Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Speak Your Heart

The After-Sky
by Andrew Martin Pankratz

They say there's a rainbow after every storm,
But it rained last night,
And the after-sky was thus forlorn:
Amid the silent blue crept only vapid white

Below, among the sorrowed browns,
In a sea of bladed green,
Drowning towers bled their crimson crowns:
And still, above, no rainbow could be seen. . .

Where is the promised rainbow?
Where are the rays of red,
And the bluish stare?
I see
No violet to warm the air
No gold in my heart of lead
Where is the promised rainbow?

The weeping willow has never wept as this;
Tears of chartreuse-green yet burst
From mauve and gnarled cysts
They mourn the uncolored sky and curse

For, there is no arc to shine ‘pon its bough
No brilliant colors to sing,
To break the bleakness ‘bove its brow
No palette of hope could such this heartache bring

Where is the promised rainbow?
Where are the rays of red,
And the bluish stare?
I see
No violet to warm the air
No gold in my heart of lead
Where is the promised rainbow?


It rained, and I bled...not blood, but sorrow. I cried, and I bled...not blood, but fear. I feared, and I bled...not blood, but foreshadow.

I could not see an end to bleeding save for bleeding that which I had not bled. I asked for hope...they drew a rainbow, and they did not bleed.

I walked the rain-flooded fields, and I bled. I asked for more hope...they drew a brighter rainbow, and they did not bleed.

I crawled the rain-slicked fields, and I bled. I gave them my muddened clothes...they shook off mud, and they did not bleed. I asked for further hope...they drew an even brighter rainbow, and they did not bleed.

I sat in drowning rain, and I bled. I did not ask for hope...they did not bleed. I slept, and I bled. They laid upon my breast a drawing of a rainbow, and they did not bleed.

I cried, and I bled...not blood, but anger. I could not see the rainbow they drew. I asked where...they frowned, and they did not bleed.

I walked away, and I bled. They called my name, and they did not bleed. I asked where...they frowned, and they did not bleed.

I crawled further, and I bled. They called my name, and they did not bleed. I asked where...they frowned, and they did not bleed.

I sat alone, and I bled. They called my name, and they did not bleed. I did not ask where...they did not bleed. I slept, and I bled. They laid upon my breast a drawing of a rainbow, and they did not bleed.

I feared, and I bled...not blood, but soon. I could see neither the end nor its rainbow. I could not hear them...they gave me a picture of a rainbow, and they did not bleed.

I walked alone...I saw a rose, and I did not bleed. The rose was wet...and bright...and deeply crimson, and it did not bleed.

I walked further...I saw a calla lily, and I did not bleed. The lily was wet...and bright...and deeply white, and it did not bleed.

I walked further still...I saw a fern, and I did not bleed. The fern was wet...and bright...and deeply green, and it did not bleed.

I stood, and I did not bleed. I looked, and I did not bleed. I wept, and I did not bleed. I saw the rainbow before me born, and I did not bleed...and, living, it did not bleed.


Where is the promised rainbow
But below
No bent rays in teary skies
But life
Wherefrom life is grown

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Molly Cule

I can't wait for my next paycheck... I will [hopefully] be subscribing to my X-Men comic books again!

There's actually a store that sells comic books on my way to the apartments of a couple of people I support; I should stop by there next week to get started on catching up.

I just realized that I've yet to really mention anything about my new job. I work for a company that supports people who have disabilities (such as autism, traumatic brain injury, etc.). The department with which I am involved supports those who are mostly able to live on their own but who need support in areas ranging from finding social activities to managing finances to maintaining a healthy environment, etc.

When I started, my official title was "Direct Support Professional" but I recently got a promotion and am now one of the assistants to the team leader. I will be focusing mostly on the financial aspects of support for the supported living department as well as directly supporting a few individuals.

It's been a very interesting experience so far -- interesting in a good way. I've learned a lot about myself, about life, about charity, about disabilities, about needs, about wants, about desires, about hopes, about dreams... the list could go on.

I've also been torn out of my comfort zones in some senses. For example, I do not like animals -- especially dogs... I hate how animals smell, how they don't have any respect for my personal boundry... the list could go on. And, of course, the very first person I started supporting has a dog.

And this is only the beginning. I also have an inexplicably heavy discomfort learning new skills in a public place... and one of the people I support will be teaching me to swim. I also have inhibitions about wearing shorts in public, let alone not wearing a shirt... I honestly don't know why this is... but I will be breaking down this inhibition, and I'm actually really looking forward to it.

