Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Something (Not) So Serious

As a random note unrelated to the content of this post, I wish to inform any of my readers that I have assumed the entirely conceited position of being one who replies to comments left on his blog by commenting on his own blog. I have been informed by well-blogged and well-trusted sources that this is something blog-appropriate, although it does border the edge of vanity and a form of self-blog-infatuation. I wish to proclaim that I suffer from no such illness, although I will still be responding back to those who comment on my blog by use of my own blog. Please check back for updates as I highly enjoy discussion and the formation of relationships, even if only done online.

I recently had an instant messaging conversation with a great friend of mine, Attempting the Path, in which a horrifying truth was made known unto me; I am the most preachy, dry member of the Queerosphere, and I have acquired this post at such a tender age! :) AtP said all of this with much tact, of course, informing me that I am very heady and serious. This sad truth is also testified on one of his current posts. Thus, I wish to present in this post something that may transcend the mold of my previous posts. What, then, is the (un)serious topic of discussion, you may ask? I have been thinking a lot lately about attractions to people that do not fit the typical mold of "attractive" or "beautiful." I personally have experienced odd attractions for quite a period of time towards a man that does not exhibit any traditional attractive qualities, or at least those stereotypes that my environment has defined. He is somewhat short. He has black hair, a receding hairline, and an strange goatee (assuming a normal patch of facial hair exists...). He also wears glasses. Anyone ready to meet this guy? I know I would be. :) I laugh at myself as I type this for having maintained a feeling for or drawn to such a different-looking fellow, and yet I truly am quite pulled in by him, whatever aspect or quality it may be that attracts me. I would love to engage in a discussion about the elements of attraction, if anyone feels so inclined. I actually have quite a bit more to say about attraction in general, but we'll save that for a more serious, heady post!

Upon editing my own work, I realized that I have made even this a dull post. Maybe translation into a more modern dialogue (dialect) would make this post better.

Modern Translation: I definitely have a man crush on an ugly guy! I am so weirded out by this. Any ideas? Thoughts? Help?

I give up. I am condemned to be ________ (place whatever adjective you believe most accurately describes my blog). I apologize to all bored readers, and I apologize to you, AtP. I suppose this is just who I am--heady and serious. However, you will notice that I frequently use smileys to brighten the tone and whet the reader's appetite, if only on occasion. I do have some redeeming qualities. :) (Smiley--case in point!)

I also find it ironic that the chosen topic of non-importance is that of attractions to the same gender. If there is anything serious in the world, it is the phenomenon that we refer to as same-gender attraction. I am doomed to serious musing. Please accept my apologies.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Our God of Reason

Samantha Stevens is an amazing friend and heroine of mine. As our relationship initially began to unfold, I discovered quite quickly that she had a love for and a soulful longing towards logic and reason. Our correspondence was laden with numbered lists with which she would show me a beauty or truth, and she always managed to show me a rational, logical answer or sequence with which I could attack my problems. I admire her, and I admire her syllogistic mentality. Although insignificant in comparison with the Bewitched One, I have a yearning towards logic and reason, as well. A year in a philosophy course showed me that I, too, have a drive to prove and reason with many, if not all, of the components of the world around me. While I cannot justly represent myself without informing readers of an entirely irrational, emotional flare that resides within me, I do have an insatiable appetite for reason.

As I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants, I came across a beautiful scripture that gave me further insight into the Lord Jesus Christ and my relationship with Him. In section 45, verse 10, Christ says unto us, "Wherefore, come ye unto [mine everlasting covenant], and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning." (Emphasis added.) I was slightly alarmed to see this particular choice of words within the scriptures. There are many powerful qualities that I attribute to my Savior, but I would not frequently label Him as "one who reasons." This is not to say that I believed the contrary, that the Lord is one of no reason, but I was never before quite consciously aware or mindful of this attribute of God.

The Lord's capacity to reason with those who come unto His covenant is a truth that enables all of the spirits upon the earth to have a firm hope in Christ. The Savior, Jesus Christ, uses reasoning in multiple ways, two of which I will identify here. Primarily, I firmly believe that a testimony of the Gospel and an understanding of the purpose of the commandments are to be reached through multiple means, one of which may be reason and logic, and one of which must be the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit will strongly testify of truth by an interaction with the spirit within, man can logically come to conclusions that lead him towards the Gospel simply because God is a God of reason, and He has given us the divine capacity for intellect and logic so that we, too, may find Him and His Gospel here in morality through the implementation of these capabilities.

The second example of the "strong reasoning" of the Lord is one felt internally, with less outward appearance, proof, or justification. It is something with which I am only beginning to come to terms, and thus I do not proclaim any particular wisdom in this area. I would love comments, as well, to enlarge my understanding of this new concept. I believe that the Lord takes us where we are, each one of us as individuals, and reasons with us to find the personal path for repentance and entrance into God's Kingdom. As it says in Isaiah, chapter 1, verse 18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." (Emphasis added.) God invites us to His work and to His narrow way, and then He reasons with us. He will show us a way that works for us because He is a God of reason, and He is a God of the individual, as well as the God of all mankind. He can take me, Sully Littrell, and work with the broken, twisted material that I am. Through reasoning, among other divinely instituted means, I can come to God. And through reasoning, and other tender mercies from the heavens above, God will, in a sense, forge a specific path for each one of His children and for me. He is reasonable; He evaluates who we are, the many and multifaceted paths before us, and the growth that we can make if His path is our chosen course. He already knows how I, Sully, can return, but He will reason with me to get me there in a manner that is logical to both parties.

