This post brought to you by ZzzzQuil Nighttime Sleep-Aid, which apparently will not help much with the time change in Australia! 🙂
For the majority of my life, I considered myself broken. Wow. That sentence was so short, so to the point, it almost seems mundane. Simple. Factual, but not that powerful. And yet, the truth hidden behind its simplicity was such a huge part of my life, I almost feel sad that it isn’t getting the acclaim it deserves. It’s like I want to scream “Here’s Broken Minard, she is a celebrity! You should be asking for her autograph!”
Anyway……..this piece of me was rooted in many things; mostly the fact that I felt different most of my life, and this difference was revealed to my mind as my sexuality which clarified as I grew older. But it didn’t JUST relate to that – I always felt like I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. I didn’t weigh enough (ah, to have that concern again!). There were many ideas of “not enough” throughout the years and it all boiled down to the fact that someday, someone was going to find out I was a total fake. That I would not be able to pull it off forever, and the truth would come out and the world would know I was nothing better than a broken, horrible person. That my life amounted to nothing but smoke and mirrors.
I dealt with this part of my existence by being Broken Minard, though I am not sure when she arrived. Truthfully, she always seemed to have existed. My earliest memory of this person was in kindergarten. I remember consciously thinking I was probably the dumbest kid in the class, but I was fortunate enough to be very, very polite (something I had heard a grown-up say about me) so I would use that to “hide” my lack of intelligence. Over the years other ideas would come forward – I was funny, I was athletic…..you get the drift – and I’d factor those things in to build upon the facade to hide the “real me”. And the cycle continued quite well as I grew.
Before I continue, the above was not all bad. I’d have to say many of the things in my life today came out of this weird structure called my life. I am a hard worker. I have perfectionist qualities in some areas that help me succeed, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to others. I naturally am “a fixer”; within my family, with my friends, and at work. People like to come to me because I react quickly and such. I embrace those things now, but they are rooted in the fact that I learned early on to be many things to people to hide the fact, at the root I was Broken. Broken Minard.
Jump to when I was 16. I was very confused because, by this time, I kind of “knew” I was gay and yet back then it wasn’t like it is today. Gosh, did I just sound old? But seriously, “gay” definitely existed back in the 80’s, but I will certainly say that it wasn’t prevalent and it certainly wasn’t overtly accepted. More progressive or tolerant people didn’t “reject” gays, but I’d say it was more “look the other way”. My own Uncle was gay, had been with his partner my whole 16 years of life, but NO ONE said the word “gay”. He was just Uncle and his partner was Uncle. And to put this in context of that time……a girl won a contest on the radio and said something about, “My boyfriend and I have a baby.” and that was considered scandalous. I mean, she ADMITTED ON THE RADIO that she had a baby out of wedlock??? By today’s standards, that ain’t no big deal. (Note: I am not suggestion “back then” was better or today worse or better, just sharing contextual references.)
So here I was, realizing I was an unmentionable. And the realization made me panic, mostly because by then I had become pretty darn good at this whole “hide the fact you’re broken” technique and I knew I would have a lifetime of hard work ahead of me. It was under this weight that I went to a friend’s church and accepted Christ. Ah, the weight of the world of perfectionism and hiding were OVER!!!! I had a real moment of peace and release and wow…….that moment changed my life.
However, it would appear that Broken Minard, who so ardently surrounded my being, wasn’t ready to let go.
Sheesh, I am spending too much time in the past. I apologize, but this is not the intent of my main topic. So now I am going to go fast forward to milestones in my life after accepting Christ at 16:
- Knew I was gay and Christian and figured, well heck. That can’t happen.
- Prayed and prayed and prayed that God would heal me of my sexuality
- To help Him, I married a godly man in my church 1 month after my 20th birthday
- Also decided I was pretty broken and worth not much to the world, but a girl has got to make money so applied for jobs I was so not qualified for. Broken doesn’t necessarily mean risk was not worth it. And I suppose it paid off as I seemed to figure things out easily.
- Had three great kids, one separation, expanded career, a divorce, and through it all I’d stare at my face in the mirror and see myself as now a liar as well as Broken Minard.
- Fell in love with a woman, we got together, but we were not out even to family. I was happy and ashamed at the same time. Broken Minard was at her height. Her zenith. Her peak.
