Close the Door
On October 19th it all made sense.
I spent the next four days waffling.
I didn’t tell anyone at first. I didn’t tell anyone that something had changed, I didn’t tell anyone this new thought had bloomed within me. I was nervous, that was true, but also—for a while at least—for a while, this was something that was just for me. A private revelation, and I kept it to myself, and I shouted and I sang in my head, and I thought of Mary, “treasuring these things in her heart”. And these treasures, this new treasure, was just for me. Just for a little while.
And I still wasn’t completely sure I would get to keep it.
I felt like I was wobbling in and out of a doorway: an open field spread out in front of me, a dark, cool, windowless room at my back.
I wanted to fall forward, to be pushed, but I was too scared. I’d spent my whole life in that room. I’d built it myself, I’d built it with the help of the people I trusted most, and I desperately wanted to leave, but I was so scared. I knew everything inside those walls; I knew nothing outside them.
So I wobbled, swinging between shade and sunlight. Between freedom and the captivity I’d always known.
This was the first time I had to acknowledge that not all of me wanted to be gay. Not this kind of gay.
Not all of me wanted to be the kind of gay who was free.
Being free meant acknowledging all the ways I’d shackled myself in the past. That I’d lied to myself, that I’d been wrong.
And there was a kind of glory, a kind of accessible martyrdom, in gay celibacy. Easy credentials to virtue, if I phrase it right, and of course I could. Phrasing things, spinning them, was what I was best at. And at not much cost. All I had to do was not have sex. I could do that, right? I’d done that for 23 years, I’d only had a couple of slip ups. It was a cost that was easy to pay.
Except that cost was killing me.
I could feel myself dying. I was drowning in the work and the stress and the cost of resisting temptation with nothing to resist it for, lonely and starving for even the hope that that constant strain could end, much less that it would, trying to feed myself on fantasies of cuddling or talking or saying “I trust you”; and feeling weak, and misshapen and subtly perverted with each bloom of comfort and pleasure and safety that came from that.
And still starving, because even though they walked thickly into my waking life, even though they were rich and rounded and felt so real they were slowly driving me insane, they were still just fantasies. Empty air.
But now, maybe one day they could be real. And heaven seemed electric at the thought. Abuzz with interest, and curious, but silent, at the thought.
I felt certain that I was on the right path, but I didn’t know for sure where I was going. I knew that I should be in this doorway, that the door should be open, but I wasn’t sure which side I should be on when the door shut.
Because there was another cost that was looming in front of me too.
I had told them I was wobbling, before I’d even opened the door—I’d just told them that I wanted to open it, that I wanted to be sure—and I’d felt their horror, and their fear, the agony of their disapproval, but—somehow, I’d always assumed that if I fell forward, into the sunlight and the open air, it would be in some way that made them fall forward too. Something that would compel them too. Some passage or translation or iron-clad twist of irrefutable logic.
But that’s not what came.
I had refused to consider that this entire time, I might not be able to take them with me. That I might arrive this conclusion by some path they couldn’t follow. That they might not come with me.
That I might have to leave the fold to get here.
That I might have to go alone.
That they might not let me back in after this.
That they might abandon me.
That I would just be one. And not one of four.
That I would have to cut that golden thread all the way back through the past, Spivey after Spivey.
That all of a sudden, for me, Spivey might become singular.
I was homeschooled all the way through highschool. I went to the same college as all of my siblings, where my dad was a professor. They were everything. My family was everything. My companions, my teachers, my confidants, my closest friends. They were everything. If I lost them, what would I have?
What would I be?
So I waffled. I stood in the doorway and I dipped back and forth between the sunlight and the shade, and I didn’t tell anyone. Because now I was scared. And I think a little part of me was ashamed. Ashamed not to know, ashamed not to be sure, but also ashamed even to have my face in the sun, to even have the door open.
And part of me was ashamed to still be inside. To still be in that prison, to still be considering turning around and heading back into the dark. “Just go,”, it screamed. “Just fucking go.”
So I waffled. And then on Sunday Aj (little Aj, my little brother, who used to get into the car without shoes on and go back inside put them on only to come back having misplaced his coat and only wearing socks) texted me. And when I said I was doing pretty good he was surprised, and asked why. So I told him. I handed over my feelings, my still-vague, loosely gathered child of a thought, and I told him. And he freaked out. And told my whole family.
And that’s when I started panicking. I had hoped to introduce this on my own terms, to be there, in person, to answer questions and read the room and show that I was still me.
And now I couldn’t.
I was going to see them in a week, a week that was now there for fears and anxieties to brew in and multiply unchecked, and at the end of that week I would have to walk into the middle of it and try to hold my ground, as the waves and breakers of it crashed around me.
Because one thing happened when I told my brother, when I told my family.
I stepped out, past the doorway, into the openness, and God reached down, and gently, firmly, certainly, he shut the door behind me. And I was done wobbling.
I was out. And I was free.
And I had God behind me.