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I have severely scaled back participation in Pride and LGBTQ community activism over the last year or so because I have reached a major crossroads in my life during this time. I openly have lived as a bi-sexual woman for approximately a decade. I have also added a slight addendum to that and expanded my bi-sexuality to include those who are also genderqueer, gender fluid, and trans, as I have really found I am attracted to pretty much anyone. I have come to realize I will love and be sexually attracted to just about anyone out there. There is no specific type that I look for. I do not know if this is being worded correctly, as trying to explain my emotions do not always come out as a clear message on paper or blog pages. With all this rehashed, this past year I have been trying to figure out how to describe a larger elephant in my closet that I have not truly addressed head on, nor have I even attempted to just kind of word salad it out in mildly veiled inquiry. Usually I like to crowd source my perceptions so others can help me verbalize better what I am thinking. I literally struggle with this. There are days I would describe my feelings as brown, or my attitude as a number. I can't make it translate into intelligible words when leaving my brain where others can actually understand what the hell is going on up there. I am kind of reaching a breaking point, and maybe I have the correct letters and punctuation to make it all present itself in an understandable dialog. Somehow, I doubt it, but here goes. For the first time today, I used the word dysphoria. This is a big deal for me. I have thought about this word for the past couple of years or so thanks to so many of my friends out there being able to put a word to what they are feeling when having trouble accepting their physical selves. This word they used gave me a starting point to discuss with my own therapist, and of course research it, in order to see if it somehow applied to my own emotional state about my personal self. There has been a lot of personal conflict and nights of quiet contemplation for hours on the subject of what I am. I use the word what, because I know who I am. I am Kate. I am funny, have a bit of dry with, a need to be right, an avid lover of all things robots and scifi, and I have goals in life for my later years where I will be so happy with my family that all the past years of struggle will be eclipsed by the few I will have left of joy. I know who I am. And this is where I might be using all the wrong language, so I am so very sorry if I offend anyone with my words to describe my journey to find the what of who I am. Little thing about me most don't know. I consider my gender the what of me. What are you? Male, female? Gender has always been a what for me. It has never been a part of the definition of me, as if I have always treated it as optional. I really do not know where I got this from. My parents never exposed me to the LGBTQ communities growing up. Some have said it is probably from me disassociating myself from childhood sexual abuse, and for awhile I bought into that a little since I had no other explanation. My therapist and I discussed this finally, and he seems to think my doubts are well founded and this has zero to do with the sexual abuse I went through as a child. We have looked back on my childhood, and I shared equal enjoyment in things that would be considered predominantly male and activities seen more as female related. The same was true of dress, hair style, and everything else you can think of. One thing is very clear. I never really latched on to the idea of gender roles at all, let alone worried about being perceived as male or female. I only worried if people got my name wrong. And I always corrected them and got offended if they insisted on not calling me correctly. On a side note, it still deeply hurts me today when people butcher my name, and keep on insisting on it. I have a boss that does this now, and while I actually love her dearly, it hurts she insists on calling me what she does despite my protest. Relationships. Public image versus my personal image. My general attitudes. Anyone that follows my public work, sees my secret group postings, or has dated me, will undoubtedly say,"You obviously do not have a problem with being female. You use your feminine wiles, you try to appear attractive as a female, and you certainly enjoy sex toys designed for females. So, obviously, you don't hate your vagina or breasts." I'm not saying any of this. Again, my female body is part of the what I am. And after being abused as a child, and trying to survive abusive relationships, one tends to use their body as a tool. It got me through some pretty tough times, and it has given me plenty of pleasure. What can I say, orgasms are amazing. I love sexual intimacy. Yes, some days, I adore my curves and the little button I was born with, and other days it disgusts me, and I wish I could trade out for other experiences. My body is a what. It's like a canvas that I get to decorate and find innovative ways to create fun visuals and sensations with. The past year I have come to realize that more often than not, the pretty images I share on profiles, the extra effort I put into looking nice on a podcast, it isn't for my benefit. It is something I've been in denial of for awhile, and I just need to admit this isn't me being too poor to afford taking care of my look. I have been in a steady, and rebellious, direction of no longer doing this to myself. It has been depressing me. No amount of make up will make me happy with who I am when it isn't a visual that I want to wear to begin with. This is my dysphoria. This is where my elephant in the closet comes bursting out. I have come to finally put the words together for something that has been in my everyday life for too long. I would say I am on the fluid spectrum of gender identity. I don't want to wear the pretty eyelashes, mascara, or any of that. Or at least, not for the reasons I have been doing so. The pressure to look appealing is hard enough, but to do it in a manner that doesn't fit what you are seems to make it worse. My clothing wardrobe is experiencing a similar deal. I had to go shopping for an outfit for an important job interview, and while I told my lover that the store just didn't have any complete suit sets available, the reality was that I was revolting against the idea I have to present myself in a strong, feminine, power outfit. I just didn't want to do it. I got overwhelmed walking around that store looking at all these clothes and thinking how I would rather have a nice shaved cut, some gel, and a flat chest with a fit shirt and slacks. Little touch of lipstick would be good, and just some foundation to even out my face. I didn't want to be feminine at all for my interview. And then there is a festival coming up and there is a sundress I would love to wear with a floppy hat and some sandals, and my painted toes to boot. Welcome to my struggle. Hopefully I can get this in a more understandable format at some point. If I could offer a plug into my head and you feel it all, I would gladly share. Anyway, thanks for reading. <3
