Saturday, September 6, 2014

Is this what "coming out" feels like?

I read Brad's post about going to an art museum and he asked, "What are your plans this weekend?" Well, my plans did not include watching my lizard die. Up until a couple weeks ago, Bolt (the Tegu) was doing just fine. Eating a couple times a week, attacking people as you entered that bathroom, huffing and hissing and whipping his tail. Normal velociraptor stuff. Then, he refused the egg, the beef, the mouse, and just kind of slept. I really didn't think anything of it because sometimes they hibernate. Then last night I was checking on him and he started convulsing, flipping upside down, weeping, and the worst part was when it looked like he was trying to shake his tongue right out of his head.

Closer inspection… It looked like the tongue is partially detached. Hard to describe, but it is a purple and bloody looking mess. So, if he has a respiratory infection that is hindering his breathing, the tongue thing is not a complication that medication can fix. He survived the night, but is very lethargic and probably will be gone soon. I was lying on the bathroom floor earlier just watching him and rubbing his face. He likes his jaw rubbed.

Being the highly emotional person I am, THIS is not something I really wanted to deal with today. I am already a mess.

This has been a very emotional week. It is astounding to me the kids of pain you can go through from ONE person's comments. I saw this on Facebook;

Isn't the converse then also true? "How others make you feel about yourself, says a lot about them." Sometimes, I feel worthless. Sometimes, I just want to give up. Sometimes, the pain is too much to bear. I also found this online:

That is certainly true of me. I was hurt by people I'd known and trusted for YEARS. 10 years. Because I wrote a book. They say people are afraid of what they don't understand and I suppose it was easier to tell me I was a sick and disgusting person for writing a novel with gay characters than to try and understand why I chose to write it. But I know people who despise Harry Potter. If I had written that, would the outcome have been the same because I was "promoting sorcery"? And if I had written Dexter, would people have thought I was secretly a serial killer because I could imagine something so gruesome? Just a thought. You all know how much I like Dexter. I'm into Hannibal now because Dexter is over. Hannibal is even more sinister, so maybe I'm sick in the head for being fascinated by the  plot and the acting.

But that is not my point. My question is about my feelings. The condescension, patronizing, and pity I feel from ONE person is clouding everything I feel about myself. I find myself questioning everything because of one person's disapproval. Why? I'm in a constant state of tension between my "churched" friends and that world, and the "unchurched" friends and their part of the world. We all know religion and politics are the top 2 points of contention between people. MANY go all out to avoid talking about those subjects at all for fear of offending people. Others don't care who they offend. Well, shocker, I care a LOT. I don't WANT to offend people, but I do anyway. Writers as a people need to develop thick skin to handle the criticism of their work. Bad reviews can seriously hurt! Over the years, I have gotten better at ignoring the people who just can't stand the way I write. My POV shifts, my voice, my flashbacks, my "religious content", all play parts in the 1-star reviews. I'm getting better at accepting those.

But to be confronted recently really rocked my world and hurt my heart because I've never had someone in my personal life make me feel so worthless. Even the people from years ago did not hurt me so completely. I'm not sure why, but maybe it was because I was a different person back then. I  didn't really care as much about God and how my life could affect others. AT ALL. Church was something I did because my friends were there, not as a way to grow spiritually. And then ALL the friends abandoned me.

Then, my life changed. I found a unique way to identify with people and help heal some. I wrote about gay suicide. I've heard more than one persona tell me how When Love Is Not Enough helped them heal, helped them mourn, or helped them work through feelings and emotions they TOUGHT were gone. Numerous e-mails have come in over the last couple years telling me personal stories from readers who identified with my characters. These readers explained some horrific tales, believe me. Painful lives. Does it help them to express their resurfaced pain in an e-mail? I think so. Does it help them to take the emotions I have helped them discover and then talk it out with a family member or friend, when they needed to work through a loss? I think so.

So why do I feel so worthless? I dared to write sex into my stories. Is that the entire reason my books are "unacceptable" to the person who makes me feel like this? Or is it the sex AND the homosexuality?  Most likely it is both. The one topic that is unacceptable to talk about or explore is sexuality. Especially in the church. Like religion and politics, sexuality is a HOT BUTTON. It's better to ignore it completely, or take a radical stand and 'picket' the White House against same sex marriage than to talk about it openly. Even though my children are in public school and have to watch videos on the topic. I find it ironic that the "church" doesn't want to talk about it, and that some in the "church" are also oblivious that the culture talks about it all the time. I want to talk about the issues like adults and help some understand how hurt and worthless others might feel when they are beaten, abused, ostracized, locked in the basement, thrown out onto the street, or told repeatedly they are an "abomination".

