Saturday, November 15, 2008

Aftermath

It's funny. I posted that last entry, thinking... well, this will purge it, you know?

Not so much.

I had a tough week. On Thursday I found myself swamped by sadness.... thinking back on many losses in my life. The loss that was most profoundly with me all that day was the loss of safety and respectability in my heterosexual, publicly acknowledged and supported marriage.

I no longer have that. To many people, I'm a divorced woman, who appears to be thriving in my work and in my relationship with my very accomplished and thriving children. I have my work, I have my friendships, and... maybe I'm just not ready for dating.

For the first time this week someone from my church asked whether I thought I'd like to start dating. For the first time, I found myself lying. Well, what I said was, "No, I don't think I'm ready to date a man right now." I guess that's the truth... I'm not ready to date a man, given, you know, the lesbianism. But it felt crappy. This person is good-hearted, but somewhat homophobic. This person would be thrown by my coming out. And so, I dodged, and darted, and basically gave off the message that I am a happily celibate lady.

I found myself swamped by sadness, and I reached out to Beloved. And that didn't go very well. She's been fighting off a cold, and was not able to discern what I wanted, what I was looking for. And I was not able to "go home" to her that night... it all resulted in a painful missing of one another, missed communication, missed intimacy. Ugh.

To be clear: I do not desire to go back to my marriage. That door is closed, and we are both the better for it. This is who I truly am. This love makes my heart sing (most of the time... and even in those moments of missed this and that, I remain unshaken in that conviction).

But I am unable to live, at present, in a situation in which this relationship is as much a support to me as I need, some days. Like, those days when people say appalling things to me and I just have to swallow it.

All this resulted in a bit of a meltdown Thursday night, in which my addiction reared its ugly head, and I was sent, reeling, into a violent desire to eat. "Swallowing it" is what I've done with painful feelings for decades, and you don't undo those habits completely, even with half a year of practice. After swallowing my words and feelings in the aftermath of hateful speech, I felt a desperate desire to swallow vast quantities of food, as has been my habit of many, many years. But help came, because-- it comes, when you know how to reach out for it. I called a fellow 12-step person, and he was an angel of deliverance from the dark and scary place in which I found myself. I did not act on my compulsion. I got through, by the grace of God and her angels.

So this is the aftermath of hate, and look at me. I am in a position of extraordinary privilege. I am white, middle-class, good salary, own my home, drive a good car, want for nothing in the way of comfort, shelter, food. I am educated, I can fend for myself and fight for myself if need be. I have a lover who cherishes me, and children who love and support me, and a network of friends, gay, straight, trans, who are there for me. What about other people? What about the teenager who hears the full force of hatred unspooled on her because she is lesbian or trans? What about the young man who only knows the fundamentalist position on homosexuality, and who hears hate for his very being preached from the pulpit continually? What about the closeted gay pastor who has no one, no one to whom he can reveal his shameful truth, and who can only protect himself by preaching his own self-hate? If this is what a few awful statements can to to me, with all the resources I have to help me cope, what is it doing to those who do not have these resources?

13 comments:

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I hear you, sister. So much to be thankful for,and yet...

May God continue to bless you, Cecilia--and to send you angels to comfort and keep you.

Pax,
Doxy

Choralgirl said...

Oh, C, I'm so sorry.

(((((((((C)))))))))

Yeah, your last couple of paragraphs are right...and sad. And so we keep moving that Giant Rock of Bigotry an inch at a time. It's not enough, but there's real power in that effort...and real connection.

Much love to you and your Beloved.

Songbird said...

While all the advantages you name are true, you still bear the weight of living in the closet, and I hope you won't minimize the strain that creates for you, as it would for anyone.
(((C)))

Anonymous said...

Dear Cecilia,
You wrote:
"What about the closeted gay pastor who has no one, no one to whom he can reveal his shameful truth, and who can only protect himself by preaching his own self-hate?"
His truth is NOT shameful. His truth, that he is a gay man, is the truth of God Who loves him and cherishes him as His child of light. If others see that truth as shameful, that's truly their problem. Do you mean that it seems shameful to him because he has been conditioned by the bigotry and fear of others? If that's what you mean, I understand. Been there.
Blessings, January 736

Cecilia said...

January 736, I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I did not mean to imply that his truth is shameful, only that it feels so to him, or might be regarded so by bigots: I agree completely with you in this regard. The truth of each person is how God made him or her, and that is to be cherished, of course. Again, I apologize for any lack of clarity. You and I share this truth.

Friends, thank you all.

Pax, C.

LittleMary said...

sometimes i'm slow...but of course your "episode" is related to what you heard this week. duh. i love you so, really i do.

Sarah S-D said...

you are strong and inspiring c, and blessed with abundant love, but yes, songbird is right, burdened too... ((((((((c)))))))) may God heal our wounded world, our broken church.

i'm soooo proud of you for overcoming your addiction yet again in this difficult week.

love you.

PamBG said...

lighting a candle

KJ said...

((((Cecilia)))))

Yet, all of this "stuff" contributes to our being of greater earthly, and heavenly, good. Go figure.

Of course you and your Beloved's current living situation is not ideal, and likely exaggerates the small and big stuff. But even when the time comes for an open life together, ideal circumstances will come and go, but love will not.

Anonymous said...

As a "closeted gay pastor" whose sexuality is only known to three or maybe four friends, I simply get on with the task of living my life acknowledging that part of me is presently private. I do not feel the need to publicly proclaim who I am. Maybe that's because I am basically a private person, and my emotional struggles have always been laid at God's feet, so that he/she can deal with me directly. I don't have a "soul friend" or "spiritual advisor" even though my ordaining bishop told me that either I found one or he would appoint one for me. I found one - and they moved to another continent two years later (not because of me!) and I haven't replaced them. I truly don't feel the need for one. Maybe I'm blessed in that repect.

Of course I long for the time/opportunity when I can be open about my desires, who I find attractive etc. but now is not that time. I have a calling to fulfil which presently requires me to put myself on the "back burner". I am a servant of the Servant, and I wait for when he/she decides that I can come out of the clerical closet. I recognise that this is not the same for everyone in a similar position, and that is one reason I "lurk" on your blog so that I can "read, learn, and inwardly digest."

Apologies for this being an "Anon" comment.

IT said...

Oh yeah. I hear you my sister.

Have been there, know the pain and need to cry out.... totally know that.

I feel so blessed that we (BP and I) were able to emerge from that and hope that you and your Beloved will too. Beause regardless of why you are in the closet, it builds up toxicity.

BTW I have designed a blogbadge for supporters of Gay Marriage, which is over at the Friends of Jake blog. Please ANYONE who wants it, swipe it for your blog.

IT

aka The Swandive said...

Just a quick pop in to say its been to long since I have been here, and bless you bless you bless you. MUCH love.

annie said...

wow. i am physically affected by this reading. i am new to this site, and your story is a VERY familiar one. my love is a closeted pastor, who feels lesbianism is a sin, and is torn between her love of Christ and wanting to follow her giftings, and her love of me, the physical love of her life. i will be back often to get insight and strength. thank you, thank you, thank you.