Tuesday, December 29, 2009

140. To tell, or not to tell...

So, I had a ‘sister-bonding’ day today… it was awesome. At least I think so. I think my youngest sister might have been bored after a while, which I suppose is understandable. I mean, I was delighted with the ‘let’s just sit around and talk for 6 or 7 hours’ plans we had, but she is 17 and so I can understand how she might have gotten a bit bored with the fact that we didn’t ‘do’ anything. And I admit to being rather annoyed by the fact that our one planned activity (we were going to go and see Avatar – which is playing in Bermuda! In 3D!!?!) didn’t end up happening because Dad just didn’t believe me that we’d have to be there early in order to get tickets. By the time we got there, not only was it sold out, people were lined up to buy tickets for tomorrow and later on this week. Oh well. It was a great day for me otherwise.

One thing, of course, did come up… they very much want me to come out to my (our) dad. The older of my younger sisters says it gets hard keeping this secret, which I can understand I guess. She says dad talks about me and blames himself for the fact that I don’t have a boyfriend. He says things like that he wasn’t there to tell me I was beautiful and so I don’t believe a man could love me and that’s why I haven’t had a boyfriend all these years. If I’m completely honest – and why bother with blogging if I’m not going to be honest – there’s a certain level of satisfaction in hearing that. Oh, don’t worry, it’s not like I ‘blame’ him for my being gay, but I am kind of upset about some of the stuff he’s said to me over the years. For the most part, I am very protective of my dad and what people think about him, so I don’t even like to say these sorts of things, because I don’t like the idea of people thinking bad things about him (I don’t know exactly why I’m like that… it doesn’t really make sense given our history), he has been somewhat hurtful over the years. Oh, not intentionally, but he has said things that have stuck with me and hurt a lot… in reference to my appearance mostly. The worst of which was that he was glad I was intelligent because ‘it compensated’. That was a long time ago… 20 years ago or so, and thinking about it still makes my throat get tight… and apparently makes me well up with tears because that’s what just happened as I typed that out.

So, yeah… as much as I don’t like to think that I’m a vindictive person, part of me is glad that he feels some remorse over the way he dealt with my appearance. I wish I didn’t feel like that, but I do.

Oh, and then there’s the sex stuff. Ugh… my dad is obsessed with sex. Oh, I don’t mean that in a creepy way, but he sees sex as this huge benchmark or something…. for example, at one of those shameful/awkward family gatherings I mentioned in my last post he was talking with my cousin (his niece) about her son and how mature he’s getting, and my dad’s comment, to underscore how grown up this boy was, was “…and I bet he’s even had sex”… as if that is the way to prove that this kid is now a man. I’m honestly not a prude… at all. Sex talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, really, it doesn’t (usually... ) but so many of dad’s conversations with people end up being about sex. He does seem to think that if sex isn’t a part of your life then you don’t really belong. I remember trying to explain to him years ago about the whole ‘waiting until marriage’ thing, but he actually doesn’t believe that it happens. I told him about friends of mine who waited and he actually said to me “oh, they were just saying that to you, one day they’ll tell you the truth…” If I remember correctly, that was the same conversation where he tried to explain to me how men don’t know if they are in love until they’ve slept with a woman… ugh. Okay, I’ll stop going on about this now, it’s upsetting.

Anyway, like I said, my sisters want me to tell him, the older one thinks he’ll be relieved and stop blaming himself… I don’t know if I’ll do it. The idea makes me nervous… physically. My stomach gets all tight. And the thing is, I’m not even sure that it would help… he might just start blaming himself for my being gay. I know my mother blames him for a large portion of it – I know, I know… it’s ridiculous and insane pop-freudian-psychology, but I can see him thinking that very easily… especially if he decides to talk to my mother about it, which is something I can also see happening very easily. That’s actually one of the reasons I don’t want to tell him… I don’t want him and my mom discussing me being gay… my mom would be incredibly upset, she doesn’t want me telling anyone, and my telling my dad would be a huge blow to her, because it would make it so real… plus I’ve never really done that with her, sit her down and tell her. She keeps finding out. Oh, I’ve told her, but never as an intentional thing, just as a response to her suddenly ‘not remembering’ that I’m gay. I don’t know if that makes any sense, I’m writing this post at 5 in the morning…

So I don’t know if I’ll do it. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance, honestly, but even if I do, I don’t know. I don’t think he’ll be okay with it… I think he might pretend to be, but it would bother him. Even if he doesn’t ‘reject me’, which I don’t think will happen, I don’t think it will stop him blaming himself. And I’m afraid of him talking to my mother (even if I ask him not to…) or to my stepmother (which would mean ending up with the entire island knowing… that woman does not really think before she speaks). And I certainly don’t want to suddenly be talking about having sex with women with my dad, or being pressured to now have a relationship with a woman by him…it all gives me anxiety. But… well, my sisters want me to, and I love them. Who knows. It’s 5:20 in the morning, I’ve been up for about 2hours trying to sort this out (well, an hour or so was spent trying not to think about this, but I gave up and started writing this post). I have no idea what I’ll do.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

