Tuesday, September 04, 2007

101. Fear

I came out for the last time when I was 25. I say for the last time, because I’d come out a few times before that, only to dive right back into the closet a short time later – usually deeper in than I was before. (I’m actually fairly sure that the rather major and scary depression I hit in my university years was due to one of these returning to the closet events.) I was in Ireland when I came out, far away from anyone who knew me (well, anyone who knew me before I went there), far away from anything familiar, and it still took me 9 months of squirming and wiggling my way out before I finally declared it – loud and proud – to myself, at least. I was gay, and there was no denying it anymore.

As I’ve discussed, there was a lot of relief that came with that declaration. I’ve described it to people this way – it’s like I spent my entire life up to that point swimming against the current, expending a lot of effort, but not really getting anywhere… and suddenly, I turned around and was swimming with the water. I could move, I could look around, I could enjoy what was going on; and all I could think was “Why the hell have I been swimming that way all this time?”

Of course, there was fear involved too. The obvious ones being “What are people going to think?”, or “Who will reject me?”. I’ve sort of gotten over those ones… well, except for my family, but family is always a different issue (which is why I’m so impressed by what Just Me is doing… that girl has some serious courage. I was going to say she’s “got balls”, but I always find that a rather infuriating expression, even though I’m tempted to use it. Seriously, what do testicles have to do with courage? Anyway, moving on…)

When I returned to Canada, newly out and newly proud (well… sort of proud, and sort of out), one of the first things I did was print off a lyric from an old hymn and tape it up right by the entrance to my apartment. The hymn was “O Sacred Head” and the lyric was “Lord let me never, ever outlive my love to Thee.” You see, that was my biggest fear… that coming out, acknowledging that I was gay would somehow lead to me leaving my faith. I actually prayed that prayer on numerous occasions. I don’t know when I stopped.

I’ve since moved apartments and been to Korea and back. My mom was here recently and she was going through some boxes I’d pulled up out of storage and she found that piece of paper and laid it out on my dresser. It was a rather obvious move on her part, she’s quite afraid I’m not a believer anymore (she actually asked me in the car if I “still believe that Jesus is the way to heaven”). Obvious as that move was, seeing that paper made me think, and wonder when I stopped praying that prayer, as morbid a prayer as it is. Oh, I still Believe, as anyone who reads this blog would know… but more and more (and I’m almost afraid to let this out into the ether, for fear of all of those who might find this to be a good thing, or even a joyful thing) I find myself thinking how much easier it would be if I didn’t, and wondering if it would be possible to convince myself that I don’t.

Yesterday when I was wandering around the internets, I found myself on Quasifictional reading this series of posts (I, II, III, IV, V, VI) describing how she feels having left her faith, and it broke my heart and scared me at the same time. It happens. Just as people can become Christians, they can become non-Christians too (I’m not sure how a Calvinist would see that, though), and it can just happen… I mean, it’s not something I can see doing intentionally. I can’t make myself not believe something any more than I can make myself believe something. I either believe or I don’t… and I do. But maybe one day I won’t. And that thought hurts me.

1 Comment:

just me said...

Thank you so much for this post. It makes me feel less alone! And I can relate to most of it. Somehow comments and reading other people's blogs really does help as virtual as it is.

And I really liked the water current analogy. To add another water analogy to it, I would say I not brave, I am just aware that diving directly into the 30 foot tall ocean wave of reality is less painful than standing there while it knocks me over and drags me across the rocks on the ocean floor. Hmmm.

And I totally relate on the whole faith thing. Thats one of the questions my sister-in-law has been asking and something in my mind as well.