Friday, November 30, 2012

The Perfect [Wo]Man

You ever put your arms out and spin really, really fast? … Well, that’s what love is like. It makes your heart race. It turns the world upside down. But if you’re not careful, if you don’t keep your eyes on something still, you can lose your balance. You can’t see what’s happening to the people around you. You can’t see that you’re about to fall.
-Gillian Owens, Practical Magic

Once upon a time I was a little girl. I would sit with my mommy and we would watch Practical Magic. I would spin around in circles to see what it felt like to fall in love and I would dream of the perfect boy for me. When I was younger it was pure fantasy. I wouldn’t take one of the guys from class I had a crush on and mold him; I would create him. He would have dark hair and bright eyes. An exotic name. He’d wear converse and probably skate. Because those things mattered right?
At some point I grew up. My friends and I stopped joking about Build A Boyfriend Workshop and concentrated on the boys we were going to school with. However none of them were concentrating on me. But like I said I grew up, I wasn’t dreaming up boys, I was dreaming up scenarios for those boys. What my first kiss would feel like. What it would feel like to hold someone’s hand (I’m 20 and still don’t know what that is like). What it would be like when the room parted at prom and he was there waiting for me. What it would be like to be asked on a date (yea still hasn’t happened)? Yea I know… dorky as shit.
But then I hit college. All these people I didn’t know. You didn’t just crush on the kid you’ve been in the same class as forever. You had to work at it. Even at BYU they make it easier with all the shit they make you do together (FHE, Home Teaching, Church). And still I kept dreaming…

I have a journal that I keep my random thoughts in. Mostly it’s just lists. Like how many people I have kissed, the people I’ve considered kissing (substantially bigger than the first), my confessions, my quotes, my dream house, personal work philosophies, how I plan to raise my children… my hopes, dreams, and realities. One of my favorites though is the life titled “The Perfect [Wo]Man” that I’ve been working on for the past couple of months and through a series of crushes. And while it’s nice to dream of, it’s also a good reminder of the person I should try to become so I can be someone’s perfect woman.
So I’m going to try to write this list like it is in my journal because I would add random thoughts to previous entries and add emphasis. J

Can receive gifts as well as give
Not dumb but not too intellectual
Must like music
Doesn’t talk down to me
Remembers the little things
Smiles when you are on the same track
Doesn’t feel the need to clog up silence
Makes me want to be my best and that that is simply enough
Service oriented
Can handle my weirdness, sarcasm, stupid jokes, and my tendency to laugh at almost anything
Understands my spirituality
Knows I’m Pan and is happy about it
Doesn’t say “gay” or “retarded” inappropriately
Tries not to judge
Holds me
I can touch them
Not who you want to spend Friday night with, it’s who you want to spend all day Saturday with.
Is my 2AM
Texts me back (or just texts me first)
Wants to help
…Or just leaves me alone
Texts me asking about a post a minute after I post it because they pay attention to that junk

And that is it for now.


So I actually wrote this post earlier in the week (shocking I know) and now I have more to add to that list. I spent four hours just BSing with R tonight and I thought of more things…

Like I want a guy to know the color of my eyes.
Or that we can talk for hours and I still have things to say to them.
It was also great because she mentioned something that was really important to her and I was like well I have something like that. For her it was intellectual conversations and for me it was music. I don’t want to be with someone who judges me for dancing off beat or singing off key. I want to be able to reach flow at a concert and forget the words to songs and not have it be awkward. Oh and if I start crying because they just did a cover of my favorite song that reminds me of my dead grandmother they better not laugh, and they should probably pretend like they didn’t see me crying because I hate it when people can see that I have emotions… Now lately I’ve gone to more concerts and I remembered that the musical scene is a place I want to be. But I also remembered how awkward it can be to think about all the people there and how they can see you at what to me is such a personal moment. I don’t know. It was a slightly errant thought that has obviously eluded me.

Anyways. It is now way passed my bedtime and I bid you adieu. Till next week when I discuss why I quit my job I love and possible ramifications. 

As for the song. One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Turkey Day Frustrations

My sister's name: Sal

My sister's husband name: Sam

My relationship with Sal before I told her I was gay: Good

My relationship with Sam before I told him I was gay: Decent/Okay

My relationship directly after I told them I was gay: Great

My relationship now with Sal: Strained

My relationship now with Sam: Great

I mean, don't get my wrong. Sal is totally accepting I'm gay. Totally. Everything is fine. I mean, she says I don't have to be Mormon. I don't have to be straight. Sal even wants to hear about my dates with my half asian. And then, something clicked with her. I'm going to BYU. I signed an honor code. I shouldn't be dating men. I shouldn't be not Mormon. Hell, I should even quit BYU for destroying my integrity. And this is just the start.

Sal. "You know, mom has a reason to be upset you're gay. She wants to spend the rest of eternity with you, and you're choosing to not let that happen. She isn't getting what she wants." (Paraphrased)

Me. "..." (Not paraphrased)

Sal. "You're not my responsibility. My kids are though. And if one of my kids tells me their gay, I would have major problems. I want my kids to be in heaven with me. And their choice wouldn't let them be there with me." (Paraphrased)

Me. Well F*** you! (Not really said, but clearly how I felt.)

Oh. I hate contention. So, I didn't respond. Just sat back, played with her baby, gave him the love he would deserve no matter who this 3-month year old turns out to be. And listening to Sal, telling me how conditional love can be. I'm not a romantic person. I don't believe in unconditional love. But I still can't understand, I can't respect, what she is saying.

