Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts on Gay Marriage

It's been a while since I blogged about something other than dating advice but this is something that has been weighing on my mind for a while. Before I start writing this though, I want to clarify that this is my opinion and I don't expect you to agree with me or to share my opinion, but I hope that you can at least respect it after I share it. So onto the show.

I don't know if I have a personality disorder or if it's just because I'm a Gemini but I've been divided on this issue for a long time. I feel like there are two parts of me constantly debating and trying to decide where to stand on the issue.

There is the side of me that thinks about my uncle Kim, who came to my parents and asked my mom give me his namesake as my middle name. So instead of being Bryant Grant after my dad, I'm Bryant Kim because of my uncle's request. You see my uncle was gay and had contracted HIV by the time I was born. He was aware that he wasn't going to have the opportunity to have his own children in his life. He died when I was seven but because of his request his name still lives on through me. It's hard for me not to think of him when I hear about the gay marriage debates. This side of me gets sick when I hear that people can be denied housing or get fired from work just because of their sexual orientation. This part of me has no problem with homosexual couples getting similar financial benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. This part of me doesn't understand why anyone should be discriminated solely based on their sexual orientation. This part of me is going to grad school to study to become a marriage and family therapist who is almost going to have gay clients that I will treat just like my heterosexual clients. This part of me is the social worker who has came to the conclusion after extensive observation of my clients that two gay parents who love and care about their kids is always better than a kid who has two heterosexual parents who could care less about their children. This part of me hurts when he hears other people use derogatory terms to describe homosexuals casually in conversation. This part of me understands that although I have a very strict set of morals, my moral values aren't shared by everyone in this world and that's ok. This part of me completely understands why his Facebook wall is covered in red equal signs and doesn't mind at all. 

Then there is the other part of me, the part of me that shouldn't have lived for more than 26 minutes, let alone for almost 26 years, but because of the faith of those closest to me and by a literal miracle through a priesthood blessing I'm still here. This is the part of me that spent two years dedicated to serving my God. This part of me completely believes in my religion and does everything I can to practice it. This is the part of me that understands that the single most important ordinance in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is temple marriage and why it's so important to Mormons as a religion. This part of me wants to do everything I can to help all those in need and truly wants the best for everyone. This part of me believes in modern and personal revelation and has received key guidance from both throughout my life. This part of me understands that although not everyone shares my moral beliefs, I do hold them and should do my best to live them. This is the part of me that wants to find a woman I can spend eternity with and have a family with. This part of me loves gays and wishes that we could find more common ground instead of finding more reasons to argue. This part of me doesn't understand how hard it must be to be told that you don't fit in because of who you are attracted to but wants to learn more so he can be more supportive of others, but that they can understand why I'm not posting a red equal sign on my profile.

I want my gay friends that I don't think that they are bad people for supporting their beliefs and wanting change. For the most part, I agree with what they are fighting for. I want my Mormon friends to know that I don't think they are out of line for fighting traditional marriage either, I understand why it's so important to the religion. I want both make sure that both parties know that I'm not trying to offend either party by not posting an equal sign or married man and woman on my facebook profile, it's just because I'm conflicted. To be honest, if there were an amendment to vote for today on Gay Marriage, I would abstain from voting because either way a part of me would leave unsatisfied with the way I voted. It's not because I'm uninformed, it's because I can understand both parties perspectives and to an extent agree with both sides. I guess my point is that I feel like this issue is more complicated than just marriage or no marriage. I want gay rights, but I want to ensure that there won't be consequences for my religion not to perform gay marriages because of their standards. I feel like this is the ultimate separations of church and state issue and I hope that we can look at it in that perspective.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dating in Utah: Auld Lang Syne!

Hey everybody! Let's hear it for surviving the Mayan Apocalypse and making it to 2013! I really thought that  an ancient extinct society really had us for a second but alas we came out on top, USA! USA! So now that I've had a bit of time to recover from that Mayan scare and reflect on the past year, I think 2012 might have been my most life-defining year to this point. I feel like life threw me a curveball for a bit but I really believe that I learned more about myself and who I am as a person more than I have since my mission. At the end of the day, I feel like there was one lesson in particular that kept resurfacing throughout the year that could be extremely pertinent when it comes to dating and life in general. I think we spend too much time letting our pasts define us as people.Over the past year, I had some of my best friends come up to me and tell me that they felt like they didn't deserve to be loved because of mistakes from their past. What really concerned me was that they were letting these decisions tear them down and make them feel like they weren't worthy of ever being loved.

We all make mistakes and do things we regret, it's part of the human experience. That's why there's an atonement in the first place because Heavenly Father understood that we couldn't learn without experience moments of weakness. Without screwing up every once in a while, we can't grow. I think that we spend too much time dwelling on how terrible we are and not enough time focusing on our personal growth. I'll be the first to admit that I struggled with this same insecurity growing up as a teenager because of some mistakes that I had made during my life. This guilt and constant dwelling on the past made it extremely hard to grow and develop my own self-worth. However as I've grown and stop letting guilt define my past and present, my self-esteem has grown and I've grown as a person. The fact of the matter is that everyone deserves to be loved no matter where they come from or what they've done. I'm not saying that it's not important to understand someone's past when you're going into a relationship, however I think it's imperative that we understand that people can change and grow. Most of all, we need to learn how to forgive ourselves so that we can accept the love others are willing to give to us if we just let them love us.

I can think of one particular example from earlier this year that really helped me understand the power of letting go of the past and focusing on our current progress can have. I had the opportunity to go on a date with a girl who had been previously married for the first time in my life. It would have been really easy for me to not give her a shot but as I had the chance to get to know her during the one date we went on, I was extremely impressed with the person that she was and how going through the trials that come with divorce made her a stronger person. She had come to the grips with the fact that she had gone through hard times and trials I couldn't imagine experiencing and really made the best of the situation. She learned from the past but didn't let that past define who she was as a person. Even though I only went on this one date with her and probably won't see her again, the one day I got to know her taught me more about growth than any other date I can remember. 

We aren't perfect and we're not supposed to be. It's one of the most beautiful aspects of the human experience. We're all different, we're all unique and yet there always seems to be a ying to our yang somewhere. We all have someone who cares about us and wants the best for us. The vast majority of us will experience love in all of it's romantic splendor at some point in our lives and we all deserve it. We are equally valuable to the human experience because we each bring something unique to it even if our contribution is a pretentious taste in music and TV or writing a silly dating blog once every couple of months. Speaking of pretentious music taste, it's my favorite part of the blog where I get to post an awesome video of great music. Here's a little Sharon Van Etten finish off the blog right!