Saturday, May 16, 2015

Last times...

When I moved away from Utah to Louisiana seven years ago there was not really a sense of loss. I was excited to leave. I was excited to go somewhere new and different. My family is all in Utah and I intended to move back after my two years with Teach For America were over. I go back and visit family at least once a year so there was no sense of finality.

We have started throwing stuff away, donating things to Goodwill, and collecting boxes. In less than a month we will be in Phoenix. As we go about our daily lives here in Louisiana there is this realization that this is the last time I am going to see this or that friend, this is the last time I will attend this annual event at school, this is probably the last time I will eat at this particular restaurant, the last time I will see this particular student, etc. I have very few ties to Louisiana once I am gone. I don't love Louisiana culture so I will not miss drunken romps through the French Quarter or hearing about all of the crime or living the dysfunction that is Louisiana's education system. Why am I feeling a bit sad?!

The truth is that Louisiana was the place of my rebirth. It is the place where I had the space to leave behind harmful beliefs. It is the place where I finally shed sadness and depression. It is the place where I was able to come out and begin living a real and authentic life. In some ways this makes Louisiana my true home. It feels more like home than Utah does now because anytime I return to Utah the old Mormon Kiley sort of shows her face again. Being in old familiar places and spaces brings back old thought patterns and habits. I am glad that the jobs Leigh applied for in Salt Lake did not come through. It would not have been healthy for me. So despite its issues Louisiana has meant freedom to me.

Maybe the real place of "last times" was Utah and not these last few weeks in Louisiana. The things I have gained, and the growth I have made here in the south will travel with me. The nice thing is that Phoenix is new and it will be a place to continue the new good things I have gained here in Louisiana but fresh and different enough to grow even more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We are renting the Uhaul (not a lesbian joke this time)

We got word yesterday about jobs. We are moving to Phoenix! I am so excited. We will be there in about a month.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Leaving NOLA

The time has come to move. I am tired of living in the path of hurricanes here in Louisiana. We are looking in Texas and in Denver, Colorado. Leigh even applied for a job in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am actually pretty ok with that if she gets it. I MISS the mountains and there would be a lot of cool ex-mo's to hang out with. Plus we could actually get married.

Louisiana's marriage case is being heard by SCOTUS on April 28th. It may not be too long before we can get married here too... But again hurricanes. Terrible economy. Lack of mountains. Corruption abounding. I am ready to leave New Orleans.

I hate the unknown. I can pretty much get a job anywhere but Leigh's profession is tougher. Moving up in her job requires us to live in very specific big cities so before I can do my own job hunt I have to wait on her to get something first.

I am so excited to get to go somewhere different. Hopefully by summer we will be packing up the moving truck and moving to the west side of the Mississippi river...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

L. Tom Perry's Talk...

Counterfeit… The problem with this word is that it alienates so many. If we listen to the talk we know what was meant by "counterfeit" and we know what the church loudly and proudly believes a "real" family to be. 

As a LGBT member I of course felt horrified and attacked. I was meant to. The words were meant to be divisive. The words were meant not to draw a line in the sand and create a boundary. The words were meant to build a big brick wall with my believing family members firmly planted on the other side of the wall and me left out. I won't be calling home for a few weeks because I don't need the preaching. The preaching that believing members feel entitled and called to give because they have The Truth. It is all part of that wall I was talking about. Ugh. 

I don't just feel horrible for the closeted gay Mormons both the kids and adults. This sort of talk is always a bit of a witch hunt designed to drive them to their bishops' offices… I feel bad for the single Mormon mom who dared to leave an abusive husband. I feel bad for the Mormon mom who stays in an abusive marriage for the sake of hanging on to her "real" family. I feel bad for the Mormon couple who simple got married too fast and maybe there is no abuse but they just shouldn't be together who can't get divorced now. I feel bad for the hetero Mormon couple that can't have children for some reason. I feel bad for the hetero Mormon couples who don't actually want to have children and feel pressure to.  What about the single members? Maybe they don't all want to be married. How many of its own faithful membership does the church continue to alienate because it keeps declaring that the only valid form of family is the man, and the woman, with children. 

Not to mention that such decisions about one's own personal relationships should be -well- personal?! It should be YOUR choice. Why does a panel of aged and dying old men get a front row seat into anyone's bedroom but their own? Pervs.

Do you love who you are with? Congrats you are in a genuine relationship. You have a real family. No further definition required.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Five years

Five years ago today I printed out, signed, and mailed my letter to the Church asking them to remove my name from their records. Five years ago I took action and did the steps required to leave. It felt so defiant. It felt so brave and it really was. People who have never faced down an abuser before probably don't quite understand that complex feeling of joy that is mixed with fear, liberation that is mixed with a sense of what now, and the question of what do I want now that I CAN want?

I had drawn a line in the sand for the first time in my life and told them not to cross it. Seriously, not even trying to be cheesy or funny, I shouted at Salt Lake like that girl from the Labyrinth movie, "You have no power over me?! You have not power over me!" That line has been whispered about a million times sense as the whole deprogramming process has unfolded itself over the years.

After mailing that letter every act and choice that I have made that was contrary to the Church's teachings but that was true to my "self" brought that feeling back - brought that bravery back. It was sort of like flexing a new muscle that I had not realized was there. It was great and tragic at the same time knowing that the answer to the question of who I was was not automatically and mechanically, "I am a daughter of God".

