Thursday, June 12, 2008

118. She's Alive!

So, I’ve been out of the world for a while. (Oh, and I just recently rewatched my Firefly and Serenity DVDs, hence the phrase “out of the world”… Browncoats will get it. The rest of you will not understand any of what I just typed out. Sorry. But it’s your own damn fault for not watching one of the best shows to ever be on television. Maybe if you had it would still be on the air. Anyway, back to my point…) I know I’ve been neglectful, and perhaps I should have given some notice when I realized I needed to take a break, but that would have required signing on and well… I needed a break. And actually, I think I’m still taking one, but for some reason I felt like writing today. I think I’ll just explain what’s been going on.

So… I took a break. Not intentionally, but I did. And I don’t just mean I took a break from this blog. I mean I took a BREAK. I just sort of stopped. Oh, I went to work, and shopped and ate and exercised. But mostly, I stopped. I stopped calling people, I stopped going to church, I just stopped. I think my brain was just tired. I wasn’t depressed, which was some people’s worry, I’ve been depressed before and this felt nothing like that. I just couldn’t see my way to doing anything that required any sort of brain power -- and for me, church is one of those things, and as a natural introvert (with honed extroverted skills) so do people. Let me tell you how disengaged I got. When I finally started coming out of my cave (again, not depressed, I promise you), it turned out that a lot of people had just assumed I’d left the country again. I had people asking me how Korea was, and if I was home for a holiday. Ridiculous. Me, I mean, not them. But I’m making my way slowly but surely back into the world. I went to church the past few weeks (well, not this past Sunday, I slept in), and I’ve started making an effort to call people and be more out and about. So I think my brain is revving back up, which is good.

It’s been a good break though. It’s not like I wasn’t seeing people. I was working practically every day (which is pretty good considering I supply at a preschool with a staff of 3 people… it’s kind of incredible how many hours they give me) and the kids are great and bring me so much joy… plus I get along awesomely with the other teachers, which makes for a fun work day. Seriously, think about it… I get paid to play with preschoolers and cool people. That’s pretty darn amazing. Add to that mix the 2 hot moms that I get to chat with/flirt with on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and you’ve got a happy girl. Oh, don’t worry, I know that they’re straight, and I’ve got not hopes or designs, it’s just a little adult sized fun in a child sized world. My coworkers like to tease me about them, which is just fine.

So, what made this break necessary? Well, I’m not sure, considering it just snuck up on me. I was over at one of my best friend’s place a few weeks ago talking about this, and she was asking me that question and my answer was to shrug my shoulders and go “…dunno..”, which scared her a lot because, as she put it, I’m “all about the thinking about the why of things” which is totally true, but part of my break was not thinking about anything even remotely serious, and whys are serious.

But, as I said, the old thinker is revving back up and so I’ve got some guesses now. The first is simple. Exhaustion. Mostly with, yes, the concept behind this blog. The gay Christian thing. I’ve been thinking about it all so hard for so long and I think it just got to be too much.

The second guess is not quite so simple, but it is something that I know is true, and I’ve got reason to suspect that it was the reason for the sudden shutting down of my brain. One of my biggest frustrations in all of this is that I feel really alone. Oh, believe me, this blog helps, your comments help, your blogs help, and websites like help… knowing that there are people out there like me who are trying to figure things out makes it all so much more manageable. We really are communal creatures. But as much as these things help, they are not the same as real life, flesh and blood, friends. And that’s where I feel alone. Oh, I’ve got friends. Awesome friends, whom I cherish and who I believe value me too. I don’t mean this to be a slight on them. I mean this in a very specific way. I feel alone on this particular journey, I feel like I’m trying to figure this out alone. No one is doing this with me, no one is trying to figure this out with me. I’ve got my conservative Christian friends (and again, I’m using the word conservative in the most specific of ways, I’m meaning my friends who are Christians who are Side B, who believe I should be celibate), my one Side A straight Christian friend (well, the only one I know about, anyway), and my non Christian friends… and they all have their opinions, they all have already made up their minds. No one is willing or able to go back to the beginning and start thinking about this issue and be open to the possibility that they might, in fact, be wrong. And I quite honestly mean that on both sides, not just the pro-celibacy side. My non-Christian friends seem to be just waiting for me to get over my “hang-ups” and get on with the process of dating. I actually kind of ended a friendship a while back after one of these people sort of attacked me for remaining celibate, I spent an hour trying to defend a position I’m not sure of plus defend my personal choices and that was enough for me.

