10 December 2010

Private

I'm seriously considering going private for a time.  At the very least, going on hiatus for a while.

I still have so much to say:
  • about my belief that most reparative therapy is unnecessarily lobotomizing, cleverly packaged, subtly emotionally manipulative mind tricks with good intentions, 
  • about my continuing support for those who choose alternative-alternative lifestyles such as mixed-orientation marriages as long as they're being honest with themselves and their spouses (yes, maybe even to a level not required of other couples because of the circumstances and assumed risks), 
  • about my own persisting desire to have a wife and kids, 
  • about my skepticism that I can do so without being a bit selfish and/or losing myself (sorry, friends, I haven't liked the all of changes I've seen in those who have taken that route, even if they believe they are as happy as anyone), but still wondering whether losing myself a little might be worth the trade-off, and questioning whether I'm fully engaged in the relationship if I've tucked part of myself under the rug, but figuring maybe that's my spouse's choice to make, and reminding myself maybe I wouldn't lose myself at all or would but could also find lost parts of myself and maybe I can't know any of this until I try,
  • about my questions as to whether the only truly selfless path, for me, is to never have children,
  • about my theory that gay male culture began as a snowball of men who, because of the outright rejection of all homosexuality back in the day, left their jobs, families, and religions, and therefore had nothing left to lose and threw out the baby with the bathwater regarding commitment in relationships and standards of behavior, how gender roles and male physiology may come into play to magnify seed-sowing or gratification behavior without the tempering influence of women (who have higher risk of investment in promiscuity),  and how there seems to be a trend, slow as it may be, towards stabilization and maturation of gay culture in general as it re-assimilates certain values and relationship perspectives, 
  • about my theory that gender constructs are malleable and based primarily on what traits happen to be generally predominantly found among males or females of our own species and how pockets of nature challenge notions of inherently "female" or "male" roles, and whether we can actually tweak what is considered "masculine" and "feminine" evolutionarily by adjustments to social/cultural ideas around gender and who ends up pairing off and having offspring, and whether education of those concepts might naturally, gently push the population in that direction, and ethical questions around what I guess I'd call social engineering,
  • about wondering who my reader from a particular government office is, or the one from some studio in Cali,
  • about my increasing belief that there is meaning, beauty, and optimism in life and the universe with or without a god or gods, 
  • about what might become if our actual, physical communities and 'tribes' reassumed the roles which religion clearly dominates now and therefore seems uniquely positioned to provide but isn't necessarily inherently so but might be because of its acute and structured appeal to supernal emotion and ideation, 
  • about how I'm full of crap trying to sound intelligent by forming sentences like the last one and how more intellectually honed people readily perceive it, 
  • about what "light in your eyes" is really all about and how I think it has little to do with "having the Spirit" based on my experience and observation,
  • about my increasing belief that the church is useful in a way and a great model of community in some key ways but doctrinally arbitrary/fantastical and possibly irreparably socially ill in others, 
  • about my love of fireplaces and how that might be one of the top three elements I want in my home, 
  • about my current, somewhat surprising happiness despite enormous stress and possibly very limited prospects for the future, 
  • about my somewhat whimsical desire to go completely off the radar for a year and work as a baker in Italy or join some Spanish commune, 
  • about the hot cop I saw at a Panda Express on Monday and how I figured coming on to an ambiguous police officer having lunch with his police officer friends was probably not the wisest thing in the world to do (a wise friend pointed out it's generally unwise to come on to men with guns),
