In light of the shootings in Orlando targeted at the LGBTQ community, I thought I should post the following:
Let me be VERY clear. I am very PRO-LGBTQ community. I think everyone should live their truth. I know that what goes on between two (or more) consenting adults is none of my business. Same sex marriage should not even be a an issue because it is a basic civil liberty and denying that right is bigotry. If homosexuality were more accepted in our culture what happened to me wouldn’t happen to anyone else.
I am not a hater for the LGBTQ community, I’m a crusader for the LGBTQ community
Being in the Closet is Dangerous to All Parties
Being in the closet can cause depression and suicidal thoughts for the gay person and the straight spouse. See this link about depression and anxiety for the LGBTQ. http://www.mattsweet.com/lgbt-anxiety-depression-guide.pdf There were many a time that I wanted to die. I would fantasize about my own death frequently. They were not fleeting moments over an icy bridge like “Its a Wonderful Life” it was more like a frequent trip to the poisoned well where thoughts of my own suicide were was ordinary as getting water. I had many imaginings of how I would kill myself: an overdose of my psych meds was the preferred way. I even made an playlist to be played at my funeral. I titled it “Workout III” on my Ipod. I thought that I was such a disappointment to my friends and family, that I would never be financially secure enough to live on my own. I thought no one would believe me if I told the truth about my ex-husband’s sexuality. Besides, I loved him too much to out him. I would take his secret, our secret, to the grave. That is how much I loved him.
Often times the only thing that kept me going was the care of my dog. She was my savior. I knew my ex-husband would not care for her like I did and would take her to the pound. Besides, that dog knew my heart and when I cried, she cried.
My ex-husband, I’m sure, had some misgivings about the lies. He thought he was “taking care of me” through my mental illness. (I was never really mentally ill, just situationally depressed). He would often hide up in his office every night after dinner and retreat into online gaming, later (I found out) into online gay pornography and chat lines. His lie was eating us up both.
Collateral Damage of the Culture Wars
Sometimes I wonder how much am I “the victim” I am and how much of a “villain” he is. I think we are both more collateral damage of the culture wars.
People expect me to be very angry with the LGBTQ community because of my experience, but I am not. I am very sympathetic to them especially BECAUSE of my experience. However, often I do not feel like I have a community. I am not gay but I have lived on the fringes of the LGBTQ community most of my life. Straight society doesn’t really know what to do with me either. I am not the typical Midwestern housewife who concerns herself with the comings and goings of her children, cellulite, and low-fat taco recipes. My own family doesn’t know what to do with me. They would like for me to be the “spinster” aunt for childcare of my nieces or to be a companion to my mother (who’s health is fine and should really make her own friends) but I live an hour and a half a way in a big city with my own life. My “peer group” are mostly artists and most of whom are either single, divorced, our have been divorced and remarried. Funny how married people don’t have much to do with single people unless there is late night drinking or partying to be had. To paraphrase The Color Purple about Shug Avery, “No one likes someone who is too proud and too free.”
People also say, (and when I say “people” I mean friends and family who know my story) because your ex was gay you can’t be that mad. One ex-friend even said, “Aren’t you happy he’s with a fellow friend?” No. Hell no. I would have preferred a stranger rather than a so called friend honing in on my husband the whole time. How mad would any woman feel if a friend slept with your husband? You’d be mad as hell, hurt, confused, and feel down right shitty. Yes, I could have competed with another woman. Being that I lost all but one friend in the divorce, and even that friend I let go so she wouldn’t have to choose. It was another kindness I did for love. I don’t want anyone to have to choose. If you have to hesitate to choose who you love, than you don’t love either. The answer should be clear.
I feel like I have the right to be angry with my ex-husband. I loved him, he loved me, but I may forever wonder if it was ever real and I will forever wonder if he ever did love me, when that stopped. I have the right to be angry with our friend whom swooped in after I conveniently left for Florida. Fuck him. He knows to keep his distance. I do have certain rights as “the first wife.” I refuse to disappear to history over mimosas with “the boys” during brunch as the funny/sad anecdote of that time when he had a “beard.” I am more than collateral damage. I am more than just a story that we are both a bit embarrassed by. I am a person. I am a woman, and I have a certain perspective no one is talking about.
The media LOVES a coming out story. Coming out of the closet stories is a personal victory with social relevance. Good for them. Great. I celebrate each victory of personal demons and cultural bias. But what about those of us left behind? What about the straight spouses, the straight girlfriends and boyfriends who were always practicing their truth. What happens to that truth when it was based on lies? It makes that person question everything and everyone unless there is significant healing. I believe that I have had that healing and I am offering that healing or at least my perspective of the other side of the “coming out” story that of “staying in.”
There will always be a part of me that thinks “I let this happen.”
It would be easier to hate the LGBTQ community. I would have a clear “villain” to hate. I would have a focus for my anger and would redirect some of the hurt I felt from the betrayal of my ex to a larger party. Kind of like when you are stabbed in the heart with a screwdriver, survive, and then sue Home Depot. Its not Home Depot’s fault. It is not LGBTQ’s fault that my husband lied to me and himself all those years. He was a coward and a son of a bitch, don’t get me wrong, but he had his reasons. I have forgiven him somewhat, even though he has hardly asked. His community has embraced him, where is my community? My “community” might embrace me better if I would renounce him, ex-communicate him, or have a bit of hate for the LGBTQ, but I don’t. I’ve got nothing but love for them. I want nothing but justice, understanding, acceptance, and civil rights for all. So, “polite society” won’t have me. Fuck polite society. Just last night after a death in the family, I had a gay man come over and commiserate and drink wine with me. My own family was “nice” to me, but I do not feel comfortable round them all the time, mainly for being single and childless. That’s a whole other story.
Hate is Destructive, Almost as Much as a Lie
This is my story. From my readers comments and a noted uptick in certain analytics, I am not alone. You are not alone. I will still keep telling my story. There is truth to be told on both sides. You are allowed to be angry at your gay ex spouse without being a douchebag and hating all gay people. One gay/lesbian person lied and betrayed you, not a whole culture. They probably did love you, might still do, they just have to live their truth. Be angry with that person for fucking you up, not for being fucked up. They had to deal with their lie early on in the relationship, you have to deal with their lie at the end. So deal, cry, eat some ice cream, fuck some strangers (safely) get it out of your system. Hate is destructive but if you have to hate someone only hate that one person for being gay and marrying you anyway, not a whole subgroup of people who had nothing to do with it. Hate the mistress or mister as the case might be. They sure as hell deserve your ire. But don’t hate too much or for too long. Don’t drink poison expecting it to kill your enemies. I suggest learning to love yourself. That is so hard when you have been living someone else’s lies and them convincing you how unworthy of love you are either directly or indirectly. Start to heal. Keep reading this blog (please) and comment with your own stories. The best way to heal is to help someone else.