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Friday, February 6, 2015

Spooky Mormon Hell Dreams

I often have very vivid dreams, and when I wake up they stick with me through the rest of the day. It doesn't happen all the time, but I frequently find myself thinking about my dreams. There are particular dreams that I have over and over, the typical "naked in public", forgot my shoes, etc. One that I often have is that I go back to this store where I used to work and my manager comes up to me and is irritated because she's been putting me on the schedule (for the past 14 years) and I haven't been showing up. She wants to know if I ever plan on showing up. I have that one at least once a month.

The repeating dream that I have the most often is that I'm back on my mission. Actually, it's not that I'm back, as much as I'm off on ANOTHER mission. In my dreams I'm at my current age, but I'm starting out a second mission with a bunch of pimply 18/19 year olds. For some reason (that I never know of in the dream) I was required to go on a second mission. I had to quit my job, sell my house, and send my dogs to live with my parents. There was no way to get out of it, and I am PISSED. Throughout the entire dream, I am FURIOUS that I'm on a mission again. I'm annoyed at every part of it. The missionaries are annoying. I'm irritated at the rules, and the rules are more strict. I'm with a bunch of young elders who think they know everything, and they're trying to tell me how to do everything like I'm stupid. I keep telling them that I know how to do it because I already finished a mission.

The other part is that since I haven't been attending church for the past 12 years, I have to fake it with them. In my dream the other missionaries say stuff about the church that has apparently changed in the time that I haven't been going, and I don't know about it. I have to pretend that I know and research to figure out what has changed since I stopped attending. It's all very frustrating.

I usually wake up from this dream feeling very annoyed. The funny part of this second mission is that I am not a Spanish-speaking missionary. That is another thing in the dream that bothers me. My Spanish is very good. I should be a Spanish-speaking missionary. Sometimes in my dream I try to speak Spanish and the other elders tell me I'm not allowed to because I wasn't called on a Spanish-speaking mission. I tell them it doesn't matter because I already know Spanish, but apparently the "rules" say that if you're not called to speak Spanish, you're not allowed to. Weird, huh?

The funny thing is that I didn't hate my mission. It was good. (My mission president is another story though...) Please tell me I'm not the only one who has this "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream". On the bright side, at least in my dream Jesus doesn't call me a dick. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

All my exes live in Texas

Actually he lives in Seattle. Here's the thing, I'm going to Seattle in a few weeks (over Valentine's Day weekend actually). Other than the airport, I haven't been to Seattle in a few years. The last time I was there I posted pics on Facebook about my trip, and the day I returned he messaged me on Facebook and asked if I was still in town. He wanted to get together. I was already home, so we didn't meet up. He said that if I'm ever in town again I should let him know.

We didn't really date long, just a month or so, and it was a LONG time ago (17 years, to be exact). We met through mutual friends at BYU. He was still very closeted, and was going to therapy sessions at BYU to help him overcome his SSA (a term I can't stand using, by the way). He went through periods where he wanted to be with me and then he would feel guilty and not call or come over for days. Then he'd come over, then he'd feel guilty (nothing physical ever happened other than kissing), then he'd stay away, etc., etc. It was one of those vicious circles. He couldn't decide if he was gay, straight, bi, confused, or what.

He was in his junior year at BYU, and I was in my first year teaching. Many days I'd come home from work and he'd come over. We'd cook dinner together, watch some tv on the couch, and then he'd sit and do homework while I graded papers. It was wonderful, it was romantic, it was just what I wanted. I really enjoyed spending time with him. He didn't like going out in public much, because he was afraid someone would see us. After weeks of this back and forth, he finally called to tell me that he just couldn't continue dating me because he really, truly wanted to be straight and he couldn't do that if we were seeing each other. Oh, by the way, that was on Valentine's Day. 

He graduated a year or so later, and right before he left Provo he called me up out of the blue and wanted to go to dinner. We did, it was nice, he moved, life went on. Years later when I got on Facebook I looked him up and friended him, he accepted. We've communicated a little bit the past few years, but nothing really substantial. From his own postings on Facebook (no, I'm NOT a stalker) he is still single. He doesn't post anything gay related, so I don't even know what his "status" is. Is he dating guys? Is he dating girls? It just looks like he works, hangs out with his sister's family, and does sky diving.

Anyhow, I'm not sure what to do. I'm perfectly able to go to Seattle and not call him. I don't have to post pictures to Facebook. It's not like I need to see him. But I don't like being rude. I don't even know if he really wanted to see me, or was he just being nice. You know how you run into someone from your past and you both make the "Yeah, let's stay in touch" comments, but you never really mean it? I'm not even sure why I'm even spending so much time today thinking about this. I guess it's because I saw him posting stuff on Facebook today about some big game that's important to Seattle. The Skyhawks or something...  (Kidding! I'm not THAT gay!!) Seeing his post made me think about him, which made me think about my last Seattle trip, which made me think about my upcoming trip, which then made me think about whether or not I should give him a call. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Oh no she didn't! She did...

Ok, so I've gone an entire week without my meds, and yeah, the withdrawal has been getting worse: insomnia, upset stomach, mood swings. Oh the joys! So today I had a minor crisis at work. I said something innocently to a higher up and realized that what I said is going to make it back to my evil boss. What did I say? Are you's awful. I was asked about my supervisor. When I responded that I had been moved out of that department, the person was surprised. She asked what department I was in now, I couldn't tell her, because I don't know. She was even more surprised. When did this happen? October. Even more surprise. Here's what's going to happen. This person is going to go to my Assistant Superintendent and express her surprise that I've been moved without her telling anyone. My Asst. Sup is going to come to me wanting to know why I said that. It's not that I said it, I was asked...but HER boss. What am I supposed to do? Refuse to answer? It won't matter, I'll get yelled at. I know it all seems minor and stupid, but this is how things go down at work. We get yelled at for answering questions. This drama coupled with my lack of crazy pills in my system turned me into a panic. I finally decided to take matters in my own hand and I called my doctor's office and demanded an appointment for TODAY.

