Compromising My Worth (The Opposite of Love is Shame: Part 12)

It was not just because of being raped that I was done with men, but I was slowly starting to realize that I wasn’t bisexual, I was still lesbian, which is what I knew within my heart all those years ago before I even knew a non-offensive term for my feelings. It was something I had spent my life trying to hide, because it was just too shameful to speak of. A lot of the things I have written here were the things too shameful to share, things that kept me in bondage to shame for so long.

The biggest issue I had to overcome was being affirming of myself and knowing that I was in a good and right relationship with God. I was lucky enough to be in an affirming church, which meant I was finally free to explore and figure all this confusing shit out. I ended up realizing that God created me to be a lesbian, and that God had done that because it pleased God to do so. This meant that for me to live an authentic life, I needed to live out who God had created me to be. This was God’s design for me.

I didn’t publicly come out as a lesbian (although some select people knew) until I was thirty-three. I was done with hiding it and I had come to learn that yes, many people would reject me over my sexuality and many other things, but those who truly loved me would love me whether they “agreed” with my sexuality or not. It often feels awkward to me when people find out that I am a lesbian because I have four children and I feel like they will think it’s just a phase because I hate men right now. But I have also been learning that I cannot let what other people think dictate my life. The people who know and love me understand the story, despite what their feelings may be about it, and they love me regardless.

But yes, the truth is that I am a lesbian with four children and that’s just the way this story goes. I also know that my story is not done yet, because I am still here. God isn’t going to smite me dead and then throw me into hell for eternity, God loves me.

As I struggled to be a decent Christian woman, I was not only extremely lonely, I also felt like I was worthless. I craved value but did not feel valuable to anybody. During this time, although I knew better, I sent compromising pictures to men on dating sites when they asked for them. After an internal battle with myself, I sent some of them pictures privately via email. There was no way in hell that I considered myself to be attractive, but if men wanted to look at me, if anyone saw me as attractive, then maybe one day I could be. I wanted to be valued so much that I took the pictures even though they made me feel like a whore. I tried telling myself that this was modern life, that the progress we had made in some sort of sexual revolution meant that some things were ok now that did not used to be ok. But I never felt good about taking those pictures.

Some of my friends were telling me that sending the pictures was not a shameful or degrading thing, but that it gave me value and worth because I could do what I wanted to do without the church dictating it. I followed that train of thought for a while, but I never found my value in sending compromising pictures to guys. Apparently posing for the pictures was “sex-positive” behavior, and since sex had never been positive for me, I guess I was trying to find this “sex-positive” bullshit somewhere. Turns out lesbians don’t tend to have positive sexual interactions with men.

I was also beginning to recognize, as I accepted the truth of God loving me, that I had value and worth. I had never really known this before, and I searched for value and worth in all the wrong places. I had it in my mind that as a woman, I could only be valuable if I was beautiful and sexy. Although I was trying hard to be a good Christian, I joined some dating websites, not entirely out of loneliness, but also because I was craving to know that I was valued. I did not want to really be in a relationship with a man at all, but I also wanted to be valued, and so I interacted with some men too. Although having sex with men has never felt good to me, I knew that if I wanted to be in a relationship, sex would be part of that relationship. And so, I decided that it was worth it to me to put out just so that someone would love me, and I would have value.

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