Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Women in my family.

Shortly before Christmas one of my favorite aunts died. Now before you go feeling all sorry for me, she had a very peaceful death, after 25 years of every medical problem known to man. It was actually amazing she lived a long as she did, and as a family we were grateful for the prolonged time we had with her and that she was released in a very easy comforting manner. At her request no funeral was held, but instead the family gathered for a BIG party. It was very fitting for my aunt, because in our family she was the organizer of most of the family parties we had when I was growing up. This was just the kind of gathering she would have enjoyed, and probably did enjoy with us….

As a family we gathered, ate of course, and told stories. Each of her three sons told stories of their mother, her husband told stories, and her youngest brother. Several of her grandchildren told stories. As we reflected on her life it occurred to me more than ever before how much I am like my aunt. We have very similar personalities. The things that were important to her, are important to me. They way she treated people is how I try to treat people. The way she viewed life and her medical trials is exactly how I try and view my own struggles.

It made me wonder is it nature or nurture? I have pioneer stalk on BOTH side of my family, including relatives on both side of my family who survived the Martin & Willie handcart companies. There is something to be said for pioneer stalk. Ancestors who braved the elements and physical hardships for the chance at a new and better life. Do those trials they endured alter the DNA for those to come? Do those who come after benefit genetically from those that came before? Darwin said yes with his theory of the survival of the fittest. But are those changes inherent to the DNA or a result of nurture rather than nature?

The generations that have come since my pioneer ancestors have faced their own set of challenges. As the years and generations have progressed, those trials have been more emotional and less physical. But regardless of the trial, the effect is the same, you either become better or bitter. Why have those who have come before me chosen to take a trial and make themselves bitter rather than better? Is the influence on me a result of the example they set for me, or has my DNA been altered through the generations to enable me to choose to be better and not bitter? Or is it a little of both?

Regardless of the answer to questions probably without answer, I am grateful for the heritage of my ancestors, I am grateful for the life my aunt lived, the type of person she was, how she treated others, and how she cared for her family. With any luck I will be just like her when I grow up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What we see

We all wear our own set of rose colored glasses, colored by our own experience. Our Ward Relief Society Presidency made a directory for each sister for a Christmas gift. The directory had photos of each sister, address, phone numbers, and birthdates. I previewed the directory because I will helping the enrichment counselor put the directory together. As I was glancing through the pictures I was first of all amazed that they got everyone to pose for a picture, after all there is nothing women hate more than having their picture taken. The next thing I noticed was how good all the sisters looked. Seriously everyone looked amazing, I wondered if they had used Photoshop and reversed aged us! When I got to my picture toward the end of the directory, by virtue of my last name, I looked at my picture and grimaced. I hated my hair, it was pulled back, and made my face look even fatter than it usually does. I wanted to look thin and pretty! So I just decided when viewing the directory I would just skip the page with my picture so I did not have to look at the reality of myself.

On Sunday the directory was passed out to the sisters, and it was interesting to watch the reaction. Without exception everyone had the same response. Grimace at their own picture and only wonderful things to say about everyone else’s pictures. Why are we incapable of seeing ourselves as other do? Why are we are own worst critic? How often I have see sisters that I thought were so beautiful both inside and out, yet they can’t see that in their own mirror. I wonder why they can’t see what I see. Then I look in my own mirror and know that I don’t see myself as other do. Is it because I know the flaws, I know the hidden imperfections, I know where weakness is, I know the true me, not the me I portray to others. Yet the me I portray to others is I part of the true me, it’s not an act, it’s the good in me I share with others. Yet why do we all discount the good when we look in our own mirror? I am not perfect, but I am also not evil, I am somewhere in between. I think I am going to try to look for a new shade of glasses to wear while looking in the mirror.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ready, Aim, Shoot. (Conclusion of “Bring my gun to Thanksgiving)

3:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon was my date with destiny or rather the gun range a short distance from my house. The designated meeting spot was the house of the Ward firearms expert. Somewhere along the line, news of my self defense course began spreading throughout the Ward, and my outing became an “unofficial” ward activity. Not only did the Ward fire arms expert and one of my home teachers join me for this outing, but along came my other home teacher (well I guess they are supposed to come in pairs) and his wife, in addition to the former bishop, his wife and his son. Brining our grand total, to a party of eight. What the heck the more the merrier when shooting guns?

We arrived at the range and were given a short safety lesson, which included wearing ear protection, eye protection, (I am a safety girl you know) as well as a reminder to always point the gun down range, unless of course someone is on the range, then the guns need to be set down. Then the Ward firearms expert began explaining the mechanics of the gun. My eyes glazed over with the mechanical details he was providing. I am a law school graduate after all….

Soon it was time to shoot my gun. I opted to have my home teacher help me, because quite frankly the Ward firearms expert kind of scare me. Now let me tell you about my home teacher, basically think Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. He brought his revolver to the range that day and stood there with his right arm extended shooting the gun with one hand, the other hand in the front pocket of his jeans. Round after round being hitting directly on target until it was empty. Did I mention he has wild red hair??? I kicking myself for not bringing my camera. It was priceless.

Ok, back to my 9mm. He helped me load the magazine and then place the magazine into the gun, hence I was armed and dangerous. I nervously pointed my gun down range at a target. I lined up what I believed to be the target in my site, moved my index finger from the side of the gun to the trigger and fired away. I forgot how much the gun recoils after shoot a bullet out, and the trigger comes down ready to fire again. As the trigger came down my left thumb was in the way, and as a result the trigger scraped it, drawing blood. FYI, in the short safety lesson Ward firearms expert told us not to put our thumbs there. Crap, I was now going to be busted for not listening. Sure enough, BUSTED, with a “Didn’t I tell you not to put your thumb there?” Yeah, yeah, I know, but I am a lawyer and I can’t help it if in law school I was brainwashed to believe that I know everything, and was encouraged to selectively listen. Good news putting your thumb in the wrong place is a onetime deal, because once you make that mistake you avoid doing that again.

I began firing off more rounds, successively becoming more and more comfortable with my gun. After the first 20 shots or so, I realized I have really, really GOOD aim. I began hitting all the targets right on point, dead center. I became “Dirty Harriet” minus the wild hair of course. I used all 100 round of my ammo, and had a great time, and now feel completely comfortable using my gun. (Although I still lack the capacity to open the case)

I think I might have to look into trading that BMW 335 for a large pick-up truck with a gun rack….NOT!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don’t shoot!!! (part 3 of “Bring my gun to Thanksgiving”)

Now you have to understand my trepidation about going out target shooting. First of all I am not really pro-gun, in fact regulating guns would be just fine with me. Second you have to understand the personalities of the individuals with whom I am going shooting. The home teacher, very nice man, age of my mother, extreme right wing, served in Vietnam, probably has flash backs (PTSD). The Ward firearms expert, seems like a nice guy but in need of serious psychological drugs. (even his wife admits that, and after a 5 minute conversation most people agree) See why I think gun regulation is a good thing? Good news for me, wife of Ward firearms expert will be coming with us.

The thing I find ironic about the whole situation is that where I live now is a very safe neighborhood, as in like ZERO crime except for the occasional teenage prank or vandalism. In my former life I lived in the “hood” so to speak. And of that I am not kidding. I had ‘gang” bangers who lived across the street from me. One Christmas the cops used my house as a look out because they were expecting a drive by shooting at the house across the street in retaliation for a drive by my neighbors had done on a rival gang. So I have a hard time getting overly concerned about my safety. Of course I am not stupid about it either. I lock my doors, have an alarm system etc.

The other thing that is funny about the gun is that I am incapable of opening the case where the gun is stored. The case has these latches that I do not have the finger strength to open. I never have, and I never will. I have always had to have a male open the case for me. So future burglars, robbers, kidnapper etc., please note that if you come to my house I will probably politely ask you to open the gun case in order for me to retrieve the gun with which to shoot and or frighten you with.

That being said, when you receive a gift, you must take it with the intent of the giver. Both of these gentleman who have agreed to take me shooting, are concerned about me and my well being, and only have my best interest at heart. So while target shooting might not be my “thing” it is a way that both of them can serve me in a difficult time, which is a gift I gladly accept.

To be continued…..

Monday, December 22, 2008

Armed and Loaded (part 2 of “Bring my gun to Thanksgiving”)

One cannot target shoot without ammunition. Had the gun, had no ammo. Needed ammo. Now mind you I have NEVER purchased ammo in my life. I believe that after I purchased the gun, a friend of mine gave me ammo for a gift, which is what I used the one and only time I shot the gun off. So to the local sporting goods store I headed.

I pulled into the parking lot, which of course was filled with very LARGE pickup truck mostly of the Chevy or Ford variety. My poor little BMW 335 was feeling out of place, as was its owner. Clearly we were not at Macy’s anymore…

I entered the store filled with all sorts of hunting paraphernalia, and head to the back where I presumed the guns and ammo to be. I passed several shelves of ammo, but rather than try to figure out what I needed I decided the most efficient way to purchase my ammo would be to find a sales clerk, and plead ignorance. I approached the gun counter and patiently waited. (Apparently the election of a Democrat has all of the right wing extremists concerned and gun sales are on the rise.) In the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday there were no less than three people selecting guns. One was shopping for a hand gun, and two for rifles. I politely listened to the salesmen touting the benefits of each gun, using words and language entirely unfamiliar to me, hence increasing my anxiety level about being there, and wanting to get my ammo and get the hell out before I started wanting to drive a pick up with a gun rack, and wear lots of camouflage.

