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EternalGeekExposed
Evan
United States
Lived, learned, and loved.

This is a second account where I feel safe being involved in the LGBT community. My main account is :iconeternalgeek:. However, I ask you to please, PLEASE not discuss LGBT topics there or link anything on that account back to this one. This is my alias where I can be safe in who I am. Thank you for your understanding.
  • Mood: Irritated
I wanted to get that last journal off of my page for a bit, so to any of my watchers or those who wander by my page, please take a second to tell me 3 (or more) fun things or stories about yourselves!  I'm all ears.

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Particlez by EternalGeekExposed
Particlez
Heehee, I am trying to simulate particles interacting in a box and they are being silly.
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I want to talk about the idea of “conviction” in some fundamentalist Christian circles.  Particularly I want to talk about how it is used by some Christians both as a gas-lighting technique and as a method of manipulation.  However, I have not really had time or the ability to put my thoughts together in a coherent fashion.  So instead, I think I will just tell a couple of stories.  These stories occurred while I lived as a woman, so I am using those pronouns and terms since they are relevant to the stories.

Note: for those unaware of this particular Christianese phrase, I am referring to the following definition: a feeling of guilt or shame that God inflicts on a person that comes with the recognition of having committed a sin.

When I was outed as gay to my family, I was living overseas and working on my Masters degree in Astrophysics. Needless to say, I was already under a lot of stress, even before dealing with my family keeping me up til ungodly hours on the phone arguing, laying enormous guilt trips on me for hurting the family, or sending me books and articles and pamphlets about how I am deceiving myself into thinking that I can be gay and Christian and about how lesbian relationships are all just co-dependent and unhealthy and guilting me into reading them. (And yeah, according to these sources, gay male relationships are all about lust and sex and lesbian relationships are about emotional codependency. I can’t even start to unpack that sexist and homophobic load of shit).

Anyway. I was quite religious at the time.  Having this crisis regarding my family’s rejection of my sexuality had actually driven me deeper into my faith rather than away from it; I suppose I was looking for some stability and comfort which I found in god.  I would often go to church to find some solace. One Sunday morning, my parents called me and we had a bad argument that ended in them telling me “we don’t even know you anymore.” I was really upset when I left the conversation so that I could take the train down to church. During the worship service I tried to hold things together but I was so overwhelmed I just broke down and started sobbing uncontrollably. One of the women in the pews noticed me and very kindly asked if I was okay and if I needed to speak to someone. I had a friendly relationship with the current pastor, so I said that I would like to speak to him, thinking that maybe I would admit that I was gay to him and tell him what was happening.  I was hoping that, even if he disagreed, he would be loving and supportive in the difficult time I was having and maybe would pray for my family and I. However (as is common in churches) women are apparently only supposed to seek counsel from women, so I was directed instead to the pastor’s wife, whom I had barely met before. This left me feeling a bit scared and vulnerable, but I followed her to a back room where she sat me down and got me a glass of water and tried to make me comfortable.  Finally she sat down across from me and waited for my tears to subside.

I was still sobbing and was a bit scared about coming out to a total stranger, but I slowly calmed myself enough to begin trying to speak. “First, there’s something you should know about me. I’m gay, and I’m dating a woman,” I said.  I then began to tell her that things were going very badly with my family, but she was not looking at me anymore.  She was flipping through her bible. She opened it to Romans 1, and then tilted it a little so I could see it while she watched me intently, clearly gauging my reaction. I started to get shaky and nervous again, trying to ignore it, trying not to look at those pages that she obviously wanted me to see. I kept talking but I felt I wasn’t really being heard. And indeed, as soon as I paused, she interjected and began to tell me that I was living in sin and that god was disgusted with my lifestyle. She asked me if I’d read Romans 1. I said yes, but that I didn’t interpret it the way that she clearly did, that I hadn’t come here to talk about whether or not homosexuality was a sin, and that I didn’t believe it was wrong to be gay.

“Yes you do,” she said.

“No, I don’t think it’s wrong,” I stammered, rather flabbergasted.

“Yes you do. You know it’s wrong. Otherwise you wouldn’t be crying. You’re crying because God has convicted you and you know you are guilty.”

