Monday, March 30, 2009

On Love and Relationships

I've been thinking about dating a lot lately. While it's been on my mind for awhile, it's come more to the forefront lately. I generally just run a lot of hypothetical scenarios in my mind about what dating would be like. In someways I think it's good I've not been in any serious relationships. I know I'm a lot more mature than I used to be and the relationships I have been in weren't based on a whole lot of honesty.

I had lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago. He'd been wanting a girlfriend for quite some time and now that he is in college he finally got one. It was not everything he had hoped it would be and he missed being single. I'm sure this was a gradual realization, but nevertheless, one he had. A couple of days ago they broke up. That anecdote is somewhat irrelevant, but does support the old cliche "be careful what you wish for".

In another conversation with a different friend, we talked about a guy who I am interested in getting to know better. I am very, very quick to write guys off. However, this one had potential and I was/am making an effort to get to know him better. The thing is, he's leaving in a few months for up to a year. I seriously doubt we could get to know each other well enough before he leaves, but it could still be worth a shot. My friend said something to the effect of well, "maybe you'll get some making out out of it". While I should not have been shocked considering the source (this friend and I seem to inhabit different realities) I was still taken aback. Would anyone really date for the sole purpose of making out a few times?

These two conversations in conjunction with several others made me start to ponder what I think about love and relationships. On my worst days I think love is an illusion and that people who say they are in love are caught in a never ending delusion. On my best days I think it really is possible to love someone til' death do you part.

I've been criticized for not dating enough. "You're not picking out china, just getting coffee", I've heard on several occasions when I vocalize my hesitancy to date. The thing is that I have plenty of people to have coffee with and have never really subscribed to the idea of dating to find someone. It's been my experience that friendships that turn into something more are the best. This does require me to have more gay friends, but I just don't like gay guys all that much. The majority of the ones I know I don't have a lot in common with.

The idea of being with your best friend appeals to me. A lot of my friends say "I'm marrying my best friend" but it makes me wonder what happened to the old best friends? I know I've been hurt by people close to me that have cut me out of their lives when they met "Mr. Right" or "Ms. Right". I refuse to do that to my friends.

The love I'm looking for has to exist. It's not caught up in false romantic notions that can't last (though I do like a little romance, hypothetically), nor is it all about the physical relationship (though physical attraction is a component). I suppose what I'm looking for is someone to merge narratives with. Someone to "do life" with. We will love deeply and hopefully bring out the best in each other. I want to be challenged to be fully alive and I want someone I can challenge to become a better person.

Maybe I'm hoping for too much, maybe not.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of me telling my parents I'm gay. So much has changed since this time last year. Maybe that will be the theme of an upcoming post. Of course, you can simply see my changes by reading the archives of this blog. However, due to my prodigious posting an executive summary may be more helpful for new readers.

To mark the occasion of coming out I'm going to share the letter I composed to assist me in telling my parents:

Dear Dad, Mom, y Hermano:

I am writing this letter to express what is on my heart, and what I feel compelled to share with you. Some of this may be a repeat of things we have discussed, some may not. My goal is to help you understand my feelings.

I am not attracted to women. In fact, I am attracted to men. I am hesitant to use the term "gay", because I am not fond of the Judy Garland, Rainbow, and Gay Pride connotation this brings up. However, I will go ahead and use it in this letter.

I understand this may come as a shock. I do not know if you already knew, suspected, or thought maybe I was just confused. The truth is without a doubt that I am homosexual. Since you know how much I love plans and organization, I am going to break this letter into several parts. Please understand that this letter was not composed in a fit of passion, or that I don't know what I am talking about.

Did We Do Something Wrong?
No, absolutely not. This has been one of my biggest fears in coming out to you, the fear that you would hold yourselves responsible. There is absolutely NOTHING that you have done or have not done that has made me this way. You have been the best parents/family I could have ever imagined. I will love you no matter what, and I would never trade you for anyone else in the world.