139. An Almost Completely Non-Christmassy Christmas Eve Post

So, I’m in Bermuda for Christmas, and of course, it is beyond wonderful to see my sisters again. It always amazes me how we can just sort of pick up where we left off. There is no loss of love… but there is loss of time. As much as we are immediately comfortable with each other, there is some sadness in me in the moments I realize how little I know them, or when they are so excited to know that I remember something they said last time. I do wish I could have been more a part of their lives. One of them is thinking about coming to Canada for university though, and I’m very excited about the possibility. We started the application process today. Fingers crossed! She has amazing marks so I’m sure she’ll get in, it’s just a matter of her ultimately choosing to go there over some of the American schools she’s also planning to apply to.

Anyway, that is enough about my sisters… well, it isn’t… I could go on and on about them, but I’m sure it would bore all of you (the few of you who are still reading, that is). But I will tell you about an interesting encounter I had my first night in Bermuda. There was a family gathering at one of my many Aunts’ house. I always dread those not only because I hardly know anyone there, but because I know my Dad is so embarrassed by how little I know his side of my family. So I feel awkward, and then ashamed of my awkwardness. It’s never fun. This time, however, there was this guy there who I have never met before (at least, I think we’ve never met, it’s possible we met many years ago) who immediately pinged my gaydar. I spent the evening trying to get to talk to him, and managed a few times to have some brief conversations, which only made him ping even harder. So towards the end of the night made my way over to him with the express purpose of coming out to him somehow, in this sea of family, which he caught on to and before I could even flash him my pride necklace he said, in his Bermudian accent “Oh, I been clocked you from when you came in…” which pleased me, but before I could say anything, his sister – who had in no way registered (except in the “oh, it’s too bad she’s probably my cousin cause she’s cute” kind of way) – who I hadn’t even noticed was standing there piped up “yeah, we clocked you right away… I’m unclockable though…” I was shocked. We then managed to have a very brief, and very encoded conversation about how many members of our family are gay (because it was so encoded I’m still not sure exactly what they were saying)… it was exciting. We made very nebulous plans to get together while I’m here in Bermuda, so I’m hoping that will happen, but it will definitely have to wait until after Christmas. I’m looking forward to it though. Sadly (but not unexpectedly) neither of them lives in Bermuda now, the sister lives in Canada and the brother lives in England. Gay people do tend to leave this island… it’s not very hospitable.

Case in point… I was just at another family gathering… another awkward, shameful family gathering, and in addition to all the awkward shame, I had to listen while my father made a series of homophobic remarks. I have to give him some grace… he has no idea about me, and he did grow up in a very sheltered, isolated place (he once asked me in all seriousness what the word “Jew” meant… he honestly didn’t know), but it still hurt to hear him refer to some supposed lesbians he saw the other night as “some butches” in the most disgusted tone he could manage. (it was that remark that made me decide to write this blog… I was feeling so hurt, holding back tears actually, and felt the need to process it… hence this weirdly non-Christmassy blog post on Christmas Eve)

Tomorrow is Christmas though, and I am really excited about giving my sisters their gifts. I was super excited about giving my dad his gift, but right now I’m feeling hurt so I’m not as excited about that right now, I hope that goes away by tomorrow morning for the gift exchange. I imagine it will… sleep can work wonders. And hey, maybe in the next few days I will meet up with some other gay Bermudians! That would be exciting.

Anyway, I’ll end this now… I think my processing is done. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

138. One for the road...

I occasionally think about this blog… languishing in cybernetic oblivion. Thoughts wander through my head that make me think “That would make a good blog post”, but then, of course, I never sit down to write them out. Every once and a while I’m surprised by a comment that arrives in my inbox – people are still reading! And I just took a gander at my Statcounter page, and well… the ticker goes steadily up. It’s strange to think about.

I’m sitting here on my couch, having spent the last few days in silence due to a surprising bout of laryngitis – does it even help to conserve your voice when you get laryngitis? I’m on antibiotics and they have helped the other symptoms but I still sound like a much less sexy version of Geri Hall (yes, to any Canadians reading this, I find Geri Hall sexy… what are you going to do about it?) so I’m not speaking. Perhaps it’s because of having to remain silent for well, more than 2 full days now (except for the occasional experimental vocalization to see how my voice is progressing) that I suddenly feel the urge to blog. Maybe I just need to ‘talk’.

So… let me fill you in on what has transpired since I last blogged. I think it’s been almost a year now, which is madness! I’m continuing to work at the preschool, which I am continuing to love, although some cracks have begun to develop… I am attempting to overcome my instinctive passiveness and am trying to address the problems. (I am being purposely vague here… not that anyone I work with even knows about this blog, but well, it feels prudent. Some people who know some people I work with could stumble upon this.) It turns out I can be quite assertive when it comes to my workplace. The times I have stood up for myself the most have always been at work… although there was the recent epic battle with my mother… I’ll get to that later.

