"Everyone's story is unique, and that is why I want to tell mine, in hopes it will help even just one person."

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Be Scared and Do it Anyway Shirts

These 100% super soft cotton shirts are sure to inspire.

Sometimes we all need a reminder that to reach our true potential, we need to be scared and do it anyway. 

$20

A portion of sales from this shirt will be donated to the Trevor Project

I am a proud husband, uncle, dog dad, small business owner and I am gay.

Everyone's story is unique, and that is why I want to tell mine, in hopes it will help even just one person.

Growing up, I knew I was different.

Not because of my severe hemophilia or being raised in the Mormon church, but because I never had an interest in girls the way my other guy friends would. I got pretty good at hiding who I was to blend in among my friend group. I hid, because I was not sure what was going on myself, and I did not want my friends to know I was different.

 

I grew up in a small town so word spread like wildfire and I was terrified to tell anyone, so I pushed my true self deep down and showed the world a mask.

No one knew the real me for years.

While an active member of the Mormon church, fellow congregation members would comment on how righteous I was and a chosen spirit from heaven. This was probably the most damaging as there was this expectation I could never live up to.

 

The pressure that I had to be the "good church boy" made me feel so alone sometimes. I was also assigned to several church positions thus, fooling everyone, including myself sometimes, of who I really was.

There were times during my membership where I convinced myself that I needed to suck it up and just marry a woman so I can go to the highest heaven and live with all the other righteous people that I loved, including my family.

I tried to pray away the gay away for years and we see how that turned out. I felt so much pressure in the church because according to Mormon doctrine, or at least what I was taught in my church classes, I would be the reason my family gets split apart in the afterlife because I was the sinner in the family. According to Mormon doctrine at the time (it might have ‘changed’), since I was gay, I was going to “Outer Darkness” (hell) and I would never be able to see my family or God and I would such agony for the rest of my days. I would not be able to be with my family in heaven and I was going to spend eternity being tortured.

8th grade is the first time I thought about killing myself. It was actually at church. I was going to be an eternal burden to my family, so why be a burden here on earth and in the afterlife?

High School was more of the same.  Shortly after I graduated high school, I chose a location to move to where I had 1 friend and started over. Utah was going to be my new home. I remember that day like yesterday, 2 suitcases and a one way ticket.

Utah had its ups and downs but over all, Utah saved me. I moved to Utah thinking that if I lived where the Mormon church was dominant, I would be fixed, no longer be gay.

Oddly enough, I was excited to attend church sponsored “support” groups and counseling. These groups made me feel worse and the counseling just made me ask myself if living this life was really worth it. Group and counseling was mainly reading the bible, and other LDS doctrine such as the Book of Mormon and church approved manuals. I was starting to get into the same cycle I was when I was in the 8th grade, this time though, my thought was if I disappeared, no one would care.

One of the most positive times in Utah started out as a nightmare. I was starting a new medication to treat inflammation around my sternum. One of the side effects of this drug was suicidal tendencies.

Let’s just say, my depression magnified some side effects of the drug.

Calling my mom (who was in Ohio), I let her know I wanted to kill myself and I did not know why. Deep down I wanted to scream to her that I was gay but I could not bring myself to do it. My mom had me wake my roommate and explain the situation to him and he took me to the ER. When my roommate took me to the ER in Salt Lake City, it changed the course of my life.

Word spread among my family and friends that I was in the ER. To my surprise, Derek Nelson visited me in the ER and brought me a shirt that read “Brave is in my blood”. I still have this shirt and I wear it often. I feel proud when I wear that shirt because it represents how far I have come. “Brave is in my blood” is a phrase I would repeat in my head often to get me over a wrinkle in life.

I ended up being admitted to a mental health facility. Although I was not happy with the idea, my stay there helped me a lot. Few knew the “real” reason why I went to the ER and or even the Mental Health facility but truth be told, that trip saved my life. Not because I did not kill myself, but because I decided to start being my true self, and no one knew that.

Remember the friend who visited me in the ER and gave me a shirt, he was the very first person that I told I was gay. I remember sobbing as he hugged me but I felt at peace. I was scared, did it anyway and my life started getting better from there.

A few months after I was discharged, and felt I was ready to move back to Ohio and start fresh, again. Once I began to be my true self and not hide who I was, I became a lot happier. Sure, I have lost friends and family along the way, but their absence no longer bothers me.

In the months following my move back to Ohio, I obtained a lawyer to resign my membership in the Mormon church. Once I received my letter from membership records, I was so relieved. That is when I started coming out to everyone. Honestly, it felt like a huge mountain was lifted from my shoulders.

Since coming out, I got married to my husband by Derek , I have started a business, bought a home, I became a dog dad times 2. I have done so many things to help me grow from my past trauma and growth is extremely painful. I still have bad days but I always push through because I never want to get back to where I was in the past.

I am posting this to normalize conversations about mental health.

It is okay to ask for help, if I did not, I probably would not be here today.

If you are currently going through the PTSD recovery or battling with your mental health, please know that there will be days where you want to throw in the towel and just let the darkness drag you down once again. There will be days where it will take all of your strength to get out of bed but try your very best to keep that strength and keep pushing forward and reach out to someone even o just say hello on rough days. For me, my husband's warm hug is something that makes me feel at peace and grounded once more.

Sometimes in life, you just have to be scared and do it anyway and always remember, you may not know what someone is going through, so be kind.

My husband and I have made t-shirts that have the saying ' Be Scared and Do It Anyway' printed on them. This is a labor of love because we do everything ourselves, we cut the vinyl and press the shirts ourselves, package and ship.

We are selling our shirts and a portion of each sale will be donated to The Trevor Project.

If you are in crisis, please call 911, reach out to a caring friend or talk to a caring counselor at the The Trevor Project.

www.thetrevorproject.org

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