Sunday, April 8, 2018

Perspective

Here I am on a beautiful yet chilly Sunday afternoon trying to put my feelings into words. Life has been hard lately. More often than not I feel trapped or stuck when I am going through hard things. I am sure many of us have felt this way.

The best word to describe this year for me so far is Perspective. A lot of hardships that happened in my life has put things into perspective. For example, I have two friends pass away this year in two separate car accidents.

Perspective #1. Live everyday fully. We don't know if there will be a tomorrow.
Perspective #2. LOVE others regardless of who they are.
Perspective #3. Laugh with others for it makes us all feel better.

Live. What does it mean to truly live? I have been thinking a lot about this. The way I look at it is pretty simple. Live in such a way that your life may be something you are proud of. It is just fine to be proud of yourself. No shame in that. I choose to live my life with service. For that is what brings me happiness and joy. I tend to text people to come to mind to see how they are doing to show that I care.

Love. Love is a big topic. What do you think about when you hear the word love? Is it something with a person of interest? Is it a chick flick that you tell everyone about? Is it loving people no matter who they are like Jesus Christ would? Love to me is important. I make sure to tell the people I love, that I love them so they know. Never assume that people already know your love for them. Tell them. Words of affirmation can go a long way. I believe love can go a long way. It can change so many lives for good. Love and Kindness reminds me of a simple lyric from the musical Wicked. "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

Laugh. Laughter is simply the best medicine. It has helped me in many hard situations in my life. Life is meant to me enjoyed, not endured. Let's all have a happy time together and laugh together. That changes things.

I have come to realize that it is okay if life is hard. Hard things shapes us for the future. We have two options when it comes to dealing with hardships. There are two types of fears. The first one is Face Everything and Rise. The second one is Forget Everything and Run. It is easy to feel just wanting to forget our hardships and pretend it isn't there. Just think of it. If we face our difficulties and rise, we have been changed for good. We are born as strong human beings. It has been this way from the beginning of time.

I am grateful for trials. Not because they are desirable. Only because they help and shape us to become the people who we are meant to be.

May we strive to reach out more to those who need a helping hand. Live more. Love more. Laugh more.

Love,

Laurel


Saturday, January 27, 2018

This Is My Year

Towards the end of 2017, I was thinking that 2018 is going to be the best one yet. I felt it within my bones that 2018 was going to be unforgettable. Unforgettable in a way that all sorts of good things were coming my way.

Now 2018 is here and it has been the hardest month of my life. I am dealing with health problems that have scared me. I know that I am in good hands to get things taken care of. Yet, that doesn't eliminate my fears with my health.

Then on January 15th, my dear friend, Heather passed away from a car accident. I was in shock, denial and upset that she was taken away from us here on earth. The only thing that keeps me going is that I know she is with Heavenly Father and is at peace.

Last week was a week of many lessons. Love is the center of everything. Love is bigger than any fear. There was a quote in the movie Soul Surfer. "I don't know why terrible things happen to us sometimes, but I have to believe something good is going to come out of this."

How true is that quote? It is very common that we all have trials. Sometimes we don't know why certain things that happen to us. But something that I do know is that Heavenly Father is aware and there are lessons to be learned. And that in itself is a gift.

This is my year. Yes it has been a rocky start, but I know this year is going to be a good one. Why you ask? Because I choose to make it a good one. I am not going to wait around for others to make it good. I am in charge of making it my year.

Even though I've had setbacks, I have decided that losing myself in serving others is the best way to make it my year. I've noticed that trying to be positive is the way to go. To notice the simple good things in life. To seek the good in others and to see others the way God sees them. A smile can go a long way. And that it why this year is my year. Live, Laugh, Love.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

This Is Me

Growing up, I always wanted to "fit in." To be part of the cool, popular kids. After awhile I noticed that in order to fit in, I had to alter myself. To pretend to be somebody I wasn't.

This became a habit. I moved around quite a bit as a kid. It was hard for me to show others the true Laurel, because I was afraid that people wouldn't like me. This was eating me inside. It was a slow death. I was losing sight of myself and all I knew was to be something I wasn't to "fit in." Only few friends and my family knew me.

After awhile, there were people who knew how to knock down the walls around me and showed me that I can trust them. They know who they are. I am eternally grateful for them.

Now I am here to tell you that I am proud of who I am. People may take it or leave it. I am done pretending someone I am not just so that I may feel a sense of belonging. It doesn't work that way. I have learned that we don't need to apologize for who we are. If people have a problem for who we are as individuals, it is their problem, not yours. Be true to who you are and the right people will come along.