Why Now?
I almost came out two years ago, but I did not feel it was the right time. However, a recent series of events has convinced me that now is the time. You have certainly noticed the growing chasm between us. The closeness we used to share has withered. When I am with you I am constantly stressed and frazzled and distant. Maybe you have not noticed this, but I doubt my acting is that good. If you have not noticed this, I have found my calling as an actor. Here I come Hollywood!

Have You Tried Not Being Gay?
This is what I have been doing for the past 8+ years of my life. I have broken up with several girls because I was not attracted to them physically. Still, the dream of loving a girl and having the perfect life has been so alluring that I have been unbelievably close to settling down with a girl. We were going to have a combined income of $80,000 (right out of college!); a beautiful bungalow in midtown; beautiful, intelligent children; petty arguments over taking out the trash or what to have for dinner; and church home-group hosted at our house. All of this I wanted and have been trying to pursue. However, this is all a sham. It would be a house of cards that could not last. In my heart of hearts I know that my homosexuality could not coexist with a happy marriage to a woman. Still, the desire to have this is incredibly strong. However, I know that I cannot give into my selfishness and steal someone's heart for my own desires. I also know that settling down and getting married will not make me straight. As a last resort, I even thought about finding a nice lesbian to set up a home with (I am only half joking). Besides just willing myself to be straight, I have prayed and cried out to God. I have prayed non-stop for over 8 years. I have felt that homosexuality is some "disease" that I have to get rid of. It is a battle raging in my soul and I must not be a good enough Christian. I felt that if I just worshiped a little harder, prayed more for healing, read the bible more, bought more Christian literature, joined the right church, I would break free of these feelings and God would restore me. I have been through depression, anger, tears, and a time when I was tired of living. I never became suicidal, but I was desperately close to the edge. This has challenged my faith like nothing ever has. In fact, I stopped going to church for awhile and almost abandoned my belief in God. There was also a brief time when I attempted to live apart from Him. These two instances were failures and I was mercifully called back. This leads to a nice segue into the next section:

How Does This Work With Your Christianity?
For so long I have felt that Christianity and homosexuality were mutually exclusive. This has been the main source of pain in my life. I have felt that this sin is greater than all others and there was something fundamentally wrong. Therefore, I must repress all of these feelings in order to be worthy of God's love. Until very recently, I did not understand that God's love was truly unconditional. I felt there were conditions, and that I was fortunate enough to meet them all. I did not need the grace and mercy of God. I was caring, compassionate, giving, smart, blessed, and "humble". How wrong I have been! Coming to the realization that I am not "holier than thou" has been dramatic. Pride is above all else the biggest sin I struggle with. My arrogance and pride have left me hard-hearted and numb. I will now strive for true humility. Of course, it will obviously be a daily struggle, but Christianity is not easy. I want to bear good fruit and feel I can do so, even as a homosexual. I want to obey the greatest of all commandments "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, also love your neighbor as yourself' (paraphrased). Unfortunately, I have been paralyzed in my current state and unable to do either. I have been so busy obsessed with my sexuality that it has become an enormous idol in my life. This has left no room for honoring God. Additionally, my own self-hatred has destroyed the love I should be able to share with others. Now I can strive to be authentic with the Lord, understanding His Grace and beginning to love myself, leading to an ability to love others.

Are You Seeing Someone?
No, I am not seeing anyone. I am not going to be ready to see someone for awhile. Consuming myself with the hunt for a perfect mate will only work to derail God's plan for my life. It will become another idol blocking me from His love. Also, there is a chance that I won't find anyone. I am not going to compromise my morals. I still believe in remaining abstinent until marriage and I will not enter into a relationship with someone who is not Christ focused. Still, do not fear that I will be living a life of isolation and misery. That is actually the life I have been leading until now. Now I plan to progress into a life filled with honesty and Christian love. Also, do not give up the hope of Grandchildren. I really want to have a daughter even cuter than Julia, and a son named Ephraim. Of course, no matter how hard it is for the flesh to acknowledge, let the Lord's and not my will be done in this life. That said, I do not know what that plan for me includes.

