Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Living Love Story

We are the anguish and the trial. We are the joy and the hope. We are the example. We are the impossibility. We are the one-in-a-million.

We are young. Too young, some might say. Not so young as we were, though. We have grown old. Our eyes are weary as we look backwards into the light. And surely our eyes will continue to dim as the years pass. We are so young now. We must be very young. Very young to be so full of hope. Hope is all we have sometimes.

We fit all the descriptors, all the markers you must fill. Troubled pasts, secrets, mystery. The bill is there and we fit it perfectly. Running from who we were. Starting over. For some reason in the stories you never see them cry over their past. In the stories it's easy to say good riddance and cast it all off, not a second glance. Don't the people in the stories have mothers? And fathers? Mommies who they cried out for in the night and Daddies who taught them every important lesson in the world? In the stories they leave everything. Good riddance. And it is easier to head forward than backward. They never cry. Or if they do, they only cry once.

We are real. We are two people who exist, who have friends, who have lives. We aren't on a screen or a page. We're your friends. But the way it works is a story. It's a tragedy at times and sometimes it's so funny. We cry from the sorrow and we cry from the joy. And the emotions are so intense that it has the power to bring you, the onlooker, into our emotions and you will cry will us.

And so it is a love story.

All the great love stories have those tears in them. The why is this unfair tears and the why is this so beautiful tears. And you cry because it's not just this life of someone else it's because you see a little bit of yourself somewhere in that love story, or a little bit of what you hope is yourself. And we are the living love story. They so eagerly follow us and hold us up to those around them, see who my friends are! And they cry at our injustice. They fall over themselves with our joy. Because our joy is their joy. Because it is a love story.

But all the parts that make a love story are so hard to live. You cry because you're sad for them. But when it is you, when you're crying because it is hurting you, it is a million times the worse. You cry so that it shakes your body, shakes your whole world. You cry when nobody's looking. You cry so many more times than would ever be on a screen or on a page. Because the full tragedy of it, that's not something you can knowingly give to another person. That's not fair.

We are the hope for the future. We're the light, the here and the now. We are a love story, living and breathing. And we will be one of the ones that makes you cry at the end because you're happy.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

It Gets Better? Really?

The "It Gets Better" campaign is doing a really wonderful thing. I really believe that. It's clear with the number of gay suicides we're hearing about (and what about the ones we don't hear about? The ones that aren't publicized? Or the ones where nobody knew he was gay?) that this is something that needs to be happening right now.

But I find the campaign kind of frustrating at times.

People bullying you at school? It'll be okay. Someday you'll get a job and you'll make real friends who are nice and not bullies. Besides bullies just bully you to feel better about themselves. Feel alone? You're not alone, promise. And look, we're all in adorable relationships and are super successful now and some of us have cute kids!

Which is great and all.

But have you noticed that the people in the videos never really talk about their parents?

So what about if your friends are super supportive, you go to a school where you can be really open without fear, you have a beautiful girlfriend, you're smart and on track to be successful, you're confident...and the only source of sadness in your life is the knowledge that your parents will not and cannot accept you?

They never seem to talk about that.

When your father says the words, "I love you and I will always love you, but I cannot support the choices you're making right now. This is a path that only leads to darkness and sadness." When he can't say the word "gay" or "homosexual" or even your girlfriend's name out loud.

They don't talk about what it's like to know that someday you will have to choose whether to go to a family event or to pretend you're not happily married while you're there. Because bullies might go away. But your family? You don't leave your family behind.

They just might leave you behind.

So does it get better? I don't know. I wanted to believe for so long that it would. But now I'm not so sure. Christmas morning with my family and us as a couple is such a beautiful dream, but I think it will only ever be a dream. A dream I shouldn't have because it just makes me sad to dream it. It builds false hopes. I keep hoping that it'll "get better" and I've put so much stock behind this idea that "it gets better" and I think...I think it's time to give up that dream.

I think it's time to accept that it getting better depends on what "it" is.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Part With The First Prayer

Holy shit.

I was finally alone.

What had just happened?

I had just kissed a girl. Three times. I told her that I had feelings for her. I was trying to deny that those feelings existed. What was I going to do?

I couldn't do this. No. The church was too important to me. I loved God and I knew that he loved me and this thing...whatever it was...this was not what God wanted for me. God wanted me to find a nice boy and go to the temple and have a great life that was slightly unconventional but was righteous and good.

Kissing girls was not righteous and good.

Okay it was good.

No. Stoppit.

My mind was in a million places. I couldn't even feel my body and I didn't know what I was doing or who I was. In a literal and metaphorical sense.

What are we going to do? we kept asking each other.

I finally fell to my knees. And the words that I prayed shocked me.

Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for bringing Doricha into my life. Thank you for letting her like me. Thank you for letting this happen. Thank you for her. Thank you for making her. She's so incredible, Father. Thank you for tonight. I know you don't like it. I'm sorry about that. I'll try to fix it. But thank you so much. Thank you.


For several months after that very first night with Doricha, I prayed every single night (I was never ever good about morning prayers, I am NOT a morning person). Every. Night. I didn't know if I wanted to be in the church anymore. I didn't know if I believed in God anymore. Not because of Doricha...but it was stuff that had been there for a long time, stuff that was bubbling to the surface.

But I kept praying.

And it was always so much the same.

Thank you for letting me love her, Father. Thank you for bringing her into my life. Thank you for letting her love me. I'm sorry, I know this isn't what you want. But she makes me so happy, Father. I am so happy with her.


