Thursday, December 15, 2011

To End a Dialogue

Dear Sentry,

I know that I promised you that we would continue our journey together. However, I feel that it is time to end this particular blog. Let's be honest, the title hasn't accurately depicted what this blog is about for a long time. I have enjoyed writing letters but I think it's time to try a new way of writing. I'll continue writing, Sentry, don't worry. But I want to make a new blog and write in a new format. If you want to follow and see where I go, Sentry, check out the new blog.

But if not, I wish you well, Sentry. Stay safe. Stay warm. Stay sane.

Your friend,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

Dear Sentry,

Sometimes we must say goodbye. Sometimes we must allow what we have known to slip away from us. Push away from that shore of familiarity and drift into unknown and at times unsafe waters where there is no guide for you and no way of knowing what lies ahead. Sometimes you go it alone and sometimes you travel with others.

I have traveled with so many people along the way and lost so many people to the normal fluxes in time. Different places and different people call to each of us. Friends, so close and dear in the past, now are strangers to me. Their faces have familiarity but their eyes speak of experiences I cannot begin to know. For some there is hardness in their voice, of experiences bitter and cruel. For others there is relief and excitement as if those experiences have touched them in pleasant and positive ways. For others there is a distant tone as though they are lost somewhere, unable to return.

But in all, my friends have gone there separate ways. And now it is my time too.

I feel as though I have stayed in this town for as long as necessary. I feel as though I can at last say goodbye to a place that I never thought in all my childhood years I would ever live in. Utah was the last place on Earth I wanted to be in. But here I am, going on five years. The seasons I have seen, the people I have met, the things I have learned about the world and about myself.

Sentry, it is true that I will remain in Utah for a while longer. The place feels like...home. I feel as though I have found a place where I want to struggle in. These past five years have changed me. I am no longer as much the scared boy that was afraid of life and afraid of the future. I am no longer lost in some cocoon of self-loathing and self-disgust.

The journey is not beginning for me, Sentry. It began a long time ago in a different state. No, I have simply awakened to who I really am and have come to love myself. A new chapter is about to begin. One of my own design. One of my own making. I am saying goodbye to a place that has for so long given me the tools to forge and finally dismantle the chains of my own making.

I spoke with a friend of mine the other day and I agree with him, Sentry. We have stayed long enough in this valley. We have traveled for too long in this remote area of the world. Where we go next is, as always, up to us. We may travel down the road a little longer together or may go our separate ways. I know this path I am going on to some degree. I am attempting to figure out what I really want to do with my life. I am attempting to better understand this world I have come to find myself in.

This morning, this day, this night, is a time of reflection and of saying goodbye. Goodbye to what I have known for so long. It is time to set old things aside, box up old memories, and set out anew. Sentry, you have traveled with me for so long, why not continue with me for a bit longer? Our journey together isn't complete. Not nearly so.

Happy Halloween, Sentry.

Your friend,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Honesty and Glamour

Dear Sentry,

There was an article that I read earlier today that really touched me. Among the many things that I got from the article, there was a reminder to me that I need to be honest with myself. I cannot help but think back on certain things and wonder if I'm even close to being honest. I attend groups both at school and off campus that each have an implied idea of honesty within them. Each group suffers some kind of repression here in this Happy Valley.

What kind of honesty do we live in society, Sentry? What kind of honesty do we embrace when we are told by parents that in order to be hired by companies we must have a certain scrubbed clean appearance on our social media sites? What kind of honesty do we have when we are encouraged to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth except when it is damaging, embarrassing, or just ill-fitting?

Now, Sentry, honesty is such a strange thing, right? We have a call for more honesty from our government yet we run and hide from it when we realize just how gruesome, dark, and pathetic those truths are. We are embarrassed by the ramblings, idiocies, and foolishness that truth reveals about us. Our deepest, darkest secrets, if revealed, are nothing more than the hungering for the taboo, vain wanting of things in life, and awkward thoughts that we possess about ourselves and others. Honesty is a strange and often-times uncomfortable thing.

We - as individuals, groups, families, communities, societies, and civilizations - do not want honesty. What we want is a controlled form of life. The comfort of believing that our shallow stereotypes of life are consistent and all that there is. For if we were to strip ourselves of these insecurities and see how human we all were, life would cease to contain this thin veneer of feigned decency.

Honesty, Sentry, is to be carefully locked away while celebrating it.

So, how am I being honest with myself? Am I being honest with myself or have I turned away from the hard facts, embarrassing moments, and just oddities that have populated my life over the years? Have I made a squeaky clean version of me and blocked, then, my ability to handle and deal with life? Do I ignore reality and opt for the politically, religiously, or socially correct view of life? Life is not glamorous or glitzy or even bedazzled with cheep thrills and shallow entertainment.

