Friday, January 28, 2011

The Escape, Part 6

Quorum of Elders

So many aspects of the last few weeks had been thoroughly evanescent.  Moments of happiness and epiphany would dissipate as suddenly as they appeared.  With my trip to Chile looming on the horizon, connections with people and with my situation seemed impossible.  The experience was agonizingly ephemeral—like walking on clouds and realizing there’s nothing supporting you.  My feet hungered for solid ground as I tread  the air.

Walking_on_Clouds_by_giladDennis was the last person I expected to ground me emotionally.  He drank. He dated with more frequency than I did.  He’d just gotten out of a long term relationship, and talked about it to a point that a sense of uncomfortable empathy crept up even in strangers at the next booth of restaurants.  That said, he was almost proud that he’d found rock bottom perhaps because it is the one place the optimist-at-heart truly feels at home.

He was sensitive enough to pick up on the fact that I was in the same place in a philosophical sense.  I was starting over and opening myself to the possibilities I’d avoided and denounced for the last year of my life.  The moral codes that I’d lived up to for so long—abstaining from alcohol and pornography, sex and coffee, etc.—no longer made sense in the grand scheme of things.  After a few dates, this was still at the core of our conversations.

“You know I’ve been there before,” he revealed one night (inasmuch as anyone can reveal the obvious).  “Practically every one of us in Utah has, or at least we’ve dated them, and I’ve dated a lot of them.”


“More recently, but I’m slowing down.  You’re interesting and not in that ‘Ooh, he’s a virgin’ sense of allure.  I can’t often sit down with another guy who understands and appreciates every single reference from an episode of Gilmore Girls.”

GilmoreGirlsNeither of us pretended we weren’t seeing other people or weren’t checking out our options, but he’d let down his guard.  He let me know I wasn’t a sexual conquest with a deadline. I was unsettled in that I’d prepared for our dates to amount to nothing.  He was someone I’d want to pursue when I returned from South America, someone to whom I could share the most vital pieces of my body and soul, someone with whom I could do more than watch Gilmore Girls or 30 Rock or Grey’s Anatomy (as had become ritual in the short time we’d known each other), but I’d conditioned myself to not expect that—in one sense, not until after returning from Chile and, in another, not ever.

The contemplative, awkward silence following his admission broke with a simple, pointed question: “What do you think your life is based on right now?  Just living the moment, finding your place?”

“I might ask you the same thing,” I said simply to stall for time as I wasn’t sure in the moment.  “I guess I just want to be happy and wasn’t so I needed a change.”

“That does make a lot of sense, but what’s next?  Is your life any different now that you’ve stopped going to church or taken off the garments?” he asked seriously before a stilted aside to lighten the tone “…(which, by the way, are the opposite of sexy).”

“Well,” I said through my awkward chuckle.  “I’ve spent a lot of time learning to trust in one thing.  It’s a hard transition to believe in other people whether that be you or my best friend or even me.

“You’ll get there,” he said as if he knew my answer better than I did. “It wasn’t like I jumped right into bed with someone or started drinking the moment I was done with the church.  It’s basically not even possible in places like Ephraim.” 

boyscuddleDennis and I were similar enough that we picked up on what the other was thinking quite often, as it was so easy to put ourselves in the other’s situation romantically speaking.  We were both in a vulnerable state of putting ourselves together and mixing up the pieces at times, so we kept each other at a comfortable distance.  Our moments of discussing the seriousness were offset ten fold by conversations on television and theatre providing a connection we felt more prepared with. 

“GMB, I want you to meet some friends of mine,” Dennis mentioned cuddling one night to the sound of Buffy the Vampire Slayer blasting away in the background.    “We don’t agree on everything, but I think we both need to be around some people who are satisfied with their life right now.” 

“Who are these people and why the sudden urge to hang out?” I asked half-asleep (not sharing his enthusiasm for 90s fantasy television) and not in the most social of moods.

His taciturn response of “You’ll see” proved itself true after a quick walk across the gayborhood. 


As we approached a small red brick duplex, I flashed back to several memories from my missionary time in Brazil.  It was like every time I’d meet a family for the first time.  They’d happily welcome the new missionary to town with a small party or a big dinner.  In much the same way my companions explained to me the history of that particular family, Dennis shared the backstory of the house’s residents. 