  • about the frank and clarifying conversation I had with someone close to me about the gay marriage debate and how I realized there is probably no true reconciliation to be reached on the issue on a legal/political level, even if I still believe there should be, because it's fundamentally about the subjective definition of marriage and whether someone believes God and predominant thought define it or that it is only defined as it is because of limited, flawed, evolving understanding,
  • about the conversation I had with a pretty typical male on the subject of whether physical violence is an appropriate response to unwanted advances and how the genders of the one coming on and the one being come on to affect the appropriateness of the response, and how I think tempering gut reactions (physical violence and disgust when a man comes on to a straight man in no more offensive a way than a woman might) with conscious processing is as clear an example of 'overcoming the natural man' as any,
  • about my frustration with having to constantly cater to the "majority" and their constructs, accept their lack of vision (yes, I know how arrogant saying this may seem) as somehow authoritative just because they think or were wired more like each other than I do/am like them, and abide by their change-resistant rules for the sake of arbitrary stability at the expense of progress when I think the balance between stability and progress has room to be tilted toward progress in many aspects, 
  • about family dynamics and some realizations I've had regarding how certain family members' outspoken views throughout my life have significantly colored my own self-perceptions and my perceptions of others growing up, 
  • about how belief may come down to choosing what to believe rather than figuring out what is concrete truth and why not to choose the pretty stories (even if they come with some ugly ones) just in case they're true or why someone would choose to believe in a godless universe and how it's not the bleak, meaningless perspective I, for one, always thought it was,
  • about the sustainability of morality not based on authoritarian deity and arbitrary constructs/dogma,
  • about discovering, with a fun smirk, that a long-time crush-from-afar was not one-directional, even though clearly nothing is going to be done about it,
  • about tying up loose ends, moving on, and feeling good about it, 
  • about my favorite recently watched movies and snippets of music, 
  • about the joys of public transportation and quirky bus stories,
  • about wanting to find more between the closeted angst and hypocritical repression of Utah gay men hopelessly attached to their stifling religious community and beholden to family expectations and the swishing and brazen flippancy of Seattle gay men hopelessly attached to their licentious sexuality community and withering in empty individualism,
  • about the moment my friend's toddler son sweetly touched the cheek of a guy I was dating and cared about very much when he found the two of us bundled in a blanket together at my friend's house, the flicker of hope I smiled at that maybe he'd warm up to the idea of having kids someday (with whomever, not necessarily with me, though I admit I kinda liked the idea), and how--when I asked if my friend was OK with us being affectionate around the boy (just leaning on each other)--my friend said it was good for him to be exposed to us,
  • about my prayer experiments from years ago,
  • about my story of experiences with homosexuality and with the church, told as two separate but connected stories, from childhood to now, in several audio installments, some of which I already recorded months ago,
  • about feeling like I've had a good love and not feeling the need to try to top it or supplant it for now because despite the pain and anger around how it ended, I still feel satisfied and filled, maybe permanently changed, and at least for now content in a way I'm not sure I can describe, and it's time to focus on other things for now,
  • about my mission journal and the ways it all fits, maybe even better, within a completely different perspective than I had then, and the code I wrote into it in case someone else read it and I didn't want them to know what was hidden behind the words, and what it has reminded me of that I'd forgotten and can't honestly ignore,
  • about the book I'm reading, The Happiness Hypothesis, and the many ideas I'm loving from it which reflect and support my own realizations and questions and the questions it has magnified about my own probably kinked psyche,
  • about the fact that...I might take that hypothetical pill if it were offered, after all, but without shame...
  • ...about this and more, far too much to try to explain fully here and now.