Sal goes to bed. I'm wrapped up in the book I brought. And Sam emerges from the bedroom to play games with me (Carcassonne, Word Press ect.) and to talk. He abruptly apologizes for his wife's behavior.  And he respectfully disagrees with her. Maybe he just said this stuff because I was winning all the games we played (an uncommon, but not rare, occurrence) but I think he meant it. I think I'm the same to him before and after. Thank God someone in this family of mine understands and isn't feigning/trying tolerance.

And for the record, being gay IS NOT A CHOICE. Get over it people. It simply isn't.

Short summery of my family now at this point.

Father; Knows I'm gay and largely ignores it. Relationship remains the same.

Mother. Knows I'm gay and is trying to understand. Feels like it is my right to tell everyone in the family and is prone to jumping the gun and telling people before I can. But she is trying.

Five siblings who know. Two don't care, two believe it is a choice I'm making, and one is like my father; she largely ignores it.

One sibling doesn't know. He professes his hatred of gay people. Apparently, we are the stem of all problems in America. And no one has/will tell him. Because he is a bigot, which, ironically, is a more likely cause for America's problems.

Also, I didn't post last week. If I had, though, the post would have gone something like this...

Half asian is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I want this. I want this because I'm happy with him. And don't tell him, but I have got this wonderful date planned next week of which I need several females to help me set up. And it's going to be awesome :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

bad blogger


sorry.  I was very ill last week and missed my day.  Trust me, a week without blogging makes me sad, especially when, I am assuming because of the holiday, no one else blogged all week either.  Do you know how crazy I become when I have nothing to read??!!! Especially sick, laying in bed, with absolutely no energy to do anything besides stalk blogs, facebook and twitter I was sad to not have fresh reading material.

My holiday was good.  We ate too much, didn't drink enough, and saw just the right amount of family. It was really a good weekend.  The kids went back and forth a lot between families until the weekend and then they were with my ex.  Tiff and I joined my entire family for our family trek out to Wendover.  Tiff had never been out there before.

Saturday we did our shopping, well, we started our holiday shopping.  The kids each get a want, a wear, a need and a read for christmas.  This tradition started a few years ago because the girls were so overwhelmed by opening gifts it took as a week one year to get through them.  The girls became frustrated with the opening and just wanted to PLAY with the damn toys.  So, I started the want, wear, need, read thing.  I stole it from someone else, I can't remember who so I'm sorry if they read this and need their credit.  CREDIT CREDIT CREDIT.  whew, glad that's taken care of.

So, this is how this year panned out:

Kid 1 Want: a figit ( I have NO IDEA what this is) Wear: jean skirt with a skull Need: a math book Read: The Trouble According to Humphrey

Kid 2: Want a stuffed dog, a stuff rat and a car Wear: new shoes Need: socks Read: a chapter book

Kid 3: Want: Butterscotch the talking horse Wear: a dress Need: "sum more sock" Read: Dr Seuss

I had to leave the actual spelling in there for at least one because it was pretty cute.  Apparently in our family we love skulls, and need lots of socks.  Our dryer is very hungry ;)

This year it's important to us to take the girls sub for santa shopping, or get gifts off the angel tree.  The girls have never done this where THEY pick out the gifts for the other family, although I have done it in the past in my children's names.  I think this year they are all old enough to do it themselves.  We shall see how it goes.  If anyone has suggestions I'm happy to hear them!!!

This weekend we are getting our Christmas tree.  I struggle every year, and in fact have boycotted the holiday in the past.  I don't believe in god so why am I celebrating?  I used to give gifts on New years instead of Christmas.  As I'm getting older I don't really give a damn any more.  Does this make me callous? insensitive? uncaring? I'm not quite sure.  But to be angry at the stupidity of the actual holiday, where even if you believe in a god why do we need a Santa? seems slightly exhausting.  Lets just say I'm old, eh?

Well I do believe that's enough randomness for one week.  I do have a blog in the works about my feelings on what poor junior high kids have to deal with, as well as suicide.  Hope to have it done by next week.  Until then, happy blogging and reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I had a lovely Thanksgiving Break, but I woke up this morning and lay (lied?) in bed for an hour thinking about all the things that were stressing me out. All the clutter in my head. I picture crinkled balls of paper, tangled red yarn, strips of caution tape drowning out crowds of good thoughts. Bad thoughts include and are not limited to the following:

-Going back to school tomorrow, writing three term papers, planning a lesson for my baby freshmen tomorrow
-My brother coming home from his mission in January and trying to friend me on facebook; me eventually having to explain why I've blocked and then defriended my entire family
-This time last year, when I had to write several term papers, I was more suicidal than I've been in the whole last year, and it was basically hell, and I'm starting to get worried about that happening again
-I have to go to therapy on Tuesday (well, I mean, I don't have to go....I'm the one who made the appointment), and therapy is helpful but also stressful and what are we going to talk about and how much am I going to cry
-Thanksgiving is over and wasn't too terrible with my family, but now I have Christmas to worry about, and for Christmas Break I actually have to stay at my house, instead of this break where I only had to be there for three hours on Thanksgiving

And so on and so forth. It was not very restful. 

In contrast, Thanksgiving Break was lovely. I watched three Harry Potter movies and a ridiculously adorable adaptation of Snow White, tried to catch up on Once Upon a Time (I am now officially on episode 8...of season one), and spent one whole remarkable day just reading my favorite Harry Potter book (which is the fourth, which is THE BEST ONE OKAY except for the seventh and okay possibly the third). I graded student papers and read one essay for class. It was the best five days of the entire semester.

