Monday, January 15, 2007

Cautious Optimism

I've had a depressing start to the new year, yet I'm feeling positive right now and hopeful. I just got done perusing some of the blogs out there on the topic of same-sex attracted Latter-day Saints. Reading these is an exhausting experience to me, but necessary. I need to constantly remind myself that I am not alone, but then a get overwhelmed by realizing that there are MANY MANY people who are struggling with this, no doubt most of whom never record their experiences on the internet for all of us to see. I feel great concern for the many SSA Mormons (or those of other faiths) who feel isolated and desperate, and I fear that they will seek out comfort in places where (and from people) where they can not find lasting peace, and that are contrary to the commandments. In many ways, I don't blame them, and I am unsure to what degree God will be able to. Yet I know that we all believe that where much is given, much is required...we just don't know how these quantities will be measured.

I read the Tito Times, Gay BYU Student, Pine Tree, Unusual Dude, Eye in the Sky, and Beck's Angst, among others, and found them to be interesting. It made me love life. I love how all of us are so different yet so the same. We all deal with problems in such unique ways and often try to prescribe these onto others, which I think is a mistake. All of us have our own lives to live and we all need to figure out what will make us the happiest...especially in the long run. I do truly believe that God wants us to be happy. From the experience of my friends, I can say that seeking out gay relationships does not seem to bring this lasting happiness. I have many gay Mormon friends and the ones who have boyfriends are the most superficially happy, but I they also seem the most unstable and unsure of their lives and their future. Fortunately, I have used their experiences to remind me to that I want to pursue a life within this church, and as a married man with a family. I am not sure whether this will work or not, but I am hopeful. Again, we are all different and must all take our own paths...this is what makes life so beautiful, doesn't it?

Satan has been working hard on me lately. Although frankly I am not sure how much of it is actually the devil and how much of it are my innate and carnal desires. I would love to flatter myself and believe that I am so powerful spiritually, and such a threat to Satan's kingdom, that he has enlisted an unusually large number of forces to bring me down. Maybe I will choose to believe this at times, simply because it gives me encouragement and confidence, but I know that much of this battle is in my own mind, and Satan may have less to do with it than I think.

This week I found myself yearning to kiss another guy. I guess I have had that desire at times, but not often as a concious thought. But this thought has been upsetting to me because I have entertained it in my head for too long. It scares me how quickly thoughts turn into actions and it makes me realize the necessity for controlling our thoughts in the early stages. If you continue to give a though attention, then it grows, and takes root, and then soon it seems to overpower you where you surrender and think, "this is beyond my control." I think this is how many sins (and probably crimes in general) are committed...they are created in our minds, planted, cared for and attended to, and cherished. At some point they crowd out other things. In my case it has been scripture study.

I have done SO well at studying the scriptures during this last semester. I did it daily, and gave my scripture study a lot of effort. Yet this last 2 weeks has been disasterous, and it coincides with the thought of kissing another guy. I have scared myself a lot in the past, but this is definitely pushing my limits. I broke down last night and prayed for God to put me back on a progressive path, and I need to do my part to make that happen.

I love being alive, even when it sucks!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Poems About Struggle

The Struggle
Have you ever traveled down a road to find there was no end
For every corner that you turned there was another bend
The faster that you walked, the longer that it seemed
And you were all alone, in this crazy dream
Crazy dreams that you dream alone
When the lights go out and no one's home
You see the day for what it's beenAnd you wish to God you could stay clean
The morning brings you to the road you didn't want to travel and every step you take again makes your life unravel
You keep on walking down the path, wondering what you'll find,and pray that when you find it you wont have lost your mind
It's halfway through another day and you're looking for those dreams knowing they can make your life better than it seems
If only to forget your pain for a little while you can travel down the road just another mile
The night is now upon you, the miles are on your face,
But you keep going forward to your final place.
You know the end is coming soon, you see it straight ahead
And if they don't forget you, you never will be dead

In a Time of Struggle
I am so confused
I don't know what to do
From what I've learned I'm supposed to turn to you
Lord please help me just lead me in your way
This is what I am asking to you from me today
You know my situation I know that you care
Right now it seems my burden is too hard for me to bear
But you will help me through it i know that this is true
Please help my eyes focus soley on you
I need to figure this out
Dear God help me not to doubt
I need you here beside me
Without you life can't be
I have a lot to think about
There's a lot on my mind
Where is the answer that I am trying to find?
I'm searching my headI'm searching my heart
All I know is that this is tearing me apart
Apart from friendsApart from life
Help me remove this pain that stings like a knife
Lord I give it to you, my life in your hands
I know I can trust everything in your plans
Whatever you do I'll always believe in you
-Laura Campbell