Or, perhaps I’ll get to it now. Why wait?

What happened was this, I innocently mentioned to my mother in an otherwise pleasant conversation that I was thinking about going away again, this time for only a short time – a few months or so (if I can ever find a teaching job overseas that has a 2 or 3 month contract I will likely take it). A few days after this, I came home from work to find a message on my machine from my mother, telling me she was coming to stay with me for 2 weeks. (This, only a few weeks after she had been to stay with me for a week during the summer) Well, I knew I couldn’t take that… 2 weeks is way too long for her to stay, I would be practically insane by the time she left, and the fact of the matter is, she almost always stays longer than she originally tells me she will, so I decided that this was as good a time as any to put my foot down. I called some friends for moral support, knowing I was in for a fight, and called my mom. When I got her on the phone, she almost immediately let me know that she, in fact, was planning to stay with me for a month… which as the conversation progressed became ‘indefinitely’. I was pretty sure I knew what this was about, but it took her ages to finally admit it. What it was was that she was wanting to come and stay with me until I lost all the weight I ‘need to lose’… she is panicked about me leaving the country while still being overweight. Well, long (LONG) story short (seriously, this fight went on for 5 hours… on the phone… she hung up on me and then immediately called me back at least 10 times, the only thing that finally ended the conversation was me telling her my phone battery was dying) I put my foot down and told her that she wasn’t allowed to talk to me about my weight any more. I have told her this before, told her how her obsession with my weight has had a huge effect on me – the fact that my weight is all my mother thinks about when it comes to me has messed me up since… well, since my teens when I was seriously just a little bit ‘plump’ as they say. And the time in my life when I lost the most weight… well, it was when I was in Ireland… far away from her, and before she was comfortable on the computer so we weren’t in a lot of contact back then. I felt the most free back then, and I didn’t do anything on purpose, it just sort of fell off of me. I’ve tried explaining this to her many times over the years, but has had no effect. My weight has been the main topic of conversation between me and my mom since I was in my teens. I’ve tried putting my foot down before, but I think she knew I would give in… This time, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t. I want to say I knew I wouldn’t, but I can’t… I was just fairly sure. But I think she could feel the difference… there was a lot of panic from her, but 5 hours later I went to bed pretty certain that I’d gotten my point across. And the thing is, it seems to have worked. She doesn’t bring it up anymore, and I think she’s actually noticing the difference in our conversations. We talk now, and have actual conversations where I want to participate, as opposed to her talking and me saying ‘mmhmm’ at the appropriate intervals, even when we aren’t talking about weight stuff (even her own weight stuff, because that always ends up being about my weight stuff) because I’m dreading when it’s going to come up. I think she’s learning that we can have more of a relationship if she actually respects my boundaries. I’m hopeful about our relationship for the first time in… well, ever. Oh, I still don’t think we’ll ever be as tight as she wants us to be (I don’t think anyone is that close with their mother, at least not in a healthy way…), but I think there is potential for an actual relationship, which is nice.

What else has happened… well, this past summer I was in a lesbian, Jewish wedding, which was Awesome! My oldest friend finally married her girlfriend of 10 years. I decided during the Hora (the traditional Jewish dance where they lift the couple up on chairs) that I want to marry a Jew because the entire ceremony was just beautiful, and the Hora is just danceable joy. My stance on gay marriage is obvious, as evidenced by my participation in a gay wedding, but I have to say, being a part of one… I really don’t understand the opposition to it. I mean… I understand thinking that it’s wrong, but I don’t understand wanting it to be illegal. Being there, among both the brides’ families, celebrating their love and happiness, their hope and plans for their life together… it was so beautiful, but more than that, it was so… normal. There was nothing insidious, nothing malicious, nothing profane or vulgar. It was wedding. That’s all. If you think it’s wrong, then don’t get gay married, or go to a gay marriage. That’s your right, and I think people should be allowed to believe what they want, but I seriously can’t see anything harmful in it.

Anyway, the wedding was beautiful, I cried… a lot. I gave a speech that I’m told was quite good, despite my nervousness. And of course, I danced… a lot.

There is one other bit of news I have been saving until last. Oh, it’s nothing too scandalous, but it was a big step for me, and I should probably follow it up with more big steps, but well… I’m sort of a coward. I can’t believe I did it in the first place. Did what? Ah well, you see, I placed a personal ad on a website and got more than a few responses, which resulted in a couple of dates. With ladies. Yep, I went on some gay dates.

The first one was relatively unsuccessful. The girl was very nice, but managed to pretty much disqualify herself as a potential girlfriend for me within minutes of us meeting – she wants to be a farmer. Which is lovely, but I’m a city girl all the way. I decided to just enjoy the date (which happened to fall on Pride, so we went out dancing, which I love), but it became quite clear as the night went on that she was anticipating sex, which was in no way on the menu and that made it a bit awkward at the end of the night. I tried to take a cab home, but she insisted on driving me and there was an awkward moment in the car when I went to get out that I think was the result of wanting to kiss me (she had tried earlier that evening)… I felt bad, but I just wasn’t interested.