Finally a salesman asked me if I was being helped. I replied “No.” I guess prior to that I must have looked like some confused girlfriend/wife of one of the gentleman considering the purchase of a firearm. (Note to self, wear lawyer attire next time shopping for ammo, might be taken more seriously…) I informed the salesman I needed ammo for a 9mm hand gun. He then asked if I needed “Plinko” or “Self defense.” What???? I had a choice????? Furthermore what was Plinko? Self defense seemed self evident. Not wanting to look entirely stupid and have him refuse to sell me the ammunition due to being blonde and very clueless, although I am sure that was apparent, I simply said “I am going target shooting.” He informed me I wanted “plinko” and directed me to the shelf where “plinko” was located. Next he wanted to know if I wanted silver or brass casings. What???? I had ANOTHER choice????? I looked at him with a questioning eye and he told me the silver casings were not reloadable, but the brass ones were.

Seriously did I look like a women who was going to reload empty casings???? I think not…I don’t even want to shoot the gun to begin with, let alone collect my casings and reload them!!!! I indicated that I would take the silver, and politely grabbed two boxes, (100 rounds, I think that should be sufficient) and made haste to the register to leave this strange environment as soon as possible. One debit card purchase later, I was safely back in my BMW 335 leaving the land of guns, ammo, and very LARGE trucks. (Isn’t a large truck a sign of overcompensation?) humm…

To be continued….

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can you bring my gun to Thanksgiving dinner? (part 1)

Several years ago, in another life, I was a prosecuting attorney. As a result I received a number of death threats, most of which I did not take seriously. After all I was single at the time, no children, so death threats did not bother me, because I did not have a whole lot to lose. Not that I wanted to die mind you, but the seriousness with which I would take a death threat today, is vastly different than it was several years ago.

Because my father was wiser, and apparently valued my life more that I did, he insisted that I get a gun, a hand gun to be precise. I honestly could have cared less about owning a gun. (Although I did idolize Charlie’s Angles as a young child/tween, and guns in their purses were a mainstay.) In order to appease my father I purchased a 9mm, semi-automatic gun. I took it out shooting once and it has been in its case ever sense. Probably needs to be cleaned…. For reason I will not go into here, for the last 6 years the gun has taken up residence in the gun safe at my brother-in-laws house.

Well with the recently re-location of my husband, one of my home teachers has taken it upon himself to ensure my personal safety. He brought me over an 11 page, single space document on self defense that he prepared in 2002 and asked me if I had a gun. I reported that I did, but did not report that the location of my gun was actually about 20 miles south of my house. He then questioned how long it had been since I shot my gun. I sheepishly told him it had been a number of years. He then informed me that we were going to go out and shoot my gun. I said “Yeah that would be great” honestly thinking he was not serious. Oh no….he was serious. The next time I saw him he told me he had already spoken with the firearms expect in our ward, (he teaches gun safety for fun) and had arranged to go and warm the metal of my oh so cold hand gun, and see what kind of aim I have. (Little does he know my aim is terrible, perhaps I should warn him in advance that a flack jacket might be in order.)

Well I could not go shooting without my gun so the day before Thanksgiving I called my sister-in-law up and said “Hey can you bring my gun to Thanksgiving dinner?” She paused and said “ok.” Then I realized how bad that sounded, and she was probably questioning if she even wanted to come to Thanksgiving dinner. She was relieved to hear that I was planning on going target shooting, and did not have anyone in the family in my sight…..

Gun delivered Thanksgiving Day. To be continued…

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Friends

Apparently I have acquired a number of friends over the years, and all this drama in my life has caused them to crawl out from under the rocks they have been hiding and back into my life.

I am a friendly person, outgoing, easy to talk to, and after all the years I have spent in the courtroom, not much of anything intimidates me except those plastic Barbie looking women whom seem to have taken over the generation just younger than me. Where I live unfortunately they run rampant. (Yes, I know letting them get to me is silly, I probably scare them more than they scare me. After all I can put together a grammatically correct sentence, usually…)

As a result of my friendliness I have had a lot of people to tell about my “situation” because I don’t want them to hear it on the grapevine. Inevitably lots have heard it on the grapevine because bad news travels very FAST. People from work, people from church, friends from high school, friends from college, people from my former life in another state, relatives out the wazoo….all wanting to let me know they care.

I have received numerous phone calls, cards and email. I never knew I KNEW that many people, and that many people cared about ME. It’s been comforting, a blessing, and an inspiration to me that along the way I have touched so many lives. It’s funny how we see ourselves, and the perception that others have of us. We truly are, are own worst critic. We fault ourselves, we blame ourselves, we guilt ourselves, we let Satan and his minions tell us we have no value. Yet those around us rarely see us that way, they see our value, they see our good works, they see our tender hearts, they love us for who we are. It’s good to have friends to remind us who we truly are.

Monday, December 15, 2008

To Judge.

I am a judge. No, seriously I mean it. That is what I do for a living. It is quite interesting to see people’s reactions when I tell them I am a judge. First of all, I am young so they don’t expect me to be a judge. (I was in the right place at the right time, another story, different blog) Second, I really don’t look judicial. I guess I don’t look mean enough apparently. And third, I don’t act like a judge. I really am a very nice person, most people don’t think I can throw down the hammer. The good news for me, I do civil work, so no one goes to jail, and its appellate level work, so I don’t actually have to see the parties, they have already had their hearing in front of another judge. I just see the transcript of their hearing along with all the exhibits, and their arguments on appeal, and write a written decision.

Another myth about being a judge, you would think that I would be quick to judge. But to the contrary I am not. I am probably one of the least judgmental individuals you will encounter, and it comes from being a judge and the limits on me as I try to judge others.

My job is to apply the facts to the law. Often times I know the way I am ruling goes against the real truth, but if the party with the burden of proof does not present the correct evidence, I can’t make a ruling that is not supported by legally competent evidence. I also can’t make a ruling that goes against the law. I have sworn to uphold the law, as distasteful as sometimes that is.

I also know from being a judge that there are two sides to every story. I sometimes wonder when I am reading the testimony of two individuals who had a conversation together if they were even in the same room. Yes, sometimes one party is out and out lying, but other times both parties honestly believe they are telling the truth, and the truth is a matter of perception. I am limited in what I can do, I don’t know their hearts. I can only take what is before me and apply the facts to the law.

Outside of my job I cringe when others are quick to judge. They are judging based on their limited perception of the facts, as applied to their life experience and values. Is it fair to impose our life experience and values to individuals who may not share those? Why are our values any more important than those of anyone else? Didn’t the Savior set the ultimate example by LOVING everyone, even those shunned by society, for choices and values not shared by those who were judging?

This is why I am grateful that the job of judging our lives lies with the Savior and our Heavenly Father. I have a very incomplete perception of reality when I judge and I know my judgment is limited. The Lord has a complete perception of our lives and his judgment is not limited. He understands our challenges, he knows our hearts, he knows our intent and it is by HIS full perception of reality that we will be judged. Thank goodness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Beautiful

Last night I was sitting at enrichment listening to a speaker who had clearly faced several challenges in her life. She began by telling the story of her mother’s passing which followed a long illness. Despite the fact her mother had been ill she collapsed suddenly on the bathroom floor and was gone. The speaker then began to detail the bitterness she felt toward the Lord for his failure to take her mother in a manner contrary to what the speaker believed her mother was promised in her patriarchal blessing. After a year or two of bitterness she began to see the Lord had done what was promised in the patriarchal blessing, it was a matter of a new perspective for the speaker. She then said how often she felt the presence of her mother near, in quiet moments. I connected with the speaker and her story, and reflected on my own mother’s passing, and the questions I have had over the years about the influence she continues to have in my life.

She next moved on to a story of another trial the difficulty of which more intense than the trial of the passing of her mother. Although she did not say, I suspect it was a divorce. She said that despite the difficulty of the trial she resolved to be happy and not allow this trial to make her bitter as the first trial had done. She said our trials can either make us bitter or better, and we having a fullness of the gospel need allow our trials to make us better, and not bitter. The Lord teaches us through our trials, and we can’t learn if we are bitter. It is when we humble ourselves and submit our will to the Lord that we can become better, and it is a matter of inviting Him into our lives, and radiating the gospel even during our trials. Satan distracts us by keeping us busy so that become numb to the spirit. We have to make time for those quiet moments in which to converse with the Lord.