School is hard. Grad school is harder, and grad school at BYU is the hardest. I'm just throwing that out there. I guess the light at the end of the tunnel is that there are only two more weeks of actual school. Two weeks of writing papers, staying up late, frantically cramming, planning a final for my poor hapless students. I'm hoping I can keep the suicidality down this time around, but I'm not sure how. I guess that's what I can talk about at therapy tomorrow. In the meantime, I think I'll keep focusing on my good old Harry Potter books, watch the sporadic tv show, and maybe kick of my Sailor Moon rewatch:

Sailor Moon is the best, and don't try to deny it. 

Otherwise, there are still helpful quotes to read when I start having existential crises about faith and God and religion and the future, including this one:

“…through all our lives we are faced with the task of reconciling opposites, which, in logical thought, cannot be reconciled… do it by bringing into the situation a force that belongs to a higher level where opposites are transcended – the power of love… Divergent problems, as it were, forces us to strain ourselves to a level above ourselves; they demand, and thus provoke the supply of forces from a higher level, thus bringing love, beauty, goodness and truth into our lives. It is only with the help of these higher forces that the opposites can be reconciled in the living situation.”
~ E. F. Schumacher

And maybe by rewatching Beasts of the Souther Wild, which was the best thing to come out this last year. Here's the gorgeous clip I'm showing my little BYU students tomorrow

And, as always, here's the poem of the week. Not a happy poem, but a beautiful one, and I find solace in the strength of words. I hope it helps in the coming weeks.

There was a point in our lives

where if I slit my throat, it was you who would bleed.
You say goodbye too often in autumn.
Tonight the last leaf fell off the tree beyond my bedroom window,

and I could hear the sound of branches aching for love to wrap

around their leaves like limbs.
It was three a.m. in the last stretch of May.

Springtime calls for heartbeat symphonies

and when we pressed our bodies together they coincided like

chords, like staccatos when I ran my hand down

your spine.
Fog is one of the top reasons that drivers get killed each year.
In the backseat of my car we almost caused

the hundredth casualty,

but all I got were bruises in the shape of apologies

along my thighs.
There are certain people who leave scars when they go.
Tonight I cut my thumb while I was peeling an apple.

I thought of you.
A Rendition of Autumn, Shinji Moon 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Fire In You

Mostly I remember how cold it was. There was no moon, just stars and snow everywhere. We drove into the mountains in his car, which was not as junky as mine, and he told me about his family and cancer and crashes. I told him about my study abroad and books and family and felt young.
We talked until the cocoa was cold. We talked until the cab was cold. We talked until my fingers were cold. Driver side, passenger side. My chest was burning from how close he was, how long we’d been there alone far away from everything. I stepped outside for a minute to see my breath in the air and stretch and look around, and then we drove back into Provo. We didn’t touch.
When You Were Young came on the radio and we sang along. For a couple of years I thought about him every time I heard that song. I tried to keep in touch, but he didn’t so much. I don’t think about him when I hear it anymore, except tonight.


I don’t want to say to myself, “You’ll never touch someone with that fire in you.”
If I believed in Mormonism then maybe I could say it, but I still wouldn’t want to. So tonight, writing this, I want to say I’m thankful I don’t believe in Mormonism. Life would be so much more difficult if I did. Maybe disbelief is a mercy from God.


My mom and dad have visited me here in Japan a few times. My dad is retired Air Force, so we can go on any of the several military bases around Kanagawa. One day we went on a Navy base so I could eat Taco Bell again (so bad, so good . . . ) and exactly as we walked through the gate and down the street I felt like I belonged there. It occurred to me that with DADT out of the picture, I actually could join the military. (If you’ve read my last few posts you understand why I had never considered it with DADT in force.)
Now I’ve been researching it for more than a year. I’ve been working with an officer recruiter for the past few months, with slow progress because he’s in Guam. Several times I’ve had attacks of “Are you sure you want to do this thing? Those contracts are awfully long.” and every time I’ve been able to meditate and decide that yes, I do. Briefly: After significant research, I still believe military service is meaningful and worthwhile. I want the military to be the community that replaces Mormonism. The regimented, frequently shaken up lifestyle doesn’t suit everyone, but it suits me, especially the Navy's variety. Through OutServe, I’ve talked with several gay servicemembers who say that the military’s homophobic reputation is 70 percent outdated.
The test, which was like a small SAT, was the first step. If I passed (I’d be surprised if I didn’t), there are about three months to do a small mountain of paperwork before the next hiring board.


This week, I’m going to turn twenty-four.


