Queer Mormon Women*: Coming In

Guest Post by Tatiana Folborg

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

Tatiana Folborg was born in N.Y. She traveled with her mother as a army B.R.A.T. (born raised and trained) throughout the world. It was through these travels that she gained a love for other people’s cultures,ideas and worldviews. At 14, she felt a renewed peace from the LDS church and converted from Judaism and Catholicism. It was also at this time that she began to realize her same sex attraction was not a “phase.” She hid this secret in her early associations with the church,and served a mission in Argentina years later. She became active in her YSA Branch for many years and finally found the courage to come out to a few friends there. One of those friends introduced her to Affirmation Women where she has a maintained a strong presence ever since. Tatiana Folborg’s life mission is to help others on their path to peace and understanding of who they are. She is a teacher both inside and outside of the church to kids of all ages. She follows the African Proverb: ” The baby calf watches the mother cow eat,” which means to be truly effective, we must teach with our words as well as  our actions.

 

Several years ago, I was doing a teaching observation where six and seven year olds gave presentations on weather. One insightful child said:  “[Rainbows] come after the rain. …..It has to all come down before the rainbows can come out.”   Working through the “Coming Out” process, I have been amid many raging and life changing storms.  A process which, at the same time, has brought me many wonderful Rainbows.  I began to  realize that in order to truly find the courage to “Come Out,” I had to work on “Coming IN”.

Coming IN-to Positive Understanding:rain1 (2)

I had to make the self realization that I was not born a mistake or that somehow if I was faithful enough, my feelings would somehow disappear. I came to realize that I did not have incurable disease or simply decide “to go that way”.  I was created by a loving God who wants nothing more than to see me happy. He has revealed over and over the importance of loving each other and that had to start with myself. Someone in a church talk said that church is not a buffet line we can pick and choose what suit us best and still claim we are “faithful.”  This analogy can also be applied to ourselves. To be whole and complete, we must strive to love ALL ourselves not just the parts the world says or decides we should. This includes our choices in whom we choose to love and build solid relationships.

 

Coming IN and enjoying the process

rain2 (2)The media loves to portray “Coming Out” as one big happy party with friends, rainbows, parades and, perhaps, a unicorn or two. I have learned that “Coming Out” is not a one time event but a life long process of acceptance and tolerance. Often times, life situations are not conducive to being as open as we would like. This sometimes leads a person to delay enjoying what life has to offer until they reached what they are looking for. By finding happiness in each step of my journey, it has made me stronger and more bold than ever.  My grandmother said it best: “Don’t let the whole parade go by because you are waiting to see one float.”

 

 

Coming INFlamed

in·flame

 (ĭn-flām′)

  1. in·flamed, in·flam·ing, in·flames

1. To arouse to passionate feeling or action

One important thing I learned and am still learning is that it is OK to have PASSION.  It is OK to share with others how you feel about the issues or about what is important to creating a whole you.  It is OK to be angry (or upset ) when someone is insensitive to your feelings. It is OK to stand up for yourself and to let others know what you believe.  Often times in the Christian & LDS World, passion is a dirty word that symbolizes your willingness to be far from God. I believe that it is quite the opposite! It is showing that you have faith beyond measure that you were created in God’s image and deserve only the best. This includes the best life situations for you whatever that may be.  I have learned to inflame myself with power to say, “Yes I am, it’s ok, and it will be get better.”

 

Coming In-viting Whole Relationships

I realized that a big part of the “Coming out” process was not only crrainbow1 (2)eating “whole” me but seeking after those who can fill me up. This includes friends, family, friends that are like family, support groups and anything else that leads to the creation of positive, uplifting and unifying experiences. These experiences will help bring into our lives those people who will love us no matter what and can relate to what we are going through. It will also help to weed out and get rid of toxic and poisonous relationships from both family and friends. Although it is very hard, we will begin to find the strength to reach out and at the same time reach up. Reaching up to new heights and embracing what you will find along the road of life. It will also prepare to connect in a new and exciting way to someone you love.

