Looking Back on Marches
This time five years ago, I was getting ready to take a stateside ministry trip with my religious training programme, in preparation for the six weeks we would spend in Mexico in April and May. It was an exciting time that I am probably still processing five years out because of all the life changes that began there. Honestly, although the programme was meant to make me a better Christian, I came out the other side a more confident woman and a critical thinker. Surprisingly I wasn’t the only person who experienced change of the same nature. Sometimes I lie awake at night wondering what my life would look like if I had followed the course I was on to becoming a missionary whose sole purpose was to know God and “make Him known.” But I’ve always felt that my training actually gave me the courage to come out as a lesbian. Funny how religion sometimes produces the opposite of the effects it is intended to have.
Four years ago, on the 12th of March I drove home from my mission base in Appalachia, a 13 hour drive. I had spoken to the base leaders to ask to resign the 2 year commitment I had made weeks earlier in order to continue my education, with the intention of returning to my post on staff eventually. But by the time I had packed my things, I had decided I was never coming back. I spoke with the mentor who had been assigned to me from the start, a girl who was 11 days older than me. I told her I had made peace with the fact that I was gay, that I had prayed and agonized over it for 7 years at that point and that I was going to love myself for who I was. She said that it would be wrong of me to not disclose this dramatically variant doctrine to the base leaders because they are spiritually responsible for me. I thought that was absolute crap, so I decided I would just leave. Eventually, a couple months after I left, she told the rest of my brothers and sisters why I had essentially deserted without warning or explanation. I guess I understand why, they wanted to know why I vanished.
Thee years ago this week, I met my first big love. We instantly connected, had so much in common, and got along so well. I wanted a family and a future with Dana. It wasn’t perfect, but we knew how to communicate and that skill took us far. Even still, as housemates, friends, and former lovers, we understand each other deeply and support each other as best we can. I learned so much from her, and I know she was changed by our relationship as well. I am so proud of all the changes I’ve seen her make in the ways she relates to others, and I know I’m making progress in my pursuit to stay organized and avoid clutter and messes. Two years ago we were so happy and in love, I was finishing school and she was working hard at her new job, we had a beautiful little house and a our dear animal companions to keep us company. When I told her I would always love her, whether our not we could stay together, I meant it. A year ago we were having trouble and it only got worse, but the hardest part about it all was that we loved each other. It would not have hurt as much if we were sick of each other, but our spiritual, emotional and psychological paths simply diverged. Now we are having to relearn how to be affectionate, and it’s going ok, but sometimes I have to harden my heart. If I don’t, the ache of longing for things as they once were might be too great to bear.
March has always been a big month for me. Some things are going on astrologically that seem to be a big deal, important activity in the areas that affect my work especially. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen. In the mean time I’m going after the things I want, like sewing jobs, and developing my apparel design and alterations business. Things are gonna change. I can feel it.