Friday, February 28, 2014

Music: The Fight Between Good and Evil

     Today I came across perhaps the most empowering song I've ever heard while listening to a Christian station on Pandora. I have extremely powerful emotions towards music and the effect it can have on its listeners. My opinion on music might even match the impact my emotions towards SSA. Now before I start a tangent, I'll explain some more and then give you the song.
     So my life and music have always been on extremes. For much of my youth, I honestly hated music. I hated all music. Before iPods and MP3's (yes, even though I'm 19, I remember those times) when it was all about stereos and boomboxes, I never even wanted one. I mean, I had no reason to have one. Even when iPods and MP3's started coming out, I never had a desire to get one, after-all I hated music at the time. Then me and music got a new relationship.
     Just a while before starting middle-school I finally started opening up to music, and even started to love singing. I started out mainly listening to instrumental music, and much of it was world instrumental. I dabbled a little into vocal music, and that's where I developed a love for singing. This phase of only instrumental with a tiny bit of vocals only lasted about a year or so. After that, me and music took another twist.
     I ended up diving in to vocal music, almost all at once, and listened to the music that was popular for kids (usually radio Disney which was still cool back then). It was another quick transition from that to something else too. I ended up getting an MP3 player, and dove into another extreme, and that was music that was popular at that time for teenagers and older. This was during the big rise in hip-hop, rap, and electronic-pop-dance music. This was a big change from what I had listened to previously.
     As you can probably guess, my new relationship with music which led me to hip-hop and rap led me to find some pretty bad songs. This phase in my life lasted up until about 2 years ago, and lasted 4-5 years of my life. I was getting into music that was worse and worse. I started listening to awful songs, songs that would swear every-other word, songs that were extremely sexually explicit, and songs that were just evil and dark in nature. It wasn't long after this phase started that my life started spiralling out of control.
     It got to the point where I had no morals about music anymore, and nothing phased me. It didn't matter how much profanity, sex, drugs, or evil was in a song, as long as I liked it, I listened to it. It started influencing me, even though I never really thought about it at the time. I would listen to that music when I was feeling low, and it would drive me lower, but somehow I loved it, or at least thought I did. Music was a deciding factor in my actions, and even my free agency and was a huge influence on me driving me further and further from God. In fact, now that I think about it, I really believe it was the music I listened to that drove me from the Church, and I don't even just think, I know it was a big part of it. The music I listened to destroyed me spiritually.
     It wasn't until I got sent to inpatient treatment that I really had time to think about what I was doing in life, including the media I had decided to listen to and participate in. It was during my stay in treatment that I realized how deep music had pulled me, and how much it was destroying me inside. It's crazy to think I went from hating music, to loving it, and then getting into the worst music I could've found. Now you might think I'm talking about some kind of music you couldn't find listed on the home page of iTunes, but that's actually the exact music I'm talking about, or at least the artists. It was the "popular" music of the time that was my downfall. Lady Gaga, Kesha, Pitbull, Jesse McCartney, Katy Perry, etc. They, and so many other popular artists, were what destroyed me.
     After my stay in inpatient treatment, I resolved to change the music I listened to. At first, I decided I'd get rid of all my songs that swore at what I considered "too often". After a month or so, I realized that wasn't enough. I still had these awful evil feelings and influences, so I decided to re-evaluate. I got rid of all songs I had that swore at all. Things got better, but after a month or two, I started to notice evil influences in my life still. I was still hitting lows because of music. I took another look into it.
     This time I took out all my music that was sexually suggestive, any song that had innapropriate references, gone. Things improved a little, but still, evil influences, bad feelings, low points and sin. I re-evalutated again the music I listened to. This time, deciding to eliminate any music that contained indirect references to anything sexual. Again, more improvement, but a month later, still evil there. This time I decided I really needed to do something big. I needed to sacrifice something more for God if I was ever going to improve.
    I did a huge evaluation of all the music I had. I decided this time that I wouldn't just eliminate individual songs, but if there was an artist who sung any song with any profanity, sexual reference, drug references, anything evil, then every single song from that artist went bye-bye, no matter how "positive" an individual song sung by them may have been. I decided to judge the music by emotion too. Any song that invoked anger or hate, gone. I used to listen to heavy rock, that was gone because it provoked anger and hate. I dropped entire genres. Rap and hip-hop, completely deleted, metal and heavy rock, completely gone. Needless to say, my music library was cut in more than just half. I had a fraction left of what I had had before.
     It was not an easy process, getting rid of all that music, especially because I had spent money on it, and there was no way to return it. It was also hard to get rid of it, because did I like it? Yeah, it was fun to dance to and sing to, but the destruction it had heaped on me was so much worse than any "fun" that came from it, and the disobedience from God's law that it was compromised who I wanted to be. I was pretty much out of music to listen to, my library was tiny and I loved music but had little-to-nothing to listen to. This is when I came across a new kind of music; Christian.
     Christian is now essentially all I listen to, and has been perhaps one of the biggest blessings God has given me. The evil influence, destruction, and corruption my previous playlist once caused me has been replaced by good, uplifting, and inspiring music always drawing me closer to God, and I still think there's room to improve, in fact after this post, I'm going to filter my music library yet again.
     The process of change has not been easy. Some people may laugh at this because evil music has become so normal that it's funny to think someone tries to avoid it like pornography or drugs, but honestly I've had to treat music just like my addictions. I've had relapses on my bad music since I deleted it all. As amazing as the radio in my car is, and as amazing as Pandora has been in helping me find amazing Christian and LDS music, they've also both been extremely dangerous for me. I've had times where I've listened to evil music on the radio or Pandora since I deleted almost my entire music library.
     This is the part people might laugh or smile on, but I've even caught myself justifying listening to songs that aren't in and of themselves evil, but by an artist who has a lot of really bad music, and even that influences me for evil, regardless of how "good" the individual song may be. Satan has literally tempted me to return to old music through so many different avenues, including factors that I can't control, and so I have to be constantly vigilant about what's going on around me to avoid the temptations that can cause me to go back to listening to bad artists or songs.
     I have such powerful emotions towards music because I have been everywhere with music. I once hated all music, then I got into it and listened to strictly instrumental, then I got into lyrical, dove into popular music, delved into absolutely evil music, and made a slow and painful recovery climbing out of the dark hole and finding my way back to God by deleting my music library. I have such strong emotions because I see people being destroyed by music every day, even people in the Church who you would never suspect. People delving into music that seems "innocent" enough, but ultimately leads to worse things. Just like drugs have "gateway" drugs (lesser drugs that easily and almost always lead to worse drugs) I believe and know for a fact that there is also gateway music. I have a testimony of music for both sides, good and evil, and I know what an influence music can be.
     I am a Child of God, and I will never sell my soul for the evil of this world. I honestly feel that music is something I would fight for. If I could go to war against evil music, even with a risk of losing my life, I honestly believe I would. If I knew I had a chance to change the world, to change music as it is, I would happily seize the opportunity.
     I want to challenge every single person who reads this post to go look at the music you listen to, the movies you watch, the channels you turn to on the TV, the talk-shows or other media you watch or listen to, even the pictures you have on your walls and as the wallpaper on  your electronic devices. Look at them, and honestly, 100% think about whether these bring you closer to God, closer to who you want to be, or whether they are doing the opposite. Think about the effects it may have on you even indirectly. I promise I never saw the full affects of music on me until I looked back on it and saw how destructive it really was.
     I honestly desire that every single person who reads this post will re-evaluate their lives in every aspect, and really think about what things you're letting affect you, and whether you mean to let them affect you or not. It's amazing how such small things that may seem so insignificant can effect us in the biggest ways.