The second date… well, that one was a different story. She is a professor at one of the universities here in Ottawa, and she sings, and writes her own songs…. I was extremely excited about that date. And it went so well. We got along, the conversation flowed nicely… it was wonderful. And I brought up my faith, and while she didn’t respond with “I’m a Christian too” she did mention wanting to find a church in Ottawa so I was even hopeful on that front. All in all it was a wonderful experience and so I screwed up my nerve and asked her out for a second date the following day. Unfortunately, so did her ex. She sent me a very nice email telling me she had a wonderful time with me but she had decided to give her relationship with her ex a try… which sucked. I would be inclined to believe it was a story she made up to let me down easy except we have actually gotten together a few time since because well, we did get along so well. I’m not anticipating an intimate friendship or anything, because I admit I still have a slight interest in her… I mean, come on! She’s a singing, song writing professor! It doesn’t really get any hotter than that!

Anyway, after that I got a little gun shy and so I haven’t been on any more dates, much to the disappointment of many of my friends… and, admittedly, myself. The thing is, I find the stress and anxiety that goes along with dating a little overwhelming. I suppose it is for everyone, I’m just not all used to it.

Anyway, I’ve blathered on for long enough, so I think I’ll stop now. I won’t make any promises about when I’ll post again because chances are I won’t keep them. But hey, to anyone reading this… thanks for listening!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

137. More Mom Stuff, etc...

So, I got quite an email from my mother this morning… in it she explained that Satan has ‘attacked my sexuality’ and that often he attacks us in the ‘areas of our anointing’ (so, my sexuality is anointed, I guess…). She went on to illustrate this point by pointing out my love of children, sensitivity, poetry, and ‘love of Laura Ashley clothing as a child’ (which… not true. I have never like flower prints or anything like that in clothing. It is true that I wanted the Laura Ashley quilt and wallpaper trim for my bedroom back in the 80s, when I was a teenager… but regardless… this harkening back to my tastes as a child is ridiculous.) She says these are all very feminine traits that God wants to use if I am obedient. And now ‘the enemy has been found out’ and he owes me double what he has stolen. And so that is what she is praying for me.

So many things in there to comment on, but well… lets first just say that this is a typical example of how conversations and dialogues go with my mother… everything couched in these uber spiritual overtones that cannot be argued against without sounding like a ‘non-believer’, which is the worst thing in the world in her mind. After that… well, lets point out the obvious… she is confusing sexuality with gender (or femininity). A very common mistake, to be sure, but still, very irritating. I have never had or expressed a desire to be a guy, I am very happy being a woman. Oh, there are times when I can’t help but think how much easier things would be if I were a guy, but then I think “but then I’d have to actually be a guy”… and I don’t want that. I know I don’t do a lot of overtly feminine things… I don’t wear skirts or dresses and I rarely wear makeup (although I’m doing that more often now… mostly due to there being certain females in my life that inspire me to care about how I look)… but I am very feminine internally. I have always known that and said that about myself. The way I view the world, the way I process things, the way I interact with the world… it’s all very feminine. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my sexuality.

I’m not going to bother attempting to explain this to my mother because… well, deaf ears and all that. It’s just an exercise in futility.

In other news… well, you know that post I wrote a little while back, the one I said I was nervous that someone I know might stumble upon… but didn’t think anyone would because no one I know really reads my blog anymore… well, someone I know (and who the post in part about) did stumble upon it. She hadn’t read my blog in years, and when she did… that one. Argh. We talked about it a bit… well, she mostly talked, I felt way too embarrassed and exposed to say anything. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not that she read it, but, it happened and so now we move on.

And in completely different news, I thought I would share a little snippet of my life at preschool with you… a conversation I had with a young girl the other day while we were playing at a local park.

Me: Are you okay? You look like you are having a bad day.

Girl: I am having a bad day. I can’t find my Jesus.

Me: (slightly stunned) Your Jesus?

Girl: Yes. Everyone has their own Jesus that only they can see, and I can’t find mine.

Me: (still slightly stunned) Oh. Where did you see Him last?

Girl: (pointing behind her) He was over there, but then I looked away, and when I looked back, he was gone.

Me: Oh. Okay. Why don’t you ask Him to come back?

Girl: Okay. (turns towards the trees behind the park and starts calling) Jesus! Jesus! Come here Jesus! Come… oh, there You are. Are You having a good day? … no?

Me: Jesus is having a bad day too?

Girl: (still looking where she sees her Jesus). Yes. He’s having a bad day.

Me: Why?

Girl: Well… God went shopping and forgot all about Jesus.

