Friday, March 26, 2010

Rejection . . .

They say that ignorance is bliss.

I believe them.

In some sense, I really am hoping that this wedding season that my partner and I are in right now will pass quickly. Don't get me wrong, there is a significant extent to which I want to savor every moment of this process. But then, there are all of the "conscientious objectors" who won't come to our wedding (mostly for religious reasons), and it stings just a little bit more every time we get another one of those letters.

Life was so much easier when everyone thought J and I were just fucking around (and to be honest, I'm sure some of them thought we were out fucking a lot of other guys too - they could not be more wrong, in either accusation). But ever since we've actually made plans to enter into healthy, sanctifying, committed partnership together, many people have suddenly found a need to place their proverbial stakes in the ground. It's their right to do so, obviously. God bless 'em. Most of them can even acknowledge that doing so pains them, and knows that it will pain us. However, most of them have not an inkling what it *actually* feels like to have their love invalidated in such a way. They have no idea how much it hurts to be told by the people they love that they won't attend THE seminal event of their lives :(

People keep saying to me "well, you have to understand how they feel", and frankly, I DO understand how they feel. I was faced with a similar, tough situation when a good friend of mine from college (a girl who attended the Bible study I led, no less) decided to marry a Muslim man. My deliberation was quick, but difficult. I decided my love for her was worth putting my squeamishness aside for an evening, so that I could remain a part of her life. After all, how do you expect someone to trust you to be a part of their life, if you refuse to be a part of their love? It is precisely the sort of decision I figured Jesus would make in the same situation. I think Christians have an infinitesimally small understanding of exactly how scandalous it was for a rabbi to be eating with the likes of tax collectors and harlots! Communion and sharing with someone - even a sinning someone - is not necessarily condoning everything they do. But it is affirming their value and worth as human beings with human hearts and human ways.

My parents are coming to our ceremony. I am in no way deluded into thinking that this somehow means they agree with our sexuality being God-ordained. I understand their attendance to be the sign that they want to continue to be a part of our lives. God forbid if they did not come, and something were to happen to J. Do you think I would actually ever feel as though I could trust them anymore? With my hurt, my loss, my heart, my feelings? No, I couldn't. They made their decision. Not being a part of our love means not being a part of my life. That's how I feel about the matter, simply put.

And so, I want the days of ignorance back. I want to go back to the days when everyone pretended to love me perfectly well when they thought we were just fucking, and getting this out of our systems. I want to get beyond the wedding, so that people can revert to the simple life.

Can you tell that this past week has been hard for me? :)

I guess I'm just feeling the weight of being rejected so thoroughly by J's family. Of course, things could be a lot worse. As it is, they smile in my face, and secretly pray that I go away, while ignoring me whenever they can . . . I guess it's easier that way. Maybe I'd do the same in their position. But they *could* just be rude, evil, vindictive, and spiteful to me to my face. And that would probably feel worse than this. But this feels pretty shitty all the same . . .


Pomoprophet said...

Ah yes. Those wonderful years of Ignorance... The wierd part about it is that we aren't aware of our ignorance. Nor are the people that are rejecting you.

I'm reminded of the verse "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (is it too evangelical to quote bible verses?? ;) )

Maybe once some of the pain subsides, the freedom will be in knowing who genuinely loves you and supports the relationship. And that freedom enables you to love them more. Maybe. Atleast thats a promise I cling to for you and JoeModerate and my BF and all the others...

Topher said...

I just have to say "AMEN!" to this.

When J and I were getting married, having just come out of being in an evangelical church, I said I understood where people were coming from and that if they decided not to come, I'd support that. But even coming from that position, it hurt INCREDIBLY to have family members and close friends boycott the wedding. As you said, it's a seminal event in your life, one that happens (God willing) only ONCE. EVER. If people don't come, there's no do-over.

Well, except in J and my case, where we got a legal wedding too. And that second time, we thought maybe J's parents would be willing to come after realizing how hurtful it was to be boycotted the first time. But we all know that didn't happen ...

I hope you are able to find peace with it, as Pomoprophet wishes. But just to be honest with you, it's been ~2 years and we're still not over it, and it still hurts, and we don't know when we will be able to lay it aside.

Jeff S. said...