I poured my soul out to God in so much the same way that I did when I was happy over the good Mormon boy I met at EFY.

I am so happy, Father. I know this is not what you want. But I love her so much and I am so happy. Thank you for letting us be together. Thank you so much.


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Monday, September 5, 2011

One Sentence

My new dorm room is located in a building made up entirely of single rooms. In an effort to make friends, I've been leaving my door open as often as possible. People actually drop in quite frequently to say hello, which I think is pretty rad of them to do.

A girl just dropped by to say hi on the way back from taking a shower and we had a nice little chat. Everybody here is really friendly. We were just talking and I was like, "Oh yeah I used to be Music Ed. I play the cello."

And she was like, "Oh cool! I was a percussionist, drumline in high school and stuff."

"Oh my girlfriend's a percussionist!" I said.

And we talked about percussion and things. And then we talked about long distance relationships because her boyfriend goes to school in Canada.

And it was entirely not a big deal at all that I am dating a girl.

That one sentence that I said that was just a fun fact that actually kind of made us a little better friends for the moment – because I know percussion-talk and because we're both in long distance relationships – could have gotten me kicked out of BYU. Isn't that amazing? One sentence that has led to friendship could have ended everything.

I'm astounded at my ability to talk freely with the only thing standing in my way being people's prejudice which I am more than willing to barrel through. I really did hesitate before I said anything and then I realized that when I'm here, there is not reason in the world for me not to speak freely. I don't have anything to hide. That's why I'm here. I'm here to finally be myself, whoever that is.

So far, so good.

As an aside, I wrote this post about a week and a half before I posted it. I'm trying this new thing where I'm on top of posting so I'm going to be trying to write my posts early and then just set them up to post themselves on Monday. So that's what's up.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Family

I went to the lake last weekend with my family. It's a tradition with us. We usually go over the Fourth of July weekend and it's always so much fun. We rent a boat and go water skiing and tubing out on the lake and when we're not on the boat we're back at the shelter playing board games and chatting and laughing. We always go to the same spot. We've been doing this for probably ten years now.

We went this last weekend because my cousin Nani's fiance Harry was in town and he'd brought his daughters and we all wanted to meet them, so we packed up and headed down. Harry is British (and he's very attractive just by the way) and his daughters were adorable but very shy. 

As usual, the day at the lake was exciting. I have one cousin (not the one who's engaged) who's only two months older than me so we've always been fairly close and it was great to spend time with her and catch up.

But the whole day, there were nagging thoughts I couldn't get out of my head. If Doricha were a boy, she could have come on this trip. I mean really there's no guarantee of that. But really, if I had been dating someone for a year and a half and my parents liked him and especially if he were LDS, he probably would have been invited along. To get used to family events like this. But she wasn't invited. Because my mom doesn't even know we're dating and my dad is pretending we're not.

And then every ten minutes somebody was fawning over how cute Nani and Harry were. And they were adorable. Everybody's really happy for Nani because she's in her early thirties and this is her first marriage. So it was all, "Aw look at them." The men were making Harry feel welcome while simultaneously razzing him the way that they do with all the fiances before they're husbands.

And I realized that that will never be me.

My family will never fawn over me and Doricha.

Honestly my extended family will probably never know about me and Doricha.

Which makes me sad.

If we were married and I went to visit my family without her, I wouldn't take off my wedding ring. I'm not making a conditional vow. It's not forever and ever except when I'm with my extended family. It's forever and ever period. So it kind of makes me wonder if I would just stop visiting my family.

That would make me sad too.

I have all these grand dreams of what my adult life with Doricha will be like, but then I get down to the practicality of it...it's a lot harder to work out. My extended family will still want to be a part of my life and include me on things. They'll be genuinely concerned for me and want me to be happy. They'll mean well when they try to set me up with people and I won't be able to tell them I'm perfectly happy where I am in life.

They'll want to know why I'm wearing a wedding ring. And I won't laugh it off because why would someone laugh off being married?

I know I have a long time to figure everything out. But I guess what it comes down to is I don't want my family to be ashamed of me. I could be one of those brave people who proudly comes waltzing out of the closet and tells everybody to take it or leave it. But I'm not. I can't do that to my immediate family.

Well, at least it'll be easy to come out to my dad's side. They've all got their own stuff and none of them go to church anymore anyway. I'll fit right in.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Part Where I Came Out To My Dad

This happened today.

Well, the beginning didn't.

Last night I had another severe episode of depression. I've been dealing with them with increasing frequency all summer. Depression, anxiety, self-loathing... Last night I made the determination that things need to change. I decided to take control of my life. I decided to stop the lies. And I decided to come out.

(As an aside, if my depression symptoms are still this bad in two weeks, I'm also going to talk to my doctor about starting medication.)

When I woke up this morning, I felt better. But the resolve was still there. I knew that I couldn't keep hiding forever. Today was my dad's first day of work with his new job. A day of new beginnings.

When he asked me to pick him up from dropping his car off at the company's main building downtown, I saw my opportunity.

Oh, god, that drive down to pick him up was the worst thing ever. I almost had to pull over to throw up. My mouth was dry, I simultaneously needed to throw up and poop, and my hands and feet were all sweaty. I was so shaky I wasn't entirely sure how the car was still going straight.

I retrieved my dad and as we pulled out of the parking lot, I asked him if he could pull into a parking lot. I said, "I need to talk to you. It's really important."