My soul asks, “Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I want to be with You. I want to partake of the fruit of the tree of eternal life, but I am so far from you. How will I ever make it? How can I tame my heart and bolster my body to find the strength to come unto you?”

God replies, “Come, let us reason together. I’ll place a stepping stone in front of you. It will be in a place that both of us reason is acceptable, allowing you to define your strides and allowing me to uphold eternal law. You’re going to have to stretch to reach it, and once you’re there you may not feel or sense the progress, but you’ll have progressed. After many, many stepping stones, you will be reunited with me.”

Thank goodness that God is a God of reason. He will reason us through mists of darkness if we will only listen to His voice.

Too preachy? Absolutely. I am so preachy that I make myself want to vomit, so I absolutely pity and thank any who may be sitting through this. :) It is Sunday, however, and thus the overly-pious tone is slightly more appropriate. Also, Samantha commented on –L-’s blog that she loves preachy blogs. Thus, having begun with her, I shall conclude with her, as well. This one’s to you! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Boy Friend (who is) Gay (I'm a BFG!)

To begin, I hope you enjoyed my allusion to Roald Dahl's famous children's novel--The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). I do not mean "boyfriend" in the language of the world. Read onward to see to what I am referring.

One of my female friends made a rather interesting comment that sent my mind into a world of contemplation. She said that she had always wanted a gay guy friend. She did not explain or expand upon this statement much, but I chuckled slightly inside and felt happy for her. :) This comment came up in my mind again multiple times throughout the ensuing week, and I consistently felt what I perceived to be the irony in this typical situation. Why is it that homosexual males, most of which I would venture to say struggle with serious issues of male affirmation, are the object of heterosexual females? As I pondered, I thought that there was little to no hope for males with same-gender attraction to find and feel valued by those male friends that we need so much. I was happy that at least we could feel wanted by someone, but one of the last things that I personally need or desire is another straight girl relationship.

The Holy Spirit helped me resolve this internal worry that my friend's comment had made. I was frustrated with the entire nature of relationships as it relates to male homosexuals, and I wondered if God had given us any tools with which to change our insecurities and make the friendships that can heal and help us. I received a rather strong answer this week, and it has helped me to once again see the beautiful hand of God within my life. I have no idea as to how I am to explain this to a reading-only audience, so please bear with me as I explain yet another random, odd, Sully phenomenon.

God assuaged my doubts and showed me some wonderful truths that are made manifest within my life by multiple males. The whispering of the Spirit that I received in relation to the above-mentioned mental predicament was that guys, as well girls, want a gay guy friend. Before you stop reading this because of the ridiculous lie I just published, let me explain myself and add some qualifiers. These men most likely do not know or believe this consciously, but I believe that God places within them, as within us, a desire to have male relationships. When we, or when I, can come to terms with my inherent value and identity as a male, I can be of benefit to male friends, and I believe I, as well as all who so desire, can do so to a greater extent simply because the acquisition of male qualities and friends is so prevalent upon our waking minds. I will explain in personal terms, so glean what you may from my own experiences.

I have three friends in particular that came to my mind when I was internally accepting the statement that guys want a gay guy friend, as well as girls. The first, and most obvious one that came to my mind was that of my best friend. He and I have a relationship that is unlike any other, and we commonly joke about and are grateful for what we have. He refers to us as "sensies," meaning males who are sensitive. He does not know of my struggles with same-gender attraction, and I fully intend to keep it this way. I trust him entirely with this secret, but the fact that our relationship exists under the pretense that we are both straight males has given me a wonderful opportunity to explore male bonding, even if we're both "sensies." (How would you spell that? It's supposed to be pronounced as if it were the first part of the word "sensitive." :) ) This friend is very open to telling me that he loves me and to being openly affectionate, and the time that we spend together is indispensable. I know that he appreciates having a friend with whom he can be open and sensitive.

The other two males that came to my mind in an answer to my questioning really helped the Spirit to further prove its heavenly message in individual ways. The first is a friend who waits for me at my locker frequently. We enjoy our time together, and we are often found together in between classes and at other various times. He enjoys what I have to offer as a guy, and thus he hangs around me frequently. The second friend is a case in point, and thus I will end with his example. He is the star running back for our high school football team, but he loves to give me hugs. He is an extremely nice guy, and there is no doubt in the mind of any sane being at our school as to his heterosexuality, but he gives me hugs all of the time. I firmly believe, after extended reflection on this entire topic for more than a year, as well as the recent spiritual confirmation that I recently received, that these guys love having a man with whom they can be sensitive and intimate, used in the holiest sense of the word.

