The Price of Hate

I wanted to do this
In my own time
To wait until I was ready
Until I had the answers
Rather than questions
I’m still asking myself

I wanted to do this
When I felt secure
To wait until I’d talked
With those I owe
Deep levels of trust
To share face to face
Or at least Skype to Skype

I wanted to do this
After I’d told my family
To wait until the perfect moment
Had revealed itself
And I was ready for
Every potential response

I wanted to do this
When I knew how to explain
Forty years of truth
Buried so deep
All I knew was brokenness

There is an awkwardness in
Maintaining silence
My safety net of procrastination
Wrapped tightly
Trying to contain the
Chaos of rediscovery

But something happened

Ten thousand children
Thrown away
And my silence feels like complicity
My safety net of waiting
Feels wrapped around my throat
Taking away my breath
Cutting off the words I ache to speak

There is no right time
I may never be ready
I may never be able to explain
There is only the moment now
And in this moment
My safety net must unravel
Else I lose the ability to speak

Heart broken

Ten thousand children
That’s how much some people hate
People who also claim belief in a god
Whose very scriptures teach
Love your neighbour as yourself
Care for orphans and widows
In their distress

Ten thousand children
Starving and in need
Support ripped out from
Under their precious lives
An act of hate
Called righteousness
In the name of protecting
Orthodoxy
From the scourge
Of homosexuality

How can people
Called to be like the god they claim
Who has named himself Love
Hate us at such a price to
Ten thousand children

Tears fall as words flow
Years of learning
Straight was right
Queer was sin
My heart breaks
Am I the only one
Who feels the stab of
Soul-crushing guilt
As if my existence
Is somehow to blame for
Ten thousand children
Dropped in a heartbeat of hatred
When one organization
Makes the tiniest movement
Towards acknowledging our rights
As human beings
Created in the image
Of the divine

This is also the price of hate
But unlike ten thousand children
I have a choice
I will not pay their price
I will not take on that guilt
Being queer does not
Equal broken
Nor does it mean excluded
From the faith of my childhood

I will stand up
I will proudly claim my truth
I will meet their fear
With love
For myself
For the world around me
Even for those who hate
Together may we stand in the gap
For ten thousand innocent children

—–

If you haven’t heard about what happened that caused ten thousand children to lose their sponsors through World Vision in the United States because a powerful group of people who call themselves Christians decided fighting against gay rights was more important than caring for the most vulnerable among us, you can read the details here, here or here, just to point you to a few.

I already sponsor a child through Compassion Canada whom I plan to continue sponsoring until she ages out of the program. I am pondering sponsoring another child through World Vision Canada which follows Canadian laws regarding non-discrimination.

—–

I first posted this poem on my blog, Recreating My World on April 7, 2014. Sharing the post on facebook was my coming out. I am so grateful for the love and support I have received from family and friends.

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Afraid

My brain says
It’s no one’s business
But my own

Why do I need
To tell everyone
Their assumptions
About me are
Flawed

Why should I need
To announce
I’m queer
Not straight

Why can’t I simply
Live my life
Love who I love
With no need of
Explanation

On the surface
That path should be
Available
Completely reasonable

My sexuality
Is my business
The only other
Who needs to know
Someone I have not met
Yet

My heart says
I can’t move beyond
Dreaming

If I’m afraid to claim
The truth of who I am
If I’m afraid of
Needing to explain

Forty-thee years of denying
Forty-three years of hiding
Not just from them
But even harder
To comprehend
From myself

That’s the question
I don’t want to answer
How could I
Live my life
So completely
Unaware
Repressed
Oblivious
Hidden
Lost
Broken
Afraid

Striving
To be someone
I never have been

Rather than being
The me
The world around
Said was sinner
Flawed
Disgusting
Abomination
Hated by God

So I hid
So deep
In such darkness
It took
Forty-three years
To find my way back
To myself

But I am still afraid

One Choice

Artwork in photograph by Kelly Rae Roberts

terrified
of not belonging
lesson learned in childhood
stepping outside
the expected path
will leave you
bereft
your longed-for blue
five speed bicycle
returned and no place
for you
at the family table
 
 
you understand the story
of your past
daily seeking a new path
of faith that belongs
to you
despite the inherent
familial tension
springing from
choice made necessary
to survive
with soul intact
 
 
freedom found
in learning to listen to
your body
your heart
your soul
reveals stories
buried deep
hidden from all eyes
even your own
your truth denied
 
 
in the world
you grew in no
other possibility existed
never imagining
your reality could be
so entirely different
from the life
you learned to live
hiding brokenness
never healed
blamed on fear
of always being
on the outside
 
 
now you have
family of choice
circle of belonging
sense of community
rarely experienced before
but they don’t know
your truth
closeted away beyond
even your own gaze
 
 
childhood terror steals
your breath
your words
when you ponder
revealing the truth
you’ve now begun to own as
My Truth
 
 
fear of exclusion
rejection
losing your place
in the circle of trust
you’ve struggled to find
will they feel betrayed
is there possibility
of understanding
acceptance
embrace
in the midst of
your bewilderment
 
 
forty-three years
of hiding your truest self
so far away
you didn’t understand
all your efforts would
never fix you
the core wasn’t broken
you were just queer
trying desperately to live
an expected straight life
not your own
 
 
the dilemma you face
explore your truth
loudly and proudly
risking the place
you’ve finally found
hoping you still
belong
 
or
 
keep the life
you’ve built
stay quiet, hidden
pretending contentment
losing yourself
bit by bit
slowly dying inside
 
 
only one choice
for living exists
simple survival insufficient
fullness of life
once glimpsed
must be embraced
even if cost leads to
fear realized