Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Few Reasons I Hate Deer Hunting

Mama took this
I recently worked for my dad at the butcher shop (aka the Dark Farm) during the opening of the deer hunt here in Utah. I always knew I hated the deer hunt as a child, but chalked it up to the child labor laws I was breaking. However, after four days of observation as a grown man, I realized five reasons I actually hate the deer hunt.

1. Many hunters are real true dumb. Me: "What name am I putting this deer under?" 
Customer: "I don't know." 
Me: "You don't know whose deer this is?" 
Customer: "Well a lot of us were there." 
Me: "......"

2. Size actually doesn't matter. 
Whether it has two points or 15 points, it's still a dead deer. Gathering with your fellow hunters to discuss the enormity of your horns is thinly-veiled discussion of your cocks. Not to mention, without fail, hunters who bring in deer with a "smaller rack" apologize for their misfortune. The God damn deer is dead and now you're going to apologize for its small horns? You suck as a world citizen.

3. The poor planning. 
Customer: "What's the processing time?"
Me: "About ten days to two weeks."
Customer: "Woah that's not going to work! I can't do it! I've got to be back in California in two days."
Me: "We can do a rush job. How many deer do you have?"
Customer: "Well we haven't shot one yet."
Me: "....."

4. The lack of actual skill.
Me: "You didn't gut the deer after you shot it?"
Customer: "I thought that was something you took care of."
Me (internally): "The fact you were allowed to roam in the woods with a loaded firearm astounds me."

5. Hunting to say you've hunted. 
Me: "Here's how we normally cut a deer (explanation). Does that sound ok or do you have something specific in mind?"
Customer: "Oh I'm not going to really eat it. You could throw it away if you want. I just want the cape (head and hide) Haha!" (No shit, they actually laughed.)
It's a living breathing creature for hell's sakes! Or it was. If you're going to hunt, at least participate in the intended purpose: food. If you need something to do on a weekend, or are looking for ways to solidify your manliness, take up street racing or whatever it is manly men do these days. Don't satisfy your insecurity or boredom by killing an animal you're not even going to eat.

So my hatred of this opening weekend goes much deeper than the unholy hours I worked as a kid. My grievances boil down to this one problem, the deer hunters who show no respect for the life they ended. I'm aware it's a deer and not a small child, but it's still something that died at your hands. If you're going to hunt: learn how, make the time, quit making it about your cock, and at least eat it. Although, I don't know why anyone would; wild game meat smells and tastes like sour milk. One of many reasons I myself don't hunt. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Spirituality Coin

I'm slowly trying to wean myself off Facebook and plan to stay off for a while; way too much time was wasted on it. Too many selfies, political posts, and cat memes. And yes I'm aware of the irony that I posted a link to this blog on Facebook - the key word in the last couple sentences was wean. I'll get back on, but I needed time to do something different. So Facebook has been replaced by more reading. Sadly, I haven't done much in the past few years. It makes me feel dirty admitting that. Reading (and the subsequent thinking it inspires) have been my passion since I was a little weirdo.

Most recently, I've been reading a series of poems by the Buddhist philosopher Tai Sheridan, Ph.D. They're called Buddha in Blue Jeans and I highly recommend them - especially since they're free on Amazon Prime. Buddhism speaks to me for several reasons. The Buddhist view of and relationship with death fascinate me. Primarily though, I love that Buddhism fits within any other belief system. You can be a Mormon Buddhist or Jewish Buddhist. Buddhism is a way of thinking that leaves the specifics up to the believer, but keeps one focused on the core elements of any belief system that actually matter. This concept got me thinking about the specifics versus the core of spirituality. 

I think we all know the douchebags in any religion are the ones that forget the core that binds us all, and get caught up in the specifics that separate us. Whether you're Mormon, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or follow any other philosophy, you can still be an asshole. Or you can be a nice person in any of those faiths as well. The choice is up to the individual what they make of their spirituality or faith. Just as life and death are two sides of the same coin, I think spirituality has two sides - wisdom and self-righteousness. 

Douchebaggery arises when a person has landed self-righteous side up on the faith coin. Self-righteous people believe they have the answers that no one else has figured out yet. Self-righteous people aren't able to let others be happy another way. I think it's because they've convinced themselves the specifics will achieve absolution, but deep down they know it isn't true. I think they react by becoming afraid of things that stand outside their specifics, because it exposes the specifics for the absurdities they are. Human beings are inventive and there are endless ways to believe what ordinances/paperwork you need, who you should or should not love, what is a sin and what isn't, and which scriptures you should adhere to.

