Sometimes even I am surprised by life. Today I found out my blog is on the list of personal blogs from the Far Between website. What a surprise.
So today I thought I'd write about what is Better. We have this whole "It gets better" campaign which was to target bullying and suicide amongst teens. High school sucks for almost everyone and it is even worse if you're an outcast. I hated high school. Although I was still partially in denial at that point and thought my attractions were a phase---I truly loathed high school most of the time. It was an awful experience overall and one I choose to forget. And as someone who has thought about---and even once attempted---to end my life, I know what it is like to be in both circles: the bullying and the suicidal tendencies.
I wish that someone had an It Gets Better video for me back then. Youtube was not even a thought. Social media was the nightly news. I didn't even have a cell phone in high school since that was 12 years ago and no one had cell phones except rich people and drug dealers. :) The internet in my home was dial-up for the first half of my high school years. Sad but true.
I'm so friggin' ancient.
Recently there's been some talk about what is "Better" in this context. Some people say it is seeking a gay partner. Some say it is being out and proud. Some people say it is finding acceptance of your own feelings. Some gay Mormons have an issue with the campaign because it is too gay-affirmative. We, as Mormons, know we have to distance ourselves from the world. Be IN the world but not OF the world. A lot of Mormons are freaking out about the campaign thinking that we're sending the message to leave the church. The recent BYU It Gets Better video never pushed people to apostatize despite rumors to the contrary.
However, is "Better" really any of the above? All of the above? Couldn't better mean something different for everyone?
In my opinion, Better means something other than what you're feeling now and in a positive way. If I really wanted to breed tropical clown fish as a business and that was my idea of having my life be Better, then who is to say that it isn't serving the same purpose?
I've had some people criticize me that one of my ways to make my life Better is to start a family as a single father. I want to have children but I don't want a wife. Thats actually not that unheard of in the gay Mormon community. Is my Better worse than another's Better? If I was sexually active and in a gay marriage, would it be Better or worse that I want a family? I don't know. When I have that kid, will I be met with criticism, respect, admiration, verbal threats about how I'm ruining the definition and sanctity of families?
I'm imagining, and planning on, all of the above.
I don't think that my Better is any worse than another's Better. I'm not going to get married in this life. It is the last thing on my bucket list to do. Honestly, there's no appeal. So why couldn't my Better include a family of my own? I have married female friends who have admitted I'm a better mother to children than they are. I have had fathers tell me I'm a natural with children. So why should I deprive myself from that dream just because I'm unmarried and gay?
So if I am celibate, choose to have a family, and am doing it because I love children and want to provide a loving and safe environment, why is my Better any less than those who marry and have children? Or who choose to have a gay partner and be sexually active?
My Better---which right now includes the gospel---also includes plans for a family. I dream about it every day and night.
And, you know what? My life IS much Better than in High School. So let's not fight the It Gets Better campaign. We're talking about improving the lives of teenagers who feel alone, frightened, and who hate life. Their lives WILL get better after High School. However their Better is.