June 6, 2022
In order to keep her faith, she had to accept who she really was. A woman speaks with Geth about going through a breakup and bringing her queerness and spirituality into alliance. She opens up about being part of a church that did more harm to her than good and finding a higher purpose. She also discusses moving back in with her parents post breakup and a potential autism diagnosis.
322 — Queerness and Faith
Chris [00:00:05] Hello to all my construction dogs. It’s Beautiful/ Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
Theme Song [00:00:30] (THEME SONG).
Chris [00:00:30] Hey, everybody. Chris Gethard here. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful/ Anonymous. So lucky to talk to you yet again. So lucky to bring another phone call to the world. Tell you what, last week I was really in that Facebook group. There were a lot of comments coming up and I was I was really interacting and and jumping in and out of those comments. And it’s really fun. And I got to say, in a world where everything’s feeling more and more aggressive, to realize that the fans of this show are as kind of they are is such a blessing. And thanks to everybody who came out in Portland and Seattle to our live tapings or the stand up shows. Meeting in person only underlines the fact that we are lucky that this community is generally a very kind one. If you’re wondering about live shows, I do have live standup dates coming up on June 10th in Pennsylvania. Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Andalusia, Pennsylvania. I think those might be it might technically be the same town. It’s one show. And then June 11th. Morgantown, West Virginia. I’ve never performed in West Virginia before ever. 22 years, I’m finally getting to Morgantown, West Virginia, so come on out. Tickets are at Chris Geth dot com. Okay, everybody, this is our first release that’s coming out in Pride Month. Want to send a lot of love to all of our listeners, no matter where they fall in how they identify, how they choose to live, how they love. Love is love. This is an important thing. And I feel so lucky and have always felt so lucky that supporter of my work in general and especially this show, I feel like there has always been a strong element of LGBTQ representation and presence. And… And truth. And I’m slowing down. It’s funny. I’m in intro mode where I usually fly through it and then I sit here and I remember. I remember so, so well the first time we ever had a trans caller. It was years ago on the show. And I remember many of the comments saying, I’ve been reading so much about the trans community and I just realized this is the first time I’ve heard someone speak in their own words about being a trans person. And stops me in my tracks. So happy pride, everybody. I say that with a great amount of pride myself. This caller is someone who went through a breakup. Someone who’s moving back in with the parents. This is someone who is balancing faith in God with queerness, talking about potential autism diagnoses. There’s a lot. There’s a lot to discuss. Because life is very real. Enjoy the call, everybody.
Voicemail Robot [00:03:04] Thank you for calling Beautiful/ Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
Caller [00:03:12] Hello?
Chris [00:03:13] Hello.
Caller [00:03:14] Hello.
Chris [00:03:15] Hi.
Caller [00:03:16] Oh, my gosh. Holy shit. Oh. Wow. Okay.
Chris [00:03:22] How you doing? You okay?
Caller [00:03:25] Yeah. Yeah, I’m. I’m doing okay. I honestly never expected to get this far, so. Yeah. Hello. Um, I, I’ve been listening to the show since it first came out, and, um. Yeah. This is wild.
Chris [00:03:51] Thank you for listening, and I’m glad you’re here now.
Caller [00:03:54] Yeah.
Chris [00:03:54] And making it happen.
Caller [00:03:56] Yeah. It is. Nice. Well, how are you?
Chris [00:04:03] How am I? I would say overall, I’m good. I’ve got a very good life. And the weather here is cold but beautiful. I will say that I’m having some one of those days where the anxiety is just sitting in my guts and I can’t really point to a reason. So that’s always a bummer. But I’m on top of it and I’m not going to let it get out of control. How are you?
Caller [00:04:28] I’m kind of similar, actually. I. Yeah. Past three months have been a bit of a doozy. It’s gotten better the past couple of weeks. I turned 24 yesterday, so that was really cool.
Chris [00:04:45] Happy birthday.
Caller [00:04:48] Yeah, thanks. This is, honestly, the best gift I could have received. So, um. Yeah, I, uh, it was my golden birthday and it was something that I was looking forward to for a very long time. And I made it to 24. So that’s really cool. Yeah. Gosh.
Chris [00:05:09] A golden birthday, I can’t say I’m familiar with the phrase.
Caller [00:05:18] Well. So essentially just the day that you turn like the same age as like the day of the month that you were born. So.
Chris [00:05:28] Oh, got it.
Caller [00:05:29] I was born on the 24th. Yeah. So yesterday I turned 24 on the 24th, which is pretty cool.
Chris [00:05:39] Now I get it. Okay. Now I understand. Nice.
Caller [00:05:44] Yeah. So. I don’t know. I. You know, where should I start? What do you want to talk about? What do you wanna know more about?
Chris [00:05:56] Um. Anything, really. You know me. I like to roll with the punches. We can talk about whatever.
Caller [00:06:04] Okay.
Chris [00:06:05] Yeah.
Caller [00:06:07] Cool. Um. Well. You know, there’s there’s a lot that’s been happening. I pretty recently went through a pretty significant breakup. And in the midst of all of this, my my job security was kind of thrown out the window. And I am going to be moving back in with my parents in the next few months. And last year, I discovered some things about myself and realized I probably needed to pursue an autism diagnosis. So that’s kind of the overview. Also, I’m doing like safety construction. And yeah, just kind of everything, I guess.
