Friday, November 28, 2008

Family...isn't it about time?

The Sisters

Growing up, Sister #1 and I were partners in crime. We ganged up against Sister #2, my parents and whoever else stood in the way of our fun. I love her. When she was a crazy teenager I would always wonder how the hell that brain of hers worked. The things she did to get in trouble with my parents never made sense to me. I was constantly asking her “Why do you do that? You know mom’s going to freak out. You know you’re going to get grounded. Why do you do it?” Even though I didn’t understand why she did what she did, she could always come to me and just talk. We would wait until my parents went to bed then I would sneak into her room and she would tell me about her latest boyfriend, party, drama, whatever was going on. She told me secrets and that was my favorite part. I loved that I knew things about my sister that nobody else knew. My role in these night time pow wows was simply to listen, and I did it well. I felt so honored that a “grown up” like her would come to me to talk about all her “grown up” problems and tell her “grown up” secrets to me. These talks would last late into the night only to be broken up by an annoyed parent who mistakenly thought they put us to bed hours ago. I guarded Sister #1’s secrets with my life. My mom would always try to get the secrets out of me but I was a steel trap! Sister #1 also comes with her flaws. One of which is her impulsive need to be in charge. She needs to be the one calling the shots. Sister #1 will decide if she wants to listen to and follow what you say. Sister #1 will decide if what you are doing is right or wrong. And once she has made that decision there’s no arguing it and there’s no changing her mind. Despite her flaws, I love Sister #1.

Sister #2 is the ying to Sister #1’s yang. Sister #2 is a tom boy. She hates dressing up, my mom is constantly telling her to “act like a lady” and she could kick any boy’s ass. My sexuality being revealed to everyone has produced major tension between Sister #2 and I. She does not know how to process this inconceivable change of events. I know she wants to bond with me, talk about boys and be normal. She feels that if she stooped down to that level then she would be just as evil as me. Hopefully with time she will realize that love trumps all else. Despite the tension, I still have many fond memories of when we were very little and we played all sorts of imagined games together. We played house, dogs, 3 Musketeers (there were only 2 of us), pioneers, good guys vs. bad guys and a number of other wonderful magically envisioned games. Despite her flaws, I love Sister #2.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

It is a tradition for my family to go around the dinner table and say 3 things you are thankful for. My family went to Las Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with some family there, and I have to work so I am home alone on Thanksgiving. Since I won't be able to carry out that tradition with my family I am going to do it here.

1. My family. A few days ago my sister came home from New York where she's carrying out her dream as an interior designer. It was so great to have the whole family together. It was the first time since I came out that there were no tears shed, no arguments, and no hurt feelings. We watched BYU get owned by my school (GO UTES!) and we had fun. We played stupid games that only my family would think is fun. We laughed about things only my family would find funny. We teased each other the way only we can tease each other. Everyone had a good time. I am so thankful for them and the support and stability they provide to me.

2. My friends. I have never been the type of person to have a large group of friends. I have a very very small group of friends who I share everything with, and that has been how it has been my whole life. I have friends who I can talk to about stuff that I can't talk about with my family and I am so thankful that I can have that additional support. Where would I be without FFF & FFF (don't worry if you don't get the reference.) To those few of you who I call friend, thank you.
3. Last, but certainly not least, my dog, D'koda (Sister #1 made up the spelling for his name so don't judge.) I call him my little orphan because he was found by a family friend in a dumpster at the restaurant where she worked. He was only 2 weeks old and barely alive. He couldn't walk so we would carry him around in a towel to keep him warm. And when he woke up in the middle of the night hungry I was the one waking up to make a bottle (which smelled absolutely rancid) for him. D'koda sleeps with me every night and he is my walking buddy. He can be dead asleep and I'll say "D'koda, do you wanna go for a walk?" and he jumps right up and is ready to go! No matter how shitty my day is D'koda will brighten it. I am so thankful for him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Spot

That title sounds sexual, but I promise this isn't a sex post. Yesterday while I was walking with my dog, I found My Spot. It's a place that I can call my own. A place that no one else will go. I sat up there, in My Spot, took pictures, reflected on life, thought about futures, and played with my dog. I'm out the door right now to go back to My Spot. It is a place I will frequent often.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family....isn't it about time?