They conveniently found an open slot for me in about 20 minutes, so I took off for his office. We spent some time talking about how things are going. I explained my situation and my withdrawal symptoms (to running out of anti-depressants...not cocaine!). He agreed, I was definitely going through withdrawal. He asked about work and how things are going, so I told him my story from last week when my boss came in and spent 30 minutes telling me about how much I disappoint her. How angry she is that I didn't work on a project she gave me to do. Then when I showed her the project with the notes she gave me in her own handwriting, she was mad that I started working on it without permission. (Go figure that one out!) Then I told him how she finished the whole thing off by asking for a hug. What did the doctor do? He chuckled. Then he explained something to me...he said I'm exhibiting the symptoms of battered spouse syndrome. No, I'm not being physically beaten up by this lady, but mentally...definitely so. He said that as I was explaining things, he said he knew I was going to finish the story with her doing something nice, because that's what those kind of people do.

Here's what my friend Wikipedia says: "The syndrome develops in response to a three-stage cycle found in domestic violence situations. First, tension builds in the relationship. Second, the abusive partner releases tension via violence while blaming the victim for having caused the violence. Third, the violent partner makes gestures of contrition. However, the partner does not find solutions to avoid another phase of tension building and release so the cycle repeats. The repetition of the violence despite the abuser's attempts to "make nice" results in the abused partner feeling at fault for not preventing a repeat cycle of violence. However, since the victim is not at fault and the violence is internally driven by the abuser's need to control, this self-blame results in feelings of helplessness rather than empowerment. The feeling of being both responsible for and helpless to stop the violence leads in turn to depression and passivity. This learned depression and passivity makes it difficult for the abused partner to marshal the resources and support system needed to leave."

This is exactly what happened to me. She builds these things up in her mind and got mad. Came in and yelled at me. Told me I was incompetent, I don't do what she tells me to do, accused me of doing stuff without permission, I ignore chain of command, I do whatever I want, I don't communicate, I don't collaborate, I don't work well with others, I don't work as a member of the team, I never go beyond the bare minimum, etc. None of this is true, of course. If I look at myself critically, I know she's wrong. I am THE PERSON people come to for help. I am THE PERSON people come to for ideas. I am THE PERSON who volunteers to do something new. I completed her project the DAY AFTER the she assigned it. She gave me back her feedback TWO MONTHS later and forgot that this had even happened. I could say more about my abilities, but let's just leave it with she's crazy. But anyhow, she comes in and screams at me. During the screaming, she tells me that she just wishes I would stop doing these things that make her scream. It's my fault she's mad and has lost her temper. And how does she end this tirade? She wants to hug, because she still loves me and thinks the world of me. I'm an excellent administrator. One of the best employees she has. I just have to stop making her mad.

Anyhow, I drop off my prescription and went back to finish out the rest of my day at work. On my way home, I swung by the pharmacy to pick up my refill, and as I'm leaving a friend calls to check in with me. (He works there too, so he knows what's going on.) We have a long conversation about how things are going. After the conversation, I decide I'm too lazy to cook, so I swing into a nearby restaurant for dinner. The waitress takes me to my table and I sit down...I'm starving. I've had an upset stomach all day because evil boss was in the building. I'm really really hungry. Oh wait...who's that two tables away?'s her.

I decided to be engrossed in my phone so I didn't look up until she and her minions had finished eating and were leaving. It gave me the excuse to not have seen her. But of course she stopped by on her way out. She said I was looking sad. (I wanted to say: "Yeah, because I was hungry...but once I saw you my stomach was tied back up into knots.") I made up some excuse about bad news from the family. She said she was sorry to hear that, but hopefully I'll feel a little better because she told the waitress that she'd cover my tab.

See guys, she's not such an evil boss. I've been wrong. Deep down, she's really nice. She saw I was looking sad and paid for my meal. What a sweetheart. We're gonna be BFFs, she's gonna braid my hair! We'll get manis/pedis together! Kumbaya my Lord....Kumbaya.... 

Oh wait...battered spouse syndrome!!! Here's the thing, while evil boss is a batterer, mentally, not physically, I am not a battered spouse. Why? Because I know she's wrong. I am not accepting her description of me. I reject what she has to say. A battered spouse takes full responsibility over the abuse, and finds it difficult or impossible to blame the abuser. I blame my boss for the situation. I have done nothing wrong. She is full on crazy. I could go on (yes, it IS possible) to explain more or what she has done and said to me and others in the past six months, but it's unnecessary. She's crazy. Here are a few areas of concern though: A battered spouse fears for her safety. I don't fear my physical safety. This woman is not going to hit me. I don't fear any physical abuse from her at all. But she will continue to scream and holler and place blame anywhere but at her own feet. She will pit people against each other. She will lie. She will distort the truth. She will keep us all on our toes wondering what's she's up to, worrying about who's reporting things to her, and worrying if we will have an office tomorrow. Worrying that she'll take away our secretaries (mine is gone already). Worrying if she'll take away our responsibilities. (I have a friend at work who has ZERO responsibilities. She's not allowed to even answer e-mails. Any e-mail she gets that requires an answer, she has to forward to someone else. She can't visit schools. She can't work with teachers. She's sitting in her office all day working on her PhD classes. This is evil boss' leadership style. That's who she is. She isn't going to change, and she isn't going away. I do fear my ability to deal with her. I fear for my mental health. I'm not not in a place mentally to deal with her crap.

When I encounter people like her, my instinct is to just do my work and avoid any contact. She's made it difficult for me to avoid her. I'm two doors away from her in the office. She has apparently decided to keep me on her shortlist for a promotion I applied for that I no longer want. I applied in October, didn't get a second interview. She has re-flown the position twice now and still hasn't hired anyone. And when she came in to yell at me before New Years, she listed for me all of the reasons why she didn't promote me. (Again, most were fake.) But nevertheless, she said I wasn't getting that job. ($13,000 raise btw) Funny thing, last week everyone else that I know who applied for the job got letters saying they were no longer being considered. I didn't get one. I checked with our HR department to see if it was a mistake. They said no, my name was not crossed off. Here's the deal, If she offers it to me, I have to take it, or I'll never get another promotion.  I will kill myself politically, and let's face it, I have 18 more years until I can retire. I can't sit at this entry level administrative position forever. That's how things work here. If I get that job, she'll make me go nuts. I'm sure of it. 

