March 2008


So, where was I?

 Oh yes, I’d just gotten home from my mission. And the next logical step was to get married. I did what I could to try and make it happen. I went to a singles ward (a congregation of all single young adults) and tried to flirt and look pretty. I still had 3 quarters of school left before I got my bachlors degree, so I hung out at the Institute of Religion when I had spare time and tried to put myself in the path of eligible young men.

But really, though I didn’t want to admit it at the time, I was terrified. It was at about this time that I started slowly gaining weight. And I think I was subconsciously trying to reinforce my own belief that guys wouldn’t be attracted to me if I was overweight. It was a convenient reason.

I finished my B.A. and then became a bit restless. All my friends were either getting married or going to grad school, and I felt like I didn’t really have a direction. I went to New York City with some friends, and decided I would really like to know what it’s like to live there. So, that fall, I packed up and moved, without a job or a place to stay. I guess I’m pretty lucky I didn’t get into any trouble or end up homeless. I managed to find an apartment to sublet with some guys in the singles ward there (they were a bit more comfortable with “gray area” things like that back there, probably because affordable housing was in very short supply) and I temped for a while before finding a full time job.

It’s kind of funny, looking back, that I didn’t make more progress getting to know myself while I lived there, because one of the things I really loved from those first few months was the feeling of total and complete anonymity. No one knew me or had any preconceived notions of anything about me. I loved feeling like I could really do just about anything and no one would look twice. But despite enjoying the idea of that freedom, I didn’t stray very far from the path I had been on. I went to church. I worked hard at my job. I had good friends. I went to the theater.

But I became progressively more unhappy during that time. I dated Guy 3 (see Pt 1) for a while, and liked him fine, but there were no sparks.

When I decided to move back to Salt Lake, I was very depressed. I was 28 years old, resigned to being alone for the rest of my life, and feeling completely without direction. I got a job working with a friend of mine and her husband, and I was often alone for much of the work day. I would cry at the drop of a hat, sometimes more than once a day.

I was having some physical issues as well, and went to see my mom’s doctor. She came into the room, still looking down at her clipboard while asking me how I was doing, and I burst into tears. She treated my physical symptoms but also referred me to a therapist. I was a little nervous about going – I really wasn’t sure what we’d talk about – but I went anyway. And during that first session, as I was giving her a basic outline of my life, I felt myself start to cry but I tried really hard not to give in to it. And she said to me “You work really hard.” One simple sentence. But somehow, it felt so significant to me. I WAS working hard, at everything. Everything in my life felt like so much work. In that moment, I felt for the first time in a long while that somebody really saw ME…not the me I wanted them to see, but the real me underneath.

Don’t jump to the conclusion that I immediately came out to her and it was one big pride celebration after that. I wasn’t anywhere near dealing with that yet. I saw her for 2 years, once or twice a month, before I brought up the, what was at that point, very enormous fear that I might be gay. But I think the work we did for those 2 years got me to the point where I could deal with what was to come. We talked a lot about body image, which was a big issue for me. And we talked about my desire to write, to be creative, to not just work in an office, collect my pension and die. I was moving in the direction of knowing myself better and loving myself for me, not for what other people thought I should be. I didn’t realize for most of that 2 years how important those lessons were about to be.

To really tell this story, I have to give a bit of background. Because when you come out at 30 years old, there’s got to be some back story. I’m not one of those people that knew since puberty.

But here is where I want to debunk a few falsehoods about being gay. I was not abused. I was never into sex as a teenager, let alone pornography. What else do people blame this on? I have a very normal relationship with both of my parents. I was in high school when my parents separated and college when they divorced, but if that makes people gay, there’d be a whole lot more of us out there.

I dated a handful of guys during high school and college. Less than that, really. The first guy I kissed was also the guy I was with for the longest time – we dated on and off from my freshman year in high school through maybe my freshman year in college. To protect the innocent, I’ll call him Guy 1. And during that time, we kissed once, after our first real date, when he took me to the Homecoming dance at our high school. And it was a fine kiss. If he should ever read this, I wouldn’t want to give him a complex. He’s someone I still consider a good friend and who I still care about very much.

