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Sunday, March 26, 2017

You Can't Go Back



I took my kids to Lagoon today so we get all the bang-for-the-buck we can out of season passports.

Lagoon was at least a yearly adventure with my family and then more as a teenager. All those awkward teenage years in the closet trying to fit in, avoiding standing out.

The thought does cross my mind from time to time about what life could be like if I could go back in time to being a teenager with all the knowledge I have today. I wonder what life would have been like out of the closet at an earlier age. I wonder the financial and career mistakes I could have avoided.

It isn't perfect to be a part-time dad but a full time bank. It isn't perfect to be working on goals I see 20-somethings already passed. It isn't perfect to see how splintered my siblings and mother have become. It isn't perfect to be divorced and have failed at love a few more times beyond that.

I looked to the ride operators and the optimism they seem to possess. I see the flirtations between their co-workers. I see the few who seem to be less concerned about what people see their sexual orientation might. I see the life that stand on their horizon with their shared optimism at what it could posses.

So my mind wandered and those thoughts of going back came back; but, you can't. And, I wouldn't. That last thought is still hard to fully believe, but I did really contemplate it today as I stood in line waiting for another thrill.

Yes, life has had more failings than I would have dreamed of as a teen. However, those failings have also made me who I am today. Not perfect, but satisfied with the imperfection.

I looked at the man I stood with and wondered if I could have gotten this lucky. I thought "I could go live life, have fun, and then just show up in his life at the exact moment I did in this life."

I would be a different person. It is quite possible he may not like the person I had become with all this forward thinking. A relationship that has become a positive in my life might have simply never happened.

Despite the shortfalls, life has been overall good. Sure, I do still wish some things could be changed, but I can't, and I wouldn't at the risk that the great parts I do have may not exist.

It was a thought process that brought me back full circle. Content with life and all the wins and losses it contained, even if it meant I was standing in line (with my youngest & pretending to not be afraid of heights) for the roller coaster from hell.

I survived that too...and it was worth it.
 
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fear

This is the 1st draft, raw, and unedited. Unfortunately I'm out of time to do any proofreading at the moment. Forgive me for the grammatical errors.

I will begin this blog with a disclaimer: I am far too often guilty of what I am about write about. Been there, done that, paid dearly for the T-shirt. The 2nd disclaimer is that this may be a bit more vague than my prior postings. This is a cathartic writing for me and in time it may become less and less vague as situations change. This is also not necessarily chronological with the rest of my blog, or it could be. I'm taking liberties here that I have not done as much of in the past. It isn't done disingenuously or without it's own purpose.

He was simply beautiful. Even at this point I can't look back and see anything I could flaw. Well, perhaps fear, but that is it. I write this from a place of love. Love I still have. Love is messy and skewed. My writings are only the assumptions my heart tells me feel right.

I could relate to his logic and I saw glimpses of myself in his assuredness and determination. Sure, I have determination today, but it is different. Back then I was determined to overcome and not be something that was constantly in the back of my mind. My determination was built on fear. Fear of being nothing, and even a fear of being something. For those like me who are driven, we all to often attribute fear in life as an action of being or doing nothing. In many ways I feel the true fear is that we will become more than we can imagine. It sounds counter intuitive, but the fear of realizing our dreams is real. It comes from the depths of self-doubt.

While it was only a mere few weeks, it was weeks filled with life among the mundane of adulthood. We could quickly dismiss it as twitterpation and "too fast, too soon, too deep." I understand. From an outside perspective I would probably say the same. I need to change that. I need to urge caution, but be more willing to celebrate the beauty of love.

Again, there were no flaws I could see, only my own ever-present self-doubts. Even as those self-doubts rose, they didn't have the same weight I had given them before. I had begun compiling a list of what I had been doing wrong in finding the wrong guys. This occurred while in the midst of a current relationship reaching it's demise. I had always gone for someone opposite of me. I guess there was such a lack of value in my own attributes that I wanted to find someone who didn't have the "weaknesses" I perceived I owned. I looked at men who had entered my life and who I should have let stay, but didn't. They would have treated me like a prince as I would do in return, but for some reason timing was always wrong or I was attached to the wrong man. Regardless, a list began writing in my mind.

And there he was. In front of me. Timing wasn't perfect, but it was better than it had ever been before and I was not going to miss this chance. Honesty was important to me. My ending relationship was not completed and would have strings attached for some time. There were no emotional strings, just the complications that arise from adult interdependence in a relationship. Sure, that threw up some red flags, but didn't seem an immediate deal breaker.

