I can’t believe how much has changed in one year. Sometimes it feels like I slipped down a worm hole of a time tunnel into a different dimension where everything feels familiar because it’s a version of some reality I know, but I look around and nothing is what I thought it was.
I haven’t written here much in this last year. It was a year of solitude for me and a year of writing letters to myself, to God: love poems and ones about dying, prayers of absolute pleading and begging. I’ve mentioned before this thing called liminal space. It’s the waiting place, the static, the unknown. I fell into that antigravity vortex a year ago and lost all ties to any recognizable reality or social structure. Everything that seemed to form the walls of my existence crashed in at once. My life was cast into an emotional ground clearing, and when all was still and bare, I heard my own voice clearly for the first time. And it was coming out of my body saying such beautifully terrifying things. It was saying I wanted to marry a woman someday.
I’ve been married to my best friend, one of the most empathetic men I’ve ever met, for 19 years. Together we’ve made beautiful children and art and lived out some wild and crazy adventures. He’s a minister and has spent much of his life listening and caring for those who are lost, confused, afflicted, sick and cast out. I’ve heard him talk about sexual orientation and spirituality for so many years that it eventually started to unlock all the lies in my own understanding. Slowly, a breath of freedom seeped into my heart. And then, a few years ago I began to open up to him about my attraction to women, and we had such deeply healing conversations. I don’t think I would’ve ever trusted anyone other than him to tell me, “love is love” no matter what. He will be sainted someday, even though he doesn’t believe me yet, for all the selfless, sacrificial ways he’s allowed love to win in his life.
Waking up to the idea that I’m gay was mostly slow and gentle, happening in peeling layers of self discovery—until last summer when life was at its darkest hour for us. Hard truths always seem to shake out at the most inconvenient times—in the times when we have no strength left to pretend. These are the times when we ask ourselves: “What do I really want?” In this space, I did a lot of self-reflecting and asking God for help. The Universe delivered a truly amazing friend into my life, who I will always be grateful for, and who helped bring all these far away ideas into reality for me. The freedom I found in that friendship and the conversations we had, allowed me to see myself more clearly. For the first time, I was able to envision a marriage with a woman—and it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever imagined for myself. It was also the scariest, most emotionally expensive, impossible dream I had ever dared dream. It paralyzed me. Everything in me wanted it, but for months I couldn’t say it. I couldn’t ask for it. I tried not to say it, I tried to say everything around it, I tried to shut my eyes very tightly and hide in my bed, praying for the idea to forget about me and leave. After a while though, I saw that it wouldn’t leave. And then somehow, I didn’t want it to. A little light cracked into whatever black hole I was in. And I even began to hope that if I said what I wanted, everything would be okay: the sun would still go on rising and setting; the world would keep turning. And maybe my people would even still love me. Maybe I would even be healthier for it. (Happier even.)
The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was ask the man that loved me best, who’d helped me unlock my true self, to let me go. In fact, hard is not even close to a strong enough word to describe the ripping and unraveling that happened as a result of me saying what I wanted. There were days I didn’t think we could survive the heartbreak. I’ve felt like a tornado this last year in the lives of everyone I know. I thought, at times, I’d been administered a truth potion and could not help saying the exact things that I wanted and felt, even though it was crumbling apart everyone else’s scaffolding of reality. I’ve always been a big proponent of grace, but I’ve never needed it more in my life than in this last year. But even in this deep sadness, my truth was met with such unexplainable love and acceptance from my husband, my kids, my friends, my brother and my parents. As painful and difficult as it’s all been, I’ve never felt more loved. The way it feels to be unhidden and honest after being so afraid and shielded for so long is the most beautiful, lovely, open, bright, brave feeling in the world. And that it came through the mercy of God, my husband and my family is the sweetest part of it all. It’s all such a gift to me. The grace, the love, the forgiveness, the acceptance—all bestowed upon me through these people who have demonstrated Divine love to me.
I didn’t have to share this publicly, but it would’ve been a balm to me to read something like this last year when I couldn’t stop the spinning-out-of-control sensation. I would’ve liked to hear someone’s story of impossible love. So, I offer this to you. I offer my story with the hope that it inspires you to say what you need to say or give yourself the permission to be who you are. I hope you can find the essence of my story, as the details may not fit. I offer you the possibility that what you want might not bring down the Universe and crash the moon into the sea. There was a distinct moment when I said yes to the idea, the possibility, of being married to a woman someday, and believed in doing so that I was saying yes to a Higher love that would somehow sustain me. I still can’t comprehend it some days when I look at my people, still loving me, even though I’m gay. Even though their lives need to change for me to remain true to who I am. Even though I can’t be the person I thought I was, or they thought I was. Even though I’ve decided to actually be the human being God created. But the truth is: I really am okay—and so are my people. And you will be too.
In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes, “Because think about it: If the only thing an idea wants is to be made manifest, then why would it harm you, when you are the one who might be able to bring it forth? (Nature provides the seed; man provides the garden; each is grateful for each other’s help.)”
Sending grace and peace to all of you who are struggling with saying yes to yourself—who are faced with, what seems like, in your fear, an impossibility. Trust yourself. You’ve got this.