I also feel the need to point out, I'm not her only target. Pretty much everyone is a target, except for her minions. I'm not feeling singled out in the least bit. She's an equal opportunity abuser. I have seen her make multiple people cry. Do I believe she is all-powerful? Yes and no. She can make or break my career. If I try to take another position, I have to tell her before I apply. She has told us that if we don't, she'll make sure we don't get the job. She's done it before. Again, that's how things work here. If you're an administrator and you apply for another job, you better tell your supervisor ahead of time, or you're not going to get that job. So, if I apply elsewhere, I have to tell her. Many times when you do that, it makes her mad, so she sabotages the person when she's called for a reference. Also, she's our superintendent's fag hag, so, it's not like I can go over her head to complain. There are people above her who are afraid of her. She's just one of those people who do what they want, act the way they want, and constantly get promoted. The only light at the end of this tunnel that I can see for now is that she normally only stays in a job for 2-3 years. That means I only have 1.5-2.5 more to go!!!

FUN FACT: Did you know that there are quite a murder cases out there of women suffering from battered spouse syndrome who have used that as a defense and were found not guilty? Just sayin....

No, you don't need to scour the news for a shooting. I'm being facetious! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Emotions are Illogical

On Monday I got up as normal, did my morning routine, and when I went to take my morning pills (allergies and my anti-depressant), I realized that I did not have any more of my anti-depressants. (I call them my crazy pills.) Normally my prescriptions are automatically refilled via my online pharmacy, but I didn't have any more. I made a mental note to check on my refills when I got to work. Well, apparently my prescription had expired. I had an appointment with my doctor a month ago, but I came home that day, took and nap, and forgot to go.

Anyhow, I called up the pharmacy and asked them to request a refill. It's news. I've been off my meds for five days. I've never done that before. I noticed when I was getting ready this morning that my head felt weird. It was hard to describe, but it's like I have these intermittent buzzes that feel like little shocks, but they're not painful. It's weird. I consulted the Internet and discovered that I'm going through antidepressant withdrawal. HAHA These buzzes are call brain zaps. Let me tell you, they're weird. It's almost like that feeling you get when something scares or shocks you. It's not constant, but it's frequent enough that it's annoying. Anyhow, I noticed that I was VERY irritable at work. So irritable, in fact, that I just got up and left for several hours. I had some paperwork that I was waiting for people to come by my office to sign. Instead of waiting for them, I decided to get out of the office and I drove all over the area so I could get their signatures. (I drove about 60 miles today.)

Here's the weirdest part...I came home tonight, made dinner, and turned on my TV to watch some shows I had DVRd from earlier this week. The first show I tried watching was Parenthood. In the last episode, one of the main characters (the father of the whole family) had a heart attack. This episode picks up with him arriving at the hospital, his wife is a wreck, you see the rest of the family getting the news via phone. And I'm laying on the couch sobbing. SOBBING! The ugly whole body was shaking. The man didn't die. He's doing fine. But I was crying. I finally had to turn it off. I decided to watch something neutral, so I watched House Hunters International. This family found their dream house...tears. I'm there on the couch in tears over some family buying a nice house? What the hell is wrong with me? This is seriously not normal behavior. Hey, how about American Idol? That's be good! Nope! Girl comes on, sings her heart out, gets a ticket to Hollywood. Tears...

Finally I gave up and started to clean my house. Got the vacuum out, mopped the floors, I even vacuumed my ceiling fans, which I realize I haven't done since I moved in a year ago. Everything looks good! And I'm not crying! (Although I did get choked up in writing the brief summary about Parenthood.)

Here's the kicker...I'm supposed to go see Selma with some friends tomorrow. Obviously I can't do that because I am NOT going to sob in a public theater. This is completely ridiculous. I am not a crier. Yes, I'll get choked up every now and then when I watch some super sad movie, but I know if I go see that movie tomorrow, I'm going to be sobbing.

I don't know how long it's going to take for my doctor to reply to my refill request. I think I'm going to call tomorrow to see if they can do an emergency refill. I can't do more days of this. I only have so much house to clean!! I have to find something to do to occupy my brain so that I don't get stuck on something that triggers my emotions. Oh to be Mr. Spock...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Retail Therapy

There are some people I know who turn to retail therapy when they're feeling down or if they just need a pick-me-up. What do I do? I do Delta Air Lines therapy! I bought tickets for Peru (to see Machu Picchu) in April and then for Hawaii in May for my cousin's high school graduation luau. "Oh my word, how much did you spend?", you might ask. How about a total of $85.64 for business class? Pretty good, huh? It's all thanks to my status at Gold Medallion with Delta. So, it did cost me miles, but money-wise, I'm doing great. The even better part is when I go to Hawaii, I won't have to pay for a hotel either...I'm staying with family. :)

In February I'm going up (over Valentines Day weekend) to Seattle to stalk watch one of my new favorite singers perform, and then in March my brother, sister-in-law, and I are taking my sister's three kids to Orlando. 

After the crappy day I had on Monday with my boss, it makes me feel a little better knowing that I'm going to be doing some traveling which will keep me out of the office. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Get a life!

Wow...I'm still reeling from what just happened at work today. Everything started off fine. It was actually a slow, uneventful day. That's because as a central office administrator, I had to work today even though all of our schools are closed for winter break. No phone calls, hardly any e-mails, no meetings, really a bunch of nothing. I was able to get caught up on some paperwork. About 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave though, the hammer fell. My boss' boss' boss came in an basically ripped me a new one.

She wasn't screaming and yelling, but she wasn't very pleasant either. Basically I'm not a team player. I am just in it for myself. I don't think about other people. I don't follow the rules. I don't follow the "chain of command." I throw people under the bus. I'm inconsiderate, immature, and I don't seem to be able to "get it." I am impulsive, I act without thinking, and I don't consider the consequences of my actions. I'm awful at communicating, again, I just act without giving any thought to how it would affect others. Oh, but I'm apparently a tremendous leader. I'm amazing. I do great work. I have her utmost trust.