People often ask me how I would describe myself. Here are some things that make up Laurel.
-Loving, compassionate, caring, good listener, funny, loyal, a fighter
Now here are some things that Laurel enjoys to do:
-Comedy Improv, sports, singing in the car, dancing like nobody is watching, tell people jokes. The list goes on, but you got the gist.

I have come a long ways to actually figure out myself. Would I trade all the hurt and pain I went through to get to where I am today? No. Why you may ask? Because it has shaped me into the person I am today.

Now you, yes you. The one reading this. I want to tell you that you are worth it and are enough. Be proud of who you are. There is no shame whatsoever. Life is hard, but you are a strong fighter and will come out on top. Invite others to be part of your life. Show them love and let them love you.

These lyrics from The Greatest Showman puts all of my feelings into words. Read it carefully and know that you belong and that you are glorious.

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one'll love you as you are
But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades
And reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become
Won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
Gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
And I know that I deserve your love
There's nothing I'm not worthy of
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come (look out 'cause here I come)
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Beginnings

As I am here in my bedroom trying to put my feelings into words, I am telling you that things tend to happen the way we don't expect them to. This concept has happened more than once in my life. The most recent one just happened earlier this evening. I was supposed to go into a another semester at UVU, but I felt a powerful feeling I should take a leave of absence to focus on my mental and physical health.

Was it an easy decision? Of course not. Towards the end of 2017, I found out that I have unfortunate health issues within some of my organs. I am willing to do what it takes to make myself better so I can participate in my next football season and to fully focus on my studies this coming fall semester.

I am actually excited for this year. This is the year where I can start anew and focus on the things I need to. I am ready to be my best self. I am ready to continue to serve and help those in need. I am ready to make sure I am in good health to play football. I am ready to be better on stage with the two different comedy improv groups I am involved with. I am ready to smile each day and make it the best I can.

Something I learned last year is that life is so precious. Life is so short. It goes by fast. It is up to us how we will live each day and what we choose to do with our own lives.

I am here to proclaim to the World Wide Web, that this year is gonna be a good one. Why you ask? Because I said so. I am ready to more fully Live, Laugh and Love. Ready or not, here I come.


Friday, November 17, 2017

You Can Do Great Things

Often times has human beings, we tend to underestimate ourselves and the abilities we have. I am an expert at this. I'll admit that I question my greatness more often that not. Everyone has greatness to offer in this world. People may tell you over and over of how awesome your greatness is. Speaking of personal experiences, that greatness won't be able to come to life unless YOU believe that you have greatness to offer. If we are to do great things we must always be motivated to take bold risks. If you're feeling timid or uncertain, find the inspiration to do what you are meant to do.

There may be some fear of failing. People often ask themselves, "Who am I? What do I have to offer?"  There is so much uncertainty in this world. People get nervous about the unknown. I am here to tell you that this is common. Things are not made to come across easy. You can do hard things. By doing hard things, this contributes to your greatness. It shows what your character is made of. When you believe in yourself, good things happen. 

The following lyrics are from the movie, Prince of Egypt. I know that these lyrics speak the words that I've been looking for to say for so long. This describes what people may go through everyday in life. Having that fear then rising up on top to do great things in this lifetime.

Many nights we've prayed
With no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hopeful song
We barely understood,
Now we are not afraid
Although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains
Long before we knew we could...
In this time of fear
When prayer so often proved in vain
Hope seemed like the summer birds
Too swiftly flown away
Yet now I'm standing here
With heart so full I can't explain
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say
There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
It's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe

We are not here on earth to fail. If you feel you have failed, try again. Awhile ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about some concerns about succeeding in different things. He showed me this video that Will Smith put out. He was talking about not being afraid to fail and not being scared to show your greatness. That video has changed my life my friends. I am here to tell you that YOU, yes YOU, YOU have greatness. You just gotta believe in yourself. Go forward with a smile on your face and hope in your eyes and go after that greatness and do something great today!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Jesus Christ Knows

Often times when things are hard, I just want to give up on things and call it quits. This is how my younger self mind set would be like.

Over the years, I have learned that giving up is not an option. Heavenly Father didn't send me down here to quit. But to keep trying. One of my favorite quotes is from Jeffrey R. Holland. It says:

“Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead.  Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

Sometimes we don't understand why things happen the way they do. No matter what you may be going through, know that Jesus Christ knows. He knows you. He knows what you are going through. He is there to carry you through the good and bad. He is there to lift you. He is there to comfort you. You are never alone. Never forget that. Just hold on. The light will come. 

"And when it seems as if your end is drawing near
Don't you dare give up the fight
Just put your trust beyond the skies"


Don't Give Up. You are loved. There is always someone there for you. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knows and loves you perfectly! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mormon and Gay Pt. 2

Ever since I posted the original Mormon and Gay blog, I felt the urge to continue to share my story. Now I am no storyteller so a heads up, it might be kinda scattered. Let's get the ball rollin'.

