Scary thoughts

At the risk of getting too heavy too soon with this blog, here’s something that’s been pinging around in my head for months and I need to set it free:

I’m usually quite risk averse. Goes hand in hand with my lawyer mind. Maybe that’s why I feel this dull ache of guilt and dread at the thought of being discovered, outed.

I am walking what is, in my mind, a dangerous path. And I’m doing it by choice. Stacking the inherent risk of this self discovery on top of the risk of being discovered in my exploration. It’s both thrilling and appalling. Horrifying, yet irresistible. At once freeing and imprisoning.

My family, small as it is now, is nevertheless full of ultra-conservative, mid-western and southern, Christian, military/veteran, straight republicans. And, although I’m a conservative, Christian, patriot myself, I believe I’m discovering that I am also a lot of things they are not and don’t approve of anyone being or claiming to be.

I feel trapped by their certain rejection and disapproval.

My father raised me with three mantras that framed every other lesson he and my mother ever taught me and my siblings:

1. Work hard. Nothing worth having is free and the only things worth having are those that cost the most in personal effort.
2. You can achieve anything you put your mind to doing.
3. Pour yourself into your family, because every physical possession can be lost, but you will always have the blood you share with your family.

In most ways, from most angles, these are sound, supportable, worthy principles by which to live. I’ve put a lot of effort into living them daily. But now that I find myself on the cusp of uncovering an entirely new self, I’m nearly paralyzed by the fear that all my investment in #3 will be for naught, if the me I discover isn’t who they want or expect me to be.

Suddenly the certainty of that shared blood doesn’t seem like the fortress of strength and safety I’ve always believed it to be. What if, really, that shared blood turns out to be just a bunch of cells, not the common bond of unity I was taught to rely on?


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