First off it's really impossible to tell this experience well, because it feels epic. But, here's the short summery. Before that though, thanks for the prayers, wishes, good lucks, and warm hearted vibes from phone, texts, this blog, facebook.... I made it through much better than I might of. If I had done this even one year ago I would have probably come home and at the minimum "cut". But I have not... although my fantasy life about cutting has been REALLY strong in the last two days. I am doing everything I know to care about myself including a lot of laughing last night at a comedy club with my friends L, J, and S. :) (I recommend it - comedy with friends after something this hard).
I awoke at 6:30 a.m., got ready, picked up Jessica at 7:30 a.m. drove two hours to this city were we were meeting. We met at a hotel. I was so anxious and so tense that I can still feel that tension in my body today. My mom said "Tel us your story."
I kept it pretty simple saying some of the typical things like: "I've always felt different." As well as explaining that I said in my letter regarding how I've tried to change and how it helped with self hate to be in counseling and to accept myself. My parents affirmed they don't want me to self hate. I used phrases like "I imagine you fear ___________ " eg. fear promiscuity, or that I won't be christian or or or... I said many of your fears are unfounded but whatever I decide to do in the future will be something I decide. It's uncomfortable to talk about these things with them. I also said that I won't debate scripture with them and that I understand these things differently.
And then it started to get a bit more provocative, specific, and my mom started crying more. In retrospect I started to feel angry, but I was very calm and clear in the moment and used "I statements." The general tone of the conversation was polite, calm, and dialogical which was good. Still, they define temptation as any attraction towards someone of the same sex. My dad kept trying to ask me about attraction. This attraction he tried to put in very male terms that grossed me out. And he put it in the same category as porn. (yuck). I kept saying, "I see this differently." And about five times I said "attraction is a biological phenomenon." Which they don't get at all.
They asked me about church, I said "I've been attending a different one in a different denomination." To which my mom said "I don't like that". She talked about how those denominations are too liberal. I tried to talk about the civil war in the church. They just think I have been led astray. My mom said "Do you think if you hadn't been involved in the gay community in your city..." (GRRRRRRR) I said "There is not one gay community just like there is not one straight community. I also said I am not connected to or associated with any "gay community" I know some other gay people.
There was more, but I'll stop there. The worst part of it and what is currently making me the most angry is that even after I explained healing stuff they still gave me the phone number of a christian counselor and gave me a "Focus on the Family" (christian org.) book called "Restoring sexual Identity, hope for women who struggle with same sex attraction" by Anne Paulk. Which I won't even link to because I am so pissed about it. The first line on the back says "Can a Lesbian Change? Yes!" I don't think I was clear enough about the connection between self hate and my trying to change. I am also angry that they insulted the church that is feeling helpful for me right now. They didn't say "You should change" or "You must not have gone to see the right counselor" or "You did not try hard enough", or "You are stupid or otherwise you would have been able to fix this"... But, their giving the book and phone number and my mom judging the denomination of my new church makes it feel like it.
All will be OK in the end, and in a while I can step back from all this and the anger will get less strong. I'm going to go for a long walk today outside, I will watch movies, talk with friends, and generally be nice to myself.
I feel so sad that because my dad is a pastor they feel they have no one to talk to. I strongly encouraged them to find counseling of any sort anywhere. I am the first person they've known who is gay (that they know of). It is not healthy for them to be so isolated and it makes our relationship harder because I can't care for them very well when it comes to this.
Also I gave my parents this Tony Campolo sermon which is a bit more conservative than I am but it's a really great step and he says some amazing things I hope christians and the church can hear!