Part of the impetus for this site came from the conversations I've had with people after they heard bits of my story, and figured I wasn't likely to judge them. I turned some of my story into a two minute poetry competition entry, which I share here in the hope of encouraging you to share your story of shameful celebration, in prose, poetry, painting or photo:
I met my wife on a sexual harassment committee
leading to a dilemma
I thought she looked really pretty,
but did I dare to tell her?
And by me she was quite smitten
But we’d just written
about how inappropriate
It might be to ask people on a date
more alarmingly, to me,
she was a singer you see.
in a lesbian feminist band
Now you understand
At the same time she knew I was a Christian
And a Christian a minister at that
not yet legally divorced.
But of course
Sometimes you have to grow up, and take a chance
So I asked my friend to ask her friend if she could ask
Her if she could tell her friend to tell my friend whether she’d like to dance.
If you’ve seen me try you’d know why
But she did want a root.
So we got together,
and a few months later I finally let her
Then we started on a baby
Who we took to our wedding-
Which to some extent was our way of getting
Some old white church guys off our back.
You see they were emphatic
that our love, no matter how ecstatic
must be chaste.
My minister was right
When he said “hide that light”
Of your love under a bushel, keep it hidden, just for you.
This may be blessed by the Divine,
But there are pearls. And there are swine.
But even straight white blokes like me
Begin to feel ashamed
If they accept that their love is one which dare not speak its name.
So I dared to witness, not beg for forgiveness.
I would have quit a dozen times in the years that followed
But for every Christian who confronted me with my disgrace
There was another who found us a beacon of grace.
Who thought “If he’s still a minister, maybe I still fit”
And all the while their secret stories
Of celebration, hidden ‘neath shame and alienation
Came quietly, circuitously, into our conversation
All these tiny stories, feeling so alone
Because nobody dares to tell them in church
For fear of that first stone.
Why did I get up here tonight? It wasn’t just for the free catharsis
I'm hoping a few of you, after you get up off your arses
And travel home will log in and tell
Your story of shameful celebration to the world
Google it. Then Submit.
It will make you feel better, I promise, a little bit.