No. 6 – Behind the Scenes, Three Days Before Blog Launch
In an effort to remain honest, open, and authentic, I felt it was important to share the true story of what unfolded several days before the launch of this blog. I am leaning in to a new chapter of life I’ve never known. Living in the grey pre-launch, what-will-they-think area proved to be far more difficult than I had imagined, and I still have two days to go.
To say that I am tired, on edge, or living on a roller coaster is an understatement. Last night, I was in bed at 8:30pm and slept 11 hours. My body and mind are drained from the new regular schedule of reliving and rewriting my journey. The evening before, I had an episode of all consuming anxiety, so at 11pm, I surrendered to nature, and headed for Wash Park for a 5 mile walk to decompress. Today, sitting at a taco shop in Cap Hill, my waitress got my drink order wrong, and while she would never know it, I have secretly planned to confront her in the alley I am looking at now, and share how everything about her is hateful and dismissive and how could she do something so harmful…. seriously. The pressure has been unexpected.
I have made a couple outreach calls to my closest friends to share the anxiety, fear and overarching heaviness. Through talking this out, this is what I have come to reckon with:
I am terrified of people from my past having access to my future. When I left my previous life, I also left the ideals that I would ever be fully known. I felt trapped there, primarily because I had key relationships who felt me being gay was a sin and a sentence to forfeit my salvation. I left there knowing that I was stepping outside of what had been forced on me for so long, and choosing to open myself up to explore what would bring me relief. No part of me was open (yet) to explore coming out, but at a minimum, I was going to vote democrat, and see how that felt. Brave, right?
It has been several years, since I exited many/most of the relationships I felt trapped by. Some faded. Some ended abruptly. These are people that I have felt did not belong in the sacred places in my life, but were all I had known.
In my own silent way, I allowed many of the relationships to dissolve. Based on remarks they made, lifestyles they had, and who they surrounded themselves with, I knew I would never be accepted if, in fact, I did have the courage to one day come out. There was a sad tension that lived in me. It fueled my knowing I did not want to put them in the position of having to decide between their faith, and loving me. I knew they would choose their faith, and I could not bear that.
So, now they will all know the rest of my story. A story that they knew as a struggle I had, that has turned out being the most beautiful and redemptive piece of my freedom. But, I can’t force them to see the redemption. I can’t love them enough, or remind them what kind of friend I was to them in times of need, to hope that they can say “Oh hell yeah. I was wrong. I love you!” I can’t. But, I can not let that stop me from sharing a story that I believe can help someone on a similar path as mine.
I have been surprised at how difficult it has been to rewrite many of the childhood/adolescent stories. The amount of carelessness in how I was guided, still angers me. There was so much neglect, and very little evidence that anyone was engaged with reality, or at a minimum concerned about the signs they saw appearing in me. The signs were all there. Depression. Anxiety. Tremendous bottled up anger. Detached. It was all there. As I have read back through journals I wrote in as early as 18, I am taken back by how lonely I felt. Although I never mentioned being gay, I was consistent in my theories of not surrendering to God, and that being the key reason I am plagued with being an awful person. If only I could figure out what else to surrender…I thought the healing would come.
Remembering much of these stories comes at a cost. It is necessary to relive them in order to share about where I land. I can’t/won’t pretend that it is all washed away and has no impact. The anger has taken me back to places years ago, and represented itself in new ways today. Anything that has not been processed all the way through will replay itself out in your life, until it is dealt with at the root.
So…I have doubled up on my time with my therapist. When possible, I see him twice weekly, and we talk openly about the injustice. I have questioned multiple times how many times this process will replay itself. Then I remember that I have a blog launching about what I have “overcome,” and end up at a taco shop, planning on engaging in gang behavior in an alley because my drink order was wrong. I’ll always have a ways to go.
The last piece that has kept me bound: Anyone who wants to know, will have access to my announcement of being gay. Yes, there have been relationships I have lost since coming out. Yes, there are old relationships I allowed to fade because I felt we were going in different directions. Yes, I am extremely confident and unapologetic about coming out….
BUT: I have had 2 years of adjusting to being openly gay. I had 38 years experience of being homophobic. As early as I can remember, I was warned that gay means mentally unstable, pedophile, unwanted, and unlovable. I didn’t know to ask questions that could provide me a lifeline. I was quiet about my hurt, and never shared what I assumed to be true. I performed. I made people laugh. I shared an image of success. I excelled, while hating myself. I hated my face. My heart. My body. My mind, but most of all, my longings. I hated what I desired. I tortured myself and allowed people to tell me that who I was needed to be undone… I have been told by a therapist “You have wires crossed that need repair.” I believed them. And I joined in on not accepting my sexuality, no matter what.
So, while I wait to share this story with the world, I sit. I walk. I think. I daydream. I ride this roller coaster, and remind myself that sharing your story comes at a price. I have been depleting myself with constant messages that tell me what a horrible writer I am, and how my story will fall flat. I tell myself what a mistake this is, and how everything I am addicted to will come back to life, and I will secretly have to have my addictions in my side pocket so I can proceed.
When the roller coaster fades, I have moments of clarity. I have these glimpses of full truth that resonates with my true self. While I will always worry about how the story is received, I am finding that beyond how many people read the blog, listen to the podcast and follow me on instagram, I care more about the silent person who finds this story and recognizes similarities…and hangs on. That person (or people) who is struggling, just like I did for many years may come alive in a new way, or just feel like they are ok. They are out there. They deserve to hear someone say “You will get through this.” They deserve to know that no matter how crazy or alone they feel, there is so much glory on the other side of exploring your pain.
I know anxiety, and fear can’t kill you. I get that. But, through unpacking my story again over the last few months and writing/sharing, I have found the one thing I’d give up my life for. Yes, my ego will get in the way at times. I will become too attached to what others think, and will certainly want to make this blog disappear at times…. But, the earth doesn’t tire of authenticity. If I can be honest about my story and that helps someone heal, it makes my pain worth it. It makes the roller coaster worth it. It makes the frustration of the decades lost, worth it…to help someone else heal.
If your’e on a roller coaster, hang tight. Breath deep. Let your story unfold…You are the narrator of what is to be told…
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