As I sat there I could not help but think she was speaking directly to me. She said whenever she goes on a speaking assignment she never prepares an outline, she never tell the group in advance what she is going to talk about, she prays and allows the spirit to speak through her. Several times during her talk she told us how beautiful we were and that we needed to smile and let the gospel reflect and radiate through our eyes. She told the sisters, “Many of you sitting her do not believe you are beautiful. Many of you have let the media dictate your standard of beauty, and find yourselves never living up to that standard. Sisters if your daughter was sitting up here on the stand would you allow her to think that she is not beautiful? No you would not allow your daughter to think she is not beautiful. Your mother wants you to know you are beautiful.” As she said those words it was as if my mother was speaking to me. Tears began to stream down my face. The speaker did not know the struggles I have faced dealing with my body image issues, and how my mother factored into that. But I knew those words “Your mother wants you to know you are beautiful” came from my mother to me through this speaker. I am beautiful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Choice

I have been a member of the church all my life. In fact I am about a 6th generation Mormon, on BOTH sides of my family. Being a member all my life I have naturally taken my testimony for granted. From the time I was very little I knew what was expected of me and how my life was to play out. As a child, teenager and young adult, I also knew varying from the course would bring the disappointment of my parents as well as my grandparents, and a good old dose of Mormon guilt. I believed because my parents believed, because my grandparents believed, because everyone around me believed. I only recall one time where I did make a choice. I had a boyfriend in college who was not LDS. (Ok, so I did not totally do EVERYTHING that was expected of me.) I loved him and wanted to marry him, but I could not bring myself to do it because I knew I wanted to have children and did not think it would be fair to my kids to have them, know the truth, and then not raise them accordingly. (Ok, I guess I did have a testimony, otherwise that would not have mattered)

I have known my husband since high school and we have always been good friends. After I broke it off with the non-LDS guy I started dating my husband. After a LONG period of dating, (guess that should have been a clue) we got married. At the time we got married he was much more spiritual than me. Again I felt as if I was just going through the motions, like I had been doing for most of my life. I poo-pooed scripture study, because I never really developed a love of the scriptures, probably due to the tortured scripture study my parents forced us to engage in, which never resulted in any spiritual experiences, just torment for all involved. I thought the temple was a “little different,” and poo-pooed going back and doing sessions. Conference, yeah I would catch it if I could, unless something better came along. Ensign, it came to my house, and got opened once a month for determine what the visiting teaching message was. We lived apart due to work for the first few years of our marriage, so we never developed a good habit of praying together. Over the course of several years my husband began to adapt to my less than stellar attitude toward the Church and the check list of things I felt were an expectation to be a good Mormon. In many ways I wonder if I had been more diligent and faithful would he have started to question the Church? Probably, but maybe not as soon. It is a question I will never know the answer to and begs the question “Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate…without them what would shape our lives?”

As he began to question, I became more diligent and faithful, and I did not even realize I was doing it. It was little by little, over time. Suddenly we were at a cross roads. He reached the point where he did not want to return to church and wanted nothing to do with the Church. He began breaking covenants he made without remorse. He even at one point suggested that perhaps we could have an open marriage. I had a choice. It was clear that the Church and my husband could not both harmoniously co-exist in my life. I had to choose one or the other. Either choice would result in a new life for me. A life with him, living a very worldly existence, or a life without him, left alone in a Church where family values are the expected norm.

I chose the life without him. As much as I loved him and wanted to stay married to him, I could not deny what I knew to be true. I could not live a life that was not in harmony with my core beliefs. I could not give the Church up. It was then I realized how strong my testimony really was. It was not my parent’s testimony, it was not my grandparent’s testimony, it was MY testimony. I had a choice and I was grateful for that choice. I was grateful to be awakened from my slumber of going through the motions. I was grateful to feel spiritually alive. I knew it was the right choice for me.

Could the Lord have taught me that lesson in other ways? Probably. But then again, don’t our mistakes make our fate and shape our lives?

Monday, December 8, 2008

HE hears, HE listens

All weekend I have been struggling with self-doubt and feeling sorry for myself. I have been feeling sorry for myself because I really want to be in a relationship and be married. I want an eternal companion, and I thought I had one..... It seems as if all around me I see cute couples holding hands, loving each other, and here I stand ALONE. Its completely unfair.

I try to have faith that when the time is right Heavenly Father will let me know and I can begin looking. Currently the time is not right. I have emotional wounds to heal, I have spiritual development I need, I have children to who need time to adjust to the new normal, I have people who's lives I need to affect, I need to adjust to the new normal, and let go of the old... It is not the right time.... I. HAVE. TO. WAIT.

I hate to wait. As a child I opened my Christmas presents early. I scouted the house for all the hiding places of unopened Christmas presents, I had to know the sex of each child the minute it was possible, and pushed my doctors for an early delivery. Waiting is not my speciality, which is probably why the Lord is going to make me wait....I need to learn that virtue.

As I felt pity for myself for the last few days that everyone else gets a "happy ever after," I knelt in prayer on Saturday night and poured out my heart to he Lord. Told him of my struggles, my desires, which of course he already knew, and asked for more faith that the future would work its self out in due course of time.

Sunday was a great day. It is highly unusual for me to get ANYTHING out of sacrament meeting with three small children. But despite every moment of my time being diverted from by one child or another, I heard the message. It was President Uchtdorf's conference talk on "Lift where you stand." Although it was originally directed to the brethren in the priesthood session, our Stake President thought the message was universal for all within our stake. The speakers both talked on affecting the lives of those around us by serving. Equally as good was Relief Society where we focused on Elder Holland's talk on Angels. I left church feeling spiritually renewed and so thankful that I can go to church and feel peace.

My home teachers then came over in the afternoon. Rather than give me a message from conference they chose to focus their message on negative thoughts and self doubt, reminding me that all negative thoughts come from Satan and his worshipers, as they strive to bring us down, and that the LORD will never leave us and all things good and positive come from him. It was just the message I needed to hear. I thanked them and they told me it was the message they felt inspired to give. How could they have known...they couldn't have without the help of the LORD. HE heard me, and they listened to HIS prompting, and brought HIS words of comfort to me. They left with a blessing on my house that my house would be a house of peace and refuge and that the negative spirits will not dwell here as long as we invite the spirit to be here.

HE hears, HE listens.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Void.

My husband will be the first to admit to you that I have been a good wife to him, not a perfect wife but a good one.

He works very hard, some would say he is even a workaholic, and very rarely would I complain about his long hours, and the resulting long days for me with the kids. I knew that he was working hard to provide a good living for us, and I wanted to do everything I could to support him in that effort. I would edit projects for him, help him stay on task, encourage him when he had a discouraging day, sympathize with him we he felt the forces of the world were against him, and give him a long back rub to put him to sleep at night. I tried to avoid “nagging” about things around the house that needed attention, especially if he had been working long hours and finishing big projects. When he was done with projects and needed “husband” time to re-group, I would try, although I was not always successful, to allow him his time without becoming upset or bitter because I had worked every bit as hard in a different way.

I plan a menu every week, so each night he would come home to a nice dinner that we would all enjoy together as a family. I did the laundry, took his shirts to the cleaners, bought clothes for him, in fact everyone at work always thinks he is the best dressed guy there because I considered him my personal “ken” doll. I am an organizer, so I would keep the house organized and running smoothly, keep the kids on track with homework and piano practice, decorate for the holidays, Christmas shop for everyone but me, remind him of upcoming things outside of work that he needed to do or attend, pay the bills, clean the house, grocery shop, and basically try to make our home environment a place where we could love and enjoy each other as a family.

I tried to allow him to make choices about how we spend family time, and tried to consider his input in making family choices. For the last year when he was on a diet, I encouraged his long work outs so he could lose the weight he wanted. I would make him a healthy lunch, so he would not have to make bad food choices, in addition he would have more time at the office to work, and hopefully come home sooner to us.

I did not do any of these things out of duty or obligation, I did them because I LOVED him and I wanted him to be happy, successful, and feel good about himself and our life. I will admit that sometimes I did allow myself to be bitter because I felt like I was doing all these things for him and they became an expectation by him, and not an appreciation for the sacrifice I was making. (I work too, about 25 hours a week.) The other thing that was hard is there was very little return by him other than money. I never married him for his money in fact at the time we got married I earned more than he did. I wanted his time and attention not his money. Despite this I still continued to be supportive of him, because I LOVED him, and knew that I was a key to his success. I can honestly say I enjoyed doing those things for him and if I were to go back and live my life over again I would still do those things.

Now he is gone there is a big void in my life where I used to spend time and energy on him. I miss being a wife. There is a huge part of me that wants to get re-married (to a new guy) NOW, which I know just sounds utterly crazy since we have only been separated for such a short period, but I really want someone in my life, other than my kids, that I can spoil and take care of. I miss that….. I also know I need time, and lots of it, to find “me” again. One of the reasons I don’t want to file for divorce immediately, is I want to have time and distance for myself. I don’t want the self imposed pressure of feeling like I have to date again, or the pressure from others to set me up. I need to emotionally heal myself before I can think about getting into a new relationship.

And I do think about a new relationship….I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life. I would LOVE to have a guy that I can spoil, who in return will adore and value me. It’s hard to have faith that it will happen again. I think about all the baggage, i.e. young children, a gay ex-husband etc., that I would bring to a new relationship and wonder what guy would want to deal with all of that? How long do I have to wait to find that guy? One year, two years, five years, ten years, into the eternities? I think how unfair it has been to me that I did not do anything to cause this relationship to end, yet I suffer the consequences of his choices.

And for now I am alone…..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Anger vs. Love

I had a friend of mine several months ago who gave me this analogy, which I have thought about.

He said: “Some people think anger and love are opposite emotions, I think they are same or similar emotion that runs on a parallel track. You can jump from one track to the other almost instantly, by being angry one moment and loving someone in the next moment. The mutual opposite of anger and love is indifference. When indifference exists you have neither anger nor love.”

I have thought about that a lot. My husband and I are committed to keeping a good working relationship between us. He went through a nasty divorce as a child when his parents separated, so he knows the impact to kids, and in my profession I have see the affects of a nasty divorce on all parties, husband, wife and kids, so I too know the lasting damage that can be caused. So we keep our lines of communication open, and have agreed on certain rules and parenting for the kids. We are both committed to now allowing our children to play us against each other and the importance of having a united front.

I have tried to continue to be as supportive of him as I was when we were together. I have enough sense to know that if he is happy and settled in his life he will be a better father, and my job as a mother will be easier. That does not mean this mature behavior is EASY. To the contrary it is HARD. I have felt angry and I know that is a natural part of the grieving process. My goal is to channel that anger in a productive way that does not harm or impact my relationship with him. I will vent my anger to friends, co-worker etc, and avoid directing it at him. I will write all the terrible things I am feeling about him down, just to get them out. It also means biting my tongue a lot. When we are together he says something that just irritates the hell out of me, and I want to come back with a stinging comment, I don’t. I think the comment in my head, and make a conscious choice not to verbalize it. Silence is better.

