Saturday, June 18, 2011

Superheros and Double Identities

A poem by Rita Mae Brown addresses:

You who have wept in direct sunlight,
Who have hungered in invisible chains

Today that sounds like me.

This weekend is Pride. I'm not going to it because I wouldn't have anyone to go with, the parade itself is on Father's Day (who planned that one?), and getting out of the house would mean lying to my parents. Not only can a lie like that spiral out of control, but I'm a horrible liar.
I'm depressed. I don't have any close friends within 600 miles. I'm only out to a few people here (every friend who you tell who has access to your parents increases the likelihood of a slip-up that would potentially devastate your relationship with your parents). I'll be home for a little less than 2 more months. I've submitted over 20 job applications with 1 interview so far, where I was rejected because I would not be around long enough. My dad said I should have lied and told them I would be available until November. I feel like I'm not doing anything productive with my life and I'm not sure where I want to be going. I'm tired of my major and about 12 years away from getting my BA. When I was at BYU, I had to listen to naive students blather about hurtful things. At home, I get to listen to my father say "that's so gay", attempt to create ad hominum attacks about homosexuals rights advocates, and say all-around hurtful things. I'm not happy.

Hold Me by And Then I Turned Seven says:

The things we face each day are becoming more intense.
The never ending battle with things that make no sense.
The constant pushing from our parents to succeed.
We don't know where to turn, we don't know who to believe.
Problems keep happening from the brain and to the heart
And everything that you have just seems to fall apart.
When giving up seems like it's the only thing to do but with you here I'll get through.

I feel this song. Every day I procrastinate telling my parents the truth, it becomes a more intense pain. My dad has been laid off , my mom is working more hours than is physically possible while trying to manage the house, my sister gets teased at school and hates the kids, and my brother is a 15 year old, desperate for autonomy. I know my parents are stressed out. I don't want to add another thing to their list. I have to be an example to my siblings.

Double Identities
Last Sunday I waited in my pew after Sacrament meeting for a path to clear so I could go to Sunday School. While I was waiting, I remarked to a ward-member "If I could teleport, I would teleport to the foyer!" As we waited, we continued joking about where we would teleport if we had superpowers and she said "Unfortunately we don't have secret identities."
I gave an awkward laugh and found my seat in Sunday School. I feel like I have a secret identity all too often. It isn't because I'm a liberal in the church or a feminist in the church or even a gay person in the church. In life, everyone does. No one I know would readily admit that they masturbate, that their mother committed suicide, or that they grew up in an abusive family.
I have a double identity. Right now, I feel worthless, helpless, restless, and unwanted. That's not the mask I wear at church or out in the world though.
Big or small, everyone has one. How many people would prefer to "drinketh damnation to [their] soul." (3 Ne. 18:28–29) through unworthy partaking of the sacrament if the other choice is for someone in their ward to see them *not* partake of the sacrament? How many of us have partaken of the sacrament when we were not in the proper state of mind and preparation to appreciate it because we were afraid of judgement? How many people force a smile as they come to church because they want to fulfill the perfect picture they are "supposed" to be?

We choose what we're willing to show the world about us. Choices can free others from feeling so alone but caution must be practiced. Heroes are made when you make a choice.


  1. You should check out my friends blog - he recently came out as gay to everyone and is also LDS. His blogs are insightful (to me at least).

    Talking about the Double Identity phenomenon is quite appropriate for me. Last week I gave a talk in church. I talked about my experience with severe depression and how unreasonably sucky that was, how painful it was, and how it changed my life. I was apprehensive to talk about it - because every one else's talk had been more happy-go-lucky, "man is that he might have joy" stuff. I may have alienated myself from some people, but afterwards there were several people who told me they knew exactly how it felt, and they were thankful I had addressed it.

    I realize that I had less to lose in the situation, my family was well aware of my struggles with depression, but the thing about letting people get to know the real you is, you will lose people who are less like you but find the people more like you.

  2. Keith and I run in the same circles--I've seen him at a couple of parties and we have a bunch of mutual friends. I'll definitely put some time into his blog!

    That's really heroic! I'm glad that you gave that talk--that someone is talking about it. Putting it all on the line can be really hard, I'm impressed that you were willing to be open. Hopefully that will help the people in your ward.

    The Lord's church is not for the betterment of the Lord--like the Sabbath, it is in order for his children to be happy. The old saying is that church is not a museum for the perfect but a hospital for the sick (or something like that). Our Father wants us to be happy--so why is it that in His church we feel the need to hide so much?

    You still took a risk, which is hard. And I definitely like letting people know the real you--it both helps those who haven't dealt with that see part of the challenge and you know for a fact that the people still in your life are the ones that you can get emotionally attached to and you won't be rejected when they find out the truth.