Truly Living

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Recently, I found myself down and dejected, feeling no ambition, no love, and no promise. My friends had all left me for bigger and better places. My grandparents had passed away. And in the midst of all of this, my first date ever, one of the most exciting moments in my life. Well of course, being me, I overworked everything. I shaved my legs, painted my nails, styled my hair, put on my makeup, and dressed in cute but seductive attire. I was ready for love, but as usual in life, it was not ready for me. I loved everything about the date: his eyes, his sweet smile, everything about it was wonderful. That day was wonderful. I went home feeling promise and lust in my heart. Then I got the message that of course, no relationship seems to work out in my life. It didn’t work out and it probably never will. Well, I felt down, distraught, and unloved.

Me being me, I stewed over every moment of that date, each little detail, and every small mistake. And what I decided was, I needed to turn my life where I wanted it to go. I had to take responsibility for doing the things that I wanted to, and getting all of those things done. I decided that just like anything in life, I needed to make time for love. I needed to make time for blogging, for reading, for sketching, for journaling.

All my life,  I have made promises to myself, promises that were rarely kept for long. And now, as I look at where my life is, and where I want it to go, I realize that my life is mine and no one’s but mine. I want to and have to steer my life in every direction that I want it to go.

And so right then and there,  I decided that I would no longer laze around waiting for life. Life would have to wait for me. And so I have made myself a promise to do certain things for me and my life every day. I am living the way that I want to, not the way that just happens. I do things I love. I journal, I blog, I take care of Thomas Park and Eve Ponds, I sketch fashion designs, I play piano, I read, and I style. I do everything that I love to do, that I need to do. And I have never felt better about my life. It feels like me, like the person I am supposed to be and the life that I am supposed to live.

If there’s one thing that I have learned from the recent death of my grandparents, Thomas and Eve Brown, it’s that life is short and you should never take a day in it for granted. I read something recently where someone was asked how they get through so many books and make time to read. And what they said inspired me. They said that they made time for it, just like family and relationships. They told themselves that they must make time for reading every day. And so I am doing both of those things. I am living the way that I want to, making the most of every day, and I am making time in my life for everything that I want to do.

As a designer, so much of designing is about inspiration and emotion. And so making my life the way I want it to be is my inspiration and my drive. I drives me to make my life feel like I want it to, full of love and expression and all of the people and things that I love so much. So do what you love, never stop dreaming, and make your life all that you want it to be. I know I do.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Eternally, Forever More

The View From Thomas and Eve's Resting Place

The View From Thomas and Eve’s Resting Place

It’s happened. How do we move on? How do we remember without forgetting? How do we celebrate without losing sight of what’s happened? How do we live by the legacy and values of those who’ve passed? Death reaches all of us in its inevitable way. It leaves gaping holes in lives, ripping through families and pulling heart-strings to the point of rupture.

Death. Moving on. Passing away. No matter how you put it death is not a laughing matter. It leaves us breathless and without words.

Today was the memorial of two of the most incredible people I’ve ever met, my grandparents, Thomas and Eve Brown. They were parents, grandparents, best friends, and second families. Nothing can even begin to describe the place they held in all of our hearts and lives. Not one of us can contemplate the feelings we had for them and the love we have lost.

My grandfather, Thomas Brown, was one of the most generous and caring people I’ve ever met. He was always a child at heart, loving laughter and joking till the day he died. He was admired always for his charming spirit and light about life. His loving heart touched all of us, each in a different way.

For me, Thomas was the grandpa I loved and will always love. He always brought a smile to my face and lit up my day. He was so loving, so caring, so loved by everyone. He was the playful spirit that I remember. He was the grandpa and hero that I looked up to. He was a storyteller, a father, a grandfather, a husband, a soul mate, and most of all, a friend. He inspired me to be a life-long learner and always follow my dreams.

Eve Brown was an incredible woman. She touched everyone’s heart with her humility and loving beauty. Eve was one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She taught me a lot, and I looked up to her, just as many others did.

