March 31, 2011

March is Over...about time!

Don't worry, I'm not going to talk about that March Madness---I'm not into College Basketball and all I really know about it from hearing people talking is sweet sixteen, brackets, going to the dance, foursome (or is it final 4?)---all sounds pretty gay if you really ask me, but hey, what do I know?

There were somethings going on during the month that made me cringe when thinking about it before it even started. This is that time of the year when the weather is cold and hot, the kind that you wait 5 minutes and it changes. Also since last year Daylight Savings happens in March, which throws my sleep patterns so out of rhythm and it takes me a while to recover (and I'm a morning person). This time I thought I wouldn't recover from it until the time falls back again!

Also, the babe had planned to go out of town and it was going to be our first time apart for more than a couple of days in a very long, long time. There was a possibility that he was going leave again for another week towards the end of the month and until word came that he didn't have to,  I was stressing horribly about it but survived this part just fine, thankfully.  The week before he went out of town I managed to I hurt my knee running, then sometime after I caught a cold so between the knee and all I missed a couple of days of work which was alright, it is always a madhouse there so all of it was just waiting for me when I came back.

Somewhere in there I had a bit of a spat with the X and she is not talking to me--it may just be a blessing in disguise in reality--in my perfect world we would all be civil and talking and well, that kind of throws things off whack a little but I'm learning to let go of the things I can't control and focus more on those that I can. So March was a crazy month, it wasn't one particular thing but it was a little bit of everything-- easy to understand right?  Now I can't wait for better weather, where I can get out and be outside more, where I can start thinking of summer activities and moving on which is the perfect time to give the ol' blog a makeover!! :-)

Back when I was stressing about March approaching I didn't think it would actually come and go so fast and yet it did in a mere blink! --must be yet another sign of my old age, not that I'm complaining...he, he, he!

March 29, 2011

Movie Review: Stand By Me

I get a feed on Facebook on the movie Stand By Me (it is celebrating 25 years; really has it been that long?). I sit and think about why I love movies like this and I conclude that it is because they're sort of  "coming of age" themes and well I just have a soft spot for them. I also happen to like this movie because it is a Stephen King story from The Body--but without horror and gore--and probably because I saw so much of myself in each of those kids and their personalities:

I could certainly identify with Vern, who is the shy, socially inept kid who was picked on and made fun of---Has anyone seen how well Jerry O'Connel grew up and very much outgrew the Vern character? can I get a grrrrr?  LOL. I probably wanted to identify with Teddy Duchamp, eccentric and in a world of his own fantasy;  who really knows all the craziness that went on in his family that caused him function in a care-free life in spite of his moments of crisis--I think Cory Fieldman is still living in a Teddy world, but that's just me.

I seriously wanted to be more like Chris Chambers, seemingly level-headed; serious enough, yet probably the one with the most street smarts of the bunch. He'd probably be the one who I would look up the most and--well, I'm going there--have the biggest crush on--I always wonder what would River Phoenix be like if he were alive today? BUT the character who I identified the most with was Gordy LaChance; maybe because he was the narrator and we got to hear his "inner-most" thoughts, the bookish, never will live to up his dad's expectations, ends up pushing Vern off the train track to save their lives; great story-teller, ends up with the leech in his underpants and faints...yet human enough to have Chris tell him his deepest fears, and finally standing up to the biggest thug Ace. Yeah the movie is supposed to make you identify with Gordy, so it did! I think Richard Dryfuss says it best at the end of the movie: "They were the best friends anyone could have or has had growing up" and that part always makes me cry--remember I'm a softy, work with me here!!

I think this movie and others like it should be required viewing for teenagers. In fact I showed it to the kids at church once when I was the Young Men's president (I did warn them about the F-bombs, it wasn't like they weren't saying it themselves) and it got me into a little trouble with the bishop and a parent or two back then, yet it was very much worth it. I don't know if everyone's lives growing up are similar to this movie; it makes me think that I certainly wouldn't allow my kid to roam through valleys, lakes, train tracks overnight--(God forbid not having a phone signal) but then again in the story their parents didn't know what they were up to either. This is probably an example of what might not be something so desirable, yet kids go through one way or another in their development.

Needless to say, this is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love watching it and it never gets old. Sure, many of us may not have had a dead-body scavenger hunt, or outran a train, or swam with leeches but I suppose we all have our own coming of age stories. I probably have to make some time to think what mine was and leave it for another blog posting...anyone care to share theirs in the meantime?

March 14, 2011

Does anyone write actual letters anymore?

Believe it or not this is something I dreamed about the other night (probably stemming from my last post about turning the brain off; ha!)

