your arms


Emmanuel, the promised King
The baby who made angels sing
Son of Man who walked with us
Healing, breathing in our dust
The author of all history
The answer to all mysteries
The Lamb of God who rolled away
The stone in front of every grave

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy's overcome
Death has lost and Love has won
Alive! I am His because He is alive.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Music That I Like - Blessings by Laura Story

I haven't posted in awhile.  My depression seems to have flared up and it's hard to feel anything.  I've been able to focus more and work the last few days.  Yesterday, I felt myself being mired in bitterness and in resentment.  Resentment toward God and toward me having same gender attraction.  Resentment that my society considers any kind of emotionally intimated relationship between men to be sexual.  The list could go on and on.  I feel a lack of male connection in my life.  I've definitely been isolating, mostly out of habit.  My therapist gave me an 'assignment' to take initiative to do something with a friend at least once a week.  I'm going to see how that goes.

Anyways, the song from today really speaks to me.  Many times, I've found myself 'crying in anger' at God and the world around me, and felt consumed by the hurt and bitterness that I have.  This song somehow touches me, and lets me know that God will find a way to use all my experiences to draw me to Him in love.  Somehow, this song can bypass the bitterness and the depression, and let me feel the longing I have for a connection with God.



We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can't satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?
[Taken from:]

Monday, April 16, 2012

Music That Speaks To My Faith - Praise You In This Storm

Just this week, I had a meeting with my bishop where I had my temple recommend temporarily taken away from me.  After leaving his office, I was an emotional wreck. I was overcome with sadness, frustration, anger, and numbness.  After breathing and driving around, I felt myself come back down to earth, still feeling hurt and like an injustice had been done.  Later that evening, I drove to a friends house.  As I was nearing his house, I heard the song "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns come on the radio.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.


I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away


I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

[Chorus x2]
[Taken from

This song is beautiful.  I feel like I'm caught in the middle of a storm right now.  Even then, God is on my side.  No matter where I go, or what I do, He continues to be by my side and fight for my soul's salvation.  I had the thought that even if I spend my whole life trying to conform and live up to the church's standards, I can still end up in the celestial kingdom.  It's Heavenly Father who decides where I am able to go, not any one mortal.

This song brings me a lot of comfort.  Even if the storm is of my own making or simply the troubles of life, Heavenly Father is still with me, still loves me, and still advocates the purest of causes for me.  Heavenly Father is the one who gives and takes away.  I feel like He gave me the temple recommend.  Perhaps it was His time to take it away.  I feel like He's given me many great friends, and I feel like He's taken them away.  If I lift my hands to praise Him, and express my gratitude for His blessings, I believe I can find more peace and less bitterness in life.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Glimpse Into The Madness 6Apr2012

Recently, I started using a website called 'Moodscope' that helps to track a persons mood each day. Today, I got the lowest score since I've started using it (15%).  Ironically, the site suggested that 'It could be useful to talk it all through with someone close'.  Oddly, I don't feel like there's anyone close.  I've pushed everyone away.  My defensive detachment seems to be set into a sense of overdrive.  I've been feeling a lot of confusion, despair, sadness, grief, fear bordering on paranoia.  I've been struggling with thoughts of acting out, browsing through peoples pictures, even feeling urges to walk by places to see if I can find any shirtless guys to stare out.  In short, I think that I'm a sort of death spiral.

In the core of the death spiral is a fear of vulnerability.  I know that is the root of the problem.  I'm afraid to open up to the people that I once felt close to.  I keep thinking that going to an in person support group really isn't changing anything.  I keep thinking that online support groups are useless.  I keep thinking that spending time with people in person, one on one, is largely a waste of time.  All because I'm afraid to open up.  I even think that putting out this blog post is a huge waste of time.

In person, I've grown tired of feeling verbally dumped on by other people.  I've grown tired of feeling like I have to tell other people to back off.  I've grown tired of hiding behind a mask of humor and hilarity when I'd really prefer just curling up in a ball and crying.  I've grown tired of lying about how I really feel.  I've grown so tired of seeing other people as objects and not people, and feeling the same way about myself.

With support groups, I've definitely become very passive when it comes to reaching out.  In a sense, I've grown so tired of trying to make friends there in the past that I really don't care anymore.  I spend all the time waiting for someone to come to me rather than seeking out friendship.  In the past, I've felt like I haven't been able to establish the sort of friendship I want.  Either the other person seems cool, distant, and intellectual, or something happens that doesn't make me feel safe.  Sometimes I do open up to the other person, and I think that the other person isn't willing to do the same.  It's honestly been driving me mad.

With the online support groups, it either feels like a place for humor or debate.  I hardly feel safe sharing things personal any more.  When I have put up what was basically a cry for help, I feel life I've been ignored or given unwanted advice.  Some people have responded with empathy, but it doesn't ever seem to amount to anything.  I'm too afraid to continue to be open.

In relation to the blog, I think that no one ever reads it.  Sure, I see stat counters go up, every so often I have someone talk to me in person about it.  Every so often, I see a comment on it.  It makes me start to wonder, what is it that I'm looking for?  Why am I not happy with how things are?

The truth is, I've been hurting pretty badly.  I've been feeling the need for connection to the people around me, yet I've sabotaged all my attempts to really connect to people.  Yesterday, I was driving home along my usual route.  There is a turn in the freeway.  I glanced out straight and saw all the open space and wondered how wonderful it would feel to fly away from it all.  It was then that I realized how easy it would be to simply turn my car into the barrier and try to end my life.

This is a cry for help.  I feel pessimistic about it.  Even if it is responded to, will I accept the response or will I continue to deflect those people who do try to be my friend until I am ultimately alone?  I'm pretty sure I'm crazy.  And this post is definitely proof of it.  I've been praying, and I definitely feel like I could use more.

P.S. (added at 1:36 PM):
I am feeling a great deal different now.  I will still keep up this post as an authentic and honest post of the negative thinking trap I was in.  I have so many people who love me, admire me, and appreciate me.  I am loved.

I want you to know that you are loved as well!  There is healing and there is hope.  Reach out and reach up and there will be hands there waiting anxiously to grasp yours.