Yeah...she ended our little session by giving me a hug. How nice!

I just can't figure this lady out. I also can't figure out the people I work with. My boss, who I thought was a friend, has been going in and telling on me. There were things that this lady said to me in our chat tonight that only my boss knows, because I confided in her. Apparently she has stabbed me in the back.

Here's my problem, and it's a problem I've had for as long as I can remember. I have no life outside of work. That's what I do...I work. I get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, watch TV, sleep, and then start the process all over again. I have no life outside of work. Work is my life.

So what do I do when the one thing I do in my life just isn't doing it for me? I make too much money to start a new career. No one would hire me outside of the educational field at my current salary. I have applied for a promotion, but as you can imagine, I didn't get it. It's painfully obvious why I didn't get it too. I can apply for a position back as a school administrator, but although it would technically be a promotion, it would be a salary cut for me. (Long story...) Plus, and I'm almost ashamed to admit it, I don't want to work at a school any more. With all of the crap going on in education with reform, pressure to force kids to graduate, testing, etc., it is HELL being a teacher or administrator. Why would I want to take on all of that extra crap for less pay?

I like what I do at work (most days), but I've been doing it for six years. I often feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. But how do I keep working at a place where my leaders think I'm a piece of crap? This lady that runs our division is very difficult to work for. She doesn't communicate anything, she has ADD. I swear today was the first time I ever had a conversation with her where I had her full attention. She's been with us for half a year already, and things are just chaotic. We have little to no direction, and when she does give us direction, it changes in a day or two. No one knows what they're supposed to be doing other than making flyers. Lots of flyers about our trainings. Those are VERY important, that and the footers we put on our documents. SUPER important that we follow a certain style. But our day-to-day activities? Who cares?

What am I supposed to do? I have zero hobbies. When work is done, I don't feel like doing anything else. Yeah, I could go to the gym and work out, but how do I find fulfillment in that? I normally find my validation and fulfillment in my work, and frankly, for the past year or so, I haven't been getting that. I just don't know what to do. I don't have close friends that I can talk to about this. I have friends from work, and I've learned recently that at work, no one really has my back but me. I certainly can't talk to them about my problems because it'll get back to "her." So do I just suffer in silence? Normally I would talk about this stuff with my parents. I brought it up with them when I was at their place for Christmas, but they didn't even react.

Do I turn into one of those zombies at our office who never seem to be doing anything? We have quite a few people who have nothing to do, so they sit around a do nothing. If someone gives them something to do, they do it, but otherwise, they sit back and wait to be told. Should I be one of them? I have to have something in my life that gives me meaning and purpose. I have to have something that charges my batteries. Right now I have nothing...I need to get a life.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

If only...

I just wish I could walk into work tomorrow and quit. I really do. I'm so done with that place. Six years of hard work, very little recognition, lots of stress, little to no support. Why do I keep going? Oh yeah, I have to pay my bills...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

No work November

I cannot believe how busy this month is going to be. I will basically be in the office for all of five days between now and the end of the month. It will all be work-related business that keeps me out of the office (except for Thanksgiving) but even so, not being in the office means that those little things I take care of on a daily basis are going to pile up.

Tomorrow is a Staff Development Day for all of our teachers. I'll be out all day running a workshop for my teachers. Then on Tuesday evening I will be going on a ten day trip to China with some of my District leaders. We'll be spending some time in Beijing and then we're going up to Shandong province for a few days before we return to Beijing and then back home. It's all being paid for by a grant program that we're involved in. The purpose of the trip is to show my district leaders all that has been going on in the district regarding Chinese language education. Hopefully they're realize that I've been busting my butt for the past six years and I actually have a lot going on.

We return on the 13th, so I'll spend the 14th in the office. The next Monday I am off to my national conference in San Antonio. It'll be nice to be there. I get to see some of my favorite people and it gives me a chance to recharge my batteries, soak up some new ideas, and realize that the work I'm doing really does matter. I don't get that much validation at work because language learning really doesn't matter in my district. If it isn't Math, English, or Science, no one cares.

I return on the 23rd, and then Thanksgiving Break is that Thursday and Friday. My entire family is coming here to my place for Thanksgiving. That should be interesting...I've hardly had anyone visit my new place other than my parents. The family is arriving on the 26th and leaving on the 29th.

That's all for November, five full days in the office and lots of seat time on airplanes (in coach). The funny thing, December isn't much better. As a matter of fact, I'm back on a place to China on December 4! This time it's for a two day meeting. Where will this take place? They're not entirely sure yet. They say we might be down in Xiamen, but that's tentative. One thing I've learned about working with the Chinese, everything seems to work out in the end, but it all seems so last minute. The funniest part of this trip is that I'll be on an airplane longer than I am actually in China!

While I do love traveling, I'm already exhausted from these trips. This should keep me at Gold Medallion Status on Delta, so that's a plus. Unfortunately it doesn't get me international upgrades, but my upgrade rate on domestic flights is around 75%. The other benefit is that I get away from the stress of the office. It's been so crazy lately with so many changes, people moving offices and departments, new people appearing out of nowhere, no direction, no plans, LOTS of silly micromanagement. It's all just getting to me. It'll be nice to just be able to be away from all of that drama.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What's that in your eye?

A former co-worker of mine (I'll call her Jan) posted this on Facebook earlier today:

Several of her other Facebook friends wrote comments like: "Good riddance", "Don't lose sleep over that one", or "She's not worth being friends with."

I wanted to post a comment to her telling her that she was being a judgmental biotch, but I refrained. I wanted to tell her that she's teaching her children that it's acceptable to criticize someone in a public forum because you don't like their choices or what they say. I wanted to tell her to get over herself, it's just a freaking Halloween costume. I'm sure that there weren't many hobos who are crying themselves to sleep tonight because of the little boy's costume. They're probably more upset that they don't have a home. I didn't post any of that though because my mother always taught me that if I don't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say it at all. But...I can't let it rest. I AM going to say something, but not to her on Facebook. I'm going to say it here in my blog. You know, behind her back, because my mother also taught me to have manners.

