I didn't orgasm till I was 30 and started realizing that I'm queer
When I was 19, I had by the second day of college started my first romance with a woman, a self identified lesbian from Queens, NY. I had never known an out lesbian before. I had experienced homophobia as a teenager. I felt so much guilt making love to women in those early days of college that I couldn't relax. It was like this mixture of terror and lust.
But that was before Jesus. After "giving my life to the Lord" I just tried to pray it away and hope that someday a "man of God" would want me. I attended small groups that were constructed for people who struggled with the "sin" of" homosexuality". I wrote and prayed and processed my queerness in my journals. Once, after meeting a mountain community of progressive Christians who were open and affirming and really queer, I almost came out. I did come out to my dad but more as a confession of struggle with sin then an affirmation of identity. I got really close tho. I had been considering the possibility that I might be a lesbian and was reading as much affirming theology that I could find to try to find a way to be ok with my own queerness. My best friend and I had just moved to Chicago, to Andersonville, where the lesbians tended to dwell. She would let me interlace my fingers with hers and walk with me down the street to the last remaining dyke bar in Chicago just so I could feel what it might feel like.
I was working as a Barista in the heart of downtown Chicago and I had this co-worker. Her name was Angie. Adorable. Punk. Lesbian. She told everyone that she was going to have me. I was wildly scared. I finally agreed to out dancing with her but that day I was so nervous. What was going to happen? Did I want it to happen? And the guilt was paralyzing. So when my housemate and best friend's out of town friend who would become my husband called to come visit that night, I cancelled my date with her.
A decade later, I met this adorable queer person in church who brought breathe into my body and I felt my body start to sing. It was a song of longing; of knowing; of belonging; of desire. The sweetness of my desire that woke me up. This was when I started to come.
I wept deeply after the first time I experienced orgasm. It felt holy. Like I was experiencing God. It was unlike anything I had ever known. So I wept tears of sadness...for somehow, in that moment, I knew that I was experiencing something of the Unknown, something that I had never been able to experience before. I wept for the many years of forcing myself to do sexual acts with men in spite of my body's disinterest. I wept for I had tasted the sweetness of the truth of my own queerness and I knew that I could not turn away. I wept for all that might mean for my husband and children. Mostly I wept over all the years I had not allowed myself to know self acceptance, self love.
This gift of queerness that lives within me, so tender and ripe and full has called me into belonging to myself. Alongside this new belonging to self lives my anger towards that which held me captive to fear, expectation and deception. I am angry at the church. Angry at dominant Christianity that taught me that my self worth lived in my ability to submit to authority, to live up to patriarchal, homophobic dictates of morality. Why did I get married to a man? Because I so earnestly believed in the mission of the church, this 'upside down Kingdom of Christ' where the first will be last and the last first, and that we all had a burden to carry.
But not being able to love with my body, with my whole self, disconnected me from my body, from my desires. I forced my body to do the things I thought I should be doing. I dominated my body. I couldn't even mature as a dancer because I didn't know how to let go with my body. So I worked harder. I pushed harder. I perservered. But eventually I could no longer justify the joyless persistence. It just broke me. Not having the ability to surrender into pleasure with my husband broke us. We didn't have the intimacy that comes with knowing, exploring, worshipping each other's bodies.
All along, I had had this gift of queerness within me. When finally I allowed myself to unwrap this gift, my whole life turned inside out.