I love you all.  Thanks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Insight 28Mar2012

It's been a pretty interest past week for me.  I've been gaining a lot of interesting insights into me and life in general.  Some of them were shared in the 'Worth of Tools' post I made last week.  Here's a list of some more that I've gotten.

In talking with my sister:

Repentance is more than changing behavior.  Repentance is changing how I think.  How I think is really the sum of who I am.  It's what really matters at the end of the day.  How I look is temporary, but how I think about how I look has much more significance and importance.

In talking with a man from the ward:

Labels and stigma only divide.  If we are to 'mourn with those who mourn', we need to be united.

In talking with my therapist:

Friendships are not based off of the two friends using each other.  It's based off of the two people sharing what they like with each other.  It's based off of two people reaching out to support and help each other.

My therapist and I talked about how common interests often help draw friends together.  I tried to compare two different people I knew.  One of them, I enjoy spending time with.  The other, I don't like spending time with.  I have things in common with both of them.  The difference is that one friend seems to give and share.  The other seems to take and drain.  Probably explains why one friendship still seems viable and I need space from the other person.

Isolation is something that has hurt my ability to make friends.  If I'm not sharing or being open to other people, how am I to make friends?

We talked about my Elder's Quorum president a bit.  I stated that I had written a letter to him, talking about how I had same gender attraction.  My therapist suggested that I would need to talk to him in person, and that it would be a form of conflict.  I said that it was more me taking a risk and being vulnerable.  He then smiled and stated that the conflict was with myself, rather than with the Elder's Quorum president.  That's when I remarked back, half joking, but half truthfully that I was tired all the time because I was always in conflict with myself.

One of the most powerful insights I got from the therapist was that I was trying to derive a sense of self worth from being touched  rather than having the touch affirm or validate my value.  As I talked with another friend, I realized that I craved touch and become addicted in a sense to it because I must have a sense of self worth.  If I don't feel of worth without being touched, I'm going to be constantly pursuing touch.  On the other hand, if my worth is independent of that, then I can simply enjoy receiving touch, without it determining if I'm of worth or not.

It may be a bit jumbled, but those are some insights I've gotten into myself and life.  I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Worth of Tools

This is not an easy post for me to write.  What I'm going to write about myself has me feeling very exposed and vulnerable, even before I write it.  I plan on sharing something that is very personal; something that perhaps hits right at the core of the beliefs that I have about myself, other people, and Heavenly Father.

I was having a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago and he referred to himself as being a 'tool'.  My first impulse was to deny the fact that he was a 'tool', and then I realized that I really didn't know what the word meant.  I decided to do an internet search that gave me some enlightenment.  Based on Urban Dictionary, a 'tool' is a person who can't think or make decisions for themselves, a person who is used by other people (knowingly or not), a person who relies on the judgement and approval of others, a person that is wanted solely for what they can do (rather than being liked), etc.  After another discussion with another friend, the idea really solidified in my head.

I came to two very scary realizations: I have a tendency to use other people, and the tendency to let other people use me.  Even with those realizations, I had no idea why I engaged in that kind of thinking or behavior (most of the 'using' was in my head and didn't go much further).  

Yesterday, I had another insight that hit my like stray asteroid: my sense of self worth is tied to what I can do.  I can remember countless times being among groups of people and feeling useless because we weren't 'doing' anything.  I was simply sitting there, possibly talking.  In other situations, I've felt like I've showed up, done some kind of work/chore, and then felt like I should leave because my value in the situation was gone because I didn't have anything further to do.  On the flip side, I've felt guilty in some friendships because the other person seems to be 'doing' so much and contributing so much, and I don't feel like I'm giving anything back.  Sometimes I feel like I interact with people simply for what they can do to me.  It honestly makes me feel sick inside.

What is the worth of a tool?  A tool is useful so long as it can do something useful.  If a tool becomes broken, then it is discarded and another is procured to take its place.  There isn't any use to keeping around a broken tool, unless it can be fixed.

This post seems to be in stark contrast with another recent post of mine where I spoke about the worth of a soul (Paradoxes).  It's honestly makes me feel saddened, angry, and sick that I've been thinking like this.  I've been thinking like this for years so it will be something for me to keep an eye on.  

I remember hearing a statement like the following: "We are commanded to love people and use objects.  Problems occur when that gets reversed and we love objects and use people".  I honestly feel like I am very guilty of doing the latter over the former.  I wonder, how different would life be if I had a more accurate view of my worth?  What if I thought my worth could never change?  I would probably take more risks.  I would stand up for myself and say 'no' to people that would want to use me.  I would also be more loving and giving to other people.  I would see other people as people.  I would see that other people have the same great worth that I do.

Right now, I would like to adopt some better views and thoughts about myself, and I know they will spread to other people given enough time.  I want to give myself some more positive 'self-talk':
  • I am of great worth
  • I am worthy of love and connection
  • My worth is constant and unchangeable
I honestly feel that those things are true.  It's when I forget their truth that my tendency to 'use and be used' starts to come across.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A New Perspective - 18Mar2012

I've had a really interesting change of perspectives lately.  I've been experiencing a lot of feelings of numbness lately.  It something that comes and goes and thankfully has been spending more time going than coming the last week.  Two things have been on my mind a lot.  One of them is friendship and the other is plans that I have for my life.

As for friendship, I've found myself over the last few weeks (arguably months) worrying over the fact that I didn't have any closer friends.  I've been thinking back to all the people I've met at college, at previous work places, at places like Journey Into Manhood and Evergreen, and wondering why I hardly ever hear from any of those people. 

