Where do I start? I was four when my family first started attending church. It was a small independent charismatic church. I can’t really remember what it was like not to go to church as a kid. For the most part I enjoyed being with everyone on Sundays and Wednesdays. I am kind of a shy person so being around people was a nice change. I played the game quite nicely. I learned that at church people would like me more if I said or did certain things and didn’t do others. I became the perfect youth. The one the parents wanted their kids to be. I did well in school, I went to church every week, I didn’t get into any type of trouble. The only problem was that I was miserable inside. Years of trying to live up to other people’s standards for my life had taken its toll. No matter what I did I always seemed to be in the wrong.
When I was in high school I became very depressed. I began to cut myself and think about what it would be like to just not wake up in the morning. No one ever really took notice, and to me the depression just became another means of beating myself up. In addition, it was around this time that I began to question my sexuality. This just became another aspect of my life that I had to hide. I sat through many sermons telling me how horrible homosexuality was, how no one could be gay and go to heaven. My response to this was to overcompensate. I became super Christian.
Over the next few years, I decided to become a missionary; I went through the process of becoming an ordained minister and was pursuing my undergrad degree in Languages so that I could teach English in Africa. It was around this time that my best friend came out to me. I lived in a fairly conservative city so this was the first real experience I had with someone telling me he was gay. He wasn’t a Christian nor did he claim to be, but the conversation I had with him that night shook up my life. Here was this man that I have known for as long as I can remember. We have been through a lot together. I can say that I truly love him. That night, I realized that him telling me he was gay didn’t change how I felt about him. For the first time homosexuality became human. It wasn’t a huge evil sin. It was something that described my best friend.
I did go to Africa, but my heart wasn’t in it. I came back home defeated. I was depressed and miserable. I didn’t know what do with my life. I felt like a failure. More importantly I felt as if God had forgotten me. I felt that because I struggled because I was beginning to think differently from other people that went to my church that I was wrong. I could only think in terms of right and wrong, black and white, and if those at my church were right then I was terribly wrong. I began searching for a way to escape. That escape came in the form of a job in China. For a year I taught social studies at an international school. I found out however that my problems wouldn’t go away simply by leaving the country. My problems were with me.
My last month in China, I attempted suicide. I didn’t want to live anymore. I was tired of always feeling guilty always thinking that there was something wrong with me. I came home a month later. Only a couple of people knew what had happened, and that was the way I kept it. But, there was something different. I was now committed to my life. I began to seek therapy and began the process of learning to accept myself for the person God created. I haven’t determined my sexuality, I am still questioning. But, whatever it is I believe I will be ok with it.
The last year and a half has been one of the most difficult and most rewarding of my life. I have had to make some tough choices in my life. I decided to leave the church I was raised in, and I decided to go back to school to pursue what I always wanted to do: a career in law. Those were both huge steps in my life. I still have a long way to go but at least now I am willing to take this journey.
My name is Misty and I am 26 years old. I was raised in Terre Haute, Indiana. I have an a Bachelor of Arts in Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics from Indiana State Univeristy in Terre Haute, IN. I am currently pursuing a Doctor of Jurisprudence at Indiana University, Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana. I am interested in the relationships between law religion and psychology.