By Madame Curie
I don't like to discuss my feelings publicly until I understand their source. This is the reason I wrote a post, published it, and then took it down earlier this week. Shortly after publishing it, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of fear - fear of my husband, fear of the world, fear of everything. I couldn't post a blog article saying how happy I was when I was feeling so incredibly afraid. I nearly deleted this entire blog.
This has been the story of my week - elation to terror, cycling round and round.
The inquiry into Mr. C's sexual orientation isn't a new development. We've talked about his attraction to men since before we were married. He talks about some of these things in his mission journals, which I have read and discussed with him. And, he has had other experiences that he has shared with me over the years. None of this is new or earth-shattering. The conversation has gotten pretty intense in the last several months, since we have both undergone trials to our faith. He has realized that there is a side to himself that has been largely unexplored due to Mormon teachings on the subject. None of the discussions we've had have made me uncomfortable or caused me to question his love or commitment. We have an incredibly secure emotional and physical connection, unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life.
I realized yesterday that the real "fear" I have is more in his "coming out". It doesn't matter whether he is attracted to men; I actually find that sexy. But I do care - probably too much - what others think of me. While this blog is mostly anonymous, this is not entirely the case. Mr. C's brother, a friend of his from college and her wife, some of our ward members, and several college friends of mine read this blog. There are also the bloggernacle connections I have made: Faithful Dissident, Andrew S, Adam F, FireTag, and others I have been following for over a year. When I read their posts and comments, they each have a distinct voice in my mind. To the extent that this is possible in an online community, I know them and respect their opinions.
Sometimes I think I'm not really cut out for blogging. I'm far too sensitive, and my posts and comments invariably deal with personal stories and emotions more than with fundamental truths or objective intellectual inquiry. The topic of sexuality is particularly difficult for me to discuss publicly, because I have many wonderful and conflicting thoughts and emotions tied up in it. As much as I recognize my husband's need to reach out and hear stories and anecdotes that might help him understand himself, I'm nevertheless terrified at having someone invalidate our experiences.
I have been in psychotherapy now for several years, dealing with repercussions of an abusive childhood combined with a serious psychiatric disorder (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). When I first started with a therapist, I was afraid of sharing with her my childhood experiences, for fear that she wouldn't believe me. There I stood, an 20-something, accomplished, intelligent woman, with several degrees from high-profile universities and an excellent, fulfilling career. How could I tell her about the neglect I suffered as a child? About the horrors I saw between my parents? Or the emotional manipulation my dad subjected me to? How on earth would she believe that an accomplished woman like me could have come from a situation so devoid of physical support or love?
Sometimes I feel the same with this blog. We share our experiences here, and sometimes I'm afraid to hear back, "I don't believe you." Sexuality is one of those things that makes me particularly nervous about hearing feedback about, because its clear my husband and I don't fall into stereotypes. "But... you're happily married and have a child. Its not possible that you and your spouse are only attracted to members of the same sex and to each other" or "If you were really physically attracted to only men/women, you never would have been able to get married." I feel the need to justify myself where I know that I don't need to. Feelings are what they are, and someone else's judgment as to whether or not they are valid doesn't really affect the person who experiences them.
So, I guess what I am saying here is... be gentle. Please remember that these are two, very real people who write these posts. And that one of them is still just an awkward, anxious girl, fearful of invalidation.