Buy my book: undetectable VISIONARY

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Million Reasons



I've been pretty obsessed with Lady Gaga's newest album, Joanne. One of the big hits, Million Reasons, is one of my favorite songs of her collection. It has really resonated with me emotionally with its powerful lyrics and beautiful music. 

I was first introduced to the song when I was at Marty Thomas presents DIVA at Industry a few weeks ago. Marty sang his heart out and I really fell in love with how stunning the music and the lyrics work together. When I got home I bought the album and started listening to it pretty religiously. 

On my way into work today I listened to it three times. The third time something struck me that the song went a little deeper than what most believe the song is about. The lyrics seem to tell the story of a broken and/or abusive relationship which is difficult to escape. I totally heard that every other time I played it, except for this morning. As I listened attentively to each word paired with her vocalization or inflection, it came to me that the song could easily be interpreted as someone battling mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Trust me - being mentally ill and having suicidal thoughts is definitely a broken relationship with oneself. I am in no way saying this was the meaning Lady Gaga intended - but that is a part of all art - everything is up for interpretation.

Read through these lyrics in the lens of someone battling mental illness:

Million Reasons

You're giving me a million reasons to let you go
You're giving me a million reasons to quit the show
You're givin' me a million reasons
Give me a million reasons
Givin' me a million reasons
About a million reasons

If I had a highway, I would run for the hills
If you could find a dry way, I'd forever be still
But you're giving me a million reasons
Give me a million reasons
Givin' me a million reasons
About a million reasons

I bow down to pray
I try to make the worst seem better
Lord, show me the way
To cut through all
his worn out leather

I've got a hundred million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good one to stay

Head stuck in a cycle, I look off and I stare
It's like that I've stopped breathing, but completely aware
'Cause you're giving me a million reasons
Give me a million reasons
Givin' me a million reasons
About a million reasons

And if you say something that you might even mean
It's hard to even fathom which parts I should believe
'Cause you're giving me a million reasons
Give me a million reasons
Givin' me a million reasons
About a million reasons

I bow down to pray
I try to make the worst seem better
Lord, show me the way
To cut through all his worn out leather
I've got a hundred million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good one to stay

Hey, ehh, ehh, eyy
Baby I'm bleedin', bleedin'
Stay, ehh, ehhy
Can't you give me what I'm needin', needin'
Every heartbreak makes it hard to keep the faith
But baby, I just need one good one
Good one, good one, good one, good one, good one

When I bow down to pray
I try to make the worst seem better
Lord, show me the way
To cut through all his worn out leather
I've got a hundred million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good one, good one
Tell me that you'll be the good one, good one
Baby, I just need one good one to stay


Million Reasons written by Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey and Mark Ronson

I don't really speak that openly about my battle with depression, sadness, anxiety, PTSD, and past suicidal thoughts. It's not an easy topic to talk about - but now that I've come so far away from a place of darkness I lived in for so long I can say more. I'm not declaring that I've been cured of anything - I still struggle with anxiety and PTSD everyday. The biggest change in my life was learning to say NO when I felt too pressured or anxious. I learned to say NO to activities that might trigger a panic attack. On the other hand, I learned to say YES to things that might make life easier or more fulfilling. There is no one answer for everyone - but there are answers for each individual.

I'm so happy I am now at a point where I know what to do if I ever feel like things are getting to be too overwhelming. No one said people aren't allowed to STOP and take time to take care of themselves before things get worse. Unfortunately, being mentally ill or dealing with mental health issues is still a faux pas in our society, when in fact, nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffers from mental illness each year. With Trump as our President, that number may steadily increase, but that's all I have to say about that.


"LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.

The LGBTQ community is at a higher risk for suicide because we lack peer support and face harassment, mental health conditions and substance abuse. For LGBTQ people aged 10–24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely and questioning youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm than straight people. Between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation." Find out more at: Find-Support/LGBTQ


If you or anyone you know is facing mental health issues or having suicidal thoughts, please speak with someone you trust, a mental health provider, or call one the following hotlines:

It Gets Better campaign and The Trevor Project 
provides a national, 24-hr, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth at 866-488-7386

The Trevor Project also provides an online chat and confidential text messaging text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255)

I didn't intend for this post to turn into a suicide prevention message, but it feels right to share my story so that maybe one person's life might be saved. Life is difficult; full of ups and downs. You're allowed to be broken, make mistakes, or even hit rock bottom. There's still hope for you and where there is hope, there is life and love. Every life deserves hope.

