I struggled for a long time with being who I am. I struggled with who would reject me, who would judge me. I struggled with what my family would think, what my friends would think. I struggled with who would abandon me. It was always just a constant struggle.
After my sister passed away in 2007, something in me changed. I realized that life was too short to be concerned about what others thought about how I lived my life. She was 22 and died unexpectedly. That could have been me. That could have been any of us. And I have decided that the risk of not living the life I want is not worth it to me. Because if I die tomorrow, I want to know that I lived an authentic life today.
I know I insert a lot of definitions, but I want to be very clear in what I mean when I use certain terms. Genuine.
I love that word. Because for a while my life was not very authentic or genuine. It was exactly how I wanted it to be perceived by others. Parts of me were, in fact, a sham. Now I am really going to go far outside of my comfort zone to let you guys see the meaning of my name.
Talk about devastating! My mother jinxed me from the beginning! I’m joking, but over the years people have gotten a good laugh out of my name and I spent a great deal of time trying to not live up to that name, when in all actuality many parts of me were exactly my name. I wanted to be close to perfect. I wasn’t. But people perceived me as such. I wanted to be this great person who did everything good. I didn’t. But people thought I did. And I know for a fact that is why it was so hard for me to come out as gay. Because I had created this facade about my life. In high school it was the perfect relationship and popular boyfriend who I had known since I was 5…who was actually cheating on me every chance he got. In adulthood, it was “Sham has it all together, educated, good job, owns a home, drives a nice car”…but I was miserable because I felt like it was never enough; I was never enough.
Lately, I have been living as authentically as I can, going after what I want, and leaving nothing unsaid. The last almost 2 months of my life have been calamitous and invigorating all at the same time. I don’t regret a single day. Because I am learning and I am growing. I am not the person I was at the start of this and that is a blessing!
Psalms 119:67 says “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” Sometimes God has to pull us out of a situation so that we can see how foolish we were in the situation. I never realized my wrongs until I was on the outside looking it. And it became crystal clear. God will strip it all apart, but have faith that He will put it back together. And it will be better than it was before.
To my friends that have had to deal with me being controlling, OCD and uptight, thank you for sticking by me and loving me in spite of. To my exes who I loved selfishly or not quite how you needed or wanted, my heart is heavy, and hope that someone is now loving you how you deserve. To those I have hurt, offended, or ever made feel anything less than what they were worth, I apologize. To anyone who I have ever misunderstood, I am so sorry. To those I have wronged, intentionally or not, I ask for your forgiveness.
I don’t know your struggle. I don’t know your battle. All I know is my own. And I pray that you can be encouraged by my truth.
“Truth is a funny thing. It can hurt, it can inspire, it can evoke anger, it can heal, it can ignite sparks and also put them out. But no matter the response, it is always the right thing.” -STW