DJ, if I lived closer and were invited, I would come. I decided I would do the same if my sister ever invites me to a commitment ceremony or a wedding. I've reached a point where I think it is more important to be a part of someone's life than to stand on principle to the point of excluding and not recognizing someone's existence. And to take it a step farther with these people that are boycotting the wedding, what will they do if you guys have children together? Not recognize their existence either?

My suggestion: send everyone who has notified you they are boycotting the wedding a copy of Andrew Marin's book "Love Is an Orientation." Maybe you'll impact at least one of those "friends" or relatives. And maybe congratulate them on living a perfect life themselves.

Gina Marie said...

I find your Christian faith to be inspiring. I am still at a point where I have a hard time accepting Christians because *some* (I feel) are so extremely hypocritical and hurtful. Jesus taught the human virtues of love, humility, and charity towards others.

You and J are obviously very strong individuals to not be so turned off by the lack of support and unacceptable you receive from fellow Christians. You two have more love to give each other and the world than many hetero people living in false marriages or relationships. I'm sure you know that, though, and can take some comfort in that.

What I'm trying to say is that if I were you, I wouldn't believe in God or have faith in fellow Christians because of the way they treat you. But you do... and that's remarkable. I'm not there yet. I can't forgive them for how they treat homosexuals. I hope that one day I can. But if they believe in a God that will condemn that behavior, then I don't want to believe in that same God. My "god" doesn't judge others... only loves.

Congratulations on your engagement! I hope that you find some excitement amidst the disappointment. It should be a joyous time! You both are such wonderful people!

Joe Moderate said...

Ugh Ugh Ugh. I hate to read you guys going through this stuff. I honestly don't think Christians have any idea what it's like to be on the receiving end of their decisions. They are so convinced it is an act of "love" that they don't understand it can be received any other way.

I remember when my brother, prior to our wedding, cut off his relationship to us entirely. He said the purpose of his actions was to "win us back" [to his convictions]. But his actions only further convinced us that his way of thinking is wrong.

I hurt for you guys... Makes me wonder what it's like to be straight and just deal with "normal" wedding stress.

...whatever normal is lol...

Can't wait to be there on your big day! :-D

Oh, and I'd actually politely disagree with Jeff S's suggestion to send all decliners a copy of Andrew Marin's book. I'm don't think he helps; I think in the long run he may hurt.

Carrie said...

You are a beautiful person and J is incredibly lucky to get the privilege of spending the rest of his life with you. For anybody who loves you to not want to be with you to share in your day with you just devastates me.

I am a white girl from Kansas. My family is very white and have mostly all married very white people, with the exception of an uncle that married a Japanese woman and my brother who was briefly married to a Korean girl who was adopted by white parents and raised in small town Kansas.

I date black men. I don't specifically do it on purpose, but that's been the norm for a few years now. My family is uncomfortable with it. When I got pregnant, I was terrified that my family wouldn't accept my biracial child as fully part of the family. It was hard on them, but I truly believe that my family loved him as much as I do and that they mourn the loss of his life as deeply as I do. I think my son Damien did something in his short life to help heal some of the ignorance and fear that my family has in regards to my interracial dating.

But I do wonder what will happen if I ever get married and it's to a man who isn't white. I wonder if they just tolerate my dating black men because, as you said, they just think it's something I need to get out of my system to rebel or something.

I hope that your family who are coming because they love you, not because they approve, will come around to do more than tolerate your marriage, but will grow to see how beautiful your relationship with J is and will love and accept them into your family. And for those who are choosing judgement over love, I hope that they will change their mind, and will come around to celebrating your union.

I'm so happy for you.

matt said...

Jeff S: F*ck you. My parents are responding the best way they know how right now. They don't claim to live a perfect life, and far from it. My parents are just as confused now as I understand my brother to have been when he was working all of this out in his own head years ago. It took years for him to cover what my parents have had to cover in a much shorter amount of time. Give them credit for at least TRYING to understand it all instead just poking their head in the ground and hoping it all goes away.

matt said...

Darren, I'm sorry this is the way things have turned out. Please know that we--myself, Kelly, Brian, and my to an extent, my parents--are all trying our best to understand and adjust to everything going on. Our reasons for needing to understand and adjust may not make sense to you, or perhaps they do, but please don't judge us for trying.

D.J. Free! said...

