Tuesday, July 26, 2011


It's been quite awhile since I wrote in here. I guess that's because things have settled down a bit. I don't have a job right now, and I should admit that I worry about money a lot, but I have been amazed by two things. One is how little it actually takes to live. I have discovered a lot of things I can do without. The other is that God does provide when you put your trust in him, and I really am hopeful that a job is just around the corner.

I think things got more stable a few months ago, as I neared my one-year mark here in Baltimore. A lot of friends had told me that it would take awhile to get truly adjusted in a new city. But I was impatient, and I let the natural growing pains get to me and make me depressed. I was kind of a pain to be around during that time, and I'm sure a lot of people were waiting for the funk to pass.

And then it did. I think one morning I just woke up and realized that my prospects here in Baltimore were actually quite good. I had made a lot of good, honest friends. I had found a wonderful church where I was baptized into a truly loving community that lives for Christ. A lot of relationships that needed healing had found themselves healed. Others were (and are) more-or-less the same, but I have actual hope that they will heal one day, and my life doesn't have to stop while I wait patiently.

Maybe it was because I moved to a new apartment, closer to my friends and my church. Maybe it's because I got more organized. Maybe it's because God finally thought that I had learned my lesson. And what is that lesson? Well, I suppose it's that I can get through anything. Not on my own, of course, but then again, I'm not ever really alone. For the longest time up here, I felt like I simply couldn't do it. If you know part of what I was going through for the first eight months or so up here, you know that I wanted to quit and move back to North Carolina.

But I didn't quit, and even though life up here still has its challenges, concerns and stresses -- money being one of them, grades being another -- I have a lot more resolve than I once had. I trust God to carry me through. I trust that true friends will stand by me, even though I know I can be a high-strung, Type A, aggressive, moody, desperate, temperamental, abrasive personality. But I also know my good points, and the great gifts that God has given me. And I really hope that people will understand and appreciate them, and look past the bad stuff. I hope to love and to feel loved in return. But I know that even if I don't, I'll still make it. Things have turned around, and they'll keep turning.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I've been told sometimes that I'm socially awkward. It's a criticism that I accept begrudgingly, but I know that it's mostly correct. There are certain things that I just don't "get" when it comes to humor, and I can put my foot in my mouth very often. Just a few weeks ago, I remember I posted a comment on a dear friend's Facebook status (or it might have been a photograph, now that I think about it.) Either way, the comment was intended to just be kind of a joke, but I suppose it was awkward enough that the friend deleted it. He politely told me why, and I have absolutely no beef with him about it. I know he's a great friend who cares about me, so that didn't bother me. What bothered me was that, once again, I had unwittingly made a social faux pas when I simply was trying to be, well, humorous.

Frankly, it's moments like that that make me not want to even try. Facebook can be one of the more unhealthy things when it comes to revealing one's social awkwardness, because I can easily compare myself to other people. I see friends posting inside jokes back and forth. I see them make comments about how cool they are. I see spontaneous comments about how certain people miss each other, and want to talk on the phone or hang out. None of these folks are doing anything wrong, but I can't help but feel like being left out most of the time, because even though I think I'm a good and loyal friend, that kind of expressiveness is beyond me. I want to be in on the inside jokes, the spontaneous messages, the random hangouts and visits... And yet I'm really not. And every time I try to become that kind of person, it usually ends up awkwardly and poorly. And since Facebook (and the Internet in general) seems very committed to the notion of tabulating and recording who we are and what our relationships look like, that can lead to some pretty heavy feelings of not stacking up to what other people do. Emotionally, but not logically, I tabulate who my real friends are by who writes on my wall, or who jokes around with me, or who chats with me spontaneously. Logically, that's silly, but social networking has become such a part of life in this century that I doubt I'm the only one who experiences this phenomenon.

This extends to my relationship with Christ, as well. Facebook, perhaps more than any other medium, allows us to see how other Christians in our lives operate, and it creates a lot of awkwardness (at least for me) because we also know that we're being watched by our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have some wonderful, expressive, loving Christian friends who daily put up a wise Christian status update, or a link to a Christian worship song, or a relevant quotation of a Bible verse, and each time it's liked by a ton of people and there are comments of "Amen!" or "Well said!" or "You're such a wise brother! I'm thankful to know you!" And it's not necessarily a bad thing, nor do I think it's disingenuous, because these people are wise brothers and sisters and I am very thankful to know them. But I also look at my wall, and see the general lack of those Facebook Christian tropes, and I end up feeling insecure. Just like a knack for witty Facebook comments and inside jokes somehow makes me feel like those who excel at them are more successful in life, socially, a knack for putting up relevant, poignant quotes and Bible verses makes me think of those who post them as "better Christians." And I look at my wall, and my random assortment of funny articles, indie videos and general randomness, and I go, "Oh, man... They must think I don't really care about Christ."