On the other side of the faith coin exists the wise. A wise person believes no one has all the answers but that the life-long pursuit of answers matters. A wise person is comfortable letting others find their own path, enjoy their own happiness, and make their own mistakes. I think it's because they understand that some of the specifics are confusing, but don't have to matter if we all live to the core of our spirituality. I think they know loving each other is most important and can discern which specifics only distract from that.  

I don't think I'm either and also think I'm both. Lord knows I'm guilty of being the occasional douche nozzle. Just like the life/death coin, we can't have wisdom without occasionally facing our own self-righteousness. We can only hope to recognize when we're lying self-righteous side up and have the courage to flip the coin. In the end, a wise person is one who accepts a level of uncertainty so they can focus on the human bond - and a self-righteous person invents their own certainty to separate themselves from humanity. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Look at you, living and shit.

My friend Bethany is a seriously intentioned human being. She feels her feelings, really loves the people around her, and makes the world a better place. The past few months, while recovering from the relationship and it's end, she would send me funny or meaningful quotes found on pinterest. The picture to the left is my favorite. It's helped me immensely.

(Side note) The quotes I send to Bethany: "Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed." - The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Secretly, I'm a little neurotic. Or maybe not so secretly. I love it about myself, but it can cause problems. My ex-fiancee (he asked that his name not be mentioned on the blog for fear of Google searching...) was a very happy-go-lucky person. I was too (for the most part) when we met. However, the (for the most part) in the previous sentence is what separated us. Was my ex so concerned about being happy-go-lucky all the time that he neglected some serious matters in our relationship? You bet. Did I in kind start overreacting when he did it about smaller things? Indubitably. I'm tired of thinking about what went wrong. Always examining the lessons I learned about myself, what I want in a partner, blah blah blah. It's been five months and I'm tired of having that in my head.

So I've been shifting focus. My relationship didn't work, so what? Now what? I genuinely thought I couldn't live without the ex by my side, but look at me, living and shit. So my "now what?" is just enjoying what is right now, and it is exponentially better than it was.
Jamie, me, and Anne at Bethany and Turley's wedding
  • Reconnecting with family: my nephew Everett and I are finally able to bond. I see my brothers, sisters, parents, nieces and nephews on a weekly basis and I love it. I've spent more time with my side of the family than I have in four years.
  • Reconnecting with old friends: I've had good times with Bethany and Anne (the best temporary roommates a gay divorcee could ask for) my BYU Nauvoo pals, Jilleena and Joellen (some of the closest friends Soleil and I have), and even friends from Maine. 
  • Meeting new ones: I've met some unforgettable people here in the SLC. My roommate Jamie, co-workers, friends, and my boyfriend Aaron - all great, interesting, smart, funny individuals. On top of the friends I've made here, my time in San Francisco was much needed and I met some wonderful people. 

My Aussie friend Sharlene and I in Germany
Because this is me we're talking about, I've given myself a timeline of purely enjoying myself. I plan, even when my goal is not to have a plan. I get a year. The culmination of the selfish year will end in me taking my 30th birthday trip. The 25th birthday was a 48-hour birthday (time zones and the freakishly long trip back from Thailand). So for my 30th, I thought it might be fun to have a summer skiing birthday. I'm planning on spending June 2014 in New Zealand, skiing with my friend Sharlene, whom I met while living in Germany.

Turning thirty is when "living and shit" really hits the fan. I know what I've always wanted, being a dad. After my trip to New Zealand, all my focus will be on adopting. I have no idea what to expect trying to adopt. People keep telling me that as a gay man it's going to be difficult emotionally, financially, and legally. But... that kinda sounds like having kids in general to me. Rest assured, there will most likely be bitchy blogs about the red tape and obscene expense involved with the adoption process.  Being married to a partner I can raise them with would be the icing on the cake, but I'm ok with just the cake too. Don't get me wrong. I believe it could happen, and am open to that, but if that doesn't happen, I still know my kids will. 

Meet Everett - he's my best friend
There will be some other decisions to make. I may be relocating again in the meantime. Salt Lake is a lovely city, but I moved here because I needed support. The universe was kind and gave it to me. It's just a little too dry and Mormon for me. Now, I would be ready to move for the right career, where I can raise the kids in a place that would recognize the rights of both their daddies (or just their dad). The job hunt to fund the family starts in a couple months. I'm picking one west coast city, one east coast city, Colorado, and a wildcard location. I'll apply to every job I think would be a great enough opportunity, keeping in mind my real goal of kids. If I have to move for a better chance of making that happen, neat.

