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The "Beyond The Stained Glass Closet" Substack is now named "Thrive"
Since I started working on my memoir’s manuscript in 2017 (yes, that long ago), my favorite word has been “thrive.” It kept coming to me repeatedly because that word embodied my motivation and spirit to move out of survival mode and thrive.
thrive /THrīv/ — verb
(of a child, animal, or plant) grow or develop well or vigorously. "the new baby thrived"
to prosper; flourish. "education groups thrive on organization"
The abuse I survived growing up made me susceptible to exgay ideology, which caused even further harm. The adage “hurt people hurt people” became a reality on both sides of that fence. I was a victim who was also groomed to victimize others with religious bigotry against all things LGBTQ+. And I did so, thinking it was “God’s” will and “healthy.”
However, once I knew better after the blinders were violently ripped off… I helped shut that shit down and came out of the closet two years later.
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This cataclysmic event also showed me that I had lived in learned helplessness my entire life up until that point. I was constantly looking for others to validate, open doors, and tell me what to do. I put on a confident front as a leader within that system, but if you really knew me, you knew I was fearful most of the time.
But that is just one part of my story. I am fifty-four years old and lived twenty-three years believing I was “ex-gay.” So thirty-one of my years are not defined by that cultic belief system. “Beyond The Stained Glass Closet” is a phrase that is very meaningful to me. However, it is not the fullness of my relational state, identity, or history. In a way, it limited my focus on writing here. The truth is that life is much more complex than one central plot point along the way.
I want to, and will, thrive.