Why is the picture of me in this post grainy, out of focus? It is because even as I write this brief bio I am ever in the process of sharpening my own focus of who I am and what my place in this world is. See, in a world where I am both a Christian and gay there are so many filters that others view me through it can be hard to see oneself clearly at times.
I was born on Wednesday and in church on Sunday. I ran down the isle to ask Jesus into my heart at the tender age of 4 1/2. I always attended Christian schools, Sunday school, VBS, Bible camp--the whole Christian enchilada.
The first recollection I have that something inside me may be a little fuzzy was in junior high. I preferred the company of, and felt safer with, my best friend than my boyfriend. That was swept under the rug for a decade or so with the business of high school and the weighty expectations to be a good Christian young woman. I dated a fair amount in high school, but remained virtuous motivated by the fear of being cast out to a "girls home" if I didn't walk the straight and narrow. No pun intended there, but it was my reality.
Off to Christian college. I dated a few guys, one in particular I always ended back with throughout the four years. There was one female friend in college that I felt very close to, and again I felt safer--more alive--in her arms than in my boyfriend's arms. There is more to that story, but suffice it to say--fear kept me from acting on what I felt for that friend and instead led me to finally accept that boyfriend's persistent proposals of marriage. After a 4-year history, I figured this was the right thing to do. It is not that I didn't love him; it is more that I was still really fuzzy on what I wanted for my life. What I did know was what would not be "allowed" for my life. Again, I sketched out the vision of my life more motivated by fear than love.
More swept under the rug for another decade or so. Marriage had its ups and downs. Who's doesn't? It wasn't strife that turned my gaze from my husband inward toward what my latent and lingering desires had remained. It was his ongoing negligence to attend to what he needed to as a husband--as a man of character, and conversely his hypervigilance in attending to superfluous issues of power and control over me (I would later come to know this as emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse). This coupled with some skeletons in his closet coming out at a particularly vulnerable time for me, and--BOOM--I was unwilling to wait any longer for God to either "change my husband" or remove the desires inside of me to be with a woman. (It came to me much later, of course, that my praying for God to mess with someone else's freewill may not have been that productive.)
Fade to present, for the last decade I have been gratefully partnered to a very special woman. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Yes. What is my life like? What manner of "lifestyle" do I live? Well, I get up and make coffee for my partner, get the kids off to school, attend to the home and business duties of the day. Donate to the "Boys & Girls Club." Take kids to their sporting events. Grocery shop. Visit with friends. Cook dinner and watch TV with the family. Do laundry, network in my town for my business, pay the bills, sing, laugh, and maintain an attitude of prayer and gratitude throughout my days. Hmm... sounds pretty "normal" doesn’t it? That is why I say that it is not a lifestyle--it is my life.
Has there been much fine-tuning that has needed to happen within myself, within my relationship and surrounding my spirituality through the years? Yes. Do I see everything clearly at this point? Not fully. I am still in the process of coming into focus, becoming who I am.
I met Wendy through Twitter, and she was very kind and supportive to me. She helped me find other faces, and yesterday when I was looking for someone to schedule for tonight when I would be away at camp, she came through for me with her own face and story. Thanks, Wendy!
Beannacht by John O’Donohue
22 hours ago