Such an awful identity to be a daughter of God really. The Mormon idea that you are this incredibly powerful woman with awesome and tremendous abilities but with a golden leash around your neck held by some ass-hole god who sold you some dude that you pledged in a holey temple to obey. Forever an after thought and never a hero. Always support staff.

Who am I now...

The great thing about the answer to that question now, post church, is that I get to decide. I get to create it. I get to live it. I get the freedom to let my identity grow and change on my own. There is no need to know the whole answer to that question right this second. There is no limiting and definitive answer to be memorized and spit out on demand. It is not given to me by someone else. I don't have to shave a little off there, cut an appendage down here, throw the right color of paint on myself to fit any sort of regulation or to make myself fit some church's answer.

The last five years have been hard, full of mistakes, full of some painful growth spurts, but good. The last five years have been really, really good. I don't even know the person that I was before except that I remember how sad she always was. Sad. Now I have the full range of emotions and I have gained my own feet. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I said yes of course

We have talked about marriage off and on for over a year now. I proposed and we weren't ready about five months, six months ago. It was rushed. Sort of on a whim. 

She proposed last night and I said yes. We have almost completed our third year together and I really love her so much. We are very much in love and it has just gotten deeper and deeper the with time. Though honestly three years is not that much time I know she is the one for me.
She is the most sincere, honest, loving, and open person I have ever met. I am not going to sugar coat anything. My upbringing in the church has left me somewhat distrustful of people, and a little bit scared of what "family" means. She is exactly the type of person that could have wiggled her way past all of my walls and barriers and into my heart. 

There is not really a nice way to put it my parents have been very passive-aggressive, unaccepting, and steadfast in their testimonies of bigotry and intolerance. My decision to say yes to her is likely a decision to not really be part of my parents' family anymore. My siblings are pretty great though. Some of my extended family is really great but for some reason my parents won't budge. 

It is weird to me the soapboxes that my parents have chosen to pick up. They don't even know what the term "cafeteria Mormon" is but they are cafeteria Mormons. ( I suppose most are to one degree or another…) They are devout to some commandments of the church and completely blow off others. The gay soapbox is one that they cling to for some reason. 

I sort of hate that because of the way that they are my "yes" is still happy and with a lot of joy but with a fraction of my heart completely torn up by what it means to build my own family. Part of me wants to just yell at them and cut them off. The part of me that is still very much Mormon wants to just continue to be patient, long-suffering, and be a good example of love to them. (I can do that and still call them jerk-faces on my blog…) 

I am glad that the part of me that is happy is the bigger part.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dear residual Mormon guilt, Get out of my bed...

TMBs that may lurk beware… This post may not be for you. (I don't actually believe that there are TBM lurkers but people clicking over from the MoHo Directory tend to have varying levels of belief.)

I am now just over two and half years into my first important major relationship. I have learned a lot about myself. Now two and half years into an active sexual relationship I seem to finally be ready to deal with some of my sexual hang-ups. I had very little sexual experience prior to this relationship. While Leigh was not my first she nearly was… I was after all a true believer in the church. I was such a good girl before my belief fell apart.

I think that though my belief crumbled and the dust blew away long ago I still carry a lot of elements of Mormonism around with me. I have come to terms with this. It is not always a bad thing but sometimes it is. In the case of my sex life I think my Mormon roots are a bad thing. 

I should preface this by saying that my sex life is not bad. I am however starting to notice that I wish it was better. The problems with our sex life have nothing to do with Leigh and everything to do with my own inhibitions. I thought at the beginning of our relationship that with more time, a closer connection to her, and more experience that my sexual hang-ups would go away more or less on their own but they have not. While they don't by any means wreck our sex life they do hold me back.

I think Mormonism has really left me with some residual guilt on the sexual front and I get in my head a lot rather than experiencing things in the moment. I have problems asking for things that I want and or need. I also tend to have problems opening up emotionally and really and truly being vulnerable. All of these things combine to leaving me feeling a bit disconnected when it comes to sex. This "disconnection" varies in its strength and is weaker or stronger from time to time but it is always there on some level. I really resent it. I feel like it holds me back from really connecting with my lover as much as I would like to. 

Leigh ends up having really good and strongly emotional experiences and reactions fairly frequently where she lets go and feel so connected to me. I am so jealous of her sometimes! (Jealous in a good way.) I think her example of really and truly letting go is what is driving me to finally address these things in a serious and somewhat structured way. (She is so supportive and caring. Everything we talk about these things together I am amazed by how much she loves me and how accommodating and patient she is. Best girlfriend this sort of messed up ex-Mormon lesbian could have!)  

After following some blogs online for years I finally gathered the courage to take a ecourse focused on dominance and submission. Elements of the d/s scene appeal me and while I don't think our relationship could ever change dynamics so much to solely exist as a dominant and submissive relationship I think we could incorporate things into our space… The thing that sold me in the class description were the journal writes with guiding questions, homework, and various task cards along with access to a private forum. Nothing helps me more than writing things out. 

I am going to post some of my realizations and changing approaches to sex as I go through this course this month. I need to processing space and the processing time.  (On this very public blog I am going to be general... Plus, I don't want to violate the privacy of mine and Leigh's relationship.