Struggle's Gloom
With a blank sorrow, heavy I am now grown;
Like things eternal, changeless stands my woe.
In vain I try to overcome my foe.O Lord of Love!
Make me more dead than stone.
Thy Grace of silent Smile I never feel;
The forger of evil stamps my nights and days.
His call my sleepless body ever obeys.
My heart I annihilate and try to heal.
The dumb earth-waste now burns a hell to my soul.
I fail to fight with its stupendous doom,
My breath is a slave of that unending gloom.
For Light I pine, but find a tenebrous goal.
Smoke-clouds cover my face of Spirit's fire;
Naked I move in night's ignorance deep and dire.
-Sri Chimnoy

True, suffering has reality in it.
Who denies it?
But the transcendence of suffering
Also has reality in it.
Who can disbelieve it?
-Sri Chimnoy
My soul is like the oar that momently
Dies in a desperate stress beneath the wave,
Then glitters out again and sweeps the sea:
Each second I'm new-born from some new grave.
O Hunger, Hunger,
I will harness thee
And make thee harrow all my spirit's glebe.
Of old the blind bard
Herve sang so sweet
He made a wolf to plow his land.
-Sidney Lanier

It's dark around, it pains inside..
Somebody has chained me in a cell..
Four walls and three windows.. the dark grey of gloom..
The walls of reinforced expectation,
The bass of high - density conditioning,
The floor of impregnable societal farce,
The roof of titanium pretension..
I open the windows, the moon drifts.
It's rays, slashed to pieces by metal bars, fall at my feet and hit my head.
They give me hope, strength and courage, but..
Can hope, strength and courage.. make me break solid steel? ?
I close the windows..
No moon, no stars, no rays of light, no hope, no strength, no courage..
A placid solitude of a wait....
For DeAtH..? ? ! !
I want to live..
I want to wait for the promised sunrise, the jailbreak, that will free all..
Deliverer, deliver..!
Messiah, preach..!
God, show me the way..!
Somebody, anybody, come to rescue..!
Save us from the creator of this prison..! !
Does he even realise the torture on us?
And oh.. Does he even have a name..? ? W
ait..! Yes he does..! What does that plaque say..? T
his prison.. created by..
I laugh aloud, so loud..that the walls crumble..the bars melt..the roof gives in..the earth shudders in celebration..
Who am I..? ?
I am the walls..
I am the windows..
I am the moon..
I am the hope..
I am the Messiah..
I am the GOD...
I am the FREE..
-Charvee Rehani

Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth
SAY not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been, things remain;
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright
-Arthur Hugh Clough

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Can't Sleep

For some reason I can't sleep. This never happens to me, so it's weird.

I found this new song by Black Lab, it's called This Night.

Here is a link to hear the song on myspace, you might have to click on the actual song to get it to start.

Here are the lyrics, and they really click with me right now:


This night there are things I have done.
there’s a place I have gone.
there’s a beast and I let it run now it’s running my way.

there are things I regret that you can’t forgive you can’t forget.
there’s a gift that you sent you sent it my way.

so take this night and wrap it around me like a sheet.
I know I’m not forgiven but I need a place to sleep.
so take this night and lay me down on the street. I know I’m not forgiven but I hope that I’ll be given some sleep.

there’s a game that I played.
there are rules I had to break.
there’s mistakes that I made but I made them my way.

so take this night and wrap it around me like a sheet. I know I’m not forgiven but I need a place to sleep. so take this night and lay me down on the street. I know I’m not forgiven but I hope that I’ll be given some peace.


So this is how it starts...

This is my story. I am 25 years old and struggling with same sex attraction. For various reasons I usually refrain from calling myself gay, but I'm not critical of anyone who identifies using that term.

This entry is not a typical one, but simply a structure from which to build off of.
First of all. I am against blogs. I think it's ludicrous that anyone would opt to broadcast the most obscure details of their life on the Internet, making it available to anyone and everyone in the world who can obtain Internet access. I guess I am just against blogs for myself. People can do what they want.

So why I am posting here? My story is an interesting least I think it is. I won't attempt to tell it all at once, or even all of it, but hopefully over time I'll be able to express all of these thoughts that have been floating around in my head for 25 years.

First of all, I am intimately acquainted with the tremendously difficult struggle that comes with being LDS and SSA. Everyone deals with this in different ways, and personally I feel perfectly fine about that. I DON'T feel fine about the fact that our battle is usually fought in secret. Those in our position seem to grow up learning to hate themselves inside, and feeling that they aren't as good as their peers. For a long time I felt like I was being chased by something terrible. I would run and run and run, and I was scared that my secret would catch up to me. More than anything I feared people finding out, which would be devastating to them and me. Fortunately I have made a lot of progress but unfortunately the secrecy has not fully left, and I often wonder if it ever will. For now at least, my blog will trace my thoughts and ideas more than the events of my life, but the interesting information is and has been my mental journey, not the external affairs.

