How a gay woman found true belonging by embracing her unique self.
United, we stand.
Divided, we are merely a distraction.
When this idea first came to me a few years ago, I related it to organizations, communities, societies, or families that might stand together. As time went on, I realized this statement was most significant when applied to my life experience as a gay person.
United, I stand. Divided, I am merely a distraction.
From Misfit to Belonging
I was divided as a teenager when I realized I was drawn more to women than men. I had feelings for a woman a little older than me, yet the church said I was going to hell. When I was not yet 14, my grandmother actually mourned that she would not see me in heaven.
My parents went to a mental health clinic to report my homosexuality. I was terrified that people in white uniforms were going to take me away. It was so clear I didn't belong anywhere. I was a misfit.
I found Unity spiritual teachings when I was 19. For the first time, I heard that God loves everyone. How was this possible when all my life I had heard about a God I wanted to love yet, based on what I was told, a God who wasn't for me?
In time my minister noticed that I was volunteering for everything and attending every activity, so one night she invited me to dinner. We were discussing food choices, and I interjected, “I want you to know I am gay.” She continued to talk about food. I said, “Did you not hear me?”
She said, “Yes, but in Unity being gay does not matter. God loves and accepts everyone.” In that moment, I felt as if I belonged. I took probably the fullest breath of life I had taken since I was born. I felt undivided, united.
Going Beyond Belonging
The longer I have lived, the more I have realized that as long as we have an unresolved need to belong, we will always be weakening our strengths, possibilities, and self-esteem. Our emotions are often so deep, the pain so great, that even as mature adults the feelings underneath are making subtle decisions for us.
Needing to belong was my shadow. It called my name until I was more than 50 years old.
Then one day I had the greatest epiphany of my life. I suddenly realized and believed I am an original and unrepeatable creation of God.This means I will never belong. Yippee!
The angels sang, and I was resurrected. I claimed my space from misfit to mystic. I laughed for an hour, and I have been in joy ever since. My entire life made sense, and for the first time ever, I was undivided and absolutely clear.
The Freedom of Subtracting Fear from the Self
In his book The Thought Exchange, David Friedman teaches that our frequent thoughts of fear or discomfort are only sensations; they are not you.
I started practicing this awareness.
One day on an airplane, a woman seated beside me started conversing and asked, “What does your husband do?” The familiar sensation took over my whole body, but I stayed with the feeling and said to her, “I don’t have a husband, I have a wife.”
No one died when I said it. Most important, I didn’t die a little by changing the subject or shutting down my heart. I embraced the sensation of freedom.
I’ve heard that each time we share our story, the power and pain of the story divides by the number of people we share it with.
This experience on the plane gave me courage to move forward, so I shared my story with the new members class at my church. No one died, and no one quit the church. People actually applauded.
The next Sunday morning, I told the whole church community, and they gave me three standing ovations while I was talking. Two weeks later, the Lifetime television channel called. I was interviewed on a morning show called The Balancing Act about how I had recovered my self-esteem, which I believe is born in each of us.
I was free from the closet for my lifetime. My life is dedicated to teachings that unite and heal the divide within.