Chris [00:07:08] Did you say face reconstruction?
Caller [00:07:13] Safety construction. Yeah. So I grew up Christian and like kind of evangelical, but also not really. I don’t know what I would classify it as necessarily. But I have recently, well, I say recently but it’s really been like a three or four year process where I’ve just kind of been looking critically at my faith journey and what the most important things about it are to me. And essentially keeping and taking, you know, what’s helpful and leaving what’s not, essentially.
Chris [00:07:58] God, you said faith. Like faith, like religion and spirituality.
Caller [00:08:05] Yeah.
Chris [00:08:05] I thought you meant I thought you had said face as in your eyes, your nose, your mouth. As in reconstructive surgery after, like you were just casually being like, I went through a breakup and I’m moving in with my folks. And also my face needs to be surgically repaired after- like that was like fourth on the list.
Caller [00:08:26] Yeah, well actually it’s funny that you say that. I paint myself and kind of deconstruct myself in my paintings, so I guess that also works.
Chris [00:08:38] So artistically, you’re deconstructing and reconstructing your face all the time, but it’s- you didn’t recently get like hit in the head with a baseball bat or something that needs reconstructive surgery. You’re reconsidering the role of religion and spirituality in your life and figuring out what those new things. Okay. Got it. Okay. Okay. All right. Well, that’s a lot. It’s a lot.
Caller [00:09:02] Yeah. Yeah.
Chris [00:09:04] Yeah. It’s a wild stretch you’re having.
Caller [00:09:07] Yeah. And it all- it’s- it all kind of- a lot of it culminated, you know, around the same time within two weeks of each other. And I don’t know, I’ve been telling people that, like, I kind of went through four breakups at the same time in different areas of my life. So I, you know, my partner and I broke up, and then like the week before that, I had broken up with my masking self, which is essentially the part of myself that I, you know, force myself to put on to interact with other people, subconsciously, consciously, you know, happens all the time. I’ve been doing it for most of my life. And then I broke up with my (UNCLEAR) And then-.
Chris [00:10:09] Wait, what what was the third one? What tendencies?
Caller [00:10:15] Comp-Het. So like compulsive heteronormativity. Just like falling into heteronormative patterns, even though they’re not, like, the most comfortable place for me to exist.
Chris [00:10:29] Okay.
Caller [00:10:30] So, like dating. Dating men more consistently than I probably would like to or should. And I also broke up with a toxic church environment. And so I kind of- there’s been a lot of like loss and grieving, but also liberation in the same short period of time. With a lot of different things. So. Yeah. That’s kind of the overview, I guess.
Chris [00:11:11] Sounds to me like you’re at the beginning of your life. That’s what it sounds to me like. Sounds to me like life really begins from this point forward. That everything up until now has fit into certain boxes and you’re rejecting the boxes. And that this is the beginning of something, which can often be the scariest point of the journey to be at.
Caller [00:11:32] Yeah. Yeah. And it’s and it’s interesting, too, because I think I’m finally beginning to see it that way. I think part of the reason I was so excited to get to my Golden Birthday was because, I don’t know, I thought the number 24 was cool. And I also I always told myself growing up that like if I got to 24, if I made it to 24, then I would be able to like to thrive down the road. And so I’ve kind of been holding this birthday up on a pedestal for so long, and it’s kind of wild that all of this is happening around the same time. And it really does feel like a new beginning in a lot of ways.
Chris [00:12:21] New beginning. New beginnings are importnat. You know what often helps in a new beginning? A product or service that you haven’t had in your life before, but that turns things around in a way that you can’t believe. Anyway, check out this blatant commercialism. We’ll be right back. Thanks to all of the advertisers who help bring our show to the world. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
Caller [00:12:48] I’ve kind of been holding this birthday up on a pedestal for so long, and it’s kind of wild that all of this is happening around the same time. And it really does feel like a new beginning in a lot of ways, which is really cool. So.
Chris [00:13:07] I’m going to point out. Okay. Well, because I love new beginnings. I’m jealous of new beginnings. I feel like at my age and my station in life, I will get less new beginnings. And I was lucky to have a bunch of very cool new beginnings throughout my life. So I’m jealous. But there’s one thing that I’m just going to red flag, which I’m sure you’re thinking about. Because I’m sitting here going, okay, you’re out of a relationship. Daunting, I’m sure. Brought with it some heartbreak, some emotion. But you’re also hand in hand, I’m sure that goes with, okay, well, you and your partner have split up and you’re kind of reconsidering the idea of what a partner should be. You said you’re reconsidering the idea that that heteronormative ideas are your (UNCLEAR). Okay, so those things go hand in hand. You’re rethinking faith. That goes hand-in-hand, right? Very often religions have strong opinions on on just the idea of normal. You want a heteronormative norm. What’s normal? Religions always make such a point of having opinions on that. And you’re sort of saying, hey, I think maybe most people’s definition of this doesn’t fit mine. I see how those all go hand in hand. All these things are snowballing in a direction that’s letting me know a little bit about who you are and where your priorities lay. I want to red flag.
Caller [00:14:27] Yeah.
Chris [00:14:28] Moving back in with your parents doesn’t seem like- that seems like one of these things is not like the other that might cause some headaches for you, my friend. Am I right or am I wrong about that?
