Four years ago, I sat in St. James Cathedral in downtown Seattle and begged God to show me what to do. Here I was a gay woman, married to a man for the past 20 years, with four kids who I love fiercely and never want to hurt, and in an incredible amount of pain.
That pain was a longing for a love I had never had.
It was a feeling of missing somebody I hadn’t even met. I often felt very deeply and painfully that I missed “her.” That is its own ache, like no other. And there was nothing I could do to fix that pain. I knew that divorce wasn’t an option, because though I could see the freedom it would afford me to find her, I believed that it would destroy the people I cared the most in the world about, and in doing so I could never really be happy. My prayer that day was more about “how can I be a better wife” because things were not good, and I was trying so hard for them to be. The answer that came to my heart and mind was: “You know what you want.”
What I wanted was for my family to be ok, for me to be free to find a woman to marry, for what was on the inside of me to be true on the outside. I wanted to be divorced, but I didn’t want to go through it, and I certainly didn’t feel like I could ever put my kids and husband through that either. It would take me two more years to separate, and another 18 months to finalize things. My divorce went through five months ago.
There is so much more to the story, but today, I feel incredibly grateful for where I am. I look back at 6 years ago when I finally looked in the mirror and said “I’m gay, I am a lesbian.” Little did I know how I would later laugh about how cliché that is. I look back even further at all the times I buried my feelings and strived to be “better than all of that”, when I just thought I needed to pray harder, try harder, have “pure” thoughts, forget about “that stuff.” I was surviving by ignoring the most tender and beautiful parts of me. Eventually I grew enough that ignoring my own soul was worse than embracing it. I couldn’t betray myself anymore.
Three and a half years ago I finally found two other women who were married to men, were gay, had kids, and were LDS. I had been so alone up until I saw videos both of them had made. (Thank you Laura Root and Jena for being so brave when you were the first ones.) Everyone I know in the LDS LGBT community has been blessed and helped by your courage. Both of you still keep working and showing up in vulnerability and truth. I have so much love and deep respect for you both.
Watch Laura’s LatterGayStories podcast episode here:
I am so thankful for my three sisters, Joy, Mary and Becky. I didn’t know if I would lose them when I came out. When I told Mary, she told me she didn’t know what was right for me anymore, but she wanted to listen and was open to growing and learning. Becky said she felt so sad knowing I had carried this alone for so long. Joy told me that I had always been her cool older sister, and I still was. All three told me they loved me and they just wanted me to be happy. They have shown me how to love someone whose experience you don’t relate to, and whose path is foreign to you. They have made my heart softer by being so tender to me. They have softened my heart to the church they love, by being so Christlike and good to me.
I am so thankful that my kids and my ex-husband are doing ok. The thing I feared most and believed, didn’t happen. I didn’t ruin everybody’s lives. Getting divorced was really hard. But we are a better family than we have been in a long time. I love these words from Glennon Doyle’s latest book, Untamed, “My children do not need me to save them. My children need to watch me save myself.”
I see how true this is.
I am grateful I am for my LGBTQ community and family. If I could have seen where I would be today, four years ago, I wouldn’t have believed I could feel so thankful to be here.
I am so, so deeply grateful.
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Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult; while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Coming out is rarely easy—but your story will help others draw inspiration from your own experience. We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive and invite you to share your story now.