I'm feeling a desire to just take it all private, visible to only myself.  If I did write more about all of this, I'd want to give it due attention and do it justice.  And readers would surely react and misconstrue and jump to conclusions and ask questions and challenge and confirm, which would leave me wanting to clarify and refine and tease apart emotion from reason, conviction from suspicion, and questions from assertions...and even after all of that, it all seems so pointless sometimes that I shrug and say to the world, "You do your thing, and I'll do mine."

I see blogs which appeal to more lusty appetites gain zealous followers quickly, while my favorites are generally not hugely popular, being not nearly sensational or provocative enough, nor party-line-toeing enough, to appeal to the comforted masses.  Maybe I prefer that kind of company though.  Maybe I want to get away from the mobs anyway, despite missing certain aspects of the community they tend to carry.  In any case, it seems this little blog most likely won't make any lasting, actual difference outside of me, and I have been questioning whether my energy would be better redirected as I evaluate my probably nearly half-over vital life.  Please, no bites on supposed fishing line here, I'm talking about what's best for me, not lamenting and insisting I'll go eat worms.

In many ways, I've been closing chapters of my life, and as I've done so, I've hit a realization: I'm not sure I'm interested in writing the next chapters of this book.  I may be more interested in starting another book altogether and setting this one aside for now, maybe coming back to it someday.  If I'm honest with myself, I probably can't completely set it aside.  I'll probably just journal instead of publish for a while.  Maybe I'll never compile all of these thoughts into something cohesive to publish in book form.  Maybe I'll quit blogging with the hopes that this little, mostly undiscovered nook of cyberspace will become a compendium of my journey which might positively impact at least one person in some non-negligible way.  Maybe I'll keep blogging as usual with or without a hiatus.  Yeah, probably that last option, with a little of the others mixed in.

I'm looking forward to a future "download" feature to install in my brain.  I hope neuroscience advances quickly to enable that.  That'll be fun.  But for now, even if for only a symbolic night or two, I'm taking a vacation...I think...ah, heck.  All I know for sure is that I'm going to slip into a deep sleep induced by the powers of prescription cough syrup.  Ah, yes, I feel it.  That "good luck waking up sooner than 147 hours from now" feeling as Vienna Teng lulls me.  Mmm...



Note from the  next morning: that was trippy...as I listened to some of my favorite Vienna Teng bedtime songs, like 'Lullabye for a Stormy Night' and 'The Last Snowfall', it was like I was living in slow motion, like the short songs which always end too soon were extended far beyond their usual length, and it was so satisfying.  Perhaps there are ways to slow down life without codeine... :-)

09 December 2010

Hard to get

Some of you have requested to add Original Mohomie as a friend on Facebook.  I'll share with you my textual conversation with someone who shall go unnamed regarding O-Mo's presence on Facebook:
someone who shall go unnamed: Facebook just recommended original mohomie as a friend. Is that your way of outing everyone?

O-Mo: Lol, I created the account as a test for something, and I've gotten a few requests. I love that I now can look at o-mo's recommended friends for a quick and easy list of "family". I get a chuckle from it every time.

someone who shall go unnamed: I just requested his friendship. We'll see what happens.

O-Mo: Ha, I might just cave and add people, but I don't know...what for... :-)

someone who shall go unnamed: Oh so you haven't accepted any requests yet? What were you wanting to test?

O-Mo: I was going to create a page for the blog, to see if posts could be shared on Facebook...and show new posts on feeds, but then I realized people might have to be fans do [sic--should be "for"] it to work, which--let's be honest--would be a really limited audience. I abandoned it but kept the account just in case. Meh.

someone who shall go unnamed: And now you have a bunch of homos thinking o-mo is playing hard to get.

***Rest of conversation censored***
So there you have it, folks. I'm not sure what I intend to do with the profile, but for now, I haven't added anyone as friends. I'm not sure why I would, to be honest, except as a way to make my blog more accessible to more people who might say, "Who is this 'Original Mohomie' my friend is friends with? Oh, he has a blog. Let me click and see what the blog is about. Oh, my..."

*shrug*

06 December 2010

Atheist Christmas Carol

If I recall correctly from when I first heard her perform this years ago, she said she named it this for lack of a better name, because it was a song about the Christmas season but having nothing to do with the religious aspect.  Ha, it's a beautiful song, whatever the name origin.  Gosh, I wanna sit down with her sometime.

