A Thriving 2023 Year End Review
The Good Stuff
2023 was a remarkably momentous year for several reasons. I traveled all over the Caribbean on three different cruises. I also got a huge promotion at work, where I speak, teach, and write all the time (all of which I love). After a bajillion edits, we also finished the manuscript for WHY (my memoir, now due to be published in May 2024). There are also great memories of helping friends build a pool and hanging out in said pool 😄.
My brother came to town with good news about what was happening in his life and an answer to many prayers. I hadn't seen him in a long time. We had a good visit with my parents.
Plus, my chosen family and in-laws all feel even closer now... even if the wheel came off of my brother-in-law's g-wagon we were riding in down I-95 at Lightspeed toward Miami. Everyone is okay, and we all trauma-bonded through the experience.
And I had the good fortune of attending the Out & Equal conference with a team from work. My employer sent us so even better! I made many new good friends and was delighted to be one of 5,000 LGBTQ+ people in one place. It was simply amazing.
I also met a fantastic man, and we figured out that back in my right-wing activist days, we were working on opposite sides of the same issues at the same time. Now we are friends 🙂.
Plus, as I mentioned on my old Substack (still waiting on tech support) to help me import those posts, there has been some "exploration" of new things on the sexual intimacy side of life. Things I never thought I would do were great; other things have been suggested, but while I am not opposed, I am uncomfortable with them. It's all good in that I am genuinely finding my authentic self in ways I wouldn't have allowed myself to consider before.
And finally, our daughter is in her sixteenth year. Making big decisions, and mistakes, and big mistakes 😮, lol. But it is all good; she seems to be learning her lessons and going through some teenage rites of passage.
The Not That Great Stuff
Replumbing the house = Sucky McSuckerson. The copper pipes broke in the slab. After several thousand dollars and a scarred-up husband (crawling through our attic), we finally have a waterless heating tank and new PEX tubing running everywhere. I am blessed to have a handyman for a husband, so it was cheaper but still costly. It was also a lot of challenging work for Dan.
Also, did I mention the wheel underneath my fat ass came off the g-wagon we were riding in? I did? Well, it was good we survived and bonded through the moment with Dan and my in-laws, but I could live the rest of my life and never have that experience again. My brother-in-law is banned from saying anything that starts with, "Remember that time when..."
The End Conversion Therapy/Ministry Stuff
While I have been helping people privately from time to time, I have only done a few interviews, including one for CNN and quoted by Queerty in their review of Wayne Besen's new book Lies With A Straight Face. There will be more public opportunities in 2024. First, I am traveling in a couple of weeks to interview with another documentarian, and of course, my book comes out in May. I also wrote several posts this year highlighting various ex-gay endeavors and how we need to oppose/expose the truth that they all are empowered by destructive ideology and toxic theology. My efforts to oppose religious stigma along these lines (and more) will continue in 2024.
Many times this year, I have said, "It feels like I am having a 'full circle' moment." When I helped close down Exodus and eventually came out of the church closet, everything I had was destroyed. I had no money, I could count all my remaining friends on two fingers, my savings were obliterated, no one would hire me for jobs I really wanted, and I ended up stocking shelves at a grocery store to get some money to put food on the table for my new boyfriend and his precocious daughter.
Worse than that, I needed to figure out who my authentic self was. Almost eight years later, I am living authentically on every front. While I am still learning, I know who I am; I found my voice and using it for good.
While stocking Gatorade on aisle two after freezing to death stocking frozen foods, my mantra was, "Fight for life; don't get run over by it."
I fought and am still fighting for life. 2023 was a year of grounding and growth in all my relationships. As I look back, I do so with a grin, sigh of relief, and contentment.
How was your 2023?
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