However, my biggest inhibition is going to be tested as well: the locker room. I will be taking one person to the gym twice a week, and I'm not going to be able to avoid the locker room as I've always tried to do in the past. Granted, my past reason for avoiding the locker room was to avoid being confronted with the physicality of my homosexual attractions -- seeing as naked men are found in the locker room. That is, I avoided the locker room to help me stay in as much denial about being gay as I possibly could. Now that I'm out, though, I have no reason to push a state of denial... so hopefully it won't be too difficult to hurdle over this inhibition as well. (What's really sweet is that my employer will be paying for my gym membership -- not to mention that I will be getting paid to work out and on my goal of getting up to my ideal weight.)

In whole, this new job of mine has been extremely beneficial for me as it challenges my irrational psychological quirks. I even peed in a urinal the other day -- seriously, this is a big deal for me... especially since I wasn't the only one in the restroom...

I'm finally growing! (Even physically... well, not length-wise, but weight-wise; I just weighed in today, and not only have I regained the five pounds I recently lost but I've also added a whole pound!! I know a whole pound doesn't seem too significant to most, but it's a huge deal for me, and I will hopefully have gained at least another pound by next weekend (two would be great).)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cinderella at the Grave

It's impossible! I don't know how so many people do it... eat.

All I have to do is eat is 2100 - 2700 calories a day and I can quickly achieve my optimal weight... but I can't do it!

I simply don't understand the appeal of eating. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy tasting good foods... and my roommate is a fantastic chef... but I just need one or two bites and I've got the tasting bit down, and I then get bored.

I need to invent a better way of getting calories than eating... like a calorie patch you just slap on your arm and it supplies you with your necessary calorie intake throughout the day. Man, that would be fantastic!

It could even include the optimal ratio of fats, carbs, and proteins... and all the vitamins and such one needs... this is brilliant...

Although, I could go for some cotton candy and a soft pretzel (I like the ones from Pretzel Time).

Wait... come to think of it, I think I made my at least 2100 calorie intake goal today... well, shazam for me!

If only I didn't have to do it all over again tomorrow... sigh...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Le Sang des Soldats

My hair needs trimmed.


After All

I've been noticing another rather ironic anomaly since coming out: the blessings prescribed in my Patriarchal Blessing have been more readily and literally brought to pass. In fact, there's always been one line I've always read and thought, "I have no clue what that means or entails..." Then, last night as I was thinking about life, it dawned one me rather strongly that I've just recently fulfilled the instructions given.

More than ever, I have a great hope and confidence for the wellbeing and peace of God's gay children -- in both this life and the next.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Persuasion of You

Sometimes I find myself slipping back into feeling bitter, angry, and upset. I started to feel myself slipping after I read the LDS church's response to California's recent overturnage [sic] of the gay marriage ban.

Instead of getting all... well... bitchy... I have decided to take a deep breath and just ask, "What would Jesus do?" (How corny, I know...)

I've actually been thinking a lot about this question lately. In order to truly and honestly answer this question, I feel I have to know God, who He is, His personality, His traits, etc. Now, some are content trusting another person to tell them who God is and what God would do. I don't argue with that decision, it is definitely their prerogative... but it's not good enough for me.

Me, I need to go to a person firsthand before I can honestly say I know that person. I could go to his/her best friends, I could read his/her biography, and I could speak with his/her legal representatives -- they are all extremely excellent resources to help with getting to know someone -- but until I can sit down and talk to him/her, I can't honestly say, "This is what this person is like; this is what this person would do."

I believe it is the same with God. I can read the scriptures, I can listen to those who profess to be His representatives -- they are all extremely excellent resources to help with getting to know Him -- but until I kneel down and talk with Him, one on one, until I can feel His Spirit of communication, I cannot profess that I know Him, I cannot profess that I know His will.

Until I can achieve this, then I really can't answer the question, "What would Jesus do?"

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Very Soft Shoes

Wow, I just went from having practically no schedule/income/etc. a month ago to having a steady job (with an interview for a promotion this Monday), a place out of my parents' house, a gigue as the assistant choreographer in a theatre company, and one of the lead roles in said theatre company's upcoming production of Once Upon a Mattress (I will be playing the Jester).

Hopefully I'm not setting myself up for a burn out! I doubt it, though; I absolutely love performing and choreographing -- that is, I'll be exhausted... but in a very, very good way.

