Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Beck, are you happy?"



Okay, so I'm soooo gay, and most everyone knows it whether they'll tell it to my face or not (including my family, my neighbors, my ward members and even my fellow High Priests (though they really don't have a clue)). And if I did come out, there wouldn't be that big of a shock (other than that I've been married for 27 years and have played the straight guy to the best of my ability).


And I didn't choose to be gay, but I have chosen not to be extra gay.


Though I'm longing for that which I can't have, or be that which I can't be, I am content with who I am. But, Damon asked "Beck, are you happy?"


I don't know how to answer that question. I am happy most of the time. I like my life and I've learned to like myself - despite many shortcomings. I feel like I know who I am and I know where I'm going. I have felt joy with my wife, with my kids, with my testimony. I have felt extreme love and have loved extremely. I also feel at times lonely, confused, frustrated - because I live this longing life and wear this constant disguise, and at times, it becomes so fatiguing. I'm so tired.


But am I happy? I don't really know. At times, yes. I'm mainly "okay". When someone asks how I am, I typically answer "okay". I'm not depressed. I do desire to get out of bed each day and be self-confident, and do my best.


I mean, really, who is happy? (And don't say the authentic person who is honest with himself). I know who I am and striving to be who I am is all I can do.


But am I happy?


I don't know... what do you think, knowing what you know about me?

And, are you happy?

14 comments:

Scott said...

I've wondered about happiness and joy... Whether there's any difference between the two; whether (and when) we're supposed to have them; how to find them and hold on to them once we've got them.

There are those who say that we're supposed to be happy, and that therefore we should pursue the things that our natures dictate will make us happy (read: same-sex relationships), because that's what God would want for us.

There are others who say that those people are misinterpreting the scriptures--that "men are that they might have joy" refers to eternal joy, and that we need to deny ourselves on earth (enduring a lifetime of unhappiness if necessary) for that eternal prize.

It's confusing, and the fact that I'm not exactly an impartial judge on the issue doesn't make things any easier.

I'd love to think that God wants us to be happy on earth and to pursue happiness. There's even scriptural evidence that we can find joy and happiness in close relationships with other men:

And it came to pass that as Ammon was going forth into the land, that he and his brethren met Alma, over in the place of which has been spoken; and behold, this was a joyful meeting.

Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.

Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.
(Alma 27:16-18)

(I'm not suggesting that Ammon's relationship with the Sons of Mosiah went beyond the platonic "bromance" level, but he obviously cared deeply for them.)

I really have a hard time with the idea that God expects any of His children to be miserable for three-score and ten years based purely on a faith-based hope of an eternal reward.

And none of this really answers your questions... You don't seem to be happy all the time, but I think only simpletons are happy all the time. You seem generally positive and upbeat, even on a blog that exists as an outlet for your angst. If that's any indication, I'd say you're probably fairly happy. I think I'm probably fairly happy, too.

Could either of us be happier making difference choices? That's the $1,000,000 question--but I can't afford to go looking for the answer, so I'll have to believe that I'm happy enough to be happy.

Samantha said...

I am. :)

Serendipity said...

I have times when I am happy (even though it might appear from my blog lately that it never happens, when actually it does) but I know that both and Scott and I would like me to be generally more happy.

I've been working on how to do that for 34 years now. Moments of happiness are more fleeting than I would like them to be.

The way others are feeling around me really affects me as well. For example, I find it really hard to be happy when my children are not happy, and that makes discipline and consequences really difficult for me. I haven't yet figured out how to not let others influence the way I feel.

robert said...

Scott said:
"I'd love to think that God wants us to be happy on earth and to pursue happiness."

This seems to be a major sticking point for orthodox christians. They want to be happy, but they are so completely married to the idea of "sin" and "repentance" that it just isn't possible to pursue happiness without checking the rule book.

Its really quite a strange concept for non-christians. you know us...the dirty pagans who didn't read our rule books or believe them when we did.

Beck said...

SCOTT said: "Could either of us be happier making difference choices? That's the $1,000,000 question--but I can't afford to go looking for the answer, so I'll have to believe that I'm happy enough to be happy."

Happy enough? Isn't that settling for something less than true joy? Isn't that pathetically sad?

Beck said...

SAM: You are? Really?

Beck said...

DIP: I'm not talking about being influenced by those around me - I'm talking about that core self, that central happiness within oneself. Is it there?

Beck said...

ROBERT said: "This seems to be a major sticking point for orthodox christians. They want to be happy, but they are so completely married to the idea of "sin" and "repentance" that it just isn't possible to pursue happiness without checking the rule book."

But doesn't the book say that happiness comes from following the rules? Convenient, right?

Samantha said...

