sense (and sensibility)

Well, this will be my last post for Pride Month. Thank you for being a part of the journey and I hope that the past few posts have been encouraging. I’m going to attempt to end this series on a positive note. I started trying to tweet about this but then realized I needed to say more.

If there’s one thing we can use more of in this world, it’s good things and good people. Sometimes I don’t think I deserve goodness. Probably due to being told I am not good (there is none good, etc.).

Lately I’ve been overwhelmed with all the bad things that have happened to me but also overwhelmed with all the GOOD THINGS. I don’t even know what to do. It’s so much and it’s all so good. No one ever tells you what to do with the good things.

I’m the kind of person that’s not good at expressing feelings verbally. I can write about feelings all day long but it’s uncomfortable. I’m much better at telling you what I’m thinking than what I’m feeling.

So I’m just gonna say…let yourself have those good moments and good feelings for people and things. Let yourself feel. ENJOY AND CHERISH THE GOOD.

I often don’t even think I deserve good relationships (in romantic ways or otherwise). I don’t know how to approach crushes because I don’t think I deserve to be happy. If you’re in the same place…Guess what? We do deserve good things. Maybe if I repeat it enough times I’ll believe it.

We’re queer. We’re here. We can do good, be good, and receive good. Feelings are messy but don’t forget to let yourself feel.

We’ve been abused, told we deserve hell, that we don’t deserve love. Let me tell you:

We deserve love, we deserve a world that lets us live in safety. We deserve kindness and nothing less. Nothing. Less.

You deserve love and you deserve good.

Not all of us love the same way. But take chances and reach out for good things and good people in your life. Surround yourself with goodness and kindness. You are all amazing and beautiful and anyone who says you’re not, can honestly fuck off.

You deserve love. You deserve good. We all deserve this.

Enjoy and cherish the good.

You Know Who You Are

“I have crossed the horizon to find you. I know your name.

They have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you.

This is not who you are! You know who you are.” ~ Moana, Know Who You Are

(Yes, this blog post is inspired by my most recent viewing of Moana–basically one of the best animated films ever.)

This month I’ve tried to focus my writing on Pride Month and affirming how amazing all of us LGBTQ+ folks are. And of course, I’ve tried to remind myself and you that even with all the really awful things that are happening in the world, we’re not alone and are in this together.

For this one…I mostly want to say, thank you. Thank you for being yourselves and affirming other people. I would not be the person I am today without many of you reading this. You could tell me…”You know who you are” and love me in ways I didn’t know how to love myself yet. You have been my family when my own family has not sought to understand or love me in the ways that affirmed me as a human being.

I know…I KNOW it’s all hard. It really is. Life sucks sometimes. And it sucks to not be able to be who you are. But if you’re still figuring that out and need reassurance: “You know who you are.” Be who you are. You are wonderful, fantastic, beautiful people. Even those of you I don’t know as well.

You’ve probably had people tell you things that tear you down and break your spirit. Don’t let them. Homophobia can tear you apart from the outside voices of people saying you’re not real, you’re not enough. It can tear you apart on the inside as you tell yourself those things. So I can’t emphasize enough. You are real. You are valid. You are enough. You know who you are.

I’m feeling a lot of things I’m not sure I can express in words. I just want you all to be safe and loved and cared for. This is a shitty world and a lot of shitty things are happening in it. But you, my dear friends–this is not who you are. Some of you I’ve not met in person. I wish I could hug you and tell you this. So this is my cyber hug post, I guess. Let these words lift you up and know: All these horrible things do not define you. You know who you are.

You are not alone.

You know who you are.



When It’s All Just A Lot

Settle in for this one. I’m unsure what content warnings to put on a post for having a complicated, painful relationship with your dad.

“Honor your father and mother” or as I came to understand it: Don’t question what I do, say, or believe because I’m your dad. The fact that I feel the need to preface where this post is going with, yes, I do love my parents, says a lot. I don’t even want to write this post. But Sunday is Father’s Day, so I’m gonna have to reckon with that somehow.

How do you honor your father when he would see you as less than human if you start dating women? How do you honor someone who is more concerned with you being “right” than you being loved.

I am the oldest of three daughters in my family, which means…I’m the one who made my parents parents. I look like my dad. Growing up, folks would say I looked so much like my dad and would even call me “Little Wesley,” or “Wesley Jr.” Which…you can think is cute if you want, but I’d reply to most people with “NO…I look like Holly,” as if to assert my personhood and independence early on. My parents also thought I was going to be a boy and were originally going to name me Daniel.

