On Justifying My Existence (in 140 characters or less)

The other day, a person I follow who also follows me on twitter asked me a question. It read:

How do you justify your existence? Some find this question insulting & others feel they do not have to.

Wow. You should have seen the look on my face. It was like she dug deep and pushed that one button, you know the one, of anger, hurt, frustration, invisibility, proud to be all the labels I have attached to myself but how DARE you attack and toss them back at me. You know that button, I know you do. I flared up and shot back some thing like “I do NOT have to justify my existence to you or anyone else for that matter! WTF.”

In my depression work right now, I have been struck with this one story. It is about a woman, Elena, she’s depressed too. She grew up in another country and does not speak english well. She has had a difficult time making friends since she has moved. One day Elena went for a walk with her husband. On their walk, they happened to stop past a friends home, a friend who she knew from the old country, and that friend had invited another friend over for tea. Immediately (instead of being happy to see her friend) Elena felt left out and hurt. To make matters worse, she confronted her friend about feeling left out, and on the way home got angry with her husband for not understanding why she was so upset.

Eeeerrrttt. (car braking sound goes here) Wait a minute. Hold up. Do you see what happened?

She sadly, is a lot like me, or at least the me I am trying to shake off. When I hear a question like the one above, I could not hear the goodness in it. I only heard the accusations, suspicion and attack of who I am in it. I only heard the underbelly of this persons question–something like “who do you think you are QUEER, and how will you account for yourself (as you stand before the Lord Almighty on that judgement day, yada yada yada…)?” You know what she said in reply to my harsh tone? It was so kind really. She said “Sorry you feel insulted. I do hope your day is fabulous!” and “I find reasons to justify my continuation through inspiring and motivating others.” and “My apologies for tapping you on the shoulder standing in my positive skin.” and “Its amazing to hear others thoughts and how they view life.”

I want to stand in my positive skin. I long for it really. But you know what I think might keep dragging me down, back, under the gigantic undertow of this whole process? Two things really.

I know you are but what am I?

I know you are but what am I?

One: Haters. Shit I wish I didn’t see them, hear them, or (sometimes at least try and) listen to them. But I do. Its like a tempting war on words, and I have a silver tongue and quick wit and smart mind that knows exactly what scripture texts people are going to lob across the divide at me, and I am ready for the return fire. Ick. War? I am a person who deeply believes in peace. And love. And justice. And here I am, caught in the trenches of the “I am Christian and queer, and yes this is not an oxymoron” war. I want to call a truce, but these people, the more they call me sin, the louder and stronger I want to shout back “HEY you! I know you are but what am I, (expletive)?” And also, “I love you cause Jesus makes me.”

Two: Me. I am standing in my own way. Its time to shift. Downshift perhaps a gear or two.

My beloved stands next to me, and she reminds me its hard to be your own speed bump. Ride with me friends, I could use a backseat driver right about now.


4 thoughts on “On Justifying My Existence (in 140 characters or less)

  1. I am a backseat driver and some how feel I’m driving in along with you.

    It something I have been trying to shed for the better of 3 years. Trying not to attach so much into others and standing completely with in myself.

    You seem to some how voice what I think in my head and not able to put the words out there for others to hear and to understand. I just feel like doing that “yes this” thing and let it be. 🙂

    I love you dear friend. Although miles a part you have a cheerleader and co-journey person here in the ole’ bootheel!

    Much love and peace to you!


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  3. I answered that question by stating that there is no need to justify my existence when it’s a fact that I exist. Do we justify a cup of coffee’s existence? It does make you think – spiritually and philosophically – with luck, it leads us to be better people.

  4. Wonderful introspection here. While I was ankle deep in the full inclusion fight in San Diego, my conversations with Fr. Scott Richardson, Revs Susan Russell and Allyson Thomas and others kept me motivated to seek, question, and label when necessary. I found those labels to be hugely important in participating in faithful conversations. (Like you, I identify as bisexual and embrace the term “queer.”) I found myself in the cycle of fighting, learning, proselytizing, so much, that I forgot to listen at times. I think I’d grown intolerant to intolerance… I think it’s important that our passion always be tempered with radical compassion–on both sides of the debate. That’s what I’m currently working on… and it’s hard. lol

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