Christmas came. I am a happy lady with a Christmas brooch that has a snowman on it. I’ve been able to be home a lot more and listen to Schumann, and compose, and write songs, and kiss Rachel, and watch the entire season of The Amazing Race in 3 days.
I have a lot of really neat stuff in the works. We’re shooting a music video in January! New merch is coming! My book is at the printers! Hopefully I have enough heads and hours in the day to murder my “to-do” lists.
The beautiful thing about being home for this extended period of time is the grounding. I’m feeling so charged with creative energy and I finally have the time to devote effort into my art. I’m trying not to take it for granted. Two nights ago, I was awake at 3am, as usual, and was overwhelmed with writing something on my piano. I played for near a half hour straight, and let God do what needed to be done. I rarely feel like that. Not that God isn’t in my presence when I’m writing, but that I am straight-up channeling some spiritual heaviness. As a vessel. I don’t claim to be one of those writers that “must be composing for God”; I compose for the sake of art, for the sake of vulnerability and human connection. God is with me regardless.
I wrote this in one fluid sitting. It’s not my best work, nor is the audio great, and it’s a lot of arpeggios, and you can hear the clicking of my fingers on the keys, and also I kept holding my breath on accident. But, it’s there if you’re curious.
I have received a couple emails about my “seemingly contradictory” relationship with God and my gayness. This is something I’ve thought a lot about. I’ve heard speculation about my lyrics in ‘Same Love’, my gayness, and perhaps I can answer some questions.
I grew up in a strict Pentecostal home. My parents would speak in tongues and were devout in prayer and we were at church 3-4 times a week. The church was known for ostracizing folks who were said to “go against God”. After a traumatic upbringing, and having my family shunned from the church because of my parent’s divorce, I was decidedly agnostic for many of my grade-school years.
A friend brought me to an Evangelical church in high school, known as Mars Hill, where I fell in love with the music and the bands that played on Sunday evening. The pastor was funny, charismatic, and made the bible seem simple. I was sad that my gay friends were going to hell, but the pastor said that I could still be friends with them. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” was the accepted rhetoric. When I fell in love with my first girlfriend, I recognized my sin immediately. She was also Christian. When you’re 17, and you feel like a freak already, and you’re in love with a girl, and high school is a battlefield, you can’t stand to let another part of your life down. I remember making a conscious effort to accept my sin. My recognition allowed me to repent daily. I prayed often, apologizing to God, but accepting that this is who I had always been and always would be. I still went to Mars Hill. I was never hated on, never felt rudeness from the community, but the sermons were difficult to hear.
The final line in ‘Same Love’ is “I’m not crying on Sundays”. I cried every Sunday for nearly a year in high school and afterwards. In apology to God, with guilt, with shame. I was out and proud to the world, but I had been battling Christian rhetoric inside of me for a long time. After suffering with my diagnosed bipolarity for awhile, a suicide attempt, and the war within my head and heart, something had to change.
I don’t know when it happened. I think it was when I opened the bible. Like really, really tried to read it; read Jesus’ teachings of compassion and selflessness, the beauty of the new testament. Maybe it was when I watched the documentary, “For the Bible Tells Me So”. Maybe it was when I stopped attending Mars Hill, and started going to Compline service at St. Mark’s Cathedral. But I think it really happened in prayer. Suddenly, the bible texts used against gay marriage seemed really wretched. That, when in context, were ludicrous and far-reaching. And mean! Using the bible as a tool to be self-righteous and deprave others of rights is mean. That’s sneaky bullying, you guys.
I’m also not trying to coerce anyone to Christianity, here. I think everyone has their own journey to God, and if they don’t believe in God, that’s totally cool too. I am happy for everyone that has found happiness. This is my experience, and maybe some of yours, too.
I still value my faith. My partner, Rachel, is also Christian. Now that we have equal rights as our peers, we will someday get married in a church with our friends and families there, under God, and have one bombass party.