I did not want to become one of the lapsed.
As a child growing up in a religious faith, do you have any idea how many times you are told that to be one who has lost faith is worse than one who never had any faith at all? Do you have any idea how many times you are warned to not live a “double life,” to excise all doubts, to not question, to accept, to submit, and to obey?
Hundreds, thousands, if not tens of thousands of times, again and again, in metaphor, in language direct and indirect, in big words and small ones, many times a week, many many times a year, over and over, and over–
Unending times. Countless.
And then, to wake up one day with the horrible knowledge of my gay-ness, my essentially corrupted, immoral, unacceptable, inherently foul homosexuality… Oh, well, one must split oneself in two to handle the cognitive dissonance. One must shut down certain things that feel off; one must learn to hide in public; one must learn to un-be, to become essentially unknown and unknowable, to amputate and excise flesh and bone and skin without anesthetic, and to smile whilst doing so.
I have smiled a thousand upon a thousand times with no crinkling at the corner of my eyes, for deep behind the corneas sat the primal pain of the severing of my soul’s brain stem.
You cannot cry out if you cannot cry. You cannot crack if you do not take the armor off, ever. You cannot be known if you are not even there.
I killed myself to stay alive, but I didn’t quite get the job done right. And now to actually be alive, I must kill myself again, this time in the right way. I must slay the identity that I have built for it was palatable enough for my family and tolerable enough for me to walk around in it, but it was certainly not enough for living. I must slay this one dead and leave not even a whiff of a breath in it, for this world is arcane and holds many arts and I will not give anyone the chance to raise that person back from the dead.
(It has always been a dead thing, but I shall not let it be un-dead anymore.)
When one has fallen away, you are told to “treat that one as if they are dead.” So, I must accept, that in many eyes, I truly will become a dead thing. My new life, should I live it publicly and proudly, sans restraint or shame, will never be a life that can be shared with all the important people in my life. I will be dead: my body shall stink of rotted flesh and shall be a cavern for maggots. There is no middle ground and there is no compromise for the order has always been God and then family, and it shall never be reversed.
Remember: you must let the dead bury the dead. (They shall not touch my body.)