When I stop being attached to my ideas or perceptions, that dissonance has space to transform into acceptance. Holding onto my thoughts, feelings, perceptions, or ideas white-knuckled often leaves me dissatisfied. But accepting things, situations, and people for who they are allows for both a deep connection as well as the freedom of self-differentiation. I get to stop having expectations of others, and they get to stop having expectations of me.
People say your twenties can be a period of intense growth. You're constantly changing. Your personality is beginning to solidify. You're building significant relationships. Perhaps most importantly, you are making a myriad of mistakes - big ones. While I often like to think I'm special, this was one instance in which I was just like everyone else.
This weight came over me like the heaviest, most comfortable blanket you could imagine. It spread out over me, and it was filled with every moment of love I've ever experienced, small or large. It was stuffed with memories from long ago. It was stitched with affection and care, with intention and thoughtfulness. As I felt it drape over me, invisible of course, three words came to mind, clear and crisp: i am loved.
In the last two-and-a-half months, during yet another period of radio/content silence, I've grown to love and admire my own body more than ever before. And in that time, I've become comfortable with both my singleness and with my solitude. Having a balance between work, home, and gym time has been invaluable for my emotional, physical, and honestly, spiritual well being.
In a religious culture that taught me I was a worm, a wretch, a sinner undeserving of God's love, compassion, and forgiveness, I had no problem believing that, when God looked at me, all God saw was my filth, my brokenness, and my utter irreparability. I was shit, and despite my best efforts, that was never going to change.
Moment after moment, my YES became louder, stronger, and more resolved. I did not go to Synod with many expectations. I certainly did not anticipate the Spirit opening me up in the ways she did. Nor did I anticipate the overwhelming experience of being loved and welcomed that came my way. But this is who God is, and this is how She works.
Recently, Amber Hikes, director of Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs, approved a motion adding two more stripes, black and brown, to the current 6-tone rainbow flag, as a part of the city's More Color More Pride initiative, an initiative that "strives to create an even more inclusive community", while also seeking to "celebrate the stories of those who have been typically left out of the LGBTQ experience, including people of color and people of the transgender/gender nonconforming experience".