Then there was his moment of honesty. The moment of fear. I had heard it hundreds of times throughout my time working with other men coming out. I don't discount the viability of bisexuality in the least. It does exist. For those who have established a pattern of true bisexuality I appreciate there preferences in life. As for many, the claim isn't tested. Go for it. Give it a try. Try bi-curiosity on for a day, week, a month. Do it for the purpose of self-discovery.

Never do it out of fear.

I had a previously planned trip that interrupted the quick attachment I had to this soul. I left on a high note, happy for the long-needed trip, but also anticipating the return to him. The logic in me, and mostly the fear in me, tried for the week to find flaws, find other attachments, I even visited with one of those aforementioned friends that possessed and played a part in formulating that "need list" in my mind. He was the one taken this time and I was happy for this friend. I was still seeing no flaws.

I hesitate on over emphasizing perfection. Sure, this man I was seeing worked too hard sometimes and set goals too high. He was human, but "perfect" in my years was meaning less about drawing within the lines as much as creating beauty regardless of the lines. His self-observed imperfections only made him a better man to me. I will say that it is important to be realistic about some flaws. As I had previously thrown my heart at a man who had flaws/tastes that simply made love inhabitable, I did watch for those. It is possible for some things to be a true deal breaker.

Did I expect an easy life where there would be no hurdles? No, but, as just stated, there were no inherent flaws that created conditions incompatible with love.

Upon my return things had changed. I could sense it. Distance hadn't been good for this budding romance. Fear had colonized during my brief absence. I had tested fear as well in the distance, but I had returned more determined than ever to see what fruit might be born.

I was taken back somewhat by his fear. He hadn't had the religious upbringing that condemned same-sex love. He had family and friends that supported and loved him. I am still a bit perplexed, but, the only hypothesis is that even with this support and lack of religious interference, he was still subjected to the cultural ideology that men were better off with woman. Somehow masculinity wasn't truly achieved until a woman had given herself up to a man.

I recognized this fear. It was me the first 28 years of life. Some perplexing differences existed that still confuse me. He had explored being gay and dabbled in heterosexual dating. I married my wife without the benefit of prior exploration of my homosexuality. I would simply have not married her if I had. It wouldn't have been easy, but I think I may have stayed outside the closet door had I allowed such dating and other experience to take place. Regardless, I saw this fear in him and hoped the colony would die before it killed the bud.

Those weeks had been wonderful. It didn't feel faked or rehearsed. It didn't feel like an experiment. Yes, we talked often of being cautious. I wasn't renting a uhaul anytime soon, but I was committed to see it through to one end or another.

I was caught off guard to find the bud surrounded by an army of fear. Fear of the unknown was real for him. Maybe he could finally go all the way with a woman and find he likes it. Maybe being "normal" would make him happy. Maybe. As a card-carrying member of that school of thought I can attest that it doesn't work. Not when it has to be so mentally rehearsed. Sure, sex was feasible, and even enjoyable, as a heterosexually married man. The cracks in the veneer were tiny and easy to overlook. Change happened slowly and though those cracks grew, they were slow enough to be easy enough to dismiss....until they weren't. At that point it was too late. It was either then a choice to lose my soul in the name of normalcy. Maybe I could have faked another 30 years as noble. I've seen men try. I have never seen a man succeed. Inevitably not only is your soul nearly trampled to death, but everyone who has touched that relationship is affected by the slow decay. This must stop.

I welcome sexual experimentation and soul searching. I don't welcome fear. Fear is dangerous. Fear is a poor motivator. Fear is lack of ethics, disguised as logic.

He needed to cut the bud before it could grow further. Fear of being hurt was real, but with love it always is. Even those happily married 50 years know that love isn't a guarantee. It is the road you choose. Sometimes you stop to rest, sometimes you get a flat, but it doesn't spoil the journey. There was the fear of not being "normal." There was the usual over-thought concern lingering. He never said it, but he didn't need to. He demanded perfection of himself and being gay wasn't perfect. Again, self-induced hazing I had endured on my way to join the club I am now a lifer in.

That fear is a lot, but it isn't the deal breaker. The true fear, I feel, is the fear of happiness. This fear transcends all ages, genders, sexual orientations, cultures, histories, etc. We fear happiness. I was happy and I sensed he was too. That happiness was too much. Logic can't compute these emotions. Love and happiness mess up a perfectly planned life. So we allow fear to set up house and keep us from being happy. What do we do with happiness? We far too often don't see happiness written on the path and instead manufacture destinations and milestones necessary to be happy. We even accept that Disneyland is the "happiest place on earth." Vacations are a way to escape the path labeled mundane and take a rest stop at happiness. We fail to see that mundane isn't a reality, but a chosen viewpoint. We don't want to accept the responsibility that happiness is under our own feet. It is easier to accept that we can't be happy unless we save up enough mundane to cash it in at some brief pit stop on the road of life.

