“Time to pull up the drawbridge.” That’s what my dad says when it’s time to get re-centered. My dad is an extremely social guy—not at all like me in that regard—but he still needs the occasional recharge. He’ll get his grocery supplies, refine his Netflix queue, lock the doors, and hibernate. It seems like that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months now. I go to work, then come home and pull up the drawbridge. For extroverts, that may sound depressing. But I’m not sad. Not at all. I’m actually the happiest I’ve been in a really, really long time! Life is good, and it’s only going to get better from here.
In the midst of the documentary project, and some other side projects, I’ve been quite busy lately. I decided to temporarily disable my Facebook account in order to get some things done. (I’m still currently on Twitter and Instagram; Somehow those don’t take up major chunks of my day the way that Facebook tends to do.) What was meant to be a one week hiatus has turned into over two weeks (and counting). I’m astonished at how much I’m actually enjoying being off Facebook. I’ve taken breaks before, and I couldn’t wait to sign back in! But this time is different, and I think I might be starting to understand why.
If you follow my other blog, you might remember a post about HSPs (Highly Sensitive People). I won’t go into detail here, but in a nutshell, I am affected way too much by what others think of me… to the point that it’s debilitating. Therefore, when I really immerse myself in advocacy work, I am engaged in lots of conversation. Some of it is uncomfortable, and that’s ok. We must have discussions which take us out of our comfort level, or else nothing will change. That being said, I found myself in dire need of a recharge. Being off Facebook has resulted in a more even-keeled emotional state. Although I really try to stay out of controversial Facebook arguments, I still saw them every day on my news feed, whether I participated or not. I felt flooded with negativity. I was focused on things that cultivated anger instead of peace. I was reminded of those who think differently of me now. And really, why give those people even one second of my time, worrying about what they think?
When I set out on this venture of being honest about who I am, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. And I wouldn’t go back in the closet for anything. But sometimes, I just grow weary. Perhaps advocacy work isn’t for me. Perhaps I internalize it a bit too much. And maybe things will change in the future. But for me, right now, all I want to do is stay inside my safe, comfortable, predictable world. I want cozy up inside my house with my awesome little family.
And I want to pull up the drawbridge.
My life has been quite a ride over the past few years. From living a miserable double life as a Christian lesbian, to finally facing my fears of rejection and coming out… suffice it to say, a lot has happened. I’ve found out who my friends are. I’ve discovered who I am. And most significantly, I’ve rediscovered my faith in a way that has made it mine. I never knew what that was like. I was always taught to be comfortable in my traditional faith: Don’t ask too many questions. Don’t trust your own reasoning. Don’t change too much. For the first time in my life, my brand of spirituality has been reborn out of my own experiences, my own conversations with God, my own heart-searching, my own soul-seeking. I’ve learned to question the things that others taught as truth. And I’ve learned that something isn’t always so just because someone says it is. I’m still in the midst of this changing and ever-evolving journey… and honestly, I hope that I never grow comfortable in my faith again. This is the most liberated I’ve ever felt! The very act of seeking—of searching, of asking questions—has become a holy practice for me.
Now, time to get real. There are a few more things that I need to improve. Over the past few years, I’ve endured so much stress and emotional turmoil that I’ve tried to cope with it in several ways. My self-esteem took a blow. And to account for my depression, I would eat. (And that’s no one’s fault but my own.) The result is a lot of weight gain, which only perpetuates the cycle: low self-esteem –> depression –> overeating –> weight gain –> low self-esteem, and so on.
So, I’m writing this post for two reasons today. First off, if you are living a double life right now because of your sexuality… I want to assure you that things will improve. (Insert your favorite “It Gets Better” video here. Here’s mine.) If your faith has suffered because of the stress, loneliness, and rejection you endure, you will come out on the other side better for it. Secondly, I’m writing this as accountability for myself. Now that things are getting back on track for me, I need to make sure that is also true for my physical health. To completely obliterate the things that made my life miserable for so long, I need to get healthy again. So, I’m making myself a promise to eat better, to exercise, and to get rid of this extra baggage. Once that is gone, I will truly be able to say I’m a new person.
Rediscover your faith. Rediscover Love. Rediscover yourself.
What are some things you need to do in your own life to make that happen?
About four months ago, I took my last road trip with my Christian band. It was a devastating thing—and would have been more so—if it weren’t for the circumstances that surrounded it. Because of a barrage of things that happened in the preceding month, the event came as more of a relief. At that point I was angered, hurt, and rejected; it had been my sexual orientation that brought me to this point of leaving something I loved so dearly. Even though I had come to terms with my sexuality years before, I still felt shame at what others felt toward me once they knew the truth.
Somehow, I realized the profoundness of the moment. I felt distinct affirmation and peace from God as I approached the end of an 11-year era. That weekend, as I prepared for our last concert, I bought a ring to commemorate the event. It seemed fitting: around the circumference of the silver circle, one of my favorite verses was engraved:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” -Jeremiah 29:11
I’ve always loved that passage, but it rang truer than ever for me that early fall day. I’ve never come closer to hearing an almost audible voice from Abba saying, “You are my child. This is a season of refining for you. Rest in Me as I purify you and prepare you for My work”.
I fear that there are others on this same journey who buy into the lies that we’re told: “You’re not good enough”, “Become straight and then God can use you”, “We can send you to reparative therapy, and that will fix you”… and the list goes on. I hurt for those who believe these untruths. I can empathize… I was there for years. The truly tragic result of this is when we continue to believe we are without worth. God will use you right where you are. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything. It doesn’t mean that you won’t question things. It doesn’t mean your beliefs won’t change.
It just means you won’t be alone.
And if the Creator of the universe is with us, then we have nothing to fear on the path unknown.