     I almost want to end the post here, but I promised a song, and so I will post it and let you check it out. This song is what inspired this post. This song makes direct jabs at many popular artists of this day like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kanye West, and Kesha. I love this song, I really do. I'll end the post with this, and I'll post the song and lyrics and highlight the lyrics that really stuck out and meant something to me. Don't let the media control your life, let God be your guide, not media be your dictator and deceiver. I love you all. I hope you all walk away from this with the ability to see the things that influence you, and that God will bless you with the ability to identify and remove the negative.
If the video isn't available here, visit it on youtube at
Royal Tailor
This world is, ra, ra
In a bad romance, going, ga, ga
You know we're gettin' played
By the love game

And hypnotized by all the fame
But I believe we can't back down from the fight
It's not okay with me to just be silent
Won't be silent
, silent

No, we won't let them take control
We won't go with the flow
We've got to stand together

It's all plastic and I can't be a fake
It's all static, every word that they say
We won't let them take control

Won't let them take control

Life is short, baby, tik tok
Ain't got no time for your, blah, blah
(Nah, nah, nah)
'Cause girl, we don't need your drug

No, no, we don't what you're calling love
'Cause I believe that you're either yes or no
You're hot or cold
No teenage dream could ever be worth your soul
Never worth your soul

Burn like a fire
Shine like a diamond
See a flash when I smile
Brighter than Kanye's
Comes to the heart

Gotta guard what we buyin'
Can't you see they all got you tryin'
To fall in love with your stereo