Caller [00:14:41] Um. Half right. I think… It’s interesting because I got really lucky with my family. I, I grew up in a very weird and like creative household. And my, my family is all really nerdy. And they’re some of the, the people that I feel most comfortable around in my life. And I’ve been living, you know, hours away from them for the past five, six years for school. And then I stuck around in this area for the relationship I was in. Um, and I don’t really have, like, family here or like people that I can just, you know, on a whim be like, hey, I need to be around someone right now. Can we go do something or can you come sit with me? And like, I have a few people like that, but they’re also busy with adult life. And so it’s always hard to like pin some of those people down to actually hang out and talk. And I’ve, I don’t know, I’ve I’ve been missing my family a lot the past couple of years, especially with the pandemic. Things have just been really… I’m really burned out, I guess. And I… I was I was considering moving back in with my family a couple of years ago, and they have talked about the possibility of clearing out the garage and giving me, like, space to, you know, have like a creative outlet and just a place to isolate and unwind when I need to that’s kind of separate from the rest of the household, because I’m, I’m a pretty, I’m very introverted and I’m very- I internalize everything. And I kind of need a lot of alone time to be able to, like, process everything. And so they’ve expressed willingness and and joy in that, which is really cool. And as much as I think it’ll be weird, I think I also am just kind of desperate for a secure place to land right now.
Chris [00:17:24] Okay. That’s the most level headed answer that a 24 year old going through a tumultuous stretch of life has ever given in human history.
Caller [00:17:38] Wow. That’s high praise. Thank you.
Chris [00:17:41] I thought you were going to be like, yes, I was raised religion and I’m going to go home and I’m going to draw some lines and say that I am who I am. And I’m not interested in playing by by the average cliche, accepted gender norms and dating norms. And I’m rejecting religion and you’re all just going to have to deal with it and love me for who I am. And instead it was like, no, my creative, artistic family is carving out a space for me to have a studio to express myself. And I’m happy to have a stable environment.
Caller [00:18:10] Yeah. Yeah.
Chris [00:18:12] Damn. That’s yeah. That’ll get you through a lot of tough times. Good family that you trust and that you rely on. That’ll get you through.
Caller [00:18:22] Yeah. And like the queerness part of it is definitely an ongoing conversation. That’s the thing that I’m probably the most apprehensive about. But at the same time, I don’t even really see myself, you know, dating anyone for a while. And so I’ve got what feels like some time to like really kind of make that clear again that, hey, this is probably not going to be, you know, this this idea that I’m going to bring a man home is probably not going to be the most realistic expectation. And really, like, most of my family is like- my sisters are pretty unfazed by it. My my dad is also pretty laidback about it. And my mom is the one that I kind of clash more with in that area. And she’s the one that I kind of have to slowly kind of ease into that conversation with.
Chris [00:19:31] So you’ve had the conversation.
Caller [00:19:34] Yeah. Numerous times.
Chris [00:19:39] Numerous times. So what is your mom just- your mom thinks it’s a phase or something? She wants to brush it off?
Caller [00:19:47] I’m not even really sure what she thinks about it. Bottom line, I mean, I think… She’s… She’s really probably the most- I don’t even want to call her religious because my family is not like super religious. They’re- we grew up in in a more spiritual church environment and less like, you know, strict, traditional kinda fundamentalist church systems. But I think my mom has maybe a fear that I’m like, I would be like maybe giving up my faith in order to pursue my queerness or that I think she still fundamentally oh, my goodness- sorry my dog is in the background.
Chris [00:20:56] That’s a dog?
Caller [00:20:59] Yeah.
Chris [00:21:00] I thought it was like some sort of machine. It sounded sort of like a dishwasher that needed slight repairs. You’re telling me that that noise that whole time has been a dog? It’s been, like, rhythmic and consistent. I just. I just figured your dryer was broken or something. That’s a dog? That’s a living creature?
Caller [00:21:17] Yeah, she’s, she’s a pit mix.
Chris [00:21:21] That doesn’t explain it. Anita just texted me that Anita thought there was construction going on outside of your house. That’s a dog? That dog sounds like an entire construction site.
Caller [00:21:38] Sometimes. Sometimes I wonder. She’s, uh. She’s got a lot of energy, and she she does this weird, like sploot thing when she plays like she spreads all of her limbs out and she just, like, slaps the ground with her paws, um, when she’s playing with her toys.
Chris [00:22:01] That’s a noisy puppy right there.
Caller [00:22:04] Yeah. It’s about the only noise she makes. She’s pretty quiet otherwise. Most of the time she’s actually cuddling with me. But phone calls make her a little wired. I think she wants attention. So.
Chris [00:22:20] That’s shocking to me that that is a mammal. I would have sworn that was a machine that I was listening to.
Caller [00:22:28] But, yeah, no, she’s she’s not a machine. She’s definitely very anxious and emotional. Hi. Can you not lick my face while I’m talking to people, please? Thank you. Okay. Yep. Oh, my goodness. She’s here for the attention. She always does this any time I get on the phone. She’s like, okay, my turn. I want to talk now. It’s my turn.
Chris [00:22:56] Gethard’s got to get a little undivided attention here. This dog’s gotta understand. Tell this dog to chill out.
Caller [00:23:08] Oh, yeah. Yeah. I don’t even remember where I left off.