Stop it. I mean that mostly rhetorically, but I feel I don't stand alone in the fog of mundane accepted.

I know the draw to be "normal" is powerful. I know that accepting happiness as a path vs a milestone is difficult. I know I lost this soul to the fear that happiness might look different than planned, even if it felt better than planned.

I couldn't put life on hold while fear ruled this man's path. I couldn't accept mundane . I had to adjust my view and work to clear the polluted thoughts that covered the path I was walking. I didn't shut the door. Until there was another man to shut it for me, all I could do is hope that he caught a glimpse of the sparkle on the path. If he did and he saw me there, I would join him.

I saw him as the imperfectly perfect companion on the road of a happy life. I hoped it would be me should that day come. I hoped he wouldn't have to endure the rough shortcuts I had attempted. I hoped a better life for him. Even if he doesn't see the path with me, I hope he will with someone. I hope he stops fearing happiness and sees that he is worth it.

Maybe it was just a fleeting moment of life. He breathed life in me when I was feeling beaten on the path. This song makes me think of him. I hope he sees the beauty I do someday.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Goodbye Grandma

It goes without saying that it has been far too long since my last cathartic moments of writing a few willingly read. There is definitely a need to write more, but time always seems so limiting. After moving back to SLC it has become ever apparent that I need to return to some of the basics after the adventure of the last two years chasing love.

Time is still limited so this will be a no frills post. No multimedia, videos, pictures, just words on a page about two lives that intersected across two different generations.

Just shy of 95 years Grandma Visser passed on. For those who have read the past or know me personally, you know I am not a religious man anymore. I choose a more humanistic approach to life. I believe that we have this life to lead and we should live it to the fullest. Enjoy each moment. That is easier said than done. Yet, we should push for it. As I work in a less-than-fulfilling job I see the need to change. I join the ranks who believe you should do what you love. Hopefully the groundwork I am preparing is the foundation of my pursuit of the ideal. I see what challenges my grandmother faced and I am grateful for the example of endurance and perseverance.

Back to the issue of religion, not directly, but as it influenced the happenings of today. Grandma has been preparing to die for years. It isn't that she had no interest in living or decidedly did not live, it is that she was ready for the day she hoped leave behind the trials of this life. She was a convert to the LDS church and I believe she had Christian-based faith. I do think she hoped for peace in death, whether she bought the whole eternal life concept or believed otherwise, I cannot fully attest.

She was the product of the Great Depression. When she owned her own home she lived frugally. She enjoyed a great garden, good food, proper kitchen tools, and comfortable furnishings. She didn't live extravagantly. She often commented on the waste of modern society. She used, re-used, and re-purposed anything she could. Who needed Tupperware when there were perfectly good empty sour cream containers? She re-purposed pots, wire hangers, and all sort of things. It wasn't hoarding and she kept a spotless house, but she also didn't just throw things out or buy stuff just to have stuff.

She had a flashlight from my grandfather that she kept for 40 years. She saw no sense in new-fangled LED lights. Many have told me I need to just get rid of my dad's truck. Its old, needs some dents fixed, is out of style, and lacking shiny "curb appeal." Aside from the sentimental value, I simply see no reason to replace something or waste a perfectly good working truck. This is one of the great lessons passed on to me by generations. The truck, like the flashlight worked and there was no reason to fix something that wasn't broken. In her later years she also practiced such ideology with people, especially me.

I dreaded the events of today. My ex-wife had voiced her plans to meddle and attend all family events surrounding the funeral. Boundaries and respect seem to be lacking. Then, of course, there would be my family. Family is a loose term these days. With the few conversations I had with Grandma while away in Tijuana/California, it was obvious I was as necessary to my family as a smoke detector in a smoker's lounge. She had been told that I was in Texas or wherever. With her failing memory I didn't blame her for being confused at my correction and the families misguided gossip of what I was doing. I knew today would be a day where my family would put on the great, fake Mormon smile that my mom had perfected and show superficial interest in my life. It would either be that or simply pretending I wasn't in the room. I have given up the Mormon smile with my family. I wasn't there to fight, but I was not there to divulge details of my life there otherwise had no interest in. I had no reason to actively add to the gossip. Yes, it is cathartic to vent, even if it all seems negative. I had wondered if I might have just had a bad attitude in the past, but, as with the last several times Iv'e attempted re-join the family, I was once again reminded of how unnecessary and how unhealthy that could be.

