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Sunday, March 13, 2011

What an odd week

For those that have followed the recent events I have been on a weight loss journey. A healing journey. Honestly, I have always been on a weight loss journey of sorts, but I have become more resolved again recently.

The pounds haven't been falling off, despite my best efforts. I have hit the gym 4-5 days a week for over a moth now but the scale doesn't show it. My belt does and my pants do. That part is awesome. However, this is a mental game and seeing numbers drop on the scale is a huge rush. One that I haven't really had the chance to feel yet. It became even more complicated this week.

I have always dreamed of being on the TV show "The Biggest Loser." Sure, it is narcissistic in a way. I won't deny that. The other side of me sees that exposing myself and embarrassing my self and sharing myself on national TV could help others. There would be no way to avoid the "gay" issue and part of me hopes that it could shed a more positive light on it. I wanted to get on with my ex-wife. I think we have an important story to share on living life and being happy with the unexpected wrenches thrown your way.

Liz and I went to a Biggest Loser casting call here in West Valley yesterday morning. It was a weird group of emotions. The first one was, I'm not big enough to be here and that feels kind of nice. The second was, I'm not big enough to be here and I'm embarrassed because I don't fit in by not being big enough. (odd reversal of the same emoti0n, but opposite of the ususal reason) And then there was the third emotion, I'm still worth being heard and I'm going to fight for this.

We were #56 and 57 in line. We were in and out relatively quickly once the doors finally opened at 8AM. We had been there since 4:30 AM. We were the second group of interviews to go in. It was a group interview with 12 people sitting around one casting call director. The whole interview was under 10 minutes and consisted of 3 questions. I'm sure there is some method to the madness in that process, but I have no idea what it could be. There is no way to really show who you are in under 1 minute of total speaking. I have no idea how they can pick up anything from anybody in that small time.

Liz and I left feeling happy we went and a little determined to send in a video to really have our voices heard. But reality set in. Taping starts in May and in all likelihood we wouldn't know for sure until about a week before. That would mean I would have to stop losing weight and working out for 2 months and possibly gain a little. I tried that this week. I gave up on my diet on Friday and it has been Hell. I feel like I am giving up, even if it could possibly get me on the show. Its a strange set of emotions.

I've spent since Friday going back and forth on what to do. Liz seemed more bought into the idea than she has been for a while. I didn't want to crush that by saying that I didn't want to go further. But I don't. I want to be heard. I think Liz and I should be heard. TBL isn't the only way though. I want to keep momentum. I want to go to the gym. I can't hit the pause button.

After talking to Liz today I think we have decided together to not go further in TBL endeavor and making a video. We ARE going to move forward in losing weight and hopefully we can be on the same health bandwagon to change our lives and make the lives of our sons better.

I have eaten whatever I wanted the last few days, and the first day was kind of nice, but honestly that ended quickly. Liz and I went to breakfast after because I still wasn't sure I should lose anymore weight until we made the video and either were called back for an interview or we knew we wouldn't make the cut. I was quickly reminded as to why I don't eat that way. Honestly the food wasn't great and feeling sluggish after was horrible.

I've honestly been embarrassed by myself and have just stayed home. Its totally mental because I don't anyone could really tell about my stumble....yet. It won't continue though. I'm headed back to the gym today. Biggest Loser or not, I'm moving forward and losing weight. I'll keep you posted. Liz seems on board still too. I'm excited for where this will be going.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My response to a posting on a blog I follow. A response to "enduring" to the end in a hetero marriage as a gay man

Here is the question posed to the blogger I follow (his posting is linked here). Invictus is just making the first steps out. Here is a question he received on his recent separation form his wife:

Sincere question for you here.

You have a teenage daughter, so I'm guessing you have to be at least mid-40s correct? Average life expectancy of the American male is 76 years. So, assuming you're 45, and will live to be 76, you're approximately 60% of the way through your life. Up to this point, you've been a faithful member of the Church, paid your tithing, etc. So, you've only got 40% of life to go and if you can just keep on the path for that last stretch, you'll very likely receive exaltation and be together with your family, as the LDS Church teaches.

On the other hand, if you choose to live a homosexual lifestyle, you've got, on average, 31 years (assuming you're 45) left. Keeping in mind that after 65 you're pretty much "old" (no offense intended) which brings the "wild oats" years down to roughly 20. Are those 20 years worth it?

I'm not your bishop so I don't think what you do directly affects me very much, but I'm just curious about your thoughts on whether those 20 years are worth what you're giving up.