I had originally planned to go out of state for Thanksgiving. My plans fell through and I ended up staying at home. I called to tell him I would be joining his family for Thanksgiving and we were discussing arrangements for the kids. I told him since I was going to be here for Thanksgiving I thought it would be a good time to put the Christmas tree up. He told me that he had already spoken to his dad and they were planning on going to the storage unit to get out the Christmas stuff and he was going to surprise me by having it up when I got home, because he knew the demands on my time. I was stunned. Putting up the Christmas stuff is a 2-3 hour time commitment, and given how guarded he is of his time I was surprised he was willing to do that on his own initiative.

It touched me, and reminded me that he does care about me, then I was angry. I did not want him to be nice to me. I want to be mad and ANGRY at him right now. I can’t be mad and ANGRY if he is giving me the thing he values most, his time. But I am. I am mad that he is being nice. I think it would be so much easier if we were acting on our anger. It’s harder to LOVE than to be ANGRY. When he does those nice things, albeit they are few and far between, it reminds me that he truly is a kind and loving person and why I feel in love with him to begin with.

I understand and get the parallel track analogy. LOVE and ANGER are different forms of the same strong emotion. I wonder when and if, indifference will come…..

Monday, December 1, 2008

He took his ring off.....

Sometime around the middle of August my husband got invited to a party by several of his non-member gay friends. It was a Saturday night. He asked if it would be ok to go. Knowing how important his friends are, I knew if my response was anything other than “yes” he would pout for the rest of the week-end and tell me how much I control his life, and he does not get any “me” time. So I said yes, knowing there would be drinking and there would probably be pornography involved. He said ‘oh I will only be a hour.” Translation I will be 3-4 hours.

He has a habit of underestimating both time and money to me. Anytime he gives me a number that relates to either time or money I automatically triple the amount. Clearly he does this because he does not want to face the truth about either his time or his money. Additionally he believes that if he underestimates either one of those to me it’s better than telling the truth because I might say “no” and currently he does not want to hear “no” from anyone in his life. Plus in his mind a half truth is not a lie. I wonder how much of this relates to his hiding his homosexuality all his life? If you have been lying to yourself all your life, trying to suppress how you really feel does it color you perception of reality to the point that you detach yourself about the reality of life, including how you spend both your time and money, two valuable resources we are given?

Alright back to the party. He left early in the evening, and sent me text messages throughout the party, about what a good time he was having. He had a little to drink to he stayed until about 11:00p.m. in order to sober up before coming home. When he arrived home I was on the computer and he came into the office to talk to me about the party. As we were talking I happened to notice his hand and his wedding ring was not on his hand. I was shocked. He NEVER takes his ring off, he sleeps with it on, he showers, he works out, it never comes off. That night it did. I elected at the time not to say anything and just file it away and ponder this newly acquired information. I guess my face did not hide it well because later he told me he realized I had noticed.

It was about six weeks later in a discussion we were having about our relationship that I brought up the issue of his coming home from the party without his ring on. He then told me when he realized I saw he was not wearing his ring he thought to himself “oh shit” because he knew it would upset me. During our discussion I asked him why he took his ring off. He told me that he did not want to have to explain to anyone at the party that he was married. It was a conscious choice and he was unapologetic about it.

In many ways the ring incident was the nail in the coffin for me. I knew things were headed in a direction that it seemed impossible our marriage would survive, but once he took his ring off and had no remorse about it, I knew we were growing too far apart. I could not stay, watch him go out with his friends, knowing he was on the “prowl” just waiting for him to come home one day and tell me he met someone and was leaving me. I was not a wife anymore, I was the maid, I was the cook, I was the accountant, I was the babysitter, I was the laundress. I wanted more, I deserved more, I wanted to be a wife.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Control

My husband feels like the Church has controlled his whole entire life. From the time he was born, it was very clear what was expected of him, baptism, mission, college, marriage, kids, accept callings, serve others, etc. As he has come out, he has began to resent all the control he felt from the Church, specifically belonging to a church that did not accept him for who he was and tried to tell him that what he felt is inherently wrong. He tried to be good, he tried to do everything that was expected of him, but he just could not reconcile his homosexual feelings and the Church.

About two years ago as he began to stop suppressing what he has felt all his life, he began to develop an “F--- You” attitude toward everyone and everything in his life. It was his way of rebelling against the control he has always felt. Unfortunately this spilled over into our marriage. He did not want to be accountable for his time, or his money. He felt both were his to freely spend. If I ever questioned how he spent time or money, I was accused of being controlling. If I needed something from him, usually his time, frequently I was met with a “do I have to?” attitude exhibited from teenagers. I finally determined the guilt trip he gave me for asking anything of him was not worth it and stopped asking.

In many ways he is just like a teenager. I have read on other blogs about once you first come out going through a homosexual adolescence. I firmly believe that is what is happening right now. For the last year I really have felt like I am living with a teenager.

Sometimes I question the decision to separate and wonder “Do I just need to have more faith, and he will work through this?” But then I look at his actions and how hurtful they are to me. I know he does not intend to hurt me, and that he is hurting too, as he struggles to accept who he is. Again just like a teenager…they hurt you, and never intend to, its just they are so caught up in trying to determine who they are. I look at how miserable I have been and how it has affected me as a women, as a mother and as a wife, and I know for now I can’t stay…..

He now has his freedom to come and go as he pleases, except for the time he has committed to the kids. He has his freedom to spend his money on anything he wants, and overdraft HIS account. What he is quickly finding out is that freedom comes with a price. He goes home to an empty house, with no children to great him, no wife to ask how his day was, no dinner prepared, no noise in the evening of the children playing, no children to tuck into bed, no wife to kiss good night. He sits in his bachelor pad, designed by him, on his cream colored couch, watching his big screen TV, with his new sound system, drinking out of his $10 Pottery Barn glass, reading a book on cooking, architecture, or any other similar subject that interests him, knowing he can do anything he wants, he is free, but is he? And at what cost?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Out of the closet.


My new closet space. Believe it or not this is only shows about 60% of my clothes!


After my husband came out of the closet, he literally moved out of our closet. Now I am, and always have been a clothes horse. There was full disclosure to my husband before we got married about my clothes buying tendencies and he knew that every month I was going to buy some new clothes, and agreed he would not prohibit me.

For me there is something about wearing a new outfit that makes me feel good about myself. But I also can’t wear a new outfit unless I got a steal of a deal on it. That is part of the fun for me, the hunt for the bargain. So while I have a lot of clothes, I don’t spend a TON of money, not even close to what my husband spends on his personal stuff. I also like mixing and matching stuff and an outfit is never complete without accessories. In college I once went and entire semester without wearing the same outfit twice. Definitely some pieces of my wardrobe got worn twice but in a new combination. So you can see it is a sickness I have had for a long time…

I am sure part of it relates to all my body image issues, see earlier post, but I honestly like looking good. I rarely leave the house without makeup on and I try to avoid the “frumpy” mom look. Admittedly in the area I live there are a lot of “Barbie” moms so there is also a certain pressure to fit in. (It always amazes me that even as grown women we revert to how we acted in high school and the insecurities from high school sometimes never seem resolved, Although “Barbie” mom aside, clearly I have had my clothing and body image issues for years, so living where I live did not cause the problem, only contributed to it.) I also have to have a lot of clothes, because I have a professional career where I have do dress a certain way, then there are my church clothes, and finally my every day mom clothes.

As a result there has never been enough closet space for me. I will say that while I do buy a lot of clothes, I also purge my closet frequently, and I don’t hang on to everything. With my husband’s coming out and moving out of the closet, suddenly it freed up more closet space for me. Re-organizing my closet was one of the first things I did when he moved out. Suddenly my clothes that had been squished together now had more room as they expanded out. I could more easily see what clothes I had. I discovered articles of clothing I had forgot about. And realized I needed to stay out of the mall for a while, because I really do have an obscene amount of clothes and shoes.

I honestly dress well because I want to. I generally don’t dress to impress other women, or other men, I dress to help me feel good about myself and my body. My husband has always known how important clothes are to me, yet probably only 5-6 times a year would he comment on anything I ever wore. I swore I could go naked and he would not notice. However had I been a naked guy that might have been a different story….. It has always been hard for me that I rarely got validation from him that I looked nice, when it was so important for my self esteem to look nice, and even more important to have the person I love notice. Just once it would have been nice to hear “You look HOT today.”

Well at least I have more closet space.

Monday, November 24, 2008

FAT, FAT, FAT

I have had body image issues all my life. It of course started with my mother. If you ever met my mother you would wonder how the two of us are related. (FYI, my mother passed away 18 years ago, so your chances of meeting her, at least in this life, not so good.) My mother was 5’8, 130 pounds, dark brown hair, no boobs, (she was an A cup) and big hips. Me 5’3, more pounds than I care to have at the moment, blonde hair, big boobs (let’s just say I am a healthy D and it is natural), and no hips at all. In fact I have to buy my jeans in the junior section because all the jeans in the women’s department are too big in the hips. I carry all my weight in the middle, my mother carried hers, or rather what little she had, in the hips and legs.

For as long as I can recall my mother was obsessed about her weight, to the point she really wanted liposuction. As you can see from reading my description of her, she was not heavy in any way shape or form, unless you go by Hollywood standards, which I firmly believe encourage more body image issues and unhealthy behavior by young girls than just about anything else in our society. Since she was obsessed with her weight, naturally she was obsessed with mine.

