Expectation vs. Reality

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How I think I look when I tell someone I’m gay:

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How I really look:

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3 Things You Need to Know Before Coming Out

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1. Your Feelings Are Valid

Whether you’re the L, G, B or T part of our wonderful and ever expanding acronym you need to realize that the feelings you have, (or maybe don’t have,) are valid. Whatever attractions you’re experiencing are real, raw and pretty radical—in a good way of course.

What you’re feeling isn’t bad. It isn’t a sin or an abomination. God doesn’t hate you.

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They’re feelings. They’re the pallet with which you paint your life. They’re beautiful and more importantly they’re OK.

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2. There’s No Pressure

Before shining the light upon that sacred and vulnerable part of one’s heart there’s an overwhelming sense of the whole world bearing down on you.

This is your life and this is your sexuality. Take the reigns and realize that you’re in control. You answer to no one. You don’t have to pick this path or that one. You do you and find your own happiness.

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Maybe that means you don’t make a coming out video, or that you don’t come out at all. That’s ok. Not everyone wants or needs the limelight. All that matters is that you’re happy.

So everyone else can

 

Deal with it

3. Select Your Social Circle

If you decide to go the Facebook post, YouTube video approach or in my case the 6 o’clock news way make sure you have a safety net of friends to fall back on.

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Coming out is scary mix of anxiety and relief. People are not always accepting or compassionate and you’ll need that hand picked, cream of the crop, die-hard fan club to buoy you up. Believe me, there’s always that one person.

When those people make themselves known, don’t be afraid to part ways or hide their posts from your newsfeed. Some people are toxic and you don’t need it.

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In the end you’ll be happier you did.

 

Remember, whatever happens, no matter how dramatic, you’re not alone. You’re part of our community and we love you.

Where I’ve Been

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So a few of you diehard followers have asked me via Twitter where I’ve been for the past few months. Which struck me as surprising, because until now I thought that me writing this blog was more like me talking to myself.

Which I do anyways, but at least I know I’m not the only one enjoying what I have to say.

Where have I been…that’s a long answer that requires us to go back to the very end of the Rexburg series when I left for California.

At the end of the blog I stated that I would be leaving BYU-I for good and never going back, which was 100% accurate. I wasn’t ever going back…physically at least.

For the past 3 months I’ve been finishing up the last few credits I needed in order to get my Associates of Science degree online.

It’s been a rather large and exhausting secret that I’ve tried exceptionally hard to keep under the radar. BYU-I operates like something out of 1984 and I was worried that any news of my attendance would get out and I’d lose out on the first part of my degree by a meager 6 credits.

On top of all this I was living with my sister Gwen for the first part of this whole adventure, which in and of itself will probably become another series in this blog.

I got a job, I lost a job, I moved twice, found a new job and now live in a whole new city with my boyfriend who I finally announced openly via Facebook.

Now I’m just working and trying to make ends meet for the time being. I’m working on some new pieces, but I’m being pickier about edits and so it’s taking longer to get things posted, but there will be new content soon…ish.

So in summary: Where have I been?

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Werkin it.

My Big Gay Mormon Mission–Part I: MTC–Maybe Companions

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The classroom was the size of a gum box and equipped with a single black board, whose tray was caked with dust, and a singular picture of Christ hanging haphazardly from a single clip near the top right hand corner.

 

The first thing I noticed upon entering the exclusively cramped quarters was the stuffiness of the place. I took my seat near the front left side of the class, trapezeing as if it were to get into what had to be the most difficult of desks to reach. Across from me sat Elder Bailey who quickly glanced up at me, one eye slightly straying from the other. He sniffed and then looked away.

 

Awkward silence filled the room until one missionary near the end leaned forward a few seats down from me. He had an uncanny resemblance to John F. Kennedy and a nervous smile.

 

“What’s your name?” his voice was nasally.

 

The other missionaries played spectator, their heads turning to follow the conversation.

 

“Elder Trottier.”

 

“Elder McCombs.”

 

I nodded as all eyes again landed on me. I looked at the crooked picture of Christ upon the chalkboard who in a strange way looked himself oddly engaged in this exchange.

 

“I…” all heads turned to face Elder McCombs. “I think we’re companions.”

 

The room again turned to me. “Alright,” I responded.

 

Elder McCombs nodded and leaned back into formation and the room fell silent again. I looked over at Jesus and then back down at my desk.

[to be cont.]

Sorry Guys

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This week I’ve been canvassing in LA all week. It’s been a crazy couple of days full of some amazing stories to share, but to keep my one post a week record I’m updating you all on my schedule and I’m taking a break from my current endeavor. Next week I’ll return with another installment, so till then hope you all have a fantastic week.

 

My Big Gay Mormon Mission–Part I: MTC–The Missionary Training Center

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“So are you excited?” Yarb asked from across the table.

 

Olive Garden was lively with the sounds of clinking plates and lunchtime chitchat. The restaurant were texture painted to look like authentic, time worn, beige Italian walls and an access of rod iron hung about the place as if to scream home the message that, “WHEN YOU’RE HERE YOU’RE IN ITALY MAN.”

 

“I’m going to be a missionary,” as the words fell from my mouth my lips curled into a large goofy smile.

 

“You’re gonna be great,” Brimhall added as he grabbed the last breadstick.

 

In a word Brimhall was relaxed. Never once in the three years I had known him had I ever once see him upset. His monotone voice was as consistent as a slow moving river and his expression always that of a person sincerely content with themselves and the direction of their life.

 

“Well I had the two best examples a convert could ever ask for,” I said casually as I picked at the last bits of my salad.

