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Who Am I?

I watched Disney's Frozen for the second time yesterday.  I think I'll make a more complete post about that movie (which I love) later, but for this post I wanted to say that it got me thinking about the question "Who am I?"  Many of Disney's movies have this theme of self-discovery, such as Mulan trying to find her place in the patriarchal rigid Chinese culture she lived in.  In this case, it's Else trying to come to terms with her magical powers.

I started watching some "I'm an ex-Mormon" videos today.  Which is strange because I haven't watched any in quite a while, but today I just started watching one after the other.  And the messages in them were so short and sweet and yet I could relate to them very well.


All of the ones I watched had this common theme, about self-discovery.  One woman said that she felt like while she was Mormon she was living someone else's life, and now she can finally be herself.  This woman (Eva) feels like she can now fully love herself.  I feel much the same way.  While I was Mormon, I was always repressing my feelings.  Mostly my sexual feelings.  Now that I have let go of the Mormon teachings and no longer embrace them as eternal truth, I feel free to be myself.

So that's the question.  If I want to be myself, then who is this self that I'm wanting to be?  In other words, who am I?  It's something that I've been struggling with ever since I left the church (and before that time as well, but it's been an active pursuit since then).  I will be honest, I enjoyed having a scripted life.  Having your life planned out for you is easy.  It's safe and secure and comfortable.  I didn't fear for the future because it was planned for me.  I knew that I would go to K-12, then go on an LDS proselytizing mission, then college.  This wasn't a question.  It wasn't a decision.  It was what was expected of me, and it was what I did.  I loved that structure.  I loved knowing what was ahead of me.  I loved having every 15-minute block of time planned for me for the entire 12 weeks that I was at the missionary training center in Provo.  It was good for me.

Living my own life sucks.  It's wonderful, but it sucks.  Because I don't know who I am.  I'm learning about myself as I go.  There are so many things that I don't know about myself.  So many things to explore, to learn.  I'm learning about relationships and feelings.  I'm learning about social skills.  I'm learning about personal preferences.  I'm learning my likes and dislikes.  Life is scary.  Life is full of uncertainty.  The future isn't planned.  The future is unknown and intimidating.  And thrilling.  It's fun.  It's colorful.  And it's scary.

There are things that I've wanted to try for ages, then I try them and find out that I really didn't like it after all.  There are things that I've wanted to try that I still haven't tried.  There are things that I'm afraid of trying.  There are things I know that I will never try.  There are things that I have no desire to do, but know that I must do.  There are things that I wish I could do more of or less of.

One example is my fat fetish.  I blogged a while ago about being a gainer.  (In two posts: part 1 and part 2.)  I fantasized about it all my life, and still do.  I tried it.  I gained from 180 pounds up to 280 pounds.  And it was fun.  I loved it.  I enjoyed playing with my belly, and seeing fat on new places on my body.  I loved the attention I got from other guys who had the same fetish.  I am still very heavily involved in that community.  But, as I revealed recently, I have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  That signaled the end of my gaining era.  I learned something about myself.  My health is more important to me than this fantasy.  I knew that all along, on an intellectual level, but at the time that I was actually faced with the reality of being diabetic, that's when I knew on a deeper level.  I want to be healthy.  Yes, I loved being fat.  And I would have loved getting fatter than I was.  But that is not to be. I prefer being healthy.  I have enjoyed losing weight.  I've lost almost 50 pounds now from my peak of gaining.  This was a fun adventure, and I wouldn't have known that about myself if I never tried it.

There are many other things I'm exploring.  Wonderful new pathways that weren't an option for me before, but now I'm excited, scared, and nervous to try them out.  I'm learning things that I like and things that I don't like.  I'm learning where my priorities are.  I'm learning how to love, and what it means to love.  Pushing the envelope.  Finding out what is good and what is not so good.  Finding out how to live.  It's colorful and beautiful.  It's intimidating and exciting.  It's scary and exhilarating.

So, who am I?  I don't know.  But I'm having fun finding out.  And I'm sure it will take me a lot longer, perhaps even my whole life before I know for sure.  But I believe it to be a worthwhile pursuit.

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What's a gainer?

If you haven't already done so, I would suggest reading my previous post before reading this one.  It's sort of an introduction and gives the motivation.  Also, by way of disclosure, this post is not sexually explicit but it does touch on the topic of sexuality and how that relates to the subject at hand.

So, what is a gainer?  I'll relate, as best I can, the experiences I have gone through myself to help answer the question.  I remember when I was a young boy--perhaps around 6 or 7--I would have various fantasies.  Not sexual fantasies, just daydreaming about hypothetical situations that I thought were interesting or entertaining.  I had many different fantasies.  Sometimes I would fantasize about becoming very muscular, sometimes about becoming very fat.  
These fantasies varied in degree of magnitude and the subject of the fantasy.  Sometimes I myself would change weight--I would become muscular or fat.  Other times, I would do something to make other people fat or musc…

The scientific method vs the religious method

I find it interesting when people cite the fact that science keeps changing as a reason to disbelieve it and to believe instead in the "eternal" doctrines taught by some church or other.  Let's examine why science keeps changing.  Here's the scientific method.

Develop a hypothesis (this means "have a belief").Design an experiment to test the hypothesis.Conduct the experiment.Determine whether the hypothesis is believable based on the results of the experiment. This is why science keeps changing--because people notice flaws in it and correct them.  People once thought the solar system was geocentric, but now know that it's heliocentric.  How did this happen?  By using the scientific method.  Scientists are willing to admit that they're wrong.  They're willing to give up a bad idea when they see evidence that it makes no sense.  Contrast this with the religious method (simplified version). Have a belief.Look for evidence to support that belief.Ignor…

Cancel the gym

After I went to the gym this morning, I pulled in to the McDonald's drive through.  While waiting for my food, I played out in my mind a possible conversation I might have with someone concerning just this.  In fact, I have had many real conversations of similar nature.
"How was your morning?"
"It was good.  I went to the gym.  Then I grabbed a late breakfast at McDonald's on my way to work."
"Won't that cancel out?"
"Cancel what?"
"Going to McDonald's after the gym.  Won't that undo all the work you just did?"

I understand the humor.  I laugh about it.  It's funny.  And I think humor is an important thing, and that we should all laugh a little bit more and be offended a little bit less.  And so I write this not up-in-arms, but in the attempts of perhaps reaching some of those who literally believe this line of reasoning.

To the person who asserts that eating "cancels out" going to the gym, I ask just this…