I do, of course. I care about him more than I could ever put into words (which might be a reason I leave it off Facebook, for the most part.) I've often had a difficult time expressing my faith. My testimony, last week at my baptism, had the general feeling of a horrified squeak on my part. I was just so nervous. I don't know the right contemporary Christian songs. I don't raise my hands in the air when I sing. I tend to be really cynical and sarcastic. It's not the kind of personality that really "fits in" to the chipper, emotional groups of evangelicals that I've known in the past. Yet I think Facebook gives us mirrors where we make side-by-side comparisons of ourselves and others. Just like I may look at the banter between two friends of mine and go, "Oh, I wish I could joke around with them like that," I can look at someone's wall and go, "Oh, I wish I knew as many Bible verses or quotes from popular pastors as that guy." The main difference is that I think it's fairly appropriate to try to joke around with someone in an attempt to break out of your shell and insert yourself into the conversation. To post "Christian stuff" on Facebook when I don't really feel genuine about it, but just because I want folks to think better of me, would be kind of gross. I should wait until I actually have something that I genuinely want to say, and I guess I'll just have to accept the fact that that's going to be less often than some people, and I just hope I can survive the awkwardness in between now and then.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I've never wanted to think of myself as a "writer" in a very serious way. I'm not some literary snob, sitting in some coffee shop in a cardigan and glasses, obsessing over the half-finished manuscript buried in my desk drawer and telling anyone who will listen that it is surely beginning the greatest novel ever. Not that I have anything against cardigans, glasses or half-manuscripts (I happen to have all three) but there is often a certain pretentiousness associated with identifying as a writer, and I want no part in that.

I was talking with a musician friend of mine, and he mentioned that although many of us have these grand ideas that musicians are struggling, tortured artists, releasing their pain and heartbreak through song, the reality of it is a little less epic. Of course musicians do find strength, comfort, expression and healing through music, but as my friend pointed out, it's still a job. It requires a lot of work, practice, patience and sacrifice. I remember in high school, when I tried to learn the guitar, I learned that I didn't care about music quite enough to put in the time and sacrifice long hours to the perfection of that craft.

Writing, on the other hand, is something that captures my interest enough to force me to learn it. It's not a mystical natural ability that I, or any other author possesses. It has to be learned. At the same time, like music, it relies on emotional experiences that can't be learned. The place where the raw emotions and the technical details merge is of particular interest to me. The technical side of fiction writing does require skill, patience and even a certain set of "rules," but it also requires the author's experiences to a large degree, and thus it recalls an ability to tap memories and emotions that other people leave buried.

To be honest, that's the hard part. There are lots of writers -- just as I'm sure there are lots of musicians -- who are all technique and formula. You can write a bestseller or a hit that way. And trust me, I really do enjoy both popular fiction and popular music. I'm not a hipster, and I've never been under the illusion that something is bad because it is popular or good because it is obscure.

But to write fiction that truly resonates means putting yourself in some pretty dark emotional places sometimes. It means living through experiences multiple times, so as to glean enough information from them to inform your fiction. If writing is a job (and it is) then it can be a pretty emotionally taxing one. Still, I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else, so even if it may be considered a pretentious identity, I'm proud to call myself a writer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


A very good friend offered to talk today, and I spoke with him while my carry-out pizza got cold on the table in front of me. He's one of the main people who I've been able to talk to about the events that happened in July. The problem, of course, is that that's basically all we've talked about since then. I feel terrible about it, and I can always sense his agitation when we meander to that topic. It's not agitation with me, he assures me, and I do believe him. It's agitation with the fact that, almost a year later, nothing has changed. I still feel the same. In many ways, I feel worse. There has been some improvement, of course. I'm no longer self-harming and I actually can get out of bed, go to work, study diligently and do well in my classes. All in all, this has been a productive semester. I've produced some good fiction, and I've made enough money at my job that I don't feel like a financial burden on my mother -- who has been supporting me until now. Sure, I've had some rough patches along the way. I certainly don't get along with everyone at my job, and sometimes the pressure just makes me snap and say something that is uncharacteristic of me. But overall, my life is calm. It's not exactly happy. I get up, I work, I study, I play video games, I read, I write and I go to bed. That's the essential routine of it.