So we pulled into a gas station. He parked the car. I pulled out my ipod, with my coming out letter saved to it...and I talked.

I didn't stick to my script, it seemed trite in real time. But it was a good outline.

First I told him up front, "I'm not straight. I know that's a weird way of phrasing it, but I don't know any other way to say it. I don't know what label applies to me. All I know is that I am physically and emotionally attracted to women." I talked to him about how I had experienced this since I was about thirteen, but had tried to ignore it because I knew that the church taught it was evil.

I told him how when I was seventeen I couldn't ignore it anymore because I developed a crush that wouldn't go away. A crush that lasted for more than a year.

I told him about her.

I told him how I chose to go to BYU so that I could be as far from her as possible. Because I was terrified that if I picked a state school, I would only be picking it to stay close to her so we could stay together.

I told him how I had met with my bishop every single week at BYU after I confessed to him. I told him how I saw a counselor at school who specialized in same-sex attraction.

And then I apologized for lying. I told him how much I hated myself for the lies and the secrets. And this was the part where I couldn't contain myself anymore and I just broke down sobbing.

And this was the part where the miracle happened.

He took me into his arms. He held me so tight. And told me over and over again that he loved me. That was all he said for a really long time. I was crying too hard to say anything, and he just kept telling me that he loved me.

He told me that he loved me. That I'm his daughter and he will always love me. He said that he understands this is a part of me and I can't change it. He said, "I don't know why Heavenly Father gave you this challenge. I can't even imagine how much it must hurt you. I'm so sorry."

He did bear testimony to me that Heavenly Father and Jesus love me and they will always love me and always be waiting to welcome me back, no matter what I do. He assured me that he knows that God's plan is for me to marry a boy.

And we talked. We talked about what I want in the future. We talked about here and now and...everything.

He assured me several times that he knows I can't change this and that I didn't choose this. He said that his time in the bishopric taught him to be much more accepting. He said, "I know that you can't wish this away anymore than I can wish to not be bald anymore."

He said, "I accept you, and God accepts you. I don't think you accept you, though."

He said that what he thinks I should do in the coming months is move with my family to Utah and take a semester off (because I was planning on taking a semester off anyway) out there and take care of my mom and sister during the transition and then go to UVU. I don't think I want that. But I'll consider it.

He wants to talk to us. As a couple.

The only thing he wanted was he said he wanted us to "cool it" physically. And I said, "I really don't know if I can do that, Daddy. Because all I want right now is to go cry in her arms."

And he said, "I don't find that objectionable at all."

He just wants us to not have sex.

He said if I do go to Utah, he'll fly her out to see me a couple times.

(I still don't want to do it...)

I mean, he told me he's not ready to attend a wedding or anything...but that I'm also not ready to have a wedding. And I agree with that.

We're not telling my mom. Not now. Not for a long time. He took it well. She will not. He knows that and I know that. We can't tell her yet.

He suspected. He's suspected for a long time. Years, he said. He said, "Maybe someone who doesn't know you as well as I do wouldn't be able to see it."  He also said his first reaction was almost, "Well, duh."

It went so well. So much better than I could have ever imagined. Considering my expectations going in were, "It would be friggin' sweet if nobody hit me."

It was incredible. I already feel so light...so much freer. I'm so glad I told him. I don't know what I was waiting for. He told me that I underestimated him. He was right.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Housekeeping

Hi! This is me. In the present. All my other entries have been about the past. I'm starting to get kind of tired of the "parts" stories, though. I mean, they're important and I'll tell it all eventually. But if I'm bored of it you probably are too.

So for the next few weeks, I'm just going to be blogging on present-day thoughts. I thought I'd keep all you in the loop (my huge readership of 11 Blogger followers and 13 Tumblr followers, you) on what's up.

This week's post will be posted on Monday (which is supposed to be my regular update day) and will be about Indianapolis's Pride Festival!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Guest Post!

Hey guys! I was invited to be a guest blogger over on LGBT Voices.  It’s a great project that involves a lot of contributors talking about lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/ally issues, especially as they apply to the Mormon community.
CLICK HERE TO SEE MY POST!  It’s called “Supermarket Lesbians.”
I’ve also included the full text of my post for you in case you’re lazy.  But you should really really go check out the blog.  It’s really cool!
Supermarket Lesbians
My girlfriend and I went to a carnival last night. It’s one of those ones that’s super fun when you’re about seven and super sketch when you’re older. All the rides fold back into being trucks at the end of the week and stuff. We’re both too poor for overpriced carnivals anyway, so we just walked around and looked at the rides and reminisced about childhood and smelled the delicious bad-for-you food.
But we didn’t hold hands.
While we were there I ran into a coworker, one of my managers, and a kid I knew from high school theatre. And then when we went to the grocery store across the street to go buy ice cream later, we found more people we knew in high school and another coworker of mine.
 None of them would have cared, but what if it had been someone who did care? We couldn’t take that risk.
The thing that sucks about being a young gay couple is that you always have to be on your guard. We’re lucky, because our friends are very accepting. When we’re in the safe zones of our own homes (except mine), we’re free to be normal. Nobody gives us a second thought anymore. 
But out in the world we always have to be careful. Sometimes we act like a couple when we go to the grocery store, but only if we’re going at midnight when the store is deserted. If we go at prime shopping time, we’re suddenly just best friends out picking up some apples. Because you have to be careful.
At first it was, “We have to be careful, what if we see someone who might tell my parents?” But there’s really more to it than that. In some places, it’s legitimately not safe to be gay. We’re fortunate that we live in a fairly accepting community. It’s pretty conservative, but I was never uncomfortable with the idea of admitting to my fellow students that I was into girls. (Except I was afraid it would get back to my parents so I never was openly out in high school.)
But somebody had to pave the way. Somebody had to take the dive and decide to stop caring whether or not it was safe, had to decide to stop caring about being careful, and just go for it. Somebody had to stand up. I have so much respect for the trail blazers. Because it’s probably not that they don’t care what other people think, it’s not that they’re not afraid, it’s that they want it to be easier and better for other gay kids in the future.
 It’s because of brave people that we have even what we do so far.
Will I be brave? When I’m finally out to my parents and I no longer have the idea of them finding out to hide behind, will I be brave? Will I stand up to fear of ridicule and scorn? Will I be a trailblazer? Will I make the path easier for those who follow behind me?
I want my answer to be yes. I’m challenging myself today to make my answer yes. I will stand up and I will be brave. I will swallow my fears of being judged by those around me and I will help to make seeing a lesbian couple in the supermarket and at the carnival a normal thing. And someday people won’t have to be brave anymore.
Someday, two girls who are young and in love will walk through a cheesy carnival on a summer night. And they’ll hold hands.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Part At the End of August

