Sunday, December 25, 2016

You Got Mail: Epilogue

I'm sure a chunk of me got left behind in November. Despite all my zeal to get things done and to realign my life and routine at the beginning of the month, I got sick and stayed sick for two-and-a-half weeks. There's few things more effective at killing the ol' motivation.

Honestly, I am not in the mood for an obligatory Christmas post. My Christmas has been hijacked by a particular sibling of mine who can't seem to pull his head out of a certain orifice of his. I'm tempted to put his phone, which is now in my pocket, between the asphalt and my back tire.

No, I have something different that I want to talk about.

It seems like everything I see and pass triggers thoughts of Joseph. I have had this letter that has underwent several variations. The first was the slightly disappointed version that I started two months or so ago. Earlier this month, it was the slightly angry version (which was definitely the longest variation, mind you). But I couldn't find it within me to send it, although I knew I needed to say something.

However, lately, I have come to realize just how much I miss him. It's been particularly rough, in sight of the family issue that I just made reference to, acknowledging a relationship that, as impossible as it seems, is deteriorating even past the level of decay that it had reached before. It is beyond me, why it is so terribly difficult to connect with people in more meaningful ways than through the incredibly superficial devices our generation is infamous for. I wish there was someone that validated me. The way Joseph did.

On Thursday, I had a considerable break between appointments. I decided that it was time for me to finally make my move. I don't know what will come of this, but I edited my letter one final time, which was an extensive process, conveying my feelings to him with absolutely no intent to make him feel bad for things real or perceived. I hope, if nothing else, it will erase, for either one or both of us, any ambiguity surrounding our friendship. I printed it out, satisfied that I could have absolutely no regrets for expressing myself as I did, took it to the post office later that day (before I could change my mind for the umpteenth time), using the address I got from his aunt and sending it with the Frisbee I had intended to give to him in the first place as a birthday present. I was a bit terrified when the man who helped me confirmed that it would likely arrive on Tuesday (What!? That was only five days away! Isn't it supposed to take an eternity for packages to get sent during the Christmas season, especially to a state well over a thousand miles away?) But off it went. Needless to say, during my relatively short trip to the temple the following day, Joseph's name went on the prayer roll. There's certain to be a follow up to this, especially if something develops on Tuesday. Any-who, this is what I sent to him:

Hey Joseph,

I hope you’re doing well, and that you’ve enjoyed your time back home with the family. I’ve written and rewritten this note, hesitated and deliberated—needless to say, I've put a lot of thought into this. It isn't easy for me to write what I’ve written, but I’m just going to send this before I change my mind again. Anyways, here goes nothing.

You've probably taken note of a few comments I've made in Church. I have never clearly said it around you, but about a year ago, I started to come to terms regarding something about me. I was impressed during a fast and testimony meeting in January to bear my testimony as I have gone through this process and how it has influenced my spiritual growth. Of course, you had left town for school, so you probably didn't hear of this.

I'm sure you understand by now, but I'm referring to the same-sex attraction I experience.

It's something I regard as a gift I have been given for a purpose, and I believe it truly has helped shape me into a better person, has led me to help others in unprecedented ways, and has been a catalyst to my spiritual journey.

Yet it certainly doesn't make my life any easier. It would definitely be the prime evidence if I was taken to court for being single, or not dating. But that doesn't really bother me a terrible deal. That's not why it has been the source of quite a lot of heartache lately. I want to be upfront and honest with you as to why it has "messed me up inside", as I alluded to you once.

The truth is that I fell in love with you a year ago.

It started that one time when you so sincerely thanked me for stepping in for that one Gospel Doctrine class. I have never met someone with such sincerity, before or since--not in my entire life. You were also without a doubt one of the most caring people I've ever met, and had this way of making me feel like a million bucks, like I was one of the greatest people on Earth. I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me, every time you complimented me, every time you just sat down next to me and struck up a conversation just because you could, all the times you expressed the desire to spend time with me, the times you took me up on my offer to go on a walk, perhaps especially how you opened up to me about some very private, personal struggles you were going through at the time. The trust you expressed in me was something invaluable to me.

But before I get too far, let me explain my intentions for sharing this with you. When I first was trying to come to grips with all of this, I felt a powerful spiritual impression--the Lord was trying to teach me that this was His way of telling me that I needed to become friends with you. As I have never felt this way before--especially not with this intensity--I simply had to trust Him. It was terrifying, truly, but I certainly would have regretted not acting on that prompting...promptly. You did leave just weeks later, after all.