Never mind the stress and anxiety I was under. Never mind that my family was pressuring me. Never mind that people I loved and trusted were attacking a deeply important part of me. Never mind that my family had just told me that they didn’t know me anymore. No, I was apparently crying because I had been convicted. And, you know, I half believed it, because when you’re that mind-fucked by your family and your church and everyone around you, it’s hard to have any sort of perspective besides “well, everyone is saying it so maybe they’re right.” You lose your ability to judge your own feelings and values. It’s disorienting.

I felt like the breath had just been sucked out of me and I mostly just sat there for the rest of the next hour while she read me Romans 1, she talked to me about how I was disappointing god, my relationship was disgusting, I needed to stop running from the truth, etc. I put up a few weak arguments here and there, but I hadn’t come here to argue about sin. I just wanted advice and comfort and safety.  I was in pain and I was crying, and she had chosen to use that expression of my pain as a weapon against me by deciding that my tears were “conviction.”

A very similar experience occurred a few months later at my sister’s church, which she had pressured me into going to in an attempt to convince me to break up with my girlfriend.  By this point, my parents had threatened to ban me from coming back to their house if I dared to go visit my girlfriend, and I was in a lot of turmoil about what I should do.  My desperation and fear left me vulnerable, so my sister talked me into speaking to an elder that she trusted and having that person pray for me.  I feared a repeat of the previous time, but I agreed.

I tried to explain to this woman that I was dealing with a difficult family situation and that I could use some prayer or guidance.  I avoided admitting the full circumstance at first, but when she kept asking (and in retrospect, she may already have been informed by my sister) I admitted that I was gay.  As soon as she heard that word, she stopped listening and started telling me to pray for god to “release me from this sinful relationship that had a hold on my life.” I told her that I wasn’t going to pray for that because that’s not what I felt was needed.  This seemed to bewilder her and she continued to insist that I needed to pray for god to cleanse me of sin.  At the time, I started to think that maybe she was just very dense or maybe hard of hearing, because nothing I said really seemed to register.  Every time I told her “I’m okay with being gay; this isn’t about that,” she just looked really confused, stammered a bit, and then went back to encouraging me to renounce my sin.  I think now that she was not being intentionally dense, but she was doggedly convinced that I knew that I was wrong.  She was just waiting for me to drop the pretense and admit it.  Why else would I be asking for prayer?  Why else would I be in a church?  I must have been convicted by god.

It couldn’t possibly be that I was dealing with a traumatic family situation.  It couldn’t possibly be that I was about to be kicked out of the house.  It couldn’t possibly be that I had been strong-armed and manipulated into coming.  It couldn’t possibly be intense pressure and guilt from other people that drove me here.  Nope, I was convicted and I just needed to admit it.  And so she continued to badger me to pray for the strength to “give everything over to God.” Eventually, I half-heartedly did so because I was tired. At least in this situation, I was less emotionally vulnerable, so I mostly felt frustration and disappointment. I guess that’s what you get when you keep believing people who tell you that a “spiritual authority” will know how to fix your problem and you can’t possibly know how to handle it yourself or be trusted to find your own support.


You know what?  Neither of these experiences changed my mind about my sexuality.  They didn’t teach me that being gay is a sin.  They didn’t show me the light.  They didn’t convict me.  What they did do was capitalize on my suffering to try to manipulate me into changing.  What they did do is drive the knife deeper and teach me that church is not a safe place to be.  I have never unlearned that lesson and maybe I never will.  I am no longer a Christian (for fairly unrelated reasons, actually) but even if I did choose to explore spirituality again, I’m not sure I’d ever feel comfortable in a church.  Maybe with some more time and distance that will change.  For now, my conviction is that I would rather be anywhere than sit in a pew and anything is safer than being vulnerable in a church.
Conviction
Yeah, I don't have a lot of time to make polished editorials lately, but I still have to get my thoughts out of my head, so thus we end up with this.  Just some experiences with the idea of being "convicted by god" which is a popular one in some Christian circles, but seems to be absent in others.  I have not yet figured out the ideological lines that define who uses this phrase and who doesn't.  I know it was ubiquitous with the folks I knew.
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  • Mood: Irritated
I wanted to get that last journal off of my page for a bit, so to any of my watchers or those who wander by my page, please take a second to tell me 3 (or more) fun things or stories about yourselves!  I'm all ears.
Dear Sister,

You were my first and often my only friend.  In the early days of our lives it was just you and me.  Homeschooling was new in our community, there were few other children for us to play with and we lived in the country with acres of woods and pastures all to ourselves.  We built castles in the trees, picked mulberries behind the house, blazed trails through the weeds, gathered up our skirts and waded through creeks, climbed, fell, scraped, bruised, laughed, ran, and lived together.  We were dinosaurs, runaways, horses, lions, detectives, unicorns, secret agents.  We were always together, every day, every hour.

