The Truth Be Told
It’s obvious to those who know me that I’m passionate about getting my film (MAKE ME) BLUSH into production and that it has been a long and sometimes arduous journey. I am impatient by nature, so frankly it’s a staying power I never even knew I had. So, what drives this all-consuming, crazy, intense desire to tell my story?
“My truth is that I am a gay American.”
Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey uttered these words on the worst day of his life on August 12, 2004. I remember it well because I had gone through the same kind of admission four years prior on the worst day of my life. I knew what he was feeling, I knew that the shame associated with his resignation as governor couldn’t come close to the pain of a life lived unauthentically for so many years. I am sure it was also a life of disconnection and utterly loneliness, despite being surrounded by a loving family.
I had never felt quite comfortable in a dress, yet on my wedding day I felt beautiful for the first time. I was the luckiest person, alive, I was marrying the man of my dreams, living out the exact romantic fantasy my mother always talked about. Yet fate would throw me a curve ball I never saw coming – a chance encounter that nearly ended my life. Yet in truth, ended my life only as I had come to know it, and opened up a whole, new world of understanding, love and spirituality.
I met “her” in the winter of 1999, online and in such a strange way, I still have a hard time believing it really happened. Fate has a way of doing that to a person. I have no doubt that I was ill-fated to fall in love with the most inappropriate person, at the most inappropriate time and in the most unusual way so that I would question my very existence. God had other plans for me. Deep in depression and suffering from the collapse of all that I had thought to be true; my religious education, my narrow thoughts about right and wrong, “Us” and “Them”, I suffered a nervous breakdown, (aka: the dissolution of the ego.) I was ill for nearly three years. Many of my friends stood by me and listened and were supportive, some who didn’t are, unfortunately, no longer my friends. I decided after a time that I would be extremely careful about who I told about my true sexuality and who I did not. (I do remember listening to homophobic diatribes by close family associations who had no idea they were insulting me.
My husband, who was most assuredly going through his own hell, took care of me and was understanding, filling in when I could not care for our child. I couldn’t stop crying. I cried a billion tears of regret and for the shame I felt about this euphoric, yet unrequited love, and for what I was doing to our marriage. On one particular day, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t see past the next hour, let alone the next day or the next year. As I sat in my car with the garage door closed and my hand on the key in the ignition, I envisioned our young daughter getting off the school bus, as she would be the first to find me.
I broke down and gave it all over to God, and in that moment a Divine love poured into me and I saw myself in everyone; the homeless, the morally bankrupt and the pious. I felt tremendous shame for my racist and homophobic thoughts and my ignorance and I forgave those who encouraged that kind of thinking. I knew I had to get well, not just for my family but for myself, because I now had a purpose; I had to write a new film.
It is absolutely true that God works in mysterious ways; as it has taken me many years to become the person worthy of this material. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I attribute that to the love of my best friend. We may not be a typical married couple but the circumstances we found ourselves in may have made us stronger individuals, better parents and more inclusive human beings. Our generation was one in which the defining lines were securely fixed. Thank goodness, today we have more openness and more choices to live out our dreams and our desires. With a heavy heart, I dedicate this to all those who came before us.