All I ever wanted--no--all I've ever allowed myself to want, is to be friends with you. The Lord has taught me that I can have a healthy, platonic relationship, even with someone that the natural man in me might desire something more with. I have learned the depth of Alma's admonition to "bridle all your passions"--the Lord doesn't want me to crush or demolish my feelings, any more than bridling a horse means to brutally slaughter it. He wants me to reign it in and use it to help others and more productively make it to my destination, just as that would entail with bridling a horse.

I can honestly say that I have had no ulterior motives in our friendship—I promise you that. This all has led me to care very deeply for you. When I hear that you're going through a difficult time; when I have seen you sitting alone in Church; when I’ve noticed you're missing for most, if not all, of the Church meetings and activities--my heart goes out to you. I worry about you. I wish there was something I could do to help you. Maybe that's why I was impressed so often to reach out to youmaybe the Spirit acknowledges how much I truly care about you and your well-being, both temporal and eternal. I hope you’ll understand that, if there ever was any other motive I had for texting you on a frequent/infrequent basis (whichever word you would insert here), it was because I never had a friend that was the same caliber of person that you are, and I didn’t want that friendship to simply slip through my fingers over nothing. I valued that enough to not want to lose it so easily. So if I was ever a bother in any way, I apologize, as that was, of course, the furthest thing from my intent.

Now, I recognize that it will simply be a fact of life for me, that I will end up falling in love with guys with whom I can only hope, at the very most, to have a great friendship. I accept that--I'm not ashamed of that. The best I can do is to allow that to be an engine to help me more fully care about and appreciate them.

I don’t know if any of this comes as a surprise to you; perhaps it's something that you've been afraid of, that's made you feel awfully uncomfortable around me. I can understand how I might feel exactly the same way in your place. Perhaps just knowing I'm gay is enough to accomplish that. I can’t blame you if that is the case—it is definitely a complex thing to deal with from any angle, especially since I’m entirely committed to celibacy.

I’d also like to say that I've never expected you to be my only real friend. I've learned that to most effectively handle all of these emotions, I need a number of guy friends. I knew you weren’t always going to be around, or have enough time to text me back—you have your own life to live, after all, and having two jobs and impending (expensive) semesters at school certainly wouldn’t make it a walk in the park for you. As a result, I would redouble my efforts to reach out to others, thinking that if I could find someone that I could connect with on the emotional level that I thought I had with you, things would be better. I can't tell you how much I invested into making that happen; I tested the virtue of the singles' ward, of Facebook, Craigslist--I even tried using a few gay dating websites and apps as a platform for making platonic friends. I was amazed at the outcome. I scarcely if ever was able to spend time with, much less connect with anyone from the ward like I’d hoped; Facebook only proved to add to that frustration, with even less results. I can at least say I had some pretty profound conversations with some of the guys on Grindr. But so many of them couldn't even so much as respond back. So many others would all but demand a "face pic", after which I would never hear from them again. Whenever I would explain to them that I just wanted some platonic friends I could relate to, I was made to feel like I was of no interest or worth unless I indulged in some sort of romantic or sexual activity. I never once met a single one of them in person. That, of course, definitely didn't help me in the self-esteem department.

My disappointment with my reaching out to the singles' ward and the rejection I felt is what caused me to explore the option of another ward. All of the Grindrs got deleted permanently. I even completely deleted my Facebook account.

This has become a bunch of rambling. I've been through so much lately that has tried continually to tear me downrejection from family, failure in social endeavors, getting my car totaled, frustrating hand problemsthe list goes on. I'm not as busy as I would like to be, so perhaps that's why I have needed more social interaction. But I know that the timing of this is such that you can't really do anything about it—you said yourself that you will scarcely if ever be in the area. But I kind of felt that if I left the singles' ward, chances were good that I would never see you again. I suppose I just need to be alright with that. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve missed you, and that I will miss you. The same can be said for the months prior to you returning home. It has been hard, not staying in touch with you, or even trying.

I also want to mention that, concerning some of the more private and personal things you have confided in me, I can relate to you much more than I ever had the chance to let on. I hope you are doing well in those departments, but if not, or if you ever find yourself battling, or, if you ever need a friend that you can have a more meaningful conversation with than just shooting the breeze…just know that I understand and that I’m here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and sorry if any of this was overwhelming. I wish you the best in life; in school, your career, and dating. I believe you'll make some lucky girl really happy one day. Oh, and per the enclosed and really late birthday present, I had never intended to keep it for myself anyways. I hope you keep playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Yours truly,


Merry Christmas to you all.

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