Where Do We Go From Here?
Great Question! I understand this will take some time to process. Understand that what has taken me 8+ years to process, I do not expect you to come to terms with immediately. Understand that I love you no matter what your reaction and that you have a standing invitation back into my life. This time, my real life. Understand that I am not expecting an endorsement of homosexual behavior, or a rainbow bumper sticker placed on the Corolla. I am open to your prayers and conversations, whatever they may be. I am just as interested as you are to discuss this on a theological level. I am not looking for judgement, in either direction, but I do value candid, honest conversation. I respect you all and your viewpoints.

Remember, I am not your gay son Joseph. I am your son Joseph, who happens to be gay. This is a small part of the whole person I am...well, the whole person I hope to become as I continue to forgive myself. I still love Stargate and cookies, shopping and movies, Alias and our Sunday afternoon lunches.

I know that God loves me and that I will still be able to further his Kingdom. My priority is to live a Christ-centered Life. I live and I breathe for an audience of One. I love you all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The wrong Tigers won tonight. I'm crying a little on the inside. Despite how much I rail against sports and the time people waste getting involved, I can't help but be sad. I wanted to go all the way. My poor dreams. My poor bracket. Maybe next year.


I finally finished BSG. It was brilliant. I love the score.

Today I was annoyed at work. I was learning something new and had a hard time focusing. Learning curves are not my favorite. It's all good though. I hate complaining about work, especially since I really like my job. Also, I feel a bit whiny complaining about my job when so many other people are unemployed.

A reporter from the NY Times called me. Unfortunately my story is obscenely boring and I will not be in the paper.

I'm going to Washington (the state). I'm quite excited as I've never been there. I even get a day to explore Seattle!

This is once again a silly post. Soon I may start posting pictures of my pets.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Well, I'm back from my brief vacation. I will be in town for two more weeks before taking a rather exciting trip for work. While away I got a call from a coworker and it appears we are going to be safe from job cuts. It's still sad that others may lose their jobs. Time will tell.

I've pretty much concluded that my Grandparents are some of the coolest people on the planet. The dynamics of our relationship have changed which is good. I appreciate them more now. They're not just the people that give me treats when I visit and send birthday money. We had some very candid conversations about many taboo topics: money and religion primarily. They have some interesting things to say.

I have firmly decided that Houston is not in the running for a future home. It's too hot and too sprawling. Plus, everything appears faded by the sun. It's as if it burns the very essence out of things. All that is left is a faded shell. I don't want that to happen to me.

I've been mulling some things over and should start posting things more substantial than the self-absorbed posts of late. Of course, this is my blog and I'm allowed to be as self-centered as I want.


Oh yeah, I am now a fan of Lisa Hannigan (thanks Stephen Colbert) and IKEA. Just FYI.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I had a really great weekend and felt like sharing.

Friday night I played Risk with my roommate and a few friends. I was defeated, but my empire lasted for awhile. Saturday I lounged around the house and did some cleaning. Saturday night I went to a St. Patrick's Day party that turned out to be pretty fun (I was wary at first). Today I got up and went to church. I planned on skipping but really wanted to go. It turned out to be one of the best sermons I've ever heard. This afternoon I hung out with my parents and went to a baby shower for a friend. Tonight I ran and cooked dinner. I'm beat, but content.

In other news, I've decided it's time to finally get control of all of my digital media. I need to organize all my photos and get my Flicker albums up. I'm attempting to eventually ween myself off Facebook.

Besides Houston, some other very exciting travel plans have come up through work. I will be sure to mention them once they're confirmed. Also, this week should be the last I have to get through before I find out if I will be losing my job. If I do, I've got no clue what I will do, but I'm certain I can manage. Health insurance is my only worry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've been having unusually vivid dreams lately. Last night I dreamed I found a wallet of a women who had been abducted and/or murdered. It had her credit cards, license, ID, etc., all bundled together with a rubber band. The most disturbing thing about the dream was that in it I was thinking about how I would blog about it! I was actually composing the blog entry in my head, in the dream. It was crazy. Maybe I need to take a break from this.