The answer, unfortunately, Sentry, is that I have not been honest. What I have invested in our the cheap thrills in life, the empty promises of happiness and fulfillment. I could say that I do not understand suffering, and that would be correct, but I think I honestly just don't know what it means to care for someone that has lost everything and cannot seem to find their way back in life. I do not know what it's like to face such unfiltered hatred because of something you are or live or believe in. I do not know what it's like to walk a mile in their shoes or see through their eyes.

I wish to be more honest. I wish to see more of my life and the world around me as it is. I don't want to dress it up in frills or put a positive or negative spin on it. I don't want to take a "Gospel" perspective on it or add the shadings of politics to it that so often distorts our reality. I simply want to see it as it is. I want to approach this with a healthy, realistic approach. Nothing more. Nothing less. I imagine it would take time to get into the habit of doing so, but I want to attempt to do so, Sentry.

Your friend,

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Dear Sentry,

It's been a while since we've talked. I admit that I've been trying to get used to the new situation my life has been found in. Sentry, I admit that despite the problems that I'm facing, I feel freer than I've ever been. I feel it in the air, I see it in what I do and how I live, and I feel it in my very being. It's this sense that I finally am free to make or break my life. It's definitely an intoxicating feeling.

But that's not entirely the point of this letter to you. Yes, yes, life is good, right? And it is. And yes, yes, once more I have my troubles but when do I not, right? But have you ever felt a sense of joy in life at where you stand? Where all before you has begun to slip away as though it were as tangible as air? I feel a cleansing effect coming over my mind and in that, Sentry, I at last know that I can take on the toxic things in my life.

I've allowed so much anger, bitterness, and frustration to enter and stay in my life. Now I want to let them fall away from me. I've been waiting for this period of time to approach. The time when I can at last face what is negative and remove them from my life.

So, Sentry, what is negative or toxic for you? Do you ever find yourself waiting for the right moment to let something go? Or do you such accept that corrosive element in your soul and let it continue its work because you're tough enough to deal with it?

Anyway, that's just been on my mind as of late.

Your friend,

Some videos that I liked:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seven Years...No, Seriously

Dear Sentry,

This past Wednesday marks the 7th anniversary of me entering the MTC. It was that decision that led me to a lot of where I'm at today in so many ways, both good and evil, for better and for worse. I remember that summer just after high school. I had no direction and no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had just finished public school and was feeling a sort of elation. I had just finally forgiven myself for ever liking this one guy almost two years before that. I no longer hated myself as I had felt during high school. My only biggest concern was feeling guilty over watching porn and masturbating.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea where I was going. I had no firm conviction of what I wanted at all. I was adrift without purpose that summer. I believed in the Church, the prophet, and the Book of Mormon though I harbored doubts because I had never once felt any conviction that the Book of Mormon was from God.

It was a summer that should have been one of transition and adjustment but instead I did what I normally did and refused to change, refused to adjust to what life was offering me. I allowed myself to be talked into going on a mission. I went and spoke with the bishop and passed my interview but I harbored feelings of guilt over porn and masturbating. I thought I could beat it back and do what God had asked of me. I thought all sorts of things back then.

The dry, terribly hot summer continued on and I soon met with the Stake President. In the interview, I felt overcome with guilt and was frustrated and depressed. I confessed of my sins and was given time to think over it. I felt I needed to repent. My parents were alarmed by this. What would make their son not want to serve a mission? At first they gave me space, wanting to let me figure things out. But as the weeks dragged on, they finally confronted me. My mom suggested I pray about going on a mission. So I did so...or felt too guilty to bother God with such a question. I knew I needed to go. So I figured that was my answer and was soon called to serve in Colorado. I was to report to the MTC on the 29th of September in 2004. I tried to get ready, I tried to do all that I thought I should do. But I never could seem to do it.

Sentry, it's been seven years since that day. Seven years since I chose to serve a mission for the LDS Church. It's kind of funny now, looking back on that decision. I still can recall the desire to do what was right, or what I thought was right then. I can still recall the curiosity and desire to believe in visions, revelations, God, and the Holy Ghost. I can even recall the weight of despair that I felt whenever I tried to imagine I life without ever having a person I truly loved in it. I believed that I would be dead by twenty-five. So powerful was that idea that even after I shed my beliefs, I still harbored a nervous fear that such a view would come true in my twenty-fifth year of life. I'm twenty-six now, so I guess that was an unnecessary attitude to have.

Serving a mission and going to BYU were to decisions that have impacted my life. They have so powerfully and so completely altered my life that I can't even begin to fathom it now. I divide my life, when looking back, between before serving my mission, serving my mission, and after serving. How many times have you, Sentry, felt the same thing? Felt that realization that one particular decision has so powerfully impacted your life? It has created a whole new category to make decisions in.

What about you, Sentry? What decisions have you made that have impacted your life in huge ways?

Updates and Clips

Dear Sentry,

I was going to write you last night but a friend needed my help. It's been a while. I moved a month ago to a new place and getting adjusted has been my primary concern.