Me: ….oh…

I was too stunned (I know I keep using that word, but there isn’t another one to describe my reaction) to continue this conversation… so that’s where it trailed off. Thought you might enjoy that. Kids really are amazing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

136. Processing my Weekend(s)

So… I am writing this during the last day of my mom’s visit (Easter Monday), during practically my only time alone I’ve had this long weekend. Seriously – aside from the shower, and sleep – it has been literally every waking moment with my mother this past 4 days and it is exhausting. Well, there was the 5 minutes after a minor fight yesterday when she said she was going for a walk – which couldn’t have been what she did because well, it was only 5 minutes. Right now she is actually on a walk, so I might get half an hour. I am very much looking forward to tomorrow night after work when I can finally relax in my own home.

I am still after all these years, trying to find a successful strategy to make her visits as painless as possible. This time, for the first time in years, my place was cleaned to her satisfaction – which is remarkable because I once hired a maid to come in before she came to give the place a thorough cleaning and she still found stuff to criticize that time. It turns out, though, that the problem with her being satisfied with the cleanliness is that instead of furiously cleaning the place, she furiously goes through my stuff. She was up much earlier than me on Saturday morning and I awoke to find all this stuff I had quite consciously hidden away for her arrival all laid out on my dining room table – poems I had written, bank statements, books she doesn’t approve of, etc… it was maddening.

The poetry part was the most frustrating not only because she is a mother and thinks it’s the most brilliant stuff in the world (which, while fine in it’s own way, just gets silly after a while), but because she really does want to understand me and so proceeded to try and dissect them line by line and word by word and demand that I explain to her the exact circumstances under which these poems were written and the step by step process of writing them. It was irritating. And while I appreciate the fact that she does want to know me better, it’s frustrating because she refuses to accept the me that she sees, thinking that there is some hidden me or some me that I am supposed to be but am not allowing myself to be right now. She constantly refers back to things that I said or liked when I was a child (ie: Laura Ashley wallpaper for my bedroom) and trying to insist that they are proof that I am only pretending now, instead of allowing for the possibility that a person can change over time, or even that styles can change over time (the Laura Ashley Wallpaper being a case in point.) She also refuses to accept anything I tell her about myself – ie: I’m an introvert… she allows that I might have ‘more introverted tendencies’ than her, but insists that I am, in actuality, an extrovert just like her.

We have discussed my sexuality over and over again this visit and I have been as honest with her as I think is humanly possible. She asked me if I had seen the video she sent and I told her I had, and then wanted to discuss the whole ‘intimate friendships with people of the same sex as a cure for homosexuality’ thing… once again insisting that I can’t possibly have any intimate friendships, which drives me crazy. As proof for this, she cited the fact that I don’t have anyone who could drop everything and go on a trip with me… which… well, do most people have friends like that? And to be frank, I’m actually fairly positive that if I wanted to, I could get someone to go on a trip with me, I have just never tried it. She also thinks I need more single friends (it is true that most of my friends are married, it’s a symptom of being in my 30s, I think) and found me a bunch of groups online for ‘straight single women’ or Christian singles. And then, of course, there have been her not so subtle hints that I need to change churches. She hasn’t liked my church for years, partially because it is not charismatic (at least, not enough for her liking) but mostly because she decided a while back that everyone there hates her. This is based on things like the time she went there when I wasn’t there and my pastor didn’t recognize her and greet her like an old friend. Concrete evidence like that.

What else was there… oh, once again, she digs way back into my past, talking about how when I was little I always said ‘when I grow up I’m going to get married and have 3 babies’, so obviously that is what I am destined to do. Oh, and at one point she asked me if I ever had any significant dreams, and I couldn’t really remember any except one I had from when I was very little about being attacked by dinosaurs and throwing them away but they would just keep coming. It took her a few days, but she has now decided that that dream is about my ‘struggle’.

Oh, and today she told me “I just want to affirm your femininity’, going on to say that I am very sensitive and I love children and have many feminine traits so there is no way I can be… you know (she didn’t say the word). Apparently lesbians are made of stone and hate children… at least, that is the inference.

(Just to fill you all in the when and where of the writing of this, my mom has returned from her walk and is now lying down so I have a few more minutes alone… of course, she returned from her walk and ‘asked’ if she could stay another night… one of those loaded questions to which there is only one appropriate answer. She could tell I wanted to say no, even asked me if I was sure, but… well, maybe I’m a coward, but I don’t know that there is any way to say no to her that won’t result in a fight that could last for ages.)

There was also the gem of a conversation that basically boils down to her theory that I am gay because I’m overweight. She explained that when I lose weight I’ll suddenly start to get attention from men and that will make me straight. She followed this with the ‘affirmation’ that I’m not bad looking… with the word ‘bad’ stretched out like a rubber band. She really needs to stop commenting on my appearance at all because her attempts at compliments always come out as insults.