“Well, they’ve been together three years and they met in Provo at BYU.  It was the fairytale romance minus the genders.  They have people over for game nights every week.  They don’t drink or smoke.  This group is probably the Mormon-iest group of gays you could assemble.” 

That night satisfied some form of nostalgia within me.  Clearly, the ten men and women I met that night had found a way to embrace what they’d been taught their entire life despite as well as the emotions that countered those teachings in one way or another.  Perhaps it was Dennis’ way of showing me that happiness was in reach sooner than I’d thought and that forsaking the past completely was not a viable option for me or for him. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Laugh of the Day #36

For this duck author:

math 2

I hope things get better soon. 

Much love,


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Glee Withdrawals #4

Sure, it only returns in a few weeks (Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6), but I could sure use a good escape.  What better escape is there than a show where 28 year-old actors pretend they’re still in high school. 

The following is funny for the first minute… perhaps minus a certain finger gag.

Food for Thought #32

A gem of a film shot entirely with mobile phones cameras in 2008.  I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion lately and this film came to mind. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

~Blush~ #1

The scene: mailroom at work
Characters: yours truly; Alice, a fabulous blond 40-something woman who fantasizes about the day she’ll teach a course in sarcasm.

Enter GMB.  Beginning to sort mail, he mumbles last names to himself as he searches for the correct slots.

GMB (mumbling): Donner, Salmon, Allegheny….

Alice enters.

GMB: Hey, Alice.

Alice: Back from break, I see?

GMB: Yeah.  Never long enough, are they?

Alice: You’re sounding a little tired today. 

GMB (grabbing his neck): I woke up a little sore this morning.  I think I slept on my neck wrong. 

Alice (craning in slightly and squinting): I'm sure it felt good to begin with.

GMB: What do you mean?

Alice (teasing): At least I have the excuse of a curling iron burn, GMB. I know a hickey when I see one. 

GMB HickeyGMB (blushing): I thought that was gone.  I’m fixing the lighting in my bathroom.

Alice: I’m giving you a makeup lesson as a belated Christmas gift.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Laugh of the Day #35

Appearing the same day the missionaries stopped by chedner’s place (again). 

Jehovah's Witness Protection Program

I’m grateful for the universe’s sense of humor.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A GMB Glossary, Vol. 3:

A Thought

I was reading a fairly mainstream LDS blog called Mormonism Unveiled the other day.  The post titled “Mormon Messages: Elder Dallin C. Oaks Speaks Out On Marriage And Divorce; Divorced Members Are Not ‘Second-Class Saints’” stuck a nerve.  The post quotes extensively from the 2007 General Conference talk mentioned in the title. 

As I read the article highlighting marriage as a requirement for exaltation, and the appropriate reasons for entering and exiting the bonds of matrimony.  The most important point, however, struck me as a rather relatable one for gay and lesbian members of the church.  Something else in the piece caught my attention, though.  Three words:

Second-Class Saint

Jack Mormon (the blogger) used the term to describe a misconception that divorced Mormons are inferior to married Mormons.  I think the term might be useful in the gay Mormon discussion.  Because the greatest form of salvation is tied to marriage and marriage isn’t that perfect, natural fit for gay Mormons, it’s easy for us to feel consigned to a less fulfilling life.  No other term I’ve seen has really described the way the situation sat with me. 

lesbians second hand citizen cartoon gay marriage

Enjoy and feel free to spread it around.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Escape, Part 5

Beginning of Beginnings

Ingles Abre Puertas

¡Hola, voluntários!

We’re excited to meet you in the coming weeks.  Remember that training will begin at Hostelling International on Cienfuegos in Santiago three weeks from Friday.  Training will take place everyday8-5 through the following Wednesday before you head off to your assignments.  We’re still in the process of tying down housing and teaching assignments, but don’t worry.  Everything will work out.  Again, don’t forget to send us your itinerary as we’ ll have someone waiting to pick you up. 


A sense of relief tugged at a corner of my heart.  Blanketed in the anxiety of building a new understanding of life, my chest had been in a state of static tension.  A tepid, undulating sensation rose slightly and slowly for a moment and receded like a morning tide over the beach.  Glimpses of hope for myself, for beliefs I’d lost and accepting the new life ahead of me lay in dates like the one I’d had with Charlie and with this opportunity to escape and find myself on another continent.  As in Canada the summer before, I felt I didn’t need to bring the metaphorical baggage of a year of identity-questioning torment.  I prepared myself to be me, but wondered just how much that was true and how much this conflict was a part of me

guy in contemplation

Moments of insight had been fleeting for months as questions inescapably hung like an albatross around my neck:  Have I really made the right call? Have I forgotten a piece of the greater picture? Is there a magic bullet solution for making my gay and Mormon parts of me work effortlessly in tandem?  Should I be as worried as I am about the possibilities of alcohol and sex as I am?  Was I right in the first place to prepare for a life alone?

