Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Theory About Coming Out

So, today is day 21 of no sugar and (sort of) no flour; I had a flour glitch about 6 days ago, but it was minor. It's also day 21 of no binging. This is... unprecedented in my recent history. Not since I was, oh, in my 2o's, i.e., more than 20 years ago, have I had this kind of abstinence from these substances. Even more remarkable, I didn't go over the deep end when I had the minor glitch. My normal, addict's response in such a circumstance would be to say, "Everyone in the pool!" In other words, I would eat for the rest of the day, all the forbidden stuff. Just like an alcoholic. There is no such thing as "one drink." But I honestly didn't want to do that. It's hard to give up sugar and flour. The detoxing part is hard. When the stuff is leaving my system I am tired, I'm cranky, I'm sleeping badly. It really is detox (at least it is for me). And I was very clear, even when I ate the minor flour thing (OK, it was a half of a wrap, as in, a sandwich), that I didn't want to go through all that again. I wanted to move forward, not back.

Extraordinary.

I now feel, for the first time in a long, long time, that attaining some kind of normal weight might be within my grasp. I believe I can do it, for the first time in a long time. And that has me thinking about coming out of the closet.

It has been clear to me for much of my life that my being overweight was related to trying to keep myself "safe" sexually. It's hard to know exactly when all this got started. I did have some powerfully negative messages about sexuality in my family; it was regarded as dangerous, bad, and something that could lose relationships for me (my relationship with my mother, most specifically). Later, when I was married to my husband but longing for a relationship with a woman, being overweight was my security that none of my fantasies ever would come true.

Finally, I shared my thoughts on weight and sexual safety with a minister colleague. She thought about it and actually had a dream about me. Later she told me about her dream. She dreamed that we were sitting talking, and she said to me, "If you think your weight will keep people from falling for you, you're wrong."

It took me several years to realize she was talking about herself. She was the one who was falling for me.

Now, as I think about actually being able to lose this weight, after all this time, it seems to me a rather natural outcome of this that I would be out of the closet. My weight is something that, at least in my own mind, keeps me "asexual." I imagine my congregation, aside from the obvious fact that I'm a woman, doesn't think of me as a sexual being, particularly. And... well. Normal weight people are sexual, aren't they? They are perceived that way, no?

When I started this plan my overwhelming feeling about it was fear. This is why. I think when I come out of the closet as a sexual person, coming out from the closet as a lesbian will follow.

God, you who walk through closed doors and closet doors, be with me in my in-and-out state. Help me to be authentically the woman you created me to be. Let my sexuality and my struggles with addiction inform my ministry, making me more compassionate and attuned to others who struggle. Be with me. Stand by me. Hold my hand, for I am scared. I pray in Jesus' name, who never let a closed door keep him out. Amen.

19 comments:

LittleMary said...

it's serious powerful stuff, our bodies and all! serious and amazing how how we look reflects so much of the inside stuff. and cecilia, you are one sexy babe. while the dream was about her, it is also true about you. you are stunning. much, much love to you.

Certified Healing Coach said...

God bless you!!! Really, I cannot imagine giving up sugar and flour completely.

My goal right now is to give up the sweets that are sort of red-flag foods to have in the house (like cookies). And then, someday, meat.

I wish you success!

And I so relate to the overweight hiding-from-sexuality piece. But I think I wanted to be overweight to reduce the number of men I'd have to put up with while I was denying my sexuality.

It worked, too!

FranIAm said...

Wow. I am really moved by this. And intrigued. Could I do this? I am wondering if you were asked this a year ago, what would you say?

I really admire what you are doing because it is about getting to all of who you are.

How very Pentecost-ian!

I understand the weight/sexuality thing. For me it was because of my abuse and because of problematic habit of attracting the wrong men.

And the weight never really did deter.

Now I am in this marriage, one year and two weeks... And it is good.

But the weight persists and I have never felt worse about it.

You are a light Cecilia. Thank you and God bless you for your self-revelation in so many, many ways.

more cows than people said...

(o)

Choralgirl said...

Wow, Cecilia. Things are definitely moving for you, right now.

I am so happy for you. :-)

You go, girl.

jadedjabber said...

What an amazing break through. As always thank you for sharing with us. You are truly an inspiration.

It is amazing, the connection of our body and sexuality (that atatement seems a little more obvious than intended :-) ). How we keep our body in a "safe" weight zone to help us deny our sexualness. I think I have done the same thing. It is a hard (at least for me) realization to own up to.

Amen, C-Amen.

3ThingsI'veLost: said...

Bravo, Cecilia! What an excellent post.

Hidden in Christ said...

wow C, thank you for this post. hope ya dont mind, i am making your prayer my prayer! this blog ministered to me in a special and very intentional way today. i am in a similar situation as you. the healthier i get with food and how i see myself, the more confident i am to start the coming out process. by the way, i wanted to thank you for your role in my life (though you're probably unaware and though you don't even know me!) reading your blogs and seeing your boldness has given me courage to start that coming out process. i came out to a best friend a couple of days ago! PRAISE GOD! and freedom ensues...

Diane said...

(o)

KJ said...

Amen.

The months before my coming out, I woke up at 4:00 in the morning with excess energy, and began to exercise in earnest. My German Shepherd was more than up to the task of early morning runs, and of course, the pounds began to slip away. Those in the church knew that something was going on (I was also quite emotional, knowing that I would be leaving my "faith home" in the near future.).

One woman at the church was very concerned, just certain that I was battling a serious illness. This woman and her husband are "salt of the earth" type, who through the loss of an adolescent son two years prior had become the type to focus on the important things of life, and not all the church nonsense.

So, when the time to come out came, and the church was in uproar (It was a little church in which I was in a leadership role.), this woman's response was, "What a relief! I thought he was dying."

Kind of helped others to put things into perspective. :-)

Jan said...

Cecilia, you are amazing. You've had a lot of insights AND are living them out. (I have insights that too often fizzle. . . ) 21 days is awesome!! You are a testimony to me, and today is my first day of trying this! Thank you.

Thank you for your thoughts, insights, and supportive comment at my blog.

Asexual is a defense, BTW, and one I've managed throughout my life due to childhood issues. . . .

Barbara B. said...

sending prayers of support your way -- you are awesome!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

These are profound insights, and I respect you for sharing them. I'm saying a prayer for your process.

Julie said...

There is a lot of truth to this post. When we realize who we truly are the pounds just come off naturally and the awkwardness we feel about ourselves gradually fades away (I have had some experience with this recently). Weight can be a protective covering and it makes sense someone who does not truly now himself (or is in hiding or denial) would use it as a form of protection. What a horrible burden we are putting on people when we make them wear a mask. Just think of the creativity and the image of God that is being blocked in that person.

Doorman-Priest said...

Its not just about self-discipline after all, is it? It is about self-awareness and self-worth.

RevDrKate said...

Thank you for your honesty in all of this. It's very powerful.

daisy said...

Thank you. Thank you for your honesty, your wisdom, and your insightful comments here.

My eyes keep trying to overflow as I'm writing this, and I have goosebumps. You've articulated my thoughts about weight and sexuality (or lack of) in a way that I have not been able to. Lots of food for thought, here.

ClosetedBaptistLesbian said...

Cecilia, you set me free with your insight. I have the same feelings about my weight, and seeing them articulated allows me to see what my fear has done to my body. I hope I can start making a physical change like you are!

Anonymous said...

this was lovely, powerful, naked. sorry i'm getting to it late.

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