Chris [00:23:16] Well, let me ask you this, because we were talking about how you were kind of, you know, figuring out queerness, figuring out your family, figuring out your mom. That’s the most daunting conversation. I have a question, though, that comes to mind. Because you mentioned something else that was interesting at the beginning of the call where you said that you’ve decided that you want to pursue a possible diagnosis in relation to autism. So you may be getting the sense that that that I believe the phrase that the phrase is neurotypical, right? If I remember right. At some point that was taught to me on the show. That may be outdated at this point.
Caller [00:24:06] Yes. So it’s. So autism is part of the umbrella of neurodivergency.
Chris [00:24:15] Neurodivergency.
Caller [00:24:15] Um, and yeah. And ADHD also falls under that. And I have been diagnosed with ADHD. That was the diagnosis I received in high school. But I realized, you know, I was experiencing a lot of burnout and a lot of, um, issues that couldn’t be fully explained by just the ADHD diagnosis. And, um, I’ve always struggled with like sensory issues and social cues and making and maintaining friends. And, um, I’ve, I’ve always been really anxious and really depressed for like what I thought was no reason for most of my life. And. Um, I was listening to a podcast and it was it was a podcast that one of my high school English teachers actually started. And she was talking she was using the podcast to talk about neurodivergency. And she had like another good friend on, and they had both been diagnosed late in life with autism. Like 35 to 40 years of age. And they were talking about their experiences and it was like someone had like wormed their way into my brain and like pulled out every little detail that I had ever, like, hyper fixated on about myself and, like, brought it out into the open and said, okay, this is what this is. And I was like, Holy shit. Holy fuck. And like, I never realized like, that I had, you know, been struggling with imposter syndrome my entire life because I had literally been, like, masking and, like, existing, essentially as a chameleon in my life around everyone that I met. I had this, like huge like void when it came to identity. I didn’t feel like I knew who I was. And the only thing that was steady in my life was my art. And so I always put my identity into my art and into school because that’s where I felt like I thrived, because I loved learning and acquiring information and then, you know, turning it into something. And so there was always this void of like, okay, well, who am I without all of this? Because around this person, I act this way. And around this person, I’m like this. And and like, just everything kind of came together and I was, you know, doing research on it and I was talking to my mom about it and she was like telling these stories from when I was a kid. And I was like, Holy shit. And you didn’t you didn’t think that, like, there was something else going on. My mom is a speech language pathologist for the for the record. So, like.
Chris [00:27:46] Your mom is what?
Caller [00:27:48] She’s a speech and language pathologist.
Chris [00:27:50] Oh, okay.
Caller [00:27:53] So, you know, like and she worked with kids with disabilities for a good bit of her life. And I guess because, I don’t know, I was her child, she was just kind of like blinded to some of the things that would have indicated that maybe a diagnosis would have been helpful. But. Yeah. So I started unpacking that last year and it honestly put me more in touch with my humanity than anything else ever has. And it’s given me a lot of tools to figure out how to actually take care of myself in ways that are helpful. I was always following all these other suggestions from other people and nothing ever worked. And I felt like, God, this is like… Why is this working for everyone else and it’s not working for me? And then I started applying the autism one to everything, and I was like, Oh, my God. So that’s why that didn’t work. Oh, wait. So that’s why this happens in this situation. Oh, so you’re telling me if I do this, and I can actually function and like feel like I’m able to exist without being overwhelmed all the time. And that was a really wild revelation to have. And it’s, it’s a long process. I’m still filling out forms and paperwork to even like get seen for a consultation. But I’m putting a pause on it right now because everything else going on is just kind of chaos.
Chris [00:29:58] Yeah, you’ve got enough on your plate.
Caller [00:30:01] Yeah. Trying to stabilize a little bit before I, you know, get back into the depths of all of that.
Chris [00:30:07] Let me ask you. And everybody’s answer would obviously be different for people who find themselves in similar situations. And you don’t. You only speak for yourself. I’m just asking your personal experience. In 2022 as a 24 year old person, which feels like a more intimidating conversation to have with your religious speech pathologist mother; Mom, I’m queer. You have to accept that. Or Mom, I think I’m autistic. You have to accept that.
Caller [00:30:40] Definitely the queer part of it. Um, I’ve also talked to her about the autism stuff and she she didn’t quite get it at first. She was like, Oh, well, that could be OCD. I mean I have OCD. You could like, you know, just be anxious and like hyperfixating on stuff. And I was like, No, Mom, I’ve literally cross-referenced this with every other disorder, mental illness, whatever that I can find. And I’ve talked to my therapist about it. They’re pretty convinced that this is textbook autism. And, you know, and she started, you know, looking into research on her own. And she had to take, like, continuing ed classes in order to keep her certification. And she’s been using her continuing education classes to learn more about how it presents in people who are assigned female at birth versus in people who are assigned male at birth because they show up very differently. And the more she was researching it, the more she was like, Oh, wait, that actually makes a lot of sense. And like, we had a few phone calls and, you know, on Face Time, she would she would point out she’s like, Yeah, you don’t really look at the camera when you’re talking to me, like, ever. And, you know, she noticed that I was, like, picking at my skin during a really anxious conversation and, like, you know, like I told her about some of the things that I was experiencing during those stressful conversations, and she was like, Oh! Oh, I get it now. So that that’s been an easy conversation.
Chris [00:32:32] Sounds like there’s almost been some bonding, like, it’s almost opened the door for some bonding in a way.