I won't emphatically promote the show yet, but I will mention that the performance dates are July 10-12 & 14-19, 2008 (in Tooele, UT). I'll get more details later; but for now, make note, and hopefully you'll be able to come and be entertained by yours truly.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Won't Say (I'm In Love)

"Jane" from my previous post has been on my mind lately. I really don't know why; we don't really talk to each other anymore (I don't think he even knows I've decided to be 'out' ... well, he probably does; word spreads fast).

Honestly, I hope he isn't gay, that the attraction was only on my side. This is not the funnest of things to deal with, especially in a Mormon society.

I actually saw his parents the other day -- I've never gotten along so well with one of my friend's parents; they're awesome, I could probably sit and talk with them all day. They suggested he and I double date... yeah, I don't think that would work too well (apparently, they don't know I'm out).

You know, it's kind of strange... ever since I came out officially, I've never been more construed as both a Mormon and a straight boy. That is to say, it seems that I am automatically labeled as a good Mormon boy by those who have been meeting me as of late. I'm not saying this is a bad thing; I just find it interesting.

And speaking of oddities since coming out... now that I'm "on the market" I've -- perhaps for the first time -- asked myself, "Am I attractive?"

I really don't know if I've ever sincerely worried or thought about such -- meaning comparing myself to others. There have definitely been times where I've thought, "You're looking good today!" or "Eh, you've looked better, kid..." (Yes, I honestly talk to myself like that.) But I've always evaluated such based on myself and only myself, never based on what was attractive to someone.

I don't know if I sincerely worry about such now, but the question definitely posed itself, and I don't know how to answer... and I don't think I need an answer.

Even though I'm "on the market" I haven't really been actively pursuing any relationships yet. I want to focus on getting a stable, non-pendulous life going before I throw in yet another dynamic. Of course, if a relationship presents itself sans pursuit, I wouldn't object.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Walking On Air

I was channel surfing the radio on my way to work the other day -- my car's CD player doesn't work... not a happy thing, I know (but I have a car and that's more than what many people can say, so I'm thoroughly grateful for the car I have). Anyway, the song "Walking On Air" by the artist Kerli started playing on one station.

I like it.

I guess that's all I wanted to say.

I've also discovered Sara Bareilles. I like her music.

In other news, the towels and washcloths I bought horrifically discolor... when exposed to water. I guess they'll work for cleaning rags -- and suffice until I can afford to buy new towels. Getting out on your own is expensive stuff, what!

Friday, May 2, 2008


Story I

Once upon several years ago, in the magical age of elementary school, there lived a little boy: Me. Me was quiet and introverted, spending most of his time in fanciful daydreams because Me was often unimpressed with what reality offered.

Me was especially unimpressed with school – although there are many reasons for Me’s immunity to school enjoyment, let it suffice to know that he very rarely desired to attend any of his classes. Indeed, Me was very much aware of and very much looked forward to every scheduled day off. Me was also very hopeful to sight the Illusive Snow Day.

You see, Me lived in a land where it had to snow freakishly heavily in order for there to be a cancellation of school due to weather. Nevertheless, every time it snew [sic], Me would hope all would officially be excused from school.

There was one specific day that Me remembers to this very day. On this specific day, it was snowing, and – as usual – Me was hoping for the Illusive Snow Day-- especially since there was a movie on T.V. that Me wanted to watch very much. However, watching this movie would have kept him up far past his bedtime – Me would not get the sufficient sleep for the possibly upcoming school day.

Me fancied, “Certainly, it’s snowing freakishly enough for school to be canceled... certainly I could watch this movie and sleep in without missing school...” Despite, Me – being the wise little boy Me was – decided to prepare for the next day and to go to bed on time (ending the day with a little prayer that the Illusive Snow Day would, indeed, be spotted on the morrow).

Indeed, on the morrow, Me awoke to the splendiferous, sparkling white pelt of the Illusive Snow Day.


Me is I, and this is a true story. (I found out later that my little brother prayed for a snow day as well that night. We both dutifully and properly prepared for school that night despite our hopes and prayers.)


Story II

Andrew sighed as the clock ticked. He sighed even more heavily as the clock tocked. Tomorrow would be just like any other day at school... and he mourned the prospect. He found some solace through Final Fantasy III -- which ROM he had just downloaded -- but the time had come for him to retire to his bed.

