Touch

He sits down next to me. We’re so close, almost touching. I look at him. He looks at me. A smile sneaks its way across his face. I smile back. He sets his hand on my knee. My heart stops. It compensates by beating a thousand times faster than normal. His hand moves and the moment is over. He’s not looking at me anymore, he’s having a conversation with Libby now. The movie starts. I’m not paying attention. I can feel him, sitting next to me, the tension growing. My hand is free and open, sitting on the window of cushion between our legs. I feel something, his fingertips begin to rest on the top of my hand. The next few moments are an awkward game. Our hands, twisting and feeling until we find the spot. Our hands slide together, our fingers interlock, and my breathing relaxes. 

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This is supposed to feel wrong. Everything I’ve ever been taught says that this is wrong. My mom would be ashamed. I glance around. The room is dark, no one can see us. He squeezes, and I squeeze back. It feels so right, like our hands were created to fit together. So we keep them together, for the rest of the movie. Time slows. The Earth slows. For now, everything is perfect as I feel his touch.

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Suicide

I’ve decided to be very candid in this post. What I’m going to say isn’t easy, and I’ve never really shared it with anyone before.

I always thought that suicide didn’t affect me. I mean, I didn’t know anyone who had done something like that. My 7th grade health class was the first time I had ever really talked about it, or heard about it. I thought, “Oh, how silly. Like, who would even want to kill themselves? That doesn’t even make sense!” But, I was wrong.

My uncle, from whom my middle name (Shane) comes from, committed suicide before I was born. I had never taken this to heart. I didn’t understand it. I had never fully understood the impact that it had on my mom’s family. But I see it now.

Image

I’m sitting in my room. But I’m doing more than just sitting, I’m crying. I’m sixteen years old, far too young to be having a breakdown of this magnitude. “Hell.” That’s how I’d describe the past year. I lost my brother, my best friend, my rock. I cry about him almost every night, but tonight, I had a lot more on my mind than Logan. I’m not just alone in my room, I’m alone in my house. My parent’s are home, and I’m sure they’re crying too. But I have to be strong, I have to show them that it’s all going to be ok. I need to show them how strong I am. I’m alone because I don’t want them to hurt too.

I wish I was just crying about him, but I’m not. Finally I roll off my bed, stumble to the cramped upstairs bathroom, and flip on the light. There I am. My face. My glasses. My thick hair. My chubby neck. Underneath it a chubby body. I look to the toilet. I feel like vomiting. Back to the mirror. I pull the door closed, place my hands on the edge of the sink, and start to shake violently. After three minutes I have to pull myself together. There’s my face again. I watch my lips separate and my mouth open. “I’m gay.” The words tumble out of my mouth like they were never supposed to leave. The words I never thought I’d hear myself say. It’s been said by certain theorists that everything exists until you say it, or write about it. Then it is only a memory, wherefore it cannot be real any longer. That is a lie.

It’s real now. But what’s even more real, are the thoughts rolling through my head. If I’m gay, my parents are going to lose another son. The question is, do they lose him to “The World” or do they lose him to ground, six feet under in his own paradise away from this pain? I go back to my room. I’m a chicken, a coward. I can barely swallow two pills at once, how could I overdose? And on what? I can’t even bring myself to pull a pocket knife out of my nightstand. I can’t decide. Am I scum for wanting to kill myself, or for not being able to go through with it? I digress. I get back into bed, and cry myself to sleep for yet another night.

I wish the story really ended there. But it doesn’t. I’m not trying to make you feel bad for me. That’s not my intent at all. We can assume from the fact that I’m writing this that I never went through with any suicidal plans. Thank God. But, it really only got worse. Even after I came out. Even after I felt accepted. Even after I moved off to college. Thoughts of suicide never really went away. Maybe they never will. I mean, my mind always seems to find another reason: “You have no friends.” “You hurt all the people around you.” “He doesn’t like you, he’s just using you.” “You’ll never find love, and if you do, your family won’t accept you.” “You’re fat.” You’re ugly.” Etc.

Finally, to end on a lighter note, I can say with all honesty, that those things are not true. No matter how much I believe them in the moment, they aren’t. I just take some melatonin, flip on my heated blanket, play Devin’s angst mix, put my little head on that pillow, and give life another try tomorrow.

