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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...

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Start spreading the news..."

Yep, that's right, I'm leaving today! I'm gonna be a part of New York, NY for the next five days as a birthday gift to myself (and my creditors). I am constantly drawn to New York and the theatre district.

Yes, yes...I know I'm gay. But that's not it. I am obsessed with theatre because I can't do any of it. I can't act, can't sing, can't dance, etc. I just sit in these shows in awe of the talent before me. I am planning on seeing Disney's Aladdin musical, and of course I'll go see If/Then so that I can see the one true Elphaba, Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel. I love her voice! :) I have a list of other shows that I haven't considered yet, but I am really leaning toward seeing Rocky the Musical. I listened to an interview with the guy who plays Rocky, and he made it sound like an exciting show. My original plan was to get tickets to see the Tony Awards in the Radio City Music Hall, but the cheapest seats were over $200, and the dress was black tie. No thank you ma'am. I'll watch out in Times Square with the other riff raff. I REALLY REALLY wanted to see Hedwig & the Angry Itch, but no tickets are available. :(

I am especially excited to go see my new idol, Bianca Del Rio perform on Monday night. If you don't know who she is, you need help! ;)

Otherwise I'm planning on finding some good restaurants, relaxing, and of course I want to visit the 9-11 memorial.

My goal on this "Oh sad me all alone and lonely" time. I'm not spending an entire day laying in bed in a hotel. I have to get my fat butt out of bed and off to do something. :)

By the way, I scheduled my first therapist appointment for June 19. The therapist's name is Colleen. We'll see how that goes...I hope she has a comfortable couch! ;)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Defending the Indefensible?

I came to the conclusion the other day that I want to start seeing a therapist. I haven't ever gone to one before, unless you count the last four months of my mission. To make a long story short, my mission president almost pushed me over the edge, and I asked to go see a counselor. He set me up with someone from LDS Social Services. Being that I was still naive in how things work, and due to the fact that I was still desperately waiting for the straight fairy to touch me with her magic wand, I never was fully honest with the guy. He had me sign some document the first time we met that said that he had permission to share what we discussed with my mission president, so I realized it wasn't a safe place to share all of my "issues."

Anyhow, today I had my first appointment. It wasn't a real therapy session, rather it was an interview. I met with a therapist and she ran through a bunch of questions: Do you or have you ever felt suicidal? (No) Do you ever have feelings of worthlessness? (Yes, sometimes) Any drug/alcohol addiction? (No) We eventually got to the whole part about being gay and Mormon. I ended up telling her a little about what it means, as well as experiences that I and some friends/acquaintances had while at BYU under the Honor Code. I explained that part of the Honor Code was that we agreed to help others abide by the Honor Code by turning them in. The look on her face was priceless! She couldn't believe it. And here's the kicker...I found myself sort of defending it. I realized afterwards that there were several things that she asked about, and often I would answer and then I felt this need to explain, justify, and/or defend my answer. 

She asked if I had ever been a victim of abuse, either physical or sexual. Well, I've NEVER admitted this to anyone before, but yes, I was molested by my uncle when I was 6 years old. and later when I was 14. When I admitted this to her, I started to give her my reasonable explanation for why I never did anything about it: It was a long time ago, my uncle was only 17. He was a kid too. She asked why I haven't told anyone now that I'm an adult? My excuse: I don't want to burden someone else with that story. It would be like I'm trying to seek attention. Oh, and to be completely honest, I did not mention the time when I was 14. Why? I don't know, I just didn't. Weird.

Boy, this therapist must realize I'm a gold mine of craziness, huh? (I'm saying that while laughing...) Why am I defending the indefensible actions of others? Why am I excusing it? I'm more than certain that we'll address this as I attend my sessions. It's been a rather interesting day as I have dissected what we discussed. The rational, well-educated side of me is thinking I'm some kind of nut job, but even now, I don't want my uncle to get in trouble. I don't want to tell my family because it'll just cause drama. Another long story short...he just got out of prison. He's my dad's brother, he has no one. My dad won't have anything to do with him since the first time he was sent to prison in 1986 (this was his THIRD stint in prison. Both my grandparents are dead, and my dad's sister has also cut off contact from him. My mom has been befriending him via e-mail because she feels sorry for him. Last week he e-mailed her and said he was feeling suicidal. My mom, being the wonderful peacemaking person that she is, talked with him. Apparently he's doing better.

One thing is for sure, there's a lot up here in my head...our brains can really do a number on us. There is a part of me that is very excited to start talking about all of the crap going on up in my head, but another part of me just wants to forget about it and bury it. You know, "turn it off. It's the neat little Mormon trick! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nice to meet you (again)?

Last week I had quite the interesting experience. I was attending a conference for work in Los Angeles, and as a part of a program that we are involved in, I had a required meeting to attend. At the beginning of the meeting we all had to stand up and introduce ourselves and say where we worked. During the introductions, one of the people who stood up was a principal from a school in my old district. Later after all of the introductions, the leader felt it would be great if we spent some time working in groups. The best way to divide everyone up was by geographic area, so being that I am in Las Vegas, I got lumped in with the people from California, Utah, and Arizona. I ended up sitting next to that principal.

The funny thing was that as soon as I sat down I got that "I know him" feeling. Now I usually have a very very good memory. Of course that's diminishing a bit now that I'm about to hit 44, but still, I am really good at remembering people. I started talking to the principal, I'll call him Bryan, and I was (so I thought) covertly trying to figure out how I know him. He is a little feminine, and he set off my super powerful Gaydar in a major way. Being that we're relatively close in age, I figured that I knew him from my days at BYU. The conversation was very friendly, and I got the impression that he was trying to figure out who I was too, but about ten minutes into our conversation, he started to become distant. I felt like he was suddenly trying to end the conversation. Finally, he physically turned his back to me and started to focus on another group's conversation. THAT'S when I figured out who he was...he was someone I "knew" when I was a student, and when I say "knew" I mean it in the way that Adam knew Eve. (Just being honest folks!)

As soon as I put this all together I started to think about why he was trying to avoid me, and then I noticed it, on his left hand...a wedding ring. Being the stalker that I am, I quickly Googled him. He's married with two kids.

I can only imagine what was going through his mind. I assume he realized who I was, and being that he is married, he was embarrassed and/or ashamed. I thought about it for the rest of the day, not to relive the experiences we had, but thinking about how our paths led us to such different situations in life. I mean, we all have our own lives to live. We all have to live with our own choices. I just wonder so many things about him. Was he worried I'd out him? Was he worried I'd say something to embarrass him? Does his wife know that he likes men? Is he happy? Is he one of those married men who cheat on their wives with other men?

I've known many gay men who have married women. I know some who were counseled to get married by their Bishops. One of my BYU professors was married to a gay man. He finally divorced her. It was really painful for her. At one point her Bishop in Provo threatened to take away her temple recommend and write BYU to inform them that she was responsible for the divorce because she emasculated her husband which encouraged his homosexuality.

I have a very close friend and colleague, Paul, who I (and everyone else) assumes is gay. He got married about 6 years ago and they now have three kids. He seems happy, but I always wonder. He's never said anything about being gay, but he has a part time job in addition to teaching that has him around many gay men. I assume they all think he's gay too. When we worked together apparently many of the students thought we were a couple because we were such good friends. (The nice kids we taught opened up one of those Facebook Groups where they slammed teachers...a few of them posted it there asking if we were "gay together." Kids...)

I always knew I couldn't marry a woman. I just couldn't. It didn't have anything to do with the sex part of it. I mean, no, I couldn't do that either, but I just couldn't do that to another person. I was never attracted to any girls. If I ever look back at the girls I thought were pretty, it was really because they had a hot brother. I suppose guys like Bryan, Paul, and the many other men out there who like men who are married to women could be bisexual. I'm not one of those gays who believe that bisexuals are just lying to themselves. I am genuinely curious, and in the case of my friend, I'm concerned. I want him to be happy...I really hope he is.

On a lighter note, tomorrow I'm going to the live finale of RuPaul's Drag Race to see my girl, Bianca Del Rio win the crown!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

And the winner is...not you!

I'm certain that I'm not the only person in the entire world who irrationally gets angry at people, right? Please tell me I'm right...

So this week I received an e-mail from one of the professional organization that I'm a member of informing me that I was not selected for an award. I've been a member of this organization for 17 years, and I served on the board of directors for ten years. I was even the president of the organization. So, here's the e-mail I got:

I regret to inform you that your nomination for our Honorary Lifetime Membership Award was not selected from this year's pool of exceptional nominees. It was a pleasure for the reading committee to become familiar with your program and note the kind support and appreciative comments of your administration and students. With best wishes for your continued teaching and appreciation for your contributions to the profession.

A bit of background on this award: It has only been around for about four years. Every person who has received the award has at one time served as a member of the board of directors. In the entire time that this award has been in existence, I don't know of anyone who was nominated that wasn't awarded it.

Needless to say, I AM PISSED! Here's the funny thing...I was nominated by some of the teachers in my district, and they did it without telling me about it beforehand. It was supposed to be a surprise. Well imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail telling me that I will not be given an award that I didn't know I was nominated for! It's funny, but I'm hurt. The rational side of me says that I shouldn't care. It's just an award. It's not like it was the Nobel Prize or the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. I guess the part that hurts is that I have done a LOT for this organization, and as a matter of fact, no one has served on the board of directors as long as I did. I should just forget about it, or as the wicked-ly talented Adele Dazeem sings: "Let it go," but that's not me...I can't let anything go. I hold on to it and think about it over and over. I spend time wondering what it is about me that makes people forget about my many contributions. It's not like I did everything that I did so that I would one day be rewarded, but damn, it would sure be nice to be recognized. I didn't expect anyone to nominate me for the award, but it's just a little insulting to be told that I didn't get it.

On another note, this isn't the first time something like this has happened to me. I was nominated for president of my national professional organization last year, but the selection committee sent me a nice letter telling me that I didn't meet the criteria they were looking for. I was fine with that (sort of) until I saw who it was that they actually selected to run...people who did less than me, people who complained about the work we had to do, people who didn't do their work. Oh, wanted someone LAZY to be in charge. I get it! Thanks for clearing that up for me. (See what I mean about not letting things go? I'm still pissed about that, and it was over a year ago!)

There are other incidents, but I'll spare you. It just is disappointing, especially because it happens to me quite often. Whenever it does happen I try to look inward to see if there is something wrong with me. Do I do or say things that just turn people off? I know that conventional wisdom says that we shouldn't put much stock in what others think or say about us, but in reality, that isn't true. What others think and say about us does affect us. It keeps us from getting promotions. It keeps us from lots of things. I can't just walk around life saying "Oh well, that's THEIR problem" whenever something like this happens to me. If it happens often, and to me it does, I honestly have to think that maybe I'm the one who is the problem, right? Maybe this is why people tell me I should start drinking...