The first step is admitting to yourself or to another person that you need help. You can’t climb a mountain in one footstep, nor do you have to climb it alone. Ask for help, talk it out, share your thoughts and feelings, or just scream and cry if you need to. Even in your deepest despair and darkest hour, you are not alone.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

reflective reflection




broken
soaked in
blood
tears
salt
dripping off
my face
my hands
dirt
dust
rust
my broken
heart
soul
mind
searching 

for life
pain
reality
i want
eye want
to see
my self
my face
nothing
something
some thing
no thing



what am i 
looking 
at
for
through
there is 
someone 
looking 
crying
pleading 
reflective 
in the mirror
what do
i see
eye see
reflection
not reflective
of reality



stranded
waiting
begging
crowded loneliness
overwhelmed
dispairity
looking for 
clarity
real
is not
feel
abandoned
from all of us
to all of you
us
you
no one 
some one
any one
one




michael
gabriel
uriel
raphael
sing to me
hold me
touch my 
sweet abyss
that darkness
fill with light
feel the light
shout
hosanna
my revelation
shout 
hallelujah
my messenger
shout 
atonement
my perfect light
shout
healing
my commander
break the dawn
with your
anonymous divinity
into this 
glorious 
night
of death
anew
a new 
becoming
baptized 
in glitter
bathed
in gold
showered
in rainbows
seraphim
cherubim
divine



i am 
archangel
of this 
empty corner
there is
no one
looking
there is 
no one
king of
uninhabited
intoxicative
exhibition
of 
prohibition
not alone
a lone
unicorn
in the 
wild streets
vagabonds
chasing
driving
searching
yearning



what am i 
looking 
at
for
through
there is 
someone 
looking 
crying
pleading 
reflective 
in the mirror
what do
i see
eye see
reflection
not reflective
of reality

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

peace i give unto you



Something popped in my head last night. The thoughts came literally out of left field as I was wrapping presents, go figure.

Many years ago as I was preparing to serve a full-time mission with the LDS Church, leaders announced that any YSA (young single adult) who had broken the law of chastity could no longer serve a mission. I felt so ashamed and wanted to hide. I remember leaving church that day feeling absolutely defeated. There I was trying really hard to prepare for a full-time mission and fulfill my patriarchal blessing and then out of nowhere I was branded and told to my face that it would never happen for me. It seemed like life just got worse from there. 

The next few years I became pretty reckless, depressed, and even suicidal. In a lot of ways I felt abandoned by the church and by the world, but I don't necessarily blame either for those feelings. In between all of these years were bouts of increased faith and spirituality as the cycle continued.

Finally, in 2005, I had enough of trying to be something that I clearly was never meant to be. I asked to be excommunicated during a meeting with the Bishopric and they granted my request. The night before I had a dream about being excommunicated and I cried in my sleep, but when I woke up I felt a huge burden lifted from me and I felt peace, comfort, and solace. 

Months later I found out I was HIV-positive and I wasn't shocked, but it still hurt. I wasn't ready to face the consequences of my actions, but in time I knew I needed to start taking care of my physical body, as well as my spiritual one. So I made the decision to go back to church and for one last time try and get my act together to be re-baptized. I tried in vain for about seven years, but a few years ago decided to just stop. 

No matter what I did, there would always be something that just didn't fit. I grew up enjoying being a Mormon. I love my Mormon friends, I love Mormon music, I love a lot of what Mormons believe in and stand up for, but I've made a decision to take care of my emotional and mental well being and to stay away from the church. 

Now back to last night. My thoughts were about whether I'd ever consider going back to church and trying to be re-baptized. It didn't take long for me to answer no. By the church's current standards and policies, to be a member in good standing I'd have to end my relationship with John, despite our almost 2-year relationship. I'd have to remain celibate for the rest of my life or marry someone of the opposite sex, which to be fair is the same guideline for heterosexual members. The exception being that heterosexuals can go on dates, kiss, hold hands, etc until they're blue in the face and still be a member of the church, as long as they don't have sex. A heterosexual member would also generally face less punishment even if they had sex of some kind. And of course, even if I wanted to be a member of the church, I'd still end up being labeled an apostate. 

So, just in case anyone in the world thinks there's a chance of me rejoining the LDS Church...well, there's the answer. 

My point isn't to spread a message of negativity, especially around Christmas, but to say I'm happy I've reached a point in my life where I don't get lured into thinking I need to be re-baptized at the cost of my personal well-being. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts/suicide are not a joke. The pressure of fitting in at church is not worth it when it leads to an increase of mental and emotional instability. Then add being LGBT and/or HIV-positive. 

I am thankful for Mormons who have touched my life and who have remained my friends despite all that I have gone through and all they know about me. One of the greatest gifts God gave to me was the reassurance that He still loves me and that I do not need to be a member of the LDS Church to receive that love and His blessings. Knowing this gives me peace and comfort much like the feelings I had the day I was excommunicated and I felt the love, peace, and comfort of my God. While there's always room for improvement, God loves me just the way I am. And He loves you too.

 Merry Christmas and Have a Happy New Year!

