You know, they say that things get better…that once you come out and start to accept yourself, that life feels a bit lighter. They tell you to fuck everyone who doesn’t agree with you, believe in you, or support you. But do you know what it’s like when the people who don’t support you, agree with you, or believe in you are the very people who claim to love you most in this world? In a Catholic Latino household…coming out isn’t easy. Sometimes your family are the very people who encourage you to hide…to be scared…and to be ashamed. From the very beginning it’s been ingrained in you that the God you supposedly believe in would condemn you for who you are… that you are innately wrong;
how do you make peace with that?
En el nombre del Padre, el Hijo, y el Espiritu Santo, Amen.
Diosito… I don’t think I can keep this hidden anymore. I’ve buried this deep inside of me, and I’ve ignored it for as long as I can. I haven’t talked about it, and I’ve prayed for you to take these feelings from me… so why are they still here? If this is so wrong, why won’t you help me? You know that I love you, that I would follow you wherever you lead me, so why are you taking me somewhere I can’t follow? I do my best to be a good person… to love, so why would you make it impossible for me to be good if who I am is so terribly wrong. Every part of me is being torn apart… and it feels like I’m dying inside. I know what they tell me; that it’s sinful, that it’s wrong, but I just don’t know if I believe that anymore.
I’m trying to be strong, to love how you want me to love… but their arguments don’t make sense to me anymore. They tell me that I was made in your image, and yet I can’t be who I am because they call it “sinful”; they quote their Bible passages, and yet refuse to follow what the Word says just a few lines down. They pick and choose what they emphasize out of fear; because they don’t understand my love. They tell me that this is my cross to bear…to be celibate… to never have a family… all because of a misunderstanding. Because when You spoke and made the highest commandment; which is to Love, they somehow twisted it, and made that an excuse to judge, exclude, and condemn. They use their ignorance as a way to take away my choice… the very free will that You gave me. When they speak to me all I feel and hear is fear and hatred… they’re so angry, and spiteful, and cruel. They would rather tear me down and see me fall than see me be filled with joy and love… how is that good?
How does their anger or their shame stem from You? You see that’s what I don’t understand, because when a Priest tells me that I am exactly what You had in mind when you made me, and that there is nothing wrong with me, all I feel is love and acceptance. Because when a mentor or a friend hugs me, and they cry with me because they understand my pain, and they tell me that You love me; I can feel you holding me. When I see Queer people who have found their way with You, who pray and go to Church, I see hope for myself. I can feel their love, and I see the Holy Spirit in them… so please tell me how is that wrong? How is that not the very love that You are, that Christ embodied?
Diosito, I’m so tired of hating myself, of hating who I am and how I love… I’m tried of being ashamed and scared. Scared of what my family will think of me, if my parents will love me any less or be so ashamed that they would rather hide who I am than speak the truth. I’m scared that I won’t be able to bring future partners to our family parties, thanksgiving’s, or Christmas’s; that I won’t be fully accepted… that my love will never be seen as enough. But my love is no different than theirs, it is just as passionate, and powerful, and self-sacrificing as theirs. What if my cross to bear is finding my way to love myself through You? What if it’s fighting these negative cultural/religious norms saying that I can’t be Queer and follow you? Because when I step into a Church, I don’t feel condemned…
I feel like I’m home.
and I feel like I’m loved, and I remember all of the times that I know you carried me… and I just keep thinking to myself… how could I not be enough? You who made me, created me into who I am today, how could that not be enough? All that I’ve sacrificed, all that I’ve strived for, and all that I am…
It has to be enough.
I know I’m far form perfect, and that I constantly make mistakes; but how and who I love is not one of them. Hating myself or trying to stop myself from loving is the exact opposite of what I believe you want me to do. So I’m here tonight.. bare, and ready to offer you everything that I have in me, and everything that I am.
I’m still scared, but now I know that I can love myself and that no matter what, You love me. This is who I am, this is all that I have to offer, and so I ask you to take it… I ask you to keep holding me, to keep guiding me, to let my being flourish, to allow my love to grow… and to keep loving me,
Because I am Your Creation, and I am Proud.