church, gender equality, growth, human rights, lgbtq, relationships, religion, sexual orientation, thoughts

We Are ALL Members of the Human Race

I came across this Ted Talk video; and while it’s a little long, I feel it’s worth the watch. iO Tillett Wright discusses what I’ve been considering, and the thought that I’ve been developing within myself for a long time. I have grown to a state of mind where I do not believe in sexual orientation. Now, that is not the main point of her talk; she discusses human rights. But, she points out how lucky she is to have parents she never had to ‘come out’ to, and how they didn’t bat an eye when she loved both men and women.

One of the first things I considered when looking into sexual orientation is this quote:

“I do not have a soul. I am a soul; I have a body” – unknown

I believe that statement to be true. I believe that who I am is not dependent on the body I am in. I believe there was/is/will be more than the short life I live on this Earth. What more there is, I have no idea; I just believe it’s arrogant to think that this is all that exists. A person’s personality is dependent on many things. Environment and experiences are huge factors. Genetics is a factor. But, I believe, my soul is the most important part of my personality. How else can you explain how and why people think and act the way they do? Look at identical twins. Exact same DNA. Basically same environment and experiences. Same household. But how many identical twins have you met, that have the same personalities, and interests, and passions? I feel I’m safe to assume few to none. So, what makes these two people that have the same influences in developing their mentality and personality so different? Their souls. My soul chooses my preferences, my style, my way of thinking, whatever makes me, me.

One of the next things I considered is physical attraction. Obviously, physical attraction is important. How someone looks is often the first thing to pull our attention. We wear certain clothes, and cut our hair certain ways, to try and express how we think and feel in the attempts that someone else will see that, connect to it and be attracted to us, and reach out. But haven’t you ever met someone, thought they were gorgeous, and then gotten to know them – and you find out that they’re annoying, or arrogant, or just not compatible with you at all… and they no longer are so gorgeous to you? Or, there’s the opposite also. I met a guy, and wasn’t very physically attracted to him. Then, I got to know him, and I fell in love with him, and then found him to be one of the sexiest men I knew. How we rank someone’s beauty is often dependent of our connection to them on a personal level. My best friend is a beautiful woman.. anyone can see that… But because I know her soul, she is more than beautiful to me, she’s radiant. Physical attraction does not define sexual orientation. It’s fluid and ever changing. People go through ‘phases’ where they are attracted to people that look one way or another, or have those ‘exceptions’ where they are attracted to someone that’s not their ‘type’. And I’ve never met a woman that cannot appreciate the beauty or sexiness of another woman. I don’t care if they identify and gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever. Every woman in the world has been caught up in another woman’s beauty at some point. I’ve found that it’s much more difficult to find men that identify as straight to admit experiencing the same phenomenon. A lot of guys feel too uncomfortable or judged to talk about another man’s attractiveness. Society has taught them that it makes them less of a man to be gay. It’s sexy for a woman to kiss another woman, but it’s typically comical or disgusting for a man to kiss another man. I can’t count the number of times I have asked a guy if his friend or someone he is talking about is cute, and they are immediately uncomfortable. I get the ‘I don’t know if he’s cute, I’m a guy’. You’ll never hear that same response from a woman…

social construct – noun – a social mechanism, phenomenon, or category created and developed by society; a perception of an individual, group, or idea that is ‘constructed’ through cultural or social practice

Sexual orientation is a socially constructed idea used to categorize people. Society tells my guy friends that if they appreciate their buddy’s looks, it makes them gay, and that make them less masculine and, in turn, less of a person. Society tells people that the genitals of the person you like, defines who you are. It tells people that you are valued and categorized by the body parts someone else was born with if you’re attracted to them. It says that your partner’s reproductive organs matters more than their character does. It says that what my partner was born with and has no control over, is more important than how they treat people, how they live their life, their beliefs, their career, their contributions to the world, their personality, their love, who they really are. I am not in a relationship only to procreate; therefore my ability to procreate with my partner is not a deciding factor.

Another thing that must obviously be considered is religion. Because truly, the debate about right and wrong when it comes to sexuality boils down to just that.

