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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.



Friday, November 22, 2013

The Checklist

Recently I received another well-intentioned friend sharing his opinion on the amount of sacrifice this journey to be with who I love has cost. I have heard it from many friends, well-intentioned or not. While I would not allow it to alter the course of following my heart, I was hurt and a little angry. I took a few minutes silently by this friend offering his opinion and jotted out a note on my phone. It appears below (with minor changes for clarification, grammatics, and spelling, though it still may not be perfect) Years ago you may have asked me what I wanted in a significant other and I may have given you a list. My list today is far simpler than it was before. I hope I have learned far more about valuing love as love and not as a checklist. The text from that day follows:
"I never asked for a knight in shining armor, never to marry rich, never for a model. All I asked was for a chance at love. Not "like," not content, not worthwhile, but love. 
 Love isn't about a fancy wedding or an amazing honeymoon. It isn't just about flowers or notes, or kisses at the end of the night.
It's also about shoulders, and tissues; all life throws at you. It is about risks.....and rewards. And sometimes, to others, the rewards may not look worth the risk.
On my journey to be with the man I love I have been ever so surprised at how cynical we are. Sure, everyone loves a fairytale ending but only in the movies. In real life you pick up the slipper and throw it in the trash or mock the girl for not paying attention, you look at the dragon guarding the castle and think, nah, not for this girl. If that damn girl can't bother waking up to praise me while I slay the dragon, its not worth it. What if this spell doesn't make her perfect? What if she needs to take long naps daily? Nope, not for me. Too much time, too much effort.
Nah, in real life we like watching movies about struggles, we devour books about hopeless love in vampire fantasies. But, should our friends or loved ones find someone imperfect or a situation requiring sacrifice, we pounce. We call it stupid, or blinded, or impossible. Maybe its deep seeded jealousy, or pain, or laziness. Who knows? But we love to see love fail in real life. We love to say I told you so. We love to not believe in love that isn't simple or easy. I used to be that cynic. Today I choose love. I love to believe in love. I love the look, the laughter, and the struggle of love.
I am not the man I was 18 months ago. I've learned that love should be celebrated and encouraged. I've learned that love is already hard enough between two people. It doesn't need more obstacles. It isn't a diamond in the rough needing pressure to make it look more beautiful.
I've learned that shiny armor is merely sign that they aren't ready to go to battle. They aren't ready to fight for love. Keep your shining armor away, I'll take the man battle-worn. I'll take the man beaten and bruised and willing for more. I'll take the man imperfect who understands the beauty in that."

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November(s)

I prefer the sunshine over falling leaves, but November sticks out from the other cold months as a time filled with good memories. A year ago I was somewhere in the air over the Pacific hoping to find some way to close the geographic gap that ocean put between us. I quickly found that it was not geography but ideology and my own "free" country that created the gap. It truly has been the most trying year of my life so far. The safety nets have been sacrificed and many times there seemed nothing between myself and the ground. I have watched many friends become fair-weather. Watched as family and trusted ones take advantage or seized the opportunity to ridicule my mistakes. I have been lucky to have a few old and some new become safe places of encouragement. I have heard most who hear our story tell me I'm nuts, but we push forward. Sometimes the pressure has seemed too much and we've had our moments where we thought of calling it quits, but I've come to realize that peace doesn't come from following the road others pick for you. I've challenged myself to not let outside influences and opinions cast shadows where none truly exist. There would be no peace if I simply gave up on myself, gave up on us. Though there have been and continue to be rough roads, I have learned so much about myself. While there have been many tears, loads of stress, sleepless nights, and heartbreak, I have also learned more about who I am and found strength I didn't believe existed. I have learned what value life has and what little value "things" have. November is amongst my favorite months. When I was younger I looked forward to having the family gather on a simple holiday. One filled with gratitude and nothing else to detract from it. Food and family made for a great day. It has been 6 years since that day was celebrated with the family I was given. I do miss the days when I thought I was accepted. Unfortunate that who I love would get in the way of continuing to be loved by them. I have no idea what that day holds for me this year, but I am truly looking forward to celebrating this day next year with 1 man and two little men who mean the world to me. I imagine that day may be my favorite so far.