Living and shit is enough right now. Life in Maine got really hard for a lot of reasons, not just the very unhealthy relationship (although that certainly didn't help). My work life and the commute attached were intense; I wasn't able to build a social circle outside of the ex. He was almost all I had to come home to and we weren't working. I became introverted, suspicious, angry, self-conscious, and afraid. The person I was in Maine is not the person I wanted to be the rest of my life. It turns out that thinking I couldn't live without the ex, made me think less about my own value. I took the step to leave the relationship because I'd forgotten who I was, what I wanted life to look like. I'm so glad I did and he is too (I'm assuming of course).  I'm going to enjoy the last year of the 20's, and prepare myself for living the 30's the way I want. So... on with the living and shit! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Relationship Continuum

This blog was for a long time dedicated to my gay "marriage" and now is going to help me through my gay "divorce." I put quotations just because we were never able to get married legally until the breakup was eminent. I found few role models for a gay marriage but gay divorce is just like any other divorce - it sucks balls. Gay or straight, I have to imagine it is normal to analyze what went wrong. The lesson I learned came at the cost of a four-year relationship. This "relationship continuum" is something I will carry into my next relationship with whomever (or whenever) that might be.

We all have personality traits that can be packaged and sold as benefits, or highlighted as negatives. Someone who thrives on change could be construed as an unreliable flight risk. Being laid back could be viewed as being a lazy ass clown. Being a foodie could be perceived as being a pretentious prick about something commonplace, eating (count your blessing if you don't know an extreme foodie). No matter how you package these personality traits, there is always its opposite and finding the opposite can help position the relationship as a whole. 

Gratuitous kitty shot for those who are only on the internet for such things.

Since it has almost nothing to do with the actual reason my own relationship ended, I'm going to use the example of spirituality to help clarify my point. On one hand we have someone who is religious (neither a positive or negative thing). Let's just think of its opposite: secular athiesm (again no positive or negative value). I know assigning no positive or negative to something may be hard for the religious who read this post. Oh wait, it's hard for anyone - it's kind of what we do as humans. This is where the continuum comes into play; place opposing forces on either side of it. 

Religious - - - - - - - - - - | - - - - - - - - -  Secular

If the religious among you are pissed they are on the left side, quit being a child and imagine it's on the right.

If you happen to end up in a relationship with someone who is at the opposing end of a personality continuum, there is an obvious struggle. Granted, there is probably not going to be a relationship between two people at extremely opposing ends (particularly of this continuum). I imagine someone from Westboro Baptist dating, well, anyone. It's not pretty and not likely to ever even start a relationship. Let's assume though there are two people at opposing ends; there is going to have to be some movement to maintain cohesion between the two partners.

Religious - * - - - - - - - - | - - - - - - - * -  Secular

If both partners refuse to budge from their position at the more extreme end of the continuum, conflict will remain the entire relationship, or will more than likely end in a breakup. 

Religious - - - - - - - - - - - | * - - - - - - * -  Secular
Religious - * - - - - - - - * | - - - - - - - - -  Secular

If one partner refuses to budge from their position at the more extreme end of the continuum, and the other partner moves beyond the meridian, the partner who crosses the meridian has lost themselves to the other person and often sacrifices their own self-concept (i.e. someone becoming Mormon just because their partner will only marry in the Temple).

Religious - - - - - - * - - - | - - - * - - - - -  Secular

The ideal situation would be where both partners are willing to move towards the middle. There may still be the occasional fight, but partners can agree to disagree while still maintaining their self-concept. 

Again, this can be used for any number of personality conflicts: the pretentious foodie versus the unconcerned mac-n-cheese eater, the social butterfly versus the wall flower, the high-strung workaholic versus the gelatinous layabout, the changeling versus old reliable. We all have our foibles and are bound to have some of those foibles be at odds with our partner. I think most often selecting and marrying a partner where these conflicts are 1) not absolutely fundamental and 2) are the exception rather than the rule will make a successful relationship. 

However, when a conflict arises on the relationship continuum (which it almost certainly will), I think the relationship can only continue happily if both partners are willing to move their positions on the continuum. Old reliable is going to have to learn to be a little less structured and the changeling is going to have to settle down a little. The social butterfly is going to have to stay in and watch a movie occasionally and the wallflower is going to have to get down and boogie with new people from time to time. 

None of us is perfect, but if we are willing to move along the continuum, and find a partner who is willing to do the same, we will find a beautiful balance where we can live out our lives in a relationship that means something. I for one think this is a possibility for most of us, excepting of course those in the Westboro Baptist Church. There is no continuum for them, only craziness.