Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Urge To Be Happy

I'm sitting at my kitchen table. The fire is going. Duncan is perched in front of the front door staring out at a snow storm. Skylar is in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher and quietly singing something to himself. Taylor Swift? I don't know. It's probably Taylor Swift.

We walked around the neighborhood this morning to get coffee and breakfast. As we walked, we talked about our favorite Nevada memes from this week. Like this one:

And this one:

It was chilly, and I clung to Skylar's arm while we walked, savoring the rare moment where I get to just be with him without distractions or a nagging feeling that we both have work to do. 

At one point Skylar started laughing to himself because he thought of a joke, but then when he tried to tell it to me it didn't make a lot of sense. "It worked it my head. It was funny in my head," he assured me. 

We stopped by two or three little coffee shops with walk-up windows. These places won't allow anyone inside because of the pandemic, so they've all adjusted their services accordingly. The lines were long at the first two, which is why we passed each of them up in search for a quicker stop.

"I'm starting to get hangry," Skylar warned me. 

His version of a bad mood includes a slight frown and smaller bounce in his step. He's not really known for his temper. He's incapable of truly holding a grudge or maintaining a feud with anyone. He once told me when we were dating "if we ever break up, no matter the reason, I'm still going to love you and I'll never say an unkind word about you to anyone." 

"What if I burn a forest to the ground and murder your family?" I asked him about his reckless promise.

"Please don't do that. I don't want to have to love someone who does things like that."

We started walking faster after the "hangry" warning. I quickly launched into a list of reasons he should be happy today to try to offset the bad mood. "It looks like it's going to snow and you love snow. We can turn on the fire when we get back to the house and you can snuggle up with Duncan in front of it. I'm making a roast tonight for dinner."

"Ok. This is helping. Keep going," he urged me.

We finally ordered some food. He bought two full breakfasts for himself, something he does regularly. I'll never understand how he is so much skinnier than me.

We huddled together, shivering, while we waited for someone to bring out our order. And then we walked home where he devoured his multiple breakfasts, quickly brightening back up, before going into the kitchen to do the dishes while quietly singing something to himself. Probably Taylor Swift.

I continue to marveland I'll never get sick of saying it, even if you get sick of hearing me say itthat I somehow got to have this life. Growing up in a world that taught me that the kind of family I have now was evil and wrong made me think this could never actually be possible for me. So impossible that I didn't let myself even hope for it until just a few years ago. 

I sometimes get scared that it will all go away. That a Supreme Court case is going to strip this life from me. That some family and friends will cheer when that happens. That the cheering will almost hurt more than the thing they're cheering. That we eventually might have to move just to stay a family. 

There may be a continued fight in my future. More exhausting battles with my community whom I'm trying to convince that Skylar and I and people like us actually aren't all that scary. More struggles to be patient. More pendulum swinging that sometimes feels like a punch to the gut.

I'm sure I'll be upset and sad at various points in the next several years.

But right now, today, while the snow falls outside and the best person I know quietly sings to himself in the next room, I won't resist the urge to be happy.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. For what it's worth reading It Just Gets Stranger over the years has fully flipped my views on gay marriage. Even just a few years ago I would have told you I didn't support it. Now I will take to the streets if anyone tries to take it away from you. People are changing. We're getting better. Try to have hope in that.

    1. This comment made me cry.

    2. Amazing! Love wins! ❤❤❤

    3. Stranger didn't change my views on it but becoming close friends with several gay people did. Before I knew these people, homosexuality was a completely foreign concept to me. Even without a religious upbringing (my parents were atheists), it wasn't something that seemed "right" because none of the "normal" people around me were homosexual.

      But knowing these people humanized homosexuality to me. I could balk against a concept - demonize it almost. But I couldn't demonize these decent, caring human beings. I will never understand how a family could see their loved one that way. This person that they claim to love.

    4. Ironically, Eli’s blog has made my flaming liberal ass rethink Mormons. It’s nice to see his family supporting him despite the church’s official stance.

  2. Two things:

    1) The best thing I saw the entire election was when someone on FB said,
    "This Just In:
    Nevada is not going to announce the winner until the entire nation pronounces our name correctly. If someone says Ne-Va(w)-duh, we start the counting over again."
    He actually typed "Vah," but (as a fellow Nevadan) what I am sure he was going for is the "aw" sound, as in, "It is ~awful when people mispronounce the name of my home state." Middle 'a' as in 'apple'!
    2) Thanks for being an awesome example of having the courage to step away from the cultural dogma which you grew up having hounded into you, to pursue the kind of family you truly dreamed of having.

