Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bad Friends

For absolutely no reason other than my inner chemistry, I have felt somewhat lonely lately.

However, this has been seriously compounded by the fact that the people with whom I associate are so unreliable.

Have you ever realized that having a broken clock is worse than having NO clock? A broken clock totally messes you up. This is how I am feeling about a lot of the friends I have chosen. They are great people, I love them, and I care for them. I am sure they would say the same thing about me. But seriously I guess I am just sick of flaky friends. I have decided that I need to find more reliable people to be with. I mean, I don't think I am creating unrealistic expectations to expect friends to respond to emails, return phone calls, or just be consistent in the friendship and not cancel out on committements at the last second.

I do not suffer from any psychological problems, as far as I know. So I am definitely not paranoid, or obsessive compulsive, or depressive. In fact, I am reliable, loyal, creative, optimistic, and caring.
...either the problem is that I am giving myself way to much credit or I have selected poor friends.

I found a cool website that uses teachings of Buddhism to talk about the difference between good and bad friends. You might find it interesting.

Here are some interesting points it brings up about Bad friends...

1. The first bad friend, who takes anything, has four characteristics: (1) taking everything from you, (2) Wanting a lot for very little (or wanting much in return for giving only a little), (3) doing service only when he gets into trouble, and (4) seeking only his own advantage.

2. The second bad friend, who is a great talker, has also four characteristics: (1) talking of favours in the past, (2) talking of favours in the future, (3) trying to please you with empty promises or mouthing empty promises of goodwill, and (4) pleading inability owing to some disaster when something needs to be done in the present.

3. The third bad friend, who flatters, has also four characteristics: (1) agreeing to the bad actions of you, (2) also, agreeing to the good actions of you, (3) praising you in your presence, (4) disparaging you behind your back.

4. The fourth bad friend, who is a fellow-spendthrift or who debauches, also has four characteristics: (1) being a companion when indulging in strong drink, (2) being a companion when haunting the streets at unfitting times, (3) being a companion when frequenting shows and entertainments, and (4) being a companion when indulging in gambling.

In contrast to that, this is what it has to say about good friends...

1. The first good friend, who is helpful, has four characteristics: (1) looking for you when you are drunk, (2) looking for your possessions when you are drunk, (3) being a refuge for you are in trouble, and (4) leting you have twice what you ask for when some business is to be done.

2. The second good friend, who is the same in happy and unhappy times, has four characteristics: (1) telling you his secrets, (2) keeping your secrets, (3) not forsaking you when you are in trouble, and (4) sacrificing even his life for you.

3. The third good friend, who points out what is good for you, has four characteristics: (1) keeping you from wrongdoing, [it means "restraining you from doing the ten unwholesome courses of action: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, harsh speech, frivolous talk, covetousness, ill will, and wrong view"], (2) supporting you in doing good, [it means "encouraging you to do the ten courses of wholesome Kamma(= no-killing, no-stealing, no-sexual misconcduct, no-teling lies, no-slandering, no-harsh speech, no-frivolous talk or reasonable talk, no-covetousness, no-ill will, and right view), to give offerings, to take five precepts, and to practice meditation"], (3) informing you of what you do not know, and (4) pointing out the path to heaven.

4. The fourth good friend, who is sympathetic, has four characteristics: (1) not rejoicing at your misfortune, (2) rejoicing at your good fortune, (3) stopping others who speak against you, and (4) commending others who speak in praise of you.

The Buddha said, "You should cultivate and follow a friend who is endowed with seven characteristics: (1) genial, (2) venerable or respetable, (3) praise-worthy, (4) clever in speech, (5) obedient or willing to do what others bid, (6) profound in speech, and (7) not encouraging others to do evil."

In closing, I just want to remind myself and any others that I am not a perfect friend by any means. Surely there are people out there who have a long list of grievances against me and my shortcomings. Regardless, I hope that if I died today that people would remember me as not only a caring and compassionate friend, but a fun one as well.