But it's still very, very hard. I could basically take the last few posts and copy and paste them into this space, with some minor modifications. That's how stuck I feel. I don't think it's wrong for anyone to feel tired of me at this point. My friend was right, pretty much all we've talked about for the past year is the same situation. It's the same person who dropped me as a friend after I had a breakdown, the same feelings of exclusion, the same paranoia and angst when I look at a status update or picture on Facebook: "Did he comment? He blocked me, so I can't see. Am I excluded? Do people still like me, despite everything that has happened?" In a way, the paranoia is a progression. It used to be paranoia that led to horrible, mind-destroying depression. Now it's just paranoia that, well, leads to bad nerves, torn fingernails and crying. I generally know how to put on a good face for my family and the few personal friends that I have, but even some of them notice that things just aren't right anymore. And they're right to notice that.

But what is to be done? I'm waiting for reconciliation, but reconciliation might not come, as my friend pointed out. I did go through a rough time over the summer. I broke down, I became irrational, I dealt with a lot of extremely hard life situations -- the full extent of which I can't and won't reveal, at least not on this blog -- and I hurt and confused people because of it. And one person in particular decided to distance himself permanently. I understand why, I do. Perhaps it's just that I feel like I'm better now. Or at the very least, I'm trying to be better. Or, perhaps more accurately, I so desperately want to be better. But I can't really change unless I'm given an opportunity to change. I can't show that I won't abuse lines of communication unless they are reopened. Based on his past experiences, he has no reason to trust me. No one does, really. But part of the reason I'm so desperate for communication is so I can show just how much better I am, so I can show that I can be humble, I can apologize, I can respect boundaries, etc. Right now, I know I can do these things, but I'm still being treated as though I can't. That is extremely difficult, and sometimes it's a little too much to bear. Like I said, I feel stuck: I know I can do better and be more than what other people expect, but unless they take the chance to look and listen, they won't see that things have changed in me. And since they won't see the change, it makes the change a little less real, even to me. Yes, I do often need another person's acknowledgment to feel like I've truly changed or reached a milestone. Maybe I shouldn't, but that's just the way I am, I suppose.

This started out much more coherent, but it's devolved, I fear. I'm not doing that poorly, I suppose. I work, I study, I go home, I call my mother and siblings a few times a week, etc. The weekend was rough, and today wasn't that much better, but maybe it's just that the weather here is terrible. The friend who talked to me today did sound agitated, but he assured me that he'd always be there, even if I felt this way forever. That was nice to hear.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


You know, I've been involved in this online community of struggling folks for about five years, and in that time I've developed some very close bonds. They are, in essence, the closest bonds that I have with anyone outside of my immediate family. This was especially true after joining an accountability group on Facebook, where I was able to "meet" several people I had known on my blog for years, and attach names and faces to situations and personalities that I already knew about in writing. These online friendships led to real-life ones, and I visited several of these people while on a road trip this past summer. In fact, I don't think I would be in Baltimore at all if it wasn't for the fact that the closest of these friends was a student here, and encouraged me to apply to the school I now attend. In short, these have been some very important friendships to me, but I'll also admit that these friendships have been extremely challenging in the past. I don't think it's unfair to say that I go out of my way to please people, and like I've said on this blog, I've had a lifelong obsession with finding a place to belong.

Well, when I first found this online community, and especially when I joined the Facebook group two years ago, I felt I had finally found my place to belong. Unfortunately, my views at the time were rather liberal and unorthodox, and the fact that I have a pretty polemic, abrasive personality meant I was in conflict with folks quite a lot. As tough as I tried to appear, this was pretty much torture to me. Here was my place to belong, and yet I felt like a constant outsider because I didn't go to Exodus conferences, I didn't really buy into a lot of the theories about orientation causation or change and my political views were more libertarian than the standard religious conservative's. So I argued a lot, and if anyone reading this ever got into an argument with me back then, they know that I could get extremely passionate. I still can, really. Why, just the other day I was talking to a friend online, who got tired with the argument and signed off quickly. I kept calling him and calling him after that, until he eventually blocked my number. We've since reconciled and I definitely know that my behavior was out of line, but it's just an example that serves to illustrate this point: I totally realize I can be a lot to handle sometimes.

