Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chely Wright on Oprah

Not sure how I missed this in the news. Maybe because she is a country singer and country music is not really my thing.

But today on Oprah, country singer Chely Wright told Oprah that she feels two weeks old, that she feels like her life has just begun since she has "come out" and stopped living a lie.

She talked about her childhood, how she was taught at church that there were four types of evil people in the world, one of which was homosexuals.

She knew from 3rd grade that she was different. She knew when she was a teenager that she was gay. But she certainly could not tell anyone, because that meant she was a horrible, evil person.

She kept a 12-year relationship with another woman quiet. She didn't even tell her best friend. Then, when the relationship ended, she had no one to talk to, and so she put a gun in her mouth with the intent to take her own life.

She realizes she might lose her career, but she doesn't care, because everything is gravy compared to having a gun in your mouth, ready to take your own life.

She spoke of telling her dad, how she was so nervous, and he was nervous. "Do you have cancer? We will get through it. Just tell me." LOL. Cancer was one of the same thoughts I had with Scott when he said he had to tell me something.

She told him, he said nothing, but he hugged her. When Oprah asked him what he would say to other parents he said, "Don't close the door, open the heart." He admitted it was hard because of what he'd always believed and been taught, but he knew his daughter, he knew her heart. She was the same person she had always been, and she said she had always been a lesbian, so it must be okay.

She told Oprah that she also hoped that by coming out, that other young people, whose churches and parents tell them they are sinners, they are worthless, that they will know that they are not. That they are okay.

This comment made me emotional. I wished I could take a copy of her saying that, and show it to the youth of the church, to the students at my school. My heart aches for them, growing up like Scott did, in denial or hating himself for fleeting thoughts and feelings that he "knew" were wrong. And then there is the fact that because he was in denial, and fighting being "bad", and trying hard to be "good" and do what every good Mormon boy is supposed to do, that he brought a woman and children into the drama. And now look where we are. Many, many other spouses and children are affected, and there will yet be many more, I am afraid.

I think of the kids in the club at school, and how much I love and care about them, and how sad it makes me to see some of them struggling with parents that refuse to understand and accept them. We have a some great student leaders getting things planned to make next year even better, to make a difference at our school. I can't wait to see if they can accomplish the good that they want to.

The other thing on the Oprah interview that really got to me was when Oprah asked Chely about the publicly-known relationships she had with men in the past, specifically with Brad Paisley (whoever that is). Oprah wondered how it was even possible for her to have a relationship with a man! LOL. Chely said it felt wrong, being with a man, even just holding his hand during a movie, when all she wanted to be with was a woman. It wasn't fair to him, from the beginning, middle, to the end.

I am coping well and getting used to the idea that things are changing in my marriage, but it is still hard because I do love Scott so much and am happy (for the most part) with the marriage relationship that we have had, and continue to have to an extent. But listening to her talk about dating a man I guess helps me to remember/realize that to Scott our relationship doesn't feel right. It isn't natural to him, and has never really felt right. I am trying so hard to put myself in his shoes, and trying to imagine feeling that way every time he is intimate with me, or like Chely said, even just something simple like holding my hand. It doesn't feel right to him, and so it makes sense that he can't live with that feeling for the rest of his life.

I haven't cried about this for a couple of weeks. But now I cry as I feel bad for him, and of course continue to feel bad for myself and the children.

But the tears are fleeting. We have been focusing on yard work and figuring out what we need to do to get ready for the baby. Often, life feels normal, other than Scott is out with friends once or twice a week. We both have our ups and downs, we still both don't know where our future is heading and which path is best to take. We know that family is concerned for us, and Scott worries that everyone is going to end up hating him.

But just like Chely says in her interview about herself, right now Scott needs to live true to himself and stop living the lie of the first 34 years of his life. It is such a strong need for him that even the thought of the pain he is causing me, and the anger that people are feeling toward him aren't stopping him, almost like a need to eat or breathe to survive. I just hope that we can all try to understand him and just love him as he goes through this.

Well, that blog post certainly went on and on and took a turn that I didn't expect. I just had to share the awesomeness of the TV episode. We have the episode recorded, so maybe Scott can help me post some of my favorite parts in the near future.

UPDATE: youtube links:

    Meanwhile, Chely wrote a book called "Like Me". I think I am going to have to add that to my infinitely-long reading list. Right now the book of choice is a tough one--"Goodbye, I love you" by Carol Lyn Pearson. I haven't gotten very far yet, but soon I will bite the bullet and face the pain in reading that story.


    gail said...

    Thanks for sharing this. It breaks my heart, and angers me. The church could do so much to diminish all this pain, even with out changing there doctrine on homosexual behavior, which they have no scriptural or revelatory support for, they could end so much of the pain that they cause,even after all this time it still pisses me off.

    Sophrosyne said...

    "Brad Paisley (whoever that is)"

    Sarah!!! :-( Brad Paisley is only the hottest, best, hottest singer/guitar player alive! I've been to about 4 concerts in my life. Two of them were Brad Paisley. I'm going again this September.

    Chely Wright is said to be one of the first country singers ever to come out. Maybe others will be able to open up.

    Sarah said...

    yep, Sophrosyne. That is just how oblivious I am to everything in the country music world. :)

    Gail, much damage has been done, no doubt. But the time will come someday, and future generations will look back and marvel that it was ever an issue at all.

    gail said...

    Mormons have a short institutional memory. I am really curious what church historians will say about this period of homophobia or if it will be talked about at all.

    Anonymous said...

    Thought you might enjoy this article as a sort of follow-up to your post here, which by the way, thank you VERY much for it!

    Anonymous said...

    Have you finalized a name for your baby? I asked Scott on his blog, but have not seen an answer any where. I know it is none of my business, but I was just wondering.

    I hope the end of school goes smoothly for you. I have another week to go. This past week has been rather brutal. I hope it will get better.

    And, also, there are other MoHo ladies than the few you have included here on your blog. :)

    Sarah said...


    Most likely Sebastian, (and I kind of like "Ian" as a nickname). People seem to either really like it or really dislike it. (And I found out tonight that my mother-in-law is in the latter group.)

    Scott didn't respond because he doesn't care and has not helped make a decision. He acknowledges the fact that we really are having another baby, and that is about it.

    As for school, I need to grade final exams tomorrow, finish up last-minute grading on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I think I have decided to take Thursday (yearbook day) and Friday (refunds and graduation) off to be with my son that is recovering from surgery. My mom has volunteered to stay with him the other two days. I have no idea when and how I will get everything in my classroom packed away for summer cleaning-- probably going to have students do as much of that as possible on Tuesday and Weds for extra credit. :)

    I hope this week goes well for you.

    As for my links, I generally don't read blogs any more and I have not updated any of the links in a long time. If there are any you think I should add, let me know. Thanks.

    Anonymous said...

    I like the name Sebastian. In fact, I think I may have offered it as a suggestion. :) I also like the name Ian as a nickname. I also like Sebby and Bastian as nicknames.

    Good luck with the ending of school. Sounds like you have LOTS to do. Good luck with your child who has had surgery. Hope all goes well there, too.

    I know you are going through a lot of "stuff" right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you the very best. I wish life did not have to be so hard.

    And, thank you for the well wishes with the ending of my school year. Thank you, I needed that. Administrators can be such royal pains in the tush-

    Happy day!

    Continued best of health to you and your baby Sebastian!

    Love and respect, always.