 

Years ago they had been my missionaries. Every other day they’d meet me at Todd’s house for a lesson and the entire Gang, even Rae who is still Catholic, would come to support me. Now three years later almost, here I was in the suit and tie and there they were in their street clothes.

 

“Do you guys miss it?” I asked slowly as I moved a piece of lettuce around with my fork.

 

“No,” Yarb said. “I did my best to live every moment of those two years.”

 

“When you’re living I don’t think you’ll have time to miss the past,” Brimhall added simply. “I loved my mission, I loved teaching the gospel and I loved the people I served, but it doesn’t have to end when you retire the badge.”

 

“Yeah,” Yarb nodded. “You just got out there and give it your all. ‘Sides, it’s way too early for you to be thinking about the missing it.”

 

“True,” I agreed.

 

There was a moment of silence over our table that seemed to radiate out over the clink and clatter of the restaurant. I stared at my empty salad bowl my stomach boiling and bubbling over with nerves.

 

“Well I guess we should get you to the MTC,” Yarb looked up from his phone.

 

I nodded and the three of us got up and left.

 

There is a moment right after you cross the threshold that hits you like a kickball to the face. A paralyzing piece of time where you realize you the door you went through locked behind you and now the unknown that was before you is around you, slowly settling into place in disjointed silhouettes like a dream you’ve already forgotten but are trying to remember.

 

The Missionary Training Center was overflowing with cars full of proud families coming to drop off their little Elder for his two-year hiatus. Slowly we rolled into the parking lot, dozens of flags representing all the countries in the world in which the Church’s missionary efforts were located, stood triumphantly in the cold winter wind.

 

The truck stopped and as I opened the door a sweet old woman with a warm smile welcomed me. Brimhall and Yarb handed me my bags, which the woman gave to another missionary.

“Can you take a picture of us real quick?” Yarb asked the woman.

 

“Oh of course,” she hummed. “I’m not real good with these contraptions though so hopefully it comes out ok,” she warned.

 

A picture was taken of my missionaries and I and with a quick exchange of goodbyes I was lead off by this Elder Staats.

 

Elder Staats was an out going missionary with a round face and a comb over so sleek and so exact it could have been a science.

 

“Where you from Elder?” he asked with a subtle lisp.

 

“Washington,” I answered simply as I stared at the droves of other missionaries being led deeper within this vast complex of covered pathways and towering brick buildings.

 

“Nice. What mission are you going to?” He led me down pathway after pathway through door after door in a dizzying journey.

 

“Brazil, Londrina,” I explained as we walked into a large room filled with a snaking line of missionaries.

 

“Really? Me too!” he exclaimed. “What are the odds that I’d be assigned to you?”

 

“I don’t think there are any,” I replied as I stared at a flashing spot at the other end of the room.

 

“You’re right about that Elder. There are no coincidences in the Lord’s work.”

 

“What’s going on over there?” I asked pointing to the flashing spot.

 

“Pictures. You’re getting your badge and picture now and then I’ll be showing you to your residency hall,” he explained.

 

The line moved swiftly and before long I was giving my name to an older gentleman who searched through a tub of manila envelopes labeled T-V, found mine, opened it, gave me my badge and sent me to get my picture taken.

 

“Smile, this one follows you,” the woman warned cryptically.

 

The camera flashed as I forced a painful smile all that made me look confused and was then swept off by Elder Staats down another corridor, through another door and out into a maze of covered pathways.

 

My name badge hung heavy and new upon my suit jacket and I couldn’t pull my eyes off it. The sleek black polish, the ivory white letters, the symbols and accents that decorated Portuguese grammar. But it was my name, Elder Trottier, that I couldn’t get over. That I couldn’t stop staring at.

 

“Here we are,” Elder Staats announced as we rounded a corner. “Welcome to the Dan Jones Building,” he said placing a key card up to a machine and unlocking the door.

 

I followed him inside the dark, dungeon-eque structure down into the basement. There were no windows only matted carpeted halls and tan brick walls lined with dark wooden doors each with a number placard hung on the frame above them.

 

We stopped at the back right corner of the basement and Elder Staats reached into the manila envelope and retrieved a key.

 

“Here you are,” he handed me the key and stepped aside with a nod.

 

I opened the door to a pitch-black room and began to flounder around for a light switch. Elder Staats wasted no time in stepping in and dropping off my things before slapping the light switch.

 

The room was tiny and filled with two bunk beds, two long desks and four wardrobes.  The walls were a clinical white paint over smooth brick and the carpet was the same matted stuff from out in the hall.

 

“Well looks like you’re gonna have to wait for your roommates to get in before you can choose a bed,” Staats hummed as he rubbed his chin perplexed.

 

“Why?”

 

“They made all the beds so it looks like there’s four in this room. Odds are they’ll be wanting the bottom bunks, but for now just throw your stuff wherever.”

 

I threw my things on the top bunk closest to the door.

 

“Ok now I’ll show you to your classroom,” he explained as she slapped the light and waited for me to follow him out into the hall.

 

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the cross and flung it on the desk and then locked the door behind me.

 

I followed my tour guide out of the residency hall and out into the bitter winter outside and up the sloping pathways. We walked into a towering building and up four flights of stairs. We started down a long corridor but almost immediately stopped. Elder Staats opened the door and inside sat four other Elders including Elder Bailey.

 

“This is your homeroom. You’ll come here for class every day. Good luck Elder, I’ll hopefully see you around,” he explained and then promptly left.

 

I smiled awkwardly with a nod and took my seat in the gum box sized classroom.

Daily: 5-30-14 Smile

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It’s a shame when a friendly hello and a smile are so rare as to spur surprise upon the recipient of said gesture. Image