We're driving home. It's been a long day – hiking, laughing, spending time with old friends. All of us are crammed into the huge car, Wine is driving. Your head is in my lap. Like everyone else in the car, you're fast asleep. I play with your hair, running my fingers through your brown curls. I trace your face. Eyes, nose. Lips.

You're perfect.

The song on the radio is from Wine's dressing room mix. I know it so well (but I like the live version better). But as I look down at you, cuddled up to me, it means so much more. You're there, in my lap. And you're not going anywhere. Nothing is going to happen to us.

We're together forever.

Someone Like You - Adele


I didn't know what to do with myself. She wasn't my girlfriend anymore, so I wasn't allowed to text her when I saw something that I thought she might like or when I thought of something I needed to tell her. I wasn't allowed to think about her, really. I needed to move on.

My parents didn't know that I had just ended a relationship. They hadn't been able to share the giddiness of our first kiss, the joy of the day we got together...and they couldn't be there to comfort me when my heart broke. They thought that I was acting so weird and upset because I was sad to leave my friends behind. Only partially true.

The drive to Utah was the most miserable twenty-six hours of my life. I texted everyone but her. Because I couldn't text her. But I didn't want to talk to everyone. I wanted to talk to her.

I wanted her to be happy. I knew that we had done the right thing.

Doricha and I had been dating for eight months when we started college. When we started dating we agreed that what would be best for both of us would be to break up when we started school. A clean break. So that there wouldn't be any cheating or lies or heartbreak or hurt. We would break up while we still loved each other so we would only have happy memories. And if we really missed each other that much maybe we would look at getting back together after a year.

But we were going to live the college life.

She was going to live the college life.

We talked about me finding a nice boy, settling down, raising a family. I guess I sort of believed it. I knew that it was best to just bury this part of myself. And someday I would meet someone who cared about me just as much as Doricha did. Who sacrificed as much of himself as she did for me, who did the little things that she did, who got that smile on his face. Like she did. That smile.

And I would be able to trust him as much as I had trusted her. I would be able to trust him enough to tell him about her. And he would hold me while I cried because I missed her so much. Because I never wanted to leave her, but I was trying to do what was best for everybody. For me. I was trying to do what was right. I was trying to be good. I was trying to be who I was supposed to be.

I was going to be the daughter my parents raised me to be. It wasn't going to be overnight. But someday there would be someone. And he would be able to be like her. He would be what she was to me. He would maybe start to fill to place she left.

And we would be happy for each other. She would be my maid of honor at my wedding. And I would just ignore it when we shared that look. That look that we shared so often. That look that meant "I wonder what you would do if I kissed you right now." Because that part of my life was over. Was supposed to be over.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Part Where I Came Out To Myself

It had been building for a long time. I kept ignoring it because this could not be real. I was a good kid. The worst thing I had ever done was have a boyfriend behind my parents' backs for six weeks when I was fifteen. Only bad kids had feelings like that. It was just temptation. Good people weren't gay, not even a little.

But sometimes I slipped. One night, my cousin and his wife and kids came to stay with us and slept in my room, so I went and stayed the night with a friend. Doricha and I stayed up all night talking, even though she had to go to summer school in the morning. We sat in the dark, me on my mattress on the floor and her in her bed. In the darkness, I couldn't stop myself from imagining what it would be like to kiss her and cuddle with her.

At one point I crawled up onto her bed with her. We were so close, we could have touched each other. It was dark, so she couldn't see me. Couldn't see me wanting to kiss her.

It wasn't long after that that I couldn't keep lying to myself.

I was in the shower. Totally alone. Naked and vulnerable. I mentally egged myself on. "Say it," I thought. "Just say it out loud. You know it's true."

"I'm..." I couldn't get the rest out.

"Say the word. Say what you are. You know what you are, it can't not be true. Just say it."

I could feel myself being ripped in two.

"Say the word," I thought to myself.

I couldn't do it. I could not say that I was that thing that I was so afraid of. That thing that would tear my family apart, I was sure.