Yup. I have things in my life that cause me stress, a past that makes me feel sad sometimes, but arching over all of that, I'm just happy.

Someone once said to me, "Sam, you're just a naturally happy person." And you've been around me--so you can decide whether or not she's right--but I think she is. I know who I am and what sorts of things bring me joy. There will always be things I cannot have--as is true of every person who lives. But I believe, even in some pretty harrowing circumstances, I've shown that I have a huge capacity for finding happiness. And I do.

Maybe it's innate, I don't know. You decide.

Scott said...

Happy enough? Isn't that settling for something less than true joy? Isn't that pathetically sad?

Well, "true joy" would be perfect, wouldn't it, but I don't expect very many things to be absolutely perfect. I don't think it's "pathetically sad" to settle for pretty damn good.

Serendipity and I talked about this as she helped me put highlights in my hair this morning (I'm soooo gay).

If I were to pursue something that I think might bring me more happiness than my current situation, I don't only risk my current happiness, but also that of my wife and kids, as well as several other aspects of my life and theirs (financial, housing, etc.). That's a lot to put on the table for a "might".

If I were miserable, it might be worth it. I've known people who were miserable in a situation not too different than my own, and I thought that exiting the situation and looking for happiness elsewhere seemed like the right thing for them to do.

But I'm not miserable. I'm pretty happy, overall. I'm "happy enough" to leave me content with my situation and reluctant to shake things up for what might be a pipe dream.

...

On another note, is it just me, or are the word verifications getting more pronounceable? Mine is "foolies". :)

Serendipity said...

DIP: I'm not talking about being influenced by those around me - I'm talking about that core self, that central happiness within oneself. Is it there?

So, I asked Scott what he thinks. At my core, with no outside influences, we think I am happy. But I am SO affected by others (and hormones), that I find it difficult for that core self to shine through.

Bravone said...

Beck, You are happy....and don't you forget it! One of the definitions of happiness is contentment. Scott mentioned this. I am not always walking around with a smile on my face and whistling a happy tune, but overall I consider myself happy.

We all get depressed at times and dealing with the feelings of not feeling fulfilled because we are suppressing our sexual desires does sometimes leave us feeling a bit empty. I think we can choose to be happy in our circumstances. Sometimes it requires to "count our many blessings."

Like Serendipity, I too let the moods of those around me affect my happiness too much. I am working on that.

I am content and hope you are as well.

Hidden said...

I really hate this question. I ask myself ALL the time. ALL the time. Too much probably. Happy. What IS happy anyway?

I really believe that happy is what you make it. Sam pretty much has it figured out.

"You decide." Yeah, I'll agree that it hinges on circumstance, influence, people, etc., but I think it comes down to our choice.

We can always stop and bemoan the other side of the river with the grass that is supposedly greener... if only we could swim that far... or we can figure out how to be content with what we have, where we are, and how we live happy.

Happy I think is an attitude. And attitude is something you always decide. Time to go read or re-read Viktor E. Frankl's _Man's Search for Meaning._

Damon In CO said...

Beck,

Sorry I missed the blog that I apparently caused you to write.

Am I happy? Yes. Are there things I wish I could change in my life? Yes. Do frustrating things happen to me? All the time.

Like Sam I believe that to a large extent a person can choose to be happy. It is all in how you choose to look at situations. LOL, to borrow an old cliche...attitude is everything.

It can't help all things though. I believe that sometimes you have to take inventory of your life and really look at what is making you happy and what is making you truly miserable...and then fix it. Life is too short to be miserable.

Scott mentioned same sex relationships. Would a same sex relationship help make me more fulfilled, YES...the right kind. Some random fling or a relationship that didn't hold the right values and progress the right way would truly make me miserable.

Does not having a relationship make me unhappy? No, not yet. When I am 80 and alone it might then...I'll have to see. Hopefully that won't happen, but it could.

You're my friend and more than anything I just hope you are happy...because life IS too short.

Sometimes learning to be grateful is all you need to discover happiness.

When I was young I would see homeless people on the street and wonder how they ever got there...surely there was someone in the world, in their life who loved them enough to help them. Where were they?

On my mission I did some service in a cold weather shelter for the homeless. I had a chance to visit with some of these people and hear their stories. My soul was touched that except for my Heavenly Father blessing my life I could be in their same spot. It brought new compassion to my soul and a gratefulness I carry with me.

I try every day to look for opportunities to be grateful. I like to say it could always be worse. And yes, it could be better sometimes too. And if you think it could be better than get up and fix it. If it can't made better then be grateful, because it is a choice.

Is that the secret to being happy? I don't know. Maybe it's just the wisdom to recognize happiness when you have it in your lap.
Sorry for another long rambling.
I love you Beck!

~Damon