I have a tendency when I think about this to first start to feel angry toward the other people.  I start to blame them for no sort of friendship forming.  Then I start to shift all the blame to myself.  I start to think that I didn't try hard enough, or that something is wrong with me.  I start to think that I was either too uninteresting or that I scared the person off.  Lately, I got a huge piece of insight into this.  I realize that one reason I was struggling with having any feelings of a close friendship is because I've been too absorbed in my own problems, faults, and struggles.  I've been very emotionally needy and draining, in my judgement.  I judge that I've been scaring away, pushing away, or simply ignoring potential friends and possibly alienating myself from existing friends.  I sometimes wonder if being too needy and demanding on past people has led to friendships either not forming, or causing other friendships to fall apart when I got disappointed with the other people.  Ultimately, I've decided that I need to take a different approach.  I need to focus more on being my own friend.  I need to get to know myself, do things with myself, and learn to enjoy my own company.  I have a feeling that will have a positive effect on my friendships with other people.

The other thing that has been bothering me is the fact that I don't have any 'big plans' for my own life.  I see other people who are ambitious in their careers, who have plans to buy houses, get married, go on trips to other places.  I sometimes wonder if there's something wrong with me to not have plans like that.  My plans typically are short term and it's usually invitations to do things with other people or things that just 'need to be done'.  I think that somehow over grown up, I've lost to ability to dream, to imagine, to have hopes about the future.  I feel like I've spent a lot of time being adrift, going along with the flow of life, and not working toward any kind of future goal.  I honestly feel apathetic about plans for the future.  I don't seem to care what will happen to me with my career.  I just live from one day to the next, without any expectations or hopes for the future.

I had an impression in church today that was very helpful to me.  Someone in Elder's Quorum was sharing how one of the General Authorities had taken some time to embrace and comfort him.  I was struck by the love that the General Authority had shown for the man.  It reminded me of the fact that God gives everyone callings to grow.  He's given to some people to lead the entire church and to others to do other things in His church.  The fact is that the calling I have is one that will help me grow.  It encourages me to interact with the other men in the ward.  It calls me to step up and be bold.  I got the impression that my purpose and goal in life should be to get back to live with Heavenly Father, and to be like Him.  My primary goal in life is not to have a great career, to visit a certain place, or to have so many friends.  My primary goal is to live like Jesus Christ, to grow in love toward to my fellow man, and to love myself as Heavenly Father loves me.  That is a purpose and goal that I feel passionately about.

So, maybe I don't have big plans for the future, maybe I don't feel like I have friends that I could call 'BFFs'.  I definitely do feel I need to have a more serious and loving relationship with myself and with my Heavenly Father.  I can see how that would extend to my relationships with everyone around me.  I feel happy to have a sense of hope and joy about the future and an increased feeling of peace in the present.  I feel more ready to face the world with all of its joys and trials.  I feel grateful to have a new perspective on life.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Paradoxes - More Random Things Bouncing In My Head 6Mar2012

I've had a number of things on my mind.  Some of them are paradoxes.  Some may be called paradoxes.  A lot of them relate to humankind, my brothers and sisters.  I figured I would share a few of them here.

The Everything/Nothing paradox

In Elder's Quorum this week, the topic of the discusson was Elder Uchtdorf's talk from last general conference entitled 'You Matter To Him' (click on the name to read it, I highly recommend it!).

In the talk Elder Uchtdorf states that man is nothing, and that man is everything.  It's something that I've pondered and thought about.

Man is nothing

Compared to God, man is nothing.  If I think about it, my comprehension of things is nothing compared to God's.  My physical strength can only move very small objects, at least in comparison to the rest of the environment around me.  I can't create planets, set up solar systems, and plan galaxies.  I'm one person in a sea of over seven billion people (and growing).  Even our planet is a small object in a larger solar system.  Our star is one light in a sea of countless other lights.  Simply put, I'm a small speck when it comes to the whole universe.

Man is everything

On another hand, all of God's effort is directly for the well being of man.  The creation of the universe, the dance of the planets, photosynthesis, the earth and everything on it.  God's entire focus is on us.  D&C 18:10 states: "Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God".  I find that intensely amazing.  I'm am nothing, yet my worth is great in God's eyes.

Elder Uchtdorf goes on to speak about the dangers of pride and how Satan strives to mislead us by appealing to the extremes of the paradox.  Sometimes, he tempts us ignore the fact that we are nothing.  We become swollen and prideful.  Sometimes, he tempts us to ignore the fact that we are everything.  We begin to feel powerless and insignificant. We feel forgotten by our Heavenly Father.  We feel like He doesn't care. I can see that my path relies on embracing both sides of the paradox.  Feeling the humility that comes from being nothing, yet feeling the love and the power that comes from being everything.  It can be a tricky scale to balance.

The Worth of Souls

Going back again to the scripture I shared earlier.  "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God".  When I think of it now, it makes me think of another scripture. D&C 88:15 states "The spirit and the body are the soul of man".  I am a being made up of two parts: a body and a spirit.  Together, they are a soul, and they are of great worth in the sight of God.  It's led me to a number of thoughts.

I've disparaged and hated my body for many years.  I've believed that my body was something bad and foul, something to be demonized and hated.  I realize now that my body is a gift of God.  It is something that I need to treat with respect.  I need to take care of it and meet it's needs.  It is a valuable part of me.  I also have a spirit, which is also equally valuable.  I need to take care of it's needs as well.  Often times, it's a tricky balance between satisfying both of their needs, as well as learning what is a 'want' rather than a 'need'. Neglecting either my body or my soul leads me down paths that are not healthy.

I have a degree in computer science and I sometimes use computer concepts to try to understand things better.  Most modern computer programs have an interface.  The interface lets us, as humans, interact with the computer.  The interface lets us send messages to the computer and receive information back.  I've lately thought that I have three interfaces.  One: my body.  My body lets me interface with the mortal world and interact with the objects there. Two: my spirit, which allows me to interact with the diving.  Three: an interface between my body and my spirit.  The two are able to communicate and interact with each other.  It's often a very subtle interaction.  What influences one of them tends to influence the other.  If I'm not getting enough rest, it's difficult for me to feel inspiration.  When I read my scriptures, my body tends to feel calmer.