I have no idea what the heck is going on with me and I feel so deserted right now, but I would sure love to make some better friends. I think I'm going to start working on that...starting with becoming a more desirable friend in the first place. I think all of us just want to hang out with people who want to be with us and we want to be with them. I am imagining that is what a good marriage is like, and I can't wait to achieve that someday. In the meantime, I'm not looking for a boyfriend but is it really too unrealistic to find close and quality friends?

Thanks for listening today.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Subconscious Thoughts and Hugs

It's been a few days and it's time for a post. I've really appreciated all of the other blogs that I have found and I really do draw inspiration from all of them.

Over the last few weeks, I have started thinking more and more about what I think about. In fact, it's made me realize how throughout my whole life my actions have been guided by my inner desires, without me recognizing it. It's affected where I choose to be, who I choose to be friends with, what I act like. Nearly everything.

In fact, this has been a scary realization because as I gain control over my thoughts, I ultimately gain more control over my actions. I mean, 2 years ago I might have become friends with a dude because I thought he was attractive and fun, and I wanted to be around him more. Suddenly I catch myself before my thoughts translate into action, especially when it is motivated by SSA, and I think, "okay, do I really want to carry through with this action (or behavior) because I am ONLY doing it out of innate desire for something.

Now, I'm not suggesting that there is something wrong with being driven by our innate desires, as long as we keep it in control. I mean, let's be realistic. EVERYONE deals with this problem. I overheard a group of dudes talking the other day, and one of them said, "Let's face it, I go to church not only because I believe in the church, but MOSTLY to see hot chicks. It's true."

At first, that statement might seem shocking and inappropriate, but I believe its true. If we think more about our thoughts we might be scared (as I have been) to realize how easily they translate into action, subconsciously.

I guess thinking about my thoughts has just complicated things a bit for me, but I think it's a positive step. I just have to now make a conscious decision to be guided by my SSA sometimes, whereas before I just was, and I was repressing it.

Finally, I added on this video on the Free Hugs campaign because I think it is really cool. For me, human touch is powerful, and I need it. The picture at the top of this blog is some Israeli soldiers embracing each other. I think the photo is really touching. When you realize how precious life is, that is when you really learn what matters to you personally. I really like hugs in general, especially hugging someone that I really care for. Also, I don't necessarily mean with guys, and I don't necessarily mean romantic hugs. I just like that feeling of knowing that someone is standing there with you, embracing you, and showing you in the nearly the most intimate way possible that they care about you. Isn't that what most of us want?

Stay tuned.

Human Touch

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Ugly Sweaters and the Devil's Circle

So, I found this website today and it's freaking awesome. It's this girl modeling all these different types of sweaters and they all have names. My favorite is "queen of the ocean."
Where am I going with this...oh yeah, nowhere.

Anyway, today was kind of tragic for me. Everyone likes to know that somebody has a crush on them, I mean, it feels good to know that you are attractive enough, or have a great enough personality or testimony, or whatever, that someone is drawn to you. I think it's easier to avoid having people like you, though, at least it is for me...especially as someone dealing with SSA. It always causes issues when girls like me, then I act all weird because I don't usually like them back, and then it's disaster.

The problem even goes deeper than that...and I think this is something that most guys in my situation would understand. I feel the urge to be closer to people...whether guys or girls (and often especially guys) No one knows this because I am super outgoing and friendly, no one would suspect that I often feel lonely. The problem is that if I start becoming good friends with a girl, then she thinks I like her. Or, if I make it clear that I don't like her but I still want to be close, then she is either weirded out, or other people are. I feel like it's a total catch 22.

