My Story – Part Six: Coming Out Poly, Queer and Kinky

This is the final part of how I learned to be the most authentic version of me while holding onto my Christian faith: how I came out as queer, polyamorous, and kinky. I started with Part One: Coming Out Queer. I suggest you start there.

I couldn’t find my car this morning. City blocks seem gigantic when you’re trying to walk quickly enough with two bags on your shoulders—one for the gym and one with your work stuff—to outrun your thoughts. Each step, I tried to recall where I parked the last time I drove, Saturday afternoon, while not bringing back how I felt.  That afternoon, I thought I’d never find a parking spot and make it back to my room where I could retreat and cry. I wanted to cry because a man I had been interested in for over a year told me he didn’t have feelings for me, and it left me in despair.

This morning, trying to find my car, I couldn’t outrun my thoughts. Instead, attacking me like mosquitos were two questions and a statement: Have I become too unique to find a life partner? Am I not good enough? I don’t believe he exists.

David, my last boyfriend, and I broke up two and a half years ago and ever since, I’ve been polyamorous without a primary. I have people in my life who love me and who I love, but no one who fills that significant other role. My current partners make me feel good about being me and I am comfortable with them, but none of them is a primary or really could be, for a variety of reasons: they’re married, they’re an atheist, or we love each other, but we know we could never be in love with each other. So my current partners feel like vacation homes rather than home home.

David made me happy in many ways, but I wasn’t able to share my faith with him. As an atheist, he respected my faith, but didn’t understand it. I decided that it was important that my future primary share some of my spiritual beliefs and practices. I want my primary partner to walk my spiritual path with me.

Ever since the breakup, I’ve been looking for another non-monogamous individual with whom I have physical chemistry and an intellectual connection, who values and shares some of my spiritual practices, respects my queerness, and loves my dog. Yeah, it’s a tall order.

David and I broke up about six months before I moved to Chicago to start grad school. After a few months, I started looking for this spiritual partner. In the Windy City, with its three million people, it seemed possible I could find him. I scoured OKCupid for Christian non-monogamous men, occasionally adding Buddhists and Jews to the search. At first I just searched in Chicago, but not finding anyone I was interested in, I enlarged my search and found several people across the country. I messaged them, but didn’t get any responses.

I also did google searches for “polyamory Christian and Chicago” and found nothing. I looked at the listings of faculty members at local seminaries for young cute possibly single professors. I didn’t find anyone, but I’m sure they exist. I daydreamed about hanging out in seminary libraries and by chance meeting a progressive Christian man open to non-monogamy. I didn’t realize at the time how much of this searching was a part of my grieving process, wanting to fill the hole of my lost partner. But I was also driven by the possibility of having a partner who got all sides of me.

Here’s some core pieces: I’m queer and non-monogamous. I’m a Christian who values Buddhist practices and ideas. I’m a curvy woman. I’m a writer. I’m an outdoorsy, animal-loving, tomboy-femme. I’m a fighter for sex-worker, women and gender minority rights, and the end of institutionalized racism.

I no longer question God’s support of who I am. I feel God’s presence, and I know that God is on the side of love and that it is easier to love ourselves when we’re not ashamed of who we are.

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I’m at home with myself, but will I find someone to be at home with?

I love who I’ve become. But I still wonder if some of the things I love about myself keep me from finding a home. What if I’m too queer, too curvy, too weird, too Christian? What if this concoction of things that makes me me is too much to find a match for?

I fight these thoughts and fight them and fight them, but then every time I find someone who feels like a potential home—who shares my beliefs and might be open to non-monogamy and with whom I believe there’s chemistry—something goes wrong, and it feeds my fears. Terrified, I question, how can I feel worthy of a home while I’m homeless?

So this is what happened on Saturday. I met this cute guy on Tinder last summer. He’s a practicing Jew and serious about studying Buddhism. He’s intelligent and compassionate and seems open to non-monogamy. Last summer we weren’t able to meet. He’s a triathlon athlete and suffered a really bad concussion. It caused issues with his med school program and his social life. He also lives outside the city. Instead of meeting we skyped once, affirmed our attraction to each other, and continued to text on and off for a year. (By the way, if all this sounds fishy, I whole-heartedly believe his story. Based off all our emails and his pictures, it all makes sense.)

We were finally able to meet for the first time last Saturday. I tried to maintain low expectations. I mean, we’d never met—what realistically could I expect? But I’d shared so much with this guy. He’d read my writing; we’d sexted; I’d sent long-ass emails and not scared him away. I trusted that he liked me. And here’s the truth: I wanted him to validate that I was worth being with. But he didn’t. He ended up telling me that he thought we were meeting up as friends. He has been seeing someone for the last month and wants to be exclusive with her. He failed to mention this before. It made me feel I was worth less than this other person, not worth the consideration.

So it seems logical to me to believe it’s unrealistic for this crazy concoction of identities and beliefs and quirks to find a match, but this morning after I finally found my car and was driving to the coffeeshop, I realized that I’ve been trying to come up with some logical thought that will combat this. And logic by itself won’t heal my heart’s fears. The heart only heals through love.

Cause see it also seems logical that my fears might be bullshit. We’re all unique, and it’s our uniqueness that makes us lovable. I’m not so special that I break this rule. My fears are my heart attempting to protect itself. My fears are my heart expressing its wounds.

I might find a home or I might forever be homeless. Really, that’s not up to me. But I can work on acceptance. I keep thinking about what it means to be brave.

Psalm 27 ends, “Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”

Bravery isn’t easy. It’s not consistent either. And it’s not immune to fear. It is a choice. What if I’m brave enough to keep chipping away at my fear through self-love? What if I’m brave enough to admit to all of you what I’m most afraid of?

Guys, I have to fight the idea that if I want to be a good example, I can’t have this wounded self-worth. I think it’s a better example to be honest and it requires bravery. It’s a step toward self-acceptance.

Coming up next: why do I still believe my lifestyle choices and maintaining this authentic version of me is worthwhile?


Photo by Pawel on flickr

 

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