"Then at least say the other part," I thought. "At least admit that."

My body ached from being torn apart. If I was crying, my tears were masked by the water from the showerhead. I put my hands over my face.

And I said it aloud. Said it over and over again. As soon as I said it, I knew it was true.

"I like Doricha."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Part With The Apartment On The Border

When we first got together, Doricha and I knew that we had no future. So we dreamed.

It started small. I'm pretty sure every couple has a little dream that's like, "Man, if we could just get a place of our own, we would be golden." And we were just the same way. We just wanted a little place of our own.

I remember one night in particular where it got really elaborate. We were just laying in bed together talking late into the night while we cuddled. 

I love doing that.

It's on the border of France and Spain, because I speak Spanish and she speaks French. In a town that's mostly not on the map, idyllic. It has a school that needs someone to teach all the performing arts, that's my job. And she composes brilliant things that sell for a bajillion dollars from our home.

It's always sunny and summer.

Our apartment is above a bakery, so when we wake up in the mornings we can smell fresh baked bread. We're friends with the baker, so at the end of the day he gives us the things that didn't sell that he can't save. And sometimes we sit and talk with him, because we really are friends.

I think he has a nice cute little wifey and some sweet little kiddies. And the whole town loves him because he's a phenomenal baker.

The apartment itself is, just like the town, perfect. Not so big that we lose each other in it. But not so small we're tripping over each other. Two bedroom, but one of the bedrooms is Doricha's office. Maybe her office is also the music room. Maybe we have a music room also.

Gorgeous kitchen. I don't like to cook, but she does. She follows about twelve food blogs. (That's not part of the fantasy. That's real.) And so we spent all the money from a big commission once upon a time getting us a fancy kitchen.

Our bedroom is my favorite part to imagine. It has a balcony with French doors. And I always picture these super cheesy white curtains that blow in the wind. Summer wind. We have a great big bed. So comfy. We blew our whole fortune on an expensive bed.

That apartment that we dreamed up has become a sort of mental escape. When I just can't take the real world anymore, I retreat to the apartment on the border and give it some furniture or decorate it a little.  And she is always there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Part Where I Thought About Marriage (A Lot)

I am nineteen years old. I should not think about marriage as much as I do.

I can't even help it! Ever since my roommate got engaged I feel like I've had it on the brain. Although, if I'm going to be honest with myself it's been longer. Probably since not long after I came to BYU and realized that half of my undergraduate classmates are engaged/married. (And, just to make long distance relationships harder, all the people who aren't engaged/married are dating somebody. Fact.) Even outside of BYU, I am now in an age bracket where it is acceptable to think about marriage. Like, probably not at my age it isn't. But people on the upper end of my age bracket? Oh yeah, go for it.

Also some circumstances in my friend's life are making me think about marriage. Her brother and his girlfriend are accidentally pregnant and are hurrying to get married. I worry about that.  They used to be engaged but he called it off. But now they are so quick to get married. I mean, part of me thinks that's the right thing to do. But part of me is really worried that it won't work because they're hurrying into it.

My ideas about marriage have changed a lot over the years. When I was younger, the only kind of wedding I even considered was very tradition. You know, married in the temple (I wanted San Diego because it looks like a palace, but I probably would have wound up in Louisville or Nauvoo. Or it seems like a lot of the students at BYU get married at Salt Lake), big floofy white dress, everybody I've ever met ever at the reception.  

Beaming parents.

So proud.

The only weddings I've ever been to or interacted with have been LDS. I've never seen an actual marriage ceremony, just the receptions (because they were all in the temple). All my older cousins have had ginormous wedding receptions. Every time I picture a wedding, I imagine my cousin's.  They were both returned missionaries and she was so beautiful. And everybody was so proud. And there were approximately three million people there.

My family has this tradition where you have to pay to dance with the bride. You know, give her like a five or something. Just so that the young couple can have a little cash on hand because money is tight when you're first married.

I remember the first time I saw pictures from a wedding that wasn't Mormon. It was so sweet. This girl I had gone to high school with had a super small wedding. From the pictures it looks like it was at her house and the only people there were some very, very close friends and her and her husband's parents.  And I liked it. It was different. Different from any kind of wedding I've ever seen.

I think about marriage in the abstract, but I think about it specifically too. I think about me. I mean, I think that's reasonable. I've been in a committed relationship for a little over a year now. At BYU I could very easily have legitimate children after having dated this long. Doricha has a really different perspective on marriage than I do. It's been interesting to talk about it, to let my paradigms shift a little bit. Shift away from the floofy dress and everybody I know ever being invited.

I let myself imagine I'll marry her.

The "ceremony" doesn't have to be anything official, signed and sealed and whatever. The only part that's important to me in all that is the promise. When you get married, that's it. It's a promise that says there's no turning back. It says, "After today, I will never leave you. No matter how hard it is and no matter what happens. There's no take backsies anymore. This is for real. This is forever." I picture it being very very intimate. Either with just family and very close friends...or maybe even just the two of us. Promising. Making big promises, the kind of promises you never break. And they'd be sealed with something more than a kiss, which we share all the time. A "blood oath" is pretty archaic, but the right idea.

The ring would seal it. "With this ring I thee wed" is really overplayed, but I guess that's kind of the idea. You accept the ring, you accept the promise. You make the promise. The exchange of promises is symbolized in the physical exchanging of rings.

You know I was raised Mormon because abstract things have to have symbols.

