Saturday, March 01, 2008

Memphis Chalk Talk

A few folks have asked about our Chalk Talk at the Beyond Ex-Gay Mid-South Regional Gathering that we had in Memphis last weekend. Thanks to Dan Gonzales we have a video of the Chalk Talk wall. I'll also post still photos and quotes from the wall in a few days. But in the meantime, here's the video. My comments are below (I'd recommend watching the video before reading my comments that relate to it).

I wrote a number of things on the wall during this exercise. It was a really interactive time, probably because we had a much smaller group and smaller space. We really took time to take in what each other was writing/drawing, and we responded to what everyone else was writing, and I noted more connecting of ideas and thoughts. Like I said in a previous post, this weekend was something that I really needed, in part because I wasn't able to experience much of our Irvine conference because of my organizational role. I was able to feel like I could take part in this, and I did. So many things touched me deeply, that I can't even isolate one or two things that were written, but I'll try.

I've still been struggling mightily with the emotional dependency/enmeshment idea and trying to figure out relationships. Ironically, because of how this weekend has rocked my emotional boat, I've had to reach out to my friends a lot this week, and I've seen that they're there for me, and I see that I've been better able to accept their help and friendship without being as afraid of needing or being too dependent. So I think I have made progress there and I am so glad for the friends I have, and especially for a few who have hung in there while I've kept my distance out of my own fear.

(Thanks for the photo goes to Bruce Garrett)

I had a huge emotional reaction to the idea of failure and "you didn't try hard enough" and I wrote the response "or you tried too hard." Since the Glamour article I have had both of those sentiments directed at me way too many times to count. (I know, sometimes I think I'm too sensitive a soul to be doing this work) But that has hurt me a great deal. I just can't win. And while I know this isn't about convincing the unconvinced, it still hurts to always feel the failure, especially with people I used to be close to.

Which leads me to the locked church (seen in video), and the idea of those whose lives I used to be such a part of, who welcomed me into their homes with open arms, as long as I was Christian and ex-gay. Actually, two of "My House of Cards" playing cards related to this so I thought I would post them here. They're about finding a church with welcoming and open arms, and sinking into those arms that just exuded feelings of unconditional love, which turned out to be conditional, even though I believe they did love me. Still, it hurts to have so much loss when you come out again. (click to enlarge the cards)


  1. Wow. This is a really powerful post and I so appreciate you writing it and sharing it with us. I can relate. One day I hope to make it to one of these events. And btw, love the art idea.

  2. Does the type of card you use have a significance with what you put on it as well?
    Great work by the way, very original!

  3. titration, thank you so much. We'll definitely post as we plan other events....we hope to have other small gatherings like this as we're able. I'm glad but sorry you can relate (if that makes sense).

    Dawn, yeah, sometimes the type of card relates (but not always, depending on what I have available). In this case, the Jack as a male figurehead relates loosely to the church for me.

    The three of hearts was definitely chosen to represent the fact that the three individuals who represent my church families (incidentally from an old Russian slogan poster) said all these kinds of things to me out of a misguided love. They were trying to help, they just didn't have a clue how. And then in the end, when the end came, they really didn't know how to deal with me, and so they didn't at all.

    But ultimately, I don't doubt that they genuinely cared for me. But what I often find with many conservative Christians is that they don't know how to love freely without having the goal of salvation always in mind, which leads to a lot of conditional love/acceptance, and they don't know what to do when someone no longer holds to the same truths.

    Anyway, long-winded explanation for my choice of the three of hearts :)

  4. Your explanation answered my question- thank you.

  5. I'm sorry I wasn't able to come!

    I love how you worked it out not only in writing, but in art. And I'm so, so, so glad that your heart sees progress. If you look at the advice straight people are getting lately, you'll see a fear of intimacy for them, too. (Like, don't kiss or pray together until engagement, at least!) It makes me wonder what is going on.

    You deserve better. It does my heart good to see you get it. *hug*

    And I'm happy you got to see the pandas! Those are supposedly meant to be "solitary," did you know that? But they play together quite nicely when they're allowed...

  6. There is ZERO failure on your part throughout any of this.

    It's difficult to truly accept this concept, but freeing, once you realize that you cannot please everyone. And if you can please everyone, then you're living one hell of a boring life.

    You're always welcome to my home, Christine, no matter what is going on. (Unless it's really messy and I force you to wear a blindfold before entering my place and I don't want to hear any lip about it if I have to tackle your legs and do that.)

  7. Christine, it sounds like an amazing, life changing experience... wish I could have been there too... but I'm enjoying browsing through your blog and seeing where you are right now as well as tracking your journey... we should talk soon! :) Hugs...

  8. crackerlilo, thank you so much! Re: the pandas, I think they were hanging out together as some kind of experiment, as the zoo folks were keeping a good eye on them (and I was keeping a good eye on one of the cute zookeepers, I might add). ;) It was way fun. As Peterson said to me at one point, a little oasis for us in a crazy weekend.

    Sheil, thank you so much. You can always blindfold me because I actually trust you. I can't believe we've been friends since...what...91 or something now? Crazy. Even if we had a huge gap while I was doing my ex-gay thing. Anyway, we need to catch up. Do you still have my number? I still have the same phone # but I can't find yours. Call me, eh?

    Biance, yes, would love talk to you....thanks for the hello - would love to connect w/you again next time you're in town, or if you're ever able to make it to a bXg gathering...