  3. I wish I had the magical right words, but all I know is this. IF something like that happens in the future, and if you feel abandoned by friends and family, I hope you remember that you have built an entire community here that will hurt with you.

  4. I really really really hope you're always able to stay this happy. You and Skylar deserve all the joy and love you have, and then some

  5. This may not be the right place to ask this, but it’s something I’ve wondered deeply about for awhile. As someone who is still LDS, how can I be an ally? Or can I even be? Do you even feel that’s possible, or is it kind of ruled out just by the fact that the church feels the way it does about gay marriage and I still actively attend that church? Like the commenter above, my views about gay marriage have drastically changed in the past few years, in part because of how you’ve written about your relationship and marriage.

    Thanks for creating a space here where we can ask questions like that seriously and not expect hateful comments in return.

    1. There's a podcast called Q More and she has an episode about being an ally that I really enjoyed.

    2. "Mormons free to back gay marriage on social media, LDS apostle reiterates"

  6. I’ll never get sick of hearing you express your gratitude for the beautiful life and love you have AND deserve.

  7. This is so perfectly worded. I have several friends who have been expressing the same sentiments as you and it makes me hurt to think that they have to worry about their right to marriage could be taken away. Thanks for writing this. It’s from the heart and I love it. 💙

  8. Do you need a rando stranger to tell you? If so, here I am. Hi, Eli. You deserve your happiness. You are a good person. You have a kind and open heart. And it infuriates me that marriage equality is still something that isn’t safe. Gay marriages and gay families are marriages and families, period. Anyone who has a problem with this has a problem with their own set of values. DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED.

  9. It infuriates me to think you might ever have to question your happiness and security. Gay marriages and families are marriages and families that should be as secure as anyone else’s and shame on us if they are not. LOVE IS FREAKING LOVE, ELI.

  10. This is beautiful!
    Love and happiness for you and skyler.

  11. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  12. I hope you know that there are a lot of people out here who will fight for your marriage with you. You're not alone. I hope that when my kids grow up there will be no "gay marriage," just marriage, when any two consenting adults choose to marry. Until then, we stand with you and won't let them take away your rights!

  13. I have watched my teenage daughter struggle with these same feelings these past few weeks, not of her marriage obviously, but that she might never get the chance. Her worry about family who doesn't know and how they will react.

    Your blog has helped me so much as a person, making me laugh about your snuggie texts,bath houses, the queen of colors,to following your adventures in Palu,to finally sharing what a hard time you had there. Each iron man tour and your quips about your mother (Not that I know what that means Cathie! Was always a favorite.)

    And then watching your love story with Skylar unfold, reading of the peace and happiness it brought you. And I want to thank you for your openess. Because it helped me realize that the things I have been taught in the LDS religion seem to conflict with each other. It helped me see that I can't claim to love as Jesus does if the words and actions take away from the happiness of another. And I know that is what Heavenly Father wants for ALL his children, happiness and joy. It gave me a somewhat better understanding so that when my teen told us while I was shocked at first but not upset or angry. I felt peace. That they didn't want to hide that from us anymore and I could visibly see a weight lifted off, see them change from feeling a dark self loathing to a confidant, happier person. I thought of what you wrote when you told your mother. And while I can't find the exact wording you shared it was along the lines of Can you finally stop running now? Can you rest and be happy?

    So thank you and your Mother for helping this young mom see that things aren't meant to be as black and white as I was taught. And the most important thing is unconditional love and freedom of choice. What good is the world if we can't appreciate the beauty and diversity that surrounds us?

    My hope and prayers are that this won't be taken from you, my daughter, and every individual who deserves to find love, happiness and joy as they choose, not chosen for them.

    1. Holy carp, this was absolutely beautiful. Utterly kind and thoughtful and loving. Your beautiful heart shines through these words. Your daughter is very lucky to have you at her side.

  14. I was hiding from the internet for a while because I didn't want to feed the outrage machine, but I'm glad I came back for this. I'm happy when you're happy. If anyone tries to hurt your family (and mine, for that matter), I will burn down the whole country to stop them.