Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We Love a Charade

I have this memory ... of when I was a kid that is so impressed on my mind that I’ve never been able to shake it.  As a young boy, I had always known I had tendencies and feelings towards boys instead of girls but just as a child comes into their own with sexuality, I came into my own understanding as well.  As the pieces of my puzzle began falling into place and I began to realize that I was in fact, Gay, I began to wonder what to do with my life.  I remember one particular Sunday, I was sitting on the end of the pew during church and I was attempting to analyze the thoughts I was having in life that were not the ones I was "supposed" to be having.  I remember coming up with the decision that I would move to California where no one would ever know of the life I was living and I could work at Disneyland because that was a place I felt happy.  It was in this exact moment that my future was shaped in my head.  This was the dream that would carry me through the dark times and give me hope when I would feel there was none.

When I conjured up this dream of mine there was no such thing as social media so it seemed extremely feasible that I could live somewhere else and no one would know I was gay.  I could live my life in secret and no one would be the wiser. As time passed, I never lost sight of this idea that I could live in California and be happy there.  It was a place I could see myself living and be the real me without judgment or hurting anybody that I loved.  In time, it became my driving force.  I was going to get out of my hometown of Murray, Utah and I was going to move away to work for the Mouse. 

As high school ended and I’ve returned home from the mission (that I never thought I’d go on), there have been reunions and weddings that I have been invited to that I have quite frankly steered away from.  When I was still in the closet, I dreaded having that conversation where people would ask who I was dating or what I was doing with my life while I secretly was in a relationship and my job was anywhere but getting me to California.  As I mentioned earlier, social media wasn’t a thing when I initially decided to move to California but by the time I got home from the mission it was the sole purpose of the internet (or so it seemed).  I avoided reunions simply because everyone seemed to be moving on, getting married and having children.  It was hard for me to compare where I was at in life next to the lives everyone appeared to be enjoying on Facebook.  I constantly felt like I was failing at life and I was in desperate need of changing my perception.  Fortunately, I am now out and the times are different from when I was a kid.  Yet, as forward as this world has progressed, I still have felt the need to move to California.  This last May, I received a phone call offering me a position with my company that would move me from the safety and security of my life in Utah and would send me to the unknown land of Beverly Hills, California.  For someone that has visited Cali as much as I have, I had never been to this part of Los Angeles and it was practically foreign to me.  I ended up moving without a place to live and was so unbelievably unprepared for what would lie ahead.  Never in my life have I been more grateful for the loved ones in my life who helped me during these early months of my life in California.  Without being as prepared as I should have been, I packed up and made the move to California because “Dreams Come True,” right?

By definition, Naïve is an adjective meaning a person is innocent or showing a lack of wisdom or judgment.  Laugh if you will but I never would have considered myself as naïve. Coming here, however,  and having the experiences I have had has shown me that 'Naïve' is exactly what I was.  Regardless of the fact that Los Angeles was never where I pictured myself moving to, it is where I ended up and I have had to make the most of it.  I moved out here with plans to get a 2 bedroom apartment so friends and family would have a place to stay when they visited.  As adorable as the thought of a 2 bedroom apartment was, I ended up with a 325 sq. foot studio apartment.  That’s right folks, I just moved from 3,000 sq. feet to 325 sq. feet.  (Cute, right?  I thought so too)  Long story short, everything that could possibly go wrong has definitely gone wrong.  I have never felt like the World was beating me up on a daily basis until this move.  It has been one learning experience after another and I am ready for things to start to calm down but they do not appear to be doing so. (1st World problems, I know.) 
There is a common phrase that reminds us how Comparison is the killer of all joy.  As hard as it is to admit that I have allowed myself to compare my life and self-worth with the perfect lives everyone appears to be having on social media, it is a truth.  I decided when I initially started this blog that I would be honest about my life and this is an aspect I have struggled with even to this day.  Watching those close to me make their lives seem fabulous on the internet when I know what is really going on has opened my eyes to the charade that we all make our lives appear as.  Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of doing the same thing.  Then again, who wants to take a selfie or have a photo-op during a sad moment to forever remember how miserable you were in that instance?  I think I've decided to view Facebook from here on out as our own scrapbooks and we just get to look in on all the good stuff that happens for one another.  (You all probably came to this decision back in 2009 ... thanks for the memo!)
While I am acutely aware of how idiotic it is to compare my life with anyone else’s,  I can’t help but wonder if the even tougher comparison is that of where my life currently is verse where I dreamed it would be at this point.  My own silly idea of where my life should be vs. where it is.  I am almost 29 years old and that scares the shit out of me.  I pictured my life having so much more purpose and doing something meaningful in a career that I sought out and loved. If life has shown me anything it is that we have choices to make and those choices have consequences and we do not get to choose those consequences (as nice as that would be).  I moved out to California earlier than I probably should have and I know that, I’m not unaware of that fact - but I am here, and I did not make it this far just to make it this far.  I am making this dream a reality and it is rough and it is scary and I have never felt more alone in my life but there is no place else I feel I should be.  I write this not for sympathetic comments or words of encouragement. I know I will get through this because of the incredible support system I have back home and my own inner strength.  I write this to show that it's okay to show that not everything is perfect in this life and also to tell myself that it's okay not to always be okay.  It’s not a glamorous road but it’s a road nonetheless and it will take me where I need to go.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and for some reason I have to go through this. 
 Truth is, we all compare and we all put on a certain level of a charade.  It is a way to cope and move ourselves from one mindset to another.  Whether we are convincing ourselves of that charade or others, maybe the charade isn’t so much a lie as it is a hope.  It may be something small like a hope that you’ll have plans this coming weekend or it may be large like a dream job with Disney in California, but that hope or that “charade,” if you will,  is what can carry you through when all seems lost.  I said it earlier and I will say it again how grateful I am for those that have helped me or been a support to me while I have been out here. From that little kid on the church pew to the 28 year old in Beverly Hills, I’m getting there slowly but surely. I’m one step closer to that dream -  Now I just need a mouse trap!  (Wink Wink)

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