We followed the usual Mormon menu of funerals. Prayers, sacred metaphors, etc.

The funeral began and my brother-in-law conducted. He read the obituary that was well written, when I read it online. He read the survivors names and their spouses as husband or wife. When it came to my name he apparently forgot how to say husband when it came to Endhi's name. "Partner" was all he could muster. It was only the pronounced, public reassurance that I didn't fit with these people, regardless of how biologically connected we might be. I had been asked to be a pall bearer, but that is all they could risk. There would be no other form of participation for this "black sheep." I wasn't shocked. I was to be seen and not heard. I showed up for the funeral out of respect for my grandma and her alone. I knew the service would hold little for me in the words said or the rites done.

I heard the words uttered, but I took the time to also hold my own private service. I took time to internally reflect on the life of the lady I called grandma. We didn't always see eye to eye and I steered very clear of engaging in any political discussion. When she needed say her peace I just let her before trying to re-direct to a recipe or memory of her life. In my teenage years and young adult life we butted heads on various family topics. She had her moments of bitterness and I had my moments of inherited bull-headedness. I heard my brother and sister sugar coat aspects of her life. I heard claims a life lived without complaints or showing weakness. It was a lie. I had heard occasionally of her suffering. There were times that she cried.

So what? Big deal? Why have we become a society where showing no emotion, unless it is happiness (real or otherwise), is the only thing acceptable? What courage is there in hiding the reality that life isn't always easy? Why is it admirable that someone not show humanity when enduring or remembering tough times in life? Unfortunately Mormon culture is all to often the culture of "smile like you mean it (and take Prozac if you don't)." It doesn't address the here and now because in some unknown future Jesus will make it all OK. Screw that idea. Live for the here and now. Sure, don't wallow in sorrows forever, but feel the pain, and the triumph, in life. Seize the day!

My grandmother survived her husband and all 3 of her children, not by mere years, but decades. She was widowed far longer than married. Life was lonely and rough. And she didn't just grin and bare it. She worked hard and was engaged in life. She made the most of what she had. She didn't let go until she was ready to. She was a stubborn, opinionated, sometimes prejudiced, sometimes bitter, tough old bird. And then there were the other times, more recently in the years closer to her death.

There were the quiet moments where she expressed how she saw no reason to love me differently even if she didn't quite grasp it all. Moments of surprise when she took my first boyfriend aside and said "be good to my grandson." And the talk about 2 years ago when I asked her directly about whether she knew of any other gay people in the Visser or Oliger line. She didn't, but it led to a frank discussion on her views. They were surprisingly progressive. They were views of love and desire for my happiness. They were everything I had hoped to hear, but didn't expect. The icing on the cake during this unexpectedly honest and frank discussion between two very different generations was the re-assurance that her son, my father, wouldn't have loved me any different had he known before his death. There was her admittance that she had no idea where my brothers and sisters had gotten the idea that their behavior was acceptable. We both agreed that Dad simply would not have stood for it.

She was my unexpected ally and only connection remaining with my family. I imagine funerals will be about the only time I see them. Sure, I wish that they would have reacted differently. I miss the times that were good. Today was a reminder that those times had passed and now may not ever return. Even with the memories of better family times, I accept life as it is and choose not to subject myself to future brow beatings at other family events. I have more self worth than that. I have my grandmother's example of courage and hard work to push me forward.

While there was much public display of sorrows and memories tinted with the overarching Mormon theme, I had those quiet moments to mourn and feel the pain of losing a woman I loved and respected. I lingered a bit longer at the graveside. After my family had left it was time to bring a close to the formal mourning as I broke down spontaneously in my husband's arms. There is a necessary cleansing that happens with tears. Genuine tears, not the public displays for sympathy, but the deep release within your soul, shoulder shuddering type of tears.

I will miss her. I will miss the hours and hours of conversations, many times repeating the same stories. I will miss talking to her about food and some new recipe I tried. I will miss hearing her say "I love you" and know it held no preconditions or social expectations. I will miss the connection to my father that she represented.

I'm not sure I have fully accepted it. It will take time. I have already had moments today when I thought of something I would share with her next time we talked. While not unexpected, it is strange to think of her being gone. At nearly 95 she has just simply always been there. She was a pillar in everyday life, even if we didn't talk often enough.

