Archives for posts with tag: gratitude

I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self.

Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle with where we are standing.

Your silence will not protect you.   ~ Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

A lot has happened since my last post.  A few dramatic events happened that triggered flashbacks of earlier trauma. My sleep schedule got messed up, which sent me into insomnia and constant panic attacks. Eventually this sent me into the hospital for a good week and a half.  This hospital, itself, was a mixed bag – there were really, really good parts and really, really bad parts and not much in between.  I am taking FMLA, which gives me up to twelve weeks off work.  Some days I am great and some days, I am sad and angry.  I am processing the trauma of hospitalizations and the trauma of an attempted rape in the first week of college and the fact that the first time that I had sex was actually rape too.  I am dealing with the fact that I have almost never been attracted to any man that I’ve dated.  It’s confusing because I have had sexual pleasure with men, but a naked man is not what I consider good looking.  I am wondering if I am really more lesbian than I previously thought.  I have so much to process and sometimes I wonder if I will ever be okay.  I know I project an image of me being incredibly centered and it’s not that I’m lying, just that it is not my truth all the time.  I want people to see the real me – the me that is sometimes on top of the world and really has her shit together and the me that is so hurt and angry and sad.

Where the sexual awkwardness comes in is that I have oddly gotten a lot of matches on Tinder and OKCupid lately.  This is really weird, because my profiles are incredibly specific.  I did that on purpose to weed people out, but it seemed to sort of backfire, because hardly anyone fit what I was looking for.  It’s the same for me on Tinder – I’m probably the only person who has ever put a quote from the absurdist play, Waiting for Godot, as one of their profile pictures on that app.  I want people to know what they’re getting into, which is morbid weirdness.  *laughs*. Currently, who I am really in love with is someone very close to me but I am so scared to tell her because I am afraid that she will not feel the same and then I will have created a super awkward dynamic, which I obviously do not want.

When I started to get the messages from admirers on the dating sites, I responded with gusto, since it so rarely happens.  I might meet one of them before church this Sunday – I put it out there that I would love my partner to go to church with me, but I didn’t think anyone would bite, since most lesbians/genderqueer people on OkCupid are not religious, but this person wrote me and said that she would love to go to church with me and that feels pretty special.  As soon as we made plans to meet beforehand, I immediately felt like I had made a big mistake – just last week in church, I cried and got overwhelmed very easily.   I will probably react the same way in church for a while – who am I to think that anyone would want to date someone who is so fragile?

I feel so confused – I don’t want to shut the door on the person I like when it has not even been opened yet.  (Sorry for the vagueness of this person but I would hate to talk about her so bluntly on the internet before revealing all in person.) I also don’t want to ignore a person that actually wrote that she was a “fangirl” of my post and that she “LOVED” what I wrote.  That feels special too.  I would like to take her to church with me this Sunday – it feels like a step in the right direction.  I definitely know that I do not want to be around or date men for a very, very long time.  When I wrote my profile on OkCupid, I said that I was ready for something serious and now I know that I am not.  I mean, I will be eventually, but definitely not right now.  The only thing I can think of is to be honest on this future date – to tell her that I was recently hospitalized and am processing trauma and so need to go much slower than I originally thought. If she responds graciously, then she might be a keeper.  If not, then I really don’t need her in my life right now at all anyway.  It’s scary to think of being so honest with people, but like Audre Lorde says in her important work, Sister Outsider, speaking my truth is essential for my survival right now.  I am too full of emotions for my mask to fit on top and so I have chosen authenticity.  Sometimes my nightly gratitude posts on Facebook are followed with prayer requests or with descriptions of how I am struggling.  I guess that might not seem to fit with exclamations of gratitude, but I think it does.  I am grateful that I have given myself permission to be my whole self.  Gratitude isn’t always super happy feelings – sometimes it is speaking one’s truth, resting in the knowledge that there are people, or at least a higher power, that cares.

Speaking my truth empowers me, even if it also makes me vulnerable.  In recovery circles, there is the phrase that, “our secrets make us sick,” and it’s true.  I want to be well; I want to be authentic; I want to embrace life being as open as possible because I truly believe that that is the way that my higher power calls me to be.  If we are really all are made in the image of goodness, then it is wrong to cover up that goodness with an image specially designed to appease our immoral, capitalistic society.  Our goodness does not always look good, because the truth is not always pretty.  Showing our goodness does not necessarily mean looking like a “beautiful” model but more like someone who is willing to be genuine and supportive towards herself and others.  I must move towards what gives me hope, since so few things in this world right now seem to be in that direction. My other blog is called Hope Is Real! and I thought this would be a totally separate, humorous blog but I have found that I cannot separate sexuality from recovery,        humor from reality.  I am a multi-faceted person and it is too traumatic trying to hide all the parts of myself from another, so I am presenting them all to the public.  Publicity is how we counter shame and stigma and I am more tired of hiding and perpetuating fake beauty than I am in being my true self.

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(Yes, indeed, this is one of my profile pictures on Tinder. *laughs and groans*)

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Yesterday I completed training to be part of the Feminist Women’s Health Center’s Action Alert Team.  This means that if the center needs someone to help at the last minute with lobbying or rallying or anything else to help promote reproductive justice, then I’ll be there if I can.  It doesn’t pay in anything, except in satisfaction that I am doing all I can to help the cause.  It was a small, intimate gathering that left me feeling empowered and excited.  On my way home, I reflected on the fact that although I hate the fact that I had to have an abortion almost two years ago, prompting a return of my depression and the losing of a really good job, I would not be the motivated, empowered person I am today without it.  I also reflected on the fact that one of the reasons why the experience of obtaining an abortion so empowered me was because I realized my privilege.  Because I had a good job with fabulous insurance, I did not need to prove that the abortion was necessary for my health, which was great, because I’m not sure the insurance company would have accepted my explanation.  My insurance also paid for almost all of the procedure-I only had to pay fifty dollars.  Also, the Feminist Women’s Health Center, where I decided to have my abortion was relatively close by, being approximately thirty minutes away.  Plus, my parents were supportive and my mother drove me to the center.  When I had my abortion I thought about all these things and I was so grateful that I was able to have it and be supported that I resolved that I would do all I could to make what I had available to all womyn.  I wonder if the awareness of one’s privilege motivates other advocates and feminists. The training really helped me be even more aware of the fact that white, middle-class or rich womyn have always been able to have safe abortions and that that right needs to be extended to all.  I am so grateful to have the power of bodily autonomy-it’s a gratitude that no man can understand and that I could not have even understood myself until I was pregnant.  I want the world to know that I do not take my privilege lightly and that I am fiercely determined to fight for reproductive freedom and justice.