My life was by no means a wreck, but my beliefs were.  Trust in yourself was the philosophy that tore people away from happiness according to what I’d learned in the past two decades of my life.  Why should I expect things to get any better in my own hands?  Are those glimmers of hope enough to abandon everything?


“That was the end of it.  I was prepared to do anything for him and then he faked a mental breakdown.  Everything seemed in reach.  Being a husband.  Being a provider.  Being a father to his kids….”

In a way, his monologue felt prepared.  He’d told the story before, emphasizing the same points, processing the trauma of the situation—the rejection, the anger, the frustration.  It was like an echo: pieces of the past faintly converging on the present, tempering themselves to the air, and becoming something else completely. 

japanese table

Dennis was going through a similar catharsis, which I considered as I fumbled around with my chopsticks practicing before I humiliated myself.  He’d lost his identity much as I had.  Instead of having a lover abandon me, I felt as if my beliefs had.  Emotional torment was nothing new.  I’d just finished a class on trauma in literature, which perhaps drew my attention to this aspect of my own pain.  He let me vent my own rejection, anger, and frustrations. 

Cross-legged at the floor table, he politely listened, meticulously preparing bites of steak, soy, and rice.  My concerns were nothing new.  He’d been in the same situation a year ago, and realized just as I had that we had much to offer one another in that moment.  We were more than damaged goods enduring one another’s stories so that we could get some action later.  He was intelligent enough to realize that and so was I. 

Perhaps that is why the date turned around quickly.  Once the painful was out of the way and once we knew we both cared, even the most embarrassing details of our life became endearing. 

“I’m the most unoriginal dater,” Dennis admitted.  “This is maybe my tenth first date here.  It just works.”

I looked across the table to his brown eyes, amber in the light of the lamps shaped like pagodas.  A befuddled smile appeared on his face revealing his notably large teeth. 

cute guy table smiling Dennis

“I’ve probably been on that many first dates this month,” I said as I felt the rippling sensation of a blush on my cheeks.

“Don’t worry.  We’ve all been there.”

Why would anyone want to hide those?, I thought to myself.

As we spent the rest of the night on his couch making out to the sound of John Hughes movies playing in the background, I asked, fearing I’d lose the chance falling asleep in the warmth and comfort of his arms, “When can we do this again?”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Laugh of the Day #34

If I tried writing in the mornings, this is what my writing would feel like.  Nevertheless, the moral of the story is a good one:

(via Cognitive Dissenter)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jumping on the Resolution Train

…Pardon the pause in the current series….

In college, I mentored quite a few incoming freshmen.  One of the exercises I had them do (mostly to see if they were capable of following instructions).  They had to set four goals in four different areas: social, physical, academic, and professional.  I suppose it’s time to practice what I preach, though my goals here will avoid major spoilers for the content of the blog.



  1. Keep my place(s) clean enough for company. 
  2. Find time for friends in Logan and elsewhere an average of once a week excluding regular meetings.  (8 events a month).
  3. Try out some double dates with couples friends.  (Sundance anyone?)
  4. Foster relationships with my roomies. 


  1. Hit the gym four times a week for an hour each time. 
  2. Feel better about myself so I can better enjoy time with chedner, working towards goal weight of 165. 
  3. Get back my running stamina from six months ago by March.
  4. Vegetables and whole grains every day. 


  1. Finish the “correspondence” project.
  2. Finish paper on Pushing Daisies and Big Love.
  3. Submit one more paper presentation.
  4. Get accepted to at least one PhD program or prepare new game plan. 

Professional/Writing (because that’s what I hope to be)

  1. Finish “museum” piece and update minutes. 
  2. Finish IGB video and volunteer on Pride committee again.
  3. Complete a series a month with significant posts (500+ words) Mon., Weds., and Fridays.  Reply to comments within a business day.
  4. Look into getting a literary agent. 

Back to the series in progress soon….

Popular Posts