Then, as it turned out, I was a very gender non-conforming kid who got called “a tomboy” often for hating to wear dresses, playing with action figures, etc. Yet, I had the sensitivity and gentleness of a little girl, so I managed to blend in just enough which being completely unaware of my queerness.

My dad is a sensitive man who feels the need to assert his manliness. He can cry at the drop of a hat and he can spew hateful rhetoric in the same breath. I remember being both terrified and in awe of him as a kid. He taught me about Jesus, how to hunt and fish, and how to hate myself.

There’s not an easy way to talk about my dad. He’s a complex character in my life–especially right now. I love him. I used to worship him. But now I’m afraid to be in the same room as him sometimes. This Father’s Day…I’m both thankful for him and resentful of him.


Note: I have tried writing this post three different times, and I feel like I’m reigning in a lot of my anger because I’m supposed to be “respectful” of my dad. So…in case you need the reminder, you DO NOT have to attempt to reason with parents who are making you feel unsafe. You do not have to stay on close contact with them or contact them at all if that’s what keeps you safe.

I’m currently not in a safe environment and am in process of getting out. Especially since the last time my dad tried to have a heart to heart with me, he tried to insult me at every level and “would rather be dead” than see me “with a woman.” That is neither acceptable nor do I have to try living with that. You don’t either.

Also…a part I’ve been holding onto for a while is that I’m pretty sure he was aware of our neighbor sexually abusing me when I was a kid and he didn’t do anything and ignored the signs that it was happening. Not to mention, he knew shit was going down with my abusive boyfriend, and did. nothing. His words have been violent and his silence has also been destructive. I know…I grew up in a church culture where this was acceptable; where he was taught this was acceptable. But I’m not going to excuse it regardless of his good traits. Silence is complicity in abuse. Words can be violent.

We’re Still Here

Grief is a strange thing. Somehow you feel so many emotions come rushing in at once…and yet time seems to come to a screeching halt. Everything moves in slow motion.

Most people remember exactly where they were on 9/11. In fact, it became a way to talk about the tragedy as a nation processed its grief. The Pulse shootings are like that for me, and probably for a majority of the LGBTQ community, I imagine. I remember where I was, what I was doing, what I was feeling.

The news came through on Twitter early Sunday morning. I woke up randomly at 5 am that day–like I had a feeling something was off. At that point, the reports were just coming in. I remember feeling like I could barely breathe and yet somehow managing to get out of bed that morning and go to church. But the world stopped for me that day. I can only imagine how much worse it was for families of victims and the queer community in Orlando.

You know who helped me process that grief? Others in my queer family who were also grieving. When tragedies affect an entire community, the wounds heal but they leave scars. Long after the media is on the scene, long after the photos of the aftermath show up online, long after they deliberate about why the killer did what he did and whether his religion mattered. The scars stay. You end up a different person than before the trauma.

Having experienced multiple traumatic life events, thanks to PTSD, I’m reliving all the feelings a year later as if it’s happening all over again. See, witnessing traumatic events can do that. Especially if they directly impact you and your community.

Some of you don’t know what this is like. Churches still don’t want to respond…other than to send “thoughts and prayers.” God damn it. You can have your thoughts and prayers. But the LGBTQ community can’t let it go. The families of the victims can’t let it go. The survivors of the shootings can’t let it go.

Because. this. could. happen. again. Nothing has changed to prevent something like this. We’re still fighting. We’re still here. There may have been brief remorse for the treatment of queer folks. But not enough. Not enough for Christian parents to love their queer kids and accept them for who they are.

We’re still out here. And we’re still being killed or destroying ourselves. A way we can honor the victims of the Pulse shooting is to do something. When is this enough for you to do something? We’re out here fighting not just for marriage rights. No. That was one step in a much bigger fight. For the right to exist as we are without getting murdered. For the right to love and be loved without death and assault being the result. For the right to be who we are without fearing for our safety.

Trans women of color fought for us to have the rights we have today. We’re not done fighting.

To the allies:

We keep fighting for more. Because all you allies out there–your ally-ship is shit if you aren’t out there fighting with us. NOTHING’S CHANGED. At least, not for the better. Why do we have to keep waiting until you and your other straight cisgender friends are comfortable with us existing?

I can’t go to protests without having a panic attack. Maybe it would be possible if some of my friends stepped up who CAN protest without panic attacks stood by my side. You want to do something? Link arms with me and protest. Stand up. Resist.

