The STORY and the WHY

Wow! This is exciting for me because I believe in the power of the written word. As I start this journey I pray that GOD allow me to be open (without fear) and that he speak through me. I pray that I learn from myself and that I learn from you all as we join on this journey!

Without further ado, here’s my story…(so far anyways)

I’ll be brief with the childhood days because there wasn’t much to it! It gets more interesting when I turn about 10. What I remember about my early childhood was that I had four Moms (aka 1-Mom, 3-Sisters) and one Dad. My biological Mom was beautiful and she used to let me sleep in her cubby-hole (she would lay down on her side and bend her legs. Her cubby-hole was that space in the bend), she’d scratch my back and crack open pistachios with her nails. My Dad was superman and could move a couch on his back. We moved a lot from what I remember. I remember Benton, Hot Springs and Little Rock , Arkansas and then Kissimmee, Florida. What I remember about Kissimmee was Slushpuppies, big spiders, a major (not really) talent show held in our living room, and my Dad hightailing it across a parking lot when lightning struck behind him. If you haven’t seen a grown man streak across a parking lot its memorable.

Back to Little Rock and to the future of a 10-year old  gay little boy trying to play little league baseball with the boys but knew down deep he wanted to do cart-wheels with Brandie and Angie across the street. This was tough time in life as my parents were having quite the challenge of maintaining their marriage. The best way to sum this time in life up is that it was an exhausting, emotional rollercoaster where days and nights looked the same and you didn’t know if you were a Momma’s boy, a Daddy’s little guy, a protector of the family, a drama queen or just a sad confused kid. It was tough, simple as that.

In 5th grade things definitely began to look up. I met Brooke Moody. Thankfully, in all my gayness, I still wanted to be a ladies man and Brooke was my target! She said YES to my checkbox request. Her version is that she was the ONLY one that checked yes, but God had bigger ideas than my little mind. We’ve been bestfriends ever since. We’ve had our ups, downs, sideways, backwards, and forwards but through it all we have been closer than brother and sister. While I won’t go into the details of this relationship, I just want you to know that this was a landmark time in my life. The Brooke impact.

There is no real way to sum about my adolescence. What I can say is that it was super confusing. I had good friends, the BESTFRIENDS, and all those in-between. I had several girlfriends (little did I know I meant “HEYYYY GIRLFRIEND!”) and lived a mostly safe, not substantially bullied youth. I can’t blame any sort of condition on torment that I went through. It was your typical awkward years.

By the time I made it to high school, I’d shed the extra pounds that I’d held on to so tightly since I was a baby. I went from short and round to tall and linear. I mean no diversion of lines. Think of the flattest butt you’ve ever seen and then go further inward. I created negative space with my lack of junk. My trunk did not runneth over. Fortunately my charming personality won everyone over, yeah right. I was so insecure! Looking back I wish I could slap myself, especially now that I realize how INSECURE EVERYONE IS IN LIFE! I managed to survive through this time in life due to my SUP Brothers, the Brittany Perry’s and Kyla Staley camero rides, Mrs. Hobb’s classes, Drama Class, and my EVERY SATURDAY with Brooke Moody.

***Side note, I’m gonna come back to the good stuff in a little bit but I wanted to give you the time line before I hit the “things that made me ME moments”***

Well, guess what Mr. Smartypants decided to do with his incredible smarts? Yep that’s right, exactly what you expected, I joined the Army National Guard. Let’s just say that this didn’t end with fireworks and salutes for my bravery. I made it through basic training and got injured. Fortunately, my Mom didn’t want her son doing it all over again because her MOMMY-POWER got me medically discharged with an honorable discharge. Using the Army as a “try to get straight” mission isn’t the best reason to join. It would have probably been smarter to just crawl in a hole and stay there for 9-months.

(At this time in history, Evanescence was still in the early days of being amazing)

In no time I was back on my feet back home in Little Rock. This time my marching boots were to the beat of the University Of Central Arkansas fight song as I did back handsprings and toss to hands to the cheer the crowd on. YES, now I made the right choice. Male Cheerleader. From military cadence to cheerleading chants, I had grown my spirit fingers. After two National Championship wins and one REALLY close almost win, I concluded my cheerleading career in the year 2000. During my last semester of school, I was recruited to work at a sports summer camp, Camp Olympia.

***INSERT BETH into my life (the Brooke and Beth impact)

This summer was probably more meaningful than most would realize. I don’t talk about it much and I don’t know that I’ve really shared it the way that I will. I was SAVED this summer. Christ met me laying on the floor of a fellow counselors floor while I cried out for home and was sick from the longing for the familiarity of my safe space back home. I was changed in that moment and went back to camp a new man. I had another session to be the Camp Counselor that God made me to be. I tell you what, I left that place better than I started and the kids saw it. I concluded that summer with the win of the “Flame” award (irony is beautiful). This was basically the “favorite” counselor. I will TOOT my horn here because it’s not my horn to toot, it’s God’s horn. For the first time in my life, I saw GOD act and change me. While he was doing that my whole life this was the first time I saw the world and myself differently. I was now a Christian (something I thought I had been for years) and it didn’t really mesh with the life that I had been living back home. Summer ended, it was time to re-integrate myself back in to my real life.

***So my story is going WAY LONGER than I intended so I’m going to start summarizing a little bit more. There are more posts to come that will celebrate the landmarks on this journey. ***

Back home, I had a really hard time maintaining the balance between learning who I was and connecting it with the new person that I found at camp. I know I LOVED both parts but the immaturity that existed inside me really limited my view of all the possibilities. Needless to say, old habits got the best of me but I was still a changed man. I still knew there was more to me that what I was letting on.

In 2001, I met my first love. We were together for a total of four committed years. These were the most unusual years of my life because I had NEVER felt this way with ANYONE ever before. I’d only been in one other real gay relationship (that lasted like 3 months) before this but then again, I’d never met anyone like this person. I continued learning about myself throughout these four years until the day came that we decided in all of our youthly wisdom that we would be better off seeing what else was out there on the greener grass. We basically ended up getting ourselves into sticky situations that hurt us both but fortunately the depth of our friendship lasted and we remained friends.

***INSERT TANNER (the WESTSIDE CREEK IMPACT)

I guess through the heartache GOD reignited something in me that sought to figure my path out. It was time to define what was burning in me. It was time to stop ignoring the fact that my heart was torn between what I had been taught my whole life and who I felt like I was as a gay person. (Being a gay Christian is a WHOLE DIFFERENT POST…. too much to say on this topic) I decided to take a different route I had in the past so I joined/enrolled/participated in an ex-gay program that utilized the content from Exodus International. I attended counseling every week (sometimes 3 times a week). I was prayed over, had holy water put on me, dug out the dirty from my past, and did everything I could to change. I remember one of the last nights I ever attended anything with this program was when I went to a church on the corner of Markham and Mississippi in Little Rock. I had three men praying over me, holy water placed on my head, and was broken. Never underestimate the power of prayer though. While I expected that GOD make me straight after this intense conversion therapy what I really found was the love of the one true living GOD. He opened his arms and showed me that being gay was who I am and who he made me to be. I didn’t understand that at the time because this did not meet the curriculum of what I was learning or what I thought could possibly be an outcome. This is still the lesson that GOD had for me.

I met a guy who endured the Josh (for a little over 2-years) that existed after all of this. He was patient and kind and committed to me. I, on the other hand, was lost, unforgiving, judgmental, harsh, selfish, and careless. This didn’t end well and it was my fault. While this might be a very short written part of this story, it was one of the most impactful relationships of my life. This person was very special to me and remains special. What GOD has provided for me from my most broken moments is the ability to find people that provide grace. I’ve remained friends with this person as well and that’s a true gift.

WHEW, you are doing good! I’m getting closer to the end (or to today)!

So to sum up several years in a paragraph I’ll just name some of the landmark moments! Nursing school, RN LICENSURE, ICU, NICU, ER, boyfriend, HEARTBREAK, travel nurse partner- SUSAN VEASEY (the PUSS IMPACT), Dallas, first Dallas apartment, new Dallas friends, back to Little Rock, trauma that traumatized me, Dallas, BASIC, Baylor Garland, BSN…… Daron.

***(INSERT TIM AND NICKY)

Once again, someone had to deal with me in a trainwreck state of mind. Heartbroken from a relationship that I obviously made bigger in my head and in a new place without very few of the consistencies of home , I was lost. What Daron found was not pretty or fun to be around I’m sure. He stuck with it and proved to be a very patient, forgiving person. I’d learned from my past that running wasn’t always the best option and while many things about the old me told me to avoid allowing someone in, I didn’t. I let Daron know me and he was gentle. He cared. He’s remained that way for all this time. He’s definitely been a gift from GOD, another clear picture of God’s reminder from my lesson in the church on Markham and Mississippi.

So another quick summary of the next few years with just words. There was Kindred, Clinical Liaison, Bard Medical, Kindred Nurse Manager, Select Medical, Kindred Integrated Market and then PRESBY DALLAS (the place I call home).

Professionally I grew with each step of the way. Finally I landed exactly where I needed to be as the Nurse Manager on H4N/EMU at Texas Health Dallas. It’s been the most rewarding, humbling, and exciting job I’ve ever had. I’ve met people here that mean so much to me and I finally understand the meaning of a work family. I continue to grow as a leader among these highly trained, exceptional people.

So here we are, January of 2017 and I’m writing a blog! WHATTTT!!??? WHY? One of my goals this year is to reignite my talent and passion for writing. There aren’t many things I would say that I’m really good at but I do believe that GOD gave me the ability to write a thought out much better than I could act it, sing it, or speak it. I love using my imagination and I want this part of me to breathe again. So, Congrats to you for being part of my resolution. You are a reward to me for following my gut and for allowing GOD to use me in ways I may never understand. I feel like I sold the present rather short on the details of my life but those moments will be shared with you at a later date. Those are the REAL and ACTIVE moments in my life now that I want to discuss on here. So until our next conversation, THANKS FOR BEING HERE and SHARING THIS WITH ME! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, feelings, ideas, QUESTIONS, or comments. Remember, this is a place to love not hate so please not NEGATIVITY or you will be erased (just being honest).

Until next time….

 

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Laurie

    This is perfect Jarsh and a treat for me, to know more about you personally. You’d think, being siblings, we would know each other more deeply and while I certainly do know you as my loveable brother, we don’t know how each of us feel about things….at our core. Thank you for sharing!! ❤❤❤❤ I love you brudder. I never knew that a love for writing was also in your heart.

    Like

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