Ryan beat me to the video that’s made me laugh the most recently, but this is also good.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Really I should be writing about all the things I’m thankful for but where is the creativity in that? I had figured that I would be writing this post in Oregon.
Maybe in a loft apartment in Portland, listening to the cars and people outside. Maybe I would sit outside of the Starbucks in Pioneer Square and watch the workers decorate the Christmas tree to light up tonight. Maybe I would have been in an apartment in Beaverton, watching some old pals get drunk just to survive the holidays. Maybe I would have been in an old house next to a wood stove, curled up in a blanket with cocoa, listening to the rain pound on the roof. Maybe I would be on the old school swing set, maybe walking around the lake, maybe eating egg drop soup at the old Chinese restaurant. Maybe as I sat in the crumbling swing under my grandmother’s forgotten grape vines. Maybe if I walked through the tall grass of another abandoned house that I once called home.
Maybe if I was a thousand miles I would know what to say, what to think, how to act.
I’ve thought for so long that everything would be okay if I was just home. But this week I made the decision to stay in Utah instead of going to Oregon. I had the opportunity and it was all planned out but I bailed the last minute. I knew going home would be a bad idea.
So I stayed and now this will turn into a thankful post. All the things that I’m thankful for that wouldn’t have happened had I gone home.
I wouldn’t have had some much needed time to myself.
I wouldn’t have finished that project for my religion class.
I wouldn’t have started watching Grey’s Anatomy.
I wouldn’t have been here when an old friend decided to call out of the blue and invite me to spend time with her. I wouldn’t have been able to see her laugh, something I’ve missed lately.
I wouldn’t have been gone to Gilgal garden and City Creek for the first time.
I wouldn’t have met R’s family.
I wouldn’t have acquired two coconut cream pies in 24 hours. I don’t even like coconut. But I ended up with two and successfully pawned them off.
I wouldn’t have found out that an old acquaintance was gay (and padded my gaydar reliability).
I wouldn’t have hung out with some peeps from USGA and ate taste bud changing lime pie.
I wouldn’t have had the revelation that I completely mind-fucked a friend from high school and left him scarred until I ridiculously apologized for it last night.
At some point when I was lonely last weekend I was complaining about not going home. I mentioned that the decision was right but the consequences sucked. Looking back, the consequences weren’t too terrible.

Song of The Week
And just as I was all content with being away from my family and change and all that jazz I remembered my grandmother and how I had successfully forgotten her the entire day. Thanksgiving was always her day. So now I’m crying because of the injustice of a broken family and all that. I need to get back to the mindset where I was happy to be here… Anyways every Thanksgiving we would listen to this song. It didn’t matter where we were or if we were traveling I have heard this song every year on this day for most of my life. So instead of coconut cream pie, here is a slice of my childhood. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Stereotypical Gay Man Will Marry Your Girlfriend

Deny gay men the right to marry each other? Fine, straight guys, they'll just marry your girlfriends. This is the argument that the last CollegeHumor video makes. I've seen countless Facebook posts linking this video; it's gone viral fast. And while the video garners support for same sex marriage in a funny and thought provoking way, the video isn't flawless. Perhaps I'm not too fond of the stereotypes of gay men that the video reinforces, such as gay men having the perfect bodies, being fashionable, enthusiastic about visual artistry, etc. And I'm not even addressing the "gay best friend" role gay men are often cast into with their female friends.

But despite these irritations, the video is still an effective way to raise support for same sex marriage and presents an interesting solution: don't want to lose your girlfriend? Get rid of the [threatening] competition by allowing them to marry one another. Because if you can't do it out of the kindness and decency of your heart, maybe the threat of losing your beloved girlfriend to another, more qualified man will change your mind.

Watch the video HERE.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Guilt and Shame

This week I've been thinking about the difference between guilt and shame. My therapist tells me there is a difference. Guilt, she says, can be healthy--I feel guilty that I yelled at my cousin, or I feel guilty that I made my boyfriend feel bad. But shame is negative. Shame is self-hatred. Shame is despair and loathing and imposed by society and other people.

The thing is, I don't know how to tell the difference. Shame rings in my head. It's a harsh word. It pings and cuts. But guilt is deep and hollow. Guilt doesn't drive me towards anything--apology, change. Guilt sits like a pit in my stomach. A peach pit, say, wrinkled and brown, squeezed down my esophagus and stewing in my gut. Guilt is the way I was raised (not intentionally, no, but I was young and obsessive and it seeped into my brain like orange juice). Guilt is the way I defined myself, what decided my actions. Should I read my scriptures for a half hour a day? If not, I'll feel too guilty to sleep. (This was often tricky, since I was OCD; the New Testament has such short books, but I couldn't move onto another book once I finished a certain book in the same night, so I just had to read the same verses over and over and over and over again until the time was up.) Did I snap at my brother? Yes, I feel guilty, and I have to keep leaving my room and apologizing over and over and over again until my mom snaps at me to stop, okay, we get it.

The notion that guilt can be healthy isn't new--I remember the seminary video starring Aaron Eckhart, the groom of a despoiled bride who didn't want to cancel her wedding because she felt "the shame of the world." Not until she felt the "shame before the Lord" could she repent and move towards a temple wedding again. Strangely enough, that video didn't do a lot of good--it sparked a thirteen-year-old panic about canceling a wedding the day before and the shame of having everyone know you'd done something wrong, even though the point of the video was to teach us that if we feel embarrassed, we're just being wordly--we need to feel guilty about hurting God's feelings and breaking his commandments, not about calling all of our invitees and un-inviting them because, oops, we're whores!

Anyway, I'm still working on figuring out the difference. It's okay to feel guilty if I do something that hurts someone else, as long as that guilt is healthy--inspires me to action or apology (not excessive apology, that compulsive habit of my childhood self). Shame is a more ambiguous concept, which makes it harder to figure out how to eliminate. The only thing I can think to do, now, to counteract it, is to speak positively to myself and others: You look fine today. In spite of arguments to the contrary, suicidality is not a sin. This is not your fault. There are good things about you.

I once had to make a list of the things I liked about myself for a Women's Health class (which, tangentially, I took my senior year of college and which was my first introduction to birth control, pregnancy, and what the hell menstruation actually is--all good facts that should never be denied to ANY woman, including girls who grow up in Provo. Thanks, Utah's educational system!). First I had to list ten things I liked about my appearance. Then I had to list ten things I liked about myself--my character, my personality. It was surprisingly, shockingly, embarrassingly hard. Which only served to make me more depressed, of course. But it was a good lesson for me to learn. In order to eliminate all that excess shame that society and family and random acquaintances and kids from high school on my facebook wall and even I pour all over myself like hot tar, like wax, like eggs pelted from a car window, I should spend some time each day thinking of things I like about myself. Try to chip away at the icy cave I sometimes feel I've sealed myself away in, severing myself away from myself and the good things in life that I love and like, and the people I care about.

Anyway, if any of you have insights about the difference between guilt and shame, I'd love to hear them. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. Have a lovely week, everyone, and a fun Thanksgiving. I wish my aunt's A-MA-ZING mashed potatoes on you all!

The poem of the week is for those of you, who, like me, suffer from SAD--Seasonal Affective Disorder--that is slowly settling on us all as the November gloom descends. Emily Dickinson gets us.

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons – 
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes – 

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us – 
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are – 

None may teach it – Any – 
'Tis the Seal Despair – 
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air – 

When it comes, the Landscape listens – 
Shadows – hold their breath – 
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death – 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Closet Muzzle

Not done talking about coming out.
BYU. October 2008. Walking past “Yes on 8” booths in the Wilk every day, wrapped up in layers and layers of clothing because my hatred of cold is a well-documented and immutable fact. There was no snow on the ground, but the trees were bare and the sky was gray and mostly I kept my head down and shrunk in on myself as I walked past the booths.
One day I came up from the basement where the counseling center is and the first thing I saw was “Yes on 8.” I walked up to the blonde who was handing out fliers and I said “I know you have your reasons for what you’re doing, but I want you to know it hurts me and people like me a lot.” I don’t remember how she answered. I don’t know if she ever thought about what I’d said after I walked away. To be honest, I don’t care.
My counselor and I had been talking about feeling muzzled in the church and at the university, like it wasn’t acceptable for me to say what I thought, and the important thing that happened that day happened inside my head. Something shifted there. The muzzle snapped and my quiet, calm, hurt little nineteen-year-old voice popped out and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. It was my whole most important thing and—again!—it didn’t matter whether hearing it changed anything for the listener. Once I’d said it, I could say it again, and I could say other true things, and the hurt shifted.
When you’re in the closet, see, the first pain come from being alone and unheard and unable to speak. Everything else, every discrimination and insult, is secondary to that fact, that first limit inside your skull, and as long as the closet muzzle is there, there’s only little little little you can do about the rest.
I shed that back in 2008. I spoke and spoke and spoke and in fact probably spoke more than I should have, but sometimes we go a little crazy with freedom.
 When I first got to Japan, I didn’t feel muzzled. I just didn’t speak. The problem is that over time the muscles atrophied, or the muzzle grew back, or . . . something. When that kid said what he said, I wanted to say something but didn’t-couldn't, and that scared me. Now I feel like it’s a choice again.
I do wonder if it’s just laziness. I do wonder if I’d feel stronger if I chose differently.


About a committed relationship. I was thinking about this because the friend who was visiting last week is a bit more than just a friend. At one time, years ago, there was an alternate future in my head that involved us getting married and starting a family. 
The thing is, being here with him was wonderful, but that I-want-to-be-with-you-always feeling isn’t there anymore. We’re different people than we were, and I think we both like our current selves better than the people we were. I at least am acres of rolling green hills happier with now me than I was with then-me. If we’d gotten together in college, I think being in a relationship would have stifled a lot of these good changes. You can't just move to Seattle / New York / Japan when you're in a relationship. Cross-country road trips are harder to coordinate. Poverty's harder to ignore.
We'd've grown in other ways, I'm sure, but I wonder if I'd like that me better.  If you’re having similar thoughts about making decisions and giving up lives that could be, you might enjoy this exquisite essay.


This week, I’m going to take the officer aptitude test for the Navy. I'll probably want to say something about the military next Saturday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dr. Pepper, No Ice, One straw

Somehow today I ended up with a blade to my wrist. I don’t really know. But I set it down, asked myself what the fuck I was doing, called myself an idiot and that was it. And while I was procrastinating this post I thought of all the things I’ve done since then.

I put on a dress and liquid eyeliner and felt awesome. 
I made dank salted caramel hot cocoa for my best friend to make her feel better.
I ran into an old friend that I never see on campus.
I launched a service organization that will hopefully actually make a difference. 
I expressed my appreciation for my favorite professor and mechanic.
I realized that R and I are very drink compatible. Dr. Pepper with no ice and a straw for me and she drinks from the cup. I also plucked the tomatoes out of my Crunchwrap Supreme simply because of the advice of a former Taco Bell worker and because it made R laugh.
I discussed how boys are idiots while Quit Playing Games With My Heart by Backstreet Boys was on the radio.
I DTRed with R and she finally officially friendzoned me. :P

I watched Wreck It Ralph which is a surprisingly amazing movie. Very quotable.
I thought of all the things I have to look forward to and none of them are being dead.  

And so because it hasn’t happened in far too long…. SONG OF THE WEEK! 
Besides the three mentioned above (3OH!3 and Mumford and Sons) I’ve been hooked on some old Alanis tunes. That woman is a BADASS! Anyways... I kind of love this song of her's and I had never heard it until I went and downloaded some of her albums. It just is a reminder of who I am and whom I strive to be.