(Again, in keeping with the theme of letting you know when I’m writing this, this next part is a full week after that last paragraph, my mother is back in Toronto – finally – and I have been to Toronto and back – without her knowing – for my friend’s bridal shower)

She asked me where I stand, and I said, quite truthfully, that I am still on the fence. She quickly grabbed onto that, thinking that I meant that I was on the fence about being gay, and I corrected her on that, explaining that I meant on the fence between celibacy for life or a gay relationship (to which she responded “I don’t want you to have a gay relationship…”, which was not a surprise). Maddeningly she cannot accept that celibacy is at all an okay choice, seeing it as giving up or a sign of depression or something. There was a lot of talk about my having given up hope, and how that was unhealthy… but of course, the hope she means is hope of becoming straight, meeting and marrying a man. And I suppose, she’s right. I still believe in an omnipotent God who could do that if He so desired, but I have long since stopped believing that He was going to make me straight, or even that that is what He wants for me. Believing that left me feeling unloved and abandoned by God, which I tried to explain to her, and she says she understands, but I don’t think she does. Our theology differs in a very fundamental way… I don’t know how to say this in a way that doesn’t seem condescending or demeaning, but her belief in God seems almost limiting to me. She believes she knows and can predict what God will do, and if God does not do what she thought He would then it is because we have not behaved according to the formula she believes He has given. There is no room for mystery or perhaps even misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what God may or may not want… or of God being so much bigger than we can possibly understand.

As I mentioned, I did go to Toronto this weekend for this bridal shower… and didn’t tell my mom because the bridal shower is for my friend who is marrying her female fiancĂ©e – ie: a gay marriage. My mom tried to call me on Saturday and couldn’t get a hold of me (because I wasn’t there) and by Sunday afternoon (seriously, one day!) she was very worried. (She actually called my Dad in Bermuda… which makes no sense. Why would he have any more information than she does?) When I got home from Toronto, late Sunday night, there was a series of increasingly panicked messages on my machine and so I called her back, thinking she must have been worried for my safety, but when I did manage to get a hold of her (on Monday) she informed me that she was worried that I was away with my girlfriend or something. So… she doesn’t believe me that I’m not with anyone right now, which… well, I don’t know what to make of that.

But in brighter news, the shower was a blast… I got to see my friend in her wedding dress and I came very near to crying. It’s beautiful. She looks like a fairy princess. And I’m slightly smitten now with an actual lesbian… who speaks English… this is big for me. A little frightening, but she’s taken so that dulls the fear. The girl in question is the bride’s cousin, who I had met before when she was 13 or 14, but now she’s 25 and gay and doing her PhD in Montreal (ie: an hour and a half away from me). Crushing on an actual gay girl is new for me and like I said, a little unnerving. But well… nothing will likely come of it. She’s all wrong for me (I think… I have no idea what’s right for me, to be honest… my expertise in this area is extremely limited), but we are supposed to get together to buy shoes for the wedding at some point, and I’m alarmingly excited (and terrified) by that upcoming event.

Anyway… this post has gone on forever and probably needs to be posted before I add something more to it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

135. Just because I felt like it...

So, I don’t really have much to say right now. Honestly, my life is so very dull… very full, but not full of things that I think would be interesting for you to hear about. My job continues to go well, which is nice. Having a job you actually look forward to is a real rarity, I think, so I try not to take that for granted. The kids are a constant source of joy (and occasional frustration… and disgust… the stomach flu that is making its way through our numbers has resulted in some very extreme unpleasantness that I won’t go into here except to say that God knew what He was about when He made kids cute, because otherwise there is no way we would be able to handle some of what goes on with their little bodies.)

In other news… there isn’t much other news. Oh, except my mom sent me a video to ‘watch and consider’ of an ex-gay preacher named Sy Rogers. So I did… it was frustrating, but nothing I hadn’t heard before. Oh, except for his claim to be an ex-transsexual… which I don’t think is a correct identification. His explanation for how he started on the road to transition sounded nothing like what I’ve heard/read from other trans people – how they always knew they were the wrong gender, how their bodies felt wrong, etc… he spoke of making a decision at some point in his twenties that he had failed at being a man so he would try being a woman. Which doesn’t sound at all like what I imagine a real trans person would say. Plus, his explanation of how God ‘saved’ him from this also didn’t ring true. He went to go for the operation and was told he had to live as a woman for 2 years, so he did, and at some point in that two years he had a revelation that this was wrong, that he should not transition… which to me only proves that he was not, in fact, really trans – that is, in fact, the reason that the doctors make you live as a woman for two years… to make sure you are certain about this life altering operation. This is not evidence of a miracle to me, this is evidence of the wisdom of the system.

The video did give me an explanation for a recent conversation my mom and I had had in which she was quite insistent that I did not have any intimate friendships. No matter what I said, she would not accept the fact that my friendships were in any way sufficient. And she went on to say that I need to have ‘an intimate conversation with a friend every single day’. It was bizarre, and kind of insulting. At the time I chalked it up to a regular theme with my mother… that my life is inadequate. She has never been a fan of any of my friends that I have at the moment. It is not as big a deal now, but it was a huge deal when I lived with her. She always wanted me to be friends with people she chose for me. Or oddly enough, if I moved on from a friend (mainly due to simply growing apart) she would suddenly start trying to get me to be friends with them again instead of whoever I was friends with then. It was very frustrating. Still is, but mostly now because it is simply part of her criticism of my life. Oh, but here’s where the video came in. Sy Rogers explains in this video that his ‘cure’ for his homosexuality came mainly as a result of intimate friendships with men. Hence the weird and sort of prescriptive nature of my mom’s most recent criticism of my relationships.