My family is made up of a mother, a father, Sister #1 and Sister #2. I love each and every one of them very much, and also very differently. I don’t love one family member more than another, I just love them differently. All the experiences with coming out of the closet has challenged and tested these relationships but I was reminded tonight how much I love my family, and how much they love me in return. And the best thing about the love of a family member is that it doesn’t go through the honeymoon phase and then morph into an entirely different thing altogether like a romantic relationship. Familial love is constant. Familial love is strong. Familial love is important.

The First Installment of Family....isn't it about time? My Father.

My core values come directly from my dad. He’s a meticulously honest and ethical man. Anyone that has ever done business with my dad will tell you that he does not cut corners or take the easiest route. About 7 or 8 years ago my dad had the strangest idea to start up his own architecture firm. I watched as he worked his fingers to the bone getting this new business started. No matter how stressed and over worked he was at work he always left that stress at work. He has mastered the art of compartmentalizing (I need a little bit to rub off on me!)
In addition to instilling values into his son he also passed on one of his own passions which is sailing. When I was 10 years old he bought a 1986 MacGregor 26 sailboat and every weekend we would go out to the Great Salt Lake and sail around. When I was 14 he bought a much larger boat to stay on while he was in Hawaii on business. A long time ago it was featured on the cover of Cruising World Magazine and that is where this photo comes from. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to make 2 trips with him to Hawaii with the sole purpose of each trip being to work on The Lady Leanne II.
The most recent trip, two summers ago, the boat was sailed from its home in Kauai to Oahu so that it could be pulled out of the water and undergo routine maintenance. I went with my dad so that we could sail the boat from Oahu back to Kauai. It was an incredible and treacherous adventure. We expected the journey to take about 18 hours. So armed with a compass, GPS device, some snacks and rain gear we embarked out into the open sea. The plan was to sail along the island of Oahu until we reached the point of the island, then turn port (left for those not nautically savvy) and go straight for Kauai. We left in the early evening and sailed all night long taking shifts at the helm. I would drive for about an hour or two then sleep while my dad took a shift for an hour or two.

I can only attempt to convey the awesomeness of this part of the journey. We had a great breeze and we were cruising along at around 7 – 10 knots (I don’t know how that converts to MPH). I have never seen so many stars in my entire life. It was BEAUTIFUL! It was so quiet, but not the type of quiet that gives you the willies. It was the type of quiet that will calm any nerve and cure any hurt. There were only the sounds of wind in the sails and water rushing beneath the boat. Sometimes I would get caught up at looking at the stars, the shoreline, or straight down into the black water. At night there are sparkles everywhere, like magic. I later learned that the first explorers thought that there was gold in the Pacific Ocean. It has to do with the chemical makeup of a type of plankton in the water reacting with the churning water. It is entirely too scientific for me to understand. (Imagine seeing a million of these sparkling in the water) After staring for a bit I would look at the compass or GPS and realize I was off course and a correction was in order.

I watched the sun rise and as soon as it did it was time to take off into the truly open ocean towards Kauai. This is when the hellish part of the trip began. Without the protection of the island the waves became huge and the wind strong. The horizon would disappear as we dipped down into the trough of a wave and then reappear as we reached the crest of the next wave, only to go down the next one and once again have the horizon disappear. These constant up and down, side to side motions instantly sent my sea sick prone father to the side of the boat to vomit repeatedly. I was forced to take the helm and coordinate being tossed by the waves, keeping wind in the sails, and making sure we were close enough to our intended route. I had never gotten sea sick before that trip, but boy did it hit me. It was a combination of the sweltering heat and enormous waves, tossing us around like a toy boat in a bathtub with a four year old, that did me in. While I puked over the side of the boat my dad would take the helm, and while he puked over the side of the boat I would take the helm. After repeating this cycle many, many, many times we were absolutely exhausted. (It takes incredible effort to drive the boat in these conditions. You have to fight the waves and work with them at the same time and fight the wind but work with it at the same time. It takes muscle and endurance, something we were not prepared for.) In the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight, we heaved-to (meaning you just let go of the wheel and the boat turns into the wind; stopping you completely) and slept. We woke up and returned to our cycle of drive, throw up, drive, throw up until we couldn’t take it any longer and heaved-to again.

