Sunday, November 12, 2017

Embarrassing Moments

Whenever people ask me about my most embarrassing moment, I think back to two different memories, both from my days in 7th grade. Unlike the majority of the population, I actually quite enjoyed middle school, but even though I can claim that, I cannot claim that I left those puberty-filled halls without embarrassing myself. Here we go!
What an awkward time.

Story #1
Before the days of social media and smart phones, emails and instant messenger were kind of a big deal. As a 7th grader, I was late to the game and was still trying to come up with an awesome screen name. It was pretty much a self-proclaimed nickname, so it had to be good.

One day, I was walking the halls of A.I. Root Middle School, discussing potential screen names to my friends. I was particularly proud of the fact that I was half Japanese in a town of probably less than 10 Asians, so I thought that I should have my username make some connection to my super awesome heritage. I've tried octopus before, maybe I could make that apply. I mean, I didn't love it, but it wasn't necessarily bad, either. Yes. Eating octopus seemed super badass and I didn't hate it, so I was definitely going to use octopus in my AIM screen name.

After taking about .7 seconds to brainstorm some really awesome ideas, I blurted out "How about 'tentaclegirl'?" I asked my less-clueless friends. But I didn't say tentacle. I said "testiclegirl." Not only was this mortifying to the awkward and somewhat naive preteen that I was, but the meanest teacher in the school also happened to be walking behind us, unknown to me.

"Sounds like YOU need a new vocabulary, Missy!" I was mortified. Needless to say, I didn't make my screen name tentaclegirl, I made it iloveperogies92. Classic.

Story #2
Sadly, this story is just another embarrassing moment I created because at the age of 13, I was still not very accustomed to the idea of puberty and sex. I can still clearly remember sitting in my history class, waiting for my name to be read so I could collect my graded test from Mr. Sutherland. A nice boy sat next to me and although I seldom talked to him, I had no problem asking him a rather personal and non-essential question when he stood up to get his test.

"Woah. What's in your pocket? A ball or something?"

This poor kid was wearing basketball shorts (the only thing middle school boys wore and still wear to this day) and was experiencing an...erection. I may have been a little clueless, but I wasn't clueless enough to not realize the moment after I asked what was happening. So not only was the boy embarrassed, I was also very embarrassed. And that's the end of the story.

Friday, July 28, 2017

I think it's about time I come out

    I always claimed that I wouldn’t make a public coming out statement because I didn’t want the attention. I didn’t owe anyone an explanation of my sexuality, so why would I post something so personal on social media for everyone to see? Over the past 2.5 years I’ve been coming out to family and close friends and that was going well; I didn’t really see the point of potentially causing a ruckus that I didn’t want to deal with.
    Although I still pretty much agree with “Halfway in the Closet Kristen,” I’ve realized that this worked for awhile, but not anymore. I’ve always been an open book; I saw no need to hide myself from others...until I realized I was gay. I came out to the people I was close to, but I let everyone else assume I was straight--which eventually became unhealthy and exhausting.
    Before I really get into anything, I just want to clarify that I’m not writing this with any sort of agenda. I’m not here to promote any type of lifestyle, and I’m not attacking anyone’s faith. I just feel like I need to come out publicly for myself.
    I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about these last 2.5 years of my life (partly because it would take too long and mostly because you probably don’t care), but a little explanation is probably needed. I always liked coming out to people in person when the time was right. (For those of you who I’ve already come out to, thank you so much for being loving and kind; I realize how blessed I am to have you all in my life.) I’ve never had a bad experience coming out to any of my family members or friends and I was never nervous because I knew once they heard my story, they’d understand--or at least try to understand. The thing is, I can’t have these one-on-one conversations with everyone, but I still want to invite dialogue. So, if you want to talk, hit me up. I’ve never been offended by a question because I’d much rather you hear it from me, than through a whispered conversation behind my back because the topic is supposedly taboo.
    So. I am gay. What does this mean? I don’t know. What does this mean for me as a Mormon? I don’t know. Will I stay in the church? I don’t know. My life is a bunch of unanswered questions which plague me every day, but for now-that's ok. I'm just going to keep on truckin' and this is one way I'll do that.
For those of you who are LDS, this may be hard for you to read. Before all this, I was pretty much the model Mormon girl. I went to BYU, served a mission, did everything I was supposed to do. And that made me happy. I’m not a rebel, and I never thought I’d stray away from the Church. And truthfully, that makes me sad in a lot of ways. I’m not angry at the Church, but for now, I’m just going to do what feels healthy. I’ve dealt with depression ever since I got home from my mission (which was pretty much when I figured out I was gay), and I feel like a big part of that was because I wasn’t being fully truthful about myself to others.
    My sexual orientation doesn’t define me, but it is a part of who I am. It has helped me to be more accepting, loving, and empathetic. Basically, I’m pretty sure God made me gay just so I would be forced to become more Christ-like. So if you have questions, please ask. If you or someone you know is going through something similar, you can talk to me. I probably won’t have any answers, but I can promise you a non-judgemental listening ear.
    To finish this off, I’m going to share a poem I wrote a little while back. I have now officially graduated from BYU, so some of my feelings may have changed a bit, but this is a glimpse of what I was feeling at one point in my journey.

