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I know that my experiences have been heavy, hard, dark and a bunch of other terms that I use to try to explain how hard it has been to learn, adjust, and accept myself.

To say the least, yes it has been hard but never for the reasons I expected. I have also come to a point of happiness and peace about where I am and where I am headed. I think this is the least talked about part of being a lesbian and a mormon. I also think that this was one of the hardest things I had to accept—that I didn’t choose this but I still had lots of choices I could make, and had to make.

To come to the conclusion that I could choose and also find happiness, I had to ask myself a lot of questions. It has taken a lot of time to ask and to honestly think about these answers. I also gave myself permission to think about answers in a variety of contexts and perspectives. By being willing to look at things from a bigger picture, it has helped me understand myself and even others better.

Here are a few of the questions that really influenced where I am now:

  • Where is the happiness?
  • Where is the hope?
  • What will happen after this life?
  • Where is the hope in being authentic and what that means eternally?
  • Where can I find peace about this part of myself that seems so conflicting?
  • What parts of myself are still at the core of who I am that bring and share happiness with others?
  • What parts of my life can I choose even though I cannot change this?
  • What can I do to make the best of my circumstances?
  • Where do I go to find truth about myself, my life, and the choices I have to make?
  • What choices do I want to make?
  • What will make me happy?
  • What can I do with and during my life to share happiness with others?

I still don’t have all of the answers to these questions but I have come to answers that are enough for me to be able to navigate my life in a way that I feel like will be authentic and meaningful. Since I was a little kid, my goal has been to make the world a better place. I saw how much sadness and pain there was. I wanted to see what I could do to make it a little better.

Now I know that it is impossible to make the whole world better, but I have realized that there is one thing I can strive for and consistently focus on that will contribute to a better world.

The answer is LOVE. I choose LOVE. 

Happiness comes from loving myself and loving others. So for now I choose love. Not to say that by choosing love it doesn’t mean I don’t feel sad, or other emotions. But I can use love to motivate my actions, my thoughts, my deeds, and my words.

The hope is where it always has been, in the Savior and the Atonement. Because he knows and loves me fully, I have hope that what I choose and how I live can reflect my gratitude and love for him. That because he knows me fully, he understands my intentions and he can help me become and reach my full potential as I continue to turn to Him.

Quiet frankly, from an Anthropology perspective, there is no way I can split up parts of myself and look at them as individual separate pieces.  Who I am is a combination and collection of everything in my life. Regardless, this does not mean that my character or what I see as the important parts of who I am needed to change.

Essentially, I am still the kid/person that loves coloring, making silly jokes, dancing when I hope no one is looking. The person who cries when something sad is on the news, the person who is always striving to be better.  The hardworking, focused, goal setting, kind person I strive to be everyday.

I have always loved making new friends. I love learning about people, their perspectives and each unique culture. I also love helping others, and I strive to make the world a better place one experience and person at a time.

I particularly love when I can help someone smile or laugh at something silly.  I have realized that I can have friendships and acquaintances that are meaningful. I can have meaningful conversations with others, which includes listening and offering support and kindness even when I disagree or don’t understand. I can also have friendships and relationships where they in turn want to listen to me and have conversations and discussions about life, what we are learning, spiritual experiences, along wth anything else we care to share.

I think for me the greatest source of finding and nurturing happiness was when I realized that I did not have to hold onto judgements any longer. It was my responsibility to let go of differences that could become a source of judgment or criticism. This is not to say that I don’t care, but I have shifted my focus to what really matters, which is loving others. Connecting with and sharing positive and memorable experiences with others that inspire us to learn and grow, to love each other more, and to become better versions of ourselves based on our own terms and definitions of what “better” is, this is a large contribution to happiness. These experiences can change and make the world better not as a whole but on an individual and personal level.

It took me a very long time to see and find the hope and light in what I was figuring out, my sexuality, and what it meant for who I was, and who I was to become. I feel like many times I am just beginning to see the bigger picture, and recognize that yes details are important but the details are not for me to figure out for anyone besides myself. It has taken me many years, and will continue to take time to process and to fully understand the influence each parts of myself will have on myself as a whole, and my life.

If there is anything I keep being reminded of is that life is precious, our time here is short, and sometimes it ends up being shorter than we expect. I only have the moment at hand to decide what I will do and since life is so short I choose happiness. I choose to love myself and to love others for exactly where they are.

I truly believe that Heavenly Father wants us to choose happiness. I am so thankful for God because out of all the people who I thought would hate me, he taught me that was just not the truth. He loves all of his children, and that includes me. Every day I am reminded of the love he has for me. I continually ask for reminders and encouragement to be brave and to follow the things he asks of me, sometimes they seem conflicting. I know that as I keep trusting and learning I can continue to be happy and find happiness.

So since I only can choose for myself, and I have accepted things I once wished would change. I am just beginning to see just how I can choose, and since I can still choose I choose happiness. I choose love. I choose forgiveness. I choose to be happy with what I can choose.