After 18 hours we finally had Kauai in our sights. I could not have been more excited to see a small brown hump on the horizon. We made it safely into harbor 24 hours after departing from Oahu. I was in awe at the will power my dad showed to keep us on course while his stomach and head were doing an Olympic gymnastics routine. We depended on each other that day. We weren’t father and son that day. We were equals, working together to reach our destination. We gained a greater respect and love for each other because of our joint triumph over sickness and sea. Our very own The Old Man and the Sea, coming of age story.

Despite his flaws, I love my dad.

*My dad took this picture at the end of our journey. I was EXHAUSTED!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I am sick of worrying that I might say something that can be taken as offensive. I’m sick of walking on egg shells. This is me being emotionally honest. Take it how you want.

How do you do it? How do you turn your back on the past one and a half years and jump right into another relationship? He’s not even cute. How do you do it? Why did you do it? Why did you jump into a relationship? Were you dating him before I got home? Did I play such a menial part in your life that you can just brush off the past year and a half and jump right in with someone else? Did I and we mean nothing to you? Seriously? What the fuck? It still hurts. Do you not hurt too? Is this new relationship somehow a way to mend your hurt? I really really really don’t get it.

Why do I feel like a tissue, all crumpled up, thrown away, useless? Why do I allow you to play such a big part of my life even now? My deepest desires desire you, but my reasoning rejects you. As I sleep my dreams torment me with memories that rip open the wound and send me receding back into solidarity and reclusion. I wake up every single day and hope that my day will be filled with thoughts other than you, but somehow you find a way to weasel your way in, curl up in an arm chair and watch the emotional circus that is me.

Every sight, sound, touch, smell leads me back to memories of you, of us. It feels like I have a bruise and I keep poking it just to see if it still hurts; to see if I can even feel. I couldn’t be dating someone else even if I wanted to. So how do you do it? I’m supposed to be a strong independent person. What happened to me? Your pity is the last thing I want. I knew you weren’t mine while I was still in Ghana. I wrote in my journal on July 10th “…I know something is up on the home front. If that is the case then I am determined to move on quickly and not be a lame, depressed, lethargic person for a long time.” Haha I actually laughed out loud as I read that. I have turned into the person I never wanted to be. And for that you will be nothing more than an acquaintance, memory and learning/growing experience to me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Sealed Box on a High Shelf

This post has been in the works for a couple of weeks now. I've written and re-written it several times. It is important to me, and I can't seem to get the words right. I want to stress that I am writing this as a cathartic exercise for myself. This post isn't intended to be a message to anyone in particular. I'm not seeking anyone's sympathy. Although, empathy would be nice.

To keep with my vow to not bottle things up anymore I need to talk about why I am hurting so bad. Shortly after returning from Ghana my boyfriend, “Bond,” of a year and a half decided that a relationship was not something he was interested in anymore. He claimed it wasn’t me but a relationship in general that he didn’t want. That fateful break up night was full of promises not to be bitter, angry, and resentful, but I am finding that extremely difficult. The year and a half I spent with this boy was a roller coaster ride in every aspect of my life.

Last year my parents found out that Bond wasn’t my best friend, but in fact my boyfriend. I’d like to tell that story. I need to tell that story.