But to be perfectly honest, I don’t really expect that much from my non-Christian friends, at least in this area. I can’t really expect someone who doesn’t view the Bible as the Word of God to understand why what the Bible says is important to me, nor do I expect that they would comprehend how important my relationship with a Being they may or may not even believe in is. So, this is something I mostly find myself looking to my Christian friends for, and this is where I feel it the most. Because, for the most part – and let me be clear, this is just my perception, and it is only in this one specific area – I feel like they are kind of dismissive. They begin from a standpoint of “all homosexual behaviour is wrong”, and when I have tried to engage them in a discussion about some Side A arguments they sort of dismiss them out of hand. I remember one discussion with a particular person after bringing up a particular Side A point where my friend said “Well, that’s something I’d never thought of… that’s a really good argument. Of course, I disagree with it.” And when I asked why, the answer was “Well, because I believe homosexual behaviour is wrong.” I couldn’t get any other answer out of her, she had no reply to the specific point that was brought up, but she came in to the discussion with her opinion and that was that. I don’t think they would couch it in these terms, but they refuse to be moved from their conservative position, so any attempt to engage them in real conversation on this issue is kind of pointless. And that is so frustrating, because I do believe that life is meant to be lived in community, and I think that is more true about the Christian life, and I feel like I’m alone in this. I can’t talk to my liberal non-Christian friends about it because they can’t really engage me on the “Christian” part of the debate, (heh, one of my dearest non-Christian friends, many years ago when I was newly out and only talking to non-Christian friends about it because they were the only people I felt safe with, actually told me at one point that I needed to find Christians to talk to because she had ‘taken me as far as she could go’, she could only go so far with an academic understanding of my faith… that was kind of a turning point for me) and I can’t talk to my conservative Christian friends about it because they won’t engage me on the “gay” part of the debate.

I don’t blame them. I mean, I can’t expect this issue to be important to someone who’s not actually affected by it. They have their lives, their husbands, their wives, their kids, their schools, their jobs… this is hardly an important issue if you aren’t gay and Christian, I can’t expect them to actually devote the time and energy to starting from scratch with the reading and the research and the wrestling it out and being open to new possibilities and perspectives… that’s a lot to ask. But I can’t help but want it.

Now on to the crux of the matter. I think it was the Bible Study… which was awesome and fun, and I’m really proud of it and glad I did it. But I think it pushed me over the edge. Because, there I was, discussing this issue with people who were sincerely asking questions, and who were engaging both ends of this debate – the gay side and the Christian side, and it was awesome… and exactly what I have been wanting for such a long time. And then it was over. They went back to their lives and that was it. Actually, apparently the next Bible study was also on homosexuality – they listened to one of the Tony Campolo CDs I’d made. But, the thing is they could be done with it, they could put it aside having not come to any conclusions and be fine with it because it’s just not that important to them. It’s interesting, and they care, but they have their lives to lead and this is not a part of their lives. And it kind of hurt. Oh, I wasn’t crying or angry or anything. It’s just that feeling for a short time that feeling of wrestling this issue out in community with other believers who were willing to start from scratch… it felt so good, and when it was gone, I think I just crashed. Mentally, not emotionally. Well, maybe a little emotionally, but not in a depressed way. I just sort of lived off of the joy I got from the kids at work (and yes, the hot moms) and my coworkers, and let everything else (including this blog) just sort of fall away for a while. But I’m coming back slowly but surely. I probably won’t be very regular in my posting for a while. But I’m alive and well. And to anyone who’s still reading, thanks. It’s good to know you’re there.


Eugene said...

It's good to know you're still there, too...

titration said...

I agree I am glad to see you are here. I wonder if you are in a cocuning (sp) stage? (aka Sue Monk Kidd's book When the heart waits)

And I totally get this. Even though I am side A I get this. Especially while sitting in church this Sunday listening to a sermon on homosexuality I thought about these thoughts.

Liadan said...

Woohoo, you're back! *happy dance*

I have to admit that I lucked out in the meatspace friends department when I was coming out, because most of them were already Side A / pro-gay / whatever you'd like to call it and they were already there for me. And most of the very few who were "on the fence" have fallen off to my side in the meantime-- on some cases due to having known me. (One came out later as bi. Go figure.)

Speaking as a Christian queer person who came to a Side A conclusion, I went through Sides B and X on the way to A in a largely process-of-elimination sort of way, so I'm not sure what good it does me to revisit them. I'm also at a point where the arguments themselves just make me angry, especially when they're presented in a "So have you ever considered ___?" way as if I just hadn't thought things through and if I had I would have come to their conclusion. I really can't treat them academically-- and yeah, it makes me angry too that straight people *can.*


JJ said...

Hey guys, thanks for the welcome back. I'm slowly working my way through the blogosphere (seriously... many, many blogs to catch up on), and am tentatively making my way back into the world. But it's nice to know I was missed. I did miss you all too.

Oh, and Liadan, Strangers in Paradise is on my List. I'm totally enjoying this medium. I even got my bookclub to do Watchmen for our last meeting.

Michelle said...

It's good to see you blogging again. I had to take a break from my blog, too--I thought it was permanent, but I ended up going back, because it helps.

One of the saddest things about leaving my faith behind was the knowledge that I was losing my cred, so to speak. I have long believed that exploring the question of relationships and sexuality within the parameters of Christianity was Very Important, but with my parameters blown out, I was no longer in a position to truly engage that question in that way. The Bible follows me and remnants of my former faith follow me in my post-Christian life, but I cannot say, "Yes, I believe the Bible is the perfect Word of God." And in certain things, I am sorry about that.

marauder said...

Hey, welcome back! Good to see your blog is up and running once again. I totally hear you on the need to "shut down" for a while. Been there myself, and feel in some ways like I'm still only starting to wake up after a couple YEARS off.

Re: Firefly. Have you ever heard "Mal's Song" by Escape Key? It uses the Firefly theme as the chorus of a much longer song that presents Malcolm Reynolds' character. My two girls have never seen an episode of "Firefly," nor the movie -- not really age-appropriate -- but they love the song.

ArmoredCity said...

yay, you've returned!!