Anyway, this is a very hastily thrown together blog post. I just felt like writing one and so… I did.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

134. Mom, Can I go to an Orgy?

So, I’m sick. I’ve got this stupid sinus thing going on, which means I can’t breath through my nose, which has the lovely side-effect of making it impossible for me to sleep for more than 4 hours (the length of time any given drugs I take will last). So I’m up right now, waiting for my drugs (Advil Cold and Sinus) to kick in to I can go back to bed. Thought I’d make that time productive and tell you all a story.

Besides, I want to get my last post off of the top of my page because according to Statcounter someone from Ottawa read that one, and while it is entirely possible that that person could be a stranger, I’m kind of afraid that it is someone I know. I’m not at all sure who, but well… it scares me.

So, here’s the background to the story. At the GCN Conference (Gay Christian Network Conference for those who are still catching up) I went out with a group of friends for a "bloggers dinner, which was awesome, and over dinner I told this story and was informed I needed to blog it. It has very little to do with the regular theme of my blog, but it’s funny so here you go.

When I was 13 years old and lived in Winnipeg my mom signed me up to join the YMHA. ‘Don’t you mean the YMCA?’ you ask. Well, no… I mean the YMHA, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association. ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were Jewish,’ you say. Well, I’m not. My mom got a job there and discovered it was a much cleaner, nicer facility than the YMCA and so that’s where I went. I had already spent most of life being the only black person at any given place (especially in Winnipeg… that that city is so white it can hurt your eyes), and now I had the experience of being the only Gentile. It was rather fascinating – I’ll get to the story in a minute. It was the first place I ever encountered anti-Semitism… in a very strange way. A group of girls in the dance class I took there cornered me one day after class to ask me why Christians hated Jews, something I had never heard of (sparked an interesting conversation the next day at my private Christian school – “Do we hate Jews? They said we hate them, but I didn’t know that…”). It was actually a kind of frightening experience. They literally surrounded me and while they weren’t yelling, their voices were quite forceful as they asked me why Christians thought various specific anti-Semitic ideas that I had honestly never heard before that moment. In retrospect, it was probably very therapeutic for those girls to be in the majority for once, although I ‘m not sure I helped heal any cultural wounds with my incredibly intelligent answers of “What? …who thinks that? …why would anyone say that? …that doesn’t make any sense... I don’t know… I have no idea… “

Anyway, back to my story. There was a girl in that dance class named Meeka. Meeka was… well, she was unusual to say the least. She was loud and forceful. You couldn't help but notice her wherever she went. And she just said whatever came into her mind. I think she might have been where I learned the world ‘lesbian’ (before her, I lived in fear of being a ‘homosexual’, not a lesbian). I have a very clear memory of her telling us one time in the locker room that her life’s ambition was to 'grow up and be a lesbian', following which she looked at me (or at my chest specifically) and said “Nice tits.” Most of us changed in the bathroom stalls after that.

One day, after dance class Meeka approached me in the locker room to ask me the following question. “Hey, I’m having an orgy in a couple of weeks. Do you want to come?”

Now to explain my response, I need to go back and explain a little more of my experience at the YMHA. Being the only Gentile there meant that I was constantly encountering things I didn’t know or understand. And when I first began going there I was like a sponge, always asking questions, but after a while I began to feel like an idiot. It felt like every few minutes someone said something I didn’t understand or had never heard of before, and so I stopped asking. Most things would get explained or elaborated on eventually. So, when Meeka asked me to go to an orgy (a word I had never heard of before) I assumed that ‘orgy’ was some sort of Jewish event or tradition, and so the conversation went like this:

“Hey, I’m having an orgy in a couple of weeks. Do you want to come?”

“I don’t know, I have to ask my mom.”

Meeka just stared at me for a few moments, and then backed away.

I went home and thank all that is good and holy had the forethought to look up the word ‘orgy’ in the dictionary before asking my mom and was duly shocked. Needless to say, I did not ask my mom. The next week, after dance class, Meeka asked me if I was going to attend the aforementioned orgy, and I responded with a very emphatic “No!” She was mad, which was not a good thing to be on the receiving end of because she was a tour de force, but I stood strong and refused. She stormed off. A few minutes later another girl from our dance class quietly approached me and whispered “Did you say no to Meeka?” I nodded. She took a deep breath, “Really? Good… I don’t want to go either, but I was scared to say no.” She steeled herself and walked over to Meeka, and as she did, another girl came by. “I heard you say no to Meeka. You’re not going to go?” I shook my head. She turned and looked at Meeka across the room, who was now looking very angry as she talked to the first girl. “Okay… good. I don’t want to go either.” She walked across to join the angry conversation. One by one, all the girls she had invited came and asked me if I had said no, and when I confirmed this, they all went over and told Meeka they weren’t going. Even one of the boys she had invited found me when we came out of the locker room to make sure they had heard correctly – someone had said ‘no’ to Meeka – before going over to her and declining her invite.

