Anniversary Post (Reflections on 2016)

I started this blog exactly one year ago and used three blog posts to reflect on the year and to also come out publicly. Those three blog posts grew to become a blog over the course of the year where I’ve done 49 (now 50) posts and I’m so grateful for this outlet to be able to share.

This 50th post will be my recap of 2016. It won’t be in three separate posts like last year. Just one. Gonna try and cram it all here. So let’s say maybe an 11-12 minute read? If it takes longer it’s nonrefundable sorry.  Thanks in advance for stopping by. 

Inner Intimacy

This year has been a year of grasping for the end goal of my relational capacity.

Attempting to manifest my desire for companionship, specifically for the long-term committed relationship.

I dated a guy from October of 2015 until the end of December of that same year.

I rushed into emotional and physical intimacy before knowing myself (sexually, mentally, emotionally)

I was star struck, eager and naive.

We grew apart during a stressful and difficult time for him as he tried to manage a large enterprise he’d created over the course of many years. I found out later he wanted a relationship too but didn’t want to rush me as that was during a time I was trying to flesh out where I stood on the question of Christian faith and sexuality. Unfortunately, we were doing things that couples do without being an actual couple, so when it didn’t work out and when he later entered into a relationship with someone else I became resentful and bitter.

I’ve moved on from those negative feelings and I chalk the experience up to a life lesson.

A few months later I got really into this guy who found me on twitter.He lived in another state and I got all in my feels over our constant communication.In time he ghosted. I learned later that it was over  his fear that I was going too fast in my eagerness to meet in person.

Lastly, at the end of this summer, I met a guy on Tinder. A curly headed, athiest doctor. Look at me now mama, haha. 

We started to exclusively date to see where things would go. I made the mistake I said I wouldn’t make again of rushing into emotional and physical intimacy.

Side note here: Second Adolescence is real. Especially when there is literally no script for how to do dating, sexual ethic formation, and partner finding for LGBT Christians.

My short time dating the doctor man with the curly hair  ended because he said that he didn’t think it was fair for me to wait for him while he tried to balance getting over a previous relationship and the busyness of his professional life.

Take these three heart breaks / disappoints and mix in my tug of war of navigating the lived reality of my sexual ethic in lieu of the beckoning of hookup culture and the consequence is a mind and heart that is wrestling with what true intimacy is for me personally and what I am willing to invest in moving forward.

The consequence is the real felt need for a therapist to process all of what I put myself through.

Lawd.

Fix it Jesus.

I’ve learned that a real relationship requires timing, compatibility and a willingness to build something meaningful with one another in each others frailty and vulnerability and to commit to that long term.

I’ve also re-learned the beauty and empowerment of single life and I’m trying to re-attune  my mind and heart to the reality that I’m never alone and that there is a wholeness that I can cherish that’s independent of how I (or if I) give myself to another.

We all yearn for that earthly connection that mirrors our deep core connection with God. We are most fortunate if we can find that earthly connection in some capacity. Be it romantic, familial, or just good friendships.

to quote the beloved Henri Nouwen

The love that came to you in particular, concrete human friendships and that awakened your dormant desire to be completely and unconditionally loved was real and authentic. It does not have to be denied as dangerous and idolatrous. A love that comes to you through human beings is true, God-given love and needs to be celebrated as such. When human friendships prove to be unlivable because you demand that your friends love you in ways that are beyond human capacity, you do not have to deny the reality of the love you received. When you try to die to that love in order to find God’s love, you are doing something God does not want. The task is not to die to life-giving relationships but to realize that the love you received in them is part of a greater love.

Out Advocate

More and more I’ve found myself gaining a voice for the LGBTQ community.  I’ve felt empowered and refreshingly obligated to speak about the harmfulness of what I understand to be increased marginalization, unnecessary fear, and dehumanizing theology surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.

Being out publicly has caused me to look deeper at not only my own self but to look deeper in empathy and solidarity with those who know what it’s like to live in ‘othered’ skin.