P.S. To all the boys I tried to date: I’m sorry and I can truthfully say, “It’s not you, it’s me.” ;)

New Religion

Today I did the dishes while I played some Mackelmore.
He’s gone through a lot of shit--compared to me, a whole lot more.
I was born to loving parents; wasn’t rich, but never poor.
Went to college, got a job, should be happy, but want more.

It’s weird, because I enjoy life. It’s weird because I could be free.
The problem is I’m in this closet wishing I could just be me.
In some ways I’m the lucky one; I never felt alone.
Lots of people hide their feelings or else kicked out of their home.

But that wasn’t how it was for me; friends and family were supportive.
Mom still hopes that I’ll date guys, but in the end her love’s not shorted.
Sometimes I wish I was straight so I could be the perfect daughter.
It’s a struggle in the Church, but I still love my Heavenly Father.

Can you believe I was the age of twenty two
when I came out to myself and realized that it was true:
I was gay and had been in some pretty deep denial.
In that moment I asked God, “What should I do with this trial?”

I had planned to stay. My faith was the priority.
But as time went on, it felt like a sorority.
This was once my home and the center of my life.
But that was not okay if I planned to wed a wife.

Currently, I find myself unhappily in a strange limbo.
I’m halfway in the closet; my close friends and family know.
But I’m still a student at the Y and don’t feel very safe.
Probably because I’m not living in the “straight and narrow” way.

But this feels more right than wrong--I really do like girls.
Back when I was dating guys I felt zero type of thrills.
I know life is more than just following your desires,
But when I was dating boys, I just felt like a fat liar.

So I guess what I’m saying is I’m sick of being “straight.”
Or at least the assumption: for a husband I will wait.
‘Cause a lie is a lie even if it’s by omission.
So to live a truthful life has become my new religion.

Partly because I needed a thumbnail pic. Mostly because we're cute.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

80 Percenter

This year marks my first year of teaching high school English, and I'd say it isn't going horribly. Right now we're working on a type of personal essay called "This I Believe" in which you write about something you...believe in. You can find hundreds of examples here. I've been writing alongside my students, so I thought I'd share it because I never blog anymore. (You'll find out why in the essay.)

When I was a kid, I used to dream that I’d make it into the Olympics.  Actually no, I didn’t just dream--I expected to go to the Olympics.  When discussing my bright future to any half-amused adult, I’d say something like, “Either I’ll go for soccer, or running, but I’m not sure yet.”  It wasn’t a matter of if I’d go to the Olympics, but in which sport I was to compete.  
Although I give props to my five-year-old self for such confidence and optimism, eventually I grew up and realized that I wasn’t going to make it to the Olympics for soccer or running.  In fact, I was never on varsity for cross country and didn’t even try out for the high school soccer team.  To some people, this may categorize me as a failure, but I quickly accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to be the best at anything; instead, I was simply above average at a handful of things.
Although I continued through life picking up quite a few hobbies and skills, I never mastered them.  In some ways I loved being a “Jack of all Trades,” but it also kind of bothered me that I was never the best.  And then one day, on our way to the Uintas for a camping trip, I was sitting in the back seat of my friend’s Subaru Forester flipping through a Patagonia catalogue.  The magazine was mostly filled with pricey outdoor clothing that I’d never be able to afford, but on one page there was a quote from Yvon Chouinard that caught my attention: “I've always thought of myself as an 80 percenter. I like to throw myself passionately into a sport or activity until I reach about an 80 percent proficiency level. To go beyond that requires an obsession that doesn't appeal to me. Once I reach 80 percent level, I like to go off and do something totally different.” Keep in mind, Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia said this; if he wasn’t afraid to admit that he was only 80% proficient at his hobbies, why should I be?
And that’s when I started to think of all the different sports and hobbies I had obsessed over until I reached that 80%.  At some point in my life, my thoughts and free time had been consumed by triathlons, drawing, lacrosse, piano, Dance Dance Revolution, P90X, longboarding, road biking, salsa dancing, drumming, roller skating, Crossfit, YouTube, skiing, and blogging. I never “threw myself passionately” into these activities to be the best--I immersed myself because it was a fun challenge.
I take my hat off to those who dedicate their lives to reach that 100% proficiency; the amount of talent, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice amazes me.  And yet, I don’t really envy them anymore. It would’ve been cool to go to the Olympics for soccer, but then I wouldn’t have had the time to make sub-par YouTube videos or hit the local skating rink every Friday night to show off my moves.  And that’s why I am okay with being an 80 percenter.  Because I believe that at 80 percent I can live life at 100 percent.

Now I will attach a few pictures of me doing some of those things I mentioned. Because pictures make it more interesting.

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Proof I did a triathlon.
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