I feel that last year was about closure in many ways. It was about realizing that this part of my life was reaching an end and that it was time to move on. I have felt for so long this yearning and desire to find a place where I can belong. To find a place where people can love me and accept me for who I am. What began in boredom and the hoped for desire of finding friends has ending in coming full circle and saying goodbye to so many friends. But I will talk about those groups in subsequent posts.
I went to BYU originally because I thought that God had wanted me to and that this had been confirmed by my acceptance into the school. But what began with such heartache, loneliness, and sense of loss has ended with friendship, community, and hope. BYU may have been the place and time that saw the destruction of so much of what I had built throughout my childhood. It saw the end of my hopes from when I was child to one day marry a woman, my belief in God, my desire to follow conservative politics, my desire to fit in, and my hope to create a life filled with money. But what I got in return was something far greater: a true and better understanding of who I am, the hope to create something better for myself, an odyssey into my soul, friends that truly care, and a community that is built around love and common purpose.
I have walked the campus of BYU for several years. I have yearned to be like those couples that walk around holding hands. While I still am not dating anyone, I feel so happy and at peace knowing that I am fine with being me. I am not perfect and have no real expectation of every being that. But I still have the choice to improve my life as I see fit. This desire reached it's highest level this past year when I moved away from BYU approved housing and the superficiality of so many people I have known there. I moved in with friends that were gay at two different times and set about rebuilding my life. It was hard and it was difficult and I had to face several brutal truths about me.
I spent half of the year still clinging to the hope that I could somehow keep my parents in my life even as I slowly drifted away. But my best friend pointed out to me that in doing so I belittled those around me by hiding them from my parents. My life seemed to blow apart over the summer when I got in a huge fight with my dad. It revealed to me how little I had succeeded in winning his approval of me. And when I was forced to confront that, I came to the initially sad but ultimately freeing realization that since I couldn't get their approval I should give up and focus on gaining approval from me.
This past year I felt lost as I struggled to find a home. I felt safe and then exposed and vulnerable. I felt lost and adrift when I thought I had lost my parents. My whole world seemed to fall apart then. But now I realize that it was a blessing in disguise (not a religious one). It made me stronger and helped me accept that I can make it on my own. That I had to now.
My parents are still in my life although distance both emotional and physical is still there. Our future is uncertain but I now know that I can keep moving forward, with or without them. I know now that I can say goodbye to them if I must and with only minimal bitterness. I know I can now forgive and let go if need me. That I can pursue a life of supreme happiness and peace whether they choose to join with me or in it or not.
This past year taught me that it's time to say goodbye. It's time to bid adieu to this place I called home, however horrible and wonderful it was, for the past five years. I have fought so far against my depression while there and in the process came out, left God, and gained people that have not filled the void in my heart but healed that rift and provided fertile soil for a garden of peace to grow within, so to speak.
Goodbyes are the hardest thing of all to do. To end what was originally the potential of near unlimited experiences with someone makes me want to cry at times. To know my most cherished experiences are not in the present but the ever growing past is something that reduces me to sorrow.
Yet, goodbyes have occurred. I have said goodbye to BYU and to too many friends. This past year, I almost said goodbye to my parents. I said goodbye to so much selfishness.
Still to review:
The anticipation is just killing me...