As a child I was not skinny, but I was not “fat” either. I was on the chunky side, but in comparison to what you see in kids today, I was fine. However if you had asked me as a child about my weight, I would have told you I was FAT, because that is what my mother told me on more than one occasion. She always wanted me to lose weight. She didn’t understand that I was built differently from her and that I would never be a size 4, 6 or 8. She did not accept me for who I was. She always wanted to change me, into what she thought I should be.

As a result all my life I have felt FAT, regardless of what I weigh. Admittedly my weight has gone up and down over the years, in fact after she died, I lost a TON of weight, probably subconsciously as revenge against her. To this day I still keep a pair of jeans from that time because they remind me how skinny I was. But again if you had asked me at that time, I would have told you I was FAT.

Today I will still tell you I am FAT. Reality, yes I honestly do need to lose a few pounds. I have 25-30 pounds of emotionally eating from the last 4-5 years that I need to lose. The good news, as soon as we made the decision to separate, the brain chip in my head that causes me to emotionally eat, just “turned off.” It was literally like someone flipped a switch and turned it off. I have gotten back on my treadmill, although not a frequently as I should, but overall I am battling my weight issues, better than I have in a long time.

When I think about my body image issues, and the tape that repeats over and over again in my head telling me I am FAT, I wonder if it is akin to the tape that runs in my husband’s head about being homosexual? My mother never accepted that my body was different from hers, and my husband feels that people, specifically those in the Church, as well as family members, don’t accept that he is different from them. He also struggles with issues related to his biological father, who never accepted my husband for who he was. He never measured up to the standards of manliness his father pre-determined were acceptable. Is his longing for these close male friendships a reflection of the rejection he suffered by this father as a child? Are we batting the same demon in a different form?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Always running.

For as long as I have known my husband, (its hard to break the habit of calling him that, and technically we are still married) he has been running, I don't mean in the literal sense, but rather figuratively. For him it is always about the destination and never about the journey, and once arrived at the destination, it then becomes about the next destination. The road to the destination always has to be the fast lane, and no bathroom breaks are allowed.

It used to annoy the hell out of me, and in fact it still does. For example last week-end we took the kids out to a restaurant for my birthday, and we had about two minutes to look at the menu before he wanted to order. We ate, and no sooner had the last bite gone into the kids mouth and he was seeking the waiter for the bill. There was no reason for us to be in a hurry, we had no where to go, no deadline to meet, the kids were well behaved. I have never sat in a restaurant with him and just enjoyed a leisurely meal. When we go to extended family's house for dinner, he wants to leave as soon as dinner is over with and is uncomfortable just sitting and visiting. Of course he hate parties, unless he his hosting, and can be busy the whole time and not have to interact with people.

There is a park close to our house and during the summer I like to take the kids there after dinner and let them play. Very rarely did he ever go with me. It would have been impossible for him just to sit and enjoy watching the kids play. He has a difficult time relaxing and enjoying the simple things in life. Everything needs to be grand and expensive to be worth anything.

I know it sounds like he has AAHD, but he is capable of spending hours playing a video game or talking on IM with his friends.

It recently struck me that perhaps he is running from himself. If he does not have to stop running then he does not have to examine what is working in his life and what is not, hence facing difficult realities. I am sure a significant portion of it has to do with being gay, and not wanting to admit it to himself or others. Even now he is out of the closet he still has a difficult time accepting that is who he is. He still wants to live in both worlds, or at least have the benefit of both worlds, without the cost of either one.

It is also running from social situations. On the computer he can hide, or at least control was is revealed about him. I think in social settings he runs because if he stops long enough someone might either form a bond and get close to him, and intimacy scares the hell out of him, or realize he is gay and judge him.

I know hiding who he is for the last ....( lets just say its been a few years, but not a whole lot of years) has been emotionally very hard on him. He has been pretending to be something he is not, in a world and culture that devalues what he is. He believes since coming out he has now become an "authentic" person, and he is becoming who he really is, yet he still runs....still seeks, still wants....

In many ways it makes me sad. He is chases rainbows, hoping for that pot of gold, he always looks around the corner to see what might be ahead, he always thinks pastures are greener on the other side, he knows somewhere out there is the magical answer for what will make him happy. Yet if he were to slow down long enough he might realize the happiness he seeks is right in front of him in the form of a wife and children who love him and only want his time and attention.

Sometimes the slow lane of life is good....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The victim

My husband says I play the role of a martyr, well if that is the case he plays the roll of the victim. NOTHING is ever his fault, he always has someone or something else to blame. Now that we are apart I am beginning to see this even more clearly. He came over to my house to drop my daughter off after picking her up from dance. I asked how his writing project was going. The day before was a Sunday and since he is no longer active in the church he had all day to work. What did he do, NOTHING. He blamed it on writer's block, which I know writers get blocked, I do a lot of writing for a living and there are days when it flows and days when it does not, but regardless I sit and write and generally after a period of time it starts to flow. He will not even attempt unless he feels he is in "flow." And he lets ANYTHING distract from him in being in flow.

Needless to say when he came to my house he was in a "pissy" mood because he was not meeting his deadlines, hell, he was not even trying to meet his deadlines. It was the fault of the church, because if he had not been told all his life that being a homosexual was wrong, he would not be suffering as he is now. And if he were not suffering now he would not have writer's block.

I have to say I was really glad when he took his negative energy and left. I am just now beginning to realize how much his negativity affected me. It has always been like walking on egg shells around him. If I am going to say ANYTHING remotely critical I have to say it at the right time in the right manner, and even then who knows how he will take it. I was never really free to express how I felt, because it was usually turned around to be my fault or my problem. Over the last few years I just quit saying anything because it was just easier.

Now living on his own, he is running out of people and things to blame for his problems, aside from the church, which is currently the root of everything that is wrong in his life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

First week-end at Daddy's

When my husband and I first began to discuss the issue of our separation and how we were going to divide and conquer so to speak, we had decided he would have the kids every other week-end. As time drew closer to our actual physical separation, I could tell how hard it was going to be for him to loose that daily contact with the kids. I suggested that he have the kids every weekend beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and return them to me by Sunday morning so I could take them to church. He really like that idea. It was just kind of on a whim that I suggested it, and I had not really thought it through. After it came out of my mouth and he said "great" I begin to think of the implications for me.....

ALONE every week-end. In the 7 1/2 years since my oldest child was born I have never had that kind of alone time. It scared the crap out of me. Which ironically is what was also scaring my husband, how much time he would now find himself alone, once we separated. I called my dad hysterical, wondering what I had just done. He attempted to calm me down, and I did feel better after I got off the phone.

I am a list maker, so naturally I decided to make a list of all things things, and projects I could do without my children underfoot. I discovered that I had a very long list of things I have wanted to do for 7 1/2 years but not been able to because of being a mother to small children. All of the sudden those ALONE week-ends did not seem so alarming, and instead seemed very appealing.

Several weeks ago was the first week-end the kids spend at the new house with their dad. I went over on Friday night, and helped my husband unpack, because the movers had been at my house all day moving stuff out. I wanted both my husband and my children to feel settled in the new house. I know it seems silly, and a lot of my friends don't understand why I would still even be speaking to him, much less helping him unpack his stuff, but the fact remains I still love him, I care about him and I know this is just as hard on him as it is on me. I need him to feel settled, for my piece of mind, as well as to be a good dad for my kids. My job as a mom will be a lot easier if he is involved in their lives and has some degree of contentment. I left late Friday night after unpacking numerous boxes and making a run to the grocery store for food my children would eat.

Saturday morning found me sleeping in until 10:30 a.m.!!! A real treat for me. Actually I was woken up my his calling me asking if he could stop by and get another pair of PJ's for the 18 month old. Here was his morning: No sleep the night before due to the 4 year old who refused to sleep anywhere but with daddy, kids up, fed, bathed, and dress by 9:30 a.m. because they had to be out the door to ensure my 8 year old made dance practice by 10:00 a.m. While he was attempting to get the kids ready, the 18 month old dumped a bowl of coco pebbles she found unattended on the table all down the front of her PJ's, hence the call to me, and in addition she ate 2 tubes of Chapstick, and went on a search and destroy mission throughout the house. His comment to me was "Boy she gets into everything!" I replied "Yeah, I know" while inside I was secretly laughing, because I guess he thought for the last 7 1/2 years,since we started having kids,that a mysterious fairy went through the house cleaning up after the kids.....

He had to entertain the 18 month old and the 4 year old until noon when the 8 year old finished dance practice. This involved running errands, and taking the 4 year old in public is always an interesting experience. While driving back to his house the 18 month old fell asleep, which meant she refused to take an afternoon nap. He was trying to prepare a gourmet dinner for 6 friends, and all she wanted to do was cry and demand to be picked up. His comment to me "You can't get anything done when they are around." I replied "Yeah, I know," while secretly thinking to myself "Where have you been for the last 7 1/2 years? Now do you understand why sometimes when you came home I might not have always been in the best of moods?"

With the arrival of his friends he was able to finish dinner, but all during dinner and after dinner the kids kept demanding things kids demand, like more food, drink, to be cleaned off, diaper changed, help going potty, etc. He was in and out of the conversation with his friends as he attended to the kids. I think it was pretty exhausting.... And again a second night of no sleep due to the 4 year old in the bed with him.