Caller [00:32:37] Yeah, definitely. Which is huge because we we had kind of a strained relationship through a lot of my latter high school and college years. And so it’s it’s good to have that bond kind of reestablishing itself. So, yeah. So the queerness conversation, I think, is definitely the most the the one that’s most anxiety inducing for me.
Chris [00:33:08] Let’s posit that we’ve just learned, at least for this caller, queerness, more anxiety inducing than autism. We learned that, at least for this caller. I’m sure it’s different for everybody who’s dealing with their lives. Anyway, we got some ads. We’ll be right back. Thanks to all the advertisers. You allow us to do this. Now we’re going to go ahead. We’re going to finish off the phone call.
Caller [00:33:32] So the queerness conversation, I think, is definitely the most the the one that’s most anxiety inducing for me. Not even anxiety inducing, but daunting is a good word, I think.
Chris [00:33:41] What a funny thing, though. What a real life thing, though, of like, oh, I I’m beginning to suspect that there’s a certain diagnosis that apply to me that applies to me, and it’s actually giving me and my speech pathologist mother some more things to connect about. That’s real life right there. That’s real life.
Caller [00:34:03] Yeah. Yes. It’s been really cool to have that.
Chris [00:34:08] Yeah. So what happened with this breakup? What’s going on with the breakup? Give me the hot goss.
Caller [00:34:14] Yeah. Well, it was interesting because we, we always considered each other best friends before anything else. We dated for a total of about two years. And we had like a year and a half break in between like two dating periods. The timing wasn’t right the first time and we, we weren’t expecting to like, stick around in the area for as long as we did. And we got back together during the pandemic. I think that was a combination of things. I don’t want to oversimplify it. I think we were both probably kind of lonely because we had been in quarantine for, like six months. And we were best friends and it was like, hey, you know, like, I love you deeply. We’ve already dated once before. Like, I really want to try this again. And, um, we, we both went into it with the intention of making it even, even more meaningful than it had been the first time. And it was more meaningful in a lot of ways, the second time around. There was a lot of growth and a lot of healing that took place. And he is truly the only man that I think I have to this point ever been able to say without a shadow of a doubt, yes, I could see myself spending the rest of my life with you. Without any qualms about it. And the last couple of months that we were dating, he’s, he’s got a lot of his own stuff going on and he’s always had a hard time truly giving love to himself and accepting his own identity when it comes to sexuality and queerness. And he was also trying not to hurt me by holding on, by breaking up with me again. And so the way he put it is, you know, it was just he he held on to it for a little bit longer than he probably should have. And, yeah, so first time we broke up, it was mutual. Second time was not mutual. And probably the only, like, true heartbreak that I’ve ever had. But I also know that it needed to happen. And so I’m realizing that there were a lot of things that I was suppressing in myself in order to keep us safe in a church environment that we were in. And, you know, I, I think there was a part of me that felt a little bit bloshed at the end of the day when, you know, we got towards that last bit of the relationship. So. Yeah. So it’s, it’s not so much that there’s, like, tea, or like, gossip. Um, it truly was, like, a really beautiful and healing relationship. And, um. He’s taught me more about myself than I think anyone else has. When it comes to romantic connection, when it comes to attraction, when it comes to, you know, what I’m looking for in a life partner? But, you know, it just it didn’t work out, so. Yeah, that’s kind of that.
Chris [00:38:28] And you say, okay, so one thing that jumps out to me is you say… You’re generally less interested in in men moving forward, is your instinct. You say that he’s probably had some conversations about his own preferences. So you’re probably both people- and again, it’s official. I’m old. It’s official. There’s there’s generations under me. And you can listen in the early probably in the early history of the show, I was like at the progressive edge a little bit more and just aware of conversations. But man, your generation like it is a sign of progress and growth that you’re so you’re both religious. You’re both religious growing up. You’re part of the same church group. You’re both probably queer at least on some level, figuring it out. But you both really like each other enough that you date. And it and it… I don’t want to say supersedes that because that makes it like such like a line in the sand issue which is not. But that that is a a quite unique relationship, I would say.
Caller [00:39:49] Yeah. Yeah, it definitely was. Um, I. I always joked to him that he was like the last man that I would would ever attempt dating. And I wasn’t, I don’t I don’t think that was a joke. Yeah. So. Yeah. He’s he’s still someone that I want in my life and he still wants me in his. But I think right now, we’re definitely taking some space to just be on our own before we can like, you know, before I can hang out with him again, I guess. Cause I was really, I was very deeply committed to it the whole way through. And he was, too, but I think there were just some things that he wasn’t being totally open with me about when it came to his own feelings, and it just put a lot of strain on the relationship. So but he’s he’s making commitments to love himself and to heal in a lot of ways that he hasn’t attempted to before. And that’s really cool. And I’m really proud of him for that. So. Yeah. Definitely a unique relationship and definitely one to remember for a very long time. So. Yeah.
Chris [00:41:29] And you were both part of the same religious group, the one that you said you’re really- you’ve you’ve you’re redefining your relationship with it.