And then after this intimate promise, there has to be a killer party. Invite all our friends, who have been so supportive through everything. Wear pretty dresses. Dance all night long. 

And get presents because getting married is like graduating only way cooler.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Part Where Juno Was My Coming Out Allegory

I am really really good at finding the metaphor in just about everything.  I am a really excellent Old Testament teacher.

A lot of times when I think about what it will be like to come out, I think of the beginning of the movie Juno.  I especially think of the part where she comes out to her parents.  But the whole beginning of the movie where she discovers she's pregnant and tells a few people can really easily be seen as an allegory for the coming out process.  

Especially my coming out process.



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This is how it started.  I denied it.  I absolutely positively was not attracted to girls.  Well, maybe not.  Most likely not.  Probably not.  Hopefully not.

"I remain unconvinced."

But I couldn't keep denying it.  I was slightly upset that my doodle couldn't be undid.  But it was still there and I had to deal with it.  Like it or not.



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The first people I came out to were three of my closest female friends: Cuddy, Dobby, and Wine.  Doricha and I were already a "thing"at that point and it was the five of us all at a sleepover.  It had been such a long week.  I had just come back from my first music school audition and I was exhausted.  Cuddy had been really upsettingly dumped by her cheating scumbag hoodrat boyfriend.

And so we were sitting around having Girl Talk which is capitalized because it's sacred.  And after we had sufficiently denounced every aspect of Cuddy's ex's manhood we talked about Wine and her boyfriend and then Dobby and her boyfriend.  But really we already knew most of what we talked about.  It was a basic, "So how are things between you guys?" talk.

And then I said, "Guys, I like somebody."

And they jumped all over that.  Because when you're a girl it's like there are two levels of being in a relationship.  You can be in an official relationship, sure.  But if you've declared to your gal pals that you like someone, you're committed to that someone.  And I hadn't officially liked anybody since Ginger (don't be confused by gender norms, Ginger was a boy) left.

"Who?!" they demanded.

"It's Doricha," I said, my heart racing totally unsure of how they were going to react.

And they burst out laughing.  I'm pretty sure that I remember Cuddy and Wine holding each other laughing while Doricha and I were all like, "No seriously guys, this is a real thing.  Stop laughing."  Maybe they weren't actually holding each other in laughter.  But they were for sure laughing.

It wasn't until I grabbed Doricha and kissed her full on the mouth that they stopped laughing.

It still took a further ten minutes to convince them that we weren't screwing with them.



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I don't really have a direct correlation to this clip in my life, at least not nearly as direct as the first clip.  But this is kind of what happened after it all settled down.  After Doricha found out, after I told the girls. Every time.  After the initial reaction it's always, "What should we do?"



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I haven't come out to my parents yet.  I want to soon.  I'm so tired of lies and secrets and sneaking around and freaking out every time something slightly "off" is said and watching my words and...all of it.

But I've kind of always pictured coming out going something like this.  

Especially the last part.  The "anything but this" part.

I do intend when I finally tell them to be just outside of hitting distance because it would be friggin' sweet if no one hit me.

I guess I kind of also hope it'll go like this.  After their initial shock and disappointment, Juno's parents are supportive.  I mean, kind of hurtful.  Clearly still disappointed.  But there's not even any harsh words exchanged.



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One last thought.

You know what phrase I hate more than...just about any other phrase in the world?  "The gay lifestyle."  What does that even mean?  While I was in counseling, my counselor used that phrase all the time.  How I had to choose between the Mormon lifestyle and the gay lifestyle.  But I feel like what I wanted, want, is not that different from a normal lifestyle.  I want to settle down and maybe buy a house when we can afford it and have a job and have friends.  I don't have any plans to abuse drugs or get addicted to alcohol or sleep around, which I think are things that people associate with the phrase "gay lifestyle."

But what does that really mean?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Part Where I Had My First Kiss

My first kiss story can beat the pants off of most anybody's.  With first kisses, I have good luck.  My first kiss ever was good, my first french kiss was good, and my first kiss with a girl was very good.  I didn't realize until later that I'm super lucky that one of those was good.  All three?  I am some kind of statistical anomaly.  And okay, yeah, I'm aware that for some people all three of those happen with the same person or even on the same night.  Mine were spread out over about a year and a half.

I was sixteen years old.  Paul Bunyon was my second boyfriend, but the first that my parents knew about.  We met doing theatre.  He was a techie and I was an actor.  He actually remembers how we met a lot better than I do.  I don't remember the conversations he says we had, but I also have a notoriously terrible memory.  Especially around shows.

One day he asked me out.  He had probably been working up the courage for awhile.  I remember we were like...in the middle of the hallway or something.  It's not as weird as it sounds!  I had kind of had a thing for him (but I was a little more focused on someone else...if I'm going to be honest with myself).  Anyway, he asked me if I was doing anything on Saturday night and if I would like to go to the Symphony with him.

Side note: I am a sucker when it comes to the Symphony.  I have gone on dates with I think five different people to the Symphony.

And so, even though my best friend's birthday party was Saturday night and I had already RSVP'd "yes" I told him I'd love to go with him.

And that was my first date.  Ever.

There's this picture of us before we left (because my parents were typical parents and took pictures) and I look like a total loon.  I'm grinning from ear to ear, thrilled to death.

You know, I always tell Mormon youth that turning sixteen is not some magic pill that automatically means people will start asking you on dates.  But it sure was for me.  Within turning sixteen I was asked out by four different guys and had two different boyfriends.

