Sunday, November 17, 2013

Guest Post: On Silence

Hi, everyone! I'm your Saturday guest blogger, though I used to be a writer here so I'm not technically a guest, and probably I won't publish this until Saturday night because I'm the slowest, laziest person. Anyway, my name is Kylie, and I used to be the bisexual Sunday blogger until I unexpectedly stopped writing without telling anyone why. So this is my make-up post to explain and apologize, and hopefully reach some helpful conclusions about what led to my silence.

First of all, I stopped writing when I got engaged over the summer. For one thing, planning a wedding is time-consuming and stressful, even when you're think that you're not that into weddings so it won't be time-consuming and stressful. Sadly for everyone, that mentality never pans out, which was disappointing. Also, I'm a woman who got engaged to a straight man, so I had all those anxieties bisexual people have about being invisible and being judged by the lgbtq community for appearing to be in a traditionally straight marriage and doing traditional things like planning a wedding which is rude because most members of the lgbtq community can't do so. So that was the first anxiety.

The second anxiety related to my parents, who started reading my blog. In a way, that was good to know, because really all my blog posts in some way related to my anxieties about my parents, and really I guess I was secretly hoping they'd be reading it all along, since I couldn't talk to them in person about all the things I wanted them to hear from me anyway. But then I got worried that I'd been being mean to them, and I felt too insecure to come back and write knowing my more specific audience that I could visualize and cared about and whose feelings I really didn't want to be hurt.

The third anxiety is the one I'm actually going to write about a little bit, because I'm still not sure what to do about the first and second ones. This one relates to my then-bishop, who, I should clarify, was a very nice, very sincere person who, I think, really, really, really wanted to help me. So I told him I was bisexual, and he did a little digging on me, and found this blog. I'm not surprised, and I've always written this blog with a BYU/LDS audience in mind, since those are the communities I belong to, and I hadn't tried to hide anything I'd written or been ashamed or embarrassed about it. But suddenly, this man I hadn't known until a few months earlier had read every single one of my blog posts, and this led to him asking me if I'd ever had sex with a woman in spite of me telling him that I'd been in a committed relationship with the same man for four years and telling him already that I obeyed and always had obeyed the Mormon law of chastity, i.e. no premarital sex with anyone. He sent me to meet with the stake president, or the person higher up in him than authority. I met with this man too, and continued to be very uncomfortable being asked questions about my sexuality and if I'd ever had sex with a woman (because heterosexual people don't know they're heterosexual until they sleep with a member of the opposite sex and know with absolute certainty they're super, really, definitely straight), and so on and so forth.

Again, I really believe that both men were doing what they thought was best for me (and doing what you feel is best without consulting the person you're trying to help, even when you really, really, really believe you're helping and being so kind and so nice, is an entirely different issue that I could go on and on about). And the problem might not lie so much with them as with the overall establishment's need to figure out how to proceed with people like me who, say, want a temple recommend but are comfortable being bisexual. The end result is: I became embarrassed and ashamed of what I had written here, and in attempt to appear more worthy to the people who felt responsible for judging and questioning my worthiness instead of letting me be responsible for my own worthiness or accept my own answers about it as true, I let them kind of take over, and stopped writing on the blog without telling anyone why.

So. That's the long story made short, eliminating the many sleepless nights of crying and crying about how these older men had asked me these really specific questions about my sexuality that I didn't feel like they had any right to ask and that made me feel awful, being a rather quiet and prudish person to begin with, and that made me feel embarrassed and ashamed of who I was, and that led to me unintentionally deciding that the easiest course of action was silence and inaction over anything else.

The issue is that I didn't actually feel unworthy, and it's that I'm not actually ashamed of anything I've put on this blog. I put my real thoughts and feelings here, and I don't think there's anything here to be embarrassed of. I'm sometimes rash, and what I put here doesn't convey what I always think 100% of the time, and my opinions on things are likely to change. But a depressed, bisexual adult woman in a committed relationship should be allowed to say what she wants on a website created by a BYU student specifically to "break the silence" without being questioned on her worthiness as a human being or as a spiritual person.

Anyway, I'm a little bit scared to post this because that whole weird thing happened in May and it was just a wretched, wretched experience that made me feel horrible, which is kind of a terrible way to feel when you get engaged in May and just want to be excited about being with the person you're with. I also don't want to make my parents sad, and I don't want to make the bishop or stake president feel bad, because they really were doing what they thought was best, even though it ended up being so horrible and traumatic and the worst. So. There's that. But even though I'm kind of scared and putting this out here makes me feel vulnerable all over again, I wanted to put my experience here because every once in a while, I remember it, and instead of feeling like crying, I feel like I want to do something about it. I'm an anxious person as it is, and if there's anything I can do to alleviate that anxiety and be less anxious, I'd like to do that thing. So my final thought after this whole long rambling thing is that sometimes you let other people silence you, and, as my therapist would say, sometimes it's okay to ride that silence and not to fight that battle right now, and leave it for later when you're more equipped to deal with it. And sometimes it's time to be loud and make your voice heart and talk about the ways you got hurt, especially so the system can know about it and try to deal with that, so that's kind of what I'm doing now, even though it's in a long, rambling kind of way.

Anyway, thanks for letting me share this here. I'm really excited about all these new bloggers and to see what you guys are talking about here, because it's valuable and good. I'm going to go finish watching Love Actually and probably cry myself to sleep, mostly because it's cute and not because I'm sad. Which is nice.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I am so glad you shared. And also…not to pick at your personal religious choices, but the whole thing where these old men become so interested in young women identifying as bi or lesbian and then asking them all kinds of very specific questions about that is one (of very very many) huge reason why I left the LDS church.

    Anyway, Kylie, I love you. And if you ever want to be a blogger again, you are more than welcome. Also, I'm sorry I couldn't make it to the wedding. You and Jon are so great and I love you both and I hope you are so very very happy. And, also, even though I can sometimes maybe a little bit be that kind of gay person who thinks that it is so dumb and possibly unfair and possibly a cop-out for bi people to marry into a straight, traditional relationship…mostly, I'm realizing that I can be just as much of a hateful bigot as any other straight, intensely Christian homophobe. And knowing you and seeing you with Jon has definitely made me look at things differently, and opened my eyes to the possibility and true existence of such fluid and varying sexualities.

    So, what I'm saying is, thank you for breaking the silence and sharing your experiences. I've definitely gained a lot from them.