But, being raised in quite a sheltered environment, with friends who weren’t having sex and didn’t talk about sex or sexual feelings, I really had no idea at all that what I felt, which was next to nothing, was not how other girls felt when kissing a guy they thought they were really into. I felt as normal as anyone, and didn’t ever dwell on the fact that we didn’t kiss or make out, like I heard other teens did.

As I grew up, there were probably 2 other guys that I really thought I liked. I dated the first in college, and wrote to him while he was on his mission. Let’s call him Guy 2. When he came back, it seemed like a natural progression for things to get more serious. And they did, a little bit. But the first time he leaned in to kiss me, I panicked and dodged back into a hug. And slowly from there, the relationship cooled and ended.

And again, I didn’t really dwell on it or think about my reaction, except to feel a bit sheepish. My gut reaction in the moment was to avoid that level of intimacy, so that’s what I did.

The last guy (Guy 3) I dated while living out of state, although he was also LDS. We had a very chaste relationship as well, without even much hand holding. It ran it’s course, and that was that. It was at that point, at maybe 28 years old, that I felt quite certain that it wouldn’t happen for me – this whole falling in love and getting married thing.

But at the time, I blamed it on my own appearance. I am tall and a bit overweight (probably more than a bit, but let’s leave it at that) and I had convinced myself that men were shallow and that they weren’t attracted to me. If only THEY would be attracted to ME, then I thought all the feelings I was supposed to feel would just be there. See, at this point, I realized that I was supposed to be feeling more than I was. But it was easier to blame the guys rather than look a bit deeper and admit that maybe I was the one that was not attracted to them.

Later, in therapy (everyone should go to therapy at least once in their lives), when I really thought about it and tried to make myself remember accurately, I realized it wasn’t true. I’m still not sure about Guy 3…I think the lack of attraction in that case was mutual. But I realize, thinking back on it, that Guy 1 was attracted to me, and tried to advance the relationship more than once. I had a convenient excuse (Church morals) at the time, but the truth is, I didn’t want to do anything. I wasn’t filled with longing, didn’t lie in bed thinking about what it would be like to kiss him or more. And Guy 2 was much more active in the church than Guy 1, so he was less pushy about it, but I remember a couple of times when I really knew he was into me. Once we were going to a dance, and I’d spent a lot of time looking for the perfect dress, and I remember walking down the stairs at my friend’s house to find him waiting for us, and thinking that I could tell his knees had gone a little weak.

So after Guy 3, I pretty much gave up trying to date guys, but I was not yet ready to let myself ponder any other possibilities. I decided I would be alone, and that would be fine. I had good friends and was close to my family, and that should be enough, right?

I was very religious throughout this period of my life. I had been involved in an LDS sorority in college and made some really wonderful friendships. I loved the service aspect of our sorority and felt very close to God serving in various leadership positions there.

I also went on a mission to Japan, which was an incredible experience. I really loved it there, and was one of the few missionaries in my area who had baptisms among those I taught. I never broke any rules, except for occasionally sleeping late. I was a favorite of my mission president, and I think I was looked up to by the younger missionaries.

I add that, not to sound like I’m patting myself on the back, but mainly to illustrate that I did everything I was supposed to do, as a young LDS woman. I was faithful and righteous and close to God. I know there are people who would preach that through righteousness, a person can overcome being gay. But I believe very strongly that this is part of the path God made for me. That if righteousness could have cured me, I’d be married to at least Guy 2 or Guy 3 right now. Maybe there would have been a Guy 4, who knows? That was the path I was on. That’s where I should have ended up. But it wasn’t right for me, and it took me quite a bit longer to come to terms with that.

more later…

Sometimes I think that, while I live in Utah, I shouldn’t watch the news or read the newspapers. It rarely fails to make me angry.

Today,this story ran in the Deseret News (and I’m sure other places as well). I made the mistake of reading some of the comments after the story, and was flabbergasted at the sentiments expressed. I shouldn’t have been…I’ve lived here long enough to know the score. And yet, I still can’t help myself from believing that people’s views are shifting, even if it’s slowly, towards more educated and tolerant viewpoints on being gay.

