growing up as a gay girl in the church is a strange thing.
because church is so asexual
and hetero at the same time —
it becomes homoerotic.
Sex was a thing between a man and a woman;
it was the thing around which all theological fences,
all promise-keeping moats were built,
allowing us girls to slip between the fences and
find cover in open-daylight:
sleepovers (in the same bed!), hand-holding,
intimate prayer sessions, confessionals,
pajama parties, boy(?) talk, “i love you”s.
Lord knows we could do anything short of a kiss on the lips
and no one would bat an eye.
Lust was a desire between a man and a woman;
any other variant of desire was name-less,
and, thus, did not exist.
Thus we girls spent many years in a smoky haze,
frustratedly throwing word-darts at a board of feelings
until one stuck.
“why do we spend 4 hours talking every week”
“why am i so upset when i heard you were dating a boy”
“why am i overreacting like this”
“I am too dependent on you”
do i want to spend time with you or
spend all my time with you;
do i want to be near you or
do i want to be closetoyou;
do i want to be you or
do i want to be-with-you
this fury of questions drove me, at age 14,
to CS Lewis’ The Four Loves,
after which i concluded that the word
that came closest to describing how it felt to
utterly desire a person
without (yet) desiring their body
was “holy lust.”
i laugh now, but i recall reading somewhere
that enlightenment is looking at a tree
without thinking the word “tree.”
I cannot do it now.
but at 14, i could.