Here is my response to such a question and train of thought:

I find topics like these philosophically interesting. I'm most comfortable fitting in the Agnostic box. While I sometimes contemplate and can relate to spiritual ideas, my life doesn't revolve around having anywhere near a perfect understanding. There are times I feel like God could exist and other times that it really doesn't add up. Either way, it doesn't matter. God or no God doesn't change who I am and what makes me happy. It doesn't make me someone "devil-ish" or without any sense of what is right and wrong. In fact, I find it liberating to know that what I believe and how I choose to live my life is all based on what I feel is good and right. It is no longer based on what is supposed to be right and wrong as written in books. With that background here are some thoughts:

I love Jeff's response. I share a very similar belief. If we delve into some of the most commonly accepted beliefs in Christianity we will see that the greatest commandment is love. Notice that it isn't "strict obedience" it is "love."

You hear on talk radio shows and other therapeutic geared media that you can't truly love others until you learn to love yourself. How can you love yourself when you feel that "enduring" and "burying" your feelings is the only way to be accepted by God? Where is there love in unacceptance?

The part of me that accepts that there could be a God sees a being that isn't entirely foreign to the LDS faith. Through refining my thoughts and relating to my own life I sift away many of the "Hellfire and damnation" views of a vengeful God. I am a gay father. My marriage ended 3 years ago. I have two amazing boys that have taught me more about what a God should be than anything else I ever learned.

I have felt many ranges of emotions as a father. I have felt fear, anger, embarrassment (of my lack of ability), heartache, worry, contentment, and joy. Most of all I have felt love.

We have this strange concept in life of what is wrong and what is right. Everything has to be black or white. We somehow picture this book in heaven that judges each move in life as either sin or its righteousness. We either get a check in the naughty or nice column. Our hope is that we get enough "nice" checks to get into heaven. I don't know many Earthly fathers that live that way in everyday life. How many of us have watched our children make mistakes? Do we judge everything they do as right or wrong and worthy of praise or punishment. How many of us have watched our kids build something with legos or blocks knowing that the laws of nature will never allow it to stand on its own. Do we have to rush in and command that they alter their course and do things "right" or do we just make a mental note for punishment later? I don't and believe that most fathers don't as well.

Being gay is no different than being straight in that we all will have our own opportunities to learn and grow. These may be strictly my own morals, but I don't see "sowing my wild oats" as inherently sinful or something that God has noted for later punishment. Just like the legos, its a life experience for me. It is my chance to see what will stand on its own and what will not. While I have greatly slowed my sowing, I can't deny what I have learned and the value that came from such supposedly damning behavior. I have found contentment in being single, but there is always that part looking for love. In my sowing I have found a greater understanding for what love is.

Back on track with fatherhood. My love for my sons is not contingent on them making all the choices I want them to make. I know we are taught that God loves us all no matter what. There is a HUGE BUT (no pun intended) in LDS teachings though. He loves us BUT if we don't heed everything he COMMANDS of us, we have no place in his house. Really?? I can not fathom the day that I would bar my own children from everything I have. I cannot imagine not allowing them to stand in my presence, let alone not always feeling the desire to hold them and show them all the love I have for them. If that is true with me, why not a more perfect Father in Heaven?

The only expectation I really have for my sons is that they not willingly injury another either emotionally or physically. Even then, they would never be banned from my presence. I may want them to be a doctor, or lawyer, or great politician, but if they find joy in working at McDonald's so be it. I may have things I'd like them to do in life, but all I really want is for them to find happiness, joy, and love (in one form or another). If I feel this way about my children, why can't God?

I can't imagine the sorrow I would feel if I found out that my son endured years and years of Medical school "enduring" to be a doctor, because he thought it would make me happy, only to find that he didn't enjoy it and would rather have been a garbage man. I don't have those expectations of my sons and I would never want them to put their happiness on "hold" in order to live up to some ideal they think I have for them. As Jeff stated above, what if our "test" wasn't to endure? What if it was to love? Why deny the amazing man (who loves other men) that God created? Why not be authentic, real, and happy in this life? How can that translate into damnation in the next?

I feel that I have more to contribute to society as an openly gay, authentic, self-loving man than I ever did as a closet case "enduring."

I can't believe such a God exists that expects us to deny the greatest commandment of love and replace it with enduring. Enduring is not fair for me as a gay man in a hetero marriage, and it is not fair for the woman that has to endure as well. Would any one of us want to be in a marriage to someone who was "enduring" rather than "loving" us?

If love is the greatest commandment, we should live it.

Weight Update

I realize that I haven't updated on here. I am much better at doing it on Facebook. Just a quick update. I'm down about 6 lbs, but struggling to move out of the 280's. I'm toying with taking my ex-wife to the Biggest Loser cast call here in SLC this Saturday. While I have plenty to lose, I'm not sure I am big enough for the show (based on what I have seen the past few seasons). I'll keep you posted.