Caller [00:41:40] Yeah. Yeah. And I think that played a big role in it, too. But I think I had come to terms with my queerness and my faith long before we started dating again. But I don’t really think that he truly got there with himself. And so I think there was just a gap in our own personal journeys that made it really difficult to have harder conversations and more difficult conversations about, okay, so like, obviously this church environment is not the most helpful. What are we going to do about that? And I was already making moves to separate myself from that environment before we broke up. And he’s getting there now. But he wasn’t even I don’t even know that he was thinking about it as early on as I was. So there was definitely a gap there as far as our spiritual journeys as well and our kind of journeys and identity and self healing. So.
Chris [00:43:01] You. I have to tell you what. For someone who started off the call by saying like… I just went through a breakup of moving back home with my parents. I think I’m going to step away from my church. I have a feeling that I might be getting this, like, life changing diagnosis. You got a lot of stuff going on, but you also get your shit together more than most people I know. You’re able to just explain yourself in a way that’s just like clear and concise and gets right to it. Like all the bullet points point to someone who should be in chaos, who doesn’t have their shit together. And yet every time you start speaking about stuff I’m like, yeah, you seem like you got a real good head on your shoulders and you’re going to be fine. But the bullet points don’t point to that.
Caller [00:43:51] Yeah. I don’t think I would have- that would have been true like six months ago if I’d called in and had a similar conversation. But I’ve been doing a lot of like spiritual healing as well. And I have been really just diving deep and exploring, okay, what does peace look like? What is what is my hope for the future look like? And is it okay if those things don’t align with the people that, you know, have have raised me in the way that they have. And change has always been really really hard for me, historically. I… Change has been the thing that’s always made me feel completely uprooted. I like my stability. I like to have my routines. I like to have, you know, security. And I think I definitely felt really uprooted within, like, the two weeks that all of this was happening. Um. And but I’ve been learning a lot about what it feels like to actually like process my emotions and sit with them and label them and like, you know… It takes me a long time to process things too. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m feeling an emotion about a particular situation until like weeks after the fact. But when I do process those emotions and get them out, I have a lot, a lot better pic- a bigger picture and a better picture of of what the future looks like and how I need to move forward. And I think I just… I don’t know. I’ve experienced a lot more peace throughout all of this the past three weeks- throughout the past two months- than I have in a really long time. And. I have. I feel like I’ve got a healthy spiritual practice back in place for the first time in two years and that has given me a lot of stability in the midst of all of the craziness and chaos.
Chris [00:46:20] And what specifically felt unhealthy about your spirituality before this? Because we’ve danced around this, we brought this up. So when you look back, what was what was toxic? What was unhealthy?
Caller [00:46:34] I had a lot of people around me telling me that I, not me specifically, but making kind of general blanket statements about what darkness looks like in people and this kind of like us versus them conversation. And the church that I was going to as well was not handling the pandemic very well at all. And that really I think I got really hyper fixated on a lot of like the surface level details that the church was kind of, you know, broadcasting in the past couple of years. And I started to shut down spiritually. I felt really stifled and I felt unsafe. And I felt unseen. And you know, I would be up on the stage trying to lead worship and I would find out after the worship set that, oh, you’re going to be preaching on the sin of homosexuality today, and I was just on stage looking like I was endorsing that. Awesome. And just a lot of a lot of the same stuff that you kind of hear a lot about when it comes to like evangelical spaces and kind of the toxic structures and belief systems that come along with those practices.
Chris [00:48:13] When you think about you think, I kind of feel like the stereotype of a young, artsy, queer person, the stereotype would be that they’re not people finding balance in religion. It’s that often that’s like they’re they’re the atheists, they’re the heathens running roughshod.
Caller [00:48:38] Yeah.
Chris [00:48:38] But this seems like it’s still really important to you.
Caller [00:48:42] Yes.
Chris [00:48:43] Talk to me about that, because that doesn’t totally right- I feel like the cliche- most people would go, oh, a young person calls up and talks about what’s heteronormative and uses that phrase and and other phrases. They would go, Oh, the cliche would be that this person just doesn’t have a religious life. They’ve rejected it.
Caller [00:49:05] Right.
Chris [00:49:06] So what’s up with that? Because that is a little incongruous.
Caller [00:49:13] Yeah. Yeah, I think it it definitely surprises a lot of people. But my, my connection to a higher power, my connection to God has always been the most real thing in my life. (DOG BARKS)
Chris [00:49:29] Tell that dog that the noise has got to stop. Well at least it sounded like a dog that time. At least I was able to identify it as a dog in that instance.
Caller [00:49:41] Yeah. She, she, there’s utility work happening outside right now and so she’s a little spooked, but yeah. So I… My spirituality has always been and my connection to God has always been the most real part of my life. It’s always been the most stable thing in my life. And… I have always been really deeply connected to the spiritual realm and just I’ve always been really in touch with those things. I was always really a sensitive child and I was having experiences that didn’t quite make sense growing up. But, you know, throughout some of the hardest moments in my life, the thing that got me through it was I know that there’s a bigger purpose for me. I know that there’s something that’s keeping me here for a reason. And, um, I am a symbols and a patterns person, and I have symbols and patterns that pop up consistently every time I’m, like, looking for confirmation on something and looking for, you know, the kind of not even really the go ahead, but just like, reassurance that I’m on the right path. And those moments have always consistently shown up in my life when I need it the most. And I, I don’t know. I’ve always felt God’s love. And I think, um the church environments that I grew up in- and not even the one I grew up in- I think the one that I- the church environment that I was in during college was the thing that really kind of screwed me up spiritually. It was just there was a lot of there were a lot of people that were showing and saying otherwise when it came to what God’s love looked like versus what we were taught to believe about the love of God, like what we should be believing about the love of God. Like if God is love, then why are we not taking care of our neighbor? Why are we not actually loving the people that come into our spaces and welcoming them in wholeheartedly, without telling them that they’re fundamentally flawed or wrong for existing? And yeah, my spiritual practices look a lot different than they used to, but I, bottom line for me has always been I have a God that loves me and I have a God that is reassuring me that I am okay just the way that I am. That I am whole. I’m not broken. And that there is there’s a purpose in my life for the things that I do. And I was put on this earth for a reason. And I and I fully believe that. And it’s it’s been a journey making- bringing my my queerness and my faith into alliance. But. I what I always tell people is that I’ve only been able to keep my faith by accepting my queerness and by not suppressing that part of myself. I would have been more likely to lose my faith, I think, if I had not accepted my queerness. And I don’t think I can really separate either one from who I am. Um. So. Yeah.