Meanwhile for me, on Saturday, after sleeping in until 10:30 a.m. I decided to completely clean and reorganize my bedroom and bathroom. The project took three hours, and it was entirely uninterrupted by children. I listened to uplifting music and enjoyed being able to have a thought to myself that was not interrupted after 30 seconds by a child needing my attention. I then took a long hot shower, got dressed in a totally rockin' cute outfit and headed out to the mall. I shopped for two hours, mostly window, and met friends for dinner. After dinner we returned to my house and my friend's husband gave me a beautiful blessing. The week-end was the most peaceful relaxing week-end I have had in a long time, maybe ever.....at least since my children were born.

I think I am going to like week-ends ALONE!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things that bind us....

It was around the middle of August when I realized that my marriage was not going to last, and a deep sadness set in. It was also around that time I began to follow a blog about a husband and wife who had been in a plane crash. They both survived, but were severely burned. They live in Arizona and are the parents of four small children, similar in age to mine. The wife had been a blogger for three years and had quite a following. Her sister also had a blog, which had its own following. Because of their blog following the story began to get a lot of media attention, both locally and nationally, which is what first drew me to both their blogs. Over the last few months I have been following the sister's blog, with the continual updates on the medical condition of the couple. I have also began to read older posts from the wife and mother severely burned in the crash. She writes about life as a mother, and the simple pleasures of enjoying her children and husband.

Clearly now her life is forever changed, and how she choose to move forward from this point is her decision to make. Life as she knew it will never been the same. She has just recently started to come out of her medically induced coma and realize what lies ahead. Although our challenges are different, the pain, sorrow and change bind us together. I too feel like I am coming out of a coma of sorts, with new roads to travel, and the future is forever changed from the past. In many ways what she and her family are feeling right now is the same thing I am feeling only the circumstances are different. As I have read her sister's blog, and the beautiful things she has written, it has struck a cord with me, and helped me to realize we all feel the same emotions, they just come to us through individual trials. That emotion is what is able to bind us together in empathy for others who also experience trials.

I have copied parts of two of my favorite posts:

November 11, 2008,

"I have never known the heaviness that I have felt the past few days. It weighs upon your heart and never leaves your soul. Though I have prayed for it to leave, I have come to understand that this is part of the process. Sometimes there is nothing to do but feel the depths of humanity. And I can't even begin to imagine those who will feel it much deeper than I do now.But, God is with us. Eventually He will help us carry this and lighten our heavy in due time. We believe in better times. We believe in eternal happiness. We know that an atonement was made and all is not lost. It is times like these where faith is more valuable than anything in this world. This is how we become more like our Father in Heaven.Stephanie knows this too, and she will be fine. That is the amazing aspect of faith. When you allow for hope to grow in your heart you find that peace takes root and is not easily destroyed. She knows."

October 20, 2008

"So much of her recovery is still unknown, and we are so encouraged and hopeful by every report, but it is a long road of progress and setbacks, and we have to be patient. We. Have. To. Wait.

Through all of this, I kept thinking of all the possible outcomes. All bandaged, without a medical degree or crystal ball, I couldn’t tell. Will she be able to tie little shoes again? Pick up children? Make a meal? Type? Paint? Turn the pages of a book? Make a craft? I asked this really energetic nurse, after I listened to her give this week’s update. I knew she not only had the experience and knowledge of a seasoned nurse, but that she had compassion and real love for each one of her patients. I knew she could answer my question in a realistic way, so I asked her what the most likely outcome would be for Stephanie. I was expecting a specific list of what she would and would not be able to do, but what I got was a 30 minute explanation that has changed my way of thinking.

She explained that there’s no way of knowing what the future will be, and that, basically, I was asking the wrong question. She spoke of other burn victims, how well they’re doing now, what they’re doing now, the successes and happiness they’ve expressed to her. She told me that everything is different now and that things will never be the same. Ever. If we, as her family and friends, are constantly comparing her to the way she used to be, then we’ll never be satisfied. It will never be enough. If, however, we compare her to how far she’s come, each step of the way, and see the miracle that her body is in surviving and changing, then each success will be a leap, not an inch, forward from a devastating moment. If we say, Look how much better she’s doing since September!, we’ll be encouraged. Or, at Christmas, if we say, Look how amazing she is since Halloween! , we’ll find joy in her success, not frustration. It reminds me how the Clarks, on the 4th of July, always say, Before you know it, there will be snow on the mountains, and it will be Christmas! and on Christmas say, Before you know it, it will be hot and we’ll be celebrating the 4th of July! It’s right around the corner! We laugh about it, but we’re always really thinking that. From holiday to holiday, that’s how we mark time.

I’ve been thinking about how I mark progress and how often my perspective, although linear, is off. I’m frustrated when I think of the ideal in my head, whether physical, spiritual, mental, or even emotional. I think I have unrealistic expectations sometimes, mostly in how fast I think I should be progressing. If I evaluate myself in terms of an ideal, I will never feel a period of rest or success. When I look at myself, in all aspects of life, all things considered, from a different perspective of several years ago, a few years ago, or a month ago, and allow myself to see how far I’ve come, then I can see it. I can see what difficult experiences have taught me–what knowledge they’ve given me and what incredible value they hold for me. And any progress, no matter how slow, is progress. But. I. Have. To. Wait.

I spoke with two of my sister in-laws whose fathers both died when they were young, and Topher’s grandma who lost her husband when she had a house full of little kids. They all made the same four points, individually, to me this week: 1. We all have tragedy in our lives–no one escapes it. 2. Looking back, I can see so many blessings coming out of the tragedy. 3. We were meant to help each other amid tragedy, and 4. We can be in the middle of a tragedy and still be happy. Somehow, these points help me see how far Stephanie has really come, and how truly inspirational her healing is. It makes me think that when we think we’re waiting, we’re really progressing."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Telling his family

As I mentioned earlier, his parents, (mother and step father) have known since March about my husband being gay. He has 9 siblings, (2 wholes, 2 halfs and 5 steps) none of them knew, with the exception of a whole blood brother, who is also gay. I figured it was not my place to be telling members of his family. My husband was dragging his feet on telling his siblings.

Recently his youngest sister spent the night with us, while his parents were out of town. She knew that we were having problems in our marriage and were going to separate, but did not know the nature of the problems. I am very close to his youngest sister, (his parents and two youngest siblings, half bloods, lived with us for 5 years, but that is ANOTHER story...) I wanted his youngest sister to know that I was ok, and exactly what the situation is. She cried when I told her, but told me she still loves my husband. I assured her that I too still loved him. Her best friend's father is gay and divorced from her best friend's mother. She has spent time with the best friend's dad, so this was not a completely foreign concept to her. I really was the right person to deliver the information to her. Being the youngest she sometimes get treated like a 12 year old and she is almost 18, and very mature, despite being the youngest of 10. I would not have told her if I did not feel it was information she could handle. His youngest brother recently left on a mission and the concusses is that he needs to focus on his mission, and this information can wait two years.

As for the rest of his siblings....this is where it gets dicey..... My husband, me, his siblings, and step siblings all grew up in the same town together. We no longer live in that town, or state for that matter, however my youngest sister lives still lives in that town, and we all have a lot of friends there. My youngest sister decided that my marriage needed to be the topic of gossip and proceeds to tell a friend who happens to be good friends with the youngest of the step siblings. (For the record I, nor my husband, get along with this particular sibling nor his wife, again that is ANOTHER story...) As soon as the step sibling finds out that my husband is gay and we have separated, it spreads like wildfire through the family, not exactly how we wanted to break the news. Pretty much me, my husband, and his parents want to throttle my sister. I know she did not mean for this to happen, but the point is she should not be gossiping about me to some stranger I don't even know. ( I know its ironic considering I am blogging this to all the world)

After this information comes out my husband refuses to call his siblings and speak with them, leaving his parents to do his "dirty work." His sister, a full blood, called him, he see she is calling and lets the call go to voice mail. I ask if he is going to call her back and he respond that he will "email" her. I had to laugh, because this was a prime example of my husbands refusal to be emotionally intimate with anyone. Earlier this year he informed me he does not like talking on the telephone, (which is true, he has never been a big telephone talker, its pretty much say what you have to say and hang up. Very rarely do I have a telephone conversation with him that exceeds 5 minutes) and he prefers to text message, so if I want to talk to him through out the day I needed to text him. Hence I learned how to text. Again can't be emotionally intimate in a text conversation...... However his sister was persistant and kept calling him until eventually he picked up the phone and talked to her. She called me too, which thought was very nice and extremely thoughtful.

None of his other siblings, (all steps) have bothered to call....too scared, don't know what to say, glad its us and not them, bigoted, who knows....Thank goodness I am going out of state for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Telling my family.

I told one of my sisters when he first came out, but I had not told anyone else in my family. My father does not have the best of health and I did not want to unnecessarily worry him if we were going to be able to work this out. After we made the decision to separate, I knew I had to make a difficult phone call to my father. (He lives out of state.) My father was of course surprised and upset. He is very old school and sees "gay" as a choice rather than an inherent part of who my husband is. I elected not to get into a debate with my father about that point, because it is not going to change his mind, at least not at this point in time. Its probably a good thing my father has as many health problems as he does, otherwise I think he might have come to my house and killed my husband.