Bond and I are hanging out at his house after a morning of teaching swimming lessons when a knock comes at the door. Shirtless, Bond answers the door and finds my dad standing there. My chest tightens and my stomach flips. Why is he here? And how did he know where to find me? A million thoughts race through my head. “Oh shit he knows. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. OH SHIT!” (I’m still baffled as to how he found out where Bond lives.) My dad asks me to go with him.

I get in the car and my dad asks me “Are you dating Bond?”


“This is huge, Taylor.”

I get home after driving around listening to my dad tell me how evil and wrong my relationship with Bond is, and my mother and older sister are in tears. My dad takes away my phone, laptop, and car keys, cutting off all contact with the outside world. I go up to my room and punch a hole in my wall. My oldest sister comes up to my room. “Do you want to go for a drive?” she asks. “Sure” I reply. We drive to the temple of all places. I think she thought proximity to something soooo holy would cure the gay right out of me. We talk about my past, my mom, and what I am going to do for the future. She gives me her opinions on why I think I am gay and I give her mine. We return from our drive and I go to my room and stay there for 14 days. In these 14 days I sleep little, eat little, bathe little and read voraciously. I read about 2 books a day and virtually everything the LDS church has ever said about “Same Sex Attraction.” (that euphemism bugs me)

I am lying in bed just about to fall asleep (an accomplishment in and of itself) when I hear a series of clicks on my window. (This is strange because my room is on the 3rd floor.) I open the drapes and see my friend Kiersten standing outside. She tells me in loud whispers that Bond is too afraid to come onto my property but he is standing out in those bushes. I want to see him so I make him come to the window and he tells me, in loud whispers, how much he loves me, how much he supports me and he tells me he is going to sneak a phone to me so that I can remain in contact. My heart was filled with happiness and love after they left my window. Only he can make me feel this way while I’m feeling so shitty. I couldn’t fall asleep that night because of the excitement I was feeling. It is such a comfort to know that somebody still cares and somebody is still on my side.

On the 13th day of solitary confinement I celebrate my 18th birthday. My cousins are in town so I pretend that everything is happy and good (gotta keep up those appearances!) the next day, my parents and I finally have it out. We talk, we yell, we accuse, toxic words are exchanged and we cry, boy do we cry.

“I know you aren’t really gay. I know that you don’t want to live like this.” My mom tells me.

“Mom, I am sick of you telling me how I really feel.” I reply “You have done this my whole life and I am sick of it.”
She starts to cry. “There you hurt me. You accomplished what you wanted.” That is not what I wanted. That is the opposite of what I wanted.
My mom tells me “Taylor, you need to make a choice. You can choose God or you can choose this.” She spits out the word "this" as if its poisonous and will cause an imminent and painful death. I’ve had enough. I can’t take the ultimatums, the untrue statements and the revulsion they show for me, their son. I go to my basement, get the luggage I got for graduation and pack just about everything I own. I write a note to my little sister filling her in on why I need to do what I’m about to do. I text Bond (from the smuggled phone) and tell him to come pick me up because I’m leaving. After I get everything packed up my parents realize that I am serious. I am leaving their house, their protection and their supervision for an undetermined amount of time. My mother breaks down. I have never seen her like this. The woman who gave birth to me, raised me, taught me to love tennis and volleyball, drove my ass to every single volleyball practice and tournament no matter the distance and my oldest friend is reduced to a shaking mass of tears and increasingly audible sobs. My heart breaks knowing that I am doing this to my mother. I need to leave though. I cannot stay.
Bond arrives and I get my bags and prepare to leave when my dad hugs me and tells me “The door is always open, Taylor. You are always welcome in this house.”
I reply “I know but I need to leave.”
My mom can do nothing but wail. She tells me repeatedly that she loves me. “Why are you doing this?” she begs. “Why are you doing this?”
I leave.
“What the fuck did I just do?” was all I could think of. I get to Bond, load my bags into his car and break down in his arms. I’m sobbing and I can’t get anything out. He, my parents and my older sister are the only ones who have seen me in this state. I sit there in his arms for a while and simply sob. His arms bring me comfort despite the grief I am feeling about the heartbreak I am causing my family. Comfort only he can provide me. I want to tell him everything that went on but I can’t. It hurts too much. He drives me to where I spend the next 2 months. Thank God I have someplace to go.
That night in a foreign bed, in a foreign room I am hit with another wave of “What the fuck did I just do?” My only solace comes in knowing that I have Bond. I know he’s not going anywhere. I know that he loves me. I know that he supports me.
On August 20, 2008 I lost that love and support completely. Two and a half short months later I am still mourning that loss. Bond has moved on with his life, gotten a new boyfriend, and is happy from what I can tell. Why was it so easy for him to move on? Why can’t I do the same? I shared the most private, sacred and personal parts of me with him and I don’t regret that for a minute, but it is hard to accept that someone else now occupies that part of his life. My occupancy in that part of his life was something that I respected, cherished and held most sacred, but now there is someone else there. I know millions of other people have had to deal with this but that doesn't make it any easier for me.
It is time to put the lid on the box from that chapter of my life. It’s time to seal the box shut and set it on a high shelf only to be reopened when I'm ready to revisit that chapter, a long long time from now. I’ve already made good use of the shredder; that was a good start.

