29 April 2013

Never Fear.

I suppose I'd best begin this post by saying that I have officially decided on attending the University of Utah this fall! I will be studying architecture, and living off campus with a dear friend of mine.

I also feel the need to tell you that I am writing this post on the edge of my bath tub, as I am soaking my sore feet after a very long barefooted walk. It feels fantastic. Although trying to break my feet in, getting them used to rough ground is not the most pleasant experience.

Downtown Salt Lake City

I love sincerity and candor and I feel the need to express that now. You don't have to be brilliant to see that I've mentioned little to nothing about the University of Utah before now. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure this is the first time that I've ever posted about it on my blog. You are probably wondering, why Utah?

This simple and quick answer is finances. I simply cannot afford going to school at the Pratt Institute. Which really, really sucks. Despite my qualifications, my talent, m hard work and my grades, and despite the fact that I have earned a spot at the 11th school in the nation for Undergraduate architecture, I am barred due to economic circumstance.

Writing that out felt good.

I promise, I am not upset. I mean, I was upset. I cried about it for 4 days afterwards, and fankly I still don't think I'm fully over it. But I feel happy where I am. I'm glad to know at least that I will still be studying architecture, and I won't be a lifetime in debt before I even get to graduate school. I get to room with a really good friend of mine in Salt Lake City, and I get to keep my car and all my old furniture. 

A recent Temple I designed

And there are lots of other benefits too. Going to the U means that I also get to go to school with lots of kids from here in Utah, and it also means that I get to be more involved in LGBT-LDS activities, including USGA, LDS Affirmation and Mormons Building bridges. I also get to live off campus in a city that I've grown to know very well. I've posted about my love of downtown and the city multiple times, and I finally get the opportunity to live life urban-style. I also will be able to help out with debate at my old high school and I get to stay close to family. 

I think right now I'd like to give a couple of shoutouts. I'm not sure if you can imagine, but having expectations change into a reality in such a short period of time is awful. I'm really glad I had the friends I do have for being there for me every step of the way. I'm particularly grateful for Allison Oligschlaeger for letting me cry to her and for giving me yummy bagels in my sadness. I want to thank Aerielle Barlow for being my best friend and for understanding how to best comfort and distract me. I want to thank Robyn Boyd for being fabulous and wonderful and loving me so much. There are some really great people in this world, and I'm really blessed to know several of them.

Although I should be in the middle of writing a synthesis essay, and furthermore I should be in the middle of studying my brains out for AP tests, I've found myself rereading The Great Gatsby. I've read it twice before for school, but I don't think I've ever found it so beautiful and inspiring as I have this time. If I might share with you a beautiful passage concerning Gatsby and his view on life,

"But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the washstand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor.
Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing."

I find that so beautiful, and so powerful.

Queer Prom!
I suppose that recently my firm idea of my future was founded on lesser ideas and expectations. Fitzgerald seems to understand that. I wish I could have more control over my life. I wish I was able to help others more fully. I am sincerely happy with where I am in life. I'm not the type of person to beat around the bush. I've vocally expressed my feelings of doubt and insecurity multiple times before on this blog. What I write here I mean. 

I love you. I write this virtually at the end of every post, but I do mean it. I love you for being my friend. For listening to my worlds and experiencing life through my limited medium. I love you for being kind and for being a fellow member of our wonderful human family. I love you for your unique intelligence and for the experience that you are having for yourself on this earth.

I love you, and I mean that.

17 April 2013

Every inch revealed, As my heart is pierced. Oh, my soul is now exposed!

(If you would like a song to listen to as you read this post, I would highly recommend Fort Atlantic - Let Your Heart Hold Fast)

What is the purpose of life?

My religious beliefs dictate that mortal life is the time to prepare to meet God. Furthermore, it is the time to learn to become like God. My religion has a scripture that says "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection." (D&C 130:18). For my many non religious, agnostic and atheist friends the purpose is life is not necessarily laid out in so many words, rather life is a time for you to help others, lifting burdens and being good people with your fellow humans.