But nope, the posts decrying being gay as a “perversion,” as “dangerous” and “evil,” the aphorism that we can “love the sinner but hate the sin” – they were all there, more than once. One person said it makes her cringe when she hears people say being gay is something you’re born with. The few posters who were brave enough to say anything contrary to that were met with hatred and accused of promoting the Gay Agenda.

That’s probably my favorite one – the Gay Agenda, capital G and A. As though we are all meeting after work every day to plot ways to force all the straight people to be gay. Come on! Can rational people really not recognize how ludicrous that is? I know there are always going to be haters out there, but really, are we still so very far away from reality that people think the superintendent in this Utah County school district is somehow under the power of the Gays (cue spooky music) and cannot decide for herself on this issue? It astounds me!

And then it really really discourages me.

Sigh.

I guess I do have an agenda, as a gay person, but I certainly don’t feel like I have the power to make anyone else adhere to it. If the Gay Agenda was so powerful, why was Mayor Becker forced by the legislature to change the name of the partnership registry so that it didn’t sound too Gay? Why do these people not see that if the Gay Agenda was really as powerful as they seem to believe, gay marriage would be legal across the country at this point. It’s because it isn’t true, people! We have almost no power, and fewer rights. I had to endure a nudge nudge wink wink from my freaking accountant yesterday when I went to pick up my partner’s tax returns, because he had to call her and get her permission to let me pick them up. He’s all “even though you guys are the best of friends. guffaw guffaw.” Yeah, it’s really funny. Thanks dude. I won’t be seeing you next tax season.

blah. sometimes i really hate it here. not that it’s really that much better anywhere else, but this little lesbian still has hope in her heart that it is. somewhere out there.

Well, it seems like the thing to do these days, so here is my blog. It’s a funny thing, here at first. I spent a lot of time trying to decide how anonymous to be. Realistically, I don’t expect anyone to actually read this. But online, you can never be sure, so you have to start out assuming you’re fine with the whole world reading it.

My motivation for starting this blog is to have a place to occasionally rant, though I hope all my posts won’t be angry. 🙂 Right now, just coming off of the end of the Utah Legislative session, it’s hard to imagine not being angry, but I’m sure it will wear off. Not that Utah is alone in having embarrassing and, let’s just say it, stupid legislators. Oklahoma, for instance, has a legislator who is in some hot water now for saying some incredibly stupid things.

Read what she said.

It almost makes Chris Buttars sound sane. Okay, that’s a stretch. But still…Chris may hate gay people, but at least he’s not saying out loud that he thinks we’re worse than the terrorists. I wonder which he’d say was scarier? It would probably be a tough call for him.

Still, what happened to freedom of religion in this country? If I believe I am who God made me, why are these people allowed to infringe upon my rights because they believe differently? In some ways, Sally Kern is close to right, but her logic is inverted. I do believe that the fight for gay rights in this country could end up destroying what is left of the Constitution, not because God hates gay people, but because these religious extremists seem willing to decimate our nation’s most sacred documents and founding principles out of fear and ignorance. They will turn us into a religious state, all the while proclaiming that the founding fathers, who came here for freedom of religion, actually intended all along for this to be a “Christian nation.”

Hmmm…I must have missed that part of the Bill of Rights.

It’s because of this line of thinking that I felt a need to put my story out there, into the great dark void of the blogosphere, in the hopes that if people do read it, they might have a change of heart. For me, I have been a religious person most of my life, and I had to really battle with myself during my coming out not to completely turn my back on God. But in the end, coming out was an incredibly spiritual journey for me, and I came to believe that this is part of how God made me, and the sin would be in denying that and being unhappy for my whole life.

So, in future posts, I will talk about the things that have guided me and shaped me during my life, and we’ll see what happens. In the end, it will probably just be some good cheap therapy for me. But in the off chance that someone comes across these ramblings…I hope if nothing else, they can make you stop and think about the things that we all share, which are so much greater than the things that divide us.