Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. (Luke 2:19, MSG)
I feel a resonance with Mary in this.
I keep things to myself, holding them dear deep within myself.
Some ideas crumble by forming them into words.
Some thoughts lose their mystery in expressing them to another.
Some experiences lose their other-worldly soul in describing them.
Sometimes speaking it out loud changes its essence.
Sometimes putting it into words makes it dissipate like smoke.
Sometimes describing it gives it heaviness, dragging it down.
Some things I keep to myself, holding them dear deep within myself.
I have something to tell you. It lay deep within me for a while. I dared not speak it out loud, I couldn’t write about it, I didn’t pray it. It was something fragile and valuable and ephemeral. I could barely grasp hold of it myself, let alone organize it into cohesive words that expressed meaning.
When I had nurtured it long enough that it could take some real form, I spoke it aloud to one person. A trusted person who held it gently, respecting it as much as I.
Having spoken it to one, it had more substance, more reality. I wrote it down. And then spoke it to another. And another. With each telling, it became more concrete, more tangible. It began to exist outside of me. It’s more robust, more vigorous.
And now I’m ready to share it with you!
I am non-binary.
I have come to the realization that, although my body is that of a woman, I am not a woman. I’m not a man, either. I am finding comfort and stability in this identity. I am finding healing for many experiences and sense in countless memories.
I was speaking my truth to family members recently and said that I have a good imagination and am empathetic, so I had imagined what it might be like to “come out.” My imagination fell short. Going through this first-hand was so much more intense than I had imagined. Having started out as an ally, I have a view from both sides. I’d like to give you a little view into my thoughts.
I did quite a bit of journaling through the time when I was coming to recognize my reality. I often write my journal entries as prayers; it helps me situate myself in a dialogue, leaving the door open for response. I would like to share some of these conversations with you as a window into what it means to come out. This will be the first in a series of these posts, so please come back to read through the journey.
Feb. 8, 2020
OK, God. You brought me to a place of standing with my kids over the faulty theology of the past. You brought me to a place of knowing more fully how much you love me. You made me a person who looks for a cause, wants to stand against injustice, and be an ally to the marginalized. You helped me plant seeds. You gave me opportunity and room to learn and grow. And now you’re giving me opportunity to lead.
You made me who I am. You have been with me through my whole life when I have felt apart from, different than. You know that I have never felt like I truly belong on “Team Woman.” You know how often I’ve wondered what it’s like to be a “real” woman. You know my ways of thinking, feeling, interacting. You know the stories – that to be a fireman I’d grow up to be a boy; that Barry’s “good heavens, “I’m a woman!” story makes me think of how many times I’ve thought I could say, “Good heavens, I’m a man!” You know how often I’ve thought of Barry and I as the right pair: the man who isn’t stereotypically masculine and the woman who isn’t stereotypically feminine. I think you’ve known longer than me that my vague feeling that there’s somewhere in the LGBTQ community that I belong to has really been a searching for something about myself. I really feel like, at this age, I’m just trying to make something up in order to be part of a community I admire.
But what if it’s more than that? What if it explains things that have always felt just a little off? Like, I’m the only one. I feel slightly ridiculous to be thinking of coming out because it feels like something young people do. I feel like people won’t believe it, won’t see it, won’t understand it – which is exactly what I hear in stories of other people’s coming out. And I am struck by my use of the word “ridiculous” which reminds me of “foolish” – as you know, foolish is something I avoid, but also something you’re asking me to worry less about. I feel foolish entertaining the idea of coming out – wait , not exactly foolish but vulnerable. You did give me that word during Advent.
As much as I feel vulnerable, I feel like there is hope and possibility. Does this explain my experience? Does this give me freedom where I have felt “shoulds”? Does it leave me feeling less alone/weird? Will it give me permission to let some things go?
And I am inundated with “What will people think? What will people think? WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK??” As Jasper has said a few times: I don’t have to tell anyone else, I can tell only a few people, I can do this however I want. That helps.
Jasper once said to me (long before I was considering this), “Aw Mom, all you gotta do is decide to be in the woman’s club and you’re in. I was in it for a while and it’s a very nice club, but it wasn’t really for me so I switched.” That has been on my mind.
So, God, I know you’re not into labels, especially just for labels’ sake. But I also know that you are into inclusion and relationship and love and knowing my True Self. I see the possibility of identifying as non-binary in some way as finding “my tribe,” my place in the world. I see the possibility of feeling more at home in my skin. I see the possibility of looking back on my life and not seeing “weirdo.” I see the possibility of settling even more comfortably on your lap, knowing I am loved as I am.