Recently, during a discussion with some LDS elders, I brought up the topic of homosexuality. Their church preaches that it’s wrong. That God made man and woman, and that is how it should be. To me, this seems outdated. It’s said in the Old Testament not to eat pork. Now, that is not an issue anymore. The response I received to that was, people didn’t know how to properly cook it back then, it was for their safety, but we’ve learned and it’s okay now. So, who’s to say that sexuality is not the same thing? God made man and woman to procreate. There were only 2 people in the entire world (Adam and Eve). If they couldn’t have kids, the human race would die out as quickly as it came. Man and woman had to be together to have children, to populate the world. Now, if we fast-forward to the 1830’s when Josiah Smith allowed his followers multiple wives, we see a different necessity. It wasn’t enough for one man-one woman to keep their population up, so polygamy allowed them to survive. Multiple-wives is no longer taught in the LDS church. It was a temporary necessity. So, who’s to say that now, homosexuality isn’t part of God’s plan for population control? The earth seems pretty well populated to me. Maybe God wants the gays to take in the orphans and foster kids and keep the population from getting too bad. Who knows? Until someone, from any religion, sits down with god and hears him/her/it say outright that in this time the only types of people that are allowed to be attracted to each other are men and woman, no one can tell me that god says it’s wrong.

To say that sexual orientation is real, says that one of a relationship’s founding attributes is gender. Consider every adult person in the world as a potential mate. Now, according to society’s standards, we should eliminate every person that is the same gender as us right off the bat. It’s odd that the first thing we are told to consider when choosing a mate is gender, not honesty, not empathy, not independence, intelligence, sense of humor, motivation, goals, morals, kindness, values, compatibility, or even if they are single or not. If I were narrowing down every person in the world, to find someone to be with, his or her gender would be the last thing on my mind. I would want a person that’s learned happiness is something you decide, not something you find; a person that finds beauty in the serenity of nature, as well as in the energy of the city; a person that creates goals and works towards them; a person that is kind to everyone, not just those that can give them something in return; a person that connects with me and grows with me. I could name a million things that are more important about a person than their genitalia. I believe that my soul is attracted to another person’s soul; that the person’s gender has as much importance as the color of their skin (meaning none). I believe that there is no way love is unnatural, or immoral, or wrong.

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thoughts

Fireflies and Stars

I remember catching fireflies in my backyard as a child. I would run around in the calm night air, cupping my hands and trapping them, carefully peeking between my fingers to see it flash up close before sticking it in a jar. I’d be smiling and laughing the whole time, enjoying this magical experience that could never happen during the day.

As far back as I can remember, I loved being out at night. I would just look up at the moon and stars, and I would feel a sense of peace wash over me. There was something about the night air, the small amount of warm light that spilled out the windows of the house into the backyard, and the sound of crickets chirping all around me that made me feel safe. Even though I was scared of the dark inside the house, it brought me comfort outside. Even though there were always mysterious noises and shadows whose cause was always just out of sight, somehow the entire world seemed to be resting. It felt like if I stayed there laying on my back looking at the sky and listening, the earth would tell me a big secret, or the meaning of life, or maybe just something worth knowing, but it seemed my parents would always call me inside before I was finished hearing whatever truth I was being taught.

Things have always seemed more real to me when they happen in the night air. I feel that the daylight is deceiving; it’s supposed to show things more clearly, but really it only sheds light on those things that come forward- it casts a shadow on what is in the background. But in the night, everything blends together. Nothing is more prevalent unless you go up and focus on it. …And you can see the stars at night… Light does not illuminate everything. Light is distracting; it pulls your attention to what’s easiest to see. But in life, the easiest things are rarely worth the attention they are given. It’s what is hidden, or underneath, or behind, what is not easily visible, that matters most. It’s the connection you feel to the author’s words hidden beneath the cover of a book that moves you to tears. It’s the thought behind the gift hidden beneath the fancy wrapping paper and bow that brings a huge smile to your face. The things that matter most are hidden in the shadow of something else.

That’s why I like the night. All the shadows get to come out of hiding, and join the rest of the world. The things we pay so much attention to during the day seem so much smaller and less important. It’s only at night that the stars, hidden by the sun all day, get to shine and show their beauty. The sky seems clear and empty during the day. Sometimes clouds obscure our view of it, but clouds are fleeting, and never stick around for too long. The daytime sky has nothing to reach for. But the night sky hangs billions of stars for us to see. The night sky shows us billions of other places that exist in the universe. The night sky is never empty, but always shows us the possibilities we can’t see when the light of the sun is obscuring our perspective. And it shows  those possibilities night after night, without fail.