Other random thoughts

I had a very interesting and insightful discussion with a friend of mine last night.  We talked a lot about love, sin, Utah culture, etc.  I had recently had a very positive and uplifting experience that helped me feel very loved.  I realized that I was trying to mentally discredit and sabotage the experience I had.  As I called my friend up, he was able to hand me some thoughts that I found were very helpful.  I started to tell myself 'I deserve to feel loved. I am loved.  I need to be loved.'  I realized that the love that I seek is very much like the love of my Heavenly Father.  A love that sees my potential, my worth, where I am, and doesn't seek to try to abuse or use me.  I realize many times in my life I've just wanted to scream out 'I just want to be loved!'  I think a good many of the world's problems could be solved if people actually would feel a Christlike love for each other.

As our discussion continued, I realized that I need to feel God's love for me.  If I'm not feeling it, I'm more vulnerable to being tempted to do something to try to fill that void in my life.  Sin tends to cover up my real needs.  It pretends to fill the void.  Yet, it can't fill my need for love the same way that God's love can.

As our discussion continued, my friend expressed that he felt that Utah LDS culture could be very judgmental.  I honestly have felt the same way at times.  The worst culprit in that has been me.  I've been very judgmental and unloving toward myself for years.  I feel like I've looked at God and the gospel, and only seen one half of it.  I've only been seeing the justice side.  The side that speaks of punishment and guilt.  Many times I find myself ignoring the other half of the gospel, the mercy side.  The side that speaks of love, forgiveness, and redemption.  I believe that Heavenly Father is a perfect balance of justice and mercy.  How He makes it work is beyond my comprehension most of the time.  When I realize also that Heavenly Father acts out of love, some of His acts that seem to lay on the justice side of things, also speak of the mercy that He has.  It's a very interesting point of view.

Personal Note

To give a personal update, I have been feeling better.  By feeling better, I mean I'm actually feeling emotions again.  I've felt fear, anger, joy, sadness, excitement, nervousness, and all sorts of other emotions.  I'm grateful that they have returned.  I honestly think it is healthier for me to feel, acknowledge, and honor these feelings.  I still don't have many things figured out.  I still have a lot of questions.  I still feel there is hurt to work through.  I just feel like I'm moving forward once more.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Glimpse Into The Madness 27Feb2012

It's 11:30.  Normally, I'd be sound asleep by now.  Ironically, I had all the electronics and I was pleasantly reading a book and texting a friend of mine.  Oddly, our conversation stirred up some very deep, painful issues of mine.  To help me sleep, I'm going to be blogging about it here.

For the past eight months, I feel like I've been slipping slowly into a kind of madness or into a state of numbness where I don't feel anything.  I've found myself in a frenzy, moving from one activity to the other, like I was trying to run away from something.  Other times, I found me trying to bury myself in video games, or books to read, or endless Facebook updates, trying to ignore or numb away something I'd been feeling.  Sometimes I've turned to more potent numbing agents, like masturbation.  All of this to try to avoid feeling one thing.


Working backward from right now, where I do feel the pain and the sadness.  I can see that my actions lately have made me feel like I'm slippy closer and closer toward acting out sexually with another man.  I can see that I've been putting myself into increasingly more compromising situations.  The cycle is very slow, generally every few months.  I feel like I've been getting very close to a breaking point of sorts.

The root cause? Last year I was in a very close friendship.  I shared a lot with this other man.  I struggled with having romantic feelings on and off.  I started to become very overdependent on him for getting my emotional needs met.  To make a long, painful story short, the friendship eventually fell apart and I had to distance myself from him.

Since then, I don't think I've ever fully recovered from it.  I've withdrawn and isolated my heart to being hurt further.  I've taken steps to numb myself from the pain, which only seems to make the pain feel even worse.  I've noticed that it's been difficult to feel like I have and friends, even friends that are close.  I've felt like there is no one that I can trust.  I don't even feel like I can trust myself, or my own motives.  I feel like I've been playing more and more with fire, and that eventually I'm going to get burned by it, unless I can find another solution.

Pain has been a reoccurring companion for me in my life.  I remember crying myself to sleep at nights when I was younger because I didn't feel like anyone liked me and that I didn't have any friends.  The feeling has continued with me as I've grown older.  I realize that my perceptions are horrifically tainted and twisted by the beliefs I have about myself: that I am unlovable, and not worth the notice of others.  Sadly, I've turned this belief against others.  Many times, a friendship has taken root in my heart, only to later be blasted by my anger and by my inability to love the other person.  I've often felt like my heart was a lonely, desolate place where no one else was.  Many times, it's been like Tumm has rampaged and destroyed everything, only to ultimately curl up in a ball in the center of the blast radius and go completely numb.  I honestly feel like the cycle of destruction and attempted rebirth has gone on far too long in my life.  It would be nice for a friendship to grow, become strong, and stay alive in my heart.  Sometimes I think my heart just isn't fertile enough for it.  I've always thought that friendships were hard to form.  Now I'm beginning to think I may be the difficult person to be a friend with.

The pain is often frustrating for me.  I have tried to pray many times for it to be removed.  I've even tried to surrender it.  I feel like I need to give up on both.  Neither has made the pain stop.  I find myself praying increasingly more in order to have the strength to bear the pain I've been given to bear.

At the root of the madness are number of competing and fighting ideas and desires.  On one hand, there is a part of me that so desperately wants to be loved.  On another, there is a part that wants to be free from pain and suffering and that doesn't want to hurt any more.  The part that desires freedom from pain says that in order to have love, I will have to open up and risk being hurt.  The same part decides to keep me guarded and isolate from others.  The other part cries out so desperately to feel loved that it often comes out in ways I can't control.  Sometimes that part of me starts to listen to the lie that the only way I will be loved is if I am loved sexually by another.

I can see but one path that may lead me back to sanity.  I have many safe places to embrace vulnerability and let my pain be shown.  Perhaps there, I can finally step into my pain more fully, and allow myself to feel truly loved again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Music That Speaks To My Resolve - Give A Reason

I've recently finished watching an anime series called Slayers (I watched the original, Try, Next, Revolution, and Revolution-R, basically everything on Hulu).  Each of the episodes has an opening and closing song.  I thoroughly enjoyed the series.  The characters seemed have a life of their own.  Each one kept on fighting (sometimes with some encouragement by their friends) despite the odds or the tragedies that happened to them.  Overall, it was a powerful story on the triumph that can come when someone keeps fighting.

