A blast from the not too distant past: oh…wow… I’m gay… Coming Out to Me

This is where I was at about all my gayness about five months ago when I figured it out.

 

So I’m not really sure who reads this, at this point, I hope my mom doesn’t. But I just really wanted to share this with my actual official blog. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the repression in my life. So many moments where instead of facing my feelings, I shot them down, caught them in a bottle and hid them in the deepest darkest reaches of my heart. This goes for my actual personal religious beliefs, my genuine political perspective, and my unrequited love towards my girl friends. Thinking back, every day was an intense struggle to force down the thoughts about girls. I cried almost every day of my high school existence. Because Satan was attacking me by making me think so much about my friends. Certain girls were never ever far from my mind. I would hyperventilate when they were coming over, basically swoon whenever they touched me, and just constantly always be wanting to spend every waking moment with them. BUT I WAS NOT GAY. I could not be. I was spreading Christianity, and one of the marks of being a Christian is hating the very concept of homosexuality. So, in word and speech I did. Still, I had these very clear constant moments of just being so attracted to my friends, and I would fall apart on them over it often. They would stroke my head (best feeling in the world by the way) and tell me it was okay. Not okay as in I was being allowed to be gay, okay as in, despite the feelings I was still 100% straight and they were glad I was fighting the urges.

Years of people telling me that I was not gay did nothing to stop the thoughts or curb the feelings. I never saw myself marrying a girl, however (still don’t). It’s complicated. See, this is literally the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have to give up the ease of living as a heterosexual. This of course means that my boyfriend and I… we’re breaking up. Amidst other things, he plays so much video games that I feel ignored like there is no room for me in his life. We still live together and we’ve talked this through. It’s hard since we made it so far, but it’s worth it to lead the lifestyles we want to lead. It hurts, the nonchalance, and that is why I think I prefer girls. They often tend to be more heartfelt and engaged. The ones I’m attracted to do anyway. I have zero idea how to do this going forward. A friend of mine said something about girls wearing flannel… but that seems fairly arbitrary. My gaydar, or lesbidar, anyway (shout out to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Willow Rosenberg for that fantastic word) is fairly rusty. It’s mostly never been used. So, I don’t know how to hit on a girl, how to get her to see that I like her and hope she likes me, I don’t know how to be in an actual relationship with a girl, and beyond that… I sure as hell don’t know how to marry a girl, adopt kids with a girl… I always saw myself as having, actually birthing kids someday. Choosing this path, choosing girls, it could change everything. I won’t be having a kid that shares the DNA of both of us. That’s something to think about. But, I am a massive people pleaser at times. That’s kind of what drew me to all the bad situations that have ever happened in my life. I can’t choose my hypothetical children over my heart. Not now.

To be honest, I can’t believe this is even my life. I always noticed the ways in which I liked girls… but I never anticipated accepting that I’m gay, or even that I’m bi. Not until recently.

 

Honestly, since I wrote this, I’ve come to accept things much more. My mom, understandably, was upset about me not having kids. (But I still want kids, whether through adoption, in vitro, whatever). Mom if you’re reading this, know always that your reaction floored me but I’m so glad and relieved I told you. I am choosing to write, paint and sing because I do love to do those things and maybe the question of my sexuality was the blockade I was always looking to remove beforehand. 

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I told my family…and now I’m telling you

So my family came to visit from California and it was an experience to say the least. I always forget how convinced my happy-go-lucky, friendly, exuberant family worries that I’m too serious. I actually find it fairly hilarious because, while I do love a good serious conversation, most people who know me, think of me as a dork who makes them laugh. I’m awkward sometimes and I have a bit of a deadpan sense of humor, but I do see the light and the color in life. I just don’t only see the light, or only see the color. The reason I’ve taken to saying that I see life not in black and white or in gray but in color, is because I believe life is filled with nuance, a change in hue, and deepening of a shade, a lighter tint in the corner of the picture, all the colors and differences serve to give a picture its clarity and its dimensionality. This is how I see myself and this is how I try to see the rest of the world. That being said, my poor family is dealing with an apparent complete change in persona when they come to visit.

