Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home, Silence, More Self-Observance

I just moved a few states over back to where most of this group sojourns and lives for most of the year at a time.  It involved a long drive up with my older brother, with which I had plenty of good conversation, and little of the bad, thankfully. There was a brief moment where gay issues were brought up. I explained that even with my boyfriend, I still could look around and think that a few men and women were attractive enough to date and fall in love with. I'm in love with my boyfriend to the point that I no longer care.

With a little bit of trepidation, he started to explain that he still believed that Packer was right in a controversial talk last October--that being LGBT was all psychological and a choice. I wanted to shut him down, and I wanted to just tell him to not be so judgmental on things that he knew nothing about and to leave my judgment alone. In retrospect, that would have been a logical thing to say, but it would have just started up more anger between us with six hours of driving left to go, less than a foot apart from each other in the gray interior of our little silver Honda Civic. We were separated by little more than water, pretzels, bananas, and our MP3 players.

I sighed, and let out something that I hope I can always remember. "I know your views on it, and you know mine. You know that I don't agree and I know that you don't really want to know much more than that. I would never want to put my beliefs down your throat, and to do so is something that neither of us believe in. Let's just move on, because I don't want to have this argument."

To my surprise, nothing more was said, and I inwardly exhaled a massive sigh of relief.
It's reflective of what my personality and self-expression has been like over the last year. I do my best to avoid fights, confrontations, and anything that might provoke my bottled-up anger to rip out at someone.

I've been very angry at various things for a very long time, and it's all I can do sometimes to just be snarky and to just be sarcastic and grin like I know everything that's going on. I managed to get out of school with few prospects, an intense desire just to run away from everything, and huge frustrations over various things. One thing that frustrated me was that I hadn't found any peace concerning my sexuality. Some days, I'm a nymphomaniac, and others, I feel like a total asexual, and I feel that it could be that way forever. Despite hours and hours of psychotherapy, the thing that brings me peace over getting sexually abused as a small child and being emotionally abused for a good portion of my life is having a boyfriend.

Yay! Sounds like another typical LDS student here in the valley, right? God forbid I go without one, that might mean I'd have to WORK for myself or risk a lower rank in heaven when my mortal coil wriggles off of my iridescent, flamboyant soul!

Man, I gotta lay off the sarcasm thing; it tastes worse than vodka in my mouth.

Being autistic does lead to a lot of problems with self-expression, due to the fact that self-expression is a two-way street. You've got to have an audience for your questions and wondering and yearnings.
But then again, I've just shut myself off in many ways--telling myself that I don't care because I've had so many things happen when I've ended up getting arguments when trying to figure things out or in getting advice.

I moved back here because I wanted a place to call home, not to call 'my folks' house' or 'that house on the curvy street at the bottom of the hill.' I wanted a place where I don't walk on eggshells or kowtow to a god and religion I don't believe in. Somewhere with understanding, acceptance, and care for more than just your dishes or your outfit that you're wearing--real concern for the person next to you simply because you live with them. Some may say that I'm describing a family, but I feel that the family I was raised with was bound by duty and fear--more so than love. If that's what a family is like, yes, I want to have a set of roommates that can resemble a family. I wanted a place to be myself, and I'm just two days away from moving into a place where I'll have my own room and my own silence to question and conquer.

Many of us LGBT people will be stuck in various forms of liminality many times over until we find a place that's safe, warm, joyous, and good to be in. Not only that, there will be many more times where we're travelling in harsh conditions (of various sorts, physical and emotional and otherwise) to keep those places. For some, that may be the house and household of their biological family. For others, it's friends, and for some, colleagues. For my mentor in college, it was his home in Orem, UT and his home in Vishakhapatnam, India that he built brick by brick with his own hands. For some of my best friends over the years, it has been in the locales of internet forums and in quietly sent messages across the wired and wireless expanses.

Good luck in finding and keeping that place that you call home.


  1. Amber, you have such a way with words. I love your writing. I just want to pick out some of these lines and keep them :)

    Also, I find the home thing interesting. Lately I've noticed that "home" has become my mom's house and I don't really know why I say that. Perhaps because I have a lot of places i can call home. My provo apartment. My little basement "room" at my aunt's house. The mountains. Yes, that one seems the most like home.

    Isn't there a little primary song that says home is where the heart is? or something like that...well, perhaps home for me is my chest cavity.

  2. Also, I think it really depends on how one chooses to interpret Packer's talk. First of all, he didn't say specifically homosexuality. EVERYONE just inferred that bit. And second, he was saying that God wouldn't give people some pre-set inborne tendencies that they couldn't overcome. The word overcome doesn't mean (if he were actually speaking about homosexuality) that we have to stop being gay. There are just things we have to overcome--destroying ourselves over the fact, for example.

    Perhaps I am just making things up because I have a lot of hope for the church and the people in it, despite my personal position on doctrines and such.

  3. I wish you didn't have to deal with all the pressure, Amber. I love you just the way you are and hope you know you can always talk to me, if all else fails (not that I'm saying it will, and I totally understand if you never come to me to talk-and you can tell me to not say anything, too). I don't think Packer's talk embodies the Church's opinions, although there's that faction in it. And yes, Packer totally meant what he implied (which makes it all the more controversial and extremist). But I think there are some things we won't overcome in this life, and I trust that it will work itself out in the next life. I believe Christ died to make everyone whole, to give us his peace. And in God's eyes, we are all wonderful, priceless people, and our struggles don't define us. He doesn't hate us, or judge us, or lecture us. He understands all of our problems, and his judgments are just. Seeing ourselves and others and life in general through his eyes, there is no hatred, no pressure, just love and joy and sorrow, and the ability to lean on Christ, and to accept ourselves and others because we are accepted and acceptable with all our faults. We work towards becoming more like Christ, understanding that it's a path to happiness, and that it will take a lifetime to get there, maybe even more. The judgments of others are temporary, and often wrong. I believe this with all my heart, and have experiences to strengthen that belief. Don't give up on the Church because of the members. This world isn't perfect, and neither are members of the Church, and one day it won't be a problem anymore. The only prerequisite belief for baptism is to believe in Christ. Having the Holy Ghost to guide us and tell us whether that doctrine and other doctrines are correct is the next step, and being true to that voice and our God-given light and knowledge, in a way, trumps Conference talks, etc. There are a lot of troubling things to think about in the Church, but as long as I remain true to the basics, and have faith in Christ, I think I'll be okay. The Gospel, or good news, is salvation through Christ. Getting into all this other stuff is secondary. I don't mean to lecture, but I do want to tell you what I believe, because it makes me happy, and I want you to be happy, too. I hate people sometimes... but I find relief from that feeling by seeing it through the light of the gospel.