I’m sorry if this is a little sporadic, but it’s the best I can do at this time of night. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Resources – If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or self harm:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project – 1-866-488-7386

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Hiatus

Silence.

That’s all I want to hear sometimes.

I wish people would just shut up sometimes. But even more, I wish my head would shut up sometimes. I recently watched a TED talk about how people who are truly happy usually live in the now. They don’t spend all of their time regretting the past, or fearing the future, but instead focus on what’s going on right now.

I’ll be totally honest, I have no idea how to live in the now, and I can tell that I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to figure out exactly how to do it. So I suppose I should start by simplifying my life.

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Unfortunately, the first place to start is Facebook. Yesterday I deactivated it, but I think I’m going to go back on that and just stay off of it for a while. (Also a do want a place to publicly post my blogs besides Twitter.) So, that’s one way I’m going to simplify and live in the now. So, yeah 🙂

Ways to Go

It’s that time of year again. When all of your Facebook friends start working on their “New Year’s Resolutions.” I personally gave up on resolutions years ago. (Ok, not that long ago, I’m only 18, so…) But all I can say for 2014 is: “I got a ways to go.”

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned since I moved out, it’s that I really need to take control of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not addicted to drugs, and I’m not living on the street, but there is a whole lot more that I need to take into my own hands, instead of running on autopilot.

  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to start going to bed on time
  • I want to start waking up on time
  • I want to eat healthier
  • I want to be more spiritual
  • I want to procrastinate less
  • I want to figure out what I’m going to do with my life

These are just a select few. Trust me, the list is long. But according to Danielle Laporte, who wrote a great book called The Desire Map (I have yet to read it, oops), goals work better when they are feelings rather than ideas. So, in 2014…

  • I want to feel healthy
  • I want to feel refreshed when I wake up
  • I want to feel skinny
  • I want to feel connected with God and the Universe
  • I want to feel preparedness
  • I want to feel confidence

I think, when we feel these feelings, they can inspire us to do the daily activities that will make us feel this way. So, wishing you all a Happy New Year, and good luck on all you goals, we’ve all go a ways to go.

Even If I Tried (part III)

It Happened Unexpectedly

His name was Jason (not really, but out of respect for him, I’ll refer to him as Jason.) I had known Jason for a few years, since his family had moved into my town when we were in the 7th grade. I also knew his two older siblings very well, and we all worked together. Jason and I had never been friends, in fact, we never really go along. But now we worked together, so we would just get a long. He had made some jokes about how he could never be gay, and I thought they were funny, so I figured I should tell him that I’m gay.

That night he asked me for a ride home from work, I said yes and began planning how I should tell him. I waited for all the other employees to leave the parking lot, like I did every night. I started the very short drive to his house, not sure of if I would actually do it.

“Jason, I’m not really into girls.”

“Sometimes I find guys attractive. I mean, I’m not Bi or anything, I just think it happens sometimes.”

“No, I mean I’m gay, I like guys.”

“That’s ok.”

I dropped him off, I felt kind of uncomfortable, but at least I had that off my chest. I got home, took a shower, and began my pre-bedtime rituals. My phone buzzed. It was Jason. “So, I’ve been thinking,” the text read, “I think I may be Bi, like I’m attracted to both girls and guys.” At this point, I was skeptical of Bisexual people, from every story I ever heard, they would end up either gay or straight, but I decided to be supportive.

“Well, whatever you are, I’m here for you.”

The next day was Sunday. I wouldn’t usually take my phone to church, but I did, just in case Jason texted me. He did.

“Landon, I think I’m gay.”

Wow, that was fast. I was happy, I don’t know why, I guess I felt like there was someone else out there for me. I didn’t feel so alone.

Jason and I talked a lot for the next two weeks. When we walked past each other in the hall, we’d just smile. I was the only person who knew that he was gay. Finally, we decided to go on a date, nothing fancy, just dinner and a movie. I lied to my mom. Sorry if you’re reading this Mom. I told her I had to to to pick up some decorations for the Girl’s Choice dance. We had decided to go in the middle of the week, and to a town about 40 minutes away. That way we wouldn’t see anyone we knew.