Because most of my life was spent finding ways to better more completely commit my life to Jesus, they’re a little thrown that now I cuss, I talk comfortably about sex and I listen to a lot of secular music. They are also very taken aback, I think, by how conservative “Abortion is evil, gays need to not be gay” Erin turned into liberal “people need to be able to make choices, even if we don’t like them, let the oppressed people have a voice” Erin. And the biggest surprise for them was definitely that I went from “being a gay is a choice” to “Family, girls are cute and I’ve always thought so. In fact, I think I’ve mostly thought that and I don’t want to hide it anymore.” In other words, once purity-driven, Christian conservative Erin turned into way super gay, nonreligious, liberal Erin between the last time they saw me and now. It’s gotta be a lot to take in. But I’m really tired of hiding myself.

The thing is, in this blog, I think I’ve communicated myself as an ally. From a perspective of Christian thinking, I’ve been expressing that it is so wrong to make so many people feel so unsafe to be who they feel they are. But now that I’m on the inside of things rather than commenting from afar, I have a new perspective. It’s not just who we feel we are, what kinds of people we think we’re attracted to, we just…are who we are. And, if I’m entirely honest with myself, a lifetime of being absolutely petrified over the concept of people thinking I’m gay has destroyed my confidence in so many ways. I haven’t been clear on this blog about this, so it may come as a bit of a surprise, but let me paint you a picture of my life as a closeted lesbian super Christian.

It all started in middle school when I found some lesbian erotica online, the erotica was overtly sexual in nature and very few stories had to do with the nurturing that happens in relationships, especially between women. When I became a super Christian, I was twisted with guilt over how much those stories affected my mind. But I kept rereading them in order to better report the horrendous authors who wrote the disgusting stories… that I…kept reading. Sometimes, to reassert my total straightness, I would read hetero romance stories with sex in them and they were fine, mostly, the stories were the weirdest fanfictions and fantasies a twelve year old Christian girl could imagine. Eventually, I kicked the habit, fearing that the stories would destroy my innocence and really hurt me in the long run, but not before I noticed my friend’s butt wiggle when she walked. I remember noticing, staring, and after she left, throwing myself on my bedroom floor in a temper tantrum for two hours afraid I might be gay. But, gay wasn’t really concept to me. I was more upset that the stories had gotten in my head so much that I checked out a girl friend’s butt.

That was what started it all. Fast forward through to my brother’s babysitter who told me she loved me, and when I gave her a look of confusion and slight disgust (my homophobia ran deep), she said “like a little sister.” Nobody had ever said they loved me before, not so completely and sweetly. She went to youth group, so I went to youth group. Then I discovered God and went to youth group for me. I was constantly trying to choose youth group over everyone else. I met this girl with the bluest eyes I had ever seen, they were like diamonds set in sapphires and I couldn’t not befriend her. She became my best friend, but when she told me I was hers, I chickened out, I couldn’t reciprocate, I just told her the youth group was my best friend and I lost opportunities for a deeper friendship, and I daresay, for more. At any given moment in high school, I would genuinely rather be sitting all over my girl friends, holding their hands, cuddling them at sleepovers, listening to them talk about things that were important to them, spending every waking moment with them. But that feeling was especially reserved for my friend, the girl with the sapphire eyes. When I finally told her she was my best friend too, she leaped at me and squealed with joy saying “Oh, Erin, I’m so happy!” I probably blacked out a bit when that happened because that moment of her jumping to hug me was so wonderful, I never wanted her to let go.

Now, during this time, I was still a super Christian, I was supposed to be pure and choose the perfect guy, so I would look. Guys were… attractive… I liked their faces… but if a guy didn’t have an awesome personality and a tremendous love for Jesus, I couldn’t be bothered to care about him. This is perhaps why my attraction to girls was so strong during this time of my life. In a time of puberty and adolescence, I couldn’t go after all of the guys to distract myself from how pretty girls were. So, instead I noticed very specific girls. And I noticed them so much, I literally could not get them out of my head. Sapphire eyes was one girl of course, my best friend who sang me to sleep sometimes at sleepovers, and laid on my chest and loved to surprise me all the time. Another girl was drama girl with cute shoes. She was in my English class and I remember just watching her, and being so mad at myself for not being able to keep my eyes off of her. I convinced myself that I wanted her shoes and I…I could probably talk to her s…someday. The next term drama shoes girl was in my PE class and my Art Class. I loved talking to her. She was so interesting, though a little self-deprecating and I was floored that this beautiful, lovely and talented girl had so many insecurities. Once, I was reading my Bible, and she wouldn’t get out of my head, so I read a verse and was like “Oh, this applies to her, thanks God… I’ll…I’ll umm try to tell her you told me this.” And after a term and a half of readying myself to tell her “God’s encouragement for her life”, I came up to her stuttering and completely unable to stop. I was so embarrassed. But she was the sweetest about it because she knew me and we were cool.