Today's song comes from the opening of the Slayers NEXT series.  The title is 'Give a Reason'.  Alas, it's in Japanese, but I'll shared a link to it here:

I'd love to give the lyrics, but alas, they are in Japanese.  I'll share part of a translation here:
Things are moving so fast
The moments ticking by.
I'm running through this city
To me, a savanna.
Like it's struggling
Trying to break free
I wanna test all this power.

I know that "The Answer"
Is out there someplace.
The answer that everyone looks for
From the day they're born.
When all looks lost and there's no escape
I turn to my dreams!

I'm not afraid of getting hurt
But I'm not strong, either.
It's just that I can't stand
Just doing nothing anymore.

Here we go, go!
I'll just run on
And let nobody stop me know.
I wanna find the me in the future
And give her a reason for life!
(Translation was taken from the close captioning for the series on

I love this song.  It has a lot of energy and is very enthusiastic.  It reminds me of a recent realization about myself that I've had: that I'm resilient and much more durable than I used to think I was.  I've been through a lot, and I've yet to lay down and completely stop fighting and struggling.  Even when I fall apart, I somehow find the strength to keep going through.

I had a really discussion with a friend about the fact that I've come out publicly on this blog.  I realize that it was really risky situation.  When I made the decision, I realized that I was tired of hiding behind masks, and that I was tired of doing nothing.  I wasn't so much afraid of being hurt further, as I was of continuing to live in pain and shame.  I decided that I was going to stand up and fight, even if it meant possibly drawing more challenges and grief into my life.  As the song lyrics state, I just couldn't stand by and do nothing anymore.  On a related note, I gave my friend a piece of advice.  He's been struggling and I said that he could take some advice by how video game characters react to struggles.  They take time to feel their emotions, work through things, talk about them, and then they keep on fighting.  They always keep struggling.

On a related note, sometimes the struggle I have is to let go and let Heavenly Father step in to help with my life.  Sometimes the struggle is to stand up for myself, even if it's something I haven't done in the past.  Sometimes the struggle is to step into situations that are risky and unfamiliar.  Sometimes it means battling my own thoughts to have thoughts that are elevated and uplifting.

On a personal note, things have been difficult lately.  The procedure that I was worried about was far more pleasant than I imagined.  I'm a bit sore from that.  Outside of that, I've been fighting off the tail end of a cold.  It also feels like I've been challenged in spiritual ways as well.  But like I said before, I'm going to keep on fighting.

On a Slayers related note, my favorite character from the series is Xellos.  This could be major spoilers.  Technically, he should be a villain but often helps the heroes for his own reasons.  He is very powerful, but likes to act via manipulation.  He is very knowledgeable but he doesn't always share everything he knows with the heroes.  One of his iconic lines is 'That's a secret'.  In the later series, the characters start to say it for him.  Hilarious!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Worries - 20Feb2012

Worry is quite the interesting beast.  He's been paying me visit very often lately.  There's been a number of things that I've been worried about.  It feels like I have a huge long list of things that have been on my mind lately.

1) I'm worried that I'm in some sort of deep numbness.  I've been actually received some healthy touch lately, and I noticed it hasn't felt quite the same way.  It's almost like I'm walled off against it.  I know I may have some unprocessed trauma around it.  It isn't something I'm willing to post up here in public.  Part of this worry is that I know touch is a very important thing for me.  I still feel like I want it, yet it doesn't seem to help when I do get it.

2) Related to item 1, I noticed that my emotions have been very muted lately, especially ones related to bonding and connection with other people: feeling loved, happiness, peace.  I have felt some strong feelings of happiness, peace, and anger.  Sadness seems to be oddly absent.  I think the last time few times I remember feeling strong emotions was at the therapist and when I was at the temple.  This could possibly be a by-product of being sick.  Or it could just be a pattern of me detaching from myself.

3) The big worry in my sights right now is a medical test that I am having this week.  I can't remember if I posted about the chest pains I've had while working out, or sometimes even while resting.  I performed a heart stress test, and my heart is fine.  The doctor said it was probably heartburn, so I've been taking a medication for that.  Still, the pain has persisted, along with other strange things.  I can feel food get 'stuck' in my esophagus. Sometimes my throat will seize up, or go into painful spasms.  So, I'm going to get an EGD.

An EGD, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy, is basically where they stick a camera down the person's thraot.  I've never had one before, but I've had plenty of horrifying fantasies about it since I first heard of it.  I was feeling very nervous and terrified when I first heard about it.  Oddly, it's isn't so bad since I learned they will put me under some form of anesthesia.  The big worry about it now is paying for it.  I don't have money problems frequently, but when I do, it usually causes me to panic.  Oddly, I feel very detached from the feeling of panic, but I still find myself trying to calculate how much the procedure will cost and how I'm going to pay for it.

4) On top of all of this, I keep finding myself engaged in what I call 'deviant' behavior.  It can be anything from fantasizing about a man, obsessing over them, finding myself looking for triggering pictures, avoiding people that I feel attracted to, or trying to hide myself from the world.  It's basically a set of unhealthy behaviors that lead me to not feeling connected with the people around me.   This deviant behavior is paired with an obsession over friendship and not feeling like I'm close to anyone.

When I take an honest look, I think all of these things I'm worried about are connected.  The fear and worry over the procedure could be shorting out my feelings.  That makes me feel like I'm not close to anyone, and leads me to seek that out.  Because my feelings aren't working properly, I don't feel like I'm connected and I'm driven to the unhealthy behaviors to try to feel something.  Sadly, I'm not quite sure how to break out of the cycle.  Thankfully, I have a visit with my therapist tomorrow.  Hopefully he can help me sort out parts of it.

I would also appreciate your prayers for the procedure this Wednesday.  I'm going to need all the help and assurance I can get.  Thank you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Woman In Black - Forgiveness

I just barely got back from watching "The Woman In Black".  I really don't plan on reviewing movies in this blog post, but I want to share some brief plot points.  I'll be hiding the next paragraph in a nice 'anti-spoiler' tag.  If you don't mind being spoiled, or have seen the movie, you can highlight the text by using your mouse.  Hitting Ctrl-A also works.  If this is a foreign language, see your nearest computer geek for assistance.