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

You have been caught Jey Walking!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

past, present, future lover

Credit: http://padlib.com/pic/future-present-past/19169/for-1680X1050

















for six years
we were stuck 
with repetitive conversations 
we could not say what we could have said

your eyes spoke 
a certain language 
to me they said words 
I only now comprehend

we met in passing 
every now and then 
occasionally hinting 
of our mutual adoration

your smile said 
"I love you"
before I learned 
to see

all at once 
the stars aligned 
as we orbited the universe 
of our bodies, hearts, and minds

your arms 
make me feel safe 
no longer was I 
the abandoned runaway

the way you love me 
chases away 
darkness, doubt
and fear

your heartbeat 
in my ears 
said I could be yours 
forever

the way you love me 
brings me 
smiles, joy, warmth
and laughter

your soul 
intertwined with mine 
makes the light within 
grow brighter

the way you love me 
cannot be bought 
with manipulation 
or fortune

your ears 
heard my voice 
before I learned 
to speak

the way you love me 
is a source of life 
I cannot live 
without

six years 
have passed
onward, further
we go

learning, living
loving each other
makes the wait
completely worth it

we are now 
ignited fusion 
our love sealed 
together by fire

the way you love me 
gives way 
to hopes and dreams 
I never imagined



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

where i am



One year ago my decision was clear and final: it was time to move back to New York City. Since I was struggling to figure out my path in Pittsburgh, along with my daily panic attacks, I just had to leave. There were too many moments when ideas or feelings centered around vanishing or dying were too frequent to ignore. With the amazing help from my best friend, I was rescued and brought back to the home I knew all to well.

My plan was to get a job, go back to graduate school and finish the six courses left of my degree, start paying bills, become financially and emotionally stable, and be happy.  With plenty of effort, sacrifice, sweat, tears, and emotional shutdowns, I feel as though I haven't moved an inch in 365 days.
  • Four jobs in 365 days.
  • Accepted to graduate school, but unable to pay for classes, textbooks, and supplies due to loan rejection.
  • Unable to start paying bills due to lack of income.
  • Not financially stable
  • Barely emotionally stable. 
One of the big things on the list above is going back to school to finish my Master's degree. Having the degree would allow me to be at the top of the list for most of the jobs I am seeking. Unfortunately, the cost of going to school without loans of any kind keeps me from my goal. I am looking into state grants for Adult Continuing Education, but living in NYC I am competing against thousands or millions of others for the same grant money. So, if you know anyone that would like to help me finish my degree, please have them donate $10,000, preferably $15,000. Bueller...Bueller??? Exactly.

Now, the great news is that I connected with someone I've been acquainted with for six years. We have been dating for six months and I am very happy and lucky in love. Part of me wants to believe that I was meant to come back here to find John at just the right time in both of our lives. What I keep reminding myself of is that if John was the only good thing to happen to me in NYC, then coming back and staying here is worth all the negative parts of my life.

John is an optimistic and loveable soul. Whenever I am being my realistic (pessimistic) self, he always tries to find a way to make me laugh, smile, or at least relax. We both have our baggage, but ours seem to match in a lot of ways. We are learning about the idiosyncrasies of our personalities and behaviors. Our relationship has taught me a lot about myself and how I interact and react to people, places, things and...problems. 

This is where I am. I am caught in between having the relationship I have always wanted and needed and a life full of hard decisions and struggles. Guess what that means, I'm human and slightly normal...I said slightly!

I'm not here to complain, but rather to explain what is going on in my life. I need all the motivation, encouragement, and prayers I can get. The world is getting tougher, meaner, and scarier day by day and I am just trying to find a way to keep my head above water and make sense of it all.

You have been caught Jey Walking!


"Where I Am"
 
I have stumbled, how I fell
Ive seen more hurtin'
On this road back from hell
Than I would wish on anyone

For everything I faced in this world
It seemed the darkest
With the devil at my door
But with time comes the truth

And Ive had to go through the worst
To get to the best Ive ever been

I thought no one could love the kind of fool I was
No one was brave enough to take that chance

Then you lifted me so unselfishly
You reached out your hands and caught me
Its your love that brought me where I am

I have recovered, I am home
Now I believe in heaven
My hurt's my own, the battle's won
Those demons gone

And Ive had to go through the worst
To get to the best Ive ever been

I thought no one could love the kind of fool I was
No one was brave enough to take that chance

Then you lifted me so unselfishly
You reached out your hands and caught me
Its your love that brought me where I am

No one could love the kind of fool I was
No one was brave enough to take that chance
 
Then you lifted me so unselfishly
You reached out your hands and caught me
Its your love that brought me where I am

And Ive had to go through the worst
To get to the best Ive ever been

Songwriters
COCHRAN, TAMMY LYNN/POLK, WILLIAM THOMAS III./THOMPSON, VERLON K.
Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., EMI Music Publishing








Monday, September 8, 2014

mind over matter




Catatonic Schizophrenic
Psychedelic Hallucinogenic
Euphoric Exhilaration
Ecstatic Jubilation
Maniacal Equilibrium
Preternatural Cornucopia 
Multifarious Perspicacity
Pusillanimous Coagulation
Exonerated Equanimity
Peripatetic Matriculation 
Lunatical Metamorphosis