Friday, January 3, 2014
I'll Keep You Safe, You Keep Me Wild
Even when I was a kid, my mom would say, "Shannon, you are such a free-spirit." I didn't know what it meant, but I knew it wasn't something anyone else in my family was.
When I got older, my free-spiritedness manifested itself in many of the obvious ways: rebellion, drug use, dressing outlandishly, listening to heavy metal as loud as it could possibly be played, and taking risks with my body and my life. In every sense of the word, I was "wild" and there was nobody who was going to tame me.
When my best friend gave me the ultimatum to marry him or we could not even have a friendship, I couldn't imagine a life without him in it. I didn't want to get married (or even have kids), but I was pretty sure that I would never have another friend I loved so much so I agreed.
Over the next 18 years, I had to die to myself a thousand times. I compromised on what I wanted for myself because I loved someone else. Not in one area, but in *every* area. I got rid of the music I loved, the clothes I loved, a car I loved, friends I loved... I did it as an act of love and in an attempt to convince myself that the love was worth it. In so doing, I lost myself and became very unhappy.
When my dad finally confronted me about being miserable and not being myself, he threw the tiniest ember under a pile of hay and slowly fanned the baby flame that began to grow until I mustered the courage to come out of the closet. I knew it was going to cost me my marriage/friendship, my home, my financial security and a lot of public shame and humiliation within our circle of conservative friends.
Yes, it sucked.
But what made it a turning point that I will never regret was that almost immediately, the old me surfaced again. I began to remember the things that I liked to do before. I read articles about my favorite bands. I got rid of my church clothes and started to wear edgy, rock-n-roll clothes. I started to study other subjects besides faith and theology. I watched porn. I started speaking freely. I got a tattoo...
I got myself back.
When I was talking to a close friend recently, she asked me about relationships and when I feel ready for one, will I know what I will be looking for?
I thought about it for a week and then told her that I know what I want: She won't be moody and sullen, but happy with who she already is. She will feel secure with her place in my life - not an ounce of jealousy because she will know I waited for someone as special as her.
All the things that others might find annoying about me will amuse her. She will laugh at me and shake her head and then take me to bed. She will be a girl who will let me keep her safe and who will keep me wild.