Monday, March 7, 2011

Identity: Continuing to tear labels at the door

This morning's post comes to you from my dear twitter friend Julie, or as I know her @mojojules. We had an interesting exchange a few weeks ago about identity, how it shifts, what it means, and where we find it. I asked Julie to write a post about it for my blog. In the coming weeks, I'll be featuring other voices from the stable of totally cool people I know. Say, "hi," to Julie and leave her your comments. Thanks, ya'll.

I admit this post has more questions than answers. I do not want to come off as though I have some great pearl of wisdom here. I am just another person a long a journey that seems to have more questions than answers. I hope that those who are reading this are there with me. If you want answers, you may want to bypass my post here. However, I welcome those to push back and help me think a long this journey. Therefore, as I always do on guest posts on another’s blog, pull up something comfy, grab a coffee, tea, or something that brings you a nice thoughtful spirit, and let us dive into the mystery of identity and labels.

So. to give those who do not know me a background here is a brief little thing about me. I was raised a preacher’s kid, third generation (probably more than that) church of Christ, and for all who knew I was as normal as could be. I married “later” in life, in my 30’s and then four years later I secret I had kept well hidden came rippling up. I came out as lesbian (queer) and my life took a new journey. I share this because it has to do with identity. I think as much of us do, once we come out we feel so free that we take our LGBTQ (rest of the ABC’s) identity with the abandonment of a child on Christmas day opening all the presents. As I have gone on this journey and as I have matured in whom I am this thing of identity haunts me. Not who I think I am to myself, but what others have decided my identity is.

As a woman that is queer I find that it puts me in an odd spot. That label puts me at odds in some circles. Honestly, I have been open to that controversy. It has been a part of being proud of coming out and tackling fears I kept inside myself. However, in the last several months I have wanted to tear it all down. I am tired of what separates me from others and I’m tired of seeing others by their label. I know for many this goes against what they think I should say. I should stand in arms against the “anti” people out there. I just keep looking at Jesus and his example and although I see him standing against injustice I also see him saying, “come to me…” He does not say, “come to me all you liberals…” or “come to me all you conservatives…” and the list could go on, but he just says “come to me….” It is not that hard to read and it is not that hard to say, but the practice of it all. How do I bridge myself to community when for the most part community wants me to come in fully labeled so that we are in our place, all neat and tidy. However, none of us is neat and tidy and none of us ever keeps the rules of how to be hold to our picked labels. Yet, I am still trying to push that boundary. I am trying to be in the place that I feel Christ wants me to be and that is with his messy followers. I just want to be fully stitched in the beautiful quilt of Christ’s followers. I do not want to be in another quilt because it only represents me, but I want to be in the horrific, beautifully messy quilt that is all of us.

I once asked on twitter, what label would you drop to have full community? I asked it in all seriousness and with people wanting to think. Even right now, the war rages on. People are flocking to wage war against those who label themselves Universalist and those who support this view are fighting back. It seems that labels here even have gotten the best of us. I so want to find safety beyond labels, I want to find the truth in which my tribe preaches, which is we are ready to accept anyone how they are, no matter how they come. So which label are you willing to let go of for the sake of community and for the sake of bettering our lives together? Right now, I am in the battle of it. Today I want to think I’m ready to let them all go so that I can see people. To see people who are honestly ready to live out a true faith, not just one to dream about and put in a glass case.

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