I think one of the most persistent, consuming themes of my life is an overall desire to belong somewhere. It's certainly been one of the most dominant themes of the past few months. While my old blog was focused more on my struggles with homosexuality, and my opinions about gay rights and the ex-gay movement, I think I've finally discovered what I want this blog to be about: The struggle to belong. It's something that I've been thinking about quite a lot recently, and I think it's something that many people who struggle with same-sex attractions, and many Christians in general, struggle with and can relate to.
I've always belonged to several things. I've belonged to my family, I've belonged to the small and somewhat insular community that is my hometown, I've belonged to several organizations and groups in my college days. Most recently, and perhaps most importantly at the moment, I've belonged to this strange but simultaneously wonderful community of online Christians, brothers and sisters who struggle with same-sex attractions. I don't think it's a stretch to say that I've put more effort into belonging in this online community than I have in my real life communities. I suppose there is a reason for that, which I wish to discuss here.
I've always considered myself a writer, first and foremost. Am I a good writer? I don't know. I don't think I'll ever get published. The competition for publication is extreme. But that's a little beside the point. The fact is, I express myself better through writing than I ever could in person. When asked to describe myself, I'll often say that I'm loud, obnoxious, opinionated and outspoken. Real life friends would look at that and think, "What? You're one of the most mild-mannered people I know." I think online friends could nod along in agreement. That's because my writing style is pretty blunt. I don't dress things up and I don't hem and haw. I usually say what I think without many qualifiers.
This creates a certain level of tension. I see myself in the same way I see my writing. When I was in high school, I wrote fantasy novels and short stories. They were horrible by conventional standards, but they gave me worlds I could live in and worlds I enjoyed. They gave me worlds where I belonged. Similarly, I think my journals, blog posts, Facebook chats and comments from the past few years have been, in my head, the world where I felt I most belonged. But that kind of thing can only last for so long... At least, that's what I've been discovering recently.
One of the biggest struggles of the past few months, which have been among the most painful and harrowing months of my life, has been feeling like every place where I once belonged is being ripped out from under me. A friend raised the hypothetical question of whether or not God is ripping everything out of my life in order to get me to rely more fully on him. We'll see about that. Hopefully as I make the discoveries, I can get some good feedback from my friends on here. Thank you all for your support and wisdom.