In other "news", the gym shorts that I have been wearing for the past 8 years as pajamas are being retired. They have loosened to the point they are too big to wear. I bought some new ones at Target but they are not the same.

I am trudging through a book that is mediocre, but I really just want to stop reading it. However, I've committed and am determined to finish it.

We had a 30+ degree drop in temperature compared to yesterday. It was 78 and now we are under a winter storm watch. It is utterly insane.

Next week I am headed to Texas to visit my grandparents! I'm very excited. They live outside Houston. Hooray for vacation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Faith

A question I've been pondering as I take the time to search my heart is "why?" Why do I act the way I do, say the things I say, believe the things I believe? What are my motivations?

As I grapple with questions of "faith" (such an obtuse word, isn't it?) I wonder what's the point. Why am I so obsessed with finding answers and what does it mean for me?

Last December I went to Downtown Disney with my Aunt, Uncle, cousin (three years old), and my Aunt's mother. Downtown Disney is a rather amazing tribute to materialism. It's a family friendly (with the exception of a few bars/clubs) destination where you can eat, shop, and be entertained. They even have a theatre featuring Cirque Du Soleil. Full disclosure: I love malls and shopping. I don't think this fact has been hidden on this blog. Downtown Disney was great!

Anyhow, the parking lots were PACKED. We drove and drove searching for an empty spot. My Aunt's mother said a prayer for us to find a spot and lo' and behold we found one. She told my cousin (her granddaughter) to observe how Jesus was listening.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. REALLY? Jesus is helping find a f*ing parking space so we can spend money on things we don't need, made by people who are probably living in squalor? This is God's will? Faith is about finding a parking space in a crowded mall? I was so horribly distraught and this experience has been haunting me ever since.

Faith has got to be about love, nothing else. Our ultimate concern must be love. Unfiltered, unconditional love. I think that's what Christianity was/is about. That's a Christianity I love and the reason I can't seem to tear myself away from it.

However, I think we have so corrupted this love. Loving people for no reason/reward is hogwash! We all know that. We must add in heaven and hell. We have to serve God and love people so that we will go to heaven (works based), or grace alone must provide our personal salvation. Of course, we know heaven is waiting for us. When we get there it will be so fantastic to peer over the guard rails and see all those heathens and sinners roasting below, that will show them!

What happened to unconditional love? What happened to goodness for goodness sake? How has morality become so corrupted and religion transformed into personal piety instead of saving a dying world?

Let me perfectly clear. I love religion. I honestly do. Also, I must be very clear in stating the faith that I had (and still have) is all about love. While I did for many years also believe that God would take away my sexual attraction to guys, that was not what my faith was primarily about. Spreading God's love and transforming the world was/is my passion. Unfortunately, through my studies of Christianity I reached the conclusion that I was not really a Christian. A Christian must be someone who believes in a literal resurrection, atonement, and a deity who is actively working in the world. This has caused my loss of "faith".

I no longer believe in a God who is intervening in my daily activities. This loss has been traumatic. For now I believe in agape love, which takes faith. It's not the same as saying life is meaningless. I don't think it is, I just think you have to find meaning. Everything is not vanity, as it may feel and seem at times. Our only options are not suicide or getting high to overcome our existential dilemma. I think you can lead a faithful life. I think you can commit to change. I think you can commit to love.

No, it's not easy, no it's not convenient. Yes, it feels stupid sometimes. You feel like a sucker. You think: "Why the hell am I trying to love these ungrateful idiots? What's the point? I should just go shopping, maybe get some ice cream. I'm sure these people will work things out for themselves."

When I talk about Jesus and God I realize that everyone comes with their own preconceived notions and beliefs. When I mention God and Jesus we probably are talking about entirely different concepts. There is the temptation to say that I have fallen away from Christ and am just recreating him to make him more palatable. "He comes with a sword! He is coming again to restore order. He wants you to repent and come to Him." My question is, what then? You keep him close and pray for parking spots? You wait for the the end days with your RSVP for Heaven? Surely faith requires more than this. Surely it means doing something. Surely Jesus is a call to action, not a source of guilt and in the same token a way to assuage it.