I figured I would pay, because I made more money than him. First we went Five Guys for dinner. Then we saw Pitch Perfect. I didn’t pay attention to the movie, I really just wanted to hold his hand. It was about 45 minutes into the movie when I our hands touched. We sat there for a couple of minutes, then his had started to slide down. So in return, I slid mine up. We did an intricate dance until our hands met palm-to-palm, and our fingers intertwined. This was the first time I’d ever truly held hands with anyone before, and it was amazing.

We weren’t anything official yet, but I knew I really liked him. So a couple of days later I texted him.

“20 seconds of insane courage.” “Jason, I really like you, and I don’t really know if you feel the same way, but I just want to be honest.”

He felt the same way, but he said he wasn’t quite ready to be in a relationship yet. I totally understood, so we decided to just go naturally. But the next day he texted me during my first class, and basically said he did want to be my boyfriend. I was ecstatic!

It only lasted about a week and a half. I’m not going to go into the rest of that story, but it didn’t end well. But something worse happened next… Rumors of my sexuality began to spread across the school…

 

pride

The Illusion is Shattered

I’m still not sure who the first person to tell was, but I don’t care. At first I was scared and incredibly nervous. But then I didn’t care. The only thing I cared about was my parents finding out. I was more scared of that than anything else. On the bright side, I got a text from a friend asking if it was true, and when I said yes, she said she still loved me and her and her friends were there if I needed any thing.

And then nothing happened. No on treated me different, no one really even said anything. And life was ok for a while… Until December. I decided it was time to tell my parents. But first, here’s a little background.

My mom once told my brother and me that “if either of you are gay, don’t tell us.” And on another occasion, more recently, “Landon, not be gay.” My dad and brothers would make gay jokes, but that’s about it.

I wrote a letter, and left it in my parents car so they would read it when they went on their weekly Friday night date. I worked until 1 that night, and I didn’t wake them up when I got home. I woke up early the next morning and went to breakfast with my friends. I didn’t even know if I was going to go home at all that day. I didn’t know how they were going to react. Then I got a text from my mom saying: “You need to come home so your father and I can talk to you.” My heart sank, I felt like throwing up. I had to help out my drama teacher with some things and I told her that, but she made me come home.

When I got there she was in the bathroom, and my dad hadn’t gotten home yet. I sat there, in front of the Christmas tree, crying. My mom came out of the bathroom and gave me a hug. She said it was all going to be ok and that dad was almost home. When he got home, the three of us sat down and talked. There was lots of crying, and lots of “coming to Jesus.” It wasn’t really negative, but I didn’t feel any better after talking. They said things like, “If you choose this life, you’ll be alone forever.”

Hurt

Today I did something incredibly stupid. I hurt someone… Again. I say again, because I do this far too often. I always seem to hurt the people that I love the most. I don’t know why, maybe I have commitment issues or something. But what I thought were more words of honesty, and what would hopefully strengthen this relationship, probably ended up destroying it.

I’ve just hurt so many people that I wonder if I’m even capable of actually loving somebody. This, at least to me, is the problem with being gay. I fall in love, and then I feel bad about it, so I have to end it (if it ever started.) If I fall in love, it causes so much hurt. To me, to them, to my friends, and to my family. And I really just don’t want to hurt anyone, so maybe I should just stay single. 

This issue transcends beyond romantic relationships, and into friendships. I think I may have ruined a friendship, because of the relationship, which ironically, probably just ended. You know who you are, both of you. And I’m truly sorry, I’ve tried to tell both of you, and I’m not even sure if you’re going to read this, but I guess I just need to get this off of my chest. I’m sorry if this post is depressing, and poorly written, but I needed to say these things. Also, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt anyone else, please tell me if I have, I want to make it right.

– Landon 

Even if I Tried (part II)

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What?! You want to know what happens next? I guess I can tell you. But first, let me give you just a bit of background on where my life was when the nest part happened.