The GCN Conference in Houston started the year off right as I got to be around my family and allies of those of other’d skin. It was life giving and life changing to be with 1k+ people who knew life the way I did.

I was grateful to travel to Denver this Spring for the launching of a dear friend’s nonprofit who’s an MA, LPC working towards the integration of wholeness and healing of LGBTQ+ individuals. Something beautiful was birthed that day as we celebrated my friend’s vision for a needed healing within this margin of humanity.

I was grateful to participate in sharing my story in Long Beach at the Reformation Project Conference and to hear phenomenal speakers and participate in life-giving workshops.

I will continue to speak out – with my life and my words as long as I have breath.  I’ll be an open book each step of the way. We all have a story to tell.

Loss and Journey

Earlier this year I had an emotional breakdown after I realized I didn’t have the strength to stay at my church.

No one did anything to me.

I was broken by the weight and reality that the part of me that I thought was beautiful and worth celebrating, was seen as something dishonorable and to be forsaken by those in my faith community.

I’ve yet to find a new faith community, even as this year closes. To be fair though I haven’t actively sought another church either. My “break” has just lasted longer than I expected. 

I’ve invested in more yoga, meditation, working out, So Far Sounds shows, Ted Talks, Podcasts, and intimate time with friends  than I have sermons, bible studies, and church gatherings  this year.

This supplemental form of community has been life-giving in an unexpected and needed way.

The trajectory of my faith walk has taken a different shape than in previous years and I’m at peace with that.

My personal faith has evolved.

It’s a whole blog post all it’s own but in short….

I believe God is bigger than we can ever conceive…and when we think we’ve got God pegged,  God is bigger still.

As the philosopher and Lutheran theologian, Paul Tillich says

God is that than which none greater can be conceived

God is always greater than we can think..

There is a form of atheism that is closer to God , because most Theism treats God as something we can think and if we can think it the object of our thought can be a form of idolatry because God is different from anything we can conceive

I believe that Christ redeems everything and everyone.

I believe Christus Victor > Penal Substitution Theory…it’s like when you really look into those two side by side, it’s like day and night imo. 

I believe that Inclusion and expansion are greater than exclusivity and tribalism.

I believe that Humanity is Divine.  Imago Dei, Original Innocence….

I believe that Science is valid. Or as the amazing Science Mike says,  in his book ‘Finding God in the Waves’

Science gives us fact. Faith gives us meaning

I believe that the best of humanity shows us a tiny glimpse of the endless light that is God and that none of our capacity for evil and self-induced hell can or should ever be attributed to God.

I believe that the greatest thing we can do is see God in the other and rest in God’s love for us so that we can live out that love in the world.

We are the answer to the prayers that we pray when we yearn for a better world.

A new world and the Kingdom of God will begin (or rather ,open to us) when we awake to it. When we evolve into a better way of being.

It is a reality just as real  as each heart beat and breath.

Every moment we have the opportunity to choose it or close our hearts to it.

Fourth Wall

Allegiant

The Originals

The Life of the Party

Vampire Diaries

Halt and Catch Fire

Greenleaf

Atlanta

Spider-Man Home Coming

Hidden Figures

There are just some of the tv shows and movies I’ve had a chance to be a small part of, rather standing in or doing things in the background. It’s been an extremely fun way to spend my time and I’ve met so many wonderful people.  It’s also kindled in me a desire to continue to write and to learn how to screen write.  When you watch a show like This is Us and you find yourself crying and deeply moved it’s more than just good acting, it’s good writing and I hope to one day affect hearts like that through writing.  If you are up for it check out some of my short stories (there are three so far on this blog) and let me know what you think. I’m always striving to be better.

Clarion’s Walk ( Science Fiction, LGBT, Emotional)

Covert’s Echo (A community wrestles with the aftermath of a police killing of one of their own)

Obsidian Song (Unapologetically Black,  Semi-Dystopian)

Danny LLC

This has been my year of experimenting with working for myself. I’ve done so much. In the spring  I completed two years working with a nonprofit that focused on youth empowerment and development. 

