21 December 2014

New Beginnings

Winter has always been somewhat trying for me in Utah. I came here from Southern California where Christmas lights and decorations adorn houses shaded by palm trees from the warm California sun. It was not uncommon to be in a t-shirt and sunglasses on Christmas Eve. "Winter" was a thing only seen in the movies, and where winter was, Christmas was also. They were basically conjoined twins in my mind.

last year's tree
When I moved to Utah to go to BYU, I was excited for winter. I never had a "white" Christmas before and the snowfall leading up to the holidays was magical. But once Christmas ended, I was confused when the snow and cold didn't follow suit and go into storage with the other Christmas decorations. Instead the cold dragged on for months and months while the sun stayed hidden from the sky. The snow loses its magic when you look around to realize that the demise of colorful lights and cheerful sound of Christmas bells gave way to the normal grueling work-day and you realize the world has become depressingly black-and-white. The black of dormant trees stand starkly against the dirty white of old snow and the outdoors become a sort of frozen wasteland.

Today marks the winter solstice- the darkest day of the year. In the midst of getting presents wrapped and finishing Christmas preparations, I must also go through all my earthly possessions and decide what to leave behind and what to pack. It is a daunting task and it is hard to find the motivation to decide what I can do without and what I will take with me on the 2,000 mile journey that lies ahead of me. There is no snow this year- no magic. Instead, a dark sky and the sound of rain serves as a reminder of my uncertain, cloudy future.

Sean and I didn't bother with Christmas lights and decorations this year in anticipation of our move. It just seemed too daunting to put up decorations only to pack them up along with everything else. Tonight, however, we will go to his parents house and decorate the tree. It will be bitter-sweet. The colorful lights and decorations will undoubtedly bring much needed "magic" into the season, but it will also be a sharp reminder of the family I am leaving behind. Its a sobering thought that I am soon going to have to say goodbye to people who love and care about me so much.

captured in August at a dude ranch in remote Wyoming

But while it is the darkest day of the year, something else will go up along with the Christmas tree decorations tonight. It also happens to be a new moon. The end of a cycle, and a bright new beginning- the beginning of a journey back into the light. Surely, there are still dark days ahead, and the gains of each day will be small, but there is hope in knowing that there is light at the end of this tunnel. Spring will bring with it rebirth, regrowth, and a chance to decide what I will bring with me into this new cycle of life.

captured in Spring 2014 in our yard
 As part of that "house-cleaning," I intend to move my writing over to a new blog. I will continue to post here, but they will be copied from the new location. I've grappled a lot with this decision, but I feel that I need to step away from Mormonism more completely so that I can forgive and heal from my past. I've already begun un-following Mormon-themed facebook groups and have tried resisting the urge to read news related to Mormonism. My Mormon past and heritage will always be a part of me, but I no longer wish to give it power to define me. I also don't want to continue living a life where I am angry about the past and wish to live in the present where I can accept things as they are. A present where I can be at peace with who I am and where I've been. I'm trying to step away from labels that attempt to paint a picture of who I am because I feel it is incomplete and has too much resemblance to the dark black-and-white world of the bitter months of winter which I have come to dread.

my old missionary shoes
These "Gay Mormon Shoes" have served their purpose. They have taken me down paths that weren't always flattering, through stages of grief, bitterness, and anger. They have also led me to greater acceptance of myself and those I might have once thought of as "other." They have led me to my first experiences with love. They have aided me in channeling my talents into work that hopefully does good in the world. But they have become worn and tattered and cause increasing discomfort. It is time to leave them in the shadows of the darkest day of the year so that I can fully embrace the light ahead. As always, I welcome you to tag along. Once my first blog post is up at the new location, I will direct you there.

Until then, perhaps you too will discover things in life best left behind as you look to embrace the new beginnings that the journey into the light ahead promises. Have a very merry and magical Christmas.

-Jonathan

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and good luck in your journey. I look forward to reading your new blog.

Armando Bravo said...

Jonathan:
As you expressed, i wish you "a bright new beginning- the beginning of a journey back into the light". Smile in the hope of the future happiness.

Evan said...

Looking forward to reading it! You've inspired me to start again too.

Andrew said...

I'm with you.

Jonathan Adamson said...

Thanks all! I've begun my new blog, although it is a work in progress. http://ridethewindsback.blogspot.com

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