I remember learning to write letters from my biological dad when I was around 8-9 years old. Of course there wasn't email back then--yes I'm dating myself-- all you young whipper-snappers may not remember a time when there were no computers and/or email. I told dad I wanted to write a letter to my mom (who was living on the other side of the country). So he sat me down, we grabbed paper and a pen and he started showing me the art of letter-writing.

Of course when on an LDS mission I wrote letters to my family, that was the standard and would have the occasional letter to other relatives and friends. If you don't know this already, missionaries crave this kind of attention and I think I tried to keep up with that after the two years with companions, friends and families, but then life really does get in the way of things and that just didn't happen no matter how good my intentions were.

Not to beat up on technology but I started wondering if anyone still writes letters? I admit that I miss this part of life and it may be part of why I LOVE sending Christmas Cards (which in fact I did see my dad sending to people way back when), I get to actually sit down and address an envelope, slap a stamp and send it to someone and I equally love getting those in return. I think that's why for a while I was into collecting post cards (yes, I'm not only old but a nerd as well--you can stop rolling your eyes now!)

I guess that may be a worthy pursuit for me. Maybe I'll have to think of a relative that I can dig out their address somewhere and that I can send a hand-written letter one of these days very soon. It is probably a dying art. Anyone else out there still writes letters? Want to be my non-email, non-cyber, hand-written-letters pen pal?

March 12, 2011

So what is it really about?

I have been following the answers that my friend Invictus Pilgrim and others have posted to the anonymous question from his blog. This is the question (so I don't make a mistake in paraphrasing it wrong):

“Sincere question for you here … 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.e.,] worth what you're giving up?”

I debated whether to post my own response or not, but decided I needed to do it. First off I love how as LDS church members we somehow feel that we have the right to make assumptions about people, their lives and their choices. I suppose it comes from being the most righteous and worthy of people on earth and owning the copyright to salvation, but hey, what do I know?

The part that I really want to comment on is about the "wild oats". I am not sure what that means but if it means sex, well being gay is not only about sex or who I have it with, is being straight only about sex? If I have learned anything about this coming out process is that it is more about being me, being true to myself--and others and comfortable with who I am. Being gay to me means that I don't have to hide behind the facade of being over-righteous or religious, or living unhappy in a relationship that doesn't work for me---and yes--I'm very aware that gay guys are also capable of being in unhappy relationships as well. It means that I can finally be me!!

I understand that before I got married I should have answered many of those questions but again, when your life is pretty much prescribed for you, knowing around which ages to date, go on a mission, marry, etc, etc very little of a person is left to self-discovery and expression. I really admire those who were able to figure these things out before making a mess out of my own, my X's and my kids, but if I were to just settle for what I have/had and what's prescribed then what would be the purpose of fulfilling the measure of my creation?--or wait, is that just another couplet that applies upon my strict and unquestionable adherence to the church's policies? Why can't that work in every aspect of life?

But I believe that the answer to the anonymous question has many more layers:

Why do people move if they already live somewhere?
Why do people change careers if they're unhappy in their job?
Why do people change religions--oh wait, that's OK if they give up their religion to become LDS, right?)
Why do people get married?
Why do people have children?
Why do people get divorced?
Why do people rock the boat?
Why do we all feel like the grass is always greener somewhere else?

I think the answer is that we're always searching for that something that seems and feels better than what we have. If we stopped searching for happiness we would have a sad existence, even if that search took us places that we didn't expect. That's part of the magic!

But again, what do I know, right?

March 08, 2011

Turn off the gadgets, turn off the brain?

I was watching the news last night and one of the reports said that it is really hard for people to disconnect from their lives at bedtime and then end up sleeping much less than needed. I always heard that an adult needs around 8 hours of sleep and I suppose I consider myself lucky when I get around 7.5 hours—not always though but younger people need even more time of sleep.

They say that one of the biggest causes of this is having computers (Facebook, Twitter, blogs!), the TV, the phone and all their distractions keeps the brain from relaxing and being able to fall into the rhythm of sleep as the screen light suppresses the chemicals in the brain that make us fall asleep and relax. The recommendation is to just turn everything off and let the brain take time to rest.

I have to admit of being guilty of the last paragraph. After all, I have my Facebook, blog, texting, phone and even my alarm clock on my trusty iPhone. Would I dare turn it off? Not by a long shot! I can’t imagine not being able to be reached by my kids should anything happen, or a relative. I suppose it is always in the back of my mind and I suppose in the back of my sleep too! Is this just the present way of life? I don’t know, I can’t say that I like it that much but then again, I’m the first one to refuse to do anything about it.

So this is a perfect example of how does technology make life easier in some ways but also difficult in others. I honestly don’t have an answer. I suppose I am not in charge of the world’s actual rotation but sometimes it sure feels like it. It is just one of those things that before I realize it has taken over my life and it is ½ dependencies and ½ addictions and if sleep suffers because of it, then I guess it might be the price to pay.

