I wrote my first story shortly after I learned how to write. By second grade, I was expressing my fears, my happiness and many of my experiences in the same way. It was clear what I was, a writer. I’ve always believed that everyone has their own gift to share with and bless the world. I have never doubted what my gift was.
It wasn’t always that simple though. There was a time when becoming a professional writer seemed like a pipe dream. Even writing regularly for a public blog seemed like something completely unattainable. The subject of my deepest, darkest secret is what has given me a voice. I am still astounded by that.There was a time when I was afraid to write about my dad. I barely spoke about him, let alone wrote publicly about some of my family’s most private struggles. I hit a point where I felt like I was coming out as the daughter of a gay dad. It was not an easy thing to do. At first I was terrified. I didn’t want to use my real name. But I started writing anyway and haven’t stopped.
My motivation has changed. What started as a freeing experience has changed and grown. I like speaking out as an accepting Christian. When I first began questioning the traditional Christian religion’s view that it was completely against God to be gay, I looked around and had a difficult time finding others that were questioning it as well. The world seemed so silent, and I looked for other Christians who were accepting and loving of the LGBTQ community. When I found others like me, it was freeing and encouraging. I wasn’t alone! Now I want to be that for someone else.
I love to write here because the more I write, the better I understand myself. The more I write, the better I feel. My father has been gone for nearly 19 years and I can’t talk to him. It’s been so long, that I have a hard time imagining how our relationship might have changed and grown. There are so many things I want to say, to ask him, but I can’t. When I talk with the other “kids” here, it’s like getting the answers I’ve always wondered about.
Feeling a part of something is huge for me. Being a part of “this” is so important to me. There was nothing that left me feeling more isolated and alone than knowing that I had a gay dad. My whole world changed when I realized there were a lot of us out there. Sometimes life gets hectic and busy, but I always make time to write here. This matters to me. I don’t ever want to forget how lonely and scary it was before I knew other kids.
I write because it’s what I know. Sometimes it’s the only thing that I know. I am not just expressing myself, I am opening myself to others out there like me.
January Shoaf is a Writer and Editor living in Pennsylvania.
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