10 December 2015

You Do Not Have To Be Good

02 January 2015 - Nebraska
life in the driver’s seat

When I hit the road and began my journey eastward, just days into 2015, I didn’t really grasp the significance of the shift I was making. I knew that I was going from partnered to single, west to east, urban to rural, from known to unknown- but I underestimated how much my well-established mental framework would be challenged.

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22 November 2015

How Long Will it Hurt? - Forgiving the unforgivable

A little boy went running down the halls toward his parent’s room, his father trailing behind him. He burst through the door and found his mother crying in a fetal position on the bed. The boy’s father swept him into his arms and closed the door before carrying the child with him to the bench swing on the back patio. She didn’t like crying in front of people, and today— she needed to cry.

“Why is mommy crying?” the boy asked, concerned.

“Because she is sad,” his father replied.

“Why is she sad?” the boy continued.

“Because she misses grandpa, son,” he explained.

The boy thought for a moment, “cause she can’t see him any more?”

“That’s right.”

He scrunched his face and looked down for a moment before he looked back up at his father and asked,

“How long will it hurt?”

The man took a long draw of breath, looking up at the stars. Then, he turned toward the boy and answered,

“always, always.”

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22 October 2015

Ink: The Beginning

It hurt more than I thought it would. It was bearable enough though. After a few seconds of pain he would let up, gifting an immediate moment of relief before he’d continue again. I felt so out of place in that room- surrounded by people and images that years of conditioning taught me to judge so harshly. Topless women, bleeding hearts, demons and gods— Tattoos, they said, defiled the body. 

As a child, I remember Sunday School teachers asking, “would you spray graffiti on the walls of God’s temple?” 

“No!” I’d answer confidently. Of course I wouldn’t. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have sprayed graffiti on so much as the side of a dumpster, never mind a sacred building. 

“Well,” the teacher would explain, “God says your body is a temple. So if you’d never spray graffiti on God’s house, you must also never put graffiti on your body.”

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18 October 2015

Waking Up

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but there was a moment sometime in May when the universe seemed to align and something clicked within me. Here, on this isolated piece of beautiful farmland, I’ve spent countless hours alone. I sometimes go weeks without hardly talking to another soul. I’ve been listening to podcasts and stories and reading books and writing almost every day as I sip my morning coffee. I’ve listened to the sounds of the forest and the fields as they change-  from season to season, day to night, and from dry to wet. The earth is so alive, and I have felt myself come alive with it....

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08 May 2015

Beware the Demons in the Church Pews

Recently, I found a little gem mentioned almost in passing in the introduction of The Artists Way by Julia Cameron and I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the idea she expresses. I’ve been expanding it over the course of the past few days and thought it worthwhile to share. It’s about the trajectory of life’s path, asserting the notion that that it isn’t so much a linear one as it is a spiral. So rather than thinking of life as an obstacle course with a new challenge at different points along a linear trail- this circular path alludes to the revisitation of specific points along our journey. As we gain elevation and reach a higher plane, we inevitably circle around to some of our most persistent demons, each time battling them on a new (deeper) level before being rewarded with another gain in elevation. As frustrating as it is, I have found this to be consistent with my experience...

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08 April 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where -' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Life often seems to me like a lone adventure through a maze of forks and crossroads. There are periods of consistency when there are no major decisions to be made and there are also spans of road we share with a fellow traveller(s)…

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23 March 2015

"I don't pray."

Six of us sat around the dinner table in a farmhouse in the middle of rural Maryland. Across for me were the married couple. They are service missionaries and occasionally wear black name tags that read "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." To my right sat the cowboy from Utah who has probably spent more time with sheep than with people and is rarely spotted without a cattleman's hat atop his head. The remaining three of us have been on this farm longer than the others, but not by much, and despite the fact that we were all from different decades, we came out of the closet in the same one...