For me, Eve was an incredible teacher, grandmother, friend, and lifelong love. She always made me feel loved and respected. She taught me to watercolor paint, she showed me the secret of pepperoni and mayonnaise sandwiches and mashed potatoes, and she taught be all about love and life. She showed me how to really live, and how to laugh. I always admired her laughable, loveable personality.

The memorial was truly a beautiful way to honor both of their lives. It honored not only the people they touched, but the people they were, the things they did, and the love that will bond them forever. Their ashes were mixed together, as they always wanted.  From the tree they are buried under, they look out over the beauty of Henry’s Lake, surrounded by the green mountains, the sage, and the wildflowers. I will never forget my grandparents; they changed my life and made me a better person. They showed me so much about what life is really about. They taught me how to live and laugh and love. That is why they will live on forever in my life, and in many others. Eternally, forever more.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Safety and Expression

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As I write to you now I am on my way to the aforementioned memorial of Thomas and Eve Brown, my grandparents. As I look out the window, I see nothing but open grass rolling ever onward around me. No love, no beauty, nothing but solitary loneliness. I slowly roll on through the close-minded world of Wyoming. This place feels so different from the world I live in, so uncomfortable and prejudiced. In the last few days, I have already grown more and more uncomfortable and stressed about this memorial as family gatherings rarely go well. For me, being a gay fashionista is a large piece of who I am. And as my family and a large part of Wyoming and Idaho are rather conservative and close-minded, this often makes for uncomfortable situations.

We stopped at a truck stop. Outside was an extremely masculine and dangerous looking biker, masked in black leather and anger. I looked away from him, a sudden fear crossing my mind. This world felt so foreign to me. It was so unforgiving and upsetting in every way. The people felt so opinionated. Their eyes bored into me. I stood there in my short-shorts and mustard green V-neck and vest, trying to stare directly ahead, wanting so badly to get out of there.

Many times before we left I had been advised to bring what my parents had referred to as “appropriate clothing.” But what does that really mean, “appropriate?” When I stepped out of the bathroom this morning, my father had said, “You did bring appropriate clothing, right?” I of course defended my outfit and my packing, feeling hurt. They had said “Tone it down for this trip.” I followed this rule to what I thought of as an “appropriate extent.” Although to my parents, anything but pants and a simple shirt seems to evoke the response of “Really?” I am not a person who “tones it down” easily. Over-the-top fabulous is more me.

Walking through this unknown world, I can feel the eyes boring into me, the stares following my every move. Everything about this place feels wrong. It’s so close to home and yet so unnatural and far away. I feel so scared and yet squelched being an obviously gay fashionista boy in this old western world. Wyoming- Forever West. That’s the slogan that haunts me so much. So much of this place feels like a creativity hell, too old world and prejudiced.

On the one hand, as a designer, I love this place. It feels so wide open and secluded, full of unseen beauty. But on the other hand, as a very liberal, very gay teen, I feel out of place and hated by the people here.

I understand on some logical level that by restricting my expression my parents are just trying to protect themselves and me. But on an emotional and mental level, I’m mad and rebellious against what I feel is a restriction on my expression and myself. As a designer, I am all about expression and being myself; and this world makes me feel so uncomfortable and lonely. I don’t want to squelch myself just because I am in a place of prejudiced bigots. I would rather be me and feel expressive than feel a sense of safety, comfort, and yet restriction.

When they had said “tone it down,” I felt like I did that on a big level already. I brought no makeup, no lip gloss, no scarves, and my nails are bare of nail polish. When I left today in gray shorts, a mustard green tee, a red belt, and simple gray vest, I felt toned down in a big way for me. There is an obvious reason that these trips make me somewhat nervous, not being out to the conservative side of my family and going through largely conservative states and places. But I didn’t feel like I stuck out as gay any more than usual, and probably less than normal if anything. I can’t turn me into something else just because I’m around my family. I am me in every sense of the word.  I am a very gay fashion designer, and I always will be.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones