Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lessons I've Learned

It is rarely a welcomed response when reality decides to pay a visit.  For some it may be a moment to turn and hide while others choose, rather courageously, to face it head on.  Within the last few months, I have been forced to look beyond the sign in my front room encouraging me to pray when life brings me to my knees, and actually face the challenges that have come my way.  As reality often does, it comes when you think you are on the top of the world.  As of last August, I thought I had my life all figured out. I was under the impression that I had beat the odds and made a life for myself that included a great job, a roof over my head with 2 furry children to call my own and the love of my life having said yes to marriage.  How silly we are when we take what we have for granted.

While life has thrown me some curve balls as of late, I have had the opportunity throughout these battles to face some demons. I have been going to therapy and learning how to deal with life in different ways rather than by repeating the same patterns and driving myself to a point of insanity.  Lessons have come to the forefront that have taught me to have tolerance and compassion. I have also had to face the thing I’ve been scared most to learn about in this world; myself. 

While tolerance is not a new concept for me, a recent experience reminded me that it goes both ways.  A few weeks ago, some very close people in our lives were scheduled to visit our home for dinner. There are photos of Nick and myself up on the walls in our home and about an hour before these guests 
arrived, we received a phone call requesting that a particular photo of us holding hands be taken down or these guest’s children would not be brought over.  When we came out to friends and family, a very real fear was that we would not be able to be as close to the children in our lives and this scenario brought all of that to fruition.  As photos came down, I decided not to stay for dinner since I knew the words I had for these guests would not help the situation on this particular night.  I know myself well enough that I would have spoken up and stood up for my family unit in this case rather than dealing with it at a later time. Members of my family have referred to me as a firecracker since I have a tendency to set things off and while my personality may come off as being a little strong in these instances, I came to a realization that I have to be tolerant as well. I have to be tolerant of those who are intolerant towards my lifestyle or who are unwilling to see things from another’s point of view.  Perhaps they are scared to face reality themselves and along with heavy subjects such as religion and death, maybe love is also a scary topic for these parents to discuss with their children because they would have to face those matters within themselves first.  While I realized that I need to be tolerant of others, as I ask them to be tolerant of me, let it be known that I will never take another photo off a wall again to allow someone the opportunity to devalue me and my life because they aren’t willing to face their own issues. Side by side to my lesson in tolerance was a lesson in compassion. A show recently aired that was filmed here in Salt Lake that documents LDS families who live with “SSA” or “Same Sex Attraction.” While I have my own opinions and views of this matter, it is hard to judge these people for choosing to live their lives the way that they are.  While the term ‘same sex attraction’ is something I struggle with in terms of the church, I will not judge these families for the way they live their lives just as I will ask those who know me not to judge the way I live mine.  Moral of the story; Tolerance, like judgment, is a fickle b!@#h thing.

Along with these lessons in reality, the hardest battles that have been fought have been to save my relationship.  Every relationship has its own struggles and ours has been no exception.  The details of our struggles will remain between the two of us but what I feel comfortable sharing is that love is love. The hardships that we face are no different than those that our families or friends have faced. While there are certainly some differences, it is all love none the less.  At the risk of sounding like a couch potato who just watches TV shows all day, I was recently watching a show that centers on a family going through changes that deal in part with LGBT issues.  A comment that was made in one of the first episodes was the father to his daughter who is struggling with depression and he says “How difficult it must be when someone points out the thing we are trying to hide the most.”  As a 27 year old man, I have lived the majority of my life afraid of people finding out a secret that I was trying so hard to hide above all else.  It is always a little annoying when someone finds out I am gay and their response is “I always knew” because I tried so hard to hide that. Now, years later, I refuse to live a life where I am pretending to be something that I am not anymore. I lived that for far too long to have any energy towards keeping up any sort of charade these days. How liberating it has been to be the real version of myself and have those closest to me know that once dark secret that held me back.  

We all have our battle wounds or little secrets we never want the world to see.  But that is in part what life is all about.  We learn from these hardships and we either grow from them or we allow the wounds to define us.  I have had the opportunity to look at myself in a new light as I have gone through therapy and different resources to begin a healing process I should have embarked on a long time ago. I have allowed my mistakes to define me and I finally feel free from some of the heaviest burdens I have carried.  Reality will forever be a challenge for me. Perhaps that’s why I love Disney so much because it allows me to escape so easily. Nonetheless I have my own mountains to climb as do each and every one of us. My hope is that we will all stop being so cynical towards each other and maybe attempt to be a little more understanding of one another’s decisions.  There is no manual here and the world is not such a black and white place.  While I am so very unsure what the future holds for me in this moment in time, I know that I will be a better version of myself for what I have gone through within these last few months.  Here's to hoping change doesn't have to be such a hard thing in 2015. 


  1. Love you Chris! You da best!!! 👍😀

  2. Very beautifully written, Chris! As someone whom I've only met in person once, and very briefly at that, your words have had a tremendous emotional impact on me. I share in your hope that 2015 brings many positive changes!