I will hold dear the memories, good and bad, of life with Grandma. I will work to honor the example of frugality and hard work she gave me. I will celebrate the peace I feel she has found in a life well lived and a passing accepted.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Today Is The Day

A little under 4.5 hours from now we, Endhi and I, will be standing at a counter together at the US Embassy in Jakarta seeking final approval of his fiance visa. Excitement is all I am filled with. It feels like it is finally our chance.

I've thought this morning how historic this moment really is. 10 years ago I doubt there was much hope that couples like Endhi and I would ever have the chance at equality. I am indebted to those who forged ahead before us that never saw the opportunity we have been given.

Even a month ago I didn't think I would be able to be here today. I was preparing paperwork and wrothe the letter written below as a supplement. Luckily I was able to be here today. Today is ours.

The letter I began writing (still in draft form) for Endhi to take with him:


"Its hard to believe the day has come that someone at a US  embassy would read a letter such as this and have the legal ability to unite a couple such as Battiyono's and I. It is even more amazing to me that I have met a man like Endhi and our day has finally arrived to ask that our family be united in our own pursuit of happiness as was fought for so many years ago. There is a range of emotions as I think of the day this letter will be presented.
While the journey for us has been a trial of endurance, I can't help but think of the generations of couples and individuals before us that have fought and endured so that this day might finally come for us. I think of all those before that have been denied the opportunity of "life, liberty,  and the pursuit of happiness." I would be truly ungrateful if those who fought before me didn't cross my mind. Endhi and I are truly lucky that we have seen equality come so far in our lifetime.
I grew up in a world where inequality was still a force in our culture.  I've tasted the bitterness of feeling the need to conform to social and religious norms. I followed the path set out for me by others who felt it was the only way. For last 6 years I have chosen to forge my own way through life following my heart. It has been a path seeking forgiveness for the mistakes of the past. A path learning forgive myself as well; learning not only to accept who I am, but also to love who I am. Its been a path that has taught me much about what is important in life and what is important in love. It has also taught me that love isn't a final stopping point; it is a companion you choose on the road of life. It is something that gives and takes, but even when taking true love somehow is still giving.
By divine intervention or simple luck we found each other. Endhi and I have chosen each other to walk the road of life with. There will be hills and valleys, rough roads and smooth sailing. It will always be together. I love this man beyond the explanation of words. He has brought a peace and happiness beyond what I believed was possible in this life. As our time difference, and signal strength on his island, allowed we have talked over Skype. I love to hear his voice, but simply seeing this man brings a smile to my face and calms the stress our distance causes. The time differences has caused there to be some days where “good morning” and “good night, sweet dreams” have been the only conversations we have been able to have. We anxiously await the approaching day where the distance from work to home is all that separates us.
I write this letter to supplement all the other papers sent. Unfortunately I won’t be able to be in Jakarta as he interviews. I had hoped to be there, but with plane tickets to buy and a trip to Seattle to marry in an equality state, it is better we keep savings in tact for anything unexpected. My sons are anxious to get to Disneyland as promised once Endhi can join us.
As far as specifics of getting married, we will within the 90 days from entering the US. We are looking at late March or April in Seattle where I have friends that will celebrate reaching this landmark on our journey together. We do intend to move back to Salt Lake once jobs are secured. Endhi has been unofficially offered a job once he is in Utah and has his legal permits to work. After 2 years of working to be together, we are excited to start building our life together.
The process of waiting for equality and being spread across three countries has been a challenge for my family. I truly hope that this final interview and visa issuance will happen quickly so there is no more time spent apart.
Trying to sum up our love in a letter is an impossible task. There is no way to put into words the gentleness and peace I feel as I look into his eyes or hold his hand. There is a joy that comes from hearing him talk with my sons. There is a comfort knowing he is mine and I am his. There is a peace that comes from knowing my sons will grow up seeing an example of what love is and should be. There is so much we look forward to.

I love this man completely and he loves me. I urge you to take this application very seriously and finally allow my family the chance to be together in one place."


Friday, January 31, 2014

Arms

After 14 hours flying I was finally tired enough to fall asleep on the middle leg of my journey. I woke up with an ache in my arms. Not a physical ailment but a longing. I woke to this ache realizing it would soon be over. Soon I would have the man I love within arms grasp. Over the past 20 months since first meeting Endhi this ache has been an ongoing part of my life.

It hasn't been merely an ache in my arms as I look at the empty pillow in my bed. Its been a heartache when simply driving and looking at the empty passenger seat; imagining him sitting there even if it was just a grocery run.

There were many times I would imagine him there. So many holidays and family events I would picture him with us laughing. I would picture his addictive smile. There were so many moments I wish he was sharing with my family; OUR family.  As I woke on the plane tonight there was another moment of pain in my arms. If only he could be seated next to me.....soon. Soon these moments apart will be just a brief chapter in the story of our life together.