- Five years into said relationship, I was “found out”. Lost pretty much everything. My job (which was my main positive identity), friends, and so much more. For the first time in my life, Broken Minard was exposed. And it was much worse than I could have ever, ever imagined.
Wow. This is turning into a huge downer. It wasn’t my intent, but I feel it’s important to share the reality of myself in order to better frame the message I DID want to share. So, why DID I just rehash all of that? Why now?
A couple days ago I referred to myself as Broken to Deana. For the record, she is the first person I ever, ever introduced Broken to. She was the first I shared everything with, that I allowed to see the “real me”. In any case, I said something like, “Yeah, you know me…..Broken.” and she was like……”Wait, do you really think Broken still exists?” And I really had to stop. I realized for maybe the first time consciously, wow…….I haven’t even THOUGHT about Broken in YEARS. I haven’t mentioned her in YEARS. And then, with bells ringing and mental applause exploding in my head, I replied, “Well, wow! I think Broken is gone!”
You see, the Most Horrible Time, when I lost everything, was like a birth for me. And since I had Kirstie “naturally”, I can attest that birth is a very arduous, painful thing. Honestly, I hope I never, ever have to go through anything close to the Most Horrible Time again in my life. But, even when admitting the excessive discontent and pain of that period, at the end I really think Gina was born. And Gina, without Broken tagging along, is a very different human.
- There is no longer this separation from Christ that I had built. The mote is gone. The walls have tumbled. And the Peace of the Lord abides. I rest in Him now, in truth, and it rocks. And I am glad He waited for me to realize He never, every meant for me to keep the distance between us as I did.
- I may not be the smartest, the prettiest, the whatever, but I am this amazing creature, hand crafted by God and heck, I appreciate the gifts He’s provided for me to succeed. And there are parts of me, formerly attributed to Broken, that are really quite cool. Really.
- I am out, as a lesbian. That is not as easy to say “yeah, booya, in ya face.” Nor does that mean I have an agenda or that this is some political stance. I realize this whole area has become so politicized and is a huge debate platform for Evangelicals especially. Heck, I still have some anger in this area. I do react from rejection and certainly from perceived condemnation, which happens occasionally. But overall, I can stand tall and be authentic and no longer feel as if I need to hide, or that this truth in my life is clear evidence of brokenness.
- Almost as if I am mirroring the story of Job, God has restored so much to my life that, in comparison, the things that “I lost” seem almost pathetic. Almost as if to say “really, you were upset about THAT? ” I am exceedingly grateful for all that exists in my life.
- I am much more empathetic. I mean, when I was Broken, to be so would admit that there was something in me that could resonate with someone else’s pain or failure. So, a byproduct of Broken was that I was very, very judgmental and harsh. Oh, I am still those things now and then – don’t you think otherwise because hey, I really am NOT perfect even if sometimes I still pretend to be – but overall, as I’ve moved into this stage I am not afraid to share Gina, who is insecure, sensitive, great at mistakes and downright failures, and such. And it feels great to say “Hey, it will be okay” or share “I understand Broken, and it really, truly gets better.” I especially love to support others coming out as LGBT, ESPECIALLY Christians, as I appreciate the tug between the two and the related pains and fears that exist in that realm.
- I can admit I made a mistake or even say I am wrong without hyperventilating. For reals. It almost feels great. Almost.
- I do miss many people who I “lost” or that felt the need to leave my life when Broken was exposed. I miss many very much, with a melancholy at times that borders unhealthy. But, with each day, I smile more when I think of them. I pray more sincerely for them and actually mean the good things I am sending to heaven. And as I pondered this point, I can’t help but share without hesitation we have TONS more friends who are the most loving there is!
I could be wrong, but I think more people have bits of Broken in their lives. Maybe not. I admit my world view is most likely skewed or dysfunctional due to the aspects of my life I shared above. But if ANY of the above has touched your life, don’t give up. I pray that you can find at least one person to share Broken with. I hope one day you can get to a point where Broken is no longer needed, or at least no longer powerful. I pray that you realize that YOU, yes YOU, are an amazing human with much to bring to the table and are worthy of love from others. That, in a nutshell, you rock.
RIP Broken Minard. It was a good ride, though I won’t miss you!