The funny thing about all of this, and there is more, much more to come for this story, is that, I don’t remember being uncomfortable because they made me nervous, there was that. But mostly, I just always had my mind on the concept of kissing them, and approaching them, I tended to just be aware of their proximity and kindness and it made my heart melt. Drama shoes girl was wonderful, a distraction from Sapphire Eyes. But nobody had so far compared to the intensity with which I came at the exuberant kind cheerleader. I remember meeting her in her sweats after she came back home from a run. I was picking my brother up from her house since he had been hanging out with her brother, I felt so grown up for some reason. Then she bounded over to me, introduced herself and melted me into what I now know was a puddle of gay. I was instantly enamored. She was beautiful! She was goofy, friendly, Christian and she was not a mean cheerleader. I think that part of my very sudden catapulting into falling for this girl had a lot to do with her character traits. My whole life, I had written “Perfect Friend” lists and this girl was everything. For an actual month, I didn’t see her again, but she was never far from my mind.

I saw her at a youth worship thing and we sat on the couch and I literally told this beautiful, enthusiastic cheerleader that I had been obsessed with her for an entire month since we had met. Obsessed. This girl didn’t bat one freaking eyelash, we stayed friends and I always feared I was coming on too strong, but one day she wrote to me and said to me “Thank you for making the first move in our friendship, I’m so glad you did.” It’s silly how often I look back and say…yeah you came on way too strong…they hated you. Because… they really didn’t. In fact, sometimes it feels like it was reciprocated. Another entry for another day. Anyways, after telling my new friend I had actually been obsessed with her, I decided on a name for my condition, the situation in my mind that made me notice girls and not be able to get certain wonderful ones off of my mind, I wasn’t gay. Of course not. I was obsessed! So each girl that I took notice of and who sat in my mind for a significant length of time, whose clothes I took note of everyday and whose every word about every subject I remembered with ease, they were an obsession. I couldn’t possibly be in love with them. I was just obsessed!

When that inventor of obsession cheerleader girl announced suddenly that in a month she would be moving to New York (across the country) I completely lost it. I started bawling my eyes out in my next class and was sent to the office for counseling. I spiraled into a depression and I squeeze every single bit of time I could get out of being around her. I noticed so many things about her in that month. She had certain mannerisms, warts on her hands even with being the most confident and gorgeous girl I had ever met, she had the strangest and cutest observations. One time she peeled a mandarin, then peeled the white inside the mandarin and remarked how the mandarin had pores. It was just so random and adorable, I still can’t eat a mandarin without thinking of her and it’s been nine freaking years! When she moved, I failed a math class because I was writing her letters telling her how much I missed her and what was going on without her. Even when she was gone, I waited for the phone to ring, I remembered every detail of her and I would cry because she wasn’t coming back. Oddly enough, she did come back a few times, and I was a mess almost every time, so nervous to see her again. Obsession… it can really (platonically of course)  make you a total useless lesbian.

Then I was back to Diamond Sapphire Eyes. Despite being my best friend, she had no idea that I was going through my friend leaving and was hurt that I hadn’t told her. I had been so focused on that wonderful cheerleader that I couldn’t even talk to other people for awhile. Diamond Sapphire and I were at a sleepover with all of our friends watching Mama Mia and my beautiful serene angel of a friend had fallen asleep on my arm. I just looked down at her peaceful sweet face and looking back, I think I wanted to admit it to myself that I was in love with my best friend. But, as that realization dawned on me, it flew out just as quickly, when she leapt out of the bed were all sharing and started dancing to the end song “Waterloo.” I was dumbstruck, she was the most adorable spaz and watching her being her was pretty much my favorite thing to do. Eventually, I tried to sleep in another room, and she came to run her fingers through my hair and sing to me. The song she chose? Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge complete with the moon singing in Italian at the end. She always made me laugh so hard because she was the strangest most exuberant person but the softest and loveliest and I was so often amazed that she was my friend.

I think that what they don’t tell you when you hear about the general concept of homosexuality is that you are going to fall for the little things, it’s almost never just about sex. You just fall for a person, who they are, including their gender and it just doesn’t even matter. Because they are the most wonderful person in the world and if they love you back, it would be insane not to take that leap and let them continue that love. But it also does matter because girls are soft and sweet and wonderful, and if I had a girl who wanted me like I wanted all of these girls (and more, this story never ends) I’m pretty sure I would fall to pieces with happiness and contentment.