I look out the window at the black of the night. Only the light on the wing and a few dots off in the distance break through the darkness. I sit and reflect on the road that includes this 3rd trip to SE Asia. I'm grateful its dark as I fight back a combination of tears. Tears of missing him, tears of joy that our days apart are drawing to a close, tears of excitement as I picture my family finally all together and whole, and finally tears of relief. Seeing the lights of Singapore as we approached hit me powerfully. I was finally really close to him. Finally in the same time zone. I've not visited Singapore other than as a transfer hub. Last time was to a ferry to go to an island to meet a man that captured my full attention. Now it is the place I transfer through on my way to claim my equality and bring him home. 

I've reflected a lot recently as you might imagine.  What a journey. Job changes, multiple visa attempts,  embassy visits, marriage equality, Mexico and one more plane ride; hopefully my last alone.

Hopefully these are the last few hours away from the man I am so lucky to have love me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thoughts On Obstacles In Happiness



"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
It is hard living in another country and not telling at least part of the story when people on either side of the border ask what brought me to Tijuana. Those who will continue to be a part of my life, either here or Utah, generally get some explanation while those only in passing are given a simple and ambiguous reason("work" or "family"). It isn't a story that truly can be summed up in a paragraph,  let alone one blog post. There will be others, hopefully soon, on love and Tijuana.

Even for those who get a longer explanation tend to look at me quizzically. "Quizzically", that's a nice way of putting it. Most look at me in unbelief as they wonder why I haven't given up. Many have said that after a month or two or a one visa rejection, they would have given up.

There are those who continue on and then call me crazy or "too trusting" or ridiculous. Unfortunately there are those who also call me a deadbeat or misguided father, a deserter, etc.

It has been an interesting and sometimes personally painful path. I related some of these feelings recently on a separate post that can be found here. People I once considered friends have disappeared. Others who were only acquaintances have chosen to chime in on gossip or ignorant judgement.I get it, sort of. I had become fairly cynical myself before meeting Endhi. Hopefully I haven pushed others as hard as some have with me.

"How could I love someone so quickly? Why would I sacrifice so much for someone? Why not find someone closer to home? What about your kids? What about you?"

My answer to most of the "why" questions is simply "why not?"

I don't write this blog in hopes of changing anyone's mind or attempting to justify or explain my actions. I have had to learn in a rather painful fashion that my choices are mine. My life is mine. My happiness is mine. Who I am or how I live isn't up for a vote. It is not a choose-your-own-adventure life for others to select my path and it simply can't be lived based on what others think.

After being verbally assaulted as a deadbeat dad, fool, dreamer, etc. I took a moment, a very, very brief moment and visualized living life according to the polling numbers and outspoken opinions shared with me. It wasn't a life I wanted and it wouldn't have made me happy. After leaving 28 years of Mormonism & feelings of guilt for simply loving other men, I have had to unlearn the need for approval of others; the need to check in with those who had "authority" over my life and worthiness. This experience has tested how well I have unlearned the need for outside validation.

As I was reading the facebook posts berating my choices and life there was a reaction in me to immediately try to explain it all andvalidate the choices I made. However, something amazing happened. I realized that I simply didn't care. These weren't people directly impacted by my choices. They weren't even really close friends. I shut down the PR department in my head that was busily writing explanations and rebuttals. I stopped wasting energy worrying what others thought. I knew what I wanted in life and I knew I was making the right choices for myself and family. Did it still sting, of course, but not like it might have before.

I share my thoughts, not as a justification, but hopefully more as a perspective for others. Maybe something I write will click with others like me who have felt the pressure to conform to a society over-filled with selfish views on life and love. Maybe someone will see that their opinion is their own and isn't necessary to be shared and pushed on others where there is no personal impact or danger.

There have been some rough bumps on this road; bumps that have come from every angle. Evaluating and re-evaluating friendships has been an unexpected part of this journey. To be honest, were it not for my sons, I would feel less inclined to return to Utah after this experience. I know it’s a feeling that covers over some good friendships I have. I do sometimes wonder what life in Utah will hold as my soon-to-be-husband return and begin life. I think for now it will be a little quieter. For now it will be about making a home and a life. While I have a passion for being involved with the GLBTQ community and the coming out process, I may just take that on a case-by-case basis. I say that now…but don’t make any bets on that just yet.