"Coming out" is a term that is not exclusively for those talking about their sexual orientation or preferences but also for the EX christian who is "coming out" of hiding that fact that they are NO longer "of the faith". I found this to be the term used for ex-christians who have "deconverted" on the wonderful website for ex-christians called ex-christian.net. I was at one of my favorite consignment stores; ok, it was the Goodwill store and it is awesome by the way. I have befriended one of the "associates" and she allows me to rummage through the jewelry in the glass counters and we chat for a while. We both have wonderful sons of about the same age. Today, upon chatting with Melissa, I "came out" of hiding and said for the first time to anyone but my Love, "I am not a christian any longer". I even told her that I had not said this to anyone outside my immediate family until now. The look on her face of having been "taken aback" seemed to mildly surprise as well as slightly amuse me. I wondered why I was amused by this. Perhaps that she "expected" by my kindness and interest in her as a person, that I "must be" a christian, like herself. I then told her that I "really love Jesus, even yet"...she replied "THAT'S good!" I mean that with all of my heart. I still believe that Jesus is awesome and love him. Today, I believe that I got a little taste of the confusion that one may feel when they hear a deconvert's testimony. Maybe it IS easier for me to say it than for a christian to hear that I have made a conscious and very deliberate choice to NOT be a christian after living the christian life for over 25 years. I feel good about "coming out" today. I feel good about WHO I AM and WHAT I FEEL AND THINK.
Thanks in advance for all who take the time to read this. I apologize for the length but felt I needed to include at least the thoughts related below to properly convery my situation. Thanks again. Grew up Catholic-school, alter boy, the whole bit. Had a typical born-again conversion experience at a "parachurch"; ministry function when I was 16. My doubts arose soon after but was already engaged socially/emotionally to others in the group. Having had a crazy childhood didn't help. I am an now attorney, in my mid-thirties, with one young son and have been married since my early 20s. My wife is a die-hard believer who would never understand my doubts. I have been faking for some time (and sort of believing a la carte). I left the faith in my own mind and spirit a while back, but have not pulled the trigger publicly with family and church. My reasons are similar to many I've seen stated here regarding the truth of the Bible, contradictions, and the whole weirdness of the faith when you step back and view as a casual observer. Mostly though, I am not comfortable telling my agnostic friends and coworkers, many of whom are more intelligent, thoughtful, and ethical than I, that they will burn in hell if they just don't see things the way I do. I've never been able to do that, even when I thought I was truly practicing the faith. I am at a point where I cannot take it anymore and have said to my wife that "I have struggles with doubt...etc". My wife thinks I am going through a phase and states that I just need to read the Bible more and that we need Christian counseling (we also argue a bit). I responded that we should see "any" kind of good professional counselor. She responded that is not acceptable. She became very emotional and I backed off and said I still believe but do struggle with doubt, as if it's a sin and not simply my mind working things out for truth. We had similar conversation and she stated that if I decide, in the end, that I do not buy into the whole thing and no longer wish to be involved in church-related activities etc. we must separate. Again I chickened out. I have a 2 year old son, which is part of what lead me to make this decision. Shortly after we had him, we moved to a different part of the state (NJ) and began attending a church, seemingly moderate, but the emphasis of which is largely on salvation, more so that any other church we've attended. Also, prior to his birth, we were pretty half-assed about going to church. Now we are very involved. While our church tends to focus on loving people out of sin rather taking any kind of socio-political approach it is the things said as an aside (particularly by our pastor) that has given me pause, e.g., "I know some of you struggle with children who are not saved". Sorry dude, I will not tell my son he is going to hell if he does not say the right words. I will not pin him down with irrational expectations. My wife envisions that he was sent to us to be a "warrior for Christ." (she stated, very emotionally, that very thing to some church friends and that is when I snapped inside). Anyway, I am tempted to play along with the wife/church on this stuff and have my own friends, thought life, etc. and when the time comes tell my son what I really think (which at this point is a formulating as some kind of hopeful agnosticism (but maybe even atheism)) damned the consequences. But that time won't be for many years. Until then, I'd be living a lie and I have to deal with the subtle mind-control bs. I just don't want him having divorced/separated parents and I do not want to miss out on too much of his childhood. Also, I am the breadwinner so there are financial considerations- I do okay but do not have an empire to divide. I also don't want him growing up in a house of lies and tension. This sucks ass. As a final note, I should mention that whenever I bring up any doubt, my wife becomes very emotional and tends to talk over me. The encounter becomes an argument centered around feelings rather than an adult discussion of thought, truth, and belief. Just looking for you insights and support and just a place to rant.