The main plot point for "The Woman In Black" is about a woman, Jannette.  Jannette is deemed to be mentally unstable, and her son is taken away from her by her sister.  Sometime later, the son is travelling with his adopted parents and dies in a tragic accident: their carriage sinks in the mud. Jannette angrily declares that she will never forgive her sister, and that her sister never tried to save her son.  Jannette hangs herself, and comes back as a ghost in black.  Whenever someone visits her house, she kills a child in the local village.  The main character thinks he resolves the issue by finding and returning Janette's son's body to Janette's grave, but ghost has already sworn that she will 'never forgive'.

I found it interesting that forgiveness, or the inability to forgive, played a large part in the movie.  As I drove home, I started to think about two people that I judge I have hurt pretty deeply.  No matter how much time has passed, I always feel like I want to tell them 'I'm sorry'.  I'm sorry that things didn't turn out.  I'm sorry I wasn't in the right place to make our relationship work out.  One of these people is a girl that I dated in college.  The other is a man that I called my best friend for awhile.  With the girl, I kept dating her, expecting some kind of spark to happen in me, and for me to become attracted to her.  I'd rather not go into the other story, far too personal and painful.

Anyways, as I drove home, I felt a great deal of pain.  I realized that I was still struggling to forgive myself for it.  On another note, I also realized I still have a lot of anger due to the incidents directed toward the other people.  That probably extends from the pain of not being able to forgive myself.  Honestly, I feel like a man divided.  Instead of there being two equal pieces, I end up with two shadows.  The scene in my head almost plays out like a scene from a play.

One part of me lie curled in a ball, trying to numb everything out.  He rocks and tries to comfort himself.  He says 'I'm sorry' over and over.  He also says 'I can never forgive myself for what I've done'.  In reality, he is the innocent one.  Standing over him is Tumm.  Tumm is dressed in black, as usual, with blood on his hands.  He is the real one at fault in the situation.  Tumm's duty is to draw boundaries, enforce them, and to understand what is going on with the other part of me, which is lying huddled on the ground.  Tumm is pointing his finger, angrily, at me and at the people around me.  He says 'It's all your fault!'.  He points at me and says 'I can never forgive you.  You're worthless.  It's all your fault.'

As silly as it sounds, writing it out like that helps me to gain insight into what is going on, and how I can figure out how to heal myself.  Tumm needs to accept the fact that he was also responsible for my actions.  The other part needs to know that he didn't know what was going on, and that he was under a delusion of sorts.  It's like I need to realize I'm both guilty and innocent at the same time.  And ultimately, I need to forgive myself to find a sense of closure.

As an interesting irony, tomorrow is Valentine's day.  On Valentine's day, four years ago, that girl sent me a note and asked me to a movie.  That was the beginning of our dating relationship.

On a lighter note, I'm glad I was able to walk out of a horror movie with most of my sanity intact.  The last horror movie I walked out of, I was terrified of the dark all the way home and for a few days afterward.  The only side effects this movie had were: 1) my eyes constantly looking for the woman in black, either in windows, cars, down hallways, etc 2) me being terrified about the children I live with.

Oh, on another note, I don't recommend watching "The Woman In Black" if you have small children, especially if you're already pretty sensitive to horror movies.  That being said, I will close up this blog post and get some sleep.

The Issue Cycle 13Feb2012

This last week was a really interesting one for me.  Thankfully, none of it involved a tow truck or a police car.  It was just like I was noticing each and every last male that was even remotely attractive to me.  It really bothered me for a good part of the week, especially since some of my co-workers fall into that category.  Thankfully, I took the day off Friday to get a small reprieve from that.  I've also been noticing how often my thoughts have turned to lust, or how often I find myself indulging in fantasy.  I honestly don't know if this is due to an increase of temptations or if I'm simply becoming more and more aware of my thoughts and my attractions.  I do feel like I'm starting to gain more control over my thoughts.

Anyways, I noticed this morning that a different issue of mine was starting to come up.  I felt like I looked at my life and felt like I didn't have any close friends.  I realized that this is partially a lie on my part.  I have many friends that I can talk to, many people who are safe to share intimate and very personal things.  I just don't understand why something like this keeps coming up.  It could partially be to the fact that I have a tendency to push people away, even when they do get close to me.

I then realized that my issues tend to go through cycles.  I've started to see themes and patterns emerge with thing that I 'deal with'.  Similar issues tend to come up over and over.  Each issue tends to take it's turn on the 'top' of the heap.

Here's a small list:

Touch.  This one tends to be on the quite a bit.  I've often felt the desire to be held by another person.  Lately, I've also been getting desires to hold some friends of mine.  I don't know if it's an attempt to comfort them, or to shelter them.  One of my fears around this is that it's an attempt to try to take away their problems.  On a more positive note, it could be a desire to give to other men what I feel I need.  I've had some very positive and uplifting experiences related to touch and holding, so this issue doesn't seem to be on the top quite as much lately.

Nudity/Body Image.  One of the biggest struggles of the past week seemed to be based around nudity or even how other men look.  I found myself wanting to look, almost obsessively, at other men that I found attractive.  It was like part of me wanted to figure out what it was I was looking for in them.  I also found myself analyzing new men to see if I felt attracted to them or not.  In some cases, I found myself wondering what they would look like unclothed in various degrees.  Those sorts of thoughts unfortunately would quickly lead to inappropriate fantasies many times.  This is an issue that I'm not quite sure how to address.  I feel like I have made some progress with this 'issue', yet it is obvious there still is more work to be done.  Largely, this could be boiled down to either my own body shame, or perhaps just a natural curiosity about what men look like.