Well, I don't feel so strong. I feel defeated.

I find it a dichotomy this concept of "love the sinner, hate the sin" because it never works. No one separates the two. (And I'm not getting into theology and listing what sin is and is not etc.) I'm pointing out the error in that statement. To this person who e-mailed me three times and posted on Facebook and then confronted me at church, I am not a person with feelings. I'm a defector who went against her belief system so much so that it wasn't enough to say her peace and leave it. And then possibly, get to know me to understand why I write what I do. No. It's easier to involve the pastor who is now in an interestingly hard position. The part I regret is putting him there.

My therapist asked me before how my "situation" effected my faith in God. I told her it hadn't. But it changed my faith in people. People hurt other people. I think the deeper hurt came when I was hurt by people who I assumed wouldn't do it. Perhaps that is where this pain I feel now comes from.

2014 is where I am now and I'd like to say I am the happiest I've ever been and I feel the most whole. In 2010 I was a fractured person. I was afraid of everything and every one. Paranoid and distrusting. I think finding a new church and really seeing who Jesus is for the first time in my life changed my view. I have different friends and a different view of my life, and my calling to identify with the lost, lonely, and beaten. And yes, to add more conflict and pain to my life I chose to identify with the homosexuals. 

Why? Because it feels like I'm an outcast when I dare to write about how bullying can rip a person's self-esteem to shreds. Because I feel like the leper in Mark chapter 5 (of the Bible) when no one wants me around because I might infect them with  my disease. One person's comment has made me feel like the younger brother in the story about the prodigal son who runs off and squanders his father's fortune and the older brother resents him. I don't have a fortune. But it makes me feel like I'm seen as squandering my salvation and redemption because I have chosen to write such scandalous things.

I've used my creative license as an artist to step outside the prescribed list of acceptabilities that is in the church. This is why I am in this constant state of tension. :p Great! I'm the one posing the question, "If we preach grace, then at what point does the church revert to legalism when the grace is abused?"

Just me yapping out loud because this is what I do. I talk. And I am pretty much an open book. I am vulnerable to a fault and it has now put me into a tough position of questioning everything I do.


That is where I was 4 years ago. Afraid and hiding. I also lied constantly. (Jimmy Miller was ME, remember.) But times have changed and hiding is not really an option. I'm out! I'm unavoidably conspicuous. I'm not out rallying for human rights on street corners, Not yet anyway. I'm subtle; mainly writing my views into books or posting online. But this new situation (i.e. woman who is upset over my writing,) has made me conspicuous. My picture is online. And some people who KNOW my real name also know my pen name. It is really a matter of time before other people "find out" and feel the need to loudly take issue with me.

As the title of the blog asks, "Is this what it feel like to come out?" It is terrifying. I am only trying to be true to who I am as an artist and express myself through the writing medium. I have views and opinions and religious beliefs and I WANT to share them with the public because they are each a part of my make up as a person. But now, one person's DISapproval has me second guessing everything and seeing myself as sick and twisted, corrupted and deceived. Is this what it feels like?

Are you subject to the feeling that you are somehow at fault and you shouldn't be that way? Are you ashamed and want to hide? Do you think you deserve the ridicule and that you should just give in and take the hits?

I hate this feeling! It's awful. I'm trying to do something good and meaningful with my gifts as a writer and one person's disapproval feels like the one relative or friend you might have that finds out your gay and then looks at you with pity and revulsion. How does anyone hold their head up after that? How do you deal with family or friend who you don't have the option of avoiding. She is always there. And when I thought wed resolved things, she shows up again. It's like living a nightmare.

Brad… dude… how the HECK do you do it? You are an incredibly strong person to keep moving forward and maintaining an attitude of hope.

My last thought goes to MY BEST FRIEND who loves me through everything. You know who you are!

I'm done.


  1. I am buying you a truck full of wine at GRL my dear, sweet Wade. hugs and hugs

    1. I don't typically drink wine. I like stout ;) :p

  2. Well, my friend, I will certainly drink stout with you at GRL! I'm so sorry for everything you are going through. Call me if you need to chat. �� Love you!