In The Beginning
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
Having never really being able to process everything I’ve gone through for the last 30+ years, you can’t possibly imagine what this has done to my mind and body. Just sharing a little bit yesterday left me vomiting and with a migraine as I lay trying to sleep last night. So…..I will take this process as slow as I can.
The same year that I left my ex-husband several things happened which made it the year from hell. My beloved grandmother passed away in January. The death of my grandmother hurt me so deeply. She was the one I always knew would listen. But, to protect her and the rest of my family, I once again, held secrets about what all was happening in my marriage. I lost several people that I knew between January and March. I soon reunited with some of my birth family. My father, birth mom, 1 full brother and 2 half brothers, some aunts and a grandmother. Finally, I was to have that one situation that a lot of adoptees long for…..the chance to see where and who you came from and why the adoption took place. I can say that the whole nature vs. nurture debate was seen firsthand. My father, while having a great sense of humor, was an alcoholic and was drunk the entire time I was there. Me and my brothers just laughed about similarities. My birth mom appeared to be much more willing to interact with me, than I was with her. I held so much anger and other emotions from her for so long, that when I finally got to meet her, it seemed as though I was frozen. I didn’t know what to say or do. After a while, I seemed to be able to settle my insides down enough to ask her the question, “Why?” Her response….”I was mad at your father and you were an inconvenience in my life at the time.” Even now writing this, my body retracts from the pain of being rejected again. But, as an adoptee, I had to know. The hole to my identity, I thought, was complete. At least I knew. However, I couldn’t shake what she had told me. Secretly, I was devastated. In my mind, I now understood that she really didn’t have the capability to love me. But, in my heart, it was like being taken away from her at birth again. This feeling has continued to the present time. That was 8 years ago that I met her. The wound in my heart, mind and body has never been able to heal from this. The abandonment and rejection feelings are ones that seem to be trapped on a cellular level in my body. On my return, from this trip, I realized that I didn’t have time to deal with these feelings. I was going right back to my abusive marriage and was trying to finish my undergraduate degree in psychology while preparing for graduate school. So, again, the feelings got stuffed. I just put on a happy face and tried to carry on with life. My identity and foundation had been shattered again. Her statement only reconfirmed the thoughts that I had always had about myself. “I wasn’t good enough” and “I was a mistake” and “I’m not wanted.” These thoughts continue today every moment that I’m awake.
In June of that year, I went to “trauma camp” in Santa fe, NM at Life Healing Center. My goal at the time was to get rid of the deep seeded hatred that I had for my birth mom. I had just left my ex-husband and was still too soon to deal with that because I knew that our divorce would probably be a lengthy one. I left “trauma camp” having met some amazing people and feeling like I had gained some strength to carry the load again. But, I did have a renewed sense of peace with the anger I had for my birth mom. Or so I thought. A couple of months later, I had a car wreck with an 18-wheeler that almost killed me. Sorry, no time for processing, I’m still interning for schoolA couple of months later, through a mutual friend, I was introduced to someone who is still one of my best friends. It was a very quick friendship that turned into much more than I was prepared for. She was one I finally felt safe around. She let me cry and didn’t make fun of me. She heard my frustrations and fears while continuing to validate it all. And all she had to do was listen. Quite frankly, that scared me. I didn’t need any professional, at that time, to do what she was already doing for me. I was still very much in “survival mode” so, my questions to her were “So, when do I get to see what you’re really like?”Because, to me, people have been evil until proven differently. I continued to watch her like a predator on prey. I listened to everything she said and how she said it. I was, simply, waiting for her “true colors” to show so that I would have a reason to break off this scary but healthy friendship. But, there was something that I felt about her that I never could shake. I had just left a 14 year very emotionally/sexually abusive relationship. The last thing I wanted was to jump into another one. Not to mention….the fact that most of us are raised to believe that there was this very special person of the opposite sex that would be sent to us from God. Talk about confusing as hell.
I played the “straight” game the majority of my life knowing that I was really gay. Technically, the marriage to my ex-husband wouldn’t have worked anyway because I’m gay. I just wish that I had come out when I was younger. But, being raised in a small southern town with very rigid views, would you have come out? I had enough in my life going on in my teens to not have to worry about that too.
But, I couldn’t help it….I LOVED HER! I was so confused about what to do. I knew the local views and how I was raised. But, for once in my life, this whole relationship felt very safe. I told her that I was “his” sloppy seconds and that I had baggage. She still agreed to a relationship with me. Surely, people would be happy for me that I was finally happy and free from abuse. I wouldn’t say anything close to that was the reaction I got from those closest. By this time, I had heard every kind of rumor about me that I just didn’t care. Now, all of a sudden, I’m the minority at the back of the bus again.
My official night of “coming out” to my parents was less than pleasant. Now, I’m not only the ‘black sheep’ of the family for being a recovering drug addict. I’m also the ‘rainbow sheep’ of the family because I’m gay. It wasn’t a case of being disowned by my family. It was a biblical and societal issue. One family member has left and others just openly shun me when I’m around. But, I love who I love. I was gay when you were straight.
Melody Landrum-Arnold and I got engaged December 24, 2007 after having been in a relationship for 6 months. We were legally married February 2011. We have a beautiful, high energy 2 1/2 year old son who blessed the world the day he was born. We now live in Albuquerque, NM. We both got our Master’s Degree in Counseling at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS. The year 2014 is the first year we’ve gotten to file joint taxes as a “legal” family. But as we would soon see, the troubles within our relationship wouldn’t be totally because of our families…
Next blog will be another “coming out” in a sense. Is there a limit to how many times a person is required to come out of so many closets in one lifetime?