We interview in Jakarta for his fiancĂ© visa in 15 days. It’s really hitting me now that my Tijuana adventure is coming to a close. I drove through the part of town where I first landed. It was slightly nostalgic. Not because I loved it there, but because I remember the scared little boy who moved to Tijuana blindly. I remembered the challenges of a foreign land that first few weeks. As I drove through this time there was no fear. I saw life and a different culture. There was a sense of accomplishment that I had lived through those fears and the unknown. A new confidence in myself was seen in those reflected memories. I feel optimistic that this visa will work. It is our time and it seems like the sun is finally rising on a new chapter in life.  

Would I recommend this path to anyone else? For the path’s sake, no. For love? Absolutely. As you have seen samples above, I have had plenty of bad with the good. Am I more cynical about friendship? Maybe. There is some bitter taste from those I once thought at least allied with me. There is some hesitation in moving to Utah and having these people inevitably in touch with one part of my life or another. We are a smaller community after all. There is no sense in worry about that now. That is a road we will travel later.

I have met some great people here in Tijuana. I don’t think it is necessarily geography, but maybe it is a little. There are parts of this culture I greatly admire. All in all, I think it is more about me than anything. More about separating lines of those that are acquaintances and those who are friends; letting those who lift you up stay close and others  move to arms length.

It is much more than just who you choose to surround yourself with. It is about self-assuredness; knowing what you are made of. Life shouldn't be lived alone on an island, but it is good to know a few days on a deserted island won’t kill you.

There are still opinions awash about my choices. Still those who find it necessary to vote or hop on a bandwagon about other’s lives. There will be more said to me as I return to Utah. But I have learned to believe in myself. Hopefully I have learned more patience and willingness to hope for others who do seemingly crazy things. So to those dreamers and those faced with challenges on the path of your own personal happiness. Push on. Don’t give up. Follow your heart. Take control of your life. We truly are the largest obstacle to our happiness.

A favorite quote I have held on to for years.

Robert Kennedy:

 “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.”




So I simply say “why not?”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Road to Home




Welcome to my personal blog. I know there are a few that have seen this before, but there a few new visitors from facebook and the link shared on the video above.

For those few that have been so kind to read, share, and interact on this blog, I haven't blogged as much lately due to the journey I have been on over the past 2 years.

Life has presented me with many amazing experiences and even more challenges. Life has also given me love. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have met a man like Endhi. I feel even more lucky to have him love me back. Those close to me in my personal life know more of this journey and why I have been so absent in my regular activities. The video above summarizes part of those reasons.

I have learned so much about what the true definition of home is over the past 6 years. Home isn't 4 walls and a roof. It isn't a place decoarted with fancy things. In fact, home isn't a thing at all.  It isn't contained in some brick and mortar.  Home is truly where your heart is. 

After coming out I lost the home I thought I had. That home was really more an itemized list of things I was told I was supposed to have. A life, a marriage, a religion, a belief system, a family that was required to return to some "home" after death. While there was love in that red-brick house, it wasn't what home should feel like. It wasn't a place of true harmony. Yes, a few notes matched up here and there, but there was no song.

Through the struggles of post-divorce life, that pile of red bricks was sold (my "Place of Refuge" post). I moved to another 4 poles and a roof. It was far smaller with fewer things and less privacy, but my sons and our love made it a home. I had resigned to the fact that life may only consist of my sons and I. It was enough. They brought me joy, happiness, pride, and humility. If they were all I ever had, life would be good. 

Being a single dad has its challenges. It also has many amazing moments where life feels it couldn't be much sweeter. However, I did retain a little hope that there might be a man somewhere that could love me, and I him. Another heart to share the challenges and sweet moments in life with. As post-divorce, single-dad life goes, there are far too many moments that I don't see my sons; far too many moments when my heart and home are gone from me, and my house. There was a hope that there might be a place in someone else's heart to share those moments with too. A heart to spend the rest of life with; someone where home could reside more than just every-other weekend and random nights in between. 

Despite my growing cynicism on the subject of love (yes, I believed in love, but for others, not for myself), I put a wedge in the closing door to my heart and tried again. Often disappointed, sometimes giddy, but mostly still skeptical. And then there was that night at work. That profile on the "Scruff" app that drew me in. He was gorgeous and way out of my league, but he was 10,000 miles so rejection wouldn't be so hard when he ignored me. Nervously I said hello and moved on to chatting with a few others. There would be no reason this handsome man would give my profile more than even just a quick glance.

My self-doubt was proved wrong. He did reply! Shocked, I double checked my profile to ensure that there was, in fact, a photograph of myself posted. I had to make sure he actually saw who he was talking too. There was a picture of myself posted. Surely he must be blind then.