“I'm secure and out of me, it's hard to get a rise 
I'm not jealous 
I don't get moved by much 
I'm not enraged 
Not insecure as such 
Not going insane 
Rational stays in touch 
Doth I protest too much?”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get Your Gay T-shirts!!!

Hi Everyone!
Thanks for reading.

Just so you know there is an awesome little thing in the side bar ------------->>>----------------------->>>>
Where you can order an "I'm Okay if You're Gay" T-shirt for your very own to love and cherish and wear all the time.

There are different sizes to choose from, so get them right now!
Show your support for the gays in your community!


Everyone who orders a t-shirt also get's a hand-drawn picture by me! I'll even sign it, so when I become famous you'll have my autograph :)

~live your own truth~

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My First Political Post! (Sort Of)

What is the most beautiful part of America?

We could say its economy. We are number 1! But I don't know if that is beautiful...

We could say our investments into science, technology, the whole lot. But that doesn't work. In our public educational system, we actually have science standards lower than most "Western" Countries. America doesn't seem to want to educate on science quite as much. Source:

So, no, I wouldn't go with any of those. Instead I will go with our diversity. Guys, do you realize that for the FIRST time, we have elected our first lgbt representitives including a bisexual, non-theist woman? A gay man of color? A Buddhist and a couple of Hindu people? America really is growing!!!!  And if you guys want a nice pic...

 Who thought America would start putting these people in congress? And who would think a drain would make a perfect eye? P.S. Tif, if you still read these, you should make this my new picture. I'm kind of obsessed.

Guys, I don't understand why people are intolerant. And I hate that people have to be put under that scrutiny. I don't know. I'm just glad that I don't have to go through that (mostly). The worst I have to put up with is my grandmother announcing to the family that she doesn't like me. (Same grandmother who previously announced her dislike for my mother.) Find people out there who are understanding, who like you for you. Obviously, there are MANY people out there who LOVE the LGBT community. (Again, look at the voting status of our last election). I've gone through people at BYU who know I'm gay, know a little about my views on the church, and still hang out with me. *Evil Kim! This is a shout out to you!* (And her name is Evil Kim because my best friend's name is Kim and Evil Kim was the first nickname that came along). Guys, press forward. Find people. And most of all, enjoy life. You deserve to.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the average day

I'm tired.

No really.  Beyond tired.

Fatigued all the way to my very bones.

The average day...

Wake up at 6 am.

Send Tiff to shower while I pretend I'm still sleeping.

Tiff gets out..

I get in.

7am kids alarm goes off.

This means nothing about actually getting them up.  Just makes it loud.

Start cajoling three kids out of bed.

One kid gets herself dressed but comes in for opinions.

Kid 2 wants me to hold out clothing options and help her decide.

Kid 3 wants options and needs help getting dressed.

7:30 2/3 kids dressed the last kid is somewhere inbetween.  2 kids starting breakfast.

7:45 Getting 3rd kid to table starting spelling homework with kid 2 who of course didn't have time to get it done last night

7:55 reminding 3 kids to go to the bathroom

Somewhere in there I have done all 3 sets of hair do's

Brush at least one set of teeth if not all 3, and try to remember my own

8:00-8:15 gets shoes, coats, backpacks say goodbye go to work, Tiff takes 3 kids to school

work. all day.

get off work.

pick kids up.

start the argument over homework. Do 3 different homework assignments.  spelling, writing, reading, math...sometimes science.  Then we have multiplication flash cards to do.

dinner needs to be made, cleaned up.

arguments over whats for dinner, yes you do have to eat it.

oh, shower time for kids.... that was in there somewhere

violin practicing

piano practicing

help kids brush hair and teeth.

bed time stories

somedays we have therapy for kid 3, and rock climbing thrown in

oh yeah, someone gets to feed the pets twice a day too.

then there's the laundry.

I think I cleaned the bathroom last week sometime.... ;)

empty the dishwasher, start the dishwasher.

8:30 pm round up kids and convince them they do want to go to sleep.

8:30-8:45 lights out.

8:45-9:00 try to have an adult conversation with Tiff

9:00-9:30 continue reminding kid 1 that she does need to sleep and stop reading in her bed.

9:30 check on all kids make sure they have their covers on.

10:00 fall into bed with a big sigh.........

Yup.  I'm pretty average.  The straight folks don't have a thing on me. ;)

Did I mention I'm tired?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Young Girls, Find Love or Fail at Life. Best, Society.

It is a chilly November evening. You bundle up, fashion your scarf into the best Parisian knot possible, slip into your favorite loafers, and head out the door. You decide to grace the local Vons with your presence, strolling down each aisle with your friends in pursuit of food for your bare apartment. After the fruitful journey and success in avoiding buying anything from the dessert aisle, you reach the checkout stand, only to have this glaring you down:

(Image courtesy of Us Weekly Magazine)

Goodbye lovely evening, hello anger.

Taylor Swift is a popular country/pop singer. She burst onto the music scene in 2006 at the tender of age of 17, and America is still watching her grow up at the current age of 22. To today’s generation, she is what Shania Twain was to the 1990s. Most prominent about Swift is her huge fan base of teenaged girls. The tone of this Us Weekly cover was too shameful and negative for me to tune out. I was concerned about the labels stamped upon Swift and what it said not just about her dating life, but also her as a person. Most of all, I worried about what message this sent to her young female fans.

