Only Human Photography
To feel shut out, shut down, and abandoned from a religious community that I've known since I could remember. All because I'm gay.
I've been debating on sharing my spiritual journey on social media but I think it could be helpful for some who are in the same boat. I've been a part of a religious community my whole life. Unfortunately, the community doesn't believe that I should date, let alone marry a man in this life. It's been considered "an abomination." However, as I've dated and come to accept myself and learn how beautiful my life can really be with a man, I've started questioning my religious upbringing. A lot of things just don't make sense. A lot of questions unanswered. A lot of going through the motions, but not feeling the connection with a divine being. A lot of confusion on not being able to "act on my homosexuality," yet personally feeling like I'm 100% acceptable in the eyes of God. A lot of frustration feeling like I've been sheltered my whole life and in turn affecting the way I look at others who are different than me. A lot of self hate and thoughts of not being good enough because the religion preaches that I have to live my life a particular way.
A lot of depression, fear and anxiety. And now that I'm starting my own journey to find spirituality, I have and will always be in the light of a divine being who loves me, cares about me, and is teaching me to feel again. To feel His love. To feel a deeper love for others. And to feel the love I should have graciously given myself a long time ago.
To listen to things like, "We accept you and love you," but at the same time hear, "Marriage is only between man and woman," sounds contradicting and hurtful. It's like saying we accept you, but only under certain circumstances. If you do not fall under those circumstances, then you will get privileges taken away, becoming less active in the faith. And once you are less active in the faith, you're told that you can't receive all the blessings from God and that you can't live the gospel fully.
To listen to a bishop tell me that putting my arm around a male friend is inappropriate is bizarre. And then threatening to kick me out of church for scratching my friend's back during a meeting is mentally debilitating. To listen to people say, "But people aren't perfect, the Church is." And to ask myself, "But why do we give excuses to treat someone with disrespect and unfairness?" Shouldn't people be held accountable for their actions that hurt, degrade, and cut others down?
To listen to my voice. My story. My journey. Is important.
To be heard, validated, and loved should be a given, for anyone. If certain members of the community feel the need to discriminate, be judgmental, or rude to those who are different because of their religious beliefs, then maybe we need to learn to listen.
To see the world in black and white can be damaging and dangerous. To see all shades of grey is beautiful and expansive.
I don't have the room or capacity to explain my whole spiritual journey in depth. However, I can say that it's a lot more complex then one would think and I seem to float in the grey area quite often. Fortunately, that grey area has allowed me to grow, to work on myself, and to see the world with fresh eyes.
To see myself and others as complex beings who just need nurturing and love. To see and understand that life is messy and it's okay to not know how to navigate things for a bit. To see and feel that the God I once knew has changed and is morphing into a more loving, kind, and understanding God. To see that all religions have aspects of truth and light and that there are multiple ways to connect to a spiritual deity. To see my life as progressive, rather than digressive. To see in the grey and be okay with it.