Friday, December 19, 2014

Being Jaded: A Personal Choice

So I recently have gone on a couple of dates with a guy and he pointed out my lack of being "jaded." At first he said he attributed it to my age, as I am only 19 and a little more optimistic and hopeful about what my future has in store for me, but after talking about life experiences and getting to know more about each other, he said he didn't think that was the case.

I had been unfamiliar with that word, "jaded." But I have noticed that many of my friends and love interests have seemed to assimilate it to their vocabulary. So I decided to look it up:


adjective \ˈjā-dəd\
: feeling or showing a lack of interest and excitement caused by having done or experienced too much of something

Full Definition of JADED

: fatigued by overwork : exhausted
: made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience or by surfeit <jaded network viewers> <jaded voters>

I was curious about why there was something about adulthood that causes people to become jaded. People have said they become jaded because their lives don't end up how they wanted them to be or envisioned it to be, their career plans are different because their dreams were too big for them, they're frustrated because they can't find "the one."

I understand these things. I thought I would be serving a mission right now. I'm getting educated in a field that is very unstable and unreliable, I still struggle whether I should be dating a woman or men, I've had problems with depression. I get how those things can make you jaded. I let them make me jaded for a long time, starting when I was 13 until I was 17. But that left me with so much unhappiness and unfulfillment. It was a lot to let this jaded unhappiness consume me, but as a wise man once told me, when has anything good come about by taking the path of least resistance?

So I have come to the conclusion that being jaded is a personal choice. It's a choice to either be bitter with the path that life has taken you, or have faith that even though things didn't go as you planned, God has a plan for you, and His plan is perfect and you're going to end up where you need to, and even if that isn't what you initially wanted, it's what you get. There's no point in becoming "dull, apathetic, or cynical" about your life, because you only get one.

There's always something bright to look up to. There's always something good in a person. It just might take a little more effort to find it and to get there, but I can promise you that the effort is worth it. Being jaded doesn't have to be a requirement of adulthood.

But then again, who am I to say anything? After all, I'm only 19 years old. ;)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Only Black and White: High School

I think this post is important for any high schooler to see because even though this may be my story, every high schooler has struggles just like this that every high schooler faces, but nobody sees. High school is all about masks and personas, what we want people to see. And that is in no way a healthy behavior. Here's my list of advice to any high schooler:

1) Just be yourself (or discover yourself). People will love you regardless of who you are. And if they don't, they're not the ones that are deserving of your love.

2) Life ALWAYS goes on! You may think that you made a mistake, or you may get embarassed, but life wont stop. And I think you'll find that life is directing you in paths you need to go, anyways.

3) "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."- We Bought a Zoo

4) Going off of number 3, you know that girl or guy you like? Yeah, it doesn't hurt to tell them you like them. Don't wait two years.

5) Last of all, to tie it all together, you never know if you don't try.

Now on to my high school stuff.

I remember my first day of high school was actually pretty lonely. I was in an unfamiliar school with unfamiliar people. I knew two people, but they were a couple and I was sort of the third wheel left to fend for myself. Half of the first term I ate lunch by myself because I was so shy back then, but that didn't matter, because I could start anew. I was on my school's dance company and the band and eventually joined a few other clubs and got a bit more involved in my high school and I knew that I was set to gain friends and become comfortable, but I was plagued with the fear that people would bully me incessantly like they did in elementary school and middle school. Fortunately that wasn't the case.

I remember the name of my first friend at this new high school. We met in our math class and  I started eating lunch with her friends who remain some of my best friends to this day. I remember this math class vividly because I had a huge crush on my teacher. It's no wonder I got straight A's and the highest test scores in the class. There was NO WAY I wasn't going to pay attention.

Now that I had established a friend group, I felt more established. Things were definitely looking up. I got a 4.0 for the first times in my life and then at the end of the first semester, I started to develop a crush on a guy in some of my classes and that kinda threw things for a loop. There was no way I was going to like this guy, so I was actually kind of rude because if I wasn't nice to him, obviously he wouldn't like me and I wouldn't like him anymore. That didn't work, because I still really wanted him attention and company, even though I hated that I wanted that. This kind of started to make these feelings a rising problem for me.

Then sometime in there, the October 2010 General Conference happened where Boyd K. Packer gave a talk that mentioned homosexuality and the LGBT community exploded over it. This caused a lot of confusion for me, so my anxiety grew and I decided to look for answers. I created a fake facebook account and joined discussions on a page called "I Support Boyd K. Packer" and met some very great people that were trying to lead me to gospel answers. I really respected their efforts, but their pointed efforts to lead me to reparative therapy led me thinking that there was something wrong with me and that I needed correction and I felt like I was even more of a mistake. So I decided to tell my first friend about my feelings towards men.

Let's call her Jessie (not her real name). I remember it was sometime that December while I was on my paper route that I texted her and told her I was gay. It was such a relief to me to finally get that off my chest and have someone know me for who I truly was.

