So, yesterday, Facebook showed me that two years ago I started my first semester at USU. Thinking back on it, I had no idea just how much my life would change in that time—how much different I would be now. I have grown more in these past two years than I feel I did over the 23 before. In those years, I really became a writer. I became more open-minded and more sure of myself. I’ve met incredible people, made lifelong friends, and have found mentors who have helped me beyond anything I could describe. Today, I just want to talk about these two years.
In those years, I finished a 170,000-word novel (120,000 words now because of editing), and I sent out my first query letter yesterday. I did something I once deemed impossible for myself. I proved to myself that I could make it to the finish line, that I could really do this. I have followed my dream, and it is becoming a reality day by day.
In those years, I married the most amazing man. I met him at one of the lowest points of my adult life. I had come to a moment where I started believing that love may not be in my future—maybe it was a thing some people never find. I had started to accept that it may just be my lot in life as a gay man. A life of loneliness and solitude. And then I met Jed, and he pulled me from an exceedingly destructive path.
Jed showed me that I could be loved for everything I am, crazy quirks and all. He supported my writing career more than I could have ever hoped for, and he still pushes me to be the best person I can be. He is my everything, and last year I got to marry him.
In those years, I became a published writer. I earned first place in poetry for the USU Creative Writing Contest, and I won a $3,000 scholarship for my writing. I explored genres that I never wanted to explore and found that I really loved them. Nonfiction became something that helped me become the person I needed to be. Poetry allowed me to share feelings in a way that saved me. I became a true and talented writer.
In those years, I’ve overcome my fear of abandonment [ mostly ;) ]. I’ve found people that will forever be a part of me, no matter how far life takes us. Maybe that sounds cliché or mushy, but it’s something that I’ve always feared—being left behind. Maybe it’s a youngest child thing. Maybe it’s my mental health problems. Maybe it’s a mixture of a lot of things, but from my high school years, I’ve been so afraid of being alone. I don’t fear that anymore. I have my husband. I have my family. I have friends that I know will always be close. I can go anywhere in life, and I’ll still have loved ones around me.
In those years, I’ve lost and found spirituality. The policy change within the LDS Church on November 13, 2015 broke me for many reasons, but it helped me make my decision to fully break free from it (though it still took six months to get there). It was hard, nearly impossible, for me to disconnect God from the Church, but I eventually found a way. I found a way to still love the LDS Church even through the pain they’d inflicted upon me. I found a way to craft understanding within myself. I found God in myself and have never been more at peace.
In those years, I’ve felt incredible loss. My dog passed away when he was hit by a car, and my amazing grandmother passed from cancer. The pain from both of those moments felt like something I could never recover from, but I eventually found peace both times. That’s not to say that it still doesn’t hurt. I still cry about both from time to time, but slowly the memories are turning from painful aches to happy times filled with love. I now understand that it’s the happy memories that last. Not the fights, the anger, the annoyances that ever occurred within a lifetime. It’s the moments of absolute inspiration, love, and beauty that remain.
In those years, I’ve found friends and mentors that have changed my life forever. I’ve had professors that helped me overcome my fears of sharing my writing. I’ve had peers show me that my writing is something to be proud of. I’ve had so many people enter my life, I don’t know where to begin with thanking them all. I suppose the only way to do so is be there for them in the same caring way.
In those years, I’ve had to accept that brevity is the key to writing, so I think I’ll start wrapping this up. Maybe this post was more for myself than anyone else; I’m not sure, but it easily could have been. I think it’s nice every once in a while to look back on the years and realize how incredible life can be and how much can change in that time—for good and hurt. To see those changes now makes me so happy that I have this amazing life to call my own. I wouldn’t trade it for any other in the world.