It's been interesting these past several weeks. For the first time in my life I have lived as an openly gay man. I haven't had to bow my head and hold my tongue like before. This doesn't mean that I'm walking around town with my very own glitter cannons and stuffing rainbow flags in every mailbox and mail slot I pass. It also doesn't mean that I have been living in such a way as to put my life at risk. I hate that people found it justifiable to attack and harm people just because of their sexual orientation. I simply live honestly and with hope and optimism.

I have learned a lot since the start of this journey two and a half years ago. Many wonderful things have occurred in my life and some not so great things. But I'd like to believe that it has all been for the best.

Sentry, it's pretty well known just how naive I am. I know that I am still ignorant of so much. Sometimes it's hilarious and sometimes it's embarrassing. I learned a strange thing about a friend of mine. It has reminded me once more how little you can know about a person. I don't mean that as in they are someone totally alien and horrible, but different and more complex. I constantly want to figure people out. I try to factor in the simple but overlooked fact that you cannot know everything about a person. You cannot place people in boxes and you cannot fix their destiny.

It seems that people are made up of opposites. I do not harbor and do not desire to believe in some kind of divine Being or Beings yet I have a deep fascination for religious music, artifacts, history, and myths. I believe me to be very kind. If you're ever in trouble, I'll be there to help you. I'll pretty much drop everything to do so, Sentry. You already know this. But I also have a knack for knowing just how to irritate you and get you upset with me. I know exactly what it takes to irritate a person. The list goes on.

So, Sentry, what opposites are you made of?

On a lighter note (though I think this letter has been optimistic), there is something addicting about Rumbi fries. Have you ever had sweet potato fries? Why? Why? Why? Why are they so addicting?

I will become fat because of them. Damn you, Rumbi Fries!!!

Your friend,

"Have anyone of you even seen a chicken?"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dreams of Jeremy

Dear Sentry,

No, I'm not being lazy. It's dreams week over at a shared blog that I write on on Wednesdays. I thought I'd copy what I wrote there and post it here:

What kinds of dreams do we have? I'd like to think we have fantastic dreams such as finding love, healing all pain, and having hilarious stories to tell in our old age to anyone that will listen to us. So, as befitting my habit of sharing videos with you. I will do so.

Do you have dreams of evil red heads with green skin attacking you? Favorite line in that scene? "However, there is one boy who does not have a fairy." Let us take a lesson from this dream: boys should have fairies with them at all times. But not the fairies in the game. Hot fairies.

(Can he be my Navi instead?)

All right, moving on. When I was a little boy, I used to dream of designing my own home, traveling the world, and marrying and having kids. I dreamed of all sorts of lavish things. Over the years those things have changed. I now dream of finding a career I can lose myself in, something that I can be passionate about. I dream of meeting some wonderful guy one day and marrying him. I dream of growing old together and traveling wherever we want in life. I dream of publishing my stories and of people actually liking them.

Those are dreams right now. I have ever expectation and hope that they will one day become realized. However, I do have some other strange and odd dreams that I wish to share with you...some might be naughty dreams:

1) I want to organize one of the largest capture the flag games on BYU campus and then watch the whole thing from the top of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower (I might laugh evilly during it).
2) I want one day for Hug a Lesbian Day (it's every day, fyi) to become so big that a sweet innocent gal will be running from a crowd of hetero men and women friends trying to hug her for that day.
3) I want to see every country on the planet
4) I want to date a hot Deaf boy (why am I lacking on this one?)
5) I want to one day be asked by a guy in his underwear (somewhere in Utah) why I'm wearing pants and have other people look at me funny too.
6) I want to do the dirty in every building of my college campus
7) I want to lead a parade
8) I want to be chased by a large crowd of straight people intent on hugging me
9) I want some random stranger to turn to me somewhere where we'll be sitting and go, "Wow, you have a sexy belt. May I touch it?"
10) I want to recreate scenes from Will and Grace.

What did you think? Oh and if you do number 9 to me, Sentry, I will promptly ignore you. All right, I'll probably giggle.

Your friend,

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Sin of Being a Jew

Dear Sentry,

I just finished reading the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I will be watching the movie soon enough. The book was heart-wrenching to put it mildly. I highly recommend that you read it, Sentry, if you haven't already.

When I read such material, I am appalled and shocked that anyone or any people or any country or any area could logically, reasonably, or deliberately decide to exterminate another group of people. I feel like Bruno in his naivete to the hatred, cruelty, and absolute disregard for the humanity of those around me.

I fully admit to being naive. I admit to being blind to the understand of just how much hatred and inhumanity exists in this world. What are we, Sentry? It seems so sad, so pathetic that we - all of us, it seems - spend our time bickering and arguing over the dumbest things. Jews, blacks, Asians, Muslims, atheists, liberals, conservatives, Europeans, Democrats, Chinese, gays, Native Americans, lesbians, transgenders, Latinos, whites, Indians, Christians, Americans, and so on. Titles. Descriptions. Divisions. Does it really matter what I am? Does it really matter what you are?

Why does it have to matter? Why must we all insist on dividing us?

I am at a loss of words...

Your friend,