Friday, March 9, 2007

pieces of an ideal future

I have to start out by saying that until this afternoon, it had been FAR too long since I'd had sushi. Far too long. Provo has this fantastic all-you-can-eat sushi place called Asuka (it's next to the Olive Garden by the Movies 8), and we typically hit it up once every two months. I guess it's only been somewhere between 3 and 4 months since we last went, but I've been craving the stuff for a while now. Gorging myself on blessed bundles of rice and seaweed made my day. =D

Checked out The Illusionist tonight. Salad borrowed the DVD from one of her coworkers. It was pretty good - the feel of the film was quite unique, and the cinematography was strong. I have to say that I expected most of what happened at the end right from the start. I dunno, maybe I've seen too many movies, but the end seemed pretty obvious - it was just the minutae of getting there that was mildly fuzzy. Oh well. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I recommend it.

Last night I checked out the report of the Evergreen conference from last year. I have to say that overall I really wasn't impressed. Maybe they just need an editor for their newsletters that can put the right kind of spin on what they say, but a lot of the statements made in there honestly offended me, if only mildly. Some of the time it was just poor word choice, but some of the time it's a lack of understanding of how I, at least, care to go about 'dealing with' SSA. The address by Elder Pinegar was okay, though, and the Chairman's Message at the end seemed pretty spot-on for the most part. I dunno. It seems like though they're shooting for a broader perspective on the issues, they're not thinking broad enough. I'll keep looking into the organization and what they stand for, but it will be with a more wary eye than I had anticipated using before.

Mormon Enigma commented on my last blog post, and I want to post in response to that. He wrote:

Wow! How do you envision yourself 5 years from now? You and salad married, maybe a child or two, and everyone in your ward knows you're gay? What about when your children are a bit older? I can envision the playground conversation:

"my dad's a policeman",
"my dad works for a bank",
"my dad's gay - he likes guys"

Salad and I haven't discussed this (although I'm sensing it might come up sooner rather than later, now :P), but here're my thoughts. Part of the issue is that if everything goes according to my intended plan, part of my future will be spent counseling with youth (probably high school to college age) who struggle with SSA in the Church. In order to do that kind of counseling in the way that I envision it, I have to be out and honest about who I am - both to make sure that anyone connected is aware of where I stand, and to assure those I work with that I have at least some understanding of where they're coming from. Plus there's the fact that SSA is a part of who I am, for sure, but it doesn't define me. It's not the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks who I am. Heck, ethnicity pops into my head first, and I'm born and raised in the States. There's also the fact that who I am beyond all else is a child of God who's found His true church on the earth, and I don't want anything to jeopardize that - I'll try to remember to post a more in-depth expose' on how deep my commitment to the Church runs, but let's just say that Satan's going to have to get some pretty heavy leverage to knock me off this ship. And because of my personality and the way I interact with people, I can generally get them to understand my worldview and perspective, so at least they don't jump down my throat. So do I see myself out to everyone around me? Yeah. I'm almost there now, after just a few weeks - after telling Salad and my parents, there's not really anyone whose opinion would effect me enough to throw me into bouts of depression or anything like that. If people find out about me now, I'm okay with it.

The kids thing is a bit more complicated, because I can see some serious issues stemming from it. It bears a lot of thinking about, because kids don't understand wider perspectives when they're really young. I think I'll have to do a lot more research on child development and the like before I come to my own conclusion about that.


playasinmar said...

I'm glad you've been able to find happiness in your relationship. I hope you live to a hundred and have many fat, happy babies.

If you were to council me at a younger age I think we would have gotten along famously. Hosestly, I would have appreciated having ANYONE else to at least share this with.

But I'm curious about something. In my mild estimation you are able to be romanic with a woman and here we differ. Let's just say on the slining scale of orientation I slide out a little farther than you do.

I slide all the way to the end, in fact. What advice would you offer me? How can I reconcile church doctrine, celestial destiny, and my desire for companionship?

drex said...

We're still working on the 'being romantic' part - I've been extremely, brutally open with Salad about the fact that I'm not sexually attracted to her. I'm good at the physical closeness thing, and I could do lots of fantastically romantic things without that physical attraction there, but it would seem hollow to me. So we're trying things out, taking it slow, and seeing where it puts us. Honestly, though, the idea of being able to spend this life with Salad is looking really appetizing - the companionship and deep connections we have with each other are stronger than mere sexuality. It seems entirely unfair based on my social upbringing to deny her a companion that likes her that way, but even if I don't (and I'm hoping I'll 'come around' and that'll fall into place), I still love her enough as a person that I can see marriage working.