(Also I apologize right now if this is starting to get incoherent.  I started writing this post a couple days ago and just now came back to it and I'm really jittery and hyperactive because I took some pain meds.  But I can't sleep for the aforementioned reasons so I will carry on writing anyhow.)

Anyway, so after our first date Paul Bunyon and I became an official couple.  Actually, we made plans for a second date and then became an official couple.  Our second date was to go see his sister in her school's production of Fiddler on the Roof.  We decided to make it a double date.  Well, I decided to.  I was still a very good Mormon at that point and had been counseled for as long as I could remember to start dating in groups or at least on double dates.  So I think it was some combination of me wanting to do the "right thing" and my parents being like, "Um, hey.  Why don't you see if some friends want to go?"

Well as luck had it, I was friends with this really awesome couple.  They were one of those couples who were fun as individuals so you put them together and it was like a dynamite package of fun.  Hanging out with them didn't feel like hanging out with a couple, it felt like hanging out with fun in a can.  (Okay yeah I think the drugs are affecting my cognitive processes.  Not only did I write that sentence but I think it's a good one.)  They had both gone to the school that Paul Bunyon's sister went to, so I asked if they wanted to double with us.

Incidentally, half of that couple was Doricha.

So we saw the play (Paul Bunyon's sister was my favorite part, of course).  Afterwards, we went back to Doricha's house to hang out some more.  We played this game called Curses.  What you do is you draw these cards with challenges on them.  Things like "talk in a French accent" or "put your hands on your head and don't take them off."  If someone caught you not doing one of your challenges, they would ring a bell on you.

I drew one that said that I had to tell anybody who rang the bell that I loved them.  So first Doricha rang the bell and I professed my absolute and undying love for her on one knee.  (Haha this is an even funnier story now than when it happened.)  Then her boyfriend rang the bell and I declared my love for him (very carefully so that his girlfriend wouldn't beat me up).

Then my boyfriend rang the bell.  And we had only been dating for, what, a week?  I couldn't tell him I loved him.  That would be weird and lying.

So I kissed him.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Part Where I Learned About Time

After high school graduation before I left for BYU, Doricha and I had three months left.  Our days were numbered and we knew it.  When we got together, we knew that it would end.  We acknowledged and accepted that.  When we got together, we said that hanging on to high school relationships in college is a bad idea.  We knew that.  And we agreed that in August we would go our separate ways.

That summer was beautiful.  We grew in love and were attached at the hip.  I spent nearly every waking moment either talking to her or being with her.  I worked at a movie theatre and we saw free movies.  We saw much more of some of those movies than others.  I could not tell you now what actually happens in Robin Hood (the Russell Crowe one).

But our joy was underscored by the constant ticking of the clock.

I so desperately just wanted the moments to be longer.  I wanted time to stop.  I wanted that summer to last forever.  There was, it's true, a small part of me that was okay with time passing.  I was looking forward to going to college just like any kid would.  There was a small part of me that wanted the time to just pass quickly so I could get on with things.  But the vast vast majority of me wanted to stop time and stay in that happy paradise forever.

It didn't stop, though.

Surprise.

And again, I find myself making wishes with my time.  I'm preparing to leave BYU forever.  A small part of me just wants it to slow down and stop.  I will miss my newfound friends and my small niche I've begun to dig out here.

But most of me just wants the time to pass as quickly as possible.  I want to be home.  I want to see my brothers and sister and my parents.  I want to get started actually working on my major at my new school.  But most of all I want to see Doricha again.

It has been such a long four months.  Time cannot pass fast enough when I think of how soon I'll be able to see her again.

The book Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman is a fictional discussion, vignettes, on different ways that time might move.  One of them proposes "a place where time stands still.  As a traveler approaches this place from any direction, he moves more and more slowly...  [T]his is the center of time.  From this place, time travels outward in concentric circles—at rest at the center, slowly picking up speed at greater diameters...  [A]t the place where time stands still, one sees parents clutching their children, in a frozen embrace that will never let go... [They] move, but at the pace of glaciers" (70-73).

I feel like that lately.  The closer I get to it, the slower I'm moving.

But that's just how I feel.  If I've learned anything about time in the last year, it's that time moves always at the same pace.  Whether you wish it would go faster or slower, it pays you no heed and carries on at the same ever-maddening pace.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Part Where I Had My First Crisis of Faith

I was fifteen.  I was at EFY.  And I was absolutely and terrifyingly alone.

I had gone to EFY the year before and had an incredible time.  I made some great friends (and I met a boy who I was in a sort of relationship thing with for like four months afterward) and I just felt like my testimony grew so much.  I felt closer to God and more desire to live the gospel than I had ever before experienced.

My second year was so different.  Every single other person in my group had come with a roommate.  I had gone potluck.  For some weird reason, that year half the people who roomed blind wound up getting stuck in RA rooms i.e. a single.  No roommate.  I kind of felt like an outsider.  Which was too bad, because the group as a whole was so close that year.

On Tuesday night, I found myself in bed staring up at the glow in the dark stars someone had stuck up on the ceiling long before me.  And for the first time, I realized how alone I was.  Not just without friends or family at my side, but the absolute crushing aloneness of realizing that God is not there.  That your prayers are inside your head and nothing else.

I cried.  So much.