Sometimes I wonder if that togetherness is what hurt you.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s why you never learned to let go.

We grew up.  Still, we were together.  Grandpa said that we were amazing because we never fought.  That was not completely true, but fights were rare.  We were very different people but sometimes I think we forgot that.  Our personalities, our interests, our feelings were different, but people rarely saw that.  We were still “the girls” we still went to almost all of the same activities and were in the same places.  Now we had more opportunities and friends to be with, but still, apart from a few hours each week, we were always together.  Always, always together.

And then you went to college.  Yes, it was hard for me at first.  You had always been there.  Now you rarely called, you rarely came home, you had new friends and a new life.  But I adapted, I had my own friends and I developed my own interests and I learned to be with myself.  Two years later, I went across the country to my own college and I realized I was happy for you that you had your own life, that I had my own life, that we could be apart and still be close.  It was okay.  We didn’t have to be together all the time.  Right?

Isn’t that right?

I don’t know when your grip on me started to tighten.  I can’t put my finger on when you changed or if you had always been this way.  It seemed to start slowly.  I would call you and you would be angry with me for not calling you sooner.  I was confused; we were both busy with our own lives.  If you had wanted to talk why hadn’t you called?  How was I to know that you were expecting me to call more often?  You brushed my confusion aside, demanded an apology.  I gave it.  I was sorry.  I hadn’t meant to hurt you.

But it didn’t end there.  It happened again.  And again.  And then it started to spread.  When I would come home, you would demand my time.  Talking to anyone else, spending time with anyone else made you angry.  You needed to be included in absolutely everything.  Time with just friends, personal outings, none of that was allowed.  My dates with my boyfriend even became a point of contention… you wanted to be invited along.  Again and again, apologies were demanded.  I was being callous, cruel, insulting for living a life that didn’t involve you at every second.  That wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

I was confused, but I apologized.  I was an unsocialized homeschooled dweeb.  What did I know about social etiquette?  Surely I was in the wrong.

Soon, you were angry with me for even having a phone conversation with my significant other without conferencing you in.  You were angry with me for inviting you to an outing with friends because I hadn’t allowed you to pick the activity.  You were angry with me for accepting invitations to social events from friends that hadn’t included you.  You were angry with me for not hanging up on my significant other immediately when you decided you wanted to go do something with me.  And you were always, always angry with me for initiating contact with you by email or over the phone because it was never soon enough, it was never good enough, it was never the specific way that you had wanted me to contact you.

And you demanded your apologies over and over.  And I tried to explain myself over and over, but nothing would satisfy you.  So I would abase myself, I would apologize, I would wonder why I could never do things right.

Sister, I love you, but we are not the same person.  Our lives are separate.  Our personalities are separate.  We are not two isolated, lonely homeschooled children anymore.

When I came out as gay to you, I had hoped to find an ally.  I knew our parents would not accept it, but you had long been questioning the morals of our upbringing.  I hoped that I could trust you.  And at first, you seemed open, accepting, welcoming.  You encouraged me, you told me that you would protect my secret.  I wonder if it was your jealousy and your possessiveness that led you to change your mind.

When you changed, it was sudden and vicious.  Your possession of me escalated as you found an ultimate enemy in my same-sex partner.  You tried everything to prevent me from spending time with her or even mentioning her around you.  Open hostility, passive-aggressive behavior, the cold shoulder, emotional manipulation, shouting, lying, poisoning friends and family against me, and spiritual abuse were your tactics.  At the time, I thought it was about morality and homosexuality.  I no longer think it was.

I think, in your opposition to my same-sex relationship, you found what you believed to be a moral high-ground and a justification for your possessive, destructive behavior.  Suddenly, your controlling tendencies were applauded and supported by your family and the community around you.  Even today, you say that homosexuality “isn’t that big of a deal.”  At first that confused me.  It seemed like a complete reversal of your opinion.  But no, I don’t think this was ever really about me being gay.  It wasn’t about me at all.

I think it is about you and how you never learned to let go.

