Queer Mormon Women*: Let Me Tell You About My Love
by Hermia Lyly
This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series. Click HERE to see all the posts to date.
It’s late at night as I sit down to write this blog post, and I’m feeling tired of being queer. More tired than usual. I’m especially weary of the queer Mormon narratives that expect me to confess how downtrodden and worthless I feel as a queer person in the Church, how much I’ve struggled to accept myself as who I am, and then end with a hopeful gesture towards future reconciliation and peace. I want a different queer Mormon narrative.
Please don’t misunderstand me—there isn’t anything wrong with the queer Mormon narrative of struggle and self-acceptance. It’s a narrative that many people experience, and their truths must be told. It’s just that lately I’ve been needed something more. I’ve been craving a moment of celebration, in which I can hold hands with my faith and my identity at the same time, rejoicing in both.
So let me tell you about the best part of my experience as queer Mormon woman.
Let me tell you about my love.
My love wooed me first. She asked me out to lunch, and then charmed me with her laugh and her silly puns. She asked me out again, and afterwards we watched a movie and whispered our deepest secrets to each other. She enchanted me. From that moment on, I was hooked.
My love texted me her favorite scriptures about love, compassion, and charity. I didn’t realize it then, but these were our first love poems. Beloved, let us love another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Our love was hard-earned. Ours was not a convenient relationship to fall into. Forbidden love seems so romantic and adventurous until you’re in the thick of it. Then it’s mostly crying, emptiness, confusion, and screaming at God. But my love brought me through it, and I am a kinder, more benevolent, and more thoughtful person because of it. I did not love her because it was expected of me, because I was lonely, or because I simply wanted to get married and settle down. I love her because our souls comfort each other. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. Her wholeness recognizes and embraces my wholeness.
My love understand my heritage and faith. She stands next to me in my struggle. When I am overwhelmed by my great and terrible faith, she is there to hold me through my tears, whether joyous or sorrowful. My love understands my search for truth and beauty. We hold hands and look past the stars together.
The plans that I have for starting a family with my love sometimes seem surreal. When I make wedding plans and start thinking about renting an apartment, buying a car, and raising children with my love, it feels as if I’m talking about riding off into fairyland on a unicorn. Or flying. Maybe that’s a better metaphor. If I would have found out ten years ago that I’d be marrying someone as wonderful as her, I would have had the same incredulity as if someone told me that I’d be able to fly.
My love is brilliant; she enthralls my mind. We stay up for hours talking about literature, gender, film, religion, theory, and anything else we can think of. She reads me poetry before I sleep: T.S. Eliot, Sir Philip Sidney, Ezra Pound, e e cummings, Mary Szybist, Sappho. Some say horsemen, some say warriors, some say a fleet of ships is the loveliest vision in this dark world, but I say it’s what you love.
My love carries my heart in her heart. She sees all my jumbled facets, recognizes all my jarring identities, and then folds them up into her strong, lovely arms, hugging them until they melt together, less jumbled, less jarring than before.
It was my love who first saw my wings. Who made me feel less afraid of them by showing me her own. Who asked me why I was trudging heavy-hearted across hostile lands when truly I was meant to soar.
Why would I want to be anywhere else when I can fly with my love?
Hermia Lyly is earning her PhD in English literature. She contributes regularly to the Young Mormon Feminists blog and has also been published in LDS Living and No More Strangers.