But does it have to be?

March 05, 2011

Does it Get Better if we give people a chance?

No worries, I'm not trying to knock down the Trevor Project. I know it gets better for gay youth and life has become many times better for us homos, it really does! 

Last week I got a Facebook invitation from an old mission friend to meet with another former missionary and the invite said something like "So we can get together, celebrate our missions and feel the spirit"--first off why would I want to do this when it's been more than 20-something years is beyond me, but I digress... this same friend also had given me grief in the past for posting something about not being awake in spite of having drank 2 cups of coffee and usually posts scriptures and GA messages on his wall, so I figured it was time to lay it all out and tell him what's going on with my life fully expecting to be de-friended; I figured he's not that close to me anyway so it was all good for better or worse.

Turns out I had not given him enough of a chance assuming he'd just give me the fire and brimstone call to repentance and instead he replied saying: "My wife's ex-husband is gay. I believe what you have gone through is very real. I can't for the life of me see that someone would want to go through all that is associated with being gay - if it wasn't real. I don't pretend to understand the feelings or the attractions or why and how it occurs. However, I just believe it to be very real. I certainly don't choose my friends based on their level of righteousness" Although he isn't the closest of friends, it was nice to know that maybe things are getting better in the understanding department. He asked why would I assume he'd want to stop being friends and I told him that his response is not always the one that I hear some friends get from their own friends and families but I was glad to know that we could move on fully understanding what's going on in our lives, our points of view and where we stand openly and hey, he still wants me to come and meet the old mission friends... we'll see.

Which begs the question, are we perhaps not giving people the chance to be understanding and always assume the worst? I honestly have not had a single bad experience coming out. Maybe it is because of how I frame the situation, or maybe it is because I'm so freaking exclusive of who I decide to come out to;--I don't know. So in essence yes it gets better or maybe it is just starting to get better with baby steps among the LDS ranks. I really hope that many of the younger generations are just waiting for the old file and rank authorities to die so they can get more proactive at being openly understanding and less judgement--don't expect to have full tolerance and have the youngest member of the quorum of the 12 be the grand marshall at the next pride parade but crazier things have happened in life! 

So I add another notch to my list of people that I come out to and yes, I suppose if we give people a chance we might find out that the worst of it was our own anxiety about it.

Just some food for thought...

March 02, 2011

Bi-lingual, Bi-cultural and,

Now that I have your attention… he, he, he

Don’t worry this is not a service announcement about me swinging both ways sexually. I mean I may have started believing that way back when I was in my 20’s and thinking sure, I can do this (I mean who isn’t capable in their 20’s right?) I must be bi; but I’m here to say that as the years have passed I’m probably a Kinsey 5.3?—ok I’ve shared TMI already. This posting isn’t about that.

I met a new friend shortly after the holidays and as he was asking things about me: Where was I born
How long had I lived in Utah
How I had ended up in Utah of all places
Blah, blah, blah…

Then he blurted out:

Miguel, you’re a coconut!
Me: ?
Friend: You’re brown on the outside, but white on the inside.
Me: Um, really? I hadn’t thought about this in that context.
Friend: From all appearances you look like any other Latino guy but once I start peeling the layers you are very much able to speak, articulate and think just like a white guy
Me: Well I don’t think I do it intentionally. I mean I don’t sit here trying to be a white-wanna-be, I am who I am and I really don’t think about it. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Friend: That’s definitely a good thing!
Me: :-)

After that I started thinking exactly what it meant to be a coconut as my good friend called me--I don’t take things in an offensive way, it takes way too much to offend me, life is too short! But then I started thinking a little more what all this means:

--Yeah I speak fluent Spanish and English---most of the time I don’t even think about flipping back and forth, especially if I’m with another bilingual person. I do that even with the babe, who I am glad speaks enough Spanish to get by and I’m sure is getting used to my Spanglish. Although my workday is spent around a lot of English speakers I am able to talk about the Today show, The Beatles, Movies, Musicals, Utah politics and current events as well as I can talk about Mana, Cantinflas, Selena, Vicente Fernandez, Telenovelas (I can’t watch them, I get hooked!) and I like to read Latin American papers online. If I really want to think about it I navigate just fine as a pseudo-Mormon since I’m fluent in Mormonese thanks to my years as a missionary and active LDS member—does that count as some kind of bi, as in bi-religious or bi-spiritual?

I have a point, I promise. I found it kind of funny to be called a coconut and I found it quite amusing to be honest but just like being a son, a dad, a brother, an employee and all other magical things about me, it is just part of who I am, me! It is NOT the one thing that defines me--I guess I just had to get that out!