05 December 2010

Christmas Carols

I've added a few of my favorite Christmas carols or Christmastime songs, with a secular bent, below.  There are others I'd add if Playlist.com had them available, including more religious ones, like Sarah McLachlan's or Sissel's In the Bleak Midwinter, or Amy Grant's Grown-up Christmas List or The Night Before Christmas.  I still can't help but love the beauty of certain more strictly religious Christmas carols, too, like certain performances of O Holy Night and Angels from the Realms of Glory, and maybe even Joy to the World or What Child is This?, etc.  My favorite Christmas albums include those by Sarah McLachlan, Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr, Sissel w/the Mo-Tab, Amy Grant, Johnny Mathis collection...ah, heck, there are several, but those first four are my current faves.  The ones that make me all nostalgic and bring back the childlike magic of Christmas, though, are the ones I remember hearing as a kid, and in my home, I think those were mostly the old crooners and a few cheesy duets and such.  Good times.

02 December 2010

Decorating delight

I really like decorating for the holidays.  Growing up, I always decorated a lot for Halloween and Christmas.  Halloween lost its charm for me several years ago, though it has revived a bit.  But Christmas was a mainstay.  Last year, though, I wasn't really 'into' Christmas so much.  Now that I'm  some distance from my first realization that Christmas's meaning was likely to shift drastically for me, I'm enjoying the season again without so much concern that it's now a hollow shell of what it was, or that it no longer belongs to me and I therefore am wrong to embrace it, or that celebrating it implies support of religious beliefs I don't share.  Its essence remains, and I'd just as soon let the warmth and spirit of the season in rather than push it away because of the religiosity from which it was formed.

I stayed at a friend's house last night which I helped decorate a week or two ago.  It was fun to help put out the candles and scented pine cones and to decorate the tree.  It did make me long for a family of my own to decorate with someday, but in a more sweet than bitter way, and I enjoyed sharing the festivity with a fellow single friend.  I have to say, I love bundling up on the couch in the warm light of a Christmas tree with a snow storm blustering outside.  It's magical.  And I smiled last night at the red and white and brown on the tree backed by the red-and-white-capped Space Needle in the distance out the window.  It looks like a Santa hat on top.  Fun.

Ha, I'm listening to my "secular Christmas music" playlist which I had previously separated out to have the real Christmas music for playing on Sundays and most of the season.  I've become one of those secular Christmas people.  It's different, and I may tweak it over time, but it's still good.  And even if I don't necessarily believe the story the holiday is based on, I love the principles it stands for to so many, Christian and otherwise.  I'm aware the historical integration of pagan practices and celebration wasn't so much to share as to convert or assimilate, and part of me consciously resists that assimilation, but I'd like to think that today it's a holiday Christians have developed and share with the world to share the spirit of their rejoicing over salvation and God's generosity, and maybe it's OK to celebrate the principles and values of generosity, family, wonder, illumination, and love alongside those whose reasons are religious.  Rationale aside, I like the season, and I think I'll keep it for now.

So, from this agnostic, Merry Christmas!

01 December 2010

Seeking constructive authenticity

Sometimes people insist happiness is found in putting on a smiling face even when things suck and just fakin' it 'til you make it. I used to reject that for different reasons than I do now. It was hard to fake it. It wasn't natural, and it took effort, and I wanted to be mad, dammit!

Then I discovered that my heart was calmer when I decided consciously to not get upset or annoyed at things which were upsetting or annoying. I learned very quickly that people like being around smiley people, and they struggle to be around grumpy people. It became more important to be pleasant and lift others than to stew and fester. And I truly thought this was a better way, and I scoffed at people who implied I was being dishonest. I was just choosing to react in constructive ways rather than playing the victim or letting my circumstances control me. What was productive about bemoaning my fate and whining? Nothing. I only saw a dichotomy of that vs. choosing to believe everything was hunky dory.