I am gay, perhaps even a lezzing lezzie who lezzes, as I joke with my friends. I just really like girls so much more than guys. And I finally told my conservative Christian mom and brother and they are surprised and confused but also very supportive. Because they saw me in high school and all throughout life and in every single one of these circumstances and many more, I was bawling my eyes out almost daily. Because, I think, I knew. I knew that obsession was the silliest excuse ever and that I had gigantic crushes on some of my friends. But I kept inventing new reasons for why I was so drawn to certain girls and why I would rather be cuddling a girl and why I thought about kissing girls all the time. I’m just…gay. And it’s not only valid. It’s not only okay, there truly is nothing wrong with that. But it is completely beautiful and amazing and fantastic and it feels like the pieces are falling into place. Girls are the most wonderful creatures on this planet. I am so happy I can say that now.

 

Beyond the Mask: A Surprisingly Refreshing Perspective

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Spanning across continents, set in the Revolutionary War era, Beyond the Mask impressed me with its not-too-preachy message of redemption, its strong and beautiful romance amidst consistent action and its astounding effects and sets (for a $1 million budget.)

I stumbled upon it this afternoon when a friend wanted to go see a movie. I have recently seen four movies currently in theaters so I mentioned this one. After looking at reviews, we decided to check it out. My friend is in a laid back exploratory phase of her religious convictions so when the previews advertised preachy films, I felt bad. I had inadvertently led my friend and myself into a Christian-made film.

I braced myself for a slew of unnecessary references to the cross, constant discussion of the afterlife and a practically platonic approach to romance. I received none of those. Instead I was launched into a world reminiscent of some of my favorite movies. And not unlike those movies, there was redemption for a villain, this time redemption I’ve known to last.

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I say quite a few things on this site in question of my church-guided faith. I think a lot about the way I was raised and have struggled to recognize those places where my faith was coaxed rather than felt, forced rather than accepted. In doing this, I have tended to indict and convict Christianity more than uphold its truths in my writing. But it should be said that this movie resonated with me and that faith, deep belief that God is real and working and that He loves every single person on this earth, propels my very existence.

I roll my eyes at Christian obsession with changing the world media to be honoring to God. I honestly do not believe anything is at stake there. By getting so distracted with changing world media, we rarely create our own things. We have to stop thinking of ourselves as a persecuted class and join the world in living. We ought to recognize that there is much more to life than quoting Scripture.

This is why the movie was refreshing. It didn’t shove itself in your face. The advertising quoted a verse but the movie itself never did. It simply showed redemption from a Christian perspective and brought to mind favorites like Les Miserables, Count of Monte Cristo and Pirates of the Carribean. jeanvaljean

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The romance was clean but not without chemistry and tension, her desire to love a man who loves God was something I can totally understand. Still, her conviction did not run over the plot or raise her up on a pedestal throughout the movie. Moreover, the thing that made her attractive was her kindness, grace and determination to do something to stop cruelty from having the upper hand. What made him attractive besides his generally gorgeous exterior was his desire to thwart darkness, to learn and to be a new man.

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Though this movie seems to have fallen through the cracks with other moviegoers and critics, I thought it was very well done and it reminded me of something I’ve steadily started to lose. I am Christian. And I am very proud of that fact. I simply believe my Christianity is more about how I treat those in my path now than it is about what I will earn in my future. As it pertains to story and film, Christianity is so beautiful when nuanced and it’s so awesome when it’s a whisper in the wind rather than a blaring advertisement, when you almost miss its message but something sinks into your spirit and makes you smile, makes you remember there’s a God.

We forget that we are not at war with the world. We are at war with darkness, with Satan. Light has overcome the darkness, even the smallest of lights can pierce the darkness, whether it comes with screaming sirens or complete silence.

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This is a nearly unexplored territory for Christians, the action/adventure film. We have so much we could begin to explore throughout history. I for one would love to see a Dietrich Bonhoeffer movie with the redemptive/rebellious atmosphere of Amazing Grace and the latest Beyond the Mask. I’m excited to see these sorts of projects happening. Not so much for world redemption (I truly think Jesus has that covered, plus total conversion of the world seems a bit like world domination, not everybody needs revival) but so that Christians can learn about themselves and see that the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil approach does not work in storytelling. It’s entirely okay and wonderful to enjoy action movies and history and things that don’t always have the “Christ” approval stamp on them. We’d do well to realize he probably approves more than we think.

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