Whether you live your life in such a manner for good or for God, I sincerely have equal respect and admiration for you.

Although, for just a moment I might ask you to take a step into my perspective from the viewpoint that the purpose of life is an opportunity for us to become more like God. In simplistic terms I think that would mean learning to serve others, learning to love others and learning to become a person who creates for the betterment of others. And while this might not sound simplistic, imagine how that purpose must look against the backdrop of a thousand human interactions that occur in our life everyday. If we came to earth at the time and place that we did with our fellow men, there must be thousand, or millions of micro opportunities for us to better ourselves, and opportunities to become more like God.

As of recent, I've found myself wondering if one of the purposes of life is to make as many Human Connections as possible. Meeting, learning about and experiencing life as through someone else's eyes. I think that might be one reason I want to move to New York City so bad. I want to be immersed in society. I want to be immersed in a very human experience.

When I look back at the almost 18 years I've been on this earth so far, I'd like to say that I'm on the path to making these human connections. I haven't had a ton of relationships, but each of them have told me what I want in a future spouse and have taught me more about myself. Having lived in two different parts of the country, I've learn what perspective is for people raised in notably different landscapes. And I've made marvelous friends along the way.

I think it is inevitable if I am talking about friends to mention Miss Aerielle Barlow. As a friend and confidant, she has made more of a human impact in my life than almost anyone shy of my parents. This isn't the first time I've expressed my gratitude of her on my blog and it certainly won't be the last. Simply put, she is my best friend. By far. I think everyone needs a best friend in life. Its that kind of human connection that is more precious than all others.

In the oceans deep;

In the canyons steep,

Walls of granite here I stand.
All my desperate calls
Echo off the walls
Back and forth; then back again.
To believe I walk alone
Is a lie that I've been told.

So let your heart hold fast
For this soon shall pass,
Like the high tide takes the sand.

16 April 2013

After all is said and after all is done God only knows which of them I'll become

On a day like today, I'm really grateful to live in a place where there are really high overlooks not too far away. 

After school I really felt like I should take a drive, so I drove south and up the mountains. I find that seclusion, even if only for a brief while helps bring clarity to my emotions. One of the songs I was listening to on the way up was Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes, and I hope you will take a moment to listen to it too.

The emotion that I was feeling after school today was muddled melancholy. There were several reasons that could have been factors in this feeling but for some reason I just couldn't pinpoint what was causing this nagging feeling.

After a long drive an a brisk walk overlooking the valley I think I've figured it out.

With the end of the school year fast approaching it provides the opportunity for several things to occur at once. First and foremost I am approaching the end of my high school career. As much as I wish I could say that I am going to miss my school and the people and the memories, I don't know if I can say that. I like Viewmont as much as the next student, but having gone to two different high schools for the same period of time really broke down my attachment to either. Certainly I am going to miss a lot of my friends here, but unlike everyone else, I didn't go to school with these kids for 12+ years. They've been in my life for just under 2 years and soon they will be gone again. 

I hate that I don't have that emotional attachment. I feel like I should. And I really want to have it. But the simple truth is that I don't. So while the school year is coming to a close and everyone is trying to make the most of it before they leave for college, I feel rather separate from them.

I think this was the first big piece of my emotional trouble.

The second part for me has to do with what happens next. College.

I think the first subpart of this problem is that I can't say with 100% certainty that I am going to a certain school. Until financial aid information comes I am waiting in limbo. As I described it to a friend today after school, I feel like I am floating. 

The more pressing part of this problem is that of second thoughts and reservations. Despite all that I know and all that I want from college, and as much as the Pratt Institute will fulfill each requirement for me, reservations are beginning to emerge in the back recesses of my mind. While on the mountain today, this was the most troubling part for me. 

I know what I want to be. I want in a few decades to be able to walk into some beautiful convention center in an emerging city and in the lobby see engraved on a bronze plaque,

A. Browne Sebright

A r c h i t e c t

I want to have made a difference. I want to be of significance. I want to lead a life of periods rather than question marks. I want to feel that my impact on this world was positive and remarkable. 
There is no doubt in my mind that studying at Pratt in New York City will help me along this path to what I want to become. And after freezing my butt off in the wind on an overlook in a Bountiful Park, it occurred to me that this wasn't the first time I had felt this way. Although, last time I didn't write all that much about it.

You see, last time I had felt this way was on the verge of me and my family moving to Utah from North Carolina. I remember when I agreed with my family to make this dramatic change. I remember thinking how this was what would be good for us. This would be a second chance in my youth to establish myself and my identity. This would be a better financial opportunity for my family and this would allow me to bring myself to a new front of personal liberation.
But the week before we moved I went into this little state of depression. I was having major second thoughts, realizing I would be giving up friendships I had established for years and I would be giving up knowing the lay of the land, the local culture and a familiar schooling system. All of that worry and uncertainty made me upset.

However, moving to Utah became the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I discovered my passions, I made new friends that changed who I am, and most notably I was able to finally admit to myself that I was gay.

But I didn't know that then. It just felt so intangible.

I think that's where I am now. I know that moving to New York City will be the best thing for me. I know that it is going to be the best place for me to live and to grow. I know that it is going to be the place where I am going to become the man that I want to grow to become. Although I don't know what lies ahead, I get to make the decision now based on what I think will happen and on what I want to happen.

I can't see the future. I can't see the friends that I will make. I can't see the things I will learn and I can't see the interests I will pursue. All of that is very scary, and naturally it would be the source of second thoughts and reservations. 

I think with more prayer and pondering I will come to a more content state.
I'm excited for who I am becoming.


After all is said and done I feel the same
All that I hoped would change within me stayed
Like a huddled moon-lit exile on the shore
Warming his hands, a thousand years ago
I walk with others in the yearning to get out
Claw at my skin and gnash their teeth and shout
One of them wants only to be someone you'd admire
One would as soon just throw you on the fire
After all is said and after all is done
God only knows which of them I'll become

15 April 2013

Bright Lights Will Inspire You

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to fly out east with my dad to go visit the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY!
Main Hall
I should probably say first that I haven't officially accepted yet. So while I may be talking in a tense that alludes to me deffinatively attending this school, it's not official. Things could change, however I don't really see that happening.
Part of Campus from a 6th Floor Window
The reason for my visiting of the school was for the accepted student's day, so that I could tour the school, talk with councelors and students, and meet some of the Proffesors who will be over me this fall. I also had the pleasure of touring the architecture school, which is housed in Higgin's Hall.
Higgin's Hall--The School of Architecture
It was FANTASTIC. I could totally imagine myself there, and I love everything that I got to hear, and I loved that alot of what was said was just above my level of grasping, so while I knew of what they were talking about I simply couldn't yet grasp what it must mean in context.
The Ward Building
Another one of things that I got to do while in Brooklyn was visit my new YSA Branch President and visit the ward building that it is in. I also got to meet another LDS architecture major at Pratt who coincidentally served in the same mission as my brother in law Garret. It was my first time inside a city ward building, and it was two stories with the chapel and classrooms on the first floor and the cultral hall, relief society and other classrooms on the second floor.

Me under the Brooklyn Bridge

This was a really unique experience for me. Mentally and for a short while physically, I was in New York City working towards becoming an architect. Frankly, I've been mentally in New York since I was accepted a month ago. Yet I'm presently writting this blog post from my Computer Tech class at my high school in Utah. Going to Brooklyn for such a short period of time was an odd expereince to say the least.
 But it certainly made me happy.
I am really hoping for the best. When financing and what not can be figured out, I will say yes in a heart be. So stay tuned.
I really love each and everyone of you. Thank you for being fantastic.