Life as a Gay Mormon is a roller-coaster. I'm not kidding. Some good and bad moments. I'll be sharing both sides on this blog.

There were many times where I just got lost into many different thoughts. 99.9% of those thought had to do with me being Mormon and Gay. Some days, it is easy to live both. Some days not so easy. There were many times where I contemplated leaving the Mormon church to get that "free release." But every single time I thought about it, I felt I shouldn't do it. Maybe to help people in my congregation understand the LGBT better? Who knows, but I do know everyone has a different path in life. And that is perfectly fine.

There are times where I feel alone and that I don't belong. Whenever I have a hard time, I often think about the song, Hold On, The Light Will Come. Towards the end of the summer of this year, I was at a breaking point. I was depressed. I didn't want to hang out with anybody. I didn't want to feel the pain and hurt that I experience everyday with trying to balance being Mormon and Gay (I tend to hold in my feelings and it builds up until it explodes). People often ask me why I choose to stay. I just reply, because of the feeling that I feel at church. The congregation I attend is really awesome.

Just a day or two later, I got a text from one of my good friends asking me if I was going to Affirmation Conference in Provo. I replied with a "No." Not really interested. Then I felt a peaceful feeling kinda urging me to go. So I went.

(For those of you don't know, Affirmation is a 3 day conference for LGBTQIA+ community who were raised Mormon. There are lots of meetings, classes, socials for everybody to learn and grow. Anybody is welcome.)

As soon as I step foot in that building where the conference was held, I felt at ease and at peace. I am somewhere where I feel like I belong and with people who understand what I have been through. There were people there from all around the world and many backgrounds with many different stories. I met many incredible people who I love dearly. I made many friends who I still keep in contact with today. I am glad, that I took that leap and went.


In conclusion, all I have to say is LOVE is the answer. Love is the center of everything. When you show love to us LGBT peeps, it helps us to be more open with you and about our lives if you had any questions. 

I am the same Laurel. I have always been. I am just sharing more about myself than before. Something that is a part of me. I am happy to take you all on my journey called life. It's about creating many memories along the way. Thank you for joining me. Until next time.

-Laurel

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Letter to My Younger Self: Don't Give Up

Dear younger Laurel,

Your 24th birthday was one for the books. You were on your mission and were given 5 cakes. What to do with all of them..lol. You were just going along with your mission when you felt something was wrong. You feared to call you Mission President remember? You knew if you called him, you would get sent home a second time due to anxiety/depression. You called him anyway, because that is what you ought to do. Yes, I remember when you cried being dropped off at the airport to go home. You fought the great fight. You finished your course. Remember, do not compare yourself to other RMs. It won't help. But I understood when you did it anyway. You couldn't help it. You are strong and prayed non-stop to overcome the feeling of emptiness. Eventually you were on top. Good job Laurel. Good job. Keep at it. Don't give up.

Fast forward, you were torn apart at first when you realized you have feelings for women. You thought to yourself, how can this be? This is not possible. You did everything that you thought would work to get these feelings away. You prayed, read your scriptures, went to church every Sunday. You did this thing called, "Pray the Gay away." Yeah that didn't quite work. You were frustrated. The depression and anxiety crept in a little more each day. Now I want you to remember at that point, I was very happy you told your family about what was going on. You cried and shook when you told your parents that you were dating someone. What a very vulnerable state you were in. Just remember, things will get better. You don't believe people when they say that, but I assure you that it is true.

As time went on, your depression and anxiety kept getting worse. You already felt empty for being gay. You felt alone. You didn't know what to do. I remember when you thought death was the only way out. Don't give up. You must understand that suicide isn't the answer for you. You thought otherwise. There were many times when you held a bottle of your prescription pills, crying. The only thing that stopped you from taking those pills at once was imagining what your family would feel. Remember, your family has been there all along. Open your eyes to see that. I promise you that things will get better. Your family loves you. You must understand that. You prayed. You threw the pills to the other side of the room out of reach from your bed. Your future self was trying to save you. Boy am I glad they did. Don't give up.

Don't forget that there will be many good times. The experiences and trials you will face later on will shape you to be the person you will become. Trust me. People will come into your life and teach you things. They will show you that they care. Let them help you. You can be so stubborn when it comes to help. You help so many people. Now it is your turn to let them in. Just give it a try. You won't regret it. You would meet the dearest people from different sources. From your future football teammates, coaches, online sites that help you meet local people like you who are also gay. They become some of your friends that you will never forget. They are also there for you. Love them back. Don't give up.