It basically started in September of 2012. I was a manager at my work, and my closest friends were my coworkers. There was Tori, she was my best friend at the time; Ciara, we had sung in choir together, and now we worked together; Linnzi, we had gone to school together for years, but we really didn’t get to know each other until now; and finally Kalob, whom I had done a play with the year before. These were my friends at the time, they were my rock, but they didn’t know I was gay. On a side note, there was Matt, who I had been friends with since preschool. He just got a job at my work, and this is where this story begins:

It was my first night closing with Matt. I was skeptical, but it look as though it could turn out to be a good close. It was a good clos

e, but I learned a lot about Matt. I had been living with the thought that Matt was a really good kid that went to church etc. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy, and he would give you the shirt off of his back, but I learned a lot about him. I heard him swear, talk about his faith and how he didn’t believe the church was true anymore. This changed my whole outlook. It was time, time to be honest with him.

I still couldn’t talk to anyone face-to-face about it, so I decided to wait for him to pull out of the parking lot after work, then I would send him the text. I did. I went home and took a shower, knowing that he would get the text and reply immediately. He did.

“Is this a joke?”

“No.”

“Oh.”

There was more to the conversation, but now I can’t remember. The next day was awkward to say the least. We decided to hang out at my house after school, which was even more awkwardness. We just sat there trying to figure out how to be friends again. Don’t get me wrong, he was totally ok with it, he just didn’t know what to say, which is understandable.

We Googled it, we looked it up on Reddit, finally I broke the ice by showing him this video. From then on we were fine. Within the next few weeks I would tell Tori, over text again. She was totally cool with it.

Then one night it happened. I just couldn’t help it by this point. I was closing at work again, and we had been talking about gay things all night. Linnzi, Kalob, and Ciara were closing with me. I had to help Linnzi take take out the trashes. I told her that I may not like girls. She didn’t quite get it, and then she did… And, she was totally ok with it (I sense a trend here.)

I feel bad, but I hate to make this too wordy, but I’m gonna kinda put this in fast forward. I told Ciara and Kalob, and they were ok too. B

ut then something crazy happened. I went back to the sink to take some dishes back, and he whispered to me, “I am too.” I probably gave him the strangest look and then I asked him, “You are what?” He was gay. This was probably one of the biggest reliefs. Even though he’s still just a Senior in high school, he’s already done a lot of great things, and I Know he’ll do a lot more great things. You can find him here.

I can already tell that this post is waaay too wordy, so I’m going end this one here.

-Landon

Next time: My first (kinda) boyfriend, and how I eventually tell my parents.

Even if I Tried (part I)

Will and R.J.

R.J. Aguiar and Will Shepherd kiss after their recent engagement.

“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.”
― Rachel Maddow

I stared at my own reflection in the mirror. “I’m gay.” I almost vomited. My stomach churned, because suddenly it was real. Now I couldn’t deny it, I was stuck. I suppose the only way one can be honest with others, is to first be honest with yourself. I had just taken the first step. This wasn’t particularly new to me. I guess I had known for a long time, but I just assumed it would go away. It doesn’t. I thought that I could pray, fast, and beg the Lord to take it away. I doesn’t work that way, I can tell you that right now. You spend many sleepless nights, staring at the ceiling, asking yourself what you did to deserve this. I can also tell you that that doesn’t go away (or it hasn’t for me, not yet.)

I lived in fear, that this might advance from thoughts, to something more. One thing changed that fear. A video make by a group of students at BYU. They called themselves USGA, Understanding Same-Gender Attraction. They are a club at BYU, and they made an ‘It Gets Better‘ video, and it pretty much changed my life… the first time. (You can find that video here. They also have a new video about suicide called “Just Be There.”)

In the video, what Adam said, “I remember going up to a mirror in my bathroom, and looking myself right in the eye and saying, ‘Adam, um, I think you’re gay.'” So I decided to do the same thing. From that point on, I watched as many coming out videos as I could.

About a week before my 17th birthday I made the decision to ask a good friend of mine if she would still love me if I was gay. She responded, “Yes, of course. Is there something you want to tell me?” There wasn’t anything I wanted to tell her at the time. She went on to tell me about a few of her family members who were gay, and how she still loved them.