So they control what you think
And everywhere you go

But greater is He who lives inside of we know
He won't lose fight, that's right

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Reason

     Sometimes in life, I find myself wishing I had something more than I currently have, without realizing what I've wanted for years and years of my life is right in front of me. God has blessed me with an amazing best friend and an amazing family. I am loved and supported beyond what I can even believe. There are so many people pulling for me, even some people I hardly know at all, or simply don't know at all. It's funny when I catch myself looking at what I have or what I don't have, and wishing certain things were different when I have more than I even deserve.
     Funny how I'm getting a calling in my YSA ward and am nervous to take it and not too excited for it, yet just the month before and up until the day I was informed I wanted a calling, I wanted something to help me feel included. Then, here I am getting asked to accept a calling, and of course saying yes, but feeling inadequate and partially wishing I hadn't been asked, but still excited and hopeful. It's definitely going to get me more involved, which could honestly be a very good thing. And you know what? Now that I write about it, and think about my emotions, I am excited for it! Stressed, yes, scared, definitely, worried, for sure, but still hopeful and excited. Life, am I right?
     I've had so many things thrown my way this past week in emails and other things, people expressing their opinion regarding the Church's standards and morals, and what they think they "should" be. It brought me to think of a talk that was given in sacrament meeting last Sunday where the speaker mentioned pride in correlation to God. When we are prideful, puffed up, stubborn, etc. we often believe that our will tops that of anyone else, including God. That our opinion is more right, more correct, better, even more righteous than another's opinion (even God sometimes).
     I know I've been prideful like that before, I even catch myself now sometimes, but one thing that stuck out to me was the fact that when we are being prideful, we're essentially telling God "Oh, I'm smarter than you God, my will is more correct than yours, I know more than you." If we look at the morals God has put in place and believe they are incorrect (which I myself am guilty of at times) we are going against God Himself, not "the Church", not the prophet, not our bishop or leaders. God's morals do not hinge on the leadership of the Church, they are solely from God, and Church leaders are merely instruments and guides in His hands.
     Watch me bring this up again..... Yep.... Here it comes. Gay marriage. I'm part of North Star which is a support group for those who are LDS and experience SSA. Recently I've seen so many people stating that they don't agree with the Church's stance on gay marriage, the family, etc. That they don't believe the Church has any right to have jurisdiction over it. But then it comes down to the core, is it really "the Church" that they're disagreeing with? Or ultimately is it God who they're disagreeing with and calling wrong, saying that they know better than Him? Hey, I'll admit it, I'm imperfect and have been prideful before and put my beliefs above God's. I'm not proud of that, but I'll admit it. It just saddens me to see people so blinded by pride as I once was and turning against God, misplacing their conflicts of belief on the Church rather than realizing it's God's law they disagree with, not exclusively "the Church".
     God is eternal, His laws are eternal, and do not hinge on social norms, moral changes in society, or anything regarding human beliefs or traditions. Maybe someday everyone will understand that, and maybe someday I'll fully understand it too, I'm definitely imperfect.
     Topic change *whoosh* ;) So my 12-step addiction recovery group I go to every Sunday and have been attending for over a year and a half just keeps getting better and better. My 12-step group is mainly for porn and masturbation addictions, but we have group members there who deal with other addictions as well, and I share about my SSA and self-harming in that group as well. I'm the only one (as far as I know) in that group who experiences SSA (with the exception of one who no longer attends) and yet I have found so much acceptance, love, and patience from my fellow group members. It's amazing how God works miracles through people regardless of differences in trials and experiences.

     So this post was probably a bunch of super random paragraphs that were all over the place, but life is definitely good. God loves me, and I'm doing better at loving Him as I should, and accepting His love for me. I'm learning to better control my emotions, and be closer to God. Life is great, isn't it?

Sunday, February 23, 2014


     This last Sunday, I endured one of the darkest experiences of my life, matched only by the lowest day of my life back when I was in inpatient treatment. Hiting such a low point emotionally, feeling absolutely hopeless and lost, I let myself go and allowed myself to be inhabitted by an evil spirit that was not my own. I will not go into detail of what I experienced that night, as I do not feel it is necessary, but I will say I felt dark, miserable, inhuman, and ultimately terrified.
     In my darkest moment that night, God knew my needs, and my best friend called me. My best friend, out of concern and love, came to my house at 10:30 pm Sunday night to be with me and give me a blessing. I was able to overcome the evil in me as he was on his way over and went and spoke with my dad, telling him all that had happened. My dad just expressed love to me, and was totally willing to give me a blessing with my friend.
     Once my friend arrived I had calmed down enough to be rational. As he and my father prepared to give me a blessing, I just let myself breathe and relax, and pray to God. The second my friend and my dads hands rested on my head, peace, warmth, and love rushed through me and before my dad even started the blessing, I began crying.
     For the first time in months I felt God speaking to me. I listened to the blessing, and can remember bits and pieces, but the thing that stuck with me most was the feeling I had. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I could feel God holding me, I could hear Him speaking, and while I didn't know exactly what He said, I knew He loved me and was with me in that moment. Once the blessing was finished, I hugged my father and my friend crying, feeling God with me having just experienced one of the most spiritual moments of my life after hitting one of my deepest lows.

     My friend spent some time with me that night before going home, and because he was a return missionary, I decided to ask him to teach me as a missionary would. During the deep depression I had hit last week, my testimony had shattered and scattered, and while I had some pieces in tact, I had lost a lot. I decided I wanted to start from "square one" again, beginning with being taught by a missionary (something I had never done before) and it has been so amazing.
     I have a lot of work to do, and a lot of knowledge to regain, I have a relationship with God that needs rebuilding, and I need to learn to hear His voice and trust that He can speak to me. As hard as it will be, I want to feel how I felt during and after my blessing on Sunday every day of my life. I want to hear God speak to me, I want to want to do His will and stay forever true to Him. As hard as Sunday and the week before was, I will never forget how I felt when utter peace and comfort overcame me during that blessing, and when I felt God closer to me than I ever had prior to that moment.
     Building back my testimony is going to be hard work. I'm not talking about my morals, those are still in tact, but the basis of my testimony needs strengthening and renewal, and I can never forget hearing God's voice, feeling His arms around me. Life is beautiful, it really is, and no matter how many times I get lost, it's beautiful to know I can always be found again.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


     I have never wanted my blog to be a place of negativity, and I've tried hard to always put good in with the bad when I do a post where I've been having a hard week. I hope you can bare with me as I do this post.  I have a lot of emotions I need to try to process, and I feel like writing them out here, where I know it's public, will help me be more rational and think more in depth about things than it would if I was just writing to myself.
     Nearly two weeks ago, I lost my dog. She was very old, and suffering a lot. It finally got to the point where things all climaxed, and she was suffering so much  that I made the decision, with the agreement of my family, to get her euthanized. I held her in my arms that night as she was put down. She had been my best friend, had loved me unconditionally, and now she had just left the world.

She's beautiful, isn't she?