Friendship.  Friendship is the one that seems to be on the top most recently.  I see two guys walking down the street together and imagine that they're best of friends.  They're buddies.  They do everything together.  I find myself really wanting something like that.  I look at interactions between men at church, work, or in other places and I judge that they are warm and friendly with each other, and I find myself craving interactions like that or interactions with those men.  I've found myself many times looking at all of my friends and not feeling like there was anyone I was close to.  It makes me wonder what I judge a 'close friendship' to be.  There are many men I share personal things with, yet I don't feel close to those men.  It could be a part of my defensive detachment.  I could emotionally/mentally/behaviorally push men away when they get to close.  The defensive detachment could largely come from feeling hurt by different men in the past (whether they intended to or not).  It could also still be some burnout from my last few attempts at establishing a close friendship with another man.

To speak more of the friendship, I realized last night that I give some men great power to be able to hurt me, to make or break me.  I find that I can grow very dependent, in a sense, to men that I am attracted to.  If they interact positively with me, then everything is great.  If they interact negatively with me, then the world is coming to an end.  The whole thing is not a very healthy thing for me.  It often leads me to feeling hurt.

On another note, I think that friendship is largely based on reciprocation.  I know of many people, both male and female, that have tried to interact with me and share about themselves.  For whatever reason, I have felt like I don't want to share on the same level back.  On the other hand, there are men that I want to share about myself with them and be close to them, but I've felt like they don't want the same thing back.  Even though I realize that it's probably not meant to be personal, I often find myself resenting the man.  I feel hurt, bitter, and angry for a time, and then I find myself trying all over again.  It honestly makes me afraid that seeking out a close friendship with another man is a fool's dream.  Or, I'm afraid that there is something wrong with me that leads to these men not wanting to be close to me.  Maybe there's something about the way I act and share that scares other men away.  Perhaps my expectations are too high.  Perhaps my idea of a close friendship isn't an accurate one.  Or maybe I just keep pushing men away before they have a chance to get close.  Maybe I move too fast and share too much.

I don't know the answer to the friendship thing.  Relationships are complicated, because there are two different people involved.  All I know is that it's the issue that seems to be on 'top' right now.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Feeling Off 5Feb2012

Yesterday, I received an interesting e-mail from Innergold Weekly Boost.  At the begging of the e-mail was this quote:

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life.  But there was always some obstacle in the way.  Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.  Then life would begin.  At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."  -Fr. Alfred D'Souza

I read the e-mail before church and I was thinking about it as I sat in Sacrament meeting.  For the last few mornings, I've been waking up feeling tired and with a nasty headache.  This morning seems to be a repeat of the same trend.  Perhaps part of my exhaustion is related to some odd dreams that I've had lately.  Both of these occurred on Saturday night.

In one dream, I friend of mine that I know for a few years was saying critical things of me, over and over and over.  I got tired of it, so I slammed a door shut on him.  That same friend had posted something I thought was really annoying that previous Friday.  I hid the post and then lowered my subscription level on that friend so that I wouldn't see as many of his updates.  Another friend posted something about him hanging out with his 'BFF'.  I hid that post because it was simply to triggering for me.

In another dream from Saturday night, a girl had caught a hold of my finger, and would not let get despite my protests.  Yesterday in Sacrament meeting, the little girl that I live with always caught a hold of my finger and was using it to point at the words as she read.  It was funny for awhile, but after a moment, I was done with it and tried to pull my finger away.  It took some effort and brief protest on my part.  A similar pattern was repeated in Sacrament and then after church with her as well.

I honestly feel a bit disturbed when my dreams seem to have basis in real life.  I do hope some other parts of dreams I've had lately are not going to come true, although most of them seem to be based in things that have been on my mind.  Body shame and desire to see what other men look like has been on my mind a lot.  Probably explains why shirtless men have been showing up repeatedly in my dreams.

What I don't understand is the repeated feeling of headache, tiredness, and upset stomach.  They all seem to be signs of stress.  I have been thinking a lot lately.  Work has been stressful in very odd ways.  Some of it is a different work environment.  I used to work on an LDS Church site and that is very different from the current place that I work.  I also don't feel like I have very many friends at the current work site, or at least people I feel comfortable talking to besides my account manager, who is a very busy man.  The co-worker that sits next to me bothers me in a few different ways.  I find many of the other men I work with attractive but also distant.

There's also the stress about trying to figure out how to get my needs met healthily, live a life in the gospel, and still manage my feelings of attraction.  I've been feeling quite a bit of frustration in that department. In the past when I've gotten healthy touch from guys, my feelings of attraction have literally vanished.  Even though I received quite a bit this last weekend, the feelings are still present, and still bothering me.  I also worry that this drive to receive healthy touch is leading me on the road to acting out.  I find myself thinking that the touch I got wasn't 'enough'.  I worry that will lead me closer and closer to doing something that I will regret later.

Back to the thought that started this post.  I sat in sacrament meeting, with my headache and upset stomach, and realized that pain is one of those obstacles I've been allowing to impede me from feeling like I was living life and being happy.  That's when a quote from Princess Bride entered into my head "Life is pain, princess". That simple reminder reminds me that life is mean to be a trial.  I can't count the number of times I prayed for pain, both emotional and physical, to be taken away, and that prayer has not been answered.  I've found myself praying for the strength to bear the pain, rather than for it to go away.  After that, church was very good.  I felt a sense of belonging there that I haven't felt before.  It started to feel like some of the members cared for me.

Even with the realization, I feel off today.  Yesterday, I found it hard to remember something as simple as my address.  I felt slower than normal.  Today, the same headache and upset stomach has been joined by gum pain.  Sometimes I honestly worry that my body is falling apart, and I don't know quite what to do about that.  I figure it may just be a phase, me getting sick, or simply part of the trail of life.  It could also be some lingering shock from having my car towed.