A quick word to everyone: Matt (who just happens to be J's brother) commented here. My blog is automatically set up to moderate comments made on a post that's greater than 2 weeks old, so I asked Matt if he really wanted me to publish his comments which he admittedly made in the heat of the moment. He left it up to me whether or not to publish them, and I chose to, b/c I don't like to necessarily filter raw anger. It's honest, and heartfelt, and I thought there were things that required some validation. So please don't overreact to his words . . . take them for what they are.

Thanks for sharing. In an attempt to somehow "soften the blow", please understand that no one here necessarily expected anyone from J's family to actually be reading this. People have to have a place to vent their frustration unfiltered at times. It's therapeutic. I love that you're reading, and I hope that in reading my own emotional struggles with all of this, you get a more complete picture about the world. But also recognize that it will probably be difficult for your to read my blog, as the next few months are surely to bring more struggle for me, and others are going to affirm me and even vent their own frustrations (some of that will likely have little to do w/ your family, and a lot to do with the way they've been treated by their own friends and families). So just a bit of fair warning about that.

At the same time, I don't want to simply dismiss rude or judgmental behavior. If I feel like someone is being unfair in their assessment, I will be sure to correct their assumptions, in the kindest way possible for me. If you feel like I've missed something, you are more than welcome to state your own opinions here. I wouldn't ever suggest that you be UNemotional about that, but keep in mind that you will be speaking to a lot of people who have been TREMENDOUSLY hurt by church folk - many of whom have been depressed and suicidal as a result of such treatment (myself included). So when you see frustration, disappointment, dislike, and even aggression from them, understand that that's where they're coming from.

But again, I thank you for your perspective. If you feel like *I* am ever unfair, judgmental, or just plain wrong in my assessments, you needn't hide that from me. I'm more than happy to engage you on it.

D.J. Free! said...

To all the rest, sorry it's taken me so long to respond! I got overwhelmed with a lecture I gave late last week. So I'm trying to catch my breath, along w/ catching up to tons of emails and such!

I hope that for myself too! I hope that I can learn to love those who haven't treated me the way I'd like to be treated . . . to "love the enemy" as Jesus would say, for they are my neighbors too. I've just been so incredibly hurt, that I don't know how to actually accomplish that :( But it's my prayer to grow into that.

Thanks for the affirmation, my friend! I'm sorry to say that I know far too much how you guys must have felt the last couple of years. This is AWFUL! Big hugs to you!!

Jeff S,
I assume Matt's issue with your statement was your last sentence. I could see how it comes off a bit snarky. I hope you don't take much offense to his (understandable) anger given the circumstances . . . but I do understand your sentiment. I can affirm that I doubt most of the folks in his family are boycotting b/c they think they are perfect (though I do have strong suspicions that there are some on his mom's side who feel that way). As for Joe's response, he has quite a distaste for Andy Marin. I can't say that I share Joe's sentimet fully, but I can empathize with it a little. I think that the book has either already been suggested to some of them, would be unnecessary for others, and might even go over the heads of yet others. I'd be interested to know if J's parents ever read it, and how they felt about it.

YOU are a treasure! Frankly, I'm not sure how I AM still faithful. I guess it's just an indomitable love for things good, and loving, and mysterious. So it keeps me sticking around - even when I'm treated like shit by the Church. *sigh* It certainly isn't b/c I'm a saint though! That's for sure! YOU might be one though . . . at the very least, I find you a bit angelic :)

Oh that I could understand "normal" wedding stress! Those heteros have no idea how good they got it! LOL.

Thank you so much! You're too darn sweet! Seriously. I hope that we will both know full family integration, regardless of their reasons for discrimination. That's the beauty and power of HOPE, I suppose . . .


matt said...

Sorry to both you and Jeff for losing my cool. Sometimes it's hard not to get angry when I feel like those I love are being attacked. And in this case its either one side or the other, which means it's going on all the time. I realize Jeff may not have been referring directly to my family and so maybe what I said was unnecessary, or at the least misdirected.

Thanks for your input, Darren. At times I fail to acknowledge the realities that some people experience.

There's a lot more I could say but at the risk of saying the wrong thing, or the right thing the wrong way, I'm going to end there.

Rachel said...

aw, I am so sorry, Darren. I hope things get better. You now your worth and value as a good, kind and decent human being - don't let anyone dissuade you otherwise.