Lastly, do not give up. You are loved. Love unconditionally. Forgive others. Smile. Laugh. LIVE. Live in such a way, that others may feel that love you've been wanting to show for so long. You got this. Life does get better. Heavenly Father is right there by your side and has never left. Remember that. Live. Laugh. Love.

Sincerely,

28 yr old Laurel

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Am Me and That Is Okay

I don't know what I am going to talk about so I will just start typing of what comes to mind. There are times in life where we may ask ourselves, " Am I enough? Do I have to change the way I am to please others? Do I have worth as a human being?"

As many of you know, I fight depression and anxiety everyday. This has gotten me into trouble with school before. Having no motivation and not caring about school is what my days at BYU-Idaho were like. I was not myself. I wasn't social as I used to be.

Fast forward, here I am a student at UVU. My 3rd university. I tend to think sometimes, I should have graduated college long time ago. Then I realized and told myself something that changed my life forever. This phrase came out of nowhere. My thoughts said, "Laurel. You are progressing. Do not compare yourselves to others. Everyone has a different journey than you. Live it to the fullest and you will be happy."

And I thought to myself, whoa. I have been tearing myself down all these years and not really realizing it. I should pay more attention to my thoughts. Who cares if some people your age graduated college and have a nice career. It's okay to not be like others. Be yourself and everything will work out fine.

Another thing I learned is that you do not have to change yourself to please others. Be true to who you are. Don't hide that sweet spirit within you.

Everyone has great worth. A lot of people tend to put themselves down a lot. Things happen. You, yes you who is reading this, you have great value. Don't let others convince you otherwise. Everyone has something to offer in this world. There is so much good out there. You just may have to look for it and it may take time. But if you really want to see the good, it will be shown to you. Smile. Hug. Live. Laugh. Love.

Do not give up. You keep trying. Fight the fight. The fight may take awhile to win, but I assure you, you will come out on top. The worlds need you, because nobody can live up to you as yourself. Once again, I repeat You are progressing. Do not compare yourselves to others. Everyone has a different journey than you. Live it to the fullest and you will be happy.

I am me! You are you! And That Is Okay. 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Overwhelming Support- Thank You

A couple of days ago, I posted a vulnerable blog about me being Mormon and gay. I felt the need and was inspired to post that topic for quite some time. I was scared, excited, anxious and nervous of how people would perceive it. I shared that blog to my Facebook page. After 10 minutes, my Facebook notifications started to blow up. So and so commented on your post. These people liked and loved your post. Other people shared your post. Anonymous people left kind messages to me.

As time went on, I was just humbled and thankful for all the love that was shown. On my blog, I can see how many people have viewed the post. 2,700 views. WHHHAAAATTTT???? How can this be? I barely reach 14 views for my other posts. haha.

All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you oh so much. I went to bed the past few nights feeling lots of love from all of you. I hope that post has helped at least 1 of you. Mission accomplished if it only helped 1 person.

I would like to share some of my favorite lyrics from the Broadway Musical, Dear Evan Hansen. The song is called, You Will Be Found. Before I post the lyrics, I would like to say that this song has been my anthem for a long time. It has given me hope, light and courage and feel the need and want to help those around me. The lyrics have given me a stronger testimony that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are always rooting for us to be happy and to do good deeds to our fellow neighbors, friends and family. He loves us perfectly and sends people into our lives for a reason.

Whenever you feel alone, know that there are people around to help. It's important to let others help you rather than shoving them away. God has created friends and family for a reason. I just want to say I am beyond grateful for everybody. Each person is heaven sent and have helped me a great deal on my journey called Life. Life is about loving and being happy. Tell your friend, family, significant other that you love them. Life is a gift. Go on adventures. Take that leap of faith to tell your crush that you like them..haha. ;). Be spontaneous. Live. Laugh everyday. Love. LOVE WHO YOU LOVE! Again I say, you are not alone and that You Will Be Found.

Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
Maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be okay
'Cause when you don't feel strong enough to stand
You can reach, reach out your hand

And oh, someone will coming running
And I know, they'll take you home

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you're broken on the ground
You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found

There's a place where we don't have to feel unknown
And every time that you call out
You're a little less alone
If you only say the word
From across the silence
Your voice is heard

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you're broken on the ground
You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found

Out of the shadows
The morning is breaking
And all is new, all is new
It's filling up the empty
And suddenly I see that
All is new, all is new
You are not alone

Even when the dark comes crashin' through
When you need someone to carry you
When you're broken on the ground
You will be found!

So when the sun comes streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found
Even when the dark comes crashin' through
You will be found
When you need someone to carry you
You will be found