Chris [00:53:38] Now that just blew people’s minds. There’s something that doesn’t check any boxes.
Caller [00:53:48] Yeah. Not really easily explained.
Chris [00:53:52] You are layers upon layers, my friend. Layers upon layers.
Caller [00:53:58] Lots of layers that I haven’t even unpacked yet, I’m sure.
Chris [00:54:04] Yeah. I mean, I guess I would think- I think a lot of people feel like young people get very fed up with church dogma. And queer people often feel excluded and vilified. And hearing you say that you were even asked to preach about something that that treaded into that territory is so sad, so heartbreaking.
[00:54:32] So to hear that you are someone who’s, you know, both young and queer, but who’s like, no, no, no, my relationship with God is still super important to me. And it is a very real thing for me that I’ve always felt, that it’s not something that’s not something that you hear every day. That’s why I got to tell you, I go a little nuts. I was at a family gathering with some not my blood relatives, blah, blah, blah. And some there’s there’s one guy, very, very nice guy who is always at these gatherings when I’m around this group of people and he likes to talk to me about comedy. And he… A couple of weeks ago, I saw him and he was getting ready to leave and he’s like, I got to ask you, man, what do you think about like all these- all this cancel culture stuff? It’s making it hard to do what you do, right? And I was just like, I don’t think so, man. Like, I don’t think it’s real. I don’t think it’s real. I don’t. Just me personally. I feel like a lot of the people who shout the phrase cancel culture are building their careers yelling about cancel culture and actually have bigger platforms than they’ve ever had. There’s there’s many comedians who are bigger than any of the other comedians who are suffering no consequences and keep- will not stop yelling about cancel culture. And it’s not affecting them at all. It’s not affecting them at all. Their platforms only seem to grow. And I would also put out there’s some comedians who were not big a few years ago who are becoming names now because they keep shouting about cancel culture. Well, isn’t that the opposite? If if you never heard of anybody until they started grumbling about cancel and getting canceled and wokeness having all these negative effects, if you never heard of them and now they’re allowed to rail against Wokeness and all of its ill effects and how it’s de facto censorship and now you’ve heard of them, well, it seems like it actually built your career and you’re selling a lot of tickets. And you should be thanking it and not complaining about it. Point being… A lot of people like to look at people your age and go and roll their eyes and go, Oh, everybody wants to be woke. Everybody wants to speak with- everybody’s looking for a reason to get mad at you if you mess up.
Caller [00:56:50] Yeah.
Chris [00:56:51] But I think you are living proof of it’s not that simple. Nothing’s that simple, you know? Before you even used the phrase, you said, you know, you referred to people who were assigned male at birth and assigned female at birth. And for some people that just instinctively going to make them roll their eyes and go, oh, these young kids just want to change everything. But I feel like there is something to your story, particularly that this part where you just went on that beautiful, beautiful explanation of the role of religion and God in your life, where I just go, anybody who wants to write off people as simple, as being able to fit into these boxes where you’re allowed to go, here’s why young people- no. No.
Caller [00:57:39] Yeah.
Chris [00:57:40] Times they are a changing. Yes. And you can’t dismiss people. And there’s and nobody out there- I just don’t buy that there’s too many people out there who are real humans living real lives who aren’t just trying to feel happy and healthy, who aren’t just trying to have family lives that are healthy and happy, trying to have professional lives that are healthy and happy, social lives that are healthy and happy, trying to figure out how they fit into the goddamn world. So nothing’s simple. And you’re not simple. And it’s a thing that I’m really coming to love about, about this call and about you!
Caller [00:58:23] Thank you. I really appreciate that. I yeah, I… I’ve always been told that I like, overcomplicate everything, but I don’t know that I’m overcomplicating things. I think I’m just speaking what I see and speaking what I’m experiencing. And because life is complicated and people are complicated and there’s no, you know, you can’t just take a single group of people say, oh, you’re this because of your age, because of your race, because of, you know, your your financial, you know, experience. Like, you can’t you can’t just make a blanket statement about a group of people because of one part of their identity. You have to look at the whole person. And I think that’s really important.
