The Early Years
My life has taken a long and winding road to get me to where I am today. I was born in a small town as the second of two children and the only daughter. Growing up it seemed like my family was like most typical families in the Midwest of the US, although maybe not as affluent. Looking back on it now, I doubt I could say we were even middle class. Although I don’t remember any times when I ever had to go without something I needed, there were rarely any luxuries.
I was raised in a very conservative Evangelical Christian home and got into the Pentecostal movement as a teenager. God and religion became a very powerful influence throughout my childhood and well into my early adult years. My mother was the more religious of my parents and was very involved in our local church. Because of this my brother and I ended up being quite involved from a young age, whether we wanted to or not. As I grew older, adults in the church would often refer to the Bible as “life’s manual” and say that one could find all of the answers to life in the Bible. I had no reason to doubt what they said so when I had questions about things, instead of asking my parents or other adults, I would consult my Bible. I spent many hours working my way through various topics in the concordance trying to work out answers to life’s issues. Because I was still a child, I didn’t always understand the nuances of metaphor and allegory (much less have any understanding at all about cultural significance), so unless something was blatantly obvious that it shouldn’t be taken literally, such as when Jesus stated he was speaking a parable, I took a very literal interpretation of what I read and, like a good little Christian, I never questioned its truth.
Most of my Biblical studies started when I was still a preteen. I had started to noticed that I had an attraction to girls and a very strong desire to be a boy. I was pretty certain that God wouldn’t look too kindly on either of these things. In an attempt to understand my desires, I looked up everything I could find about sex and sexuality using the concordance of my Bible. It was in this way that I learned about things like adultery, fornication, and homosexuality. Taking a literal interpretation of what I read made me very ashamed of my feelings. I was terrified that others might find out and decide that I was wicked and depraved for being attracted to girls or wanting to be a boy. Because the Bible never spoke directly to the issue of transsexualism, I focused my attention and energy on trying to want to be a girl and rid myself of the deadly sin of homosexuality… with some fairly disastrous results.
When I hit puberty things got exceedingly difficult. I struggled with what seemed to be an insatiable sex drive while still trying to be the good chaste Christian girl. My early Biblical studies had caused me to conflate lust and fornication with any acts on sexual desire outside of marriage, including mental fantasies and masturbation, so it often felt as if I was living in a constant state of deadly sin. I believed that in order to be a good Christian I had to overcome all physical desires. The only acceptable desire was the desire to be a servant of God. I can’t recall the number of times I begged God to take away all sexual drive when it seemed impossible for me to control myself. When it became obvious that God wasn’t going to rid me of my desire, I started to plead for Him to kill me so my soul could be saved from my sinful flesh. Life became a constant struggle to suppress all desire, with terrible consequences to my self esteem each time I would inevitably fail. Even when I could control the impulses for short periods of time, eventually the desire would come out in my dreams and betray me. There was no escape.
I was desperate for a way to end what I percieved as a sinful life that seemed impossible to control, but the only acceptable setting for sexual desire was in a marriage. I felt I had little choice but to get married.
Continue on to The Abusive Marriage