I was apalled with the conversation that followed.

She told me she was very concerned for me and that these feelings I was experiencing weren't actually real and that I must be letting Satan control me for those thoughts to ever enter my mind. I tried so hard to explain that I didn't want to feel this way and that I was trying really hard to make them go away. My stomach dropped as I realized I had told the wrong first person. I didn't tell anyone else for almost two years.

The next two years were pretty uneventful, but I kept myself busy. I knew that if I was busy, I wouldn't have time to think too deeply about my feelings and the frustration and depression I was facing in life. It worked for a while, but summers were always hard because I didn't ever have that much to do but work. But finally, the summer after my junior year I decided I was going to start facing my attractions toward men. I turned to youtube and google to find blogs and people who were experiencing these feelings as gay mormons, and I found that there were a lot. A lot more than I realized and a lot more than should go unnoticed.

I heard their stories of confirmation, about how God loved them, and how they began to love themselves, so I thought that maybe I could ask God myself. After watching "Prayers for Bobby" on youtube I decided to get on my knees and ask him if it was okay that I was gay. The overwhelming sensation of the Spirit told me that God loved me and I had a lot of personal revelation for myself that I will never forget.

God loved me no matter what.

Monday, November 17, 2014

On the Breaking Point: Middle School

As middle school progressed, so did the teasing and insecurity. 7th grade I was desperate to try and change these feelings, so I pretended to have a crush on this girl (let's call her Victoria because that's a sexy name and I don't know anyone named Victoria). I tried very hard to win over Victoria's heart as a 12 year old boy, and I succeeded for a time. We were both in the awkward young teen love stage where we both liked each other but were too grossed out by cooties or something (like the fact that she was a girl) to actually talk about it. Eventually in mid 8th grade, she told me she didn't like me anymore and I was absolutely traumatized. I cried and listened to sad music because I thought that my chance to become straight was shot.

As dramatic as that sounds, as a little gay boy it was a legitimate stressor for me. It caused me a lot of depression because no matter how hard I tried to pretend to like girls I could never actually like girls. All my friends were talking about the people they had crushes on, and the people I had crushes on I felt like I was forbidden to admit. So I continued to try and have crushes on Breanna, Marissa, and Alexa (all alias names) to no avail. They would all have crushes on me and eventually tell me that they didn't like me anymore. I was crushed (pun definitely intended).

Then came 9th grade and along with 9th grade came seminary because it was the first year of high school. We were studying the Book of Mormon, which I thought was a fantastic start to my seminary experience. The Book of Mormon was the keystone of the gospel and it would be a fantastic way to develop and strengthen the foundation of my testimony. My teacher's name was Brother Garrett and it was one of the most spiritually strengthening years of my life. Also one of the most depressing.

I was on top of my scripture study and I made sure to pass off every scripture mastery. I took notes, pondered, and prayed about everything I was taught that year because I figured if I was spiritual enough, God would provide me an answer to my prayers and I could become straight, making the following years of my life a lot easier to handle. In the meantime the bullying intensified.

Some of my classmates would pretend I wasn't there, run into me in the halls and call me a "faggot," "gay," or "queer." Someone even sent me a fake valentine for valentine's day from a well known gay guy at our school to spite me and that guy. The thing that hurt the most was when I found out that one of my best friends spread rumors about me around the school that I was gay (which, I mean.. was true. But 1) I didn't tell anyone yet and 2) You just don't out people. Period.). Because of this rumor, the bullying got so bad I had to go see the school councellor to get it to stop. He called her in to face me and apologize but she pretended nothing happened and walked out of the office with her head held high. Because of this, I became very withdrawn and defensive because I didn't know who I could trust. I even began to withdraw from my closest friends.

I remember a specific incident where I fasted and knelt beside my bed praying specifically to be healed from having these feelings and feeling so very empty as I didn't get any divine answer from God that I would be changed due to my faithfulness. I became numb inside as I sobbed into my sheets.

The end of ninth grade rolled around and I couldn't take the bullying anymore. Like I said, I distanced myself from my friends and applied for a varience to go to Davis High, which was roughly 15 miles away from where I lived in Bountiful. I had my escape and new start in order and I couldn't wait.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A mission?

"Are you going on a mission?"

For most LDS boys this isn't even a question. Of course they're going on a mission. Of course they're going to devote two years of their lives to the Lord in selfless service to preach the word of God to people on all corners of the earth. It's what is expected. Not only this, but they were raised with a fire in their belly to serve the Lord and their desire to do so is bursting.

Now don't get me wrong, I have a burning desire to serve. I want to devote those two years of my life to serve a mission. I love the Lord. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I have a testimony as strong now as I ever have in my life. But putting that aside, it chills me to the core thinking about leaving on a mission. With my unique set of circumstances, as a gay mormon, the idea absolutely terrifies me.