I am still human, though, and I do think that I have put in a lot of time and effort into these relationships. Frankly, I've put in more time and effort into online relationships and my own introspective, reflective writing than I have to bonds in the real world. Of course, I still have a lot of friends and acquaintances in "real life." I think I can be fairly affable in person, although I'm a little eccentric and not above being awkward. But like I said a few posts ago, I'm a writer. I see myself and think of myself as a writer, and even if I'm not a good writer, even if I'm never published or successful in that particular field, the fact remains that I express myself best through the words that I write, not the ones that I say. Therefore, the people who know me best are those who know my writing. Short of reading all the short stories, unfinished novels, journal entries and other notes I've compiled over the years, the best way to get to know who I am as a person is to simply read both my old blog and this current one, and also to talk to me through e-mails, Facebook messages and chats. You'll get to know me better than you would if you knew me in person, where I think I can be very polite and presentable, but not much else.

The odd thing is that, over the course of the past few years, I changed a lot about myself. Oh, sure, I'm still a lot to handle, but my views on issues really did change. I'm not going to say I'm totally a fan of Exodus, but my position has moderated extremely from where it once was, mainly because I've come to know people who are actually involved in Exodus. In essence, I've become a lot more conservative than I once was. I don't know why, exactly. Examining motivations like this is pretty difficult, if not totally impossible, but I know that I used to share a lot of anxieties with people, telling them that I felt like an outsider in the group because of my more liberal views. I do think that, although I think conservatism is pretty logically consistent anyway, I wouldn't have sought to change myself if I wasn't seeking after approval and acceptance from friends.

That's why the recent situations with several friends who have gotten boyfriends have been so difficult. I felt like I made myself a conservative just to win their friendship, and I went through so many arguments, tantrums, anxieties, etc. Just when I felt like everything was going swell, I feel like I've been rejected again. I'm back to square one, because they're all liberal and I'm the one holding onto conservatism. That's just really hard. I usually try to write a little more clearly, but what else is there to say? It's hard. I changed a lot about myself for other people, even moving to another city for other people, and now I'm left without them. Oh, sure, many may say we're still friends, although others have made it clear that we're not, but the fact remains that the personal renovations I did to myself have now, well, seemed to have been for absolutely nothing. I don't think anyone consciously asked me to change myself, nor do I think anyone consciously used me, but that's how I feel: Spent and used. And I'm very tired. I know I'll get up tomorrow, and things will keep going, and writing this out tonight has helped a little. But, man, I'm just really, really tired. And I'm trying to figure out why I'm still fighting like I do.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Life has both calmed down and sped up considerably recently, which can explain the lack of blogging around here. On the one hand, I feel that I've calmed down recently, at least emotionally. Okay, I did have one pretty epic outburst (which I'll get to later) but for the most part my days pass by without much incident. I have a few depressing hours every now and again, and I might even be in one while writing this, but I've become quite amazed by the world's unflinching ability to keep going, whether I feel happy or not. I think God has given me the resolve to keep going along with it, and I thank him for that. On the other hand, I have been really busy recently. I work almost every day, I have a lot of things to read for class and I'm already starting to develop ideas for my thesis. I just signed up for summer courses, I have to write two more short stories to complete my coursework this semester, I wish to revise and edit the two that I've already written, I am applying for teaching jobs in Baltimore and I also have a strong desire to go through my old blog and edit each post for grammar, punctuation and precision. I know, my perfectionism knows no bounds, right? Yesterday I looked at the journal that I've been keeping since college. A large part of me wanted to buy a new blank volume and re-transcribe everything I had written in it, word for word, since I deemed my handwriting in freshman year to be too sloppy.