But Sister, I finally learned to be wise.  I finally realized that our relationship was not normal, not healthy, and not my fault.  I stopped apologizing.  I stopped abasing myself.  I stopped playing your game.  And oh, how angry that made you.  Every phone call, every attempt to talk to you, to have a relationship resulted in shouting, anger, and emotional abuse.  You lashed out at me when I drove across state lines to see your Masters degree graduation because I did not agree to stay overnight at your apartment.  You lashed out at me when I invited you to my wedding, not because you were opposed to the gender of my partner, but because I had not previously demonstrated enough devotion to you for you to want to attend.

You are the reason that there is only silence between us now.  I don’t know what made you the way you are.  I don’t know if it could have been different.  I don’t know if you would have been healthier and happier if we had been able to grow up with a little more separation and distance between us.  I can only speculate.

But I want you to know, I’m not that lonely, dependent little kid anymore, who was attached to your hip, who followed you everywhere, who was always with you.  I love you, Sister.  But we can’t be together anymore.

Love, Evan
Emotional incest: my sister and I
Okay, I've been wanting to figure out how to get this off of my chest for a while, so here I finally think I said what I need to say.  This is pretty personal, so yeah... I might not keep it up here.  I hope that, if anyone else is experiencing something similar, they can at least know that they're not the only one.

This is written mostly referring to myself with female designators, since my sister and I have barely talked since I came out as transgender, so if you're confused, that's why.
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  • Mood: Rant
I am not sending you a card or a gift for your birthday this year. You will undoubtedly notice the absence of communication and might wonder why. You probably have a pretty good idea, but you will also probably come up with embellished reasons for my silence: I am mentally ill, or I am bitter against the family for being righteous, or I am unable to deal with disagreeing viewpoints, or I am just doing it to hurt the people who love me. I've heard these accusations from you or the rest of the family at various times, so I figure they'll likely make another appearance. I also figure I'm not likely to change your perceptions. For that reason, I'm not planning to send this letter. However, I am going to write it so that I can state my reasons in my words, without your skewed viewpoint being imposed on it.

It's been about a year since we had much of any communication. I offered you an invitation to my wedding. I wanted to let you know that you were welcome to be there, although I acknowledged that I didn't know if you'd be interested, given our theological differences.

You responded by saying you wouldn't be able to make it to my wedding "this time" because of a list of grievances that you shared. This included claims that I had accused you of "various things" (I have no idea what that means), you don't like my fiance (classy), there would be people there that you don't know (um... yeah, it's MY wedding... it's not going to be all YOUR friends), I had not kept in contact as much as you wanted me to (how the fuck was I supposed to know that when you never call me either?), I may have spread rumors about you (false), and I asked you not to talk about my fiance (also false). Your email was full of hostile language and snark, and you wrapped up saying that "for future reference" I should reconcile with you before I send invitations to things (translation: I should anticipate and appease your unspecified and un-communicated demands before I can expect to get your permission to live my own life.)

I already wrote you a response, detailing my issues with this communication, first and foremost being that you NEVER discussed any of the vague issues above with me prior to this communication, and several things you listed are blatant lies. When I called you out on this, you at least admitted that the "rumors" were completely unsubstantiated (whereas, on the other hand, I have solid proof that you have spread rumors about me amongst mutual friends). You didn't address that I've never asked you not to talk about my fiance, apart from asking you not to criticize or talk badly about her. Indeed, it was mom and dad (and their stupid Christian counselor) that insisted that I was not to ever make mention of my relationship around them and I seem to recall you thought this was reasonable and appropriate (hint: it's not.)

Also "this time"??? Are you serious? Oh, and when I responded to you and told you that didn't appreciate you being so disrespectful, you whined that "I thought I was allowed to be honest" and "actually, I think your wedding invitation was just baiting me to reject so that you could vent your anger on me." What? WHAT? Where the fuck would you get an idea like that from? Yes, if someone invites you to their wedding, the OBVIOUS reason is that they are trying to lure you into being rude and reject them so they can get angry. You are so delusional it's almost funny, but mostly it's enraging.

After all of that, I barely got an acknowledgement of the birthday present I sent you, and the only other communication we had was you complaining about me publicly on Facebook with mutual friends and then blocking me when I asked you to keep those conversations private. My wedding came an went, there was no acknowledgement from you. No communication. Nothing.