Just to pour salt in this wound for my father, I have a step sister who was married to a gay man, so my father has been down this path once before. I guess we have mastered the fine art of finding gay men in my family! I tried to assure my father that my situation was going to be different from my step-sister in that I was not expecting my husband to go wild like my former brother-in-law did, but my father only has that situation to measure my situation against. My sisters have conveyed to me that my father is very concerned about me. Two days after I told him he called me up and asked if I had taken an AIDS test. I assured him that I did not believe my husband was fooling around, but he said my former brother-in-law said he was not fooling around, and my step sister got a call from the health department notifying her a man my brother-in-law had slept with tested positive for HIV, and my step sister had to get tested. Fortunately her results were negative. I told my father I would get the full scope of STD tests so he could sleep at night. (Just did the blood work, waiting for results)

I had a brother and sister still to tell. I called my youngest sister and told her. She is very liberal, and a big opponent of Prop 8 so she of course had no issues with my husband being gay, other than concern for how I was feeling. My brother.....well he is another story. My brother was 14 when my mom died and is emotionally stuck at 14, despite the fact he is 31. He is unmarried, not active in the Church, drinks, does drugs, sleeps around (with women), works when he is in the mood, and you don't call him he calls you. He happened to call me on the Sunday we told our children. After we told our children, and my husband took them to his new house, and I had an appointment with the Bishop. This was a Bishop who had been in for two weeks. I had not been to my prior Bishop, just because we had not made our decision yet on how we were going to proceed with our relationship, and once we made the decision, I knew our Bishop was going to get released so I decided to wait to address the issue with the new Bishop. The new Bishop had a little bit of a heads up about the situation, because the wife of the former Bishop was one of the two sisters in the ward that I fully disclosed to, and during the transition the old Bishop told the new Bishop I would probably be visiting with him soon. The meeting went fine, I don't know this Bishop very well, and he of course does not know me, but he was understanding and assured me he would not share the information about my husband being gay with anyone in the ward.

Ok, back to my brother, he calls me about 10 minutes after I have come home from meeting with the Bishop. I am emotionally exhausted from telling the children and speaking to the Bishop. I can barely form any sort of a sentence, and I am certainly not in the mood to have a "strained" conversation with my brother. (All conversations with my brother are "stained" due to his lack of emotional maturity. It is basically like talking to a 14 year old) So I tell my brother to sit down and proceed to say "(the name of my husband) is gay and we are getting a divorce. " A stunned silence on the other end of the phone, and my brother responds "Wow I did not see that one coming." To his credit he was really concerned about me, which was a shock, because generally he is not capable of having any thoughts outside of himself. I told him I was really tired and just could not talk right now and could he please call me back later in the week. He agreed to do that.

Its been three weeks and I still have not heard from him.....I guess he is still processing......

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The last month...

October 2, 2008 my husband and I made the decision to separate. It was a discussion that was several months in the making. I had known since about August that our marriage was not going to survive, but it was hard to admit to myself and to my husband. He knew too. We both are moving in different directions. He does not want to be part of the Church anymore and I do. He is angry with the Church right now over their treatment of homosexuals. I understand his anger and why he feels the way he does, but I can’t deny my testimony and give up the Church, which is one of things it would take for me to remain married to him. Even staying with him and going to Church by myself would be difficult, and hamper my ability to grow spiritually, and engage my children spiritually.

The other issue was his friends. He has a number of gay friends, and I understand his need to have gay friends, but he want to emotionally connect to them, and not to me. He wants to spend time with them, and not me. Every night he spends one to two hours doing IM with them, and I know he is also doing IM at work, so it’s not like he has not talked to them all day. He shares his feelings with them and not me, he hides things from me. He parties with them. At first I thought I could share him with his friends, but then realized I am not good a sharing…and his choosing them over me is a constant reminder that I am not enough for him.

As hard as it is, I decided that I deserve more in a relationship. I deserve to be with someone who want to be with me, who wants to share with me, who finds me attractive sexually, who wants to live the gospel, who wants to be emotionally and physically intimate with me. I realize I may never find that in this life time, but I also realize my relationship with my husband is not healthy for me, and being alone is better than staying. I fought so hard over the summer to try to stay in this relationship, I did not want to leave, but the more I fought to stay, the more physically and emotionally ill I became. Once I made the decision to leave a wave of peace fell over me, and I knew it was the right choice. I still love him and I know he still loves me, but it is simply not enough.....

Then the long a painful process began of telling those we love, including our children. It is a decision we both agree on, so there is no anger or hostility. We were friends before we got married, we have been friends during our marriage, and it is our hope to continue to be friends. After he first came out to me I elected to only tell my sister and my aunt. I did not know what future held, and I did not want a lot of "noise" from others while I was trying to decide. It was a heavy burden I carried in silence for six months. After we made the decision to separate, I knew I needed to tell my two best friends in my ward. They are two women I served with in a calling and we became very close, so much so I consider them my sisters. I knew they would be loving and understand. It was hard, there was a lot of crying, and one of the sisters has a son that is gay, which I did not know. I felt a burden lift as I told them and allowed them to help share my pain, and be a support for me. This is a new position for me. Usually I am the one giving service and relief. To be on the receiving end is a new experience.

Other than these two sisters, and my bishop I have elected to not disclose to my other ward members that my husband is gay. This is out of respect for my husband. He has elected to remain silent at work regarding the issue, and members of our ward know people he works with. I also decided it was the right choice. "Gay" brings with it a whole host of judgment, most of it unrighteous. No one knows my husband as I do, and despite his current choices, he is a good person, I still love him, I respect him, he is a good father to our children, and does not deserve the judgements individuals will place on him without a full understanding of him and our situation.

After he first came out to me, I spoke with my aunt who has been through two divorces and is a counselor. She gave me some of the best advice I have received. She told me to "be the teller of my story." I have been in situations when I have learned someone I know is getting divorced through the grapevine. It creates an awkward situation. You don't know what to say to the person, so you avoid them. I did not want to be avoided, I wanted to be supported. I made a list of those I wanted to tell personally and began working on my list. I started with my home teachers and visiting teachers. I have received nothing but love and support and it has allowed people to approach me and ask how I am doing because they know I am willing and open to talk about the situation. Since I am not disclosing that my husband is gay I have just said that my husband has made changes in his life that have made it impossible to stay married. Which is true, because had he stayed active in the Church and given up his friends I would have stayed in the marriage. I have also been very clear that there is no third party involved.

As wise as I believe my initial choice to stay silent was, I truly know that the Lord does not intend us to bear our burdens alone. By sharing my story and my trials and testifying to my friends the love that I know my Heavenly Father has for me it has given me the necessary strength to forge ahead. After the emotional lows of the summer to feel myself getting emotionally stronger every day is a blessing. I have no doubt that I have made the right choice for me.

Telling our children was something I dreaded. We elected not to tell them until my husband had a new house and a few things in the house. Our children are very young, 7, 4, and 18 months. I knew the seven year old would be impacted the most because she understands the most. I prayed that I would be able to say the right things to them to convey the love that both their father and I have for each other. We told them they had probably notice that both mommy and daddy had been sad lately, and that because of that we could not live together anymore. We, or rather I, told them because my husband could not speak, that we both loved them, and that it had nothing to do with any of them and it was nothing they did or said. We also reassured them that we both still love each other and always well. The seven year old was crying, and the four year old wanted to know if I was still going to live in our house. I assured the four year old I would still be living in our house. We then began to talk about "daddy's new house" and what the new schedule would be. I assured them that they were going to see their daddy two nights a week, and spend Friday and Saturday night every week with him, and would come home Sunday morning in time to go to church with me. Then I told them that they were going to go with daddy to see his new house. They became excited. I told them what an adventure it would be. I wanted to give them some control since they adults in their life were pretty much trashing their life without their permission. I told them they could choose which toys and books to take to daddy's house. I told them they could pick out new bedding for their new rooms. We also talked about some of the fun things they could do a daddy's house. They left to see the new house, and returned excited.

Since telling them I have been carefully observing their behavior in order to head off any problems. The seven year old has had a lot of questions, which I have tried to answer in a straight forward, age appropriate way. Both the seven year old and four year old have now moved into my bed and refuse to sleep in their own beds. Normally I believe children should sleep in their own beds, but given the current situation, I think and exception to this rule as long as they want is ok. Besides the four year old likes to sleep snuggled up right next to me, and I have to admit I need it has much as the four year old does.

There is so much more, but for right now I will pause.....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Self Esteme

The nights are the worst. Everyone is in bed and the house is quiet, and I am left to my own thoughts. I have been listening to a lot of music and thinking, which is good. I have also been doing a lot of reading, not fun reading, reading on mixed orientation marriages, gay issues etc. Just stuff I need to think about. I really have been at a very bad place emotionally, and I know it. I am usually so strong and I am feeling crushed and weak. I feel like my self esteem has taken a nose dive. In many ways it has. I had what I thought was a good marriage, with a husband who was heterosexual. That reality came to an end March 23, 2008 and its made me question everything in my life. How could I not see what was right in front of my face? It’s my job to see situations and judge, yet I was blinded by my own life. How could the person who claims to love me, LIE to me for all these years and I not see it? Was it there for me to see and I just refused to open my eyes, because if I did not see it I would never have to face it. I don’t know, but I do know I am feeling pretty crappy about myself. Did he every love me romantically? Was I ever sexy to him? Was it all a game? He says he love me and wants to say together, does he really mean it or is he just saying that because he wants to have his cake and eat it too? I must be a pretty stupid person to not see this in 10 years of marriage and 7 years of dating. How could I do this to myself and my children? What an idiot I am. That is why I feel crappy about myself….

To the outside world I put on a great show, probably should win an academy award for my performance. The only evidence of how crappy I feel about myself is my weight gain. I can’t quite eating, and I know it is for emotional reasons. After all if your husband tells you he is attracted to men, it really does not do a lot to help you feel good about your body. I know it is about him, not me, but I FEEL like it is about me. I feel like it is a totally rejection of me physically, so why not comfort myself with food? I know if I were to eat healthy and exercise I would feel better about myself, but right now I want to have a pity party, so I do nothing. I know it has to, and needs to end…and I need to pick myself up off the ground, dust myself off, and forge ahead. Maybe tomorrow…..

