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My vulnerability hangover

February 12, 2013

I finally posted my confession story last night. It took two weeks for me to get the courage, to get over myself. This morning I found myself not wanting to tweet about it.

It’s out there. Let people just find it. Why do I need to promote it?

Why don’t I want to promote it? What am I afraid of? It’s not like the whole world is going to read it, not even hundreds, not even ten. So what holds me back? What am I so afraid of?

Being discovered. Being seen. Being rejected.

I’m afraid of Christians telling me I’m not really gay or telling me I’m not really Christian, because I can’t be both. I’m afraid of people questioning my experience, of critiquing and picking me apart. Finding holes in my logic. Finding holes in my story. Finding holes in me. I’m afraid of being debunked, disproven, me not real, me a figment of my own imagination. I’m afraid of my good judgment being called in for questioning. Afraid of being exposed and being called a fraud, a liar, confused, or unrepentant. I’m afraid of not belonging anymore, of people being sad for me, shaking their heads and speaking of me as one who has fallen away.

And I want to scream. I want to stand up and say, “I’m still here, still me, still following Jesus. I don’t fit your worldview, but that doesn’t make me wrong. You can’t explain me, but that doesn’t mean you can dismiss me.”

I am afraid, but I know who I am. I know better than anyone who I am. Don’t dismiss me. Don’t turn away. Don’t isolate me or ostracize me like a leper. Don’t try to fix me or get me help. I’ve already done that.

I’ve already been Jacob in combat with God.

And I’ve come away knowing who I am. I’ve come out with the true identity God gave me. It’s not a moral failure or a self-deception. Your questioning me this way hurts. Your shaking head tears at all the thinking and praying I’ve done, all the agonizing and hiding I’ve endured. Don’t reduce me to a sound bite, a cautionary tale, a story of defeat. I am none of that.

If this is how you Christians will react, your story is too small, your God is trapped in a box, your vision can’t see far enough. My reaction to your response is defend, protect, and fight back. My reaction is no better than yours. You would say I am wrong. I say you are.

But in my bones I know there’s more than this. There’s a truth that reaches beyond right and wrong. I want to reach that place, reach right past two sides, reach far beyond acceptance or rejection.

Where is that place? What is it called? How do we all get there? Can we get there in one piece? I don’t know, but that’s where I want to go.


From → tellings

  1. Sara permalink

    I just found a link to this blog from Slacktivist. I’m a Christian and a lesbian in the process of coming out, and can totally identify with this. “Vulnerability Hangover”. That’s a wonderful phrase. I haven’t seen the original post that led to this, but I know that feeling after the difficult phone call/ letter/ facebook message telling people that I am gay, and that I still love Jesus. It’s such a strange mixture of terror, self-doubt, anger, hope, and exhaustion. Thank you for your words. You’re not alone. And that part about wrestling with God, like Jacob, and coming away with a true identity was incredibly beautiful.

    • hballaman permalink

      Thanks Sara. I’m so glad you stopped by! I wrote this post in response to “My Confession” written just the day before. It’s good to hear that my story resonates with you. We are most definitely not alone, and it’s been so amazing to find people with shared experiences online. It seems harder to find in life, especially in Christian circles. I’m hopeful that’s changing, but there’s still so much resistance and fear to wade through. The best way I know how to navigate the feelings is to share here.

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