I can't believe it's only been a week since the last time I posted--so much seems to have happened. I don't really have a direction to go here, but I need to process what's going on in my head... WARNING: This is uninteresting reading, sorry.
Last Saturday - I had the weekend off, so I decided I would stay the night in Dallas (yes, that narrows my location down a bit) and visit a few churches on Sunday morning (yes, I am a nerd). With a few hours left before it was reasonable to go to sleep, I chose to hang out at a bar or two. It was fun enough--I enjoy the people watching--especially of people who are not trying to hide their sexuality. It's helpful to be reminded there are others. Anyway, drinking alone is always kind of awkward and annoying, especially with the social skills of a 12 year old :-) so I did not tarry long.
Last Sunday - This day was SO MUCH FUN--just seeing three totally different churches do their thing. Two of them are worth mentioning, one of which bills itself as the "largest liberal(/gay) church in the world." I had almost decided against visiting this church. I watch them often online. I didn't know how I felt about a "gay" church (it sort of reminded me of "cowboy" churches or other affinity oriented congregations) and it seemed as if their service can be a little over the top at times.
Boy, was it ever over the topic and I LOVED it! The heartiness of the singing, the sincerity of of the worship, the warmth of the community... it was simply a very special experience that seemed to be what church and religion should be all about. These people believe in love and they have a very real hope of a better world and a pretty good idea of what that could look like. I left that place believing like I have not in a very long time. I could go on...
Another church I visited was much more along the lines of a traditional, urban church--unlike the first church I mentioned. But the refreshing thing there was the diversity of the people that was neither paraded or hidden. People seemed to genuinely love and accept each other, and it was this love and acceptance that has kept the "gay issue" from being an issue. This congregation did not have to vote on whether or not they will accept gays and lesbians, it simply made sense if they truly were to believe what they said they believed in.
Saturday I saw Milk with a great new friend. I had no idea how long the struggle for gay rights has been going on. I always assumed this was a new thing, but no... people have been fighting over this for well over 30 years and ignorance still pervades. In many ways this film simply pissed me off, and it confirmed once again that the closet is EVIL and it's not where I should be. It helps no one. On the other hand, if I were out, I could be more open with a lot of people about the hell we go through and give them a name to go with these "queers" that seem to incite so much fear.. that name would be MINE.
Really the only factors holding me back are: successfully completing my degree program and the parents. Concerning the parents.. they are becoming unbearable. I'm pretty sure they would love me and not disown me if I were out (and if they DID disown me then that would be my invitation to ignore them forever)... but really the thing that makes it so impossible for me to come out to my parents is is the shitty way I would feel over the grief that I would cause them. They would go into mourning, seriously! It would make them literally sick, and the stress would pervade their life for months. Sure, the stress of being gay lasts my whole life and it's not going away--but I can deal with it, I can manage it, I can control it... I can't control my parents' stress. I can't get them up to speed on the thing that I've been thinking about for years. It just sucks--big time--and I'm not sure I'll ever bother with coming out to them.
Other than that, however, I'm feeling good. I'm enlarging my network of support, I'm loving my job, my faith is vital, and I have real hope. This year is going to be a good year, and it's going to be a pivotal year on many levels. Life one year--even a few months--from now is going to look much different and I cannot even imagine what will happen within the next year. These are exciting times.. and I'm ready.