At any rate, I decided to write this blog, right? A few months ago I was thinking about the world and my place in it. I was trying to decide what I want out of this existence (and hopefully I'll get to that at a later date, but it is extraneous to this discussion). I realized how fortunate I am to be in the position I am currently in - I am LDS, I believe with all my heart that this church is God's true church on the Earth. Sure, I have questioned, and do question it, but I constantly come to the same conclusion through scripture study and prayer: that I want this church to be true, that it makes sense to me, and my spiritual confirmations have been consistent regarding the veractiy of the whole thing. So, yeah, I feel lucky for that assurance that I have felt. I am also grateful, however, that I have been able to serve a mission. My mission meant more to me than anything. I loved it, I loved the people I taught, and it shaped and changed my character forever and put me on a more divine projectery. I also feel grateful that I have not given in to physical homosexual behavior. I mean, to some extent I have. I am guilty of forming friendships based on who I am most drawn to, but isn't that pretty human? I find myself checking people of the same gender out, and I have been close to getting in trouble...but my faith toward God has consistently paid off so far, and I honestly feel lucky for it.

However, don't think that my life has been easy... (and I am getting back to the main point here, sorry for the wordiness of this entry) I have fought and fought my feelings. In fact, for nearly all of my life I have repressed them entirely, leaving them only to the dusty and unmonitored vaults of my subconcious mind. I have come to realize that THIS IS DANGEROUS.

On his website, Michael Fenichel writes the following concerning the work of Freud:

For Freud, repression was the unconscious mechanism whereby unacceptable impulses or memories were kept hidden from awareness, as a basic defense which the ego uses to ward off anxiety.

Repression is different than supression, which is an intentional squashing of a thought. This is the phenomenon of "see no evil, say no evil" and refusing to think about something painful or anxiety producing. This is frequently the process which is invoked between the time of a stressful event or discussion (including therapy), and pouring that cocktail or popping that pill, or going online (!), when disinhibition takes over and supression can stop working so hard. With repression, however, one doesn't have choice or volition. What is repressed is repressed

I have come to agree with this, because that is how I chose to deal with my feelings. I repressed them for so long...I didn't even realize what I was doing. If someone had confronted me in high school and accused me of being attracted to men, I would have violently denied it, even to myself. That is the problem with being LDS and SSA, at least it was for me, but I am sure there are others who dealt with it my way. I ignored it until it exploded, and luckily I was able to handle the information as it became a part of my conscious thought process.

A few years ago, I came out to myself. I had been dating girls, and I loved it, but it always caused problems, mostly in my head. I was even kissing girls and I was attracted to some (but not as many as I was to different guys) and I planned on a perfect marriage and family, (which, incidentally I still hope for).

Anyway, this comes to the originally point of this entry. Why am I writing a freaking retarded blog? So after I realized what would become a central struggle of my mortal life, I was thinking about life and everything, and I realized that I am lucky to be in the position I am in. I have sinned many times, but who hasn't!!! I'd probably be in the same place spiritually if I was straight. Despite what some church members might think, being straight doesn't guarantee anyone greater access to righteousness. We are all here to learn to control ourselves and keep the commandments, and we are all on different levels, and have different situations, and we will be judged accordingly.
Okay, so anyway, I realized that there are SO many differing opinions out there concerning how to hand being same-sex attracted and Mormon. I don't claim that my thoughts are any more righteous or "true" than anyone elses, but that day I was thinking, I realized that I needed to write a book someday. Maybe it would do no good, but if my book helped ONE person to feel better about themselves, or to refrain from taking their own life, or even to refrain from leading a gay lifestyle, then it would be worth it to me. However, I am not ready to write a book, and for many reasons, my identity needs to remain pretty anonymous. That's where the blog comes in.

I don't know if anyone will read it, but I hope that people in my situation who are struggling to figure themselves out will find some refuge here. You might not agree with my thoughts and actions, but I hope that my struggle to find myself in my head, to come to terms with who I am, and the ONGOING struggle to stay righteous (which I never feel is over) will be some encouragement to someone. It may be unnecessary because there is so much on the internet like this anyway. We'll see.

Anyway, I promise that my future entries will be more interesting and less wordy...but I am going to slowly try and get my brain out of my head to analyze what is and has been going on with me.

I will probably stay anonymous, not only so I won't be unexpectedly outed, but mainly so that I can truly say what is going on with me, even past what would normally be appropriate in conversations with friends and acquaintances, and try to get to the bottom of my issues while giving others some ideas to play with. If anyone ends up reading this, please let me know.

In the meantime, thanks for reading, and God bless.

"And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance."