Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On the nature of advice

I like giving advice. It's kind of a hobby. Recently however, I came across this explanation:
Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

This is true, breathtakingly, maddeningly true.

I hate the person who wrote this.

One of the blogs I read is by a young Mormon man who is trying to pray away the gay. As I read his blog I'm struck by how history repeats itself over and over and over again. His story was my story when I was younger. Is there anything I could tell this young gay Mormon man that he could actually hear? Isn't it the case that he would have to go through what I went through himself? Isn't free advice is worth what you pay for it? For the record, I don't comment on the young man's blog even though that's my impulse.

I go back and forth on this. I'm not convinced. Young gay Mormons already get a lot of advice, most of it over the pulpit, some of it quite damaging. Maybe there needs to be a counterpoint for balance. On the other hand, I can't deny that my inclination to give advice comes from my own ruminations about the past I've lived. These memories come with a sharpness that is sometimes painful. Passing them to others feels redemptive but is probably nothing more than the sentimentality of the aged.

I think I'll be offering less advice in the future.


Chedner said...

My heart breaks watching other gay Mormons go through the same thing that I went through.

It's almost eerie how similar practically every story is.

I also wish there were some sort of advice I could give to help prevent them from the hell I and so many such as yourself had to wade through.

But, I guess until things are better within the church and society, it's the path that unfortunately has to be taken...

And I've decided all I can do is be there for support and do my best to be the example to help change things for the better.

Max Power said...

My advice is to keep on giving advice. ;)

A counterpoint is needed, if not always welcomed. Remember when I was the person you were counterpointing?

Mister Curie said...

I still appreciate the advice. Just don't expect it to always be followed ;)

Captain Midnight said...

I follow a "pray away the gay" type blog too (I wonder if it's the same one you follow). My problem isn't so much that I want to give him advice, it's that I want to slap him in the face until he comes to his senses like they do in the movies. However I think that method might be even less helpful than unsolicited advice, so I'll just keep to myself for now.

Frank Lee Scarlet said...

I, for one, SO appreciate your advice! Thanks to the openness and generosity exhibited by you and other bloggers, I have learned from the experience of others and never really felt the need to try to change who I am. If it had not been for MoHo bloggers, I would not have the perspective, self-acceptance, or healthy view of sexuality that I enjoy today--and which I most surely would not have gotten/do not get from usual sources of advice (family, church leaders, etc.--hence the great need for a counterpoint, as you put it). So thanks! Your advice has changed my life for the better :)

Anonymous said...

Did you ever feel back then that you wished someone who went through what you were going through could tell you that it was going to be okay? Or something along those lines?

Keep giving the advice =)

Don't take it to heart if it isn't followed.

MoHoHawaii said...

Chedner, you're a great example and a kind and passionate person. Keep the faith!

Max, it was to D-Train that I directed my advice and as I recall I told him to dump your sanctimonious a**. Good thing he didn't listen to me. :- )

M. Curie, I do have some specific advice for you and Mme., namely to ignore all advice that people may try to give you, including this advice.

Captain M, I know the feeling, but I would never resort to violence. However, I would definitely hold this twerp down while you slapped some sense into him. Or maybe I'd just get him tickets to Wicked and see what happened....

FLeeS, I'm so glad you are feeling better about things in your life. You (and others in situations like yours) are why I blog. Someday I want to give you and the man who loves you kitchen gadgets.

Mike, you raise an interesting point. Honestly, I think I as a young person would have completely and utterly rejected any advice of the sort I now offer. I was unhappy but steely in my determination to follow the path that I had been taught. I don't think this attitude is uncommon. We are a stupid and bullheaded species.

Everyone, thanks for the kind words. I'm not going to stop giving advice. It's just part of who I am. My best wishes to you all.

Anonymous said...

I think it's very normal for someone to give advice to other, especially to the younger ones.

But sometimes young people dont like being given advice from older people, because they think they are from different era, thus the advice is considered obsolete.


MoHoHawaii said...

Hi Joned,

You said:

[Young people] think they are from different era, thus the advice is considered obsolete

That's exactly right. Every generation thinks it invented sex.

Alan Williams said...

I figure the point of allowing others to comment on one's blog is so they can share life experiences. So unless a person specifically says "I'm not asking for advice..." I agree, though, that it sometimes becomes a form of solipsism. Especially for young gay Mormons who figure that those who left the Church were somehow spiritually weak. They're also in a solipsistic space.

Chanson at Latter-day Main Street suggested a few months back that I ask you whether you'd be willing to review my novel? Would you be willing to review my novel? I was impressed you brought up yaoi since I'm a definite fan of that genre.

playasinmar said...

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I imagine many gay Mormons of previous generations didn't have growing up is the Internet, a way to connect to people who share your experiences. I'm not gay, but in my experience, feeling alone was a huge part of why I suffered so much with my own perceived sinfulness.

Advice may not be welcome, but I imagine that a listening ear and shared experiences will be. Otherwise, why blog for all to see?

MoHoHawaii said...

Alan, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I'll reply offline.

Playa, I'm right about the suncreen and everything else, too.. Deal.

Jonathan, thanks for the comment. I wasn't referring to just blog advice in this post. I meant the general tendency on the part of the older to tell younger people what to do. I guess I've just started noticing this geezer-like tendency in myself and now need to decide what to do with it.