Perhaps that last anecdote is indicative of my emotional state for the last few weeks. Aside from all the busyness, there has been an undercurrent of fear. Oh, sure, I've had great times in the midst of everything. I visited a good friend in West Virginia, and had a great weekend. I walked around Baltimore on a spectacularly sunny day and took pictures with another friend of mine. I've gone to dinner with friends, read great books, had great conversations on the phone with my mother and have basically carried on the routines of a normal, healthy life. However, I can't fully let go of the past. I still have a lot of emotional anxieties related to that horrible month of July, a full seven months ago. In many ways, I still feel like I'm living in the postlude of that month, since the relationships that were lost then still reverberate very heavily in my heart. Even though I know that my mental health has improved greatly, and my life seems to be on track to any outside observer, I still have so many fears and anxieties related to what happened then. I know, I haven't really blogged extensively about that time period in my life. There are a lot of issues involved there, the greatest of which is the desire to protect the privacy of myself and others, and I just haven't had the time to begin the delicate process of examining this past summer in a public way that would be both fruitful and respectful to all parties involved.

To make a long story short, though, I still fear the same things I feared then. Namely, I fear losing the people in my life. When friends who you love and trust, and who say they love you in return, abandon you, it's extraordinarily difficult, for me, at least, to recover. I still haven't. Every relationship that I've made since, I feel that I've only put half of my heart into it. I'm afraid of people getting to know the real me, because I'm afraid that once they do, they'll want to pull away, just like a good friend did in July. Worse, people who I haven't talked to in awhile... I feel that they are avoiding me purposefully. Even though I know that folks drift apart naturally over time, ever since this summer I've been paranoid about my personal relationships. If someone doesn't talk to me, even if they say they're busy, I fear that it's due to an indictment against my personality. I assume they don't like me. This is especially true with regards to anyone who I had conflict with, or who was connected to the issues and broken relationships I had over the summer. Trust me, this isn't a really pleasant way to feel. Cognitively, I know that it's not rational and that it's not even true. Emotionally, however, it's intensely sad and almost crippling at times. I've learned to cope with it and continue living, but I would really like it to be gone, to be perfectly frank.

I suppose in order to clarify what I consider abandonment, I guess I should define what I consider to be personal closeness. That's difficult to do, however. In truth, I've had a difficult time recently trying to bring clarity and precision to my own definitions and premises. I know what I believe when it comes to God, Christianity, the Bible, politics, etc. However, I know that my fear of losing people often keeps me from saying those beliefs boldly and clearly. I'll easily hem and haw about a subject if I fear that the person will no longer want to spend time with me should they ever learn what I truly think. There's no other term for this attribute of myself than sheer cowardice. Similarly, I can keep my emotions repressed for awhile, in order to simply enjoy the artifice of someone's company. However, neither of these repressions can last for long. One example should serve as a model for any. A friend of mine, a fellow struggling guy, recently started dating a guy. Although he had been trending towards this position for awhile, I told him that I would support him and be his friend no matter what. On the surface, those words are still true. I do still consider myself his friend, and I do support him. Naturally, though, I want to support the decisions that will ultimately lead him towards Christ, not away from Christ. That wasn't clearly implied in our earlier conversations, and in fact, I willfully kept it hidden because I feared coming on too strong about the dangers of approaching gay-affirming theology would cause me to lose the friendship.

Ultimately, when I learned that he did indeed have a boyfriend, both my emotions and opinions burst forth, and they weren't tempered in any way. I'll be the first to admit that I made an awful show of it. I was harsh and abrasive, condescending and rude, and even though I do think that heaven and hell are absolute, literal realities and that unrepentant sin is a sign that a believer, well, isn't a believer at all, I think I was more "fire and brimstone" than I ever had been. That's saying a lot. The conversation was heated and I haven't talked to him for the past two weeks. I hope we can reconcile, and of course I have an absolutely crippling fear that we won't. I just realize that a lot of this would have been avoided if I was more consistent and honest with what I believe from the start, rather than letting it burst forth when, really, it was too late to change his mind. Not only that, but I fear for him. I remember a post that was posted on Revelife recently, where the author reviewed the fascinating Lisa Ling documentary about the ex-gay and gay Christian movements. He mentioned something about one of the struggling men interviewed for the show: "After seeing his tear-rimmed eyes, I could never be convinced there's not something Special rooted deep inside him, beckoning him to abandon himself for something far greater."

