My Legacy

Many people think that I’m now “out and proud”, and that my days of living in hidden trauma, depression and self loathing are long gone.

I guess I do give that impression because I’m a passionate advocate for helping people untangle the mess of religion, especially for LGBT people. I speak about how amazing life is now that I’m free from the bondage and abuse from that belief system.
But there’s a hidden legacy that I live with – that most who have been through this sort of stuff live with.
Let me explain…
On one level I’ve never felt more at peace to be free from religion and dogma and how that affected me as a gay man. I understand love in ways I never thought possible. Life is infinitely better!
But I lived a nightmare for most of my life. I lived a life of shame and guilt – of being a failure, a “freak”, faulty, rejected and deeply tormented for being something I couldn’t change, which culminated in a breakdown after my wife died.
It’s been a slow journey out of that mess, and the legacy of that life is deep and lingering. I was on antidepressants for 6 years and still have bouts of depression and anxiety. I have ADHD that became far worse after the breakdown. I can’t absorb complex technical information any more (which sucks because I used to be a Technical Writer and Instructional Designer). My brain runs full tilt all the time, dancing from one thing to another without a word of warning. I get confused easily. I’m impulsive. I lose track of what I’m doing. It’s not just old age, lol, although I’m sure that doesn’t help!
I struggle every day. It took me 2 years to write It’s Life Jim… not only because of the time it took to untangle so much of the mess, but also because my mind doesn’t operate in linear coherent ways any more (not that it was ever that good at it anyway). Some days I get up with the best of intentions and clarity only to find it turns to vapour the moment I start to be “productive”. I practice mindfulness and go for long walks. I take time as best I can, to slow down. I like my wine and beer, and the odd bit of wacky weed to help slow down the endless barrage of chatter in my head.
I struggle with how most of my life was a complete waste, never finding peace or integrity, self worth and living a complete lie, damaging those closest to me, as well as myself. Sure, there’s all the platitudes about my life’s journey and nothing is a waste etc… I get that, really I do. But that doesn’t help the deep scars left by the endless years of crap.
Daily, “normal” life is not something I do well. I’m one of the walking wounded, with a pronounced limp that I’m slowly realising may never go away. And yet, the paradox is I’m happier than I’ve ever been. A deep happiness and peace – so much better than my previous life.
One thing I can give, without hesitation, is my integrity and honesty about who I am, what I’ve done and where I’m at. I can “share my journey” with as much honesty as I’m capable of mustering, because that is the only thing any of us can do in the end. Sure I “preach” about the things that have set me free, and I’m passionate about everyone growing into real life and love without fear or dogma. But I’m just me, still discovering my own biases and how I affect others.
My favourite tag line is “Live loved”. I’m still learning how powerful and profound those simple words are. Some days are better than others, but it’s always a step forward.
The legacy of christianity, for me, is deep. I’ve seen the utter failing of it’s core doctrines. I’m not as bitter as I used to be, and have always recognised that many beautiful, loving people have found a belief system that works for them. They are the ones who have shaped their beliefs around their own inherent beauty, rather than the doctrines of the belief system itself, but that’s a whole other story, lol.
So I guess I’m saying that if I (or anyone) give the impression that I’m suddenly free and perfect after a lifetime of abuse, then sorry, it doesn’t work like that.
Now, where’s that beer?…

Posted by silentgays

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