Upon first glancing at the cover, “why she can’t find love” stands out in its big, bold font. This simple phrase carries with it many heavy connotations. For one, it speaks to societal expectations set forth for women, a concept Deborah Tolman covers in her book “Dilemmas of Desire.” It has become socially expected for women to be in pursuit of love and achieving that accomplishment, rather than have casual relationships or sexual encounters. The line “why she can’t find love” endorses the idea that in order to be successful, girls need to find love. Moreover, it shames Swift for dating so many men and being unable to “find love” with any of them, suggesting that she is failing or doing something wrong. Both lines of thinking couldn’t be more harmful to young girls and women.

Swift’s perceived failure is echoed in the cover’s mentioning of how she “repeats the same mistakes.” This gets readers to believe that in her relationships, Swift is doing something wrong. In reality, what does Us Weekly, or any consumers of popular culture, actually know what goes on between two celebrities outside of the spotlight and behind closed doors? Moreover, “repeats the same mistakes” echoes earlier ideas that something is wrong with Swift. It suggests she is continually doing wrong and unable to change her ways, forever doomed in not being able to achieve love. While the cover deems her dating methods wrong, the cover hints that there’s something even more wrong with Swift internally and being unable to find love. Who’s to say that Swift wasn’t able to find what she wanted with any of the men she’s dated, or vice versa?

It is no secret that Taylor Swift’s dating life has been highlighted in the public spotlight. Paparazzi have detailed the many guys she dates, and her breakups are popular subjects of songs she writes. Fame and being a celebrity depletes Swift’s chances of what the average person has for a relationship; the demanding career of a celebrity and the lack of privacy are crippling issues in a relationship, such that a “normal relationship” may not be a reasonable expectation. And while she has dated men that I may not have, it’s ultimately her life and her lessons in love that she needs to learn for herself. Who are we to condemn her for just trying to date and discover what she likes and needs in a partner? I find it more ludicrous that Swift, at the incredibly young age of 22, is already being pressured to find her true love. Many are still trying to grow, figure out who they are as individuals, and assimilate into the adult world at 22. For these people, how is it reasonable to keep and sustain a long lasting relationship when they’re not even sure where life’s journey will take them?  

While the cover of Us Weekly was unflattering for Taylor Swift, my primary concern is for her young female fan base and women in general. The cover did nothing but shame Swift for her dating life and stigmatize her, making it seem like something is wrong with her. This sends out a negative message to women that one must achieve love in order to be successful, and failing to do so means there is something wrong with oneself. I even felt insecure about my own dating from seeing this cover. In reality, finding love and being able to keep it is a difficult aspect of life that few are able to accomplish. All of us, men and women, should focus on establishing the best version of ourselves as individuals, and let the chips fall where they may. And at all costs, never let a gossip magazine judge, shame, or reduce us as people.

(My current favorite song of Taylor Swift, from her recently released album “Red.”)

I've been spending the last 8 months/Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end/But on a Wednesday in a cafe, I watched it begin again.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pomegranate Musings

Yesterday I peeled my first pomegranate of the season.

I love pomegranates. For us in the Northern hemisphere, they're winter fruits. Apparently they're native to Iran and Iraq--Middle Eastern fruits. For those of you who have (alas!) never peeled a pomegranate, it's a messy, bloody process--the seeds don't stain like beet juice does, but they still stain pretty thoroughly. Peeling a pomegranate is tricky; as you can see, the tiny ruby seeds are encased in layers of yellow pitch. They remind me of beehives for some reason. Sometimes you have to claw the seeds out with your fingernails. Yesterday I kept finding hollows flooded with red seeds tucked in hidden places in the inedible flesh.

I like the shape of pomegranates. I like that they feel weighty in your hand. I like ripping them apart and and shucking the juicy seeds. I like their weird little pointed cap on top of their round red heads.

Don't they look funny?

Pomegranates play a crucial role in Greek mythology: when Hades kidnaps Persephone, daughter of Demeter, Zeus tells Demeter that her daughter will be able to escape the underworld as long as she doesn't eat anything. However, Persephone is tempted by a single pomegranate seed, which dooms her to spend half the year underground with Hades. In modern narratives, Persephone is associated with rape and kidnapping and trauma, the archetypal abused woman; in a "find your inner goddess" quiz for a new age-y women's literature class, I was Persephone. Everyone who got Aphrodite was embarrassed.

I peel my pomegranates in a bowl of lukewarm water. My dad told me once that peeling them underwater made the seeds easier to rip from the pith, and he was right. I ruined a phone once that way--I tried to text a friend with my slick pomegranate-stained hands in between plunging them into water to tear the fruit apart. The water slowly seeped through the phone's core until it rotted away.

Yesterday I was thinking about how peeling pomegranates makes me feel like I'm discovering something--thoughts, or secrets. The yellowy gray matter makes me think I could be looking at an artistically rendered brain, the pith the muscle, the seeds thoughts rubied and made flesh. Or, I thought, is this an invasion? Am I tearing, ripping, dissecting, gutting? The metaphors started mixing, and I couldn't figure out which one best fit.

Perhaps neither worked. Sometimes metaphor is too vague and imprecise and dramatizes real life unnecessarily. So maybe I should just come out and say it instead of speaking in pomegranate metaphors: today, like the protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I am both happy and sad and trying to figure out how that could be. I'm stressed about finals and papers and church and going home for dinner, but I'm listening to Christmas music and eating pomegranates and fascinated with the play of purple and green nail polish on my fingers against my black keyboard. I'm reading poetry books and wearing fuzzy blue socks. Like the pomegranate, I'm a paradox: bisexual and Mormon. Happy and sad. Anxious and okay. Love Christmas but confused about God. Atheist and believing. Sometimes one dominates more than the other. These parts of me aren't necessarily contradictory (unless someone tries to make them paradoxical--like I do, sometimes, or like the often-oppressive nature of Utah Valley). The pomegranate can stand for both things at the same time--destruction and rebirth. Life and decay. A red, beating heart and a plucked one spurting blood. Both broken and okay.