And my inexperienced mind says that it only takes one woman to make a celestial marriage. It doesn't matter if you can't envision yourself with any woman if you find one woman with whom you can envision it. I think that I slide pretty far to the end, especially if I consider a scale based purely on sexuality, but what I'm looking for transcends sexuality, and that's what Salad and I are cultivating.

So I guess that would be my (long-winded and mostly rambling) advice - keep on the path that you feel is right, continue cultivating your own spirituality and praying to know where God wants you to be, then keep your eyes peeled for what could be the only right gal. And personally, I think being open from the start is the best way to begin a relationship, even if it means some relationships fall through before they start.

playasinmar said...

You are incredibly diplomatic. I will endeavor to be the same.

I don’t think the scales of life are limited to sexuality. But speaking of sexuality… I know that relationships aren’t just sex. Sexual compatibility may never be a major issue in a good, long-lasting relationship.

Yet, desire works both ways, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t it?

If intimacy is a mere facet of a celestial relationship then where do we rank it’s importance? Is everyone entitled to love and be loved; desire and be desired? Are any of us to be temporal relationship caretakers; locked into a union that can only express symbolic gestures of practiced love. Is it any man’s destiny to be sealed to someone we hope God will let us love with an entirety of soul?

The Hidden Gay said...

Drex & Salad,

I'm not going to venture into playa's musings... (no offense to him) I'm just not really in a philosophical mood right now.

Just wanted to shout out a thanks again for coming to find me yesterday when I was thinking of slitting my wrists with my psych paper. Damned class and even worse TAs! "This is wrong." I fix it. "This is wrong." STOP CONTRADICTING YOURSELF!

Like I said in the car, I really appreciated the gesture. Even as far and comfortable as I am, I still get lonely and spiral out of control. I'm better today. Now I just have to fail that grammar test... sigh.


drex said...

I lot of the importance that we put on desire and sexual intimacy is societal and fairly transitory - up until the modern era, marriage wasn't about love at all, and love-based trysts ruined family relationships, destroyed dynasties, and started wars. This isn't to downplay the importance of love - I am in part, after all, a product of the society in which I've grown up.

I'm not yet to the point of 'loving' Salad. I'm very attracted to her Spirit, her kindness, her compassion, her caring for others, her selfless giving, her sensitivity - but that's not what the world calls love, nowadays. I know that what I'm feeling right now, though, runs deeper than any crush I've had on any guy since I've been aware of my homosexuality. And there have been a long sting of crushes. Where before I felt like I'd never be able to be held and comforted the way I wanted because I could only envision it with another guy, Salad's provided that comfort and that support. There was a period where I didn't think it would be possible for me, but right now I think God's trying to prove me wrong. It might not work for everyone, but I'm lucky enough that at least for now, it's working for me. And I think it's possible for most. Does that even make sense? Sometimes I think I'm just spouting nonsense.

Hidden: You know we love you to death, and we'd drop anything to help you out. I'm just glad things worked out the way they did, because I had a fun time and felt really good the entire time. It felt like it was supposed to happen. And I'm glad you're open enough to tell us how much it meant to you, because that's one of the best feelings I ever have - knowing that someone appreciates when I care.

-L- said...

I hope my jumping in the middle of your conversation isn't unwelcome.

Playa: If intimacy is a mere facet of a celestial relationship then where do we rank it’s importance? Is everyone entitled to love and be loved; desire and be desired? Are any of us to be temporal relationship caretakers; locked into a union that can only express symbolic gestures of practiced love. Is it any man’s destiny to be sealed to someone we hope God will let us love with an entirety of soul?

It's taken me a while to really wrap my mind around it, but I don't think we're entitled to anything at all. Which just ends up making me grateful for the things I do get, even though they aren't exactly what I want (or what I think I want). It turns out that what we desire is far less relevant to our happiness and long-term well being than what God knows we need. Hence, all that stuff you always hear about obedience and faith.

playasinmar said...

I don’t mean to be facetious but I’m not trying to put your relationship in the spotlight. I meant it when I said I hope you two grow old together. The Great Plan of Salvation is also The Great Plan of Happiness.

Really, I’m trying to feel out your approach to counseling. Hypothetically, I’m an adolescent youth, a faithful Mormon, and I’m way gay (orientation-wise). What do you advise? What course do you prescribe.

And you aren’t limited to that information alone. Ask any question you like to get a more realistic feel.

The Hidden Gay said...