Chris [00:59:17] I think it’s really true. And I think even when you look at pop culture from my generation, kind of moving backwards in the decades, there was so much, so many movies when I grew up of, you know, here’s here’s the character who represents this type of people. Here’s this type of character, here’s this. And, and it’s a lot more of how we thought back then. But I think that people younger than myself… See, it’s funny because I think a lot of a lot of people like to wag their finger and go, Oh, you all just like to create these, like, arbitrary things to get mad about. And life’s not that simple. But you’re actually the generation that I think is really rattling the chains on the idea of like, No, no, no, no, no. We’re saying life’s not simple from the start. We’re not trying to make it easy to get you in trouble and yell at you. We’re trying to say people think of race in complicated ways. People think of their sexual desires in complicated ways. People think about their gender in complicated ways. And maybe you aren’t ever going to get it. But it doesn’t mean we’re in a big fight. And it doesn’t mean we’re trying to get you in trouble or trying to get mad at you. We’re just trying to- trying to not feel insane. Why does that make you so mad? Why does that make you so mad? I just want to not feel insane. Why does that make you mad? It’s what I don’t get.
Caller [01:00:46] Yeah, we’re just trying to exist. And we also, you know, want people to do better. And we want people to hold themselves accountable and be okay with being held accountable. And that to me doesn’t scream cancel culture. That to me screams, you know, hey, we’re asking for a better existence. We’re asking for a better situation for everyone. And no one can just- if you sit back and you’re not allowing yourself to be held accountable for things, then it’s part of a bigger problem. And that’s something that we all need to work on.
Chris [01:01:25] That’s what’s terrifying to people. That’s what’s terrifying is I feel like your generation is actually going, we’re not trying to reframe your conversation. We’re actually trying to have a little bit of a different conversation right now. And you’re going to have to catch up. You have to learn and catch up. And that’s a little scary to people who are set in their ways or are people who are used to things being how they’ve always been. But you’re a perfect- that rant you went on- that, I tell you, that really lit my fires. I don’t know why. I’m just like, you’re just out here- it’s like, listen, like I grew up in a generation- you watch movies like, like you would watch, say, Revenge of the Nerds, a hugely popular movie when I grew up. Hugely problematic by modern standards. Really, truly problematic. But you sit there, you go oh, and there’s there’s the the like that just everybody fits into a trope. There’s the computer nerd, there’s the Asian person, there’s the gay character and everybody- no, you could be a million things. You’re just out here trying to be a person who’s probably autistic, who wants to date females even though you’ve recently been heartbroken by a male, and your love of God probably supersedes all of it. What’s so complicated about that?
Caller [01:02:44] Apparently it’s very complicated to a lot of people.
Chris [01:02:46] I think it is. I think to many people. And if I’m being honest, I think even to my generation, you take a deep breath and you go, say that back. Okay. But it’s on us to go, say they’re back. We’ll figure- say it again. And I think to your generation, that doesn’t sound that complicated. And that’s going to lead to a lot of good. It’s going to lead to a lot of good. It’s going to lead to a lot more people being open and honest and feeling comfortable in their own skin.
Caller [01:03:11] Yeah. I think vulnerability is a big part of it too. Just being able to speak and get it out in the open. Because I think the longer you hold things in, the more they fester and the more they they harm you. And I think by being fully honest and being fully open with people, there’s an opportunity for healing to happen for you and also for healing to happen for the other person down the road, for them to open up and experience and talk about their own experiences. So, yeah.
Chris [01:03:47] We got 30 seconds left. This one ended with a bang.
Caller [01:03:50] Oh boy.
Chris [01:03:52] How would you like this to end? What would you like your closing words to be?
Caller [01:03:57] Gosh. I mean. Just listen to people. And listen to their experiences, even if it doesn’t align with what you believe or what you know about the world. The more you listen, the more you learn, and the better off you’ll be.
Chris [01:04:16] I love that. And I just want to reiterate to you, I know that these have been some tumultuous times. Heartbreak and new conversations with yourself about yourself. But like I said right at the start of the call, it really feels like you’re at the beginning of some stuff. And you do strike me as such a thoughtful, together, smart person. And I am left feeling very hopeful for you and excited to know that, you know, you’re kind of moving forward in a place that’s more from a point of honesty. I think it’s a beautiful thing, and I think you’re at the beginning of a lot of great stuff. That’s my that’s my instinct.
Caller [01:04:58] Yeah. Thank you so much for this. This was really awesome.
Chris [01:05:02] Oh, please. Thank you.
Caller [01:05:06] I’ve been waiting for this for I don’t know how long. This is one of the best things that’s ever happened.
Chris [01:05:14] Well, I’m so glad it did. Thank you for calling. Caller, thank you so much. I’m feeling really awake and inspired right now. Thank you so much for the call and good luck to you with everything. This show is produced by Anita Flores. It’s engineered by Marcus Hahm and Jared O’Connell. Our theme song is by ShellShag. Please support Shellshag, they are the best. Go to Chris Geth dot com if you want to know more about me, including all my tour dates. Got a lot of Beautiful/ Anonymous live dates coming up. They’ve all been rescheduled to May, June, and so on. So go check Chris Geth dot com if you want to know if I’m coming to your town. And hey, wherever you’re listening, hit subscribe, favorite, follow. Really helps when you do. You can find all of our merch at Pod Swag dot com. There’s shirts there and mugs, posters, all kinds of stuff. Plus, you’re gonna want to check out Stitcher Premium. This is where you can find ad free episodes of Beautiful/ Anonymous and tons of other shows. Use the promo code “stories” for a one month free trial. That’s Stitcher dot com slash premium.