From what I heard, she still ended up having sex with one of the guys she had invited, but it was not the big orgy she had envisioned. She didn’t really talk to me after that. But I will point out that the other girls were nicer to me.

And that’s the story of how I ruined an orgy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

133. Insert Title Here

I was recently reminded by a good friend that I haven’t blogged in a while. I didn’t even debrief after the GCN conference (which was awesome, by the way…). But as I’ve said in pretty much every one of my more recent blog posts, my life has become rather full. Working with preschoolers full time, fun as it may be, kind of takes it out of you, you know?

But I still have thoughts… I just haven’t written them down. So, I’m going to attempt to now.

The conference was great, I may write more on it later… but I’m not going to make any promises. What I’ll elaborate on here is one of the more significant things the conference left me with. Community. It felt so good to be in Christian community again. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but here it is again. I’ve sort of checked out of my church of late. Being at the conference, being among Christians, worshiping in community… it all felt like a drink of cool water after a long walk through the desert. The gay thing was kind of secondary. The last night we had a ‘sharing time’ and one of the things I shared was that I was feeling convicted for having abandoned my community. That God was reminding me that the Christian life was never meant to be lived in isolation. And I meant it. But… confession time… I haven’t done a thing about it. Oh, all I have to do is start going to church again, but I didn’t do it today (it’s Sunday as I write this) and I didn’t do it last week… or the week before that…). It’s hard to motivate myself to go and be among people who I feel I have to hide myself from. And I’m not just talking about the people who don’t know I’m gay… even the ones who do know don’t really want to know, you know? They don’t want to talk about it, they think I should be over it by now (I had one person actually say that to me… oh, not exactly in those words, but that was the gist). I don’t mean they think I should be straight by now (although some of them certainly think I should be trying for that), I mean they think I should be done thinking about it by now, I should have moved on to other things.

I was talking with one of my dearest friends about this right after the conference and I actually ended up in tears as I explained some of this to her, and I ended up saying something to her that I hadn’t said to anyone before (or since)… but I think I’m going to write down here. I say ‘think’ because I’m nervous about it, nervous to put this on my blog when so many of my friends know about my blog. But pretty much none of them read it anymore… which is kind of what I was crying about. Oh, not that I expect them to keep up with my blog (especially now that I hardly write anymore… but to be fair most of them stopped reading probably about 2 or 3 years ago) but… okay, how to explain this. I suppose the easiest thing to do is to just say it plainly. I’m hurt. My friends hurt me. Not by reacting badly to my coming out, or by anything they said or did… but by what they didn’t do. It sounds so selfish as I write it out, but it’s what I feel. I feel like I have had to do this whole thing alone. No one would come along side me and try and ‘think this out’ with me. I leant people books, printed off papers, and while some of them were read, no one really gave them a second thought. Most of them had already made up their minds what they thought (Side X with a dash of Side B to make it palatable) and, well, you can’t have a real conversation or actual productive discussion with someone who is not going to concede that they might be wrong. And it’s not like I thought they were wrong, I just needed to be able to think the whole thing through as clearly and honestly as I can, and that means looking at both sides with as open a mind as possible. I tried to engage people in the conversation, and without going into it too much, there is one person who I was extremely hopeful about because of how they presented themselves to me when we first discussed the issue, but nothing ever came of it. It hurts. And as I mentioned before, the Bible study I led sort of pushed me over the edge… it was so nice to talk to people about this whole thing, people who were (or seemed to be) willing to look at things from both sides and acknowledge possibilities, and wanted to look at things in depth. But they did it for one week. (well, two actually, but I wasn’t there the second week) There is no reason for them to dwell on it, they aren’t gay, it isn’t their life. And afterwards it felt like a slap in the face to go back to being all by myself again.

The thing is, I get it. I don’t really expect straight people to spend their time thinking about what life is like for gay Christians, and working out how the Bible pertains to us and how we live our lives. But… well, I really hoped someone – a friend, some friends – would do this with me, and no one really did. And it hurt. And I’ve withdrawn.

Funny thing is, I think my friend may have mentioned our conversation to another mutual friend of ours, because I got an email from them the other day asking to get together and to borrow the DVD I brought back with me from the GCN conference – “Through My Eyes” (I can’t find a link to a trailer or anything, it’s a DVD of kids/young adults just talking about what it is like to be gay and Christian) – which kind of felt like it came out of nowhere, so… I don’t know. Maybe things will change now. Who knows. I find I’m kind of gun shy now. I don’t really talk about it with my friends at all anymore, because I don’t want to feel that feeling of being alone. I don’t hide, and I’m not at all careful about my pronouns (not that I’m dating or anything, but still… pronouns happen), but I don’t bring up what I’m thinking about in this vein at all.

Maybe actually having written this out will help. Maybe I’ll go to church on Sunday. Maybe things will change. Maybe I should actually do something to make them change.