Within the last six months, I've been able to indulge in quite a bit of queer media, from the Oscar-nominated Call Me By Your Name to the anime Yuri!!! On Ice, and it doesn't seem like that trend is going to be stopping any time soon. This past week, I had the opportunity to see an advance screening of the film Love, Simon, based on a bestselling novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and also the first film centered around a gay teen's coming out story to be backed by a major film studio.
Spring and fall are arguably the seasons when I feel the most in tune with my creative and spiritual energy, and this spring, I've been thinking quite a bit about the cycle of seasons and all the metaphorical wisdom there.
Around March and April is when spring typically starts to roll around in the Northern Hemisphere, and spring always brings to mind several different interrelated ideas. Renewal. Revival. Rebirth. Regrowth. Resurrection. And if you notice, all those words have that prefix re- attached to the front (sorry, everyone, this is where my inner linguist comes out), which tells you that it's a return to something, a going back to a previous state. But the underlying connotation there is that there was a departure from that previous state first, and in all those words, the implication is that there was some form of destruction or deterioration or death. And as with the seasons, I think this same cycle tends to play out in the lives of queer people as we come into our own. I think many of us tend to wade through a season of sacrifice and loss prior to finding renewal and regrowth.
I actually shivered a little from nervousness as I sat down to FINALLY write this post. This story is one that I've been wanting to write since all the way back in October, but for a long time, the ability to put it all into words had been eluding me, probably because, like I said up there, this show, this queer love story that I watched is solidly in the running with the top 5 most life changing experiences I've had. Within that top 5, I'd say that the life changing magnitude of this queer romance ranks higher than any formal church experience or anything else that's happened in a strictly "spiritual" context, which might surprise some people, especially other Christians.
And if you know me, you already know I'm talking about Yuri!!! On ICE.
Recently, I've been doing a lot of sighing. And I've been remarking to myself, either out loud or silently, that I've been really tired lately. Maybe even exhausted. The funny thing is that the fatigue isn't even necessarily physical. In fact, I think I feel the least tired when I'm in the middle of a workout. Instead, I think the majority of the weariness is mental and emotional.
There are plenty of good reasons for that of course. Working in the intersection of mental health and social services, there are endless opportunities to run yourself emotionally dry, and the process of differentiating yourself and your own emotions and circumstances from those of the clients you work with is draining in and of itself. But more than that, I think I've really been feeling the weight of what it means to just be in the world, and a question that often accompanies that weight is the question of why am I here? Why am I, a queer Asian kid studying at a seminary, of all places, to become a mental health therapist, here? Why am I here?
I recently had a really eye-opening conversation that left me pretty stunned in retrospect, not necessarily because I was surprised about where the conversation went, but more because it was a powerful reminder of something I already knew to be true. The feeling that overtook me the next day was that of a hard truth finally beginning to settle into your bones and not being quite sure what you're supposed to or can even do about it. And it's been something I've been thinking of ever since.
During this conversation with a group of self-described "not religious" people, I was reminded of the fact that the perception the majority of the world holds is that faith, but Christianity in particular, is wholly incompatible with also being LGBTQ. This is far from shocking, but something I didn't realize is that many people who don't adhere to any specific religion often don't see faith as being something that's also intrinsic.