This is the hope of all of us who struggle with same-gender attraction. As long as I can assert my own masculinity in the world of men, to whatever degree, I can have men reciprocate my feelings. And unique to me, and other homosexuals who desire to live the Lord's law, is the desire to have a strong bond and a closeness with these males that includes no physical intimacy. (I am being a gay-elitist!) Because of the holes that my life contains in regards to healthy male relationship fulfillment, I actively pursue my friendships with the guys, and they appreciate the variety and difference that I add to their life. I'm different, I'm unique, I'm sensitive, I'm the unknown, and they are drawn towards that. I say this not to boast but to praise God that He has given me help and healing right where I need it.

The moral of this story--watch out, world! Girls and guys want gay guy friends, and here I come!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Girl Named Greta

One of my friends and heroes, a man by the name of Another Other, was discussing multiple same-gender attraction related topics with me over the Internet through the use of instant messaging. Our conversation eventually came to a point where the subject of attraction to women was on the discussion panel. I had many questions for my wise friend who is multiple years my elder and has been married for four years. His opinion is one that I value highly, due largely to the similarity of our circumstances and also his own strength and uprightness before God. We discussed marriage, and I expressed to him that I had always assumed that marriage would be something that I would primarily consider a trial, if it was ever to be an element of my future life in any degree. I had always felt like I would marry if I was inspired by God to pursue that course, but I did not ever intend to have feelings of attraction for my wife, or at least not anything beyond a desire for strong friendship. Another Other explained to me the feelings that he had felt for his wife and the beauty thereof. I was grateful for the conversation but skeptical about its content to say the least.

The weekend came, and I fell quite ill to some virus, disabling my body greatly for the classes approaching on Monday. I attempted to weather the storm when school came around, but I was entirely unable to participate in my weight-training course and I opted to simply sit out for the day. I found myself a nice stretching mat and collapsed upon it as my friends and peers carried on in their weight-lifting endeavors. I had more than ample time for my thoughts to take multiple directions, and I actually began to feel spiritually awakened there upon that dirty mat. As I was having this feeling of serenity, a song came over the speakers with which I am highly familiar. It is called "The Adventure," and the artist is Angels and Airwaves, a split-off from the former blink-182. The content of the song is primarily romantic and has lines such as "I cannot live, I cannot breath unless you do this with me," and "here we go, life's waiting to begin." On any given day, I would most likely have heard this song and immediately conjured within my mind a setting of me with another man. But much to my surprise, I had a very strong impression of me with a woman. I do not know how to describe this phenomenon, but I am certain that it was a spiritual guidance and a tender mercy from the Lord. I felt a strong desire to be close with a woman; not only emotionally together, as I have previously desired to a certain extent, but a desire to be physically one, as well. The feeling was much less sexually charged than those that I have experienced for men, but it was certainly more pure and more lasting. I was in awe. The Lord had given me a glimpse into my future if I but remain worthy; whether or not this reality will actualize in mortality or in the realms to come, I cannot say. But I can say that I was so blessed to have such a vivid experience.

This paragraph is in no terms the climax to the story, but it certainly relates and is another beautiful anecdote in my description of personal emerging feelings for women. The night after I had the spiritual experience described above, I was fortunate to go to a concert of a semi-popular alternative band with my friends. So as not to publicly expose the specific details of the female artist with whom I became friends, I will not mention the specific band. I was privileged to get to meet the female lead singer of this band, Greta, and I have never felt so drawn to a woman before. I found her extremely beautiful. She was entirely attractive to me, and she was one of the most compassionate and polite women that I have met (well, as far as I could tell from 10 minutes of conversation! :) ). I was shocked once again to feel strong feelings of attraction towards a woman that went beyond a simple desire for friendship.

These experiences were beautiful and amazing. I do not know if I will one day no longer feel same-gender attractions in my life, and I am not proclaiming that the active goal of all with this struggle should be to change, but I am saying that I am grateful for the experiences that I had and that I know that they were spiritual gifts bestowed upon me by a loving Father in Heaven.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stevenson-inspired Naming

I have contemplated the creation of this blog for quite some time. My initial desire to create a blog was to have a source of venting and a source of releasing all confusion. Fortunately, I was blessed of God to find much more purpose in the world of any man's opinion, and I have finally come to some beautiful conclusions as to the data contained within this blog. However, the important issue of naming my published creation was a slightly weighty matter that I had not figured out. My worries were swept away, however, when my odd book club elected to read "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" for our Halloween pick. The entire novella astounded me, and I was extremely impressed by Stevenson's poignant explanation, found throughout the entire work, of the struggle that confronts man daily. Especially relevant, in my opinion, is the struggle of reconciling the divine child of God within all and the natural man against which we all, particularly those with same-gender attraction, must fight daily. This book entirely captivated my intellectual attention and my spiritual contemplation, and thus I am compelled to use Stevenson's beautiful writing to enhance my own.

Beyond anything serious, I am quite grateful for Stevenson's choice of words--"faggot" just seemed to describe me perfectly. :) While I know that the intended implication of said word was to be far from describing those with homosexuality, I find the irony of it all too great to ignore. Thank you, R. Stevenson!