Sunday, October 21, 2007

In Mesh

It's probably not surprising that I've been somewhat burnt out on ex- or ex-ex-gay stuff. So I've been a little distant from bXg and ex-ex-gay blogger friends. At the same time, I've been creating a lot of art. Peterson told me that perhaps I have things to express that don't have words. I'd have to agree. Still, I always attempt words, anyway.

A few days ago, Peterson posted maybe one of the most important blog posts I've seen in quite a long time. Called "Ex-Gay Harm--Let Me Count the Ways" it begins to catalog some of the harm that many of us have experienced from our ex-gay time. From relationship harm to financial harm, for some of us, the toll has been great. There have also been wonderful comments as people add their own stories and lists. It is turning into a powerful witness and catalog of experiences.

I recently posted my own comments, which I will copy and paste here, following a recent piece of art (click for larger image):

I have avoided reading this post and the comments here for a few days, because I was afraid of getting close to some still-fragile places.

While I have worked through a lot of the grief of what I lost, and the damaging messages I received and believed, it still hits like a ton of bricks to read this post and these comments.

I have finally starting creating art again, after eight years of creative slumber, a casualty of shutting off so much of myself. My art right now is still very much about my ex-gay time and the hopes, dreams, desires, and great loss.

The biggest problem I still face is fear of close relationships with others - especially women. Fear of "emotional dependency" or "enmeshment." Fear of needing someone. Fear of...I don't know. Just fear, and now just a consistent inability to wholly participate in friendships with others.

I know that it's not true - that while some relationships can be unhealthy, most are not. And closeness and yes, even at times emotional dependency should not be demonized. There are times when we all need others, and to be shamed for relationships that we had while ex-gay, those that others deemed unhealthy; relationships that may have been getting us through some of the tougher moments in our ex-gay is a great harm and a great disservice to us at a time when we were the most vulnerable, and the most laid bare, needing others around us.

I am 36 years old and beginning a new life. I am still trying to put some pieces together, and still trying to figure out relationships. Still trying to untie myself when it comes to closeness with others; needing others; being able to receive from others.

I have lost much, and I could talk about how much I have now gained, and all these things (many real) that we do to convince ourselves that "all things work together for good." I know that I now live with great authenticity, and that I have the strength to use my story to help others. But tonight, in the aftermath, it hurts, and I'm feeling it.