The next week was Hell. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I just kept on thinking about having to come out some day. Finally, on the night before my 17th birthday, I texted my friend again, and asked told her that I had lied to her. I don’t fully recall the conversation that followed, but she now knew my biggest secret. The one thing that, at the time, I thought could ruin my whole life. And guess what? She still loved me, and she still loves me (I think.) She proceeded to count down to my birthday by sending me a text every minute until midnight. To date, that’s one of my most memorable conversations.

At one point, I had a running list of people whom I had told, but I have since lost track of who came next. I do know that for a long time, it wasn’t very many. For the next six months, the total of people who knew my “Big Secret,” would amount to no more than five people… That changed on night at work, when I became too friendly with many of my coworkers… But you’ll have to wait for that story…

-Landon

Next Post: How I told the majority of my friends, and eventually my parents.

I am a Child of God

Hold on Tight

©Liz Lemon Swindle

I hesitate to get religious, I suppose because I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, (not that I have that many readers.) Today I don’t care. Today I’m going to say what I’m thinking, regardless of how I feel it will impact you, the reader. I just have some thoughts and feelings that I would like to communicate to whomever wants to listen.

I want to brush upon the surface of something called the Atonement. If you don’t know what the Atonement is:

a·tone·ment (əˈtōnmənt}, noun  – Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong.

In common culture though, the word refers to a specific event in Christian history when Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself, so that we, all sinners by nature, could go to heaven. At this point in the translation of this event, many religions diverge. I’m going to tell it as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) would. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is our brother, and that He came to this Earth to take all of our sins upon Him, and essentially die for us so that we can live with Him and our Heavenly Father again.

After completing His ministry, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray to His father, our Heavenly Father. He kneeled down and prayed, saying “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” After the prayer was finished, an angel came to comfort him, and the Atonement began. Jesus bled from every pore, taking on all of our sins, feeling all of our sorrows. He knows what we’ve been through and what we’re going through. He has felt our pains, and through him, we can find happiness. [To learn more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, visit Mormon.org.]

I’m now going to turn this around, just slightly, and apply this to my own life. I am gay, and I try to be pretty open about it. I am also an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is hard, and honestly, I can’t think of any other trial in my life that has brought me more sorrow and suffering. I also can’t think of any other blessing that has brought me as much joy and pure happiness as this. Yes, this is both a trial and a blessing. But how can I apply the Atonement to my life, to help myself through difficult times?

If we recall, Jesus spent most of his life as an outcast. He was born in a stable, among the oxen and lambs. People laughed at Him and mocked Him. He was whipped; speared; forced to drink vinegar; and He died on a cross, hands nailed, and a crown of thorns upon his head. I hesitate to compare my life to Christ’s, but I, along with countless other members of the LGBT community, have been through tough things. People have been tortured, beaten, mocked, and cast out. If there is any one person who understands how it feels, it’s Jesus Christ.

Not only did Christ live His life in this manner, He took our sins upon Himself. He knows what we are going through because He has felt it Himself. When He was bleeding from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane, I felt our pains, our struggles, and our weaknesses. We may not have walked a mile in His shoes, or anyone else’s; but He has walk a mile in ours, and He knows what it’s like to be us.

This same lesson can be applied to anyone’s life, not just to that of an LGBT individual. Remember that He loves you, no matter what. I urge you, if you have any belief in Jesus, and if you are struggling to fit Him into your life, He knows how to help. He’s been in your shoes, and He has felt your pain. Christ is here for you.

-Landon

 

If you have any revisions or inaccuracies that you’d like to make me aware of, feel free to email me at lfulgham1@gmail.com.

I Hate… (in progress)

  • Being Diabetic
  • Mowing our crappy lawn
  • That I’m about to pay more than $30,000 for a degree that may or may not be worth anything
  • That I can’t finish anything… no matter how much I love it
  • The empty plaque hanging on my parents wall… waiting for the picture that will probably never be there
  • That somehow I’m supposed to know what to do, but no one is going to tell me
  • That I’m supposed to “Be alone for the rest of my life, or go to hell…”
  • That I’ve seen this same episode of The Big Bang Theory over 20 times, and my parents still laugh at it… Hysterically.
  • I’ve tried so hard to lose weight, but my insulin just keeps it there.
  • Being alone