And now, a couple of months ago, you sent me a postcard with just normal messages, like nothing is wrong. I'm sorry, but if I was legitimately pissed off enough at someone to throw their wedding invitation in their face, use it as an excuse to sneer at them and put them down, gripe publicly on Facebook about them to some of their friends, and ignore their wedding, I would NOT be sending them happy little postcards as if nothing happened. If I was legitimately pissed at someone enough to treat them like utter SHIT the way you've treated me, I would not be on friendly postcard-writing terms with them.

What this confirms to me is that you have no legitimate reasons for treating me like shit. None. Your excuses have all rung hollow, your complaints have all be built on lies. You are nothing but a manipulator. I've seen through you by now. Remember all of the times that I would call you after not hearing from you for weeks just to say hi and you'd yell at me for not calling sooner? Remember how many times you'd wait for me to be on the phone with my girlfriend and you'd decide you wanted me to go for a walk RIGHT NOW and if I said "sure, after I get off the phone" you'd say "no, I'm going NOW" and then give me the cold shoulder for the rest of the night because I dared to not be on your schedule? Remember how you demanded that I apologize for having a private phone conversation with my (at that time) boyfriend because you felt you ought to be included because "it's so hurtful that you would have a conversation with a mutual friend without me"? Remember how you demanded that I apologize for inviting you to an event that I had planned with some friends because I had DARED to pick the activity and invite people without consulting you first? Remember how you told me that you would NEVER hang out with me and my girlfriend together because you believed us to be immoral, and then railed at me for not inviting you to a movie that I was going to with my girlfriend? Remember how you sent me emails with hateful anti-gay articles attached and, when I asked you not to, you scoffed at me for being oversensitive and so easily offended by "truth"? Remember when you told me you were not going to go overseas with me and then called me back a few days later demanding to know why I was telling other people LIES about how you weren't going overseas? Remember all of those times that you demanded I apologize for crimes I didn't know I had committed, over and over and over and over and OVER, trying to make me feel like shit about myself because I couldn't figure out what was so fucking wrong with me and why I couldn't ever do ANYTHING right by you?

In the context of all of this history, your behavior around my wedding invitation makes perfect sense. You are a manipulator. You love to see me beat myself down, apologize to you for crimes that I don't understand, promise to do better, constantly be abasing myself. That's what you like. I guess it makes you feel good.

Well, you can take that attitude and go to hell with it. I am fucking done. And that's why I'm not sending you a card or gift this year. Because I'm not going to pretend like things are okay. I'm not going to keep abasing myself for you. You know, you could be a pretty awesome sister sometimes. We had great times together. We had a connection. But you severed it. It's not my fault. YOU are the one that decided to treat me like shit. You're the one who refused to acknolwedge the pain you were causing. You are the one who always demanded apologies but never offered them EVER. You are the one who used one of the most important single moments in my life as leverage to try to put me in my place and beat me down and treat me like shit and make everything all about YOU.

Fuck you.

I don't know what the hell is wrong with you and I don't see much point in speculating. If you need help, I hope you go find it. If you just need to sit and reflect on yourself I hope you do. But I'm not going to be there for you. I'm not going to help you. I'm not going to touch you with a 10-ft pole. You know fucking well that you're acting like a total piece of shit, and I refuse to engage with that anymore. Figure yourself out somewhere else. I don't want to see you, hear from you, or acknowledge you until you're ready to act like a decent human being. And, quite frankly, I don't know that you ever well.

Fuck you and everything you stand for and, most importantly, stay the fuck out of my life.

Sincerely,
Your Brother

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:iconslateman:
slateman Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Are you a boy or a girl?
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:iconeternalgeekexposed:
EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014
I'm a man.  ... why do you ask?
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:iconslateman:
slateman Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Your other account says Anna, Female. I was confused.
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:iconeternalgeekexposed:
EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014
Ah, I see.  I am transgender.  I wrote about it a little here  eternalgeekexposed.deviantart.…
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AngelasArtArea Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
Hug Just because.... 
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:iconeternalgeekexposed:
EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014
Aww, thank you!  :blush:
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:iconotterwillow:
otterwillow Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I really love your articles on feminism and gay rights, 
I found them informative and very well written Hug 
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:iconeternalgeekexposed:
EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
Thank you!  I'm glad you found them useful!
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mangafanart184 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Student General Artist
amazing art work :D
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:iconeternalgeekexposed:
EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014
Aww, thank you!
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