Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I will be released from my calling in the Young Women's organization on Sunday. The bishopric member who called to notify me is an older man whom I deeply respect. He thanked me for my service, then added, "I'm going to miss you. I've loved hearing you teach--learned so much. Our young women have been very blessed to have you as a teacher, and so have I." That was unexpected.

I called my stake president after I ended the phone call. I'd spoken with him in September, letting him know I had done an interview with FAIR on the topic of same-gender attraction. I told him then that I was concerned about the reaction of some of the stake members, should they listen to the interview. They would have no difficulty identifying me. Stake President said he didn't care--in fact, he would welcome the opportunity to discuss the topic with anyone who was uncomfortable with me (homosexual woman) teaching the youth of our church.

I thought about this a lot after the interview aired. I realized that while my stake president was willing to take on the members who might find me objectionable, I was not emotionally strong enough to do so, myself. I've struggled with self-esteem in the past year, especially in my closest relationships. I've questioned my worth, my place in life, and wondered if there was really any need or desire for me--or if I was a convenient distraction who happened to work online and was therefore readily available to others. While I don't object to that, I do like to understand how I'm perceived by others, regardless of what that might say about me.

The result of the wondering was that I found myself more insecure in relationships, less likely to bond with people, and avoiding interactions that might be meaningful to me but not to the person I was with. I recognized that I've become emotionally drained and very tired, and that almost none of my perceptions regarding my relationships and the feelings of others toward me are accurate.

The thought of having to go on the defensive about a topic which, in my mind, has nothing to do with anyone except me, and having to "prove" that I was not any kind of threat to our young women, especially after spending the majority of my life teaching and serving them, was not something I felt I could manage. I waited a few weeks, spoke with a couple of people, talked with Darrin, and then went to the Bishop to ask for a release.

My stake president was unhappy with me. He started with his, "If anyone says anything about you, I'll gladly tell them to stick it up their stupid butts." I proposed that was probably not a fitting remark from a stake president. He let me know he was completely disinterested in propriety and I needed to be working with the youth. I said (using his first name because I'm fairly disinterested in propriety, as well, and besides, we went to high school together and have been friends for most of our lives), "K, this is not a battle I can fight right now."

The phone was quiet for a few seconds, then he said, "You're not doing very well, are you, Sam?"

I'm doing better, actually, than I've been for about a year. But no, I'm still not at my best. I said, "I've had a few things that have been difficult to deal with recently, yes." His tone changed immediately. He thanked me for letting him know about the release and told me he was available if I need to talk about anything.

I don't. I've talked enough.

Darrin reminded me tonight that I have problems with Vitamin D deficiency this time of year because I'm out in the sunlight less--and with my inability to run, it would be a good idea to start supplementing again. He also suggested I visit with Therapist in the next few weeks rather than waiting the five months I had hoped for. Darrin believes it would be a good idea to take some time to discuss much of what I've been processing in reference to my cousins, and there are a few other things that have cropped up unexpectedly that I might need help with. I'll probably take his advice.

I'm feeling well, actually. But again, as Darrin pointed out, it might be a good change to visit with Therapist and implement the advice he gives when I'm not feeling anxiety. I might experience a greater amount of relief and learn to manage things more successfully in a moment when I feel relaxed and calm. This is something I need to lend serious consideration.

I spent many months in the past couple of years, analyzing and brooding over the relationships in my life. I made breakthroughs and experienced setbacks and wondered if I would ever figure anything out. Eventually, I did. I found that the reason I struggle with relationships of all types is because I don't really believe expressions of love and appreciation aimed at me. I try to believe. I do all sorts of mental gymnastics to make myself understand the words and trust the person speaking.

The problem, as I finally came to understand it, is that while I believe people love me, I believe they appreciate the things I do, I believe they enjoy spending time with and getting to know me, I simultaneously have no understanding of how that can last beyond a moment. I simply cannot conceive of anyone wanting me to remain in their lives, nor can I fathom a place being reserved for me in someone's heart. I have always felt that if something were to happen to me, Darrin would simply find someone else, my children would grieve and move on, and no one else would find my absence remarkable.

I asked Tolkien Boy to work on this with me (not exactly like that--instead I asked lots of uncomfortable questions and he graciously agreed to answer them). He responded clearly and compassionately. I have read and reread what he wrote to me. There is a part of me which rejoices at the answers he has given, and another part that utterly rejects them. It has nothing to do with trust or belief--the social condition outlined by him in which he feels things for or about me, simply does not compute in my head. I cannot make sense of it. I am overwhelmed and confused as I try to apply what I'm reading to myself. My brain sends me a continuous message that none of this can possibly be connected with Samantha--she is an irrelevant part of the equation and must be factored out.

Yet every answer is about me in some way. If I'm factored out, the answers become irrelevant and everything written is nullified. I need to discuss this with Therapist. Soon.

In the meantime, I watch the changes taking place in all my relationships and wonder how to manage the confusion and stress caused by those changes. Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe that's part of what makes vital relationships work.

At least I understand now what I do not understand. I know. That makes no sense to anyone except me.

Tomorrow I'll start that Vitamin D thing, and I'll walk in the pool and do my therapy exercises, and I'll play with my kids and do my work. Probably I'll practice for a couple of hours and when no one is around, I'm going to sing. Right now, however, I'm going to bed. I keep having odd dreams involving people in my life doing things completely out of character and also things that are very inappropriate. This is better than nightmares, I think. It makes me giggle in my sleep.

P.S. Eva--thank you for your email. Sometimes I forget that people read what I write here. And actually--that quote you sent me was exactly what I needed to hear tonight. I had forgotten those things. Thank you for reminding me.

No comments:

Post a Comment