"Screw it," he mumbled as he eyed the time slithering forward ever so menacingly.

Soon, the sun's rays began licking Andrew's bloodshoot eyes. School loomed just minutes away.

"Screw it," he mumbled as he lurched to his bed just barely before his mother opened the door to his room to wake him up.

"[Screw it]," (read: "I feel awful") he choked to his mother who -- after failed coaxing to get Andrew to go to school despite his feeling "awful" -- closed Andrew's bedroom door and let him sleep.


Andrew is I, and this is a true story... well, the specifics may not be spot-on, but such was a common scene throughout my high school career... such resulted in a 3.8 GPA whereas I could have easily achieved a 4.0 GPA (ooooOOoo, I know, a 3.8 -- there weren't any immediate negative consequences... however, my poor attendance habits became quite the problem when I attempted college post high school).


Story III

I was certain Death would be grinning above me were I to open my eyes -- I do tend to be overly dramatic when I have a fever... and my fever was getting to be a concern. I could not keep down any food or fluids, and I was becoming dehydrated. My mom sat next to me, motherly dabbing my forehead with a damp cloth, saying, "It's okay to cry; sometimes you just need to cry."

Indeed, I cried. I hurt. The pain only seemed to be increasing, and I was stressing about school which was just a few hours away -- I had a heavily-weighted test I had to take that day, and the teacher giving said test was strict and rather merciless. I cried. I prayed for a miracle for me to be healed, for there to be a tornado, for leprechauns to take over the high school to enslave the student body to forge their gold coins -- I also can get a little loony when I have a fever... okay, so maybe my fever had nothing to do with my loonality [sic] -- but I was hoping for some sort of miracle where I wouldn't have to worry about missing a test that I possibly would be unable to make up.

Nothing happened; I missed the test, and though I was able to take it after school once my health was sufficient, I had to take a major deduction in points.


I is I, and this is a true story. Again, the specifics may not be exact, but this scenario did happen more than just once during both my high school and [short lived] university careers. I still received exemplary grades in these classes, but my respect for the teachers was not out of love, but out of duty to earn a decent grade. The teacher's mercilessness was a great detriment to my being able to admire and love her in a student/teacher manner.


Story IV

There were only a few hours before I could finish my fifth French exam at the BYU testing center, but I couldn't get out of bed. I just... couldn't. My depression and anxiety were out of control, and I was staring Death straight in the eye, pleading for him to take me then and there.

To make a long story short, I missed my exam. I did not explain my dilemma to my French teacher; I merely told him, "I'll just have to take a zero."


I is I (again), and this is an absolutely true story, specifics and all. I don't think he gave me a zero, though, as I got an overall A- in the class (a full zero on one of five exams, excluding the final, isn't going to drop the average so slightly).

I had similar experiences with both of my Psychology teachers that semester -- where my literal grade was much, much lower than what I was given (only one teacher was aware of my depression). I assume my teachers gave me the grade I received based on their personal knowledge of who I am, my intelligence, my skills, etc.

Now, it is necessary to my overall allegory for me to mention that, in this specific allegory, when I did miss class, it was never because I thought, "Well, this teacher is completely merciful; he/she'll excuse me this once." Rather, I missed because it was the best choice for my physical/emotional/mental/overall health. That's not to say I didn't hope for and trust their mercy, it's just that my hope for their mercy was secondary to my need to miss, and I was completely willing to accept any grade that resulted from my absences.


This allegory is not specific to homosexuality but to any disability, and I am saying if homosexuality is a disability, then I feel it should fall under this same attitude presented.

