Outside the Box: Where we’ve been, where we are



Looking at it now, it all seems so simple…
The rest of the world was black and white
But we were in screaming color… – Out of the Woods, Taylor Swift

We can breathe again, out here in the open. Drink in lemonade sunlight because each one of us has faced so, so much dark.

Right now, my journey can be described by a Taylor Swift song, and I’m okay with that. The world I once lived in was clearly defined by words like good and bad, light and darkness, believers and unbelievers. If you were not for us, you were against us, and criticism of the church meant betrayal.

One of my roommates who grew up like I did couldn’t even wear gray clothing, gray was not in our vocabulary because gray was not supposed to exist. Anyone who lived in the gray was shunned because they were really black and just didn’t know it yet.

But life, this life has so much color.

I lost my grayscale sunglasses somewhere behind me, and now I can see the full spectrum. Sometimes I’m still finding my coordinates, and this road is nothing like what they told me it would be. So some days, I will ask you:

Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?
In the clear yet, good.

And I’m afraid to believe your answer is true.

They told me my emotions were evil, that the numbness in my soul was the sacrifice my God required. They took away my oxygen.

It’s a daily renewal, this learning to inhale when you were nearly dead inside. You don’t understand what safety is until that first time your heart knows it, and there will still be days when we shiver at shadows, because the darkness can only fade, not be forgotten.

I cracked open and shattered into hundreds of shards, scattered, but still I am finding my pieces.  I no longer have words to describe my doctrine, my theology is like waves down at the gulf shore (tumultuous, yet cyclical, murky, but shimmering) and when the tide catches me, I can’t tell you how far down I am. My religion is complicated, a living fire always melting the ice until I can feel my heartbeat in my fingertips.

I embrace your newborn freedom while I exult in my own. One day, they will see all of us as a kaleidoscope of stained glass windows because we could not be broken.

We were built to fall apart, then fall back together…
But the monsters turned out to be just trees. 

This week, we invite you to walk with us, as we tell our stories.

Outside The Box: Butterfly Support Group
Outside The Box: I Wish I Didn’t Know
Outside the Box: We Are Less Fragile
Outside The Box: Verticality, Sameness, and the World of The Giver
Outside The Box: Sexuality, Then and Now
Outside The Box: What Is Joy?
Outside The Box: Gathering Your Tools For Healing
Outside The Box: Recovering from Obsessive Guilt

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