My father told me and my brother that "we lived in a haze". It was when I was in high school and I was incensed! "Live in a haze? I know a lot! I am in the Top 10 of my class! I've read a ton of the classics, I know Calculus, I am so wordly". Only now do I understand his words and realize how much of a haze I live in. How carefully I've crafted this world of illusion around me.

At times I have been driven to the brink. I obsess about the meaning of life and the reality that I won't (and may never) understand. I become overly melancholy until I snap out of it and realize how absolutely selfish and idiotic I am. PEOPLE ARE DYING. PEOPLE ARE STARVING. RIGHT NOW! Here I am, so self-absorbed in my cozy apartment with my HD satellite, iMac, car, corporate job, organic fruit, iPod, cell phone, 40'' tv, and $200 peacoat, WHINING! How do I look myself in the mirror?

And yet, here I am blogging. Talking instead of doing. When I do put love in action it's at a slower pace than I want it to be. I feel like I should be saving the world and should see the fruits of my labor immediately. Unfortunately that's not the way it works. It takes patience and small steps.

I pray for the courage to defy tradition and the backwards ambition of the world. Let me get over my own ego enough to be radical. To change. To continue to be moved to action. Amen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


A couple of announcements:
  • I've been editing my links a bit. If you have been added and would like me to remove you please leave me a comment letting me know. I will not take it personally.
  • The Fiction Family cd is pretty great. It's really been growing on me and I suggest you Google them.
  • Being away for two weeks means you have a lot of trivial little things to catch up on that end up taking a lot of time

As you know, I am a recovering "stuffaholic". I still struggle with the insane idea that things will bring me happiness and am constantly working to cut back on my consumption. I'm doing better, but there is always room to improve.

I've discovered that a part of my problem is a concern that I won't have enough. The other night I went to the movies and decided to get popcorn. Before heading to the concession stand I told myself that I would buy a small Cherry Coke and small popcorn. That's all. It would be a sufficient and responsible quantity. I'm pretty sure I have never finished an entire large bucket of popcorn and knew this night would not be an exception. The large popcorn is simply too much. However, as I approached the line I was overcome by irrational thoughts:

"It's only .75 cents more!"
"Look at how much popcorn there is!"
"Steven may want some." (As if Steven could really eat half the bucket).

I caved. I bought the big popcorn. Why? I think the reason was I thought it was a good deal and I wanted to make sure I had enough. Of course, it is not a good deal when it's unnecessary, when it's extra, when you can't consume it. I ended up bringing the leftover popcorn home and it spilled all over my back seat. Additionally, I think I cracked a tooth on a kernel when I ate some later on at the apartment. In conclusion, this gluttony and irrational concern of not having enough caused me to vacuum out my car and go to the dentist.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Buried Hatchets

I apologize if this appears to be a repeat in your Google reader. It kind of is. I had to make some edits.

This afternoon I got to spend time with a girl I care about a lot. She is someone I hurt as I came to terms with my sexuality last year. I feared it would be awkward and painful. It was not. It was actually quite pleasant and there was a sense of peace about our relationship. What a pleasant surprise when something you think is going to be terrible turns out the opposite.

We had a freak snow storm here. I ended up being trapped at my friend's house after unsuccessfully trying to drive home last night.

As the temperature warms up I have decided that running is going to be my exercise of choice. Wish me luck.

Saturday night I played my first drinking game. I had a negative attitude about it at first, but it ended up being really fun. As I don't really like alcohol, Sprite and Coke were my two primary drinks. Therefore, I do declare that drinking games can be fun even when completely sober. It was a shock to me.


So, the snow storm ended up trapping my friend here. She stayed at my apartment where we watched The Last Mimzy and talked. It was a great conversation. Lots of serious things but lots of laughter too. It was just fantastic all around.

Also, last night I saw the The Watchmen. It was good, but I have not read the graphic novel so had nothing to compare it to.