I realize this post today was pretty random.  When I don't feel well, I struggle to organize things coherently.  A lot of it was things that have been on my mind and worrying me lately.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Strange Dreams 3Feb-4Feb2012

I drove my car to the end of State and 5300 S and parked in a lot and then ran a race.  When it was done, it was overcast and I was no where near my car.  I needed to find a TRAX station so I started to walk to where I thought the nearest one was, somewhere west of the freeway.  A man I knew started to walk with me.  As we walked, I realized that I had no shoes on.  We climbed up on top of a really old stone building and I commented that this looked like something out of a video game.  The buildings were slanted sideways and very blocky.  We walked to the edge of one and realized that we were really high up, and needed to climb down.  It was raining, so my friend slid down a broken part of the building.  I wanted to follow, but I was angry because he had shoes on and I didn't.  Finally I found a way to slide down.  We had to squeeze around a large car and then we arrived at a friends house.  It was another man that I knew and he let me inside.  I saw his son, who apparently had some kind of mental disorder.  After a moment, I realized that my friend didn't have a shirt on, and it shocked me.  I was asking him for help, and he went off into his bedroom.  I followed him and noticed a tub just to the left that had just started to fill with water.  My friend was coming back out of the bedroom, and I moved back out of the way, thinking he would be angry that I started walking into the bedroom with him.  He came out and I had to help him begin to draw an imaginary map of Salt Lake on the wall.  He then indicated that I was going in the wrong direction.  Another friend of mine came in, and took his shirt off.  I was surprised that he had lost his tan.  My first friend than gave me a hand shake good bye and I went to give the other friend of mine a hug, and he said 'No thanks. I'm not into that.'  I felt rejected and walked outside with my hood up.  It was raining outside and a car had just pulled up into the driveway, and was backing up.  Then there were two more cars.  All of them had open sides and were chock full of people cosplaying as characters from the Lord of the Rings.  I could see a Gandalf, a Frodo, and others.  They were going to honk at the house and try to get the time to put on their car.  I told them that I didn't have a watch on or my phone, so I didn't know what the time was.  I then asked if they would be willing to take me to the TRAX station.  I had to explain what it was, and they finally, reluctantly agreed to take me there, so I got in the car.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My (Mis)Adventures - 3Feb2012

I honestly can't think of a better word for what happened tonight.

Honestly, it started out pretty calm. I went to Jamba Juice after work.  Tried out a banana berry flavor smoothing and came home.  No one was home and it smelled faintly like poopy diapers (probably my imagination).  I turned on the computer and started watching the last two episodes of Slayers Try.  I was planning on meeting up with a friend after he got out of work.

5 minutes from the end of the last episode, the friend calls me up and I'm soon speeding my way to the place where we were going to meet.  I ran into some heavy traffic, and finally arrived at the place I thought was the right one: Ichiban Sushi.  I go inside and I don't see my friend anywhere in the place.  That's when I call him up and realize the location is on the other side of State St.  So, I quickly pop a U-turn and I find the place.  I can't see any parking nearby so I pull into an open spot in the parking lot next to the sushi place we were meeting: Red Ginger.  I walk in, find my friend.  Order, enjoy the meal and the conversation (actually it was pretty one sided because I felt kind of shy about talking about myself).  I walk out with the intention of going to his place to chat with him.

I walked to where my car was and had to do a double take.  My car had...transformed?  No, it was missing.  There was another Prius nearby.  Did they move my car?  No, it wasn't my beloved Synthia.  That's when I realized my car may have been stolen.  I called up my friend (who thankfully hadn't left). And I searched the parking lot and found the small towing sign that said something to the effect of 33rd Plaza, towing by so and so towing company.  The sign was no bigger than my license plate.  Now, I've been to that plaza many times and I've NEVER seen that towing sign before.  NEVER.  Anyways, I call up the tow company, in a panic, and figure out where they are and how much I'll have to pay.  $246.50.  Borderline basketcase, I get in my friends car, talking a mile a minute.   At this point, a man approaches the car asking us for some money and my friend obliged.  We drove to a nearby ATM, went backwards through the lane (so that I could reach it), and I managed to extract the money without losing my debit card (it's happened before!).

Then we went to my friends place and had a very pleasant and interesting chat.  Finally, it was time so I went back to the tow place.  It was a bit of an adventure to find because the building they had wasn't right at the streets edge.  We had to drive through the parking lot of a different tow company in order to find the one that had my beloved Synthia.  I got inside, and there were about 3 people waiting for cars in front of me.  Seriously, the one people kept asking questions and I about had an aneurism.  At this point I realized again how grateful I was that I had paid Synthia off last December.  Finally, I paid the money, signed all the forms, and got back to my car.

I can't quite explain the feeling of relief at sitting in the driver's seat.  And the comforting, familiar feel of the seat against my back, and the feel of the shifter.  I was pleased.  I wanted to inspect my car for any possible damages, so I pulled out onto the street, called up my friend to tell him, and got out of my car to check it out.  Everything looked good, and the tail light that randomly shorts out was even on (I've been pulled over for that 3 times in the last year).  I walked up to my friend, and gave him a pat on the shoulder and thank him for his help.  He put his car in gear, and it made me nervous because he didn't seem to quite know which gear he was in (he was in a rental).  At this point, I jokingly ran off to go hide in my car.

My friend drives off.  I reach over to tweet one last time how happy I am to have my car back, when the police lights started to shine in my rear view window.  I was seriously reaching to shift into drive when it happened!  The officer asked me what I was doing.  I said I was just about to head out, and that I had just retrieved my car from the tow company.  The officer said he saw me hand my friend something and then run away.  I told him I had just patted him on the shoulder.  After showing him my license and my tow company paperwork, the officer thanked me for my cooperation and then let me go.  At that point, I decided the best thing to do was leave the scene as quickly as possibly.  I got home without event and managed to fuel up my car.  As I pulled out of the gas station, I had to pull in behind a Sheriff.  At this point, I was begging the Sheriff to ignore me and pull someone else over.

I feel so many feelings over the course of the night. I felt rage, anger, sadness, shock, fear, numbness, and tired.  I also felt contentment and safety with my friend.

I am grateful to have passed through the school of hard knocks relatively unscathed.  I will not be visiting that little plaza at 33rd and State for a long time.  I'm grateful that I had a great friend that stuck with me and helped me not go crazy.  I'm also grateful that I paid my car off.  In short, I'm grateful that Heavenly Father placed that friend in my life at that time.

In short, I had an adventurous night.   One that I hope is never topped in a looooong time.