Reverb day 10: litany

When we heal our spirits the ripples are felt from the highest branches to the deepest roots of our family trees.

What radical act of love or non-conformity did you embrace this year?

I wonder how many thousands of people can recite Philip Larkin’s This be the verse from memory, people who wouldn’t necessarily describe their childhoods as awful, who are fully aware that their parents were doing the best they could under difficult circumstances, but who recognise the unforgiving truth.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad,/ They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had,/ And add some extra, just for you.

I don’t agree with his conclusion, but I can’t fault his observation. This seems to be the way things happen. We are the sum of our ancestors’ assumptions, convictions, hang-ups and foibles. And then we add some more of our own. It deepens like a coastal shelf.

I’m less pessimistic. I think it’s possible to interrupt the patterns, to throw away the scripts, and watch the coastal shelf dissolve, one layer at a time. Maybe we don’t get very far through it in this generation. Oh, but it’s worth trying. I think it’s possible to make things incrementally better, starting where I am, with the material I have.

I almost answered this question a couple of days ago, and so I’m just going to expand on that, and copy in a couple of pages from my diary, from May this year.

I have told myself that it doesn’t matter that I am bisexual when actually it is very important.

I have thought in terms of ‘either’/’or’ and suppressed ‘both’/’and’.

I have had the opportunity to come out as bisexual and not taken it, many times.

I have preached the glory of God’s infinite, unconditional, love, to all LGBT people except myself.

I have told myself that I am only OK so long as I act straight.

I have hidden behind a heterosexual relationship and have been ashamed of my true self.

I have behaved as if only part of myself were acceptable.

I refused to act on hints from myself. I ignored clues. I was afraid to entertain the possibility.

I thought it must be all about the sex and ignored everything that wasn’t.

I have shut myself in a container in which there isn’t room for all of myself.

I have made myself feel grateful for being het-married and have let myself feel guilty about not having to deal with the crap LG people have to deal with.

I have wished to be monosexual and have let myself think that at least that would have been easier.

I have worried and worried that I’m making it all up and have minimised every manifestation out of fear and false modesty.

I have confined myself to the Rules.

I have allowed myself to be limited to other people’s expectations.

I have made unconditional acceptance conditional.

I have denied my true nature.

I did not come out to myself until there was no way to decently act upon it.

I have told myself that celibacy or heterosexual marriage are the only valid expressions of a bisexual identity.

I have stunted my own growth and development by refusing to allow for the possibility that I might be bisexual.

I have wondered in my turn whether my bisexual brothers and sisters might be making it up.

I have limited myself to the theoretical.


I am ashamed. I would not have treated another person the way that I have treated myself. I bristle at the slightest implication that I might.


I ask for forgiveness.

I ask for forgiveness of myself, for God’s forgiveness is granted already.

I ask forgiveness from my sad, suppressed, denied, self; from the self that was never allowed an opportunity to think that it might be both until the choice was made and irrevocable.

I ask for forgiveness from the one who might have made a different choice, had she been allowed to know of that choice’s existence.

I ask for forgiveness from the one who made the choice, and always knew that there was more to it than that.


I ask to see my whole self.

I ask to be reintegrated.

I ask to receive everyone I am and have been and might have been and could yet be.

I ask to be myself.


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