The experience I write of is one I went through when I was a Junior in high school and involves a girl named Natalie. I wouldn't presume to say I was popular in high school but I will say this - people knew who I was and knew what I stood for. I had a frequent habit that was quite uncontrollable (at least for me) to stand up for what I felt was right and true... I just couldn't help it. When opportunities to oppose negative influences arose, it seemed all I could do to follow my heart and defend it's opposite. In a public high school where drugs, sex, and unkindness were frequent items of interest, there was much opportunity to stand against evil (yes I do believe there is good and there is evil). Having said this, I make no claims to have been a perfect kid by any means. I had my issues, but generally I always tried to be good and my junior year of high school was a defining year for me personally. While I was experiencing a dramatic spiritual awakening in my life of coming to know my Savior in a personal way, many of my friends fell into drugs and other self-destructive behavior, to my immense sadness.
Now, Natalie was a very beautiful young lady. She was a sophomore but she was so beautiful that she drew the attention of many of the seniors (including one of our star football players who she dated after dating me). Well, word came down the pipe that she had the hots for me (or whatever) and I thought she was cute too so we did what you do in high school we "hooked up" (I feel ridiculous telling this story but it has a very good point so keep reading). There was the typical hand holding and hugging and all that (I know what you're thinking - "that's all you did!?"). Yes that's all we did. I was very careful not to get involved in too much physical expression when I was in high school. With very few exceptions, the expression of physical emotions in high school has a tendency to lead to deeper and deeper expressions of the same (a kiss turns to making out - making out turns to further expressions of emotion, and before you know it you've slept together). Of course I realize this view of restraining physical affection is not understood by most of the world and certainly not by "Hollywood". I don't care what people think, experience and history are on my side... we already have too many teen pregnancies! So anyways, Natalie got kind of board that we weren't doing much besides hugs and holding hands. I remember us talking about it and I expressed to her as earnestly as I could that I just didn't feel right about going further and I just wanted to take things really slow that way. I loved being with her but it seems the pressure in high school comes less from what you should do and more from what your friends say you should do. Inevitably her friends were asking what kind of action she was getting and she didn't have much to tell them. At any rate, after expressing my desires to keep things low key in the physical affection arena, Natalie (again, she was younger than me and therefore gave me the "lead" in the "relationship") said she was totally cool with not kissing and keeping the physical affection thing under control. Well, after just a few days, I started feeling sick about it. This is perhaps the strangest thing of all to most people and I can't explain it other than the fact that I just couldn't go on the way things were. I had to break it off, I just felt sick about being in a steady relationship when I was only 17. It just wasn't time. I will insert here that this sick feeling was something I had felt before and felt again after this occasion whenever I was in a steady (exclusive) relationship as a teenager - I could never have one for more than a few weeks before I just got sick inside spiritually and I know it was a spiritual thing because the moment I broke up with them I felt an enormous weight (nearly tangible) lifted from me. I always tried to follow these feelings.
Well, after I broke it off with Natalie, the strangest thing happened (which I have since found is not so strange). Natalie was totally confused because she had just told me she was ok with how things were progressing physically. But shortly (and almost immediately) following her confusion, she became very angry. She was so mad that I "dumped" her that she began to propagate terrible, completely unfounded, rumors about me. She told people I must be gay because I didn't want to kiss her. To me, it was so outrageous that someone would say such things, knowing myself. I have never been attracted to men and frankly the thought of it then (and still today) made me ill (This is the unbridled truth and we still have free speech in the USA so leave me alone:/). Natalie was a supermodel and if nothing else that is precisely why I was SO concerned about expressing physical affection with her - to put it another way, she was freakin HOT. Anyway, I have always thought it interesting that she spread these rumors about me but I know why she did it. She didn't understand that someone actually felt like too much intimacy too soon at such a young age was not desirable. She didn't understand that I was bound by a higher law than myself and that I was seeking to follow what I felt was true and right. My way of life, my feelings, my beliefs were peculiar (or strange) to her and because she didn't understand them she spread the vilest rumors about who I was. My feelings on this important matter of bridling physical affections served me well and, though imperfect as I am, I was a virgin when I wed my amazing wife, and she was too for that matter. What a blessing this was to both of us. So much happens in life and many lose this precious gift before they marry but I will forever be grateful (without sense of egotism) that my wife and I saved the most sacred part of our emotions for each other. Had I known how wonderful my wife Michelle would be, waiting for her would not have been an act of faith and I can tell you with surety, good things do come to those who wait. Michelle is my best friend and I love her second only to my Savior.
The experience with Natalie years ago led me to my next thought, which was Mitt Romney. I have found it strange that so many false rumors are propagated about this man. So many, in fact, that it is literally a full time job to research and get to the bottom of them all. I know because I took the time to do just that and you know what I found? He is not this evil person people make him out to be. He is not the rich out-of-touch greed monger that Obama, Gingrich, and others have demonized him to be. Everything from his religion (which is the most heinous and unconstitutional of all his attacks), to his success have been criminalized to no end. It is egregious indeed, in the land of promise and opportunity of the USA, that people would seek to tear down success, hard work, and determination (this mentality smacks of Obamaville, NOT of the America I know). I also find it interesting that in spite of all the vicious attacks Romney continues to surge forward, a fact that gives me great hope in the American people to see through the smoke screen, the most prepared man to ever run for President. I have made it a point to search out articles on this man that were written by (or about) those who were close to him. From the students in his study group at Harvard (who he still meets with once a year for dinner!) to close neighbors and friends, they all say the same thing about him. He is a very driven, principled person, who doesn't give up easily and is the same person at home that he is in the public eye. He is a fighter, he is a positive optimist, and he is like all those other successful people who started with nothing and made there way to achieve great success. We'll notice, upon reading personal success biographies, they all seem to have similar qualities: drive, hard work, don't give up, principled, goal-oriented, etc. - and that's Romney to the core. He's been married (and faithful!) to the same woman for 42 years (Gingrich thinks this makes Romney "less Normal"), raised 5 upstanding sons and has a record of success as a leader in both private and public sectors. Romney is also one of the most generous people of wealth in the USA, giving a whopping 15% of his income to charity (compare to only 1% that Obama gave last year!) - something he does NOT go around flaunting (unlike Gingrich, who released his tax returns in the middle of the SC debate on national television, specifically calling attention to all his and Callista's "charitable donations" - mind if I PUKE!?). Romney also never speaks of his JD/MBA he obtained in the top of his class from Harvard - while raising 2 and 3 young boys!
Some may dismiss my words upon learning of who I support "politically", however, those same individuals should be reminded (and find comfort in) the fact that I do not seek acceptance nor do I seek to be popular and I would argue firmly that those driven by power and popularity are the very people you should avoid like the plague - i.e. Gingrich and Obama... those are good examples. Unfortunately, if you are like me, you know you can tell a lot about a person by who they support politically. Like attracts like and I am proud to support Romney, who embodies the American dream of success that we all hope to obtain and only will obtain through planning, hard work, discipline, generosity, and gratitude.
Negative influence is so intrusive and invasive in our lives, and has a habit of presenting itself as the "popular" thing to do, to the point of silencing those who would present alternative (positive) influence. I belief, in a day of unbridled passions and self-indulgence, we must stand all the more firm and (at times) blunt for good. The lesson from all this is don't be quick to believe the rumors, look into it for yourself until you get to the truth. As for Gingrich I looked into him long enough to see his history and past associations (of people who were close to him) speak volumes about his character and how he would comport himself if he were to "obtain" the white house.