As you can tell, I'm annoyed by Jan's post, and I frequently find I'm annoyed by lots of people's posts and/or comments on sites like Facebook. Why on earth did she think she needed to chide her friend for her son's Halloween costume? Why does she think it's okay to openly criticize and chastise her in a public forum because of a Halloween costume? I'd unfriend her too!

I have found that for some reason, people do this SO MUCH online. They say mean and nasty things to other people that they would never say to a person's face. They also seem to think that it is perfectly fine to correct/chastise others when they perceive they've done something wrong. Yes, yes, I recognize the irony here. When I say "people" I'm including myself, because I've been guilty of it too. Where do we get off thinking this type of behavior is acceptable?

When I started going to my therapist, I mentioned that I felt out of control at times. When someone would say something that I don't agree with, I have to force myself NOT to argue with them about it. I've been better about it in the last year or so once I noticed I was doing it, but I seem to notice it more and more in others, and it just grates on my nerves. Why must we be disagreeable? Why do we have to be so negative and rude? In the past several months I've unfollowed many people on Facebook for their negative and/or rude postings. I haven't said anything to them about it, I've just unfollowed them so that I don't have to be a part of their negativity. Facebook has been a much more pleasant place since I started to unfollow people. I just found myself rolling my eyes so much as the things people would say to or about others that it was making me nuts.

It all goes back to Jesus' lesson about the beam and the mote:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

I know that it sounds pretty hypocritical that I'm criticizing others for their criticizing of others. I just am tired of seeing it all the time. I'm trying to make a concerted effort to stop doing this. I don't have to correct other people when I perceive them to be wrong. I don't always have to be right. It just doesn't help other people when I do that, and in the end it just alienates me from others.

So I'm going to try to be even better. I have been very good about not getting into arguments with people over things they say. I still have one person at work who is good at pushing my buttons. He is one of those people who just has to take the opposite view no matter what. It is so easy to get into an argument with him because he can be so irritating at times. He thrives on being negative and arguing. I have to constantly remind myself not to fall into his trap. As soon as he starts leading me into an argument I have to find a way to quickly end the conversation. The more negativity I can avoid, the better. :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Walking a mile in someone else's shoes...

Today has been an interesting day for me. I've had two very profound experiences that have hammered home the often repeated phrase about how we need to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before we judge another person or before we can truly say we understand them.

This is really one of my core beliefs. I really do try to understand other people and their motives. I am often quick to judge, but the rational part of my brain eventually gets back in control and I realize that I might not know the whole story. That's usually what gets me past being upset or angry with someone.

This morning I went out to lunch with a co-worker, Shannon. We call her Sex Ed Shannon because she's over the health curriculum in my District. She's been working lately on a revision of our Sex Ed curriculum, and there have been quite a few misunderstandings, rumors, rumors of rumors, and a general uproar from some parents. (Here's a hint...they're LDS!) Anyhow, we went out to lunch today to commiserate, and we ended up talking about some deep stuff. Shannon was raised Catholic, and while she's politically more conservative, socially she's more liberal. We started talking about the LDS Church and homosexuality. It ended up with me coming out to her. (And no, she wasn't surprised...duh, I'm sure everyone knows!) Anyhow, we talked about the feelings others have and how we can't really judge others because we don't know what's going on or what went on in their life. We talked about how people are so quick to judge and assume that they know why a person is a certain way. I told her about my experiences as a Gay Mormon as well as some friends of mine. She teared up a little, she has such a tender caring heart. If you meet her, you'd be surprised because Shannon, well, she's a little rough. She's from New Jersey, and when you meet her, you know that's where she's from. The neat thing about her is that underneath all of the Jersey-ness is this loving, caring person who doesn't want anyone to feel excluded or hurt. Her Jersey side is fun too, because she can be real dirty. We always share nasty bitchy things we find on the Internet with each other. lol

So, later this evening I was doing my Moho Blog reading and I ran across a posting that took me back to the whole walking a mile in someone else's shoes thing. It was a posting by a guy (who will remain nameless) that I noticed at the Affirmation conference. First of all...May I say gorgeous? Well, let's say he's SUPER gorgeous. But the second thing was that he just seemed to ooze confidence, and everyone seemed to know him or wanted to know him. He was like some Affirmation Celebrity! I never met or talked with him, but I stood in line behind him for dinner one night.

Guys like him intimidate me. REALLY intimidate me. I can't talk to them or look them in the eyes because I immediately turn into a shy junior high school girl looking down at her feet and nervously playing with her hair. I just watch from a distance and imagine how perfect his life must be. So in reading his post, it took me aback at how differently he portrays himself in his posts. I really enjoyed his most recent post, and so I read some of his other recent posts. One in particular was just so raw and open. He shared so much from his past, much of it painful. Things that were hard to read. There were several times when I had to stop reading because it was painful. I finished reading and just sat there for a while, not in shock exactly, but with a mixture of awe, sadness, and I don't know what else...understanding? No...enlightenment. His post enlightened me.

Apparently this image that I saw last month in SLC of a confident, tall, dark, and handsome gay LDS guy who is dating and is part of the Affirmation leadership who doesn't have a care in the world other than where he and his equally handsome boyfriend will go next on some super romantic date, probably isn't entirely accurate. Do not get me wrong, I'm not implying that he is fake or anything like that. It's just that his post made me realize that I'm not the only person out there who feels inadequate, unworthy, or unloved sometimes. I always look at people like him and think that if I were just as pretty, my life would be set. I would have no worries or troubles. Everything is easy for the beautiful people! I had completely misjudged him. Suddenly I saw guy who hurts too. He is struggling to find balance between his faith and his life. He is trying to make sense of the world and the cards he's been dealt. And I thought the only cards was holding was a nice face and a great athletic body. (No, I'm not obsessed...I'm just being descriptive here. I'm obsessed with Spencer Day. That's for another post though.)

I can't count how often I do stuff like this. I see someone who has traits that I wish I had and I assume they have this amazing problem free life, and poor chubby me has to make do with this mediocre life. I keep telling myself that if I just had those things life would be so much better. What I learned from reading his blog is that I need to stop doing that to myself. I need to realize that we are all broken in some way, shape, or form. It does me no good to compare myself to this image that I dream up of other people, when I really don't know them. I never met this guy, I'm not his friend, I don't know him. I looked at his face, his boyfriend, his personality and I judged him. I didn't judge him in a mean way, but I judged him still the same. My judging didn't harm him, hell, he doesn't even know I judged him. Tonight I learned that when I compare my life to the life of someone who I have judged to have a perfect life, it harms me. Instead of putting him down, I have put myself down. Why can't I have his perfect life that I imagined he must have simply because he's attractive? (Yes, it is as stupid as it sounds.) I can't keep doing this if I want to be happy. I need to learn how to make lemonade with lemons. (Anyone willing to loan me some sugar...)

I am in awe that he was so willing to open himself up and be honest...with strangers, no less, because he taught me a very valuable lesson. I am grateful that he allowed me to virtually walk a mile in his shoes. It helped me see something that I do to myself that isn't healthy. By sharing his pain and his struggles, he has helped me see something about myself, and I have realized how often I hold up these false images I have of other people and personally chastise myself for not being able to have the same perfect lives that I've imagined that they live. I always thought that the whole walking a mile in someone else's shoes idiom was there to teach us that we shouldn't judge other people unrighteously. What I learned today is that I really shouldn't make ANY judgments about other peoples' lives. And I shouldn't use those judgments to criticize my own life.

I don't know if he reads other Moho Blogs, or if he reads what I write, but I wanted to send a shoutout to him and say: "Your post was super, man."

Ok, my sleeping pill is kicking in...I'm off to bed. On another note, if you pray, say a prayer for me. I'm giving a big presentation at work tomorrow and I need all the help I can get. My boss' boss has already told someone that she think I'm going to mess it up. (Thanks for the confidence hunty!)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My First Affirmation Conference

Several weeks ago I was up late, couldn't sleep, so I got on the computer. No, I was not looking for porn. I was just surfing the Web. Every now and then I check out the Affirmation page. Affirmation has always been interesting to me. I remember when I first came out that I was very skeptical of them. I was afraid to become involved with any group or organization that would lead me astray, and I saw Affirmation as being that way. I can't exactly remember why, but I had the impression that Affirmation was for angry gay ex-Mormons who hated the Church. It did not seem like an organization for me, who at the time was a BYU student who finally realized that the straight fairy was not going to come one night with her magic wand and fairy dust. I had a few close gay friends, but no one else knew (or so I thought).

I don't know what's happened over the years. Have I changed, or did Affirmation change? It really seems to be a much more positive organization. Granted, I no longer attend Church, and I'm much older. Maybe it's's quite possible that my perceptions at the time were just wrong. Maybe Affirmation has changed, but whatever it was, that evening when I was looking over their Web site, I started reading about their upcoming conference. I little bit later I decided to give it a go and I registered, bought my plane ticket, and made hotel/car reservations. I was going to attend my first Affirmation Conference.

I flew up to SLC on coach. (Um, Delta...I'm a Gold Medallion. What was up with the long upgrade list with me near the bottom? haha) I went to the opening dinner and program on Friday night. Now, I totally accept responsibility for what happened because it is my fault. I think when people get to know me they think I'm this gregarious person who loves to be the center of attention. The truth is, it's an act. I am very much the introvert, and I am painfully shy when I am in a situation where I don't know anyone. I do this thing when I'm in a situation where I don't know anyone, I start humming to myself, sometimes loudly. I get so irritated when I catch myself doing it because it's such a crazy thing to do. Either that or I try to act disinterested and I yawn or focus on my damn cell phone.

That's how Friday night went. I was a wall flower. Ugh, it was awful. (Again, my fault, not the Affirmation's.) I did watch the different groups...everyone seemed to know each other. It really seemed like a gathering of friends, but I knew no one there. Looking back on it, I probably should have gone to the First Timer's Reception that they had before dinner. You'd think I never learned any social skills! :)

Anyhow, the opening program was actually very good. The keynote speaker was an African-American member named Darius (pronounced duh-RYE-us) Gray. He isn't gay, but he spoke from his experiences being a black man in the LDS church and one of the first black men to receive the priesthood in 1978. He became a member in the 60's. He talked about the letter (?) that the Church put out last year called Race and the Priesthood, where basically the Church explained that all of the reasons that have been previously given for denying the priesthood to black male members of the Church were false. Basically, it was due to racism that existed at the time: "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

He explained in his talk that the Lord never told the Church to deny the Priesthood from the blacks. It was a decision made by man, not by deity. The Lord allowed it so that we would learn. Of course many parallels can be made to the issue of gays and the LDS church, especially with the whole gay marriage issue. It makes me wonder, and I have wondered this for years, if one day, the Church will lift the ban on gay marriage, change its stance on homosexuality, and suddenly welcome gays with open arms. There is this part of me that says it's logical that this should happen, but another part of me says that I should not hold my breath.

After Brother Gray's talk, we had the wonderful opportunity to hear Spencer Day perform. Spencer is gay and was raised LDS, and he's a terrific jazz singer. His voice...oh my word, I can't even. I just can't. He's can hit those low sexy tones that send chills up your spine as well as those high notes that give you goose bumps. And he's quite pleasing on the eye too. ;) I bought his most recent album off of iTunes as soon as I got back to the hotel. I am in love with his song Missing Tonight. It's just plain sexy. Just listen to it, you'll see what I mean. If that's not all, there's this...

This is one of my favorite songs...

Anyhow, moving past my new obsession with was much better. I was very impressed with myself in being more social during dinner and the evening activity. I met a few people and had some good conversations. I even chatted with a few people who live in Las Vegas. Hooray, I'm not the only gay Mormon in Sin City! (I know I'm not, but I'm the only one I know.)