And when I came home from EFY that year, I wasn't the happy talkie person I was when I came back after my first year.  I didn't have a million stories for my mom.  I went up to my room and went to sleep for about six hours because the world was different and I didn't know what that meant.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Part Where I Didn't Want To Change

I have really bad eyesight.  Like really, really bad eyesight.  The first thing I do when I wake up (after trying and failing once again to destroy my alarm clock for dragging me out of my nice warm bed) is put on my glasses because I won't be able to see anything or be any sort of useful without them.  I don't function without my glasses or contacts, I just don't.  Some people I know just don't wear their glasses because they don't like the way they look in them.  I can't get away with that nonsense.

It's kind of funny, actually, how I wound up getting glasses in the first place.  The school nurse sent a note home with me saying that I should go see an optometrist because I was having trouble reading the board in class and I had failed my eye exam at school.  Well my parents were just like, "Oh, that's nice honey."  I had wanted glasses since I was about six and so they thought I was faking my way through my eye exam!  It wasn't until we moved the next year and I had to have my eyes tested in the new school district that they realized that I wasn't screwing around about this.  After I got my glasses, I totally wigged out.  I was in the car next to my dad with my face glued to the window going, "Oh, my gosh, Daddy.  You can see each of the individual leaves on the trees.  Like every single one."  And I think that's when he realized that we maybe should have done the glasses thing sooner.  Well, that and when he saw that my prescription was more powerful than his.

I hear ads on the radio all the time about how it saves you a ton of money in the long run not having to buy contact lense solution (which PS I totally believe, what is with it costing ten dollars a bottle for a bottle of neutral liquid?) and contacts and contact cases and new lenses for your glasses and new frames for your glasses.  And also I've heard that people with good vision only have to go to their eye doctor once every two years instead of every year like people with bat vision (such as yours truly) do.  Cha ching.  Despite all these financial benefits and the fact that it would be super easy and nice to be able to wake up in the morning and already be able to see, I don't want to get Lasik.  I want to keep my glasses and my contacts and my hassle.  I don't even know if I have words for why exactly I would prefer to stay defective rather than go in for a tune-up.  But I still don't want perfect vision.

I had knee surgery a couple years ago.  It was a pretty big deal.  I even had to stay at the surgery place overnight.  I was on crutches for weeks and I had to wear this big huge leg brace.  This was particularly obnoxious because at this point I was in one play and directing another and not being able to get around was kind of a downer.  (I totally stopped using crutches and my leg brace way earlier than I should have so that I could perform in the play, by the way.  Don't do that.)

Once the bandages had come off my knee and I was starting to heal up, my mom told me that she would get me some Mederma so that my scar would go away.  But I told her not to.  I kind of liked my scar and I didn't want it gone.  I didn't really have a good reason, although I teased about my "war wound" and my "battle scars."  It didn't bother me that it was kind of ugly and funny looking.  ("It" by the way is one big long scar about four inches long with three sister scars around it that are small dots where they scoped my knee.)  During the summer when I wear shorts, people all the time will be like, "What happened?"  (And then, inevitably, they want to touch it.)

When I was first starting to figure out and accept my sexuality, I realized that I should probably go see my bishop.  That's what everything I had ever read on the subject said.  It was that homosexuality was a serious sin and if you were experiencing homosexual feelings to talk to your bishop.

But I didn't want to.

Even though this was a part of myself that wasn't supposed to be there, I didn't want it gone.  Even then, it was a part of me.  And I was terrified that if I told anybody, they would try to kill this part of me.  I knew it was an imperfection and it was something that should just be taken care of.  Nipped at the bud.  But I kept it a secret.  I left myself the way I was.

Because, apparently, I have an affinity for my own imperfections.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Part Where I Celebrated My Anniversary Alone

My one-year anniversary with Doricha was in January.  It was one of the loneliest most miserable days of my life up to that point.  Which is pretty sad because the event that we were celebrating was one of the happiest moments of my life.

I kept building the day up in my mind and I really shouldn't have done that.  Or...it wasn't even a buildup necessarily.  I just wanted so desperately for it to be something special.  We were nearly 1500 miles apart and all I wanted was to be able to go on a date.  I wanted us to be able to get dinner and then cuddle up together.  I wanted to see a movie.  I wanted to go to a park and chase fireflies.  I wanted to build a snowfort.  I wanted to do anything in the world really, as long as we were together.

But I woke up that day alone.  And I fell asleep that day alone.  That day I didn't hold hands with her.  I didn't get to hug her or hold her or be held by her.  There were no happy anniversary kisses.  There were no whispered words as we fell asleep together.

We promised each other that we would make it up to ourselves.  When things were okay and we were physically back together, we would spend an evening together for just us.  We promised that we would spend our eighteen month anniversary together and make it everything that our one-year couldn't be.

It wasn't the way it should have been.

Because it was more than getting to spend the day together.  It was more than being able to celebrate our romance and our love.  It was that I was upset because I couldn't be with my love and I could tell no one.  My roommates were oblivious to the fact that I was hurting.  If they had known how much my heart was breaking, I know that they would have wrapped their arms around me.  I could have sat with them and cried.

I mean, maybe.  In the alternate universe that is a perfect world where I can tell my roommates about Doricha and it's okay and nobody's weirded out and nobody thinks that I'm going to Hell, they hold me and I cry.  And it's not all "okay" but it's a little more okay.

It wasn't just that I was alone without Doricha.  It was that I was absolutely and positively alone.  And I always had been.  But that night the silence of the void was deafening.