There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today
~Mimi Marquez from RENT

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Bright Spot on this Gloomy Day

Tonight is Kids Book Club and for our activity we are going to make leaf stamp collages. To gather up all the leaves to make the stamps I took my dog, D'koda, and went to my favorite trail. I love hiking and I don't do it nearly as often as I should. It was beautiful to see the changing leaves and hear the rushing of water from the river running parallel to the trail. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I am kicking myself for not taking my camera. Oh well that just means I have to go again.

There was no one else on the trail so I let D'koda run free. He is so funny. He would run run run ahead then stop and look back and notice I was still behind him then run run run back to me, make a circle and run run run ahead. When he's on a leash he walks calmly and by my side but once I let him off he takes off and loves every minute of it.

As I selected leaves and put them in my bag I was hit by an appreciation of what I have here. When I was in Ghana everything was so new, exotic and beautiful. I take for granted the beauty just minutes from my house. We have some of the most beautiful sunsets, mountains, leaves etc. and I definitely don't take the time to appreciate them as often as I should. In every situation you find yourself in there is beauty. The trick is appreciating it. You don't have to be in a far of exotic land to appreciate the beauty around you.

On a different note. I just finished reading Running With Scissors and I recommend it to EVERYONE! It's definitely R rated but I highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

True Friends

What is a true friend? Someone you grew up with? Someone who you spend most of your time with right now? Your dog? To me there are two kinds of friends superficial friends and true friends. Superficial friends are the ones that you hang out with, laugh with, make fun of, and just have a good time. True friends are the ones who stick with you even when it’s not fun anymore. True friends tell you, not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. They are the people who say “Hey, quit being a douche.” Or “Are you sure that’s something you should be doing?” but at the same time they are also there to support you no matter what. The best example I have of a true friend is Britton (he is the one on the right in the picture above.) Britton and I have been best friends since Jr. High. We raised hell at tennis practices together, crashed cars together, worked together, laughed together, and cried together. When everyone found out I am gay he didn’t skip a beat. He talked with his gay piano teacher about it and talked to me and supported me with all the decisions I made. That is the mark of a true friend. Some of my favorite Britton/Taylor moments happened in tennis practices. We were notorious at North Canyon Swim and Tennis, Salt Lake Swim and Tennis, The Jewish Community Center, Eagle Ridge Swim and Tennis, and the Woods Cross High School Tennis Team. We could never play doubles together because it would just turn into a silly game of how hard can I hit the ball at your face? And he was one of the only people that I could play against and not lose my temper. We could never get sick of each other no matter how much time we spent together.

He is now on a 2 year, religiously affiliated vacation and not a day goes by that I don’t wish he were back here. I’m sure he’s a great missionary and will still be the same dorky, bobble headed Britton when he gets back, and I can’t wait till he gets back.