First and foremost, I'm not as worried about the actual mission as much as what I am supposed to do to get there: the temple covenants. To the best of my knowledge (as I have not gone through the temple and made those covenants myself) after making those covenants to the Lord, the consequences of having homosexual relations are a lot more severe than having just made the baptismal covenants. When you make those sacred covenants, you are promising to keep the law of chastity until you are able to legally marry someone of the opposite gender (again, to the best of my knowledge). For someone who is vitually in no way attracted to women physically or romantically, this is an incredible chasm between where I am right now and where God wants me to be. I could never make covenants to a God I loved so much unless I trusted myself enough to know I could keep them.

That being said, if I did serve a mission, it leaves these four options for me:

1) Marry a woman that by some miracle I found attractive emotionally and physically.

2) Marry a woman I know I'm not attracted to emotionally or physically and hope the marriage stays together.

3) Marry a woman and then get divorced because I couldn't make it work and then eventually become excommunicated because I desire companionship with a man.

4) Live a life of celibacy and devoid of companionship.

To me, and I'm sure many of you will agree, the only one that sounds even remotely hopeful is option number 1, and to be honest, the least likely to happen. 3 out of 4 of those options sound incredibly miserable, and the only one that sounds remotely good has roughly a 95% fail rate. With this logic, a mission isn't setting me up for happiness, it's setting me up for misery.

Though the temple covenants are what makes me the most hesitant, the mission does scare me as well. I am going to be with a male companion 24/7 7 days a week. What happens if I develop feelings for a companion? What if I get too self-conscious about my companion thinking I'm gay or finding out I'm gay? What if he makes fun of me, feels uncomfortable around me, or dislikes me because of it? That idea stresses me out as well.

When people ask me if I'm going to serve a mission, and I say no, it's not because of lack of desire in any shape or form. I want to serve the God I love for the church that I have found to be true. It's because I don't know if I can trust myself enough to keep the temple covenants when I come home and I'm scared of developing feelings for my companions.

That being said, a mission isn't entirely out of the question. I am still praying earnestly about the path my life is supposed to take, and if God says that is a mission and I can trust myself to keep those temple covenants, that is what I will do. But I know that as of right now I am not in a position to serve because I couldn't trust myself quite yet to keep those covenants if I made them.

Everybody has a different set of life circumstances. Some people don't leave on missions, some people come home early, and some serve the full two years (or 18 months for women). Whatever their circumstances are, they are all legitimate, whether you know the reasons to them or not.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I have been going through a pretty hard time lately in my life and I figured that writing things down helps me to center myself and to reveal more thoughts, feelings and insights that I wouldn't have otherwise. Also, I want to remember how I felt in the past experiences that I talk about to help guide where I am headed now.

I was a pretty blessed child. My parents helped me do extracurricular activities like gymnastics, soccer, diving, basketball and then eventually dance (which comes later in my teenage years that I will get to in another post). I wasn't the most liked child in the world, because let's be honest, I was very different from the rest of the kids in my grade. I liked dolls and such over trucks, I had an incredible fascination with animals, and I was fabulous (no other way to put it). To exemplify my fabulousness, I remember distinctly wearing my sister's yellow princess Belle dress and loving every minute. When my parents told me I needed to take it off, I cried. Now that story seems silly to me because I would never wear a dress nor anything particularly feminine.

I became vaguely aware of my sexuality when I was around 5 years old. Seems a bit young doesn't it? I get asked questions like, "How did you know you were gay before you even hit puberty?" And I just think about all the boys and girls when they're little talking about their crushes. It's just like that. As little kids talk about how they like the opposite gender, I had crushes on the same gender. How I describe it to people is it's like there was a dormant animal that was sitting in the back of my mind. I acknowledged that it was there, but it was asleep and not causing a commotion. It was when puberty hit when that animal awoke and decided to wreak havoc on my life.

So I think that I established that I was always a pretty gay child growing up. I was teased, harassed, and bullied about it clear until I was about 15, but since I'm focusing on my childhood for this post, I'll limit it to elementary school. One day when I was in the lunch room with my best friend, I noticed that two of the boys had snuck an extra piece of pizza out of the lunchroom. Me, being the responsible little boy that I was, told the lunch lady (yes, I was that kid). After she scolded and punished the two boys, one of them looked over at me and said, "Hey. Hey Trevor. You're gay and you sleep with men."

I was utterly distraught. After boldly declaring that I was no longer going to sit with them, I collapsed into a puddle of tears as soon as I was out of eyesight. This was my first taste that being gay was "unacceptable." That I was unwanted because of it. It was the beginning of my closted experience. I was maybe 9 or 10.

Finally around the middle of 6th grade when I was 11, I realized I was gay. At first it started out with me seeing a guy I found attractive and then saying to myself, "I want to look like that." I was realizing that I found that attractive and because of such, I wanted my body to look good. Chiseled abs, nice biceps, you know, the works. But eventually this turned into me actually being attracted to people in my class and that sort of threw my world for a loop.