To make sure my presented attitude is clear:
  • School represents the commandments (and I speak in a general Christian sense, not specifically targeting the LDS faith)
    • Hoping for an official day off represents hoping for an official change in the commandments
    • Going to school represents following the commandments
    • Accordingly, staying home from school represents not following the commandments
  • The teachers represent a god figure
  • Story I represents hoping for a change in the commandments but following them nonetheless
    • This story could have ended with there being no day off and my intended message would have remained the same: one should, if able, keep the commandments even if there is a desire/hope for the commandments to change
  • Story II represents no desire to keep the commandments -- and, indeed, not keeping them.
    • My epilogue for this allegory was intended to express that disobeying commandments may not have any immediate effects but will have long term effects.
  • Story III represents being completely unable to follow a commandment -- and, indeed, not keeping it.
    • The teacher in this sub-allegory represents a semi-merciful God who is completely bound by Justice. My not keeping the commandment -- even though I was absolutely unable -- required there to be a major deduction in my score, and there was nothing the teacher would/could do.
  • Story IV represents being unable to follow a commandment in order to protect one's health in the superlative sense (note: I could have attended my classes; I could have forced myself to take the test, but I did what was best for my health).
    • The teachers in this sub-allegory represent what I believe Christ is all about. There are, however, two main differences:
      • Christ fully knows one's circumstance (and would, therefore, be even more merciful).
      • Christ paid the price for there to be absolutely no deduction in grade whereas my BYU teachers had to report to their supervisors were there a dispute (therefore, there were some deductions).
Basically, I am saying that I believe Christ has atoned for the sins that we commit if such sins were committed in order to protect one's health and wellbeing in a superlative sense (not based on any future grade but based on the present health requirements). I believe such is paid for because one is not committing the sin due to the desire to commit sin (or the attitude, "I'll just rely on Mercy") but due to the attitude, "I have to protect my health and wellbeing."

Of course, when applying this to homosexuality, the question is: "What is the best choice?" Some will argue that acting on one's homosexual attractions is not the superlative answer; however, such is most often backed with, "Because of the eternal consequences in regards to the demands of Justice and human nature." Such does not settle well with me because the situation is taken out of context: what is superlative here and now for one's health.

For the most part, I sincerely believe monogamous homosexual couples parenting is the absolute best choice for the here and now. If homosexuality is truly a sin, if such will be eradicated in the world next, I believe the sins are covered by Christ's Atonement -- if the sin is not committed with a "screw it" attitude but with a "this is the best choice for me right now" attitude.

I also think it vital for a Christian to understand his/her Christian beliefs that one cannot judge what is best for another individual. (Specific to the LDS faith, the General Authorities have no authority to micro-manage each and every individual's life; their duty is to speak generally -- hence their title -- and allow the individual to make the most appropriate choice for his/herself.)

(Specific to the LDS faith, the concept I have presented is applied by the LDS church to practically every disability... except homosexuality. One can break the commandment to serve a mission based on health. One can break the commandment to fast based on health. One can break the commandment, based on health, to not commit suicide. In each of these cases, as is taught by the LDS leaders, the sin is still committed, but Christ's merciful Atonement has paid the cost because of the circumstance.)

Does this -- making room for disabilities -- not create a more loving atmosphere and God? I did not love my strict teacher; in fact, the strictness, the "you must pay the price, no matter the circumstance," only exacerbated my ill health and was a detriment to my healing as quickly as I otherwise could have. I, indeed, feared the teacher, and I attended the class even on days when I missed other classes. But there was no love.

On the other hand, I absolutely loved my merciful teachers. My love was not dependent on this mercy -- again, I was willing to take an absolute zero on my missed exams and papers as Justice would require. I did not expect them to show the compassion that they ended up showing, and this compassion only made me more appreciative and more admirative [sic] of the teachers. I believe I learned a great deal concerning the nature of charity through these teachers.


As a personal testimony, I sincerely don't feel as though I have a disposition to do evil. I sincerely desire to follow the commandments and instructions of God, but if one of God's requirements is to refrain from any and all homosexual activity, then I'm going to have to break a commandment.

I have said this several times before, but I will accept any consequence of breaking this commandment (if it is truly a commandment). I will take an absolute zero on this exam.

Now, I do hope that Christ will show mercy and allow for His Atonement to pay for the sin; however, such hope is secondary to my need to protect my current wellbeing in the superlative sense.

And I testify that my choice to start living as an out homosexual [seeking a monogamous parenting partner] has been shockingly -- to myself, even -- beneficial to my health and wellbeing. It is, by far, the best choice I have ever made concerning my homosexual attractions.

I encourage anyone who is struggling with homosexuality to sincerely consider and pray about this option -- not because I wish to be justified with company in my decision, but because I am genuinely concerned for one's health and safety.

I have spent (and do spend) countless hours looking at this issue through every possible lens I could possibly consider, and I do believe that even if homosexuality is a sin then Christ will show compassion and mercy and tenderness and love and mercy again to those of us who sin as we seek to live a most happy, healthy, meaningful, and purposeful life.

Such is His pattern when dealing with all other disabilities that result in sin (including the sin of suicide -- which, most often, can be prevented)... why should homosexuality be excluded from this divine pattern? Such would make absolutely no sense to me.