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19 March 2015

Be F*cking Brave

Earlier in the week, during a phone call with my mother about how things are going for me in this new life, she commented that she admired my bravery— that I took risks. This comment got me thinking a lot about bravery. It isn’t that I hadn’t been called brave before. After going through the coming out process and being vocal about it, I had many people suggest that I was brave. But I’ve never, never-ever, thought myself to be brave. Cautious feels more like me. So when my own mother made that remark, I was taken a little aback by it...

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03 March 2015

Underneath This Skin There’s a Human

When I was 12 years old, my family moved to another city. Many would agree that Middle school is awkward enough all by itself, without throwing in a move to a different school half way through seventh grade. Up until then it proved to be the worst year of my short life. The new house was only 30 minutes away from the Orange County neighborhood where I grew up, but for a twelve year old, it might as well have been the other side of the planet...

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17 February 2015

A Church Without God - The Excommunication of John Dehlin

Since leaving Mormonism in 2010, and subsequently resigning my membership in 2012, I have kept watch and remained interested in the progressive Mormon movement within the religion of my youth. It has been a grassroots movement led by intellectuals, historians, feminists, LGBT-allies, and those that yearn for greater equality and diversity. They are believers in “big-tent” Mormonism and want their church to be a refuge for all that are weary, despised, rejected, and disenfranchised rather than a church that welcomes only the few “elect” who step in line and embrace the status quo...

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06 February 2015

This Belongs to You, and Always Will

When you fall in love, you don’t do it with an expiration date in mind. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, you just begin to build a life around another person. Pretty soon months and years go by and you’ve created a pretty remarkable thing and you look over to find a person that knows you better than anyone. A person you trust enough to guard the deepest most vulnerable pieces of your heart. He's the last person you see before you close your eyes, and the first when you wake. Not too long after falling in love, hardly a memory is made that is void of him and life fails to take on a definition independent of this, the most significant person in it. 

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29 January 2015

LDS Leadership Calls for Right to Discriminate Under Guise of “Religious Freedom”

I am trying hard to disassociate from my old religion. It is really difficult for me to do, however, because the Mormon Church has taken such a spotlight role in the anti-LGBT movement. So here I am, with two identities I had no choice in which are in constant turmoil with each other. I was devoted to my religion for the first 25 years of my life. I was born into it. I am also gay, and always have been. Its hard to move on when the organization that I was devoted to for so long has been so insistent on striping me of dignity. First, by trying to prevent me from the right to marry...

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23 January 2015

Reclaiming My Power

I am not a victim. This is something I’ve tried hard to remind myself a lot lately. Being raised in a religion that taught me to hate such an essential piece of myself took a toll on me. It has defined many of my life’s struggles. But I’ve made very intentional decisions to help me reclaim my power and to become the author the life I wish to live rather than to be consumed and paralyzed by feelings of guilt, anger, and shame.

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
-Brené Brown
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15 January 2015

My Substitute for Love

The desire for deep human connection is common among us as a species. We have a desperate need to eradicate the undeniable sense of loneliness that fills us even in the midst of a crowded room. The truth is, no other person on this world can really share the unique experience that we live out in our minds. Our irrational thoughts, our inescapable fears, our paralyzing doubts, and the seemingly inescapable masochistic self-flagellation that we employ to remind ourselves how far below par we are; Our most intimate hopes, our silly but deeply sincere dreams, and our unquenchable craving for love and beauty— the extent and depth of these can never truly be known by any other human being. And yet, we try.

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10 January 2015

All I Left Behind

An image that will stay in my mind forever is pulling out of Sean’s parent’s driveway after Sean and I said our goodbyes. We embraced for a long time and I held it together. We walked out into the frigid cold and when I turned my back to round my car I began to lose it. How could I turn my back on so much good? What was I heading towards?

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06 January 2015

Away We Go

You know those specific points in life that alter your life forever? There are two kinds. The first is accidental. In the moment, you are completely oblivious to how dramatically a specific act ends up altering your life. It is only upon looking back on your life and examining it that you become aware. For example, as a result of some purposeful decision, like starting a blog, you unexpectedly meet your future lover. Or, a dark example is the day you...

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