You called me out today about the fact that I am not usually honest. Fair enough. You’re just carrying, actually, that most of our conversations are a blend of references and TV jokes, me using a pre-scripted sad story or you being actually honest about your life.
When I was walking home, I sent you a 15-minute audio message about how I have trouble being honest for whatever reason. I never listened to the audio, and out of fear for myself and respect for your time, I erased the whole message two hours later, before any of us could try to hear it.
This is why I’m writing.
My birthday is in two weeks now. I’m turning 28 and am living a pretty sweet life. That’s not the problem. I’m happy I’m getting older. Honestly, I just rather be old. What bothers me when it’s this time of the year is how contradictory my life has been. I was born in a Christian family, allegedly was subject to a miraculous heart-disease healing process that up until last March I did not even have any proof (march was the time I found the exams, which is a pretty unsettling thing in itself). By 2012 I was pretty sure I was gay, something I’ve always learned to be a sinful thing. During college I got out of church and embraced some sort of agnosticism. Back in 2015 I tried to kill myself after my college graduation. I survived and decided to go back to church in 2016, joining youth ministry and theology school to learn more and try to actually start believing. That was the year Marty Sampson dropped Elohim, his last recording to the Hillsong canon. I spent my whole life so far listening to their albums and Marty was a pretty huge influence in my early teens. By 2019, I was involved in ministry, leading Jornada — a somehow famous youth group —, engaged to be married and pretty proud of my ability to “deny myself” the “sinful” life I could have had. And yet, I would constantly consider suicide and was pretty depressed whenever I was not busy, and that lasted until early 2020, when my girlfriend and I broke up and then soon after, Covid hit. The quarantine time was a major reflection. Lost many many friends once I decided to come out publicly as a bisexual man. I considered and reconsidered the christian faith altogether. That was shortly after Marty Sampson himself wrote a letter on his instagram talking about how he was losing his faith. It’s 2022, I address this faith and religion topic as an agnostic, since (and I quote) “human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist”, but I still feel the burden of not being able to be fully honest about myself.
I was listening to Elohim a couple months ago, a song written over verses from 1 Corinthian 13, the Love chapter. I wonder if back in 2016 Marty was in a place of wondering his twenty plus years of dedication to a belief and religion he kinda really did not believe anymore. By now, the man just vanished from pretty much any sort of public life. And I, keep hiding farts from my best friend. This is a reference to a Daniel Radcliffe line in Swiss Army Man. The farts are a metaphor.
I’m still afraid of being alone through life for not being able to share honestly about who I am, this complicated, challenging, sort of crazy person who really could do better. I was never truly given a place to be vulnerable and honest. It’s hard to be a pastor’s kid suffering from depression in early 2010’s, to pretend to not be gay and even “counsel” other young people to deny their true selves in exchange for a divine love I did not even fully believe in the first place. For crying out loud, I never told my dad I’ve attempted suicide. Being allowed to be honest is a new thing to me, a skill I did not fully develop yet as I continue to cope with my life’s circumstances as I do since fourth grade: pretending I’m a character in a TV show so I don’t suffer from the real bullying and abuse. My TV show was cancelled just a while ago, and please understand how scared I am — my best friend of 10 years stopped talking to me because I told him I wanted to date a guy (he says that’s against the bible — I agree, just do not care).
And I hope I’m not taking you for granted, but honestly, I’m still afraid I might rather leave you than being honest to you. I don’t want that. I don’t wanna be alone and afraid of real connection — old and reactionary is kinda guaranteed by now. This friendship we have is the most precious experience I allowed myself in a long while, and I don’t wanna mess it up. Maybe I should take this to therapy, if I’m able to say anything.
So, here’s what’s going on. Whenever my birthday is coming, my parents are always too grateful and talking about how God healed me from my heart disease back when I was a baby. They’re proud to talk about how the doctors said I wouldn’t even make into one single year, and here I am, twenty-eight and counting. I have a hard time coping with the idea of being a “miracle” baby. And the timing things have in my life does not help when I say I don’t believe in signs of purpose. Purpose was something I was looking for back in the four years I spent in church after college. And this year I’m particularly torn around this idea. I mean, I just moved out of my parent’s house five months ago, got a job doing what I love and am ultimately, for the very first time, satisfied with my life. I don’t want to overthink anything, even though it is 2 am and I’m trying to talk about what’s bothering me these days through a long letter. Life is just a series of choices, and somehow, I made good ones lately and got to a place that honestly feels earned. It’s just this fear of never telling the truth, never being fully honest, marrying someone that believes I wear glasses just to find out ten years later they’re blue light lenses. I want to be honest.
Cope with me as I try, will you? I don’t wanna lose this, discard it and start over with another set of lies and comedy tropes. I’m just a living contradiction no ones ever bothered to ask what’s what. Thanks for asking.