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Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Authenticity


I am a big fan of Dr. Brené Brown.  She has written great stuff that has helped me a lot.  I love that she is a scientist at heart and as a researcher she is able to provide real data to support her ideas about living authentically and loving wholeheartedly.  I'm going to quote her and then explain how these ideas apply to some aspects of my life. 


The following are quotes from Dr. Bown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection.

  • Loving and accepting ourselves are the ultimate acts of courage.
  • Here's what is truly at the heart of Wholeheartedness; Worthy now. Not if. Not when.  We are worthy of love and belonging now.
  • We can only belong when we offer our most authentic selves and when we're embraced for who we are.
  • If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about thing that get in the way.
  • Where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking.  In fact, shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.
  • We need to believe that we can effect change if we want to live and love with our whole hearts.


These are only a few of her many great thoughts and I encourage you to get her book.

I lived for waaaay to long trying very hard to be what someone else thought I should be.  I even adopted this thinking myself to the point where I wanted to be what they wanted me to be.  The problem for me is that this often conflicted with who I am.  The relentless striving for perfection and never attaining it created a lake of shame where I struggled to stay afloat and alive.  


I wanted to be perfectly straight, when in fact I was gay. 
I wanted to be a perfect Mormon, when in fact it was slowing sucking the life out of me.
I wanted to fit into my community, when in fact I disagreed with most everything that was the norm. I was living a very unauthentic life.


The battle was lost from the beginning. The outcome was certain. It was impossible to live as I was doing and stay alive. Those who were supposedly my friends and spiritual advisers led me down the path of self hatred. "Just try harder, just be more perfect", they said. "It's you", they said, "who is not yet good enough or worthy enough". I gave it all I had but it was never enough. 
I gave up the church and now live my own brand of spirituality, which has helped tremendously. I'm trying to live more authentically by voicing my thoughts, dressing as I want, and being who I feel is the best me. I still feel exhausted some times. 
I still live in the same Mormon community and work at the same job (where my boss is member of the bishopric of an LDS congregation). I frequently feel judged as being "different" and out of step with the community norm. The feeling of being judged brings along with it the knowledge that my neighbors think I'm unworthy of belonging to their crowd.
I would love to hang a rainbow pride flag at my house and put up a political poster in my yard for my preferred candidate but honestly, I'm afraid of vandalism from my self righteous community or retaliation at work (neither Utah nor Mormonville have legal protections for anti-gay discrimination). Sometimes I feel hopelessly stuck in Pleasantville.  Pretty pathetic huh?
Dr. Brown's last quotation about the need to believe that we can effect change if we want to live and love with our whole hearts is pretty much where I'm hung up. I have little hope of being able to effect change at church, work, community, or family.  Momonville, UT will ultimately enter the modern age of enlightenment, I can see it coming, but I will be dead before it arrives.


I'm keeping an eye open for a job out of state and away from here. The only thing keeping me here is my family. With the right job I could travel back frequently enough to stay involved in their lives. I don't think it will happen soon but I will keep looking for the right opportunity. When it comes, I'll be moving too fast for the door to hit me on my way out.

    
 

 


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