28 November 2010

Cinderella Man

In March 2008 she lost her everything. Now the other half has gone as well. And yet, this time the pain isn't as sharp. It's not as deep. Not because he was any less, but because she is stronger. I know it. And I see it. I no longer worry what she will do.

The poet rears his head anew.

Soaring (For Grandpa)
Night of Winter
Snow falling
Softly, Sweetly
He closed his eyes and smiled
Because peace was there

Once upon a Summer's day
I knew him
Walked and
Talked with him

He was a fighter
Inside and out
So many times mistook
Almost his middle name

Externally yes
You don't know me
You don't see me
Internally much more

Roll with the punches
Bob and Weave
Little beat big
When little smart
First with the head
Then with the heart
Can't hit you
Can't hurt you

Songs you knew all too well
Coming to terms with
Questions of self
In a world not ready
For answers

Sometimes you duck
Sometimes you hit back
It's fine to be who you are
To stand up for what you believe
To shine
To soar
To say

I'm here
And I care
And I
Make a difference

Thank you for courage
Thank you for belief
Thank you for everything you gave
For everything you were


Now Peace
Now Joy
A Reunion
The end is always the beginning
Of better
If you just know
How to look

In you
Of you
Through you
The Gift

I Carry
In me
Of me
Through me
To Pass


27 November 2010

"Most gay youth...I'd say 90%, are actually doing quite well."

"They are not depressed, they are not anxious, they're not attempting suicide; they're really quite ordinary adolescents."

So says Professor Ritch Savin Williams, professor of developmental psychology at Cornell University.

I think he's crazy.

But have a listen for yourself.

One of my straight, LDS friends who is trying to better understand me and mine sent this to me wondering what my reaction was. At OTR's prompting, I decided to post it here as well.

Granted, it's not a well thought out, refined literary masterpiece I'm turning in for any sort of grade. It's quite jumbled actually, and follows no set exposition, other than its reactionary nature.


"First off, let me say that I find the attention gays are getting in the media and from celebrities encouraging. It's time we stood up and faced head-on the issues of the day. But people so often don't want to. Along with abuse and rape, to name two, there are myriad problems facing our world. We as a people simply turn away from them in the hopes they won't affect us, instead of giving them the attention they need.

"I don't care what science and studies say, he's wrong. I'm not going to simply dismiss his arguments completely, but he openly admits picking and choosing his studies to show the results he wants. Likewise, often scientific studies are skewed by the fact that people know they are participating in them. And if they don't, what's to guarantee they will be honest? Gay teens aren't depressed, anxious, or attempting suicide? I completely disagree. When I was at BYU, struggling with coming out, I wouldn't have shared my anguish with ANYONE, not even my best friends, let alone some doctor or "scientist" coming and asking questions about my healthy adjustment to youth-dom. I would pretend to be happy, well-adjusted, and fine to the greater public eye of scrutiny (which I would say would be the indicators showcased in these studies) and then I'd lay on my bedroom floor at night curled up into a ball sobbing until I couldn't breathe, wishing I had a pistol. What 'study' is going to be able to document that?

"Scientifically, maybe there's not a distinction, but in reality there is. And even if it's slight, we're still talking about people. People who are killing themselves, or thinking about it. This is not okay.

"I think the difference is even starker among gay mormons, who face even more problems with the added difficulties of deep-rooted, socio-cultural belief, faith, and stigma that completely envelops them. Every gay person I've ever known has considered or attempted suicide. I first tried when I was 12. How does that make me 'just as healthy, resilient, and positive' as other youth? I don't think it does. I think he's off base.

"Again, people are dying. I know of 4 gay mormons in utah alone who killed themselves this year. And then there are the ones in the media that prompt our attention... these are only the ones that make it into the headlines. How many don't?

"I don't want to judge him the way he's judging kids, but I find it interesting that he uses the term "same-sex attraction." Pretty sure he just pegged himself as a Mormon. I don't know that that word exists outside LDS circles. And I won't go into what that would allow me to say about his motives and arguments. Granted, I could also be wrong.

"Likewise, I don't understand his claim about bullies. Just because we talk about gay teens struggling to adjust and identify in healthy, happy ways doesn't mean that we are actively empowering bullies. This statement is logical fallacy at best - they don't relate. Bullies are inherently empowered to begin with. That's the whole essence of 'bully' - power over someone else.

