I swore I wasn’t going to do this on my blog. I told at least three people I wouldn’t, in fact. And yet, here I am, finding that sometimes, when we speak publicly about things, then we are obligated to be honest about our own lives. With that cryptic opening, I’m taking a deep breath and plunging in.
In the last six months, a lot of things happened that I won’t get into now but which sent me into a sort of blogging burn-out limbo. Terrified of saying the wrong thing in the wrong way, I stopped posting much. It wasn’t all bad; I focused on finishing a novel and starting another one, along with several beta-reading projects and some good, old-fashioned pleasure reading. I hoped that my time away would be healing.
I was still occasionally experiencing mild panic attacks, bouts of having to hold back tears, and general anxiety, particularly related to the various messes on social media and among my fellow bloggers. I had retreated so far into myself that I buried my feelings, which then leaked out in incredibly unhealthy ways.
Then, over the last several weeks, three things happened. First, a friend contacted me and asked if I was all right. At the time, I was cleaning up the final draft of my manuscript, so I was feeling pretty good. I said I was okay, dismissed the offer to chat casually, and went on with my life. I was honestly puzzled, as I had no real idea that my online bloggy drama was bleeding over into other places. After all, I’d already cut myself away from the community that was eating me alive, and I figured my emotional state was just residual from that.
About four weeks ago, this article happened. I blogged about it, in fact. But just reading it triggered an entire day (I’m not exaggerating in the slightest) of on-and-off feeling overwhelmed, miserable, and teary. Being Saturday, I lit my candles, said the rosary, and then collapsed into sobbing. Even then, I had no idea why I was crying, only that I could identify the feeling as grief and loss, rather than some other emotion.
I tried to piece it together, and it wasn’t until about two weeks later that it all came together. (In a future post, I’ll explain; this one is too long already.) First, I talked to my husband. Then my sister and two friends. I decided I didn’t really have anything to hide, so I was just going to more or less do the live-and-let-live thing. Mostly, I had myself convinced that, as I usually do, that I and my feelings are comparatively unimportant.
And then I read this. (You really should read it too; it’s important.) And said to myself, Oh, shit. No, actually, I did. I felt like Janet Edwards was speaking to me. She called me out on not acknowledging my whole self. And oh, dear God, that hurt, mostly because I knew she was right. Three things particularly struck me:
I identify as bisexual because I know I am able to love people of my own gender and of a gender different from me. I’m not straight, but I can pass as straight because I am married to a man.
I cannot love God with my whole heart when I am keeping a central aspect of my self—my soul and body—hidden from both myself and from others.
Because I am so solidly protected by being in a marriage with a man, this very protection compels me to speak up for those whose voices have long been silenced and whose sense of self or livelihood is still regularly threatened by the church.
I relate to—and agree with—all of that. Which is to say, like Dr. Edwards, I am a bisexual woman married to a man, living with all the privileges and responsibilities granted to me as such. If I’m to keep blogging, keep tweeting, and even keep writing novels, there is no way to do that without telling people who I am.
Because I am so solidly protected by being in a marriage with a man, this very protection compels me to speak up for those whose voices have long been silenced and whose sense of self or livelihood is still regularly threatened by the church – See more at: http://www.believeoutloud.com/latest/confession-bisexual-granted-straight-privilege#sthash.PvbY15QZ.dpufI identify as bisexual because I know I am able to love people of my own gender and of a gender different from me. I’m not straight, but I can pass as straight because I am married to a man. – See more at: http://www.believeoutloud.com/latest/confession-bisexual-granted-straight-privilege#sthash.PvbY15QZ.dpuf
There’s been a lot to process, and I do want to share that journey with you, if you’re willing to read it. But first and foremost, a big part of me feels like I owe some people an apology. I am honestly, deeply sorry if my own failure to acknowledge who I am has been hurtful. Please understand that it’s not because I’ve ever judged anyone else unworthy but because of my own twisted belief that things are okay for everyone else but me. (It would take a novel to explain how I ended up in that place.) I have not been lying or pretending or even hiding; I simply refused to see what was right there in front of me.
Please also know that by owning my identity, I am not seeking some kind of authority. I hold no claims on speaking for an entire and vastly diverse community of people. I’m not even speaking on behalf of the comparatively small minority of long-time married, liberal Christian women who come to terms with their sexuality twenty years after their adolescence. I speak for no one but myself. I do, however, both acknowledge the privilege I’m afforded and stand in solidarity with other LGBTQ people.
I’m sure many of you will have questions for me, and I’m happy to answer them. I’m equally sure I will lose friends over this. That makes me a little sad, but I also understand why. If it would be a point of contention between us, I’d rather we part respectfully than that we waste time talking past each other.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. I would love to talk with you all more, and if you put any questions you have for me in the comments, I will do my best to answer them. When I’m able, I’ll share my journey with you. Being able to embrace my whole self is a process, and not an easy one at that. But my hope is that in being fully honest, I can return to writing as a better person than when I stepped away.
Much love to you all, and I hope to hear from you.