 Originally I was ok. I cried a lot, and was definitely sad she was gone, but I knew she was in a better place, I knew I'd be able to see her again, and that she still loved me. It has been more recent that it has been harder on me.
      This week I hit some serious emotional lows. I even went so far as to consider taking my life, and honestly wanting to. I reached the point where I couldn't really see meaning anymore. I mean, here I am 19, not in school or on a mission. Not knowing if I'll ever go on a mission, and experiencing huge conflict as a result. Knowing I need to start college, but absolutely terrified and not sure why. Questioning what it is I even want to do with my future.... For years of my life I had decided that I was going to be a veterinarian, but it has been this past year that I've been unsure, and I'm not set on a vet anymore. Now I just don't know.
     I've been having an extremely hard time with relationships recently. I've had so many people come into my life saying they want to be part of my life, telling me they want to be my friend, that they want to love me and be loved by me, but I just feel completely numb, and yet inadequate. I feel stretched thin, I feel lost... I want people in my life too. At least, part of me does. The other part of me looks at it as painful, stressful, draining, and ultimately conditional. Conditional.... I think that's one of the biggest issues for me right now.
     One thing about my relationship with my dog was that it was unconditional. No matter how hard life got, no matter what stupid things I did, my dog was always there for me, she never hated me. She accepted me for who I am, and never put expectations on me to be perfect. She loved me.... And when I look at my human relationships, they just seem so conditional, but maybe that's what could make them potentially more worth-while. Tonight I got into a huge conflict with my best friend over something so stupid, but to me, it was so real and so painful. It made me realize how easy it is for me to destroy things because they're conditional.... It's not like the comfort I found in the unconditional relationship I had with my dog.
     Then I just feel like ultimately I'm setting myself up to fail in relationships. It's so hard for me, almost impossible, to have a real relationship with someone I don't feel connected to. I can play the part in superficial relationships, but I can only handle it for so long before I feel like I'm just lying to them and myself. Then there's the corresponding issue of it being so hard for me and so rare for me to find anyone I truly feel connected to, and together with failing in the relationships I don't feel connected in, it just multiplies the issue exponentially. Then when I do find someone I feel connected to, I am so much more likely to cause them pain.
     When I'm hurting or depressed, I tend to mirror emotionally what a cornered animal would do. When an animal is cornered or feels threatened and they can't escape, their first instinct is to lash out at whatever is closest to them. Maybe the thing closest to the animal is actually what's trying to help it, but to the animal in that moment, it becomes a target. I've noticed that in my life. I'm not talking about the closest thing to me meaning physically, but the closest ones to me emotionally.
     If I feel pain, or I feel threatened, even in the threat/pain is far away from me, I don't always run to it to attack it, I often let it out on those I care most about, the ones closest to me, and it hurts me and them.  I just feel like I have so many misplaced emotions, and when I don't know where to place them rather than doing the logical thing and working through them without causing unnecessary conflict, I take it out on those closest to me, and I think that is the quality I hate most about myself. I wish I didn't hurt those I love, I wish I knew how to better handle the things in my life, and sometimes I think I do; but when it comes down to the heat of the moment, like an animal I just lash out.
     Maybe I'm over-exaggerating reality. I might be, but to me this is what it feels like.
     Then there's the issue I'm having with self-worth. I honestly feel inadequate in nearly everything I do. I feel like I'm never good enough, and that while I may have occasional successes, that ultimately the bad will out-weigh the good. I haven't felt God in my life recently. I've been resentful and angry because inside, I just hurt. I'm hurt and I'm lost and I don't know if I'll ever be found, and to me that's a terrifying thought.
     While I've only been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, sometimes I honestly feel like there's something else wrong inside my head. I know it's not any form of autism, aspergers, bipolar, or anything like that, I just feel like there's something... Maybe it's not even something specific that can be diagnosed, I don't know. I just don't feel like depression and anxiety can really account for everything I'm feeling, and the struggles I'm having in relationships and spirituality. It just doesn't make sense...
     Tonight, when I felt so angry, so resentful, I said something I now regret. I was so hurt, I felt so cornered, stuck, and lost. My dog passed not long ago, emotionally I've been breaking, spiritually I've been withdrawn, and I had just had a big conflict with my best friend, the one I still felt truly loved around. I broke. Through tears of anger and sadness, I expressed anger and resentment to God. Anger and resentment for what He "did" to me. For the trials placed in my life. I denied that He loved me. I was angry for the trials He gave me, angry for the trials He gave those I love, and angry for the pain I was feeling. How? How could this happen to me? Why is it that everything I love ultimately gets taken away from me? Maybe this is what I needed, to be broken, finally broken and hopeless.
     As I'm trying to find my way back, I still feel like parts of me are getting lost along the way. I've been told before that God gives us trials to help us grow, and while part of me knows logically that it must be true, because I've experienced growth due to trials, part of me still questions and isn't willing to believe. I've been told over and over that God loves me, truly and completely, more than any human on this earth at this time could, but I guess I'm still trying to believe that too. There was a time when I did believe that, even a time when I had an honest testimony about that, but I think this is part of me getting lost these past couple weeks, and it's going to take time to find myself again.
     My intention of doing this post was not for an explosion of people worrying about me. I don't want people worrying about me, that's the opposite of why I'm doing this post. This post is for me, so that I can process my emotions, and look back on it to keep my goals in mind and look at where I want to be by seeing where I was. I'm out of the valley and starting to climb the hill. While I'm still in the dark, and still hurting, I'm on my way up. It's going to be a long and hard process, probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, even exceeding my time in inpatient treatment, but it's something I want to do, something I need to do. I can't give up, I have a life to live, and a testimony to find. I may have to start at square one, but I at least need to start.
     I need to find God again, I need to get my emotions figured out. I need to learn to have relationships, and how to keep people in my life. I need to learn and know that God loves me, I need to get my testimony back. I have so much work to do, but the important thing is that I start, no matter where I'm starting from.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Voices of Hope, My Video! ;D

Soooo...... My video came out! Finally! Ahhhhh! I was so excited! I didn't post it one here until now because, well, the day it came out was an extremely eventful day in many different ways (which I will talk about later). Anyway, just thought I'd share it here! The video I posted above is the full-length interview. There is a highlight (a shorter more condensed version) available, but I watched both and liked the full interview a lot more. Hope you enjoy it! I know I did! And this is probably stuck-up for me to say, but this video made me realize how good-looking I actually am. (You learn something new every day)....
;D ;D ;D
Also, if you're on a mobile device, or the video just doesn't show up, you can access it here at this link; which will take to you the VoH website, and specifically to my video.

Life is amazing!!!!!! Love you all!