Love is not the only closet
I was told to never come out of.
There was also the closet of Grief.
The closet of Panic.
The closet of Terror.
The closet of Rage.
There was also the closet of Awe and Want and Bliss.
Every honest grit that we feel,
the world will ask for a stencil instead,
for the chatter of cordial manufactured polite.
I want to jackknife out of that net.
~ Andrea Gibson
I’ve never been one to hide in closets mostly because I get a kick out of peoples shock when I announce proudly that I am (or do) things that others are arbitrarily and unnecessarily ashamed or fearful of.
I was out about being sexually attracted to multiple genders as a teenager. I was out about being a sex worker as soon as I started working in alternative protest porn.
The most recent thing I had to come out about was God and I must say I’ve been getting more of a shocked reaction to that word than “queer” ever did.
Interestingly, this coming out was also the most uncomfortable for me.
Having spent most of my life as a committed atheist, coming out as being “down with the God thing” felt akin to the leader of a gay cure “Pray Away Your Gay” program coming out as a flaming homosexual.
Regardless of how uncomfortable I was about it (or the fact that it was a massive 180 from my formerly strong beliefs against any kind of divinity), I just “fessed-up.”
So, when I was hanging with my peeps from the pre-theist era, the conversations tended to go a little like this.
“Hey! You wanna tea or coffee?”
“Cool, by the way, I believe in God now.”
“Are you kidding?”
I’ve got to admit that I could have tempered the confession and used a less loaded word.
Proclaiming my belief in “God” tends to conjure up a new found friendship with that old bearded sky-man that the three semitic faiths are all killing each other over.
As I said before, I use the word “God”‘ because I am shamelessly into shocking people.
If I am going to expose myself uncomfortably, I like to make it entertaining for myself. “God” has more of entertainment impact than,
“I’ve become aware of a consciousness that transcends self, my ego, and gives me access to states of pure love and utter euphoria. I have come to perceive these states as a channel to realms of divine power that exists within and without in a blissful sense of oneness with all existence.”
Plus, “God” is just more succinct.
I’m not into any dogma or spiritual belief that claims to have the down-low on deciding who or what God is for all humanity.
I don’t care if that’s Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Tantrics, Ba’hai. Your understanding of God is yours and yours alone. It need not apply to anyone else and no matter how many people share your belief it does not make it more “right” than anyone else’s.
The way I see it, God is a light and humanity is a prism that splinters it into a vast rainbow.
We all see a different colour and think we’ve seen “The Light.”
You’ve seen your light, your fractured part of God, but the act of forcing it upon others is spiritual rape. Yes, evangelism is gross and rapey. Stop it.
Anyway, a few of my friends ridiculed me (and at first that was funny), but then it got old real quick.
Kind of like buddies who allocated me the pet names “rug muncher,” “lezzo,” or “dyke,” started to fuck me off too.
For them, I was now defined by this one aspect of my identity that they had an aversion or uncomfortable fascination with. So, their discomfort manifested as a repetitive fixation that was masked with humour—the impenetrable shield of all manner of moronic behaviour because who wants to be labelled as humourless, right?
“Come on. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself you big ol’ rug munchin’, dyke, porno whore, hippy cult member.”
Well yeah, you do need to be able to laugh at yourself so excuse me while I laugh at you too with your squirmy phobia about other people’s lifestyles that in no way effect you.
One of the things I’ve noticed people are quickest to ridicule is the terminology of spiritual practices.
I had one person say that using such words proves I am in a cult, that I am brainwashed and no longer myself.
That’s an irrationally dramatic leap, like saying being gay automatically means someone will die of AIDS.
I assure you, friends and followers, I am not about to drink the Koolaid. I will always be me, but me is in flux. Part of what makes me “me” is that I am open to learning, adapting and changing where I see fit.
I am not a fixed person.
Like the proverbial river, you cannot step in (or on) the same Helen twice.
However, my identity is cumulative. All I have been is part of who I am now. So, I use language that applies to spirituality and spiritual practices. Language I did not use before.
There are some folks in spiritual communities who can get a bit wanky and pretentious with the language. There are some folks in any community who seem to express themselves in clichéd jargon.
That’s just humans.
For example, there is terminology when you talk about music. When someone learns to play music they will use the terminology you teach them to understand what they’re doing.
Some musicians are a bit elitist and pretentious when they talk about music, some are not.
I’m not in a cult any more than a musician is in a cult. I am using the terminology that I’ve been taught so I can practice what I am learning.
Anyway, initial ridicule aside, there are always several levels to coming out. It’s an ongoing process rather than a single act. There’s saying it and then there is letting it be seen.
Recently, someone I know expressed an interest in sharing and seeing some of the tantra stuff I’m into. I was surprised and delighted by their interest and their instigation of this.
Then I was scared. What was I scared of?
I realised it was just another layer of coming out. This layer is comparable to the difference between telling people you’re queer and taking them out to a queer night club with you.
With the latter you might be worrying if they’ll get freaked out by what goes on at that club and perceive the more “out there” members of the community as representative of your sexual identity.
What I am getting at is that part of my fear with integrating my spiritual interests with the rest of my life is that there is a significant bunch of stuff about tantra that doesn’t ring true for me and I don’t want to be seen as representative of those beliefs.
Even so, it is time to let worlds collide and let the chips fall where they may. To come out and be seen in the resplendent love of God within and without.
However, it is also a timely reminder not to put all my eggs in one basket and to restrict my spiritual adventures to just one philosophy and practice simply because it is the first one I have come across that opened me to God.
In being seen, I can see myself more clearly and see Tantra is merely the beginning of my explorations into transcendent practices.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Catherine Monkman