 

Coming In-vested

Time is a precious commodity often misused and taken for granted. I have recognized in my own life the importance of taking the time to invest in things that matter most.  Recently, I have decided to give myself a life-makeover, and in so doing, I found out who I am. I have invested time daily to reflect upon where I want to go and things I can do to continue to “COME OUT.” I have invested in getting to know others in the community and gaining knowledge to help others make their personal investments. Just like long term investing with a bank, we may not see the immediate bounty of our efforts. But over time, we will gain a great reward from the time we have invested in ourselves and in the process of “Coming out”.

“Coming Out” is not a one day life change but a lifelong process!  As I embark of on this wonderful journey, I have realized that the rain must come down BEFORE my rainbows can come. I now know that the more I “COME-IN” the more I can “COME OUT”.  It’s a beautiful thing! Won’t you “COME-IN” too?
Displaying rainbow2.gif

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11 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    I love your emphasis on the process, and the time that it takes. I think this is true with so many valuable things. In reading your words, my mind turned to my favorite philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, who said of faith that it was a task for a lifetime. The task of being an authentic self seems that way, too, for all of us.

  2. Caroline says:

    Wonderful post, Tatiana. Like Rachel, I love your focus on process. I also love your wise reflections on all the ways you have “come in” to your true self. Thank you for sharing your insights here.

  3. Emily U says:

    Thank you for this, Tatiana. It resonates with me that coming into your true self makes it more possible to come out (or be our authentic self) to others. Thanks for that insight.

  4. ash says:

    Great job sis!

  5. EmilyCC says:

    I love these quotes you’ve gleaned from wise women and your positive attitude. Do you mind me asking? What spaces do you feel that you are most likely to find those whole relationships to in-vite into your life? I know it is often hard for me as a het-cis person, and I’d love to hear more about your experiences in this area.

  6. Liz says:

    This is fantastic – I especially like the part about pruning out those toxic relationships. I think we could do better at teaching healthy boundaries in the church, and I like how you model that here. Thank you for this!

  7. Alisa says:

    Tatiana, I can tell that you are an amazing teacher! As I read what you have learned, I found myself daydreaming that this could be a Relief Society lesson–that you could be up there speaking about the process of self-acceptance and love.

    In a way, that’s how I’m beginning to feel about this series at Exponent: Back in the days when I attended church, I couldn’t wait for fast Sunday, not because of the main testimony meeting, but because of the special extra testimony meeting that the sisters held in their women*-only space in the 3rd hour, away from spouses, boyfriends, dads, brothers, bishops, etc. Just OUR space. That’s how I’m feeling about this space here, reading your story and others. That this space is sacred. That this is a real place where I can listen, hold your experience as you share it in my heart, and where I can change. Thank you.

  8. Violadiva says:

    Reading this helps me remember that we are all more alike than we are different. What a blessing to celebrate our commonalities together while still appreciating our differences. Thanks for sharing your loving heart with us.

  9. Jenny says:

    This really resonated with me because when I have “come out” on certain issues, I have felt far more exposed than I was ready for. I think I am working on the “coming in” process right now, so that I can feel more comfortable being out. So I really loved how you laid out this process. I especially loved your section on inviting whole relationships. Such great and wise thoughts! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Lindsay Killian says:

    Yes! Perfect!!!
    Try reading the JST of Genesis 9:21-24 with this interpretation. (It’s about the symbol of the rainbow in the cloud how it symbolizes truth and the covenant with Noah, and how it is the true mark of the world being ready to bring forth Zion, and for the city of Enoch to be able to come back.) It will change your interpretation of the whole gospel and how we have labeled it. Fun!!!

  11. Ziff says:

    I like a lot of the points you’ve made, Tatiana. One that particularly strikes me is your discussion of passion. I think you’re spot on that we tend to be suspicious of it in the Mormon world. It suggests too much power not being properly controlled. But I agree with your point that it can be a good in that it pushes us to productive action.

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