Moreover, I have similar problems with guys. I love hanging out with guys, whether I am attracted to them or not. It's just easier for me because you avoid all the awkward issues that I mentioned above. However, with a guy I always get frustrated and then separate myself. This is either because:
1) I am attracted to him and get scared
2) I get frustrated that he doesn't get close to me the way I want (not romantically, but most of you get what I mean)
3) I get scared off because I feel like its not socially acceptable to hang out with guys all the time
4) I get scared off because I'm afraid that people will suspect I'm attracted to guys (similar to 3, but not the same for me)

Anyway, like I said, its a catch 22...or a "devils circle" (teufelskreis) as the Germans call it. (I want so badly to learn German, by the way) It just frustrates me because I just want close friends, that doesn't have to mean that I am looking for a physical relationship because 97 percent of me is not. (there's just that 3 percent that I'm constantly trying to suppress)

Then to make it all worse, girls like me. So I get all weirded out and then people think I'm weird. Seriously, it's amazing that I have managed to function so normally in society for my whole life and get away with it. There's a whole lot to me that doesn't always meet the eye...but I guess it's probably like that for everyone.

Who am I to claim exceptional status?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Things fall apart...

As I sit thinking back on my day I am trying to figure out why it's been a disaster. I don't know what happened to me today but I lost all self-control for a few hours. My desires to sin overcame my desires to be righteous and it freaked the crap out of me. I mean, nothing happened, but only because I wasn't in a position where it could. Have you ever had a personal apostasy in your head for like 2 hours? It was weird, and I don't like it. Now I am left to ponder what I did wrong.

Anyway, the best thing about life is that nothing is stagnant...whether you approve or not, things are always changing. I think that more than we realize, we have the chance to be an active participant in these changes, if we choose to be. Even sin can be temporary if we take hold of the atonement and run with it.

I love Winston Churchill. In 1941 (and during WWI at a time when it looked like Britain could be in serious danger of being overcome by its enemies) he gave a speech to students at a certain school. He stood at the podium and said

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

This is how I feel tonight. I'm mad at myself, and frustrated that today wasn't my best...but it was just one day and I need to move on. I will never give up...and I have faith that the savior will never give up on me.

By the way, I am amazed at how many people have just happened across my blog already. It's amazing. I guess the internets are more incredible than I had ever imagined. Thank you to all of my new readers. Thank you for visiting the blog and thank you for your comments. Realize that I sincerely consider you my friends in a 21st century, unconventional sort of way. But seriously, I do.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Extended Denial

So this post is not meant to be inflammatory in any way. I mean that.

It is more of a question than anything and something I have been thinking about lately.

So as I cruise the so-called blog "queer-o-sphere," I am looking to suck up as much information as possible. Information is power to me. I love learning as much as I can about something and then coming to my own conclusions through analysis. I'm not presenting any conclusions here or anything but I just wanted to comment about a seemingly widespread phenomenon...

Why have so many LDS guys with SSA chosen to get married without first disclosing their 'gayness' in any way?

Yes, I understand the basic church pressures to get married, and I definitely understand repression because that's something I had mastered for the first 20 some odd years of my life. Yet, the sum of those two factors alone do not legitimize such behavior (meaning...getting married without first disclosing your sexual identity, or whatever you choose to call the SSA problem). Also, I understand that many people once hoped that marriage was in fact the cure to SSA. I am not ignorant to any of this, so don't get upset or think that I just don't get it. Try to understand where I am coming from.

Marriage is HUGE. I mean, even straight people should be terrified of it, don't you think? It carries a lot of responsibility, at the very least. Besides responsibility, it will affect the rest of your life and your happiness. Marriage within the church and in the temple brings that all to an even higher level, a spiritual one, and the decision will outlast mortality. Seriously, I would be terrified to get married regardless of my sexuality, or it would at least cause me to deeply consider all aspects before selecting a spouse and finalizing my decision. To me it is ludicrous to claim that social pressure, personal repression, and hope are enough to push gay people into marriage WITHOUT telling this woman, whom they love so much, that they are bringing serious issues into the marriage.

This brings us back to the point....apparently my reasoning is wrong, though, because it appears from what I have seen that many of us, at least many bloggers, fail to tell their fiancee of their problem, and then spend a marriage trying to decide whether or not to let this ENORMOUS elephant out of the closet (pun intended).

