A Backpedaling Apology

In September, I wrote a farewell post. I simply couldn’t take the negativity going on in this culture war. To be honest, I still can’t. Many of you have written me to express your support, your kindness, even your frustrations with me for not continuing this journey of reconciliation. Every single word has been heard, treasured, and put to good use.

After thinking on these things for the past few months, I’ve arrived at a few conclusions:

I stand by my decision to take a break from staunch advocacy. However, I would be remiss if I said my journey had ended. For better or for worse, I still deal constantly with living as a lesbian in the bible belt south. And at the risk of making myself too vulnerable, I feel the need to come clean on a few things.

Before going into that, I must say: I am extremely happy. I love my life. My partner (who I’ve put through a lot, by the way) has helped me realize true love is not a lost cause for this sappy romantic. However, as someone who has experienced social anxiety on some level my entire life, it has become nearly unbearable over the past few years. Self-acceptance was never as much of a problem until I came out.

I worry. Constantly. I can feel the disgust people have for me, even when they don’t say it out loud. It hurts. Like everyone else, I want to be accepted and loved. And to know there are some people who feel they can not be in fellowship with me because of this issue damages me on a cellular level.

I see other LGBT friends living life normally with their partners. They don’t let the naysayers bother them. Truly, they are able to simply brush it off and go on with their happy and healthy lives, without one worry about what people think or say. I envy them. Why is this so difficult for me to do as a grown woman in my thirties?

In addition to everything I just referred to, I feel guilty for mentioning it. I feel as though by giving into these negative thoughts, I’m allowing myself to stay in the role of the victim. And I despise the thought. When I truly give into the negativity surrounding my life as a lesbian: I feel cheated. I feel victimized. I feel hated, loathed, and cynical. I feel talked about. Whispered about. Laughed at. It may not be true for every person in my life, but it’s there. I’ve seen it happen, time and time again: Before someone knows I’m gay, they enjoy my company. They take me seriously. They treat me like a human. After they find out—either by me or the grapevine—they avoid me. They see me as less than. They treat me as the “other”. I don’t want to fall into the trap of over-generalization, but it’s difficult not to when you’ve seen it happen as many times as I have.

So the primary reason I wanted to say farewell to you, my dear friends, is because I don’t have a lot of positivity to give about this subject at the moment. But perhaps there is value in authenticity. Maybe it’s important to come right out and say I’m not in a good place. As it currently stands, I feel like I’m in an incubator, just waiting to emerge a better person. I’m attempting to nurture my soul by immersing myself in hobbies, in spiritual readings, in Christmastime traditions. But despair is still there, underneath. It always is. Maybe with every passing year, it will shrink, growing smaller and smaller, completely enveloped by my joy. Until then, it’s my cross to bear. And as long as I have feelings, I suppose you’ll find me writing about them. For your sake, I wish they were always happy ones. But as long as you’re willing to read them, I’m willing to share them… for better or for worse.

4 responses to “A Backpedaling Apology

  1. Mandy, thanks for writing and bringing us up to date. If my life is any indication, it will get better as you age. I figured out I was gay at 50, after living my entire adult life as a conservative Christian and presumed heterosexual. When the light finally dawned and I began to share the news with long-time friends, I was grateful that I’d reached a place in life where their response, whether positive or negative (and the response was about 85% negative to 15% positive among Christians) really did not matter. I loved the me God had made, and it became clear that I wanted to continue relationships with only those who also loved that person. And I am happier and more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was before.

    In other words, I hope you reach that stage. You are a beautiful and intelligent and wonderful creation of God. Let him speak that message to your sweet heart. Live, love and prosper and trust the Lord to deal with those who respond to you with anything but respect and love.

  2. Mandy, you have been such a positive and articulate source of inspiration for so many followers of Christ, whether gay or straight. I pray for a time when this is not an issue. I know it takes time; look at the women’s issues and race issues… Our society has come quite far in the last century…some churches have too…but, we sure have a long road ahead of us. Champions like you will help make a difference. Keep writing. Much love and respect to you!

  3. Mandy, I’m so sorry to hear about your pain. I have a daughter who has an anxiety disorder, and I know it flares up at the most unexpected times. I also have another daughter who identifies as “queer” (her word), who is an amazing human being. Well, both of my daughters are amazing human beings. 🙂 I am part of an online community of Christian moms of LGBTQ kids from all over the U.S. and other English-speaking countries. We have done the hard work of studying “those verses” in the Bible and realizing that what we were always told about homosexuality was wrong. We have stood with our children, many of us have been rejected by our families and church communities, but we have found so much joy and peace in opening our hearts to LGBTQ kids who don’t have families who support them. I don’t know exactly where you live, but I’m willing to bet there’s a mom living somewhere near you, who would love to give you a huge hug and remind how much God loves you and how very wonderful you are. If you are interested in getting a “mom hug”, just let me know. I’m sure I can find one close to you.

  4. Mandy, it’s nice to see another post from you. Keep the conversation going!

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