I’ve done courier work for Post Mates and my friend’s micro greens business.

I’ve done background acting for film and tv (one show I was fortunate to work on for three months straight)

I’ve written blogs for a few online publications.

I’ve done freelance virtual assistant work.

I currently do crew work at my favorite grocery store and remote support for a Kickstarter project  turned start up that I really believe in.

I got offered a job in another state next year and time will tell if I will take it.

After years of doing the same thing it was refreshing to venture  out and try and be some what autonomous with my time and energy, experimenting in different avenues.

Dwelling

At the age of 25, I was fortunate enough to become a homeowner.

I’ve been in my place six years.

The first few years I was financially able to sustain having my place. I lost a job and entered into a time of financial difficulty that has ebbed off and on ever since.

I’m grateful that now I’ll be able to let go of my place in a fairly profitable sale  that will allow me room to breathe and begin again.

I’m ready for a fresh start. 

New seasons sometimes come unexpectedly but when they do welcome them and go forward fearlessly.

I’m eager and patient to see what is in store in the year ahead.

Jail

This is a crazy way to end this blog post but let me just say;

Jail sucks.

A few months back I got a ticket for broken fog lights and I missed the court date for that ticket because I was sick and ended up being late to court so it was like I was never there.

I had forgotten about all this until this week I was pulled over, asked to step out of my car and handcuffed because there was a warrant for my arrest.

Everything about the experience was weird and unwelcome.

From the white cop that picked me up loudly playing gangster rap in his squad car, to being  transferred from one detaining center to another in a caged paddy wagon, to the uncleanly, rancorous environ of APD’s station.  I wasn’t there for none of it girl ,you hear me?

I learned a lot about myself.

I learned about my potential to despair in feeling powerless.

I came face to face with my own classism.

My awareness of the reality of mental illness moved from my periphery to my supramarginal gyrus in my prefrontal cortex.

I cringed when I realized my internal homophobia while trying not to reveal anything that might bespeak my gayness in a room full of men and listening to the one flamboyantly loud man among them who wasn’t willing to censor himself. 

I realized the reality of the jail and hell we are all capable of putting ourselves in by the thoughts we have and the choices we make.

I reflected on how morally bankrupt and self-serving our legal institutions are.

Life, just like an unexpected arrest can disrupt us and change our circumstances for the worse, reminding us of our lack of control.

Yet when considering the fact that everything belongs, this disruption and worsening of circumstance that we all experience- it’s necessary to. As Richard Rohr, so hauntingly speaks,

We dare not get rid of our pain before we have learned what it has to teach us

I learned a history lesson too.  Close to 11pm that night when slow ass APD finally processed my mom’s payment to  bail me out  we drove away (girl I was so glad I didn’t have to sleep overnight you just don’t know! Being in there for hours on end was maddening enough!)

As my mother drove me away from that horrid place she told me about how my father’s mother (my beloved late Grandmother Mary Fluker ) would bail people in our family and in the neighborhood out of jail all the time.

So many people were being put in jail for stupid things and she felt compassion for them. She even put her house up multiple times to the point where she wasn’t allowed to any more.

The trumped up charges that the City of Atlanta stuck people on for decades was a key variant in the “Black Flight” that took place for African Americans leaving the city in the 80’s and 90’s.

Begin Again

Tonight I’m having a small gathering of close friends at my place. A sort of celebration for getting through an emotionally and psychologically challenging year, successfully securing a buyer for my place and also a pre-birthday celebration. I’m ready for the new year ahead. I’m ready for applying the wisdom of experiences in the days ahead of my life and for better choices to make in the new days I’m given.

I’m ready to continue to learn what it means to be authentically me and to rest in God’s love for all of me.

I’m ready to Begin Again.

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