I turn three today. I know what you’re thinking, “Gosh she writes well for someone who’s just learnt to speak.” But I don’t mean that, silly sausages, I’m not really three. I’m actually an old lady who is rather worryingly close to her thirties. But while I am 28, I am also 3.
Today is my third birthgay.
Three years ago today, in one monumentally tiny click I changed my world forever and posted my coming out blog. (And then drank a bottle of wine, just in case it didn’t go well)
At the time, while I was certain that I had to come out, I was unsure of almost everything else. Would my decision to finally be honest about who I was mean I would be unable to follow a vocation into ordained ministry? Would coming out mean I would lose friends? Would I ever find love and marry someone? Would I ever have children? So many questions that I couldn’t answer, but instead of being stressful, as soon as I posted that blog three years ago, suddenly the pressure was off. Suddenly for the first time in my life I wasn’t living a lie anymore, I was living authentically as myself and that meant that, for the time being anyway, I wasn’t particularly worried about the answers to all those questions. Baby gay Lex was just happy to be out, breathing fresh air, with the sun on her face for the first time.
Over the last three years those questions didn’t go away, and some of them have only been answered relatively recently, but the beauty of living my authentic truth is that I knew that one day there would be answers.
So, did I lose friends in coming out? Well yes and no. There are definitely some people who haven’t really spoken to me since I came out, like I always feared there would be. But in truth, not as many as I worried there would be; I didn’t haemorrhage friends and family, perhaps more of a little trickle of the odd Facebook friend. But I have come to the point where I can answer no to that answer, because if my coming out is the reason that these people have chosen to eliminate me from their lives, then they were never friends in the first place.
Did my decision to come out affect my vocation to ordination in the Church of England? Well, I’m not going to lie and say that it made it easier, because it didn’t! The journey of discerning a call to ordination is always a long and tough one, and has been somewhat bumpy in my case. Being LGBT+ doesn’t make that journey longer and tougher per se, but it does definitely mean a lot more potentially awkward conversations along the way, and an extra area of your life being under the microscope. But I got there, and as of the end of November I have been recommended for training for ordination and will be going to college in September.
And the biggie, would I ever find someone to marry an ultimately have kids one day? Well that was the question that worried me for a while, and didn’t seem in a hurry to be answered. But as that ancient and wise proverb about two buses coming along at once reminds us, sometimes it all happens at once! The week before I went to my three-day selection conference, I met the love of my life. And in a whirlwind romance to rival even a Disney movie, we are planning our civil partnership for April, ready to move to college together in September.
I always thought that it would be either one or the other. That either the church or a wife would win and the other half of my heart would lose out. I assumed that being the spouse of a gay vicar would just mean too many compromises and sacrifices for someone. That far from there being plenty of fish in the sea, it was more like trying to find the one person in a paddling pool; but I found her. And suddenly I know that for the right person my heart doesn’t have to be split in two, she loves me and my vocation, and it just works.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the film that everyone is going nuts about at the moment, The Greatest Showman. I’ve only just managed to see it (I spend much less time on my own in the dark at the cinema now I have a fiancé!) and I have fallen head over heals with the song ‘This is Me’. If you haven’t heard it yet, do yourself a favour yeah?!
It has become something of an anthem for me, I find myself listening to it about three times a day (if not more) and as soon as I heard the lyrics, I knew that with my birthgay approaching I just had to tie the two together and write something. I feel like I am able to finally say this is me, that I am who I’m meant to be. Did I need all the bits that came before me coming out to get me here? Yes, because they are what have made me bruised and brave and made me the tenacious little cookie I am now. But did I also need the three years since I came out to get to this point before meeting my future wife and being ready to take up my call to both ordination and married life? Completely. Because no longer am I scared to be seen and make no apologies for who I am. This is me.
So today, I pray for those people who are still being told by the world that it doesn’t want their broken parts, those hiding away and ashamed of their scars. I pray that one day every single person, in and out of the church, will be able to run to beat of their own drum and stand tall saying this is me. And on this, my third birthgay, I thank God for holding the plans even when I didn’t believe they were there. And I pray for the future, for my wife and my children, that we would find the place for us and know that we are glorious. This is me.