And so we talked a little bit. I was still in shock he was even interested in chatting. I didn't want to bore him, so I would chat with him a little, and then stop. I would let a week or two pass before I would chat with him again. Then only for a little bit, then stop, and repeat the cycle. I knew he had to have many others interested in him. I was sure if we talked at length right away he would be bored with me. This continued for months.

I then made plans to finally leave the borders of the US and visit someplace in the world. After making friends with someone in Malaysia, I chose Kuala Lumpur as the first place I would go to see the world. I had no plans to meet Endhi in Indonesia. I still wasn't totally convinced that he was real. There was still doubts that this profile I chatted with contained real pictures of him. I still doubted that there existed such a handsome man that was also nice to talk to....and willing to talk to a guy like me.

I looked into flights to meet him. He was only 250 miles from me. I was inexplicably drawn to him. Flights looked too expensive, so I apologized to him and said I wanted to meet but it was out of my budget. He was disappointed, but understood. (Even as I type this, my heart stops and is paigned a bit as I think I may have actually passed up this chance). I told him the cost and he suggested there was a cheaper way.

I looked at the route he suggested. It fit my budget. I requested he send me a candid photo. Somewhere in public or something. I was still skeptical that he was really who he claimed to be. He sent it. More than satisfied I booked the flight and took the chance. Best. Decision. Ever.

After a train ride, bus ride, plane flight, subway, taxi, and ferry boat I was finally on his island. I really hoped he was real. I went through immigration and then through the doors....there he was. Pinch me! He was cute!

This was Indonesia and a customarily religious town of working class people. There was no hug. I think we shook hands. We could not show any outward sign of who we were or why we might be meeting. However, motorcycles are the method of transportation there and it gave me an excuse to hold on to him. And I didn't pass that chance up. My hands fit on the sides of his stomach perfectly.

Yes, as two single adults attracted to each other do, there were moments of fun had. It wasn't that part that grabbed my attention. No, it was the sense of peace I felt by just being near him. Being in the same room with him holding his hand cracked open a space in my heart I had long buried. I must have locked that part of my heart away as a child when I realized I was different than other guys and would never, no should never, have what I desired in love. Endhi's gentle eyes and peace held the key long thought destroyed.

This wasn't twitterpation. I had felt twitterpated before. I had felt giddy when other cute boys had given me momentary attention when dating. This was not that feeling. Yes, there was physical attraction, but Endhi is inexplicably more. As the dreamer I am, I had pictures in my head of what a wedding day may look like. I am standing across from whoever the man might be. Both is tuxes, setting unknown. Interestingly, as I had placed other potential partners, dates, suitors in that dream, they hadn't quite fit. I never paid too much attention to it. It was only a dream. As I pictured Endhi there, he was it. He was the face that I saw. The eyes I would gaze into as we publicly committed to a life filled with love, courage, and happiness.

He was the one who felt like home. 

As I write this in Tijuana, Mexico today, half of my heart, half of home, resides with my sons back in Utah. The other half sleeps this hour in Indonesia. 

I'll save other details for another post sometime. Since that trip we have been on a journey. One filled with challenges, pain, disappointment, courage, peace, sacrifice, and love. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done. We have had to dig deeper for courage and commitment then either of us have ever had to.

After finally being allowed federal equality, we have filed our petition for a fiance visa and it has gone through the one of the longest steps. We now await the embassy receiving our approved petition and awaiting the final interview and approval.

We are close to finalizing the chapter in our lives and look forward to the other side of the page filled with new challenges and more love.

However, we need to pass through this interview in Jakarta in order for him to finally enter the US so we can marry and turn the page to the next chapter. We are hoping he can interview early December. We might be able to all be together for Christmas!

The success of this interview will be exponentially improved if I, the US citizen requesting it, am able to attend with him. This post is different from others.

I am asking readers for help. The journey has been drained our finances. There simply isn't enough left for me to buy a plane ticket to attend the interview and then for us to get back to Utah to my sons.

If you are able to help, please follow the link at the top and add a donation. I have no gimmick or trinket to offer in return for your donation. I only have my sincerest gratitude on behalf of my family for your willingness to support our love. Please also take a moment to share our story. While the world can be cynical, I do believe there are enough out there who hope for happy endings and can help us get closer to bringing my heart home. At the very least, maybe our story will make the world a little less skeptical of love.

The road to home isn't a physical place for me anymore. It isn't a bunch of things or 4 walls. It is wherever my heart is. It is time for family to be safely together at last.


Thank you.