Wednesday, August 3, 2011


What would you say to your younger self? If you're a college student, what would you say to your sixteen-year-old self? What advice would you give? Any warnings?

If I were able to talk to my sixteen-year-old self, I would take to him about taking chances. The world is frightening and I know that you, or me, are afraid of the future and all that is about to happen. Things are scary, the unknown is now on the threshold. Don't be afraid to take a peak, though. I'm not afraid now of where life will take me. I'm not afraid of what I will discover and what I will learn from living. You shouldn't be. Don't worry about changing what's about to happen in your life.

Don't go to BYU, don't serve a mission, don't go to church. Don't do whatever. Just take a chance and accept who you are. There are so many people in your life that love you and care for you. They'd help you in a heartbeat. It's all right to like another guy. It's all right to just be you. Relax and don't be afraid.

But if you choose to follow the path that leads to where I am now, own up to it and embrace it wholeheartedly. I am happy where I'm at in life. It's taken a long time to get there and I traveled through so much dark times, but I'm happy now. The world is beautiful and I have many friends. So, younger self, take this change that you've got and truly explore the world around you. Go to the GSA club on campus, challenge your religious beliefs, and question your political views. Our parents may not be ok with it, but that's not what matters.

As a friend of mine put it, decide what you will do today because you are the only one that must live your life. Live it, then, as you would find noble and fitting. I think that is advice to give to everyone, not just me. Don't be afraid to live. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and don't be afraid to love. Don't ever be afraid to love.

Last of all, don't be afraid to kiss a girl ;) They're hilariously fun to kiss. Just remember that life is too short to be afraid to live it. And, if necessary, go break the law and get drunk. You never know what will happen. It might be fun but it will definitely be worth it.



  1. Here's what I'd tell my younger self:

    Distrust anyone who is convinced that they "know" something... anything.

    The "safe" route is also often the most depressing and will be the least comfortable in 20 years.

    Some things cannot be controlled or micromanaged. One of those is sexual attraction. You don't get to choose what makes you "tingle." For example, even within the hetero box, some guys go wild for a woman's feet. They didn't choose that fetish and you can't create or micromanage your own desires.

    Most people already think you are gay. Those who are most invested in their own view of your world will be the least likely to help you see it... (parents, siblings).

    Nobody really admires your dedication to Mormonism. They like and admire most everything else about you, but they tolerate and accept you in spite of your Mormon background, not because of it. Don't confuse their politeness with admiration.

    The real you, which you are terrified of, is actually more interesting, more lovable and has more potential than the fake you that you so desperately are working on creating.

    Beware of false dichotomies... the idea that you can either be a worthy, happy, faithful Mormon or a gay, depressed, drug addicted felon. Try to meet individuals in both camps that defy the stereotypes. There is a LOT of ground in the middle. One can be gay, happy and "worthy".

    It seems counter-intuitive but the more punishing or restrictive you are with your natural desires, the more they will take over and command your life. Abstinence breeds obsession the same as wanton indulgence does. Learn to live with and love who you are rather than fear it. Such an approach leads to happiness.

    There is no such thing as wickedness or righteousness. There's really only wisdom and foolishness and you have to figure those out on your own. You don't learn them in a class or seminary.

    Whatever you do, don't marry and ruin some poor straight girl's life and future. Your desire for the celestial kingdom and a worthy Mormon life should not overpower the fact that that straight girl deserves her own authentic love. I mean it. It's not OK, even if you talk to her first and she still agrees to it.

    You can have kids and a family as a gay man if you REALLY want to be a father. There are ways.

    Don't focus so much on correcting your weaknesses, but focus intently on improving and polishing your strengths... that's where real life satisfaction lies, being really good at something you love.

  2. Dear Jeremy,
    I am so glad you went to BYU.