Those fireflies I used to catch in my backyard were little stars to me. Stars I could reach out and grab, and peek at up close and personal. Stars I could keep for myself, or share with someone, or that I could set free. Or, I could just run through them, with the freedom and security in knowing that they were there for me the catch when I was ready to take one and see it’s light up close. But they didn’t come out during the day. I couldn’t experience the magic of holding a star in my hands during the day. I actually never thought about them when the sun was out. When I was focused on what the sun illuminated, I forgot about the magic stars I could hold in my hands. Light has a way of distracting us from what the dark can show.

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growth, thoughts

Black and White and Gray

Things are never as black and white as they should be.

They say ‘black and white’ to show simplicity. Right and wrong. Good and bad. There is supposed to be no debate on something that is black and white. But, if I look at a black and white photo, all I see are millions of greys. To me, everything is situational. Something that is supposed to be wrong can be justified, or even right, in certain circumstances. And something that is right is not the best in every situation. Right and wrong is man-made… it is a matter of opinion, not a fact. But we cling to the idea of it. It is engrained into our minds from birth.

I believe, that there is an agreed upon right and wrong, to live in the society we have created. IF we want to live and coexist with the people around us, THEN this is right and that is wrong. But, if society said so, then that would be right, and this would be wrong.

So, the argument becomes, if something is right for me, but is deemed wrong by society, is it still wrong? Does my personal need for growth and experience outweigh the decided rules of the society I am a part of?
I did something that is considered wrong by societies standards. And, before I found myself in this situation, I believed it to be a black and white issue. Through my experience, and through talking to others that have gone through the same thing, I no longer see this as a simple ‘right and wrong’ situation.

This thing that is quickly deemed wrong, was an experience that helped me and the other involved grow. We learned so much about who we are, we matured, we developed into more positive and productive mentalities, we experienced things I could not put into words, we developed our crafts, and we ultimately ended the experience not only recognizing the development we each had, but recognizing others in our lives and how they fit, or didn’t fit, into who we had become through this.

This was almost an entirely positive time of development. But, it was wrong.

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thoughts

My goals…

I want to cover my body in words and art that are meaningful to me and make me think and feel things.
I want to meet new people, and see new places, that make me question my beliefs and that open my eyes to how small I am in this world.
I want to make a difference in people’s lives and give them tools to think openly, feel freely, and to express themselves.
I want to help people, especially those that are struggling more than I am.
And I want to do all this on my own terms.
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relationships, thoughts

growing into a better person

Here’s to learning the difference between someone that makes you a better version of yourself, and someone that changes you into their opinion of a better person.

I spent a long time in a relationship with someone that tried very hard to help me grow into a better person. He cared for me, and wanted the best for me. The problem was, his opinion differed from mine on what would make me a better person. Because I cared for him too, I found myself listening to him. I always felt an internal struggle between doing what I felt was right, and what he felt was right; I often tried to find a middle ground, but that never worked.

Growing into a better person is a difficult thing. There’s no rule book, no right or wrong answers, you just figure it out as you go. So, I figured that there’s no chance that my way is always going to be right. Knowing this, I followed his opinions a lot. But, when I disagreed with him, he would fight me till I did things his way.

All I know from this experience, is that I need to trust myself. I’m the one that has to live with who I grow into. I have to be confident in who I become as a person. And while I am 100% sure that I have made, and will make, mistakes along the way, I have to become my own version of a better person. I have to decide who I want to become, and do it. Listening to advice from others is an important thing to do, but I cannot lose myself along the way.

I now choose to be around people that I feel push me in the right directions. I grow with people that are on a strong path, and are open minded. The people I choose to help me grow now inspire me to change myself; they don’t tell me how I should be different, they are different and lead by example. I believe everyone has something positive to teach, and I am doing my best to be as open to these things as I can. In my opinion, that’s the best way to grow into a better person… but who knows? Maybe I’m wrong, and later I’ll be posting a completely different opinion…

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