Sunday, 26 August 2018

Reflections on my friend's suicide (8 months on)

Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
In 2 days' time, it'll be 8 months since the day she passed. And tonight, instead of falling asleep, all I can do is think about her and cry. So instead of spending the next couple hours sobbing in bed, I thought I'd just remember her here.

I remember that at her funeral, I had to not talk about how I met her. While her other friends talked about how they knew her from church, or from school, or from her epic travel adventures, I kept silent, even as we were asked how we got to know her.

No one from her church knew that we all met at a support group for same-sex attracted Christians.

None of her friends she was close to knew that part of the reason why she died was because she couldn't stand being gay.

No one knew that she had a failed relationship with a guy the year before she died.

No one knew.

And my heart breaks for the fact that if someone had loved her, if she had a partner, female or male, to be there for her, to hold her when her cat died, when her mom died, when she was in the midst of her darkest depression, perhaps she would not have felt so lonely, perhaps she wouldn't have felt that life was not worth living.

I know, because I've been there. 

Just days after she passed, I had the recurring thought of ending it all with the help of a coat-hanger. It might have been because of the Christmas sermon. It might have been because I felt like I wasn't worth much in the eyes of my senior pastor. It might have been because of all the homophobia I'd internalized for so long.

But life is worth living. For the sake of my partner, for my family, for my friends.

But most of all, because I know I am loved.

Did she know that she was?

Perhaps not. 

Which makes it even more tragic.

The largest hall at the crematorium was filled and overflowing by the time the first service ended. All these friends and she felt none of the love. All of whom remembered her, close to none knew the secret that she kept to the grave with her.

Why was it her and not me?

I miss her.

The vivacious, fun-loving, funny, inspiring friend that I once had. That I once knew. Now in a pile of ashes in an urn.

Good thing I'm seeing my counsellor tomorrow. Maybe this is something we can process together.

Well, that's about it folks. Good night.

On listening to a Queerology podcast episode featuring Trey Pearson

So I'd previously heard (on Twitter chatter) about Trey Pearson coming out but didn't know what a big deal that was. Cos in sunny Singapore, I'd only listened to Delirious? and Chris Tomlin and Don Moen.

(Learning about Trey's story was kinda like learning about Vicky Beeching's one, completely coincidentally, but maybe even divine?)

But on a whim, I decided to tune in to the podcast episode where he was featured on Queerology.

And what an episode it was!

After being in a mixed orientation marriage for years, when he finally came out as gay, he lost the community he had around him.

And after that, he wrote a new album, "Love is Love", after leaving the Christian label his band was on. I thought I'd buy it and the the song "Hey Jesus" made me cry on the subway earlier today.

The lyrics that did it were these:

'Cause I know that I could never change
I tried so hard, brought so much pain
And I just wanna be loved for who I am


That kinda sums up my experience too.


Yet, when I heard him talk about the liberation he felt after finally admitting that he was gay, the freedom he now enjoys, that kinda is how I feel too. Although I am one foot out the door (out to friends but not to family), I understand how it feels like not to have to keep a secret to your closest ones.

Probably why I left the conservative church I attended for a year and a half. Cos I couldn't come out to them, yet I couldn't stand it when the senior pastor made digs at LGBTQ+ folk from the pulpit.

Thank you, Matthias for doing this podcast, and thank you Trey, for sharing your story.

If you're curious to find out more, I'd highly encourage you to tune in to the Queerology episode here. Best 45 minutes you'd spend this week I promise you.

Till next time!


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

On Podcasts

Recently I started listening to a couple of podcasts.

The first was Kevin Garcia's "A Tiny Revolution", the next was Matthias Robert's "Queerology" and the most recent one that I started listening to yesterday was Stephen Long's "Sacred Tension".


I started listening to the first two because my friend Austen Hartke was on it promoting his new book and then continued listening as they featured people I follow online, names like Rachel Held Evans (author of "Inspired"), Justin Lee (author of "Torn") and Vicky Beeching (author of "Undivided") among others.

I enjoyed listening to them interviewing these people and hearing what they had to say.

Stephen's was a different story. I'd been reading Stephen's blog for some time now, and when he first ventured into podcasting, I thought I couldn't sit down for a full hour to listen to what he had to say as I much preferred reading.

But on a whim, I thought I'd try listening to it while doing some social media surfing, and it was a quite a treat!

I then subsequently tuned in to it on the commute because I couldn't get much reading done anyway, what with jerky bus rides and constantly varying lighting.

The first podcast by Stephen I listened to was "Out of the Closet 1: The Gay Evangelical Ghetto" and it was amazing. 

It's an episode where Stephen and his co-host, Matt, interviews Timothy, a 58-year-old man who has decided to come out now, after years of being married to a woman and having two children. Timothy has finally decided, in his middle age, to stop hiding and live out a reality that's true to who he is. It's a fascinating interview and I'd urge everyone to listen to it.

It was followed closely by "Out of the Closet 2: Theological Metamorphosis" where Timothy from the previous episode shared how his theological understanding about the Bible and same-sex attraction had been transformed after some doing some research.

I really appreciated the candour and honesty Stephen and Timothy brought to the show. It helps that Matt is funny too.

I'd encourage everyone to listen to these podcasts, especially to Sacred Tension, to better appreciate the internalised and external torture some gay Christians endure just because of who they are.

For me, I'll personally continue to subscribe to these three podcasts, review past episodes and eagerly look forward to what they continue to offer.

Thank you Kevin, Matthias and Stephen for creating these podcasts!

Reflections on my friend's suicide (8 months on)

Photo by  Kat J  on  Unsplash In 2 days' time, it'll be 8 months since the day she passed. And tonight, instead of falling aslee...