I have met many men and women who have cried, who were passionate about their commitment to God and the denial of their feelings, who seemed beckoned to abandon themselves for Christ... Many of them have helped me on my own path, and have kept me fighting when I didn't feel like fighting anymore. The friend who broke ties with me in July, and the friend who I recently shouted at for having a boyfriend, they're both very significant to me for that reason. The first, though I know next to nothing of what he's up to, is still fighting, I hope. The second, I fear, is giving up. And if he has, I fear that that love of Christ I sensed in him might not have been there at all. I know I shouldn't judge. I really know nothing about the state of one's eternal soul on this side of eternity. However, I can't pretend that that's not what is at stake, here. God didn't call us out of homosexual behavior simply because celibacy or heterosexual marriage are so much nicer. He called us out because our sins bring his wrath. If we love him, we are to keep his commandments. Sure, we'll stumble. We'll hem and haw about our convictions, we'll sometimes lose our battles with the flesh, we'll have moments of pride, anger, doubt, lust, jealousy... But we'll be committed to winning the war, despite all of that, won't we? To succumb to the flesh in a moment of weakness is one thing. To rationalize and justify sinful behavior, and even claim that it is a gift from God, is quite another, and is a sign that one might not be truly saved, despite how much they tugged at our heartstrings while they were still fighting.

That's why I fear for friends when they begin slipping away from this struggle. There are many things I may admire about them. I have nothing but respect for those who stand in the face of public opposition, and who are willing to be who they are despite the fact that they may lose friends. I know many ex-ex-gays, as they're called, have lost a lot, and they have my fullest sympathy in that regard. And I know that simply having a boyfriend doesn't mean you're bound for hellfire. I think it's pretty established that our stories are complex and tumultuous. I've had a boyfriend once, and I've stumbled more times than I'm usually willing to admit. However, I think there's a genuine cause for concern, isn't there? When someone is driving towards a bridge that you know is going to collapse, you want to hold up warning signs, don't you? You fear for their safety, and you'd rather that they stop far away from the bridge, rather than have a near-miss, right? That's how I feel about this. I fear for those drivers. I don't want to see them plunge into the cold waters beneath the bridge.

The only difference is, by saying this sort of thing, I'm holding up the warning sign. Even if my methods of holding it up are abrasive and rude, and I wouldn't disagree with anyone who said that those are dominant personality traits of mine, I'm still holding it up and doing something that, I think, is ultimately loving. But the drivers who hear it might not see it that way. They might hate me for it, and abandon me as a friend. I fear that, too. I fear it so much.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I think one of the most persistent, consuming themes of my life is an overall desire to belong somewhere. It's certainly been one of the most dominant themes of the past few months. While my old blog was focused more on my struggles with homosexuality, and my opinions about gay rights and the ex-gay movement, I think I've finally discovered what I want this blog to be about: The struggle to belong. It's something that I've been thinking about quite a lot recently, and I think it's something that many people who struggle with same-sex attractions, and many Christians in general, struggle with and can relate to.

I've always belonged to several things. I've belonged to my family, I've belonged to the small and somewhat insular community that is my hometown, I've belonged to several organizations and groups in my college days. Most recently, and perhaps most importantly at the moment, I've belonged to this strange but simultaneously wonderful community of online Christians, brothers and sisters who struggle with same-sex attractions. I don't think it's a stretch to say that I've put more effort into belonging in this online community than I have in my real life communities. I suppose there is a reason for that, which I wish to discuss here.

I've always considered myself a writer, first and foremost. Am I a good writer? I don't know. I don't think I'll ever get published. The competition for publication is extreme. But that's a little beside the point. The fact is, I express myself better through writing than I ever could in person. When asked to describe myself, I'll often say that I'm loud, obnoxious, opinionated and outspoken. Real life friends would look at that and think, "What? You're one of the most mild-mannered people I know." I think online friends could nod along in agreement. That's because my writing style is pretty blunt. I don't dress things up and I don't hem and haw. I usually say what I think without many qualifiers.

This creates a certain level of tension. I see myself in the same way I see my writing. When I was in high school, I wrote fantasy novels and short stories. They were horrible by conventional standards, but they gave me worlds I could live in and worlds I enjoyed. They gave me worlds where I belonged. Similarly, I think my journals, blog posts, Facebook chats and comments from the past few years have been, in my head, the world where I felt I most belonged. But that kind of thing can only last for so long... At least, that's what I've been discovering recently.

One of the biggest struggles of the past few months, which have been among the most painful and harrowing months of my life, has been feeling like every place where I once belonged is being ripped out from under me. A friend raised the hypothetical question of whether or not God is ripping everything out of my life in order to get me to rely more fully on him. We'll see about that. Hopefully as I make the discoveries, I can get some good feedback from my friends on here. Thank you all for your support and wisdom.