I was going to apologize for being so emo-licious in the previous post, but I realized that there is no need to. I need not be ashamed for getting depressed. It was what it was, and there is nothing to be sorry about.
I'm grateful that I have this network of people, my close friends and family who send me their love and their prayers every day. I realize that as down as I get sometimes, I always come around. Because I can't stay down when I realize how fortunate I am.
Thanks for everything. Get angry, yell and scream, feel suicidal--it's okay--you need to let the feelings out, or they grow, like a festering wound. Just don't wallow in them forever. Count your many blessings, name them one by one.
So here goes-- 25 things I'm blessed with.
1. My health.
Yes, I got sick this weekend, but I'm pretty much healthy as a horse most days. Especially now that I'm hitting the gym, I feel better than ever most days.
2. The best siblings in the world.
I just do. You may think yours are great, but mine are WAAAY better. :)
3. Having lived in many different parts of the country.
It's helped me be an open minded and loving individual. If I'd stayed in the Mormon Utah Bubble my whole life, I can't even pretend to imagine where I'd be. Probably dead.
4. An amazing body.
When I get past my own body image issues, I realize that I have a great body, a wonderful body, with strong, powerful legs, slender waist and big, broad shoulders. I have a clear complexion and a cute face. I'm very flexible. My body is able to store energy in the form of fat for lean times... it's able to use that energy for other purposes later. In the words "my body machine is super keen." (That's a very obscure reference, btw).
5. The ability to change the things I don't like about my body.
Thank God I'm not disabled, or ugly, or mangled or burned--I'm just overweight. And with patience and determination, I'll shed those pounds. I don't need them any more. I'm done with my shield. I'm ready to go into the world un-armored.
6. My job.
In this economy, I am immensely glad that I'm employed in a well paying job with a small company that is training me and teaching me and essentially allowing me to build a network, should I ever need to find new employment!
7. My maturity and courage.
When I encounter a problem, I might get depressed, but I always win--I attack the problem, finding a solution, even when it's scary.
8. The internet, and its power to help me to never feel alone.
You are all like my extended family. I'm so blessed that we have this tool, this marvelous wonderful tool called the internet that allows us to find each other and lift each other up. If I had known just ONE gay Mormon, setting the example some of you are setting, I probably would have had a much healthier childhood.
9. Hot water.
It seems silly, but every time I am in the shower, I realize that I have the most decadent luxury in the world in my apartment. It makes me immensely happy.
Another decadent luxury that I can't possibly imagine life without. It's actually one reason I don't look forward to traveling in Europe.
11. Not being stuck anymore.
Even though moving forward is often scary and painful, I'm glad I'm not dammed up--stagnant--anymore. I used to see stories on TV about women in abusive relationships, and I could never understand why they wouldn't just leave--escape from that toxic environment. But now I can relate to what it must be like--I've had a 22 year long abusive relationship with the church, and every day I imagine going back. But there is only forward motion.
12. My bike and my ability to ride and steer with NO HANDS.
I can't tell you how fun it is to ride down the Chandler Bike path in Burbank, steering gracefully around the pedestrians on the sidewalk, using both hands to conduct the music on my iPod as a sail through the brisk evening air. In spite of still feeling kind of sick today, I took this little trip today:
I wasn't able to get the rainbow on camera, because by the time I went inside to get it, it'd gone.
13. My iPod.
Music helps me get through the day, and having a constant companion that doesn't mind when I sign along to the tunes is invaluable.
14. My workout is yielding results.
As I've stated previously, I've lost about 20 pounds since last summer. If I was more committed, I could lose more, but low and slow seems to be the best way lose weight in such a way as to keep it off. I feel healthier, and more energized now that I attend the gym 3-4 times a week.
15. No one has disowned me.
At the end of the day, my coming out experience was practically painless--at least the pain that was felt was generated solely from within, and not from anyone's outward ignorance.
16. I have sufficient for my needs.
My income surpasses my expenses, and that's without penny pinching. I'm very very blessed.
17. Knowledge that I'm a good person.
I just know it. Sometimes I get down on myself, but I realize I'm doing my best, and I have a real desire to serve, and it part of the reason I know I'm a chosen son of God.
18. Knowledge that God loves me.
Isn't that the greatest thing? I wish I could get a hug from him, but I guess I'll have to deal with his proxies--my friends and family--to feel his love in a physical way. But I do know this is true, even when it feels desperately lonely.
19. My whole life is ahead of me.
I've figured out A LOT for a 22 year old. I am often told that I seem to have it really together for someone my age. In fact, a couple of the guys I've dated have said that they normally go for older guys, but I seem to have my act together... I definitely feel old sometimes.
20. All the times I've screwed up.
Because they make me humble, and help me to learn and grow. One of my favorite quotes is from John N. Mitchell. "The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire". So it shall be with us.
See #13. I love singing, and it makes me feel good.
22. Living in Southern California.
As much as I miss New England, I am very grateful to be here. The sun generally makes me happy, and California has allowed me to progress in a way I was never capable of back east--Prop 8 catalyzed me into action regarding my sexuality and my future, and in turn motivated me to start getting in shape. It's all wonderful.
23. Each day I get to start over.
Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.
I think that God sometimes gives us permission to make mistakes and sin. Not because he condones it, but because he is omnipotent, and understands that sometimes, no matter how many times you tell a child that they shouldn't touch the stove, they need to get burned to really understand. For some, they are content to be told and live in faith. But I think I'm that idiot that has to feel the pain himself before he gets the picture. Thankfully, those wounds heal, and all can be forgiven.
This is hard for me to say, because I'm not sure this is something I'm really ready to state, but I'm so exceedingly grateful to be me. To have had my experiences, to have my mind and soul, with all it's hardships and trials, I've had a truly beautiful, rich existence. I'm incredibly lucky to have seen all that I've seen, felt all that I've felt, and accomplished all that I've accomplished. God has put me in a special place in this world, and I still believe that I'm here for a very special purpose.
So hopefully this post will be a cheerier read for all of you. Life is worth living, if only because I need to meet all of you in person one day!
Your friend, Ezra.