Happy Birthday lifeonapedalo – one year old this month!
Last year, inspired by Eat Pray Love, I realised my one word to encompass all self-definition. Frightened. Not Inspired. Not Hilarious. Not Deepnwide (ok, that’s two). Not caring. Not fun-loving. Bloody Frightened. What a sorry state of affairs! But there we were. Frightened of bloody everything (except the things that scare normal people, like perilous heights, jumping into roaring oceans, spiders, and letting people down by being late). Frightened most mostly of life and whether it was stuck rotating like a scratched record of Edith Piaf growling a lowish note to a sad song.
Today, I’m feeling mildly (but not very) self-congratulatory, because Frightened isn’t my word any more. I don’t know what is. Blank-page? Expectant? (not in a mother-type way, mind), Wondering? Bumbling? Silly? Fun-loving‘s back on the menu. But not on its own. I feel lifey again though.
I bloody did it. I stood on a big stage with my lovely big gay choir, and sung the heck out of some big gay songs. And it didn’t even feel monumental, it just felt like it was fine, and performing’s what I do, and this was a lovely new community to be part of, and here I was and it was good. Nothing much deeper than that. So many of you bloomin marvellous folk came to support me though, and I read more about the depth of it from you guys than I did from my own heart. I was just showing off on a stage as usual… 🙂
I feel like me again. I had lost me. Now I feel better again: and like with many shite things, it now seems that the long road through this meltdown and depression was shorter than it actually was. But if I breathe deep and calm down for a minute, I remember how very unwell I was. I lost me. I didn’t like being much of me. I didn’t know how to find me again.
The road here hasn’t been straight, or narrow. It’s been a flipping long meandering tunnel full of spiky thorns and wrong turns. But it was never narrow. There was always width enough for one of my friends to prop me up and help me limp along. Sometimes it was wide enough for tens of friends to carry me at once. Thanks for enduring the scratchies. And I believe God’s been every step with me, hacking down the brambles with a big machete, smoothing out the path as much as possible, and making it less dark.
Here’s a snippet of an essay I wrote many years ago when a new Christian friend innocently asked me “what do you think about sexuality/gay stuff”. Please forgive the word sin in it, which just grates in this context and will appall many, and read it as what I honestly mean ‘something that could add distance or disconnect between god and me’, but I can’t write that every sentence because it’s too unwieldy.
“But, for me, I have to try to hang on to the fact that God is real and is there and does answer prayers and does have answers. I also have to hang on to the fact that he is my God, I fell in love with him years ago, committed to follow him and try and live his way, because he loved me first and died for me. I don’t see this wrestle going away any time soon, but at the moment I can’t help but think ‘this thing could be a sin, and if it is a sin then I better keep away from it even if I don’t understand, because to follow God is to try and run from sin and I don’t want to bollocks up following Christ, because it’s too important’ (I seem to have no problem with carrying on sinning with getting hammered or swearing or not believing in God at all though, but that’s another whole chapter).
I also will only say this to people if totally pressed and if I can explain my background as it just pisses most people off. I’m only on this side of the argument by a hair’s breadth and wouldn’t be astonished if I changed my mind at some point (I like the ‘it’s fine’ doctrine so much more that I’d happily go with it if I could get my consciense out of the way). I’m also just saying this is what I’ve decided for me, and not for anyone else.”
The number one thing that has changed, is I don’t think being gay or acting gay brings any distance between God and me any more. At all. It did bring distance before – because my conscience was in that place. And I still think that was ok for me to think because my heart was genuinely there – it wasn’t the cause of my crash and burn. (I know many of you will vehemently disagree here and this is still a place where I feel insufficiently articulate). But now it isn’t. Jesus is still, underneath all the times when I totally forget, my beacon in life. The standard I want to cling to. He’s all about resurrection. A lot of my soul died in the last years. He’s grown it back with new life. That’s what he’s mostly about. I still don’t want to bollocks up following Christ, because it’s too important. But, doh, I’ve learned the very basics of the gospel again, that of COURSE I’ll bollocks it up – that’s why he made it depend on him fetching me and his very true goodness, not me polishing my shiny halo with enough brasso.
I have spoken to so many many friends in choir who have been so badly badly hurt by the christian church. Most have understandably left, feeling rejected, not heard, or just downright pissed off at the moral failings of what they witnessed. This makes me so very very sad.
I have experienced only a teensy bit of this. Overwhelmingly, I have felt the warmth and love and acceptance by my christian family – and I know and firmly believe the indescribable constant which speaks under and over our humanity in waves of love, is Christ. I can’t get my head round religious bullshit any more than the next Christian, but that ISN’T what it’s about. If it was, I’d have been running for the hills bloody ages ago. I am just grateful. God didn’t let me go. He came running for me, ever searching out those lazy loafers in the marketplace who’ve slept in and gone for an early lunch, ever saying – “I want you on my patch. Come on”.
My whole crazy troupe of Bible study friends came to support me at the concert and waved like lunatics. They are total nutters who pretend toothpicks are swords, and share the gnarly journey of life, and I love them. I’m not naive enough to think that having come through one storm, that there won’t be others further across the ocean.
Yes, an awful lot of shite has gone down on this whole topic, worldwide. Let’s look forward though and not back: the sun comes up it’s a new day dawning, it’s time to sing your song again.
I am neither straight, nor narrow. I’m far too wide because I like pies. I’m not straight because I’m not straight. So be it.
I’m back. Hello I’m Sunny. I like singing and wearing Disney t-shirts, and laughing at people falling over and showing off on stage. And nice pictures and quotes.
P.S. Wow this one’s got HEAPS of Christian waffle in it. Thanks for bearing with, you guys who can’t bear it!! I apologise for not heeding this hilarious reminder 😀