So look, it is not meant to be provocative at all, but these are my thoughts. I hope that in some way it seems reasonable that I would be shocked at this behavior. Don't you think it would avoid TONS of future conflicts and mental anguish if everyone with SSA (or any other serious issues) would disclose this to their spouse-to-be before marriage? If the person freaks out and calls it off then great, it means that it wasn't the person for you anyway.

I, as much as anyone, am greatly looking forward to marriage. Yes, I am somewhat afraid, but my whole life I have tackled issues that I am afraid of...for me, fear alone is not enough reason to not get married, but I must be very cautious about this major decision that will likely affect my entire life and beyond it, and the life of someone else as well! I think it is very unwise to delay disclosing SSA issues to someone you love, intend to marry, and are asking to spend eternity with. I am shocked that this non-disclosure issue is such a common phenomenon and I urge those of you considering marriage to not follow that dangerous practice.

To those of you who are married:
Don't hate me for questioning your common sense. We all have a host of personal issues, and one 'right' course of action can't and shouldn't be superimposed across everyone. I know this. So, I am not casting judgement on any of you individually, because I DON'T KNOW YOU, and I certainly don't know your circumstances. But I ask for your respect on this opinion, and possibly even your support, because I believe it could avoid a lot of the heartaches and struggles that some of you have been forced to deal with eventually.

That's all for now.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Risk Assessment

So, it's been a has been interesting, but thank goodness I am still on top of everything. Temptations have been strong lately, and I have felt like my support structure has disappeared. I'm not sure if that's true or just in my mind. I feel like I need to have more close relationships with guys, but healthy good relationships. I have been avoiding anything that tempts me and I'm starting to feel like I'm in self-imposed exile.

Anyway, I saw something interesting on Gay Byu Student's blog.

"As I sat and pondered the mysteries of life recently, I couldn't help but become frustrated with my newfound desire to strengthen or reaffirm the testimony which I was once sure I had. You see, lately I've been praying, keeping the commandments, studying the gospel, and trying to have a better attitude toward the church. So far its been a positive experience. Yet I would be lying if I didn't admit that it has been difficult at times. I know its only been a few days, but I know the difficulty will continue to increase.So this is the question I get stumped on: how much time do I give God to answer me? I mean, I know we're not supposed to give God a timeframe - and we're often told that our timetable is not the same as the Lord's, but is there no end to the waiting? Are we really just supposed to live our whole life doing what we hope is right with the continual expectation that we will eventually receive a more sure testimony that it actually is? And what about when I decide to stop waiting and pursue a different life, won't there always be someone to say, "If you'd have just waited another day you might have received your answer."

He also said

"where do you draw the line between rules and commandments? "

Anyway, I was thinking about those questions...and these are my thoughts, which I already posted as a comment on his blog.

Here is my take on the difference between rules and commandments:-Commandments are rules of God. If you break one of the commandments, you get in trouble with God. -Rules are restrictions placed by people or organizations besides God. For example, BYU has rules...some of the rules are commandments as well, but some are just rules (like the facial hair thing) So if you break a BYU rule, then you get in trouble with BYU, but not necessarily with God...unless you broke a commandment. That's what I think about that.Also, you ask how long you should wait to get an answer. I think you are approaching the problem wrong and may get disappointed. I DO think you should pray for an answer, and open your heart to receive one...don't get me wrong. However, I think that you should also do a simple risk assessment. How much do you understand the church? How much do you believe it is true? What do you think the likelihood is that it is true. If it is NOT true, then what is the likelihood that some other major religion is true (that teaches homosexual behavior is wrong)Then you have to calculate what your risks are for choosing to break God's rules (against the odds that He does in fact exist and homosexual behavior does have consequences)If you think it's worth it to just go ahead and live how you want, then go for it. As for me, besides believing that this church is true, I also fear that if I were to believe otherwise and be wrong...then the eternal consequences would be devastating. I would rather not take the risk and live a life that will be DIFFICULT, even extremely difficult, but temporary, and in which I can still find happiness (I hope!)

"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."