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing Spencer Stout and Dustin Reeser talk about their story. If you don't know their names, you probably have seen them. Spencer proposed to Dustin a year ago in a Home Depot in Salt Lake City via a flash mob. They uploaded the video to YouTube at it's been seen by over 12 million people. Of course Dustin accepted the proposal, and they were married during the Grammy Awards this year by none other than Queen Latifah! :) If you haven't seen their video, get some kleenex and watch. It's the cutest thing ever. I've seen it multiple times and I ALWAYS get teary eyed when he pulls out that ring and gets on one knee.

I got to talk to them for just a little bit tonight. I'm so happy for them, and I'm so glad that the whole thing took place in UTAH!

Well, tomorrow is the last day of the conference. I am planning on attending the morning broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word, but I have to be at the Tabernacle by 8:15. It's 1:30 a.m. right now, so it's not looking good that I'll be up, dressed, and checked out of the hotel by then. Afterwards is the closing luncheon. The speaker is Professor Bradshaw from BYU who has done research into the biological origins of homosexuality. It should be interesting.

Attending the conference makes me think that maybe I ought to try going to church every now and then. If nothing else, just to Sacrament Meeting. I do love singing the hymns, even though I can't hold a tune. I don't know, I'm so on the fence about Church...

Will I attend another conference? I don't know. I might...I've enjoyed everything. It's good for me to push myself out of my comfort zone. I definitely need to do that more often. I didn't used to be such an introvert. I can't even pinpoint when it started being this bad. Weird...something to think about for a later post.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Giver...

Tonight I went to see the movie The Giver. I'll admit right away that the main reason I went was because Brenton Thwaites is just so cute, but in the end it turned out to be one of those movies that left me very pensive. I've been thinking about it for the last couple of hours since I got home and decided that I should write about what I learned. SPOILER ALERT--I'm going to talk about what happens in the movie, so if you don't want it ruined, stop reading.

For those of us who were raised in the LDS faith, one of the major lessons we learn is about the great council in Heaven and the subsequent war. Lucifer offered his plan: "...Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." (Moses 4:1). His plan was to save us ALL. No one would be allowed to make any mistakes, no one could sin. Jesus' plan was markedly different, we would each be given our free agency. The ability, or rather the right to choose. Some would choose good, some would choose evil. Not all would make it back to the presence of God because of their choices, but Jesus offered himself up as a sacrifice for those who repented of their sins.

In The Giver we find a society where everything appears to be perfect. The leaders have imposed equality, they have removed the option of individual choice, and each person has a designated place in society. Why have they done this? As Meryl Streep's character so aptly explains, "When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong." By keeping everyone in their place and limited the people's freedom, everyone can be happy and live in harmony. Sounds nice, huh? NOPE!

When Meryl Streep said that line it just hit me. I see this idea so much in life. So many people in the world spend their time telling others how to live, how to think, what to believe, what to do, etc. So much of our world is about trying to control others and force them to be the way they think they should be. This is especially so with governments. It isn't a strictly conservative or liberal is on both sides. I see it in my workplace too. Everyone must think the same, everyone must act the same, or something is wrong. You can't say this, you can't say that. I am so tired of how our society as a whole acts like this. Every other day there seems to be some uproar on the news because someone said something that people find to be offensive. That person then is forced to apologize and promise to never say those things again. We throw out terms like bigot, anti-semi, homophobe, racist, etc. at the slightest offense. We try to force people to stop believing or thinking what they think and change their mind. We have people who propose laws and sometimes they're even enacted, based on controlling what people can think, say, or do. We force people out of their jobs or boycott their businesses because of their thoughts or feelings.

It's all a little too crazy for me sometimes. You know, if people don't like me because I'm gay, that's their right. If they wants to call me a faggot, they can. If a person doesn't like me because I'm white, that's fine. If someone thinks I'm a bigot because I was raised Mormon, that's not too big of a deal to me. Who am I to start ranting and raving that they have no right to say or feel those things? When did freedom of speech become "I can say whatever I want, but you can't say anything that I don't like?"

The bottom line is that yes, people will choose wrong. That's life. People will be stupid. People will say insulting things. Guess what, it only affects me if I let it. Now of course there are times when a person's wrong choices or their thoughts can turn into wrong actions that can affect me. For example, there are people who don't believe gays should be allowed to get married. Again, that's fine that they think that way. They don't have the right; however, to take that option away from gays. That is something worth fighting against. Words, however, just aren't worth fighting least not in my opinion.

I think that many people live their lives as if they are victims of the world. "Wah, I'm unhappy because I'm gay and people don't like me." Get over it! We don't need the government or someone to come in and save us from our unhappiness. I get so irritated when something happens and everyone's knee jerk reaction is that "there ought to be a law" against it. I don't need to be rescued from life.

Let's allow people their free agency. Let's stop trying to force people to think and feel the way we want. Save the fighting and law making for things that really matter.

By the way, did I mention how pretty Brenton Thwaites is? He's from Australia...that accent. Swoon!!!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Don't poke the sea anemone...

When I was in third to fifth grade, my family was living on a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Japan. On a rare occasion, my dad took the family to  some tide pools. I don't remember exactly why this discussion came up, but at one point, my dad showed us some sea anemone. He explained to us that they are very sensitive creatures, and if you poke one with a stick, they would pull their tentacles up and withdraw into a shell. He grabbed a small stick and showed us by gently touching the sea anemone's tentacles. Just as my dad said, it quickly drew in its tentacles. Afterwards we watched as the sea anemone slowly extended its tentacles once again. We each took turns gently touching the anemone.

My dad was careful to remind us not to poke the sea anemone too hard because we could hurt it.