Those are my thoughts on this sunny wintery day. I'm watching the sun settle on our snow-clad, orange-leaved tree, waiting for my brother to pick me up for dinner, and I'm both happy and sad. And the untouched pomegranates shake and settle in my fridge, waiting for tomorrow.

Now that I've been long-winded enough, I'll let Eavan Boland, an Irish poet, sum everything up for me via poetry. Have a lovely week, everyone.

The Pomegranate

The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere.  And have.
As a child in exile in
a city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted.  Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
                    It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The pomegranate!  How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and 
the noise of stone and the proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry.  I could warn her.  There is still a chance.
The rain is cold.  The road is flint-coloured.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world.  But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.  
She will enter it.  As I have.
She will wake up.  She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips.  I will say nothing.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

When People Know

Nobody told me The Book Thief was a holocaust book. I resent it a little. Holocaust literature isn’t something you just drop on people, no warning, no chance to brace themselves. It’s worse because I was gifted my copy on the Kindle, so there were no back cover hints. I just started reading and then I was in WWII Germany.
You should read it. (Mild spoilers below.) It’s soul crushing in a different way than Fugitive Pieces or The Boy In the Striped Pajamas. It’s stylistically playful in ways Night or The Diary of Anne Frank can’t touch. It made me cry on the train home from work.
At one point the main characters, Germans, hide a Jew. A German Jew. Somehow before this book it hadn’t hit me how many German Jews there were when Hitler rose to power—how anti-Jew policies had cropped up when Jews were right there, living in the open in German cities, even serving in German armies in WWI. You can see where I’m going with this, I hope.
I’m not an alarmist. I don’t think an American gay holocaust is in the offing, and although I believe it could happen here, I also believe it won’t. The point is, though, that in The Book Thief the Germans who were willing to shelter this Jew, and to stand up how and when they could for other Jews, were the people who knew them personally. Knew them as people. Not abstraction, not other, not propaganda caricatures. In the wake of my last post, of course I’m thinking of this in terms of coming out.
See, once I came out to my parents and then years later when I made it clear I was done with the church, it wasn’t just The Gays out there agitating like they do. It was their little boy. It’s his loves and hopes and dreams. The members of my parents’ ward don’t dare speak unthinkingly about The Gays because that’s Matthew, the sweet little guy who used to babysit our kids and raise the American flag at the Fourth of July pancake breakfast. (It’s also Phaedra, the relief society president’s / two-cycles-back bishop’s daughter. Happy memory: Phaedra and I once went door to door as Mary and Joseph at a ward event.)
This is one reason why coming out is so important. People who know us as we are don’t accept propaganda so easily. People who know us as we are are no longer able to sit comfortably and condemn The Gays down in San Francisco. They have to think twice before writing off that group of Others because now it includes people who maybe aren’t so other after all.
Maybe this doesn’t even need to be said, but it seemed important to me on the train today that it was the personal connection with Jews that enabled the main characters of The Book Thief to hold on to their humanity when everyone around them was letting theirs slip away. The more people come out, the more people know about the gay people in their lives, the harder it will be to turn the rest of the population against us.
I wish we were at a point where I felt silly for worrying about a thing like that, but I’m Californian and Prop 8 was just four years ago. DADT was repealed and there were some lovely marriage-related results in the last election, but DOMA is still entrenched, with certain substantial forces looking to make it permanent. It’s only been in my lifetime that “sodomy” was decriminalized in the last fourteen states, and many of those laws are technically still on the books. I know how quickly policy can retrench—have you seen pictures of 1970s Iran?—and I know how little say I might have in that retrenchment.
I guess what I’m saying is that I miss being surrounded by people who would hide me—or stand beside me—in the event of some kind of gay extermination order. _Or_ a zombie apocalypse. One is more plausible than the other, but the people I’d want to be with are the same.


On that note, I decided. On Monday I found out I would be recording a listening test with that one boy’s teacher—a perfect, private opportunity to talk with him about this. During my lunch break I wrote out what I would say (in cursive, which is like a secret code) and then rewrote it and then practiced it in my head. I felt great about it. A little heady.
Then we were alone in the recording room, and I knew I wouldn’t tell him.
Last week’s lion-and-handcart speech is still true. I just plain did not want that man to know I’m gay. I don’t think I’ll be coming out to anyone new in the months before I leave this country. I still believe it’s damaging, but I think it’s mitigated by having made a conscious decision to not share that part of myself. It helps that it’s limited to the circumstances of working here in Japan, where I’ll be for less than half a year more. It helps that I have Facebook and Skype and a lively correspondence with people who do know that part of me, and even a handful of people who come across the planet and spend time with me.
It’s not perfect, but I’m satisfied with my decision.


This week, I’m going to think about what it might be like to be in a committed relationship.


This post comes to you from Kyoto, Japan, where I spent the entire day being a tourist with an old friend. We wandered in circles this morning, but eventually we found our way to Kiyomizudera, a temple on a hill—thus, this picture.
I feel so happy.

*post by Matt*