Drex: I have no qualms expressing that because it really did mean that much, and thus I wanted to highlight that so that you two knew exactly how I was feeling. It was really nice. And fun *waitress walks by and says "hi" WTH?* LOL

Now that I murdered my midterm I'm feeling slightly philosophical and will join in the discussion. wheee...

I agree with -L- that we aren't entitled to anything, but you know we can work to better ourselves and that will hopefully get us blessings and what not.

Anyway what I really want to comment to was playa: "Hypothetically, I’m an adolescent youth, a faithful Mormon, and I’m way gay (orientation-wise). What do you advise? What course do you prescribe."

If you look at all these blogs and where people are and the paths they are taking I think I can now spout one of my favorite things to spout. (yay for spouting) That is the fact that there is no course, no prescription, no ready-made answer. Each individual dealing with homosexuality is fundamentally the creator of their own path. Other people I know who are gay talk to me and try and give advice to help me, but I can't fully apply everything they offer because I'm not necessarily walking that way. I'll get back to heaven by walking my road and having my own unique relationship with God and Christ.

As for what you should do, the only advice I feel safe giving is just really work at figuring yourself out and what you really really want. I think AGlassDarkly's (sorry I'm not all blogger savvy on linkys and whatnot) most recent entry "The Future?" speaks to this really well. You need to know what you want and follow it. I support my friends no matter where they go. If you stay in the church and work at finding a girl for you, great. If you leave and find a boyfriend and that's how you find your happiness, great too. I'm not God so I'm not about to judge anyone on the path they choose to carve for themselves.

I'll stop now. *grin*

playasinmar said...

-L- I used the term “entitled to” to avoid using “destiny” again in the same paragraph. Although you bring up an interesting topic. What, if anything, are we entitled to? Maybe I’ll write a post about it later.

Hidden- I’m not looking for course, prescription, nor ready-made answers. I’m not actually looking for advice at all (though I would highly value Drex’s opinion).

Drex- I am curious to know your approach to a hypothetical situation. A situation that, if I understand correctly, you hope to encounter as part of your profession.

drex said...

The main issue I have with how things are (not) handled in most situations that I've seen is that there's no communication going on at all, and most adolescents aren't at a level of mental/psychological maturity where they will have self-dialogue to figure out what's going on in their lives. I don't have enough psych classes under my belt to know exactly how I'd go about it as a professional, but at this point my big thing is focusing on perspective. The challenges of SSA are not so great that they can't be lived through, nor do they have to define someone.

Personally, I think most young men should prepare to go on a mission. The mission isn't for all people, but it is for most. It adds one or more new perspectives to life, and allows one to focus on something other than themselves for an extended period of time. I've found it much easier to understand myself since serving a mission, and I think that generally holds true across the board for return missionaries.

After the mission, you're big enough to figure out what you want with life. Figure out your long-term goal. Do you want to marry in the temple or not? Do you intend to stay active in the church, or is your comfort with the life you lead more important? Basically your long-term goals determine your short-term goals. If you plan to marry in the temple, you have to stay on that path. Which means staying worthy of the temple, which means avoiding getting into a relationship with a guy, which might seem like the more natural thing to do.

But I typically agree with Hidden, to a degree. Everyone's path is different, and it takes getting to know someone before better advice or opinion can be given. Even for a nonprofessional.

salad said...

I want to comment on Drex's first response to playsinmar. He has been brutally honest with me about the fact that he's not sexually attracted to me. I'm not going to lie and say that it doesn't hurt to some degree, but like he said, sexual attraction isn't all, or even a majority factor, in all relationships.

I would rather have someone who views me as a companion, an equal partner, and loves me for more than physical appeal. Don't get me wrong, there is a need for physical intimacy, but it's not the focus I'm looking for. I love that Drex loves me for deeper reasons and I think it makes a huge difference in our relationship. Hopefully we can get to the point where I'm not the only one with romantic feelings, but it will take work and patience.

I can't imagine my life without Drex. Our life together will be exceedingly hard, but life without him really wouldn't be worth it for me. I've waited a long time for this relationship and I'm not going to give it up because there are bumps in the road. I do love Drex, very much, and I'm content knowing that he loves me too--for the right reasons.

I hope that together we can help people have similar experiences to ours. It's hard, but totally worth the wait in the end. Some will have to wait longer than others, but it's all about enduring to the end.

Kengo Biddles said...

Children are a real sticking point. That's part of why I screamed (in my head) "Dear God, don't let him be like me" when I saw that Ginta was Ginta and not Gintita.

It's humbling, and it's scary, but as long as you stay as close as I think you are to Salad, you'll both do okay.