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Expectations

Recently I wrote about expectations and how my husband hates when I have expectations of him, because he feels like he will never measure up. I really don’t think my expectations are overly demanding or unreasonable, and the more I look at our situation I realize that he probably is not capable of meeting those expectations and it really has nothing to do about me and how much he loves me.

In an effort to let go of what will never be I will share with you some of what I have I now realize will never be, because it never has been. When we go out somewhere together and he has parked the car and is half way in the door before I have barely gotten out of the car. Ok that is a little exaggerated, but he never walks with me he is always several steps ahead of me. I would love it if he would just slow down, realize I am there, and want to walk by my side, not ahead of me. Another example, he will hold my hand if I grab his, but it will only last for a minute or two until he feels like he has held it sufficiently long enough to let go. I would love it if he would pick up my hand and hold it because he wants to be physically close to me, and enjoys holding my hand. He never sits by me on the couch, he picks a different couch. I will go over and sit by him and sometimes he will put his arm around me, other times he will just sit there wondering how long must he endure. I cuddle with him, he does not cuddle with me. I give him back rubs, he does not give me back rubs. I long for him to be affectionate with me. I know he is capable of affection, because I see him with our children, he is just not capable of it with me.

Looking back I should not be surprised. He was the only guy I ever dated whom I did not have to consistently remove his hands from my body. He would not even kiss me. When I asked him about this he told me he was scared he would lose control. At the time it made sense, now it does not. He was more affectionate with me when we first got married than he is now, but it has never been like other guys I dated. In the last two years as he has been admitting his same sex attraction issues the affection between us has nearly completely died off. Sex is a physical release, and nothing deeper. I struggle in telling myself this is about him not me, but it is hard, because it feels like such a rejection of me.

I want more in a relationship, and with him I will not have that. If I stay with him I give up ever having that physical closeness that comes from being affectionate. I don’t know if I am willing to give up that expectation, but I also don’t know if I am willing to give him up.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Emotions

When my husband first came out to me I was emotionally devastated, to the point of almost panic. I knew immediately I needed two things, medication and therapy. I got both. I called my OB/GYN for the medication and she put me on a low dose anti-depressant. It was nice because it took the edge off of my emotions, yet did not turn me into a zombie without feelings. I felt like I was still processing emotionally.

Recently I began to experience that wave of emotion again. I know it is directly tied into knowing the chances of remaining married and slow diminishing as both of us face new realities. It is a hard concept for me to admit, and I have not fully embraced the idea. In some part of my mind I just keep hoping that I am going to wake up from this bad dream, but I know that is just wishful thinking, and I am trying to focus on being present and realistic. I am trying to see things for how they are not how I wish or hope they would be. After suffering for about three weeks I decided I either needed a new medication or a higher dose because I have been pretty miserable, and all over the map emotionally. One minute I am happy, and the next I am reduced to tears. I feel like a freaking lunatic, because in the normal course of my existence I am one of the most sane people I know. My doctor doubled the dose and it should take about three weeks to kick in. I really hope that I don’t have to take medication forever, and that as I process through this I can wean myself off of it. For right now I know that if I were not on medication I could not function so it’s a good thing for the moment.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it is going to take to get me to the place emotionally where I can function with some semblance of normalcy again. I know my emotionally highs and lows are directly tied to my husband and the attention I am receiving from him. If he is paying attention to me and I feel loved and happy. If I am getting ignored or perceive that he is ignoring me then it makes me want to cry. I know that I am way too dependant on him emotionally and that I need to extricate myself from that in order to be more mentally healthy. Part of that dependence is because I feel so crappy about myself right now that I am seeking validation that I am an ok person and that he still loves me. I do not doubt that he still loves me, its just I am not the love of his life. His allegiance is divided between me and his friends. We are both equally important to him At first I thought I could live with that, but as time goes on I realize that I am not good at sharing, and emotionally he can’t give up his friends.

So in order to continue on in this situation I have to emotionally detach myself from him. Another issue we have is he hates me having any sort of expectations of him. This also feeds into my emotional connection with him. If an expectation is unfulfilled then I think “well he does not love me” and it spirals down from there. In a marriage you have to have expectations of your spouse. You can’t just say “do what you want, let me know how it goes.” He wants to do what he wants to do and give me what he feels like giving, which I have to admit lately has been a lot, its just not been what I have needed or wanted. If I try to express what I would like or need he gets angry telling that I am not appreciative of what he is doing and that I have unrealistic expectations of him that he will never meet.

So I have begun to shut down emotionally with him. I am very appreciative of what he does do for me, and I just don’t ask for what I need or want. I try not to have any expectation of anything from him, and realize that if I need something I do it myself or get it from another person. I don’t open up to him, I don’t share with him. For the first time in our marriage I keep secretes from him. Little by little I feel myself pulling away from him emotionally. We will always be good friends and the emotional disconnect I am engaging in right now will preserve that friendship. He will be like a good girlfriend to whom I can talk to about superficial things, do nice things for and appreciate if something nice is done for me, but not have any expectations beyond that. I know it will never be a close marriage relationship with the kind of emotional intimacy I would like. I am beginning to realize I don’t think it is something he is capable of…at least not with me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where am I now...

Six months later, where am I now....at a cross roads. I read a quote in Carol Lynn Pearson's book "No more goodbyes" that said "Do I smile because we are friends or cry because that is all we will ever be?" That is where I find myself today.


When he first came out he honestly thought I would kick him and out and divorce him. I did no such thing. I was too scared. I was scared of being alone, scared of being a single mom, scared of caring the stigma of being divorced, but mostly of being alone. Initially I thought it would be better to stay in this marriage, no matter how bad, than to be alone. I figured either way I would be alone, so why not be alone in a marriage where my children get to have a father, and we have some semblance of a home and family life. I have been re-thinking that lately. I am so lonely, sad, depressed and unhappy, that staying is clearly making me miserable so could being divorced really be that bad? Part of my sadness comes from the fact I still have expectations of him as a husband, and its hard to either let go of those expectations, or live with them. I know after six months I can't live with those unfulfilled expectations, so I need to let them go, however I don't know if I can let them go, without letting him go.....a question I ponder frequently.


I am also at a cross roads because for the first time in six months I feel like I have a choice. I did not have a choice when we got married. He knew about his same sex attraction, I did not. How fair was that to me??? It was NOT fair. I was entitled to enter into this marriage with full disclosure and there was none. Now there full disclosure and I have a choice to stay in the marriage or leave. It just a more difficult choice now, because we have children. I could not fathom this choice at first, but now with time I see that I can make a choice to stay or leave.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

By way of introduction.....

It has been six months today since my husband announced to me that he is gay. I remember it all too well. We were having a fight because he was leaving the next day on a business trip, and I was tired of feeling like he was always making excuses to leave because he did not want to be here with me and the kids. I said something nasty, I don’t even recall what, but right after I said it I immediately regretted it. I left him alone for a minute or two, felt bad and went back to apologize. I know we talked for a while after my apology, but I am unclear or don’t recall what we were talking about. I do recall my husband becoming very quit, starting to cry, and saying he had something to tell me. He paused for a few minutes, and then said “You probably already know this, but I am gay.” I think on some level I did suspect and or know for many years, but never allowed my mind to wonder there. Well when faced with the reality. no longer could my mind be allowed to dismiss the signs I had seen. The stark, naked truth of his sexuality was staring me in the face. Of course I began to cry, and realized that suddenly so much of who he is now made sense to me. I told him I still loved him because I did and I still do. This was not the reaction he was anticipating. He thought he would be packing his bags, heading for divorce court. We talked for several hours, very openly and honestly, something we had not done in a LONG time. He was not wanting to leave me and the kids and we agreed that we would try to work through this, wherever the road took us.

With that he was off the next day for three days and I was left in silence to ponder my own thoughts, shattered dream and new reality. We talked each night, he too was pondering where the future would take us, and wondering if he had made the biggest mistake of his life in telling me, yet at the same time relieved to no longer be keeping secretes from me. He told me it was my choice to tell whom I wanted and even see the Bishop. He had told his dad but not his mom. As I wondered around in a dazed fog for the next few days, part of me wanted to tell those closest to me and part of me wanted to say nothing. I chose a compromise of the two. I let his dad tell his mom, and she became a great confident for me. I did not tell my parents, but I did tell one of my siblings. I elected to call an aunt of mine. I told her because she is a counselor and always has good advice. One of the things she told me was when telling others to let them know that I wanted to be the teller of my own story, and please respect my privacy and not gossip. I appreciated that because I do want to tell my own story, and there is no one better to tell it than me.

I elected not to say anything to the Bishop or anyone in my ward, despite the fact I have some extremely close friends in the ward. There were several reasons I chose to remain silent. First my husband had not done anything that would require him to visit with the Bishop, so I saw no need for me to see the Bishop. My husband needs to be the teller of his own story. Second at that point I was not sure the journey we would be taking, and I did not want a bunch of unsolicited advice on how best for me to proceed. Let’s face it being gay and Mormon does carry social stigma. A lot of people would not understand my initial decision to stay with my husband and I did not want to be judged by those who have not walked in my shoes. So I remained silent. I have still remained silent. To this day no one in my ward knows. And no one other than the first few people I told, know. Even those I have told don’t exactly know how to provide support for me, other than to let me know they care. None of them live near me so my day to day struggle is largely unnoticed. I feel very alone and isolated, in this struggle. Despite that I do feel the love my Heavenly Father has for me and know that I am truly not alone.