"I feel like he's trying to bully these results and the larger message being put out into something he wants to see; something he wants to believe in order to do exactly what I said at the beginning: ignore that the problem even exists in the hopes it will go away and won't affect him. Well, it will go away. After all the gay kids are dead.

"That said, the one thing I *do* agree with very strongly is that this IS the best time to be young and gay. When I was in High School, I wouldn't have dared come out in a million years. When I came out at BYU I was alone with my pain, fear, and confusion. Now we have the Trevor Project, the It Gets Better campaign, prominent gays in the media and politics (we even have a gay city council member here in Salt Lake); it's way more socially acceptable to be gay. So it is getting better.

"On the other hand, kids are still dying. And yes, gay kids ARE fragile, and we can't ignore that. All teens are fragile - trying to find ways to healthily adjust and determine who and how they will be. Gay teens, I feel, have a harder time because they have to find ways to reconcile their faith with their feelings. Others can just build their feelings and self around their faith with no problems. Gay people can't because the two are mutually exclusive and completely antagonistic. Well, maybe that's too dichotomous of me. They do not fit easily together. When you have yet to establish your core identity and struggle internally on a daily basis, what do you have to draw upon to stand up and defend yourself against a bully? I definitely never was able to. And even if it doesn't show up scientifically, I have plenty of examples from my life and the lives of my friends. I always believe my reality and my experience over some ambiguous, biasedly-hand-picked, made-up 90% opinion.

"Today I'm not depressed, anxious, or attempting suicide, and consider myself resilient and positive - but this is on the other side of a 2-year HELL [OTR votes the hell was much longer than two years. 10? 27?] the likes of which you will probably never understand. Yes, I got there, but it cost me SO much. So which teens is he measuring? Just the ones who made it and didn't die?"

26 November 2010


For a long time now I've been internetless. The pace of my life is warp speed 10. Things move so fast, it's hard for me to keep up. I have no idea how bloggers like O-Mo do it. It seems like every day there's a new post - it's researched, coherent, poignant, and in-depth. It makes me a little jealous.

In the interim of the unplug (not always by choice), I've debated about the necessity of this blog, as so many of us do. What's its overarching purpose? Do I care if people read it? Am I wanting to contribute somehow to others and their struggles? Is it a place for my thoughts and feelings, and a sounding board for myself?

I've thought about not coming back. About not putting in the time. The effort. But after extensive pause and long conversations with OTR, we've decided that we will continue. That we must.

We want to tell our story. We want to share our experience. Not necessarily as a certain relationship deterrent, or an overt advocacy of one thing over another, but so that others can see where we have been, how it has affected us, and the growth our experience has left imbued upon us.

We have much to tell. And we hope you will be here. Reading. Understanding. Thinking. Acknowledging. Enriching and deepening yourself as you walk vicariously with us. That we may have some impact, no matter the depth of their indelibility.

12 November 2010

Return and a Hero

Very soon now I will have internet capabilities in my home, and make my reappearance in the blogging world. Wait with antici...

...pation. :)

For the interim, this song really resonated with me today:

I'm just a step away
I'm just a breath away
Losing my faith today
Falling off the edge today

I am just a man
Not superhuman
I'm not superhuman
Someone save me from the hate

It's just another war
Just another family torn
Falling from my faith today
Just a step from the edge
Just another day in the world we live

I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero, save me now
I need a hero to save my life
A hero will save me just in time

I've gotta fight today
To live another day
Speaking my mind today
My voice will be heard today

I've gotta make a stand
But I am just a man
I'm not superhuman
My voice will be heard today

It's just another war
Just another family torn
My voice will be heard today
It's just another kill
The countdown begins to destroy ourselves

I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero, save me now
I need a hero to save my life
A hero will save me just in time

I need a hero to save my life
I need a hero, just in time
Save me just in time
Save me just in time

Who's gonna fight for what's right?
Who's gonna help us survive?
We're in the fight of our lives
And we're not ready to die

Who's gonna fight for the weak?
Who's gonna make 'em believe?
I've got a hero, I've got a hero
Living in me

I'm gonna fight for what's right
Today I'm speaking my mind
And if it kills me tonight
I will be ready to die

A hero's not afraid to give his life
A hero's gonna save me just in time

I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero, save me now
I need a hero to save my life
A hero will save me just in time

(I need a hero)
Who's gonna fight for what's right?
Who's gonna help us survive?

(I need a hero)
Who's gonna fight for the weak?
Who's gonna make 'em believe?
I've got a hero

I need a hero
A hero's gonna save me just in time