I thought I’d feel overwhelmed by sadness today. I do, but at the moment, it’s all channeled towards anger that shit hasn’t changed. We’re still being murdered and our civil rights are being stripped away little by little under the current administration.

We’re still here.



Sometimes You Have to Bleed

(Content Note: for Suicide, Homophobia, and Self-Harm)

“Sometimes to get something beautiful, you have to bleed. Bleed out onto the pages of your story until you think there’s nothing left. But there is something left. There is hope.” (from 6/5/15 Journal Entry)

It’s been 4 years since coming out to myself as gay this week. And 5 since finally coming to terms that I was not straight. I’d be lying if I told you I thought I’d be here and alive today. Because even when I was writing something semi-hopeful, I thought to myself that it might be better to be dead than be gay.

I thought maybe if I was repentant over my sexuality, that would be enough. If I was celibate, that would be enough. If I was in ministry, that would be enough. And still…

On the outside, I’m looking inside

Hoping you’ll see the tempest in me.

I am wounded, with an arrow stuck in my chest

Don’t you know I need this wave rushing in

Because on the outside I am looking inside

Hoping you’ll calm the storm raging inside of me

I am drowning, with an ocean filling my lungs

Don’t you know I need this love rushing in

Sometimes I had to bleed…metaphorically speaking. Sometimes even literally. The pain gets to be too much. Sometimes the only way out of the darkness is to embrace the darkness, it seems.

Let me turn the lights out so you can see the stars

The stars will shine on my beating, bleeding heart.

I do not understand. I do not understand myself.

I go outside…but I put myself on a shelf.

I do not understand but I long to be so very understood

I am in the dark, searching for the light.

I sit in the darkness, my thoughts filling up the night

I live in the dark, so please, turn on the light.

Because all around me is night (poem from journal entry on 9/6/15)

Still trying to figure out how I was such a goody two shoes Christian at this point, but this was started pre-Twitter.

Also, journal entries during and following the Pulse shooting, just…whew. It’s taken a long time to get here. And there are a few about me wanting to find love that I may share in the weeks to come, but reflecting back on that time in my life feels like I’m looking at a totally different person.

People keep saying that it gets better. And maybe, just maybe, I finally believe them, because now I’m not sitting in the crushing darkness alone.


Pride (and some prejudice)

I had something completely different planned for this week’s post, but I’m not sure I have the energy. So…forthcoming, there will be a potential blog series on deconstructing specific bible passages that have harmed people because of how they’ve been interpreted. Meanwhile, this’ll be more of a stream of consciousness post (which I kind of do anyway) on it being Pride month and how I’m feeling about it.

Last year was the first year I ever did anything for Pride. By do something, I mean, two of my closest friends and I made rainbow t-shirts and watched Parks and Rec. It was the day before the Pulse shooting. Doing tie-dye shirts was all I was brave enough to do because of being pretty closeted outside of Twitter and this blog. And then…the next day, 49 people were brutally murdered and 53 others wounded at a gay nightclub in Orlando. A place that was supposed to be a safe haven quickly turned into a place of death.

I grew up being told not to be prideful…that pride of any sort was a sin. Maybe even the first sin committed by an angel we commonly refer to as Satan or the Devil. Don’t be proud. Pride leads to a fall. Don’t prioritize your self or your needs. Sacrifice all that you are so others can be served. You should hate sin. Love the sinner. But what happened to me like many who grew up in the church is that we just learned to hate ourselves.

There was no room to see myself as anything but a sinner. The self-deprecation started early. I was a depressed 12 year old who started experiencing anxiety most of the time and chronic pain all of the time.

And when I finally got to a point where I could love myself as I was including the gay part of me…LGBTQ+ people get massacred in the worst mass shooting in American history. Yet, I found a community of people grieving with me and found that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way about myself.

Almost a year later, we queer folks are still. here. Maybe our current administration will never fight for us. But we will fight for each other and for love and kindness in the face of hatred.

I don’t know how to feel about Pride this year. I do know I’m not alone. I do know that even though I’m in the midst of a depressive episode right now and my chronic pain is pretty awful, I’m not alone. We can be proud to have made it this far. To have not given up. They tell me our love isn’t right. That it’s perverted and bad. All I know is, I’ve experienced more love from my queer brothers and sisters than most folks in churches who claim God loves me but fail to see my humanity and love as valid. I see God in you. God who loves us and includes us and gives us a seat at the table when no one else will.

I may not know how to be proud of myself yet for all of who I am, but I am proud of you. You’re still here. And you’re still fighting. And you are not alone.