Lately, I have felt compelled to speak about a topic that I don’t and haven’t shared with anyone, except my counselor and one friend. No matter how many times I try to articulate what I feel and how it’s impacted me, it never comes out the way it feels in my heart and understood in my brain. In my head, I’m hoping this writing comes out perfectly how I feel. Let’s see…
In the last year, I have been faced with a lot things, as they say, exposure therapy. It’s made me realize that I am extremely pro-LGBTQ. It’s not about being gay or a lifestyle choice that *I* approve of… Actually, I disagree with calling someone who loves someone a “lifestyle choice.” It’s about accepting someone for who they without fear of rejection or ridicule.
When I was in middle school, I was bullied and sexually abused by a girl who lived down the street from me. After “my first kiss” being taken out of fear by this bully along with other sexual things, I was very confused. A year later, this same bully came out as being gay. All I could remember feeling was fear that it meant I was gay too. I never told anyone. Actually, I held onto those same feelings for over 10 years.
When I was married, I was in the Mormon church. I was indoctrinated between my ex and the church about family and marriage being between a man and woman only. I subscribed to this way of living because it was easy to, until it wasn’t. One day, I had to deal with my past abuses, yet I never had all the details. Things got so bad that I was praying and begging God to forgive me for these actions in my past. I talked to my husband at the time and he ignored me. So, by what I read with the church doctrines, I went to Bishop and confessed. Even after him saying I was ok, I was still distraught for months. All this came crashing down as I was graduating college. I even sent an email out to my family about going through stuff, but all they head was me saying I was perfect and they were flawed.
After months of searching out my feelings, talking to counselors and friends about all my sexual abuses, I finally dealt with being abused by a girl. But, the fear of being gay still stayed. It was so bad, that I would continue to beat myself up internally and finally admit that I felt like a homophob. I still had kept this abuse hidden because when I did speak out about it, I was told it was ok that I was gay, which I heard that for two years, and from abuse survivors no less. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t hatefully going after gay people, but I also know in my heart, I didn’t accept their relationship as legitimate. Mostly it was out of confusion, past memories, and my fear of the abuse happening again.
In 2013, I was finally free from the fear of being gay. I found who I was and accepted my sexuality as mine, without fear of others thinking. And in the last year, I have come across many loving people on the LGBTQ spectrum who have become good friends. I went from closed off from anything that reminded me of the past to accepting everyone. I know it sounds funny to say, but the BDSM community helped me with this by just being around people and seeing how comfortable they were being who they were.
THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS POST
Every time I look back on the last 15 years, I wonder what difference it would make if the world was accepting of all relationships, not just the ones that feel comfortable for them. I live in Texas. Between the Bible belt and the conservative values, if I was gay (with or without the abuse), I don’t know what would have happened to that young girl.
My goal is to now help change the world for the better. I know how devastating it felt keeping those feelings to myself and I would never want anyone to have to go through those questions alone. After educating and healing myself, I feel I have a duty to pay it forward. Especially because I have an 8 year old who is growing up very quick. I know the values my ex is teaching her and all I can do is hope that I can help her accept and love everyone. Not just the LGBT community, but people of different colors and religions also.
I still don’t feel like I am able to adequately express my feelings and concerns. All I can say is I came from a place of fear, latching on to homophobia, until I educated myself and accepted myself. It opened my eyes up to a growing world of hate. We may have come farther in the realm of equality for the LGBT community, but we have a lot further to go. Young children are standing up and standing out as being different and I would hate to see that go away. Especially since so many others are still too afraid to.
In the spirit of the Holidays, I would hope that each one of you reading this could reach out to loved ones that are hurting, even if you can’t see their pain. So many give up the fight before they even begin, when all it might have taken was a kind ear or shoulder to cry on. It’s amazing what compassion can do.
Here’s a beautiful song to pass on. I have to remind myself when times are tough. Hope it helps someone.
“She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it or that beauty goes deeper than the surface. Oh, oh. So to all the girls that’s hurting let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer the light that shines within.”
“There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark. You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are. You don’t have to change a thing, the world can change it’s heart.”