I heard a nice idea from my sister: every time something happens that you’re really thankful for, you write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Then, at the end of the year, you read the pieces of paper, to remember all the good things.

I think I missed some big ones — I guess I forgot to keep putting stuff in the jar — and some of the things are on a whole nother level than others (like apparently I was really excited about my new car), but here are my 2013 scraps, not in chronological order but just in the order that I happened to take them out of the jar. They are only slightly expurgated.

  • I got a Jetta.

It feels a little silly that this is the top of the list, but it is a cool car, and it’s bright red besides.

  • I told [x] I was attracted to him. He still wanted to be friends.

This was a first for me. As with so, so many other things, it was much less of a big deal in real life than it had been in my mind. Months later, the attraction isn’t really an issue, and we’re still friends. So.

  • [x] visited me, and we talked more deeply than we’ve ever talked before.

[x] and I have been friends for sixteen years. Somehow we had never rolled up our sleeves and compared scars before.

  • I came out publicly, and received a tremendous outpouring of love and support.

Yayuh. I’m not sorry that I waited so long, because my right time was my right time. But it’s awfully nice out here in the breeze and sunshine.

  • I am attracted to women, and some more than others.

Still true, but nothing to really write home about.

  • I started the SEAL workout with Ryan Gooseling.

Highly recommended.

  • I got my green sash.

Our school goes: white, yellow, green, purple, blue, brown, black. I currently stand at purple-with-a-blue-stripe, or “purple-and-a-half”, but that’s not nearly as close to black as it sounds. Long road ahead of me, and I plan to see it through.

  • I entered the Wu Dao tournament — my first. Placed first in forms, second in sparring.

To be fair, there were only two other guys in my sparring division.

  • [x] was going to leave but decided to stay.

[x] is a coworker who became an unexpectedly big part of my life. If he had quit, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but still, phew!

  • I sat and talked with [x] and [x] about porn and masturbation and homosexuality for hours. Till 2 in the morning. They understood it all.

More scar-sharing, and it’s always cool when straight guys have scars in the same spots as me.

  • After I had quit smoking for a week, everybody at the kwoon clapped for me.

Now I’m at seven months and counting. Dare I say that the hard part is over?

  • I became friends with Ryan Gooseling.

Unexpected blessings are the best kind.

  • I went contact-improv dancing with [x].

Okay, okay, it was fun, but it did have more flailing than I am comfortable with, and I still don’t like hipsters.

2013 saw, oddly, an apparent ending to the kind of misery that I used to think was a permanent fixture in my life. I’m sure the Black Dog will pay me a visit or two in the future, but depression is no longer a defining characteristic in my life.

Can I just say: holy shit, you guys, for somebody who was depressed pretty much every day for about fifteen years, that’s kind of a big deal. Do you even know how good it feels to go whole weeks or even months without wanting to die? Did you even know that could happen? It’s neat!

In 2014, I plan to discover what kind of adventures are possible when your primary goal is no longer just to keep the agony down to a dull roar. I’m excited.

23 Comments on “Thanks”

  1. Jules says:

    I have recently discovered you on lifeteen and you have filled me with hope. I have been struggling with same sex attraction for a while and no one knows about it and sometimes I. Wish I could just tell people but have been terrified of the thought of anyone knowing.

    1. Jules, I know the feeling! Feel free to write to me privately if you would like. The address is stevegershom[at]gmail[dot]com.

  2. JBT says:

    …Something about bulls and running, maybe?

  3. Searcheress says:

    Nice year you had!

    That’s good idea! I used to pick up at least 5 things I am grateful for every day for some time this year. But “black dog” came in one period, so I stopped. Maybe I should do it again.

  4. Miriam says:

    Looks like it was a good year. I wish you another good one. And, I am going to steal your idea. I have just the jar for it. :).

    Can’t wait to read more from you in the new year


  5. Definitely doing the thank-you jar thing. Also, I’m so happy for you! You have been in my prayers–often daily–since I started reading your blog two years ago, and it’s wonderful to see those prayers being answered! I love how prayer allows us to participate in non-creepy and actually helpful ways in the lives of those whom we’ve never (and may never) meet in person. Happy 2014, Joey!

  6. Theresa says:

    I got a bright red car, too! Not a Jetta. And I’m not nearly as excited about it as you are about yours, but it didn’t enable me check off a lifetime goal: I learned to drive stick on it! 🙂 Congrats on a great year, Joey. Here’s to 2014!

  7. Dave says:

    It’s so good to wake up every morning not thinking morbid thoughts! The first thought I would get waking up in the morning was suicide. My soul was just fogged up. I think it was because I could not live with my impure desires and actions. (It did not matter if my desires were for women or men; thinking of people as objects of my fantasy, and not as God’s children, always brought on depression. My actions = porn & masturbation.) I am thankful for the grace of God, and for your courage to be humble. As Fr. Robert Barron stated in his blog on December 30, “victory comes through defeat.” It turns out, the only way I can live life to the fullest is to put God first. Simply beautiful. God bless you!

  8. Sheila says:

    In my jar for the year, if I had one, would be getting to know you. God bless you.

  9. Greg says:

    This is such an encouragement. Thanks Joseph!

  10. Michael says:

    My parents have found out about my sexuality rather to my surprise last week, so things have been pretty tumultuous in my life. In an attempt to find peace with myself and answers, I cruised the net and by chance I happened upon one of your articles. It feels like such a relief to know that someone has the same problems as I and plans to live faithfully as I intend to. Thank you for writing your experiences, it makes me feel less of an island.

    1. I’m glad you’re here, Michael!

  11. Briana says:

    My counselor told me that at the end of the day I should either write down or tell someone three good moments from the day. I’ve fallen out of the habit. I like the jar idea. It’s so hard for me to do anything that involves self-discipline, but I’d like to try. I think routine is going to be instrumental in having a stable and successful semester. Plus, at the end, I’ll get to see all the good things I’ve forgotten. Thanks, Joey.

  12. Aspie Girl says:

    I normally hate change,…yet I like your new blog design!

  13. Laurie says:


    Loved this. Particularly about feeling so good this year. I’ve known that feeling: to casually glance back and realize that I have been breathing easier without formally noting it. So pleased for you.

  14. Aspie Girl says:

    Hey, Steve/Joey,
    I would really like to see you write a post sometime about you and women, what female friendships you may have had, maybe a bit about that occasional attraction, etc.

    Also, I’ve been really enjoying the blog of this guy
    Hope my sharing it is okay

  15. Dave Mc says:

    Joe, so glad you had an amazing year. Some very big milestones you’ve met. But importantly, it is great not to feel depressed every day, isn’t it? Something God did for me last year that I never thought possible.
    This year, I came out to my three teenage children and told them their mother and I were divorcing because of my SSA (her and I are better friends now than we ever were, another story in itself). A strange situation to say the least, but my kids have been supportive and treat me exactly the same as they ever have, maybe even better!
    God will keep me safe and chaste. The things He can do are just astounding!

  16. Ellie says:

    1. Thanks for writing “a whole nother” — I say it like that all the time, and then find I have to defend myself to a bunch of, well, idiots, when I try to spell it out.

    2. I’m glad you’re so happy.

    3. Red cars are awesome. I’m still sad when I think about my red-car-that-is-no-more.

    1. No, *I’m* glad *you’re* so happy. From what I hear. 🙂

      Totally agreed about “whole nother.” It’s okay to use the vernacular.

  17. Alex says:

    So, so happy for you, man! This is a great post!

  18. Chris says:


    I’m a gay male Catholic in my early thirties, and I am a teacher as well. I just finished my M.A. in philosophy at a Catholic college, and I just can’t emphasize enough how similar your experiences and mine are. Great blog. Keep it up and God bless.

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