A web of lies had led me to where I stood. Broken. Confused. Scarred.
Many a battle fought—none ever won.
It was a raging war inside me. The struggle to mingle the outside world with the internal desires of my heart. I craved love, and satisfaction came only through approval of others. I strived hard for my grades and I felt that I had lost it all when I fell below a B.
The words of affirmation I so craved to hear were haunting me from the woods that I couldn’t see, beyond the shadows. They crashed into my conscience like waves, suddenly and without fear they attacked. But they were not comforting, in that they were solely of an evil nature. A nature I could feel so close to me, enveloped in me. A nature I did not know separate from myself.
At night, they turned from affirmation into scoffing and scathing words, threatening to mar my flesh with their power. They cascaded through my mind. The “what-if’s”, “should-have’s”, and most of all, the “why’s”.
I didn’t know where to turn. It was surreal that I could be feeling these feelings, thinking these thoughts. What if my whole life was a lie? What if I could never be the person that I had wanted to be? Successful. Professional. Possibly a family—maybe not. [That wasn’t really ever an aspiration of mine.] I would sit in gym class, stretching before our workout, and listen to the other girls talk about marrying one day. Sick feelings crowded out the joy that I should have felt in the pit of my stomach. Disgust. Loneliness. Bitterness filled that place that was somehow free and open like the wind on a fresh spring day in their minds.
Moments of healing came in waves. But they felt like daggers through my body. Coursing through, racing through my mind were tantalizing thoughts of this sacred closeness with other women. One who touched my shoulder after class sent shock waves through my body for the first time. I was devastated. I had apparently contracted this disease that no one would talk openly about. A disease that was unknown in origin, but had threatened to take the lives of many that had gone before me. A disease that was not physical in nature—but emotional. Spiritual. It was redefining and it was utterly suffocating. I wanted to die.
I hid. I cried. Purpose drained from my life. I wanted to run from everything this world said it had to offer. Because it didn’t have the same things to offer me–only to those who were apparently called to live a life of normalcy.
Anger threatened to take over my heart. It came in waves, thrashing and screaming at me for having ever been born. It came in rushes in the howling of the wind—“there is no purpose for you”. Nagging thoughts crowded my day. Darkness drew near to me, and I collapsed in its comforting embrace. I fell victim to the lies swirling in my head. I could not wake up from this dream-no matter how hard I tried.
Desires came at me during the day. Cravings of physical intimacy with girls—with women. Looking back, I wonder if it was obvious. I tried so hard to hide it. Yet, any time that I could be in the presence of another woman who nurtured me, I jumped. My heart crashed against the walls of my chest when they would look at me, touch my arm, or ask me to spend even but a brief moment with them. Deep yearnings inside roared, for a physical intimacy that I had never known.
I left home, ready to hit the road, the streets, at 18. Ready to work my way to the top-doing whatever I had to do to get there. I knew that it was over for me. So this life had to satisfy me. My only existence was this life. No hope lied beyond the borders of this earth. Sex to dull the pain became a comfort in the night watches when I was threatened by those old waves of anguish and guilt. “you’ll never be good enough.” “there is no hope”. But the sex took its toll on my once-innocent heart. Caught by a web of lies, I laid in wait for someone to rescue me. Months and years passed, but no one came.
Daylight intensified the drama within. Hiding was the only option. Only the darkness of the night could hide the feelings of disgust and shame that I had grown to know so well. The pain was immense, but there was no cure. No cure for this disease that I had somehow contracted—an infatuation with those of my same sex.
Nights turned into days, and yet the darkness began to become ever-present even in the midst of the radiant sun. Months turned into years. And somehow the years turned into sludge. But escape was not an option. Not ready to quit, I decided I must fight. But what am I fighting, exactly? Who am I fighting? What am I fighting for?
Fighting for freedom. Freedom from a person-or so I thought. Escape from the now. Deeper diving into the abyss seemed appealing to me. Intense cravings for the darker seductive world lured me. Secrets shared with each other in a smoky dark-lit cave. I grabbed for it, but it was gone.
Then secrets I somehow shared with the world around me. Secrets shared turned into light, and the darkness began to disappear. Nights turned into days, and the fog began to lift. Haze still clouded the way, but there was a new light dawning on the horizon. A burden that had intensely weighed so heavily began to lift.
Shadows began to slink back into the corners of the world around me. A warmth began infiltrating my days, and somehow the hope began to appear. Friends shared the radiance within them, and left my cold bones wanting more. A desire for escape from the world began to fill me, and yet in the dark throws of the night, I still resisted the urge to run. Darkness was overpowering for a time. Darkness had made its way into the comforts of my heart. I knew it well and it satiated an evil desire within.
Clocks spun forward, and yet the brightness began to glow with warmth upon my skin. Words were spoken and hope was given. A Name had begun infiltrating my speech. Still hidden in the shadows, but the Name was there nonetheless, calling to me in the darkest of nights and the darkest of days. Rain poured forth upon the earth, and I cried out with everything in me. Release me from this agony-help me, please!
With immediacy in the following months, things began to unravel. What I thought was darkness before turned into an abyss, a chasm I could not fill. Things began breaking-relationships disintegrating. All seemed lost—yet there was something tangible appearing. Faith grabbed a hold of me in the night of my darkest day—the night that the world crashed down upon me, consuming me in its final breath.
I reached out for the Light, not knowing where He was. I called upon Him and He came to me. I wrestled with this Light that had come, wanting to fully understand Him. Glimpses of His glory came bursting through, and my days were once again infiltrated with hope. Clinging to this Light, to this Name, I cried out seeking freedom from my pain. Days went by and I found myself broken before Him, taught about Him, and fully surrendering my world, my life, to Him.
Light replaced the darkness. Hope replaced the anguish. Glory radiated through the day, dissipating the fog away. Faith was born into me, and the shadows of those woods shrunk back into the darkness where they had no hold over me.