I think in a way, we are all like the sea anemone. We put ourselves out there, we make ourselves vulnerable. Unfortunately, from time to time, someone, or something comes along and pokes us. As a defense mechanism, we pull ourselves inwards and retreat into our little shells. We do this to protect ourselves. When people poke at us, we withdraw. We might avoid contact with them (as much as possible), we avoid talking to them, we don't let them touch us, be near us, etc. We sometimes will argue more with them, resist doing things for them, dislike things they like, etc. Slowly we open back up and allow our tentacles to flow freely in the water. We let ourselves be vulnerable again. Later on, we get poked again. We repeat this cycle often. It's part of life, I suppose. The problem, however, is that there are those who walk along the tide pools of life who just love jabbing at sea anemones. They do it repeatedly, over and over again. They sit and wait for the sea anemone to come back out so they can poke it again. As my dad told us, we have to be careful, because if we poke too hard, or too many times, we can seriously hurt or kill the sea anemone.

The thing is, we sometimes just get sick and tired of being poked and we give up. We just stop trying. We decide we've had enough so we permanently retreat. I feel like I reached that point last Friday with my work. I don't know if this means that I'm going to find another position, or am I just going to stop caring and basically be one of the many people I see who just don't give a crap. I'm just tired of being poked. I'm tired of putting myself out there, and I'm tired of any time I want to do something new or innovative having to turn it into an argument. Apparently people just want me to learn my place and just shut the hell up. This sea anemone is done being poked. (And no, this is not me saying I'm going to harm myself...I'm just gonna spend my hours at work on Facebook or Twitter like so many others in the office seem to do.) Then when school is back in session I'm going to find ways to spend more time visiting classrooms so I'm hardly ever in the office. Thank heaven I leave for my two-week trip to China soon!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


If you read my last post, you'll remember that I am in New York for the next few days on a mini pre-birthday vacation. I love coming here, it makes me feel so grown up to be in such a large, busy city (even though I'm almost 44). Most of all, I love coming to see the shows...yes, I am not ashamed to say that I'm a big old theatre queen!

This afternoon before the Tony Awards I had the chance to see one of my favorite Broadways performers, Idina Menzel, in If/Then, hence the title of my post. I'm not going to give a big Broadwayesque critique of the show; rather, I'm going to tell you what I learned from it.

To borrow from every teacher's favorite online resource, Wikipedia which described the musical as this: "Newly divorced 39-year-old Elizabeth, an urban planner, moves to New York City for a fresh start. She meets her friends Kate, a lesbian kindergarten teacher, and Lucas, a bisexual community organizer, in Madison Square Park. Kate suggests that Elizabeth start using the name "Liz" and seek out new experiences. Lucas suggests that she go back to her college nickname, "Beth," and start making professional connections in the city. "Liz" stays in the park with Kate while "Beth" leaves with Lucas, and the remainder of the show depicts two paths that Elizabeth's life could take."

Elizabeth (Beth/Liz) suffer from the flaws of overthinking, not trusting her heart, and worst of all, constantly asking herself "what if?". Should I do this? But what about that? What could happen? What if I pick the wrong road? What if I regret my choices? Without ruining the entire musical, the story weaves between two versions of Elizabeth's life (one as Liz, and one as Beth), both lives began at the same time based on a choice she makes with two options. We see the heartaches and triumphs she goes through in both versions of her life.

While I watched the show, and I find I do this often with plays, TV shows, and movies, I try to put myself into the character's life. I think in many ways I am like Elizabeth. I do overthink things, and yes, I most certainly do worry that I might make a choice and then regret it later. I often wonder what would have happened if I had made a different choice at one juncture in my life or other.

What if I had called Susan for one more date? What if I never went to that Reconciliation group when I was at BYU? What if I had given up on trying to go to BYU when they first rejected me because of my stupid low grades from my community college courses before my mission? What if I had chosen a different career? What if I had remained in Utah instead of moving to Las Vegas? What if I had stayed active in Church? What if I had been born straight?

I cried with Liz/Beth. I almost sobbed out loud, but I kept my Vulcan nerves mostly in check and only let a tear or two fall. Have I allowed my fears to screw me up? Yes... Have I allowed my fears to keep me from dating and making gay friends? Affirmative

Wow, it was quite the show...I wonder how much of it I missed due to my own personal epiphany! lol The lady sitting next to me asked if I liked it in spite of all of the man bashing. Funny, I never noticed I must have missed something! haha Seriously though, it was a wonderful and tragic story. I suppose that in a way all of our lives are. We all make choices; we all go on different paths, and we all live with the consequences (both good and bad) of what we do in our lives. I cannot allow life to pass me by, I can't let my inability to see all of the path ahead paralyze me from moving forward, because when I refuse to move forward, well, I've still made a choice of a path, haven't I? I've chosen the path of sitting on my butt worrying. The thing is, I could find much more happiness by moving forward. It's ok to be afraid, it's ok to have misgivings, and it's ok if we pick the wrong path. Sometimes fate has a way of making things work out the way they were supposed to all along. Or at least that's what I hope happens.

When people ask me why I don't date I either shrug it off with a joke (my main deflecting skill) about how I'm too "set in my ways" or "too selfish." For even more comedic effect, I'll say something about how no one on the planet could possibly be good enough for me. When I try to be more serious in my answers, I say that I don't have a way to meet people since I don't go out to the clubs. And in a way, that is an honest answer. That's the only way I know of in Las Vegas, well...there's always Grindr. But that's not really so much a dating app as it is a let's-get-naked app. I don't know of any other ways, but in the 12 years that I've been there, have I tried finding any other ways? Well, of course not. I am friendly with a few other gay people I know through work, but none of them are my kind of good friend people. Not that they're bad people or anything, we just have differences that wouldn't make us real good friends outside of work. (I hope that makes sense...)

Well, once again, I thought I just had a little to write and all of a sudden I realize that I've gone on and on. Thanks for listening to the life lesson I learned today. I hope that it can be of use to someone else out there.

If you're coming to New York City, I HIGHLY recommend If/Then. It was great...Idina's voice is just amazing. I also recommend seeing Aladdin. Yes, it's Disney, but it was fantastic...just for the Genie, and no, he doesn't act like Robin Williams. He steals the show!! (That's why they gave him a Tony tonight!)

Here's a clip from If/Then for your viewing pleasure...