Then I started realizing how much emotional undercurrent I was building up without ever having realized it, while I had actually specifically rejected the idea that that was happening, until it became very clear that I wasn't actually resolving things internally but was just sweeping them under the rug. Perhaps if I were someone who cared less about full resolution, or finding answers beyond the surface, that might not have built up, or I might not have noticed it. But I did. In addition, I saw the repercussions of people judging themselves based on what they see in others, what others portray about themselves, and the damage done when people don't understand how thoroughly human and flawed everyone else is, not just them.

I started to value authenticity and honesty more than maintaining a "pleasant", or pleasing, persona which is masked enough to avoid upsetting anyone. I started valuing honestly admitting when things weren't great more than ignoring the unpleasant. I started to see something between the dichotomy: that you can accept the reality and accept your sadness or pain to the extent that it actually spurs you to find the positive, to learn, or to act in response. I started realizing the friendships I valued most were with those who admitted when they were failing, upset, hurt, or feeling broken, because I knew they were 'real', and I cared about them and wanted to help them and wouldn't want them to suffer quietly and alone but would rather know their downs as well as their ups, to rejoice, to mourn, to walk with them. I also probably knew I wasn't ready for that level of authenticity and was fascinated by it. But I was OK. I'd be fine. I could handle my crap. It was nothing as bad as so-and-so's, after all. And I certainly didn't want to become a burden to anyone.

It wasn't until I realized the significance of being someone else's support and investing in trying to lift them up that I started considering whether I ever gave anyone else the opportunity to love me in that way. And it was then I started considering that maybe I needed it, too. I felt good about having been emotionally self-sufficient, but I was beginning to accept that some of my feelings of alienation and relationship tension were probably a result of layers of undercurrent emotions I refused to really acknowledge because they weren't happy, positive, feel-good emotions. I had denied them because I didn't see any purpose in acknowledging them.

I guess I don't quite know how to explain why I decided it was important to acknowledge them and let them be rather than stifling them, but I can say my sense of peace and authenticity, of wholeness and stability, have greatly improved since I started letting myself be angry when I'm having a reasonable reaction to something, or even when it's irrational. It takes more work than my childhood anger, of course. It's not stewing. It's a more cognitive awareness that whether or not it seems rational, I'm feeling this, and there's some reason for it, and there's probably something to learn from it. Or maybe there's a way to channel the energy of it into something constructive I wouldn't otherwise have done. Or maybe I'll just fume for a while and be over it rather than having a bottled-up anger inside of me which I then have to quell with plastered layers of faux cheer.

I forget sometimes, though, when dealing with others, that not everyone gets that, or not everyone processes their emotions the way I do, or they do it with less frankness, believing it to be their burden to bear and their responsibility to cope themselves without letting others know. Others might see my refusal to mask as laziness, letting the emotion win out, or wallowing, because they don't understand that to actually process requires even more effort than either submitting to or masking or ignoring them, and that I don't see value in acting falsely enthusiastic just to hide. Some may even take it personally when I don't hide the fact that I'm generally irritated. It's not my fault when others 'tell themselves stories' about my emotional state. There are some people who just take everything personally, and there's not much I'm going to try to do about that. That's their issue. But in general, I don't want to make others more uncomfortable than I need to, and there are times when I have to honestly ask myself whether I've misdirected some anger or frustration onto an individual or unintentionally made it seem so. So I seek a synthesis of raw authenticity and the perceptions of others, of frank expression and diplomatic or constructive communication, and I think it's possible. Until I'm perfect, though, I'll butt heads with people here and there. C'est la vie.

The relationships I've most valued are those where we're able to be frank and even blunt with each other without being abusive or harsh, and I value that too much to indefinitely play or even endure the pussy-footing games most people seem to prefer or the attitude that a smile is always better than a tear. Bullcrap. I want to know you. I want to see you, not what you think I want to see. But then, maybe as I look back to years ago and realize what I wasn't admitting even to myself, maybe I'll look back at now and see masks I didn't realize I was wearing. I'll try taking off my masks if you'll try taking off yours...oh, shoot, someone's gotta go first, right? *sigh*