Erasing Words-Not the Truth

Confession: I haven’t written in awhile. Previously I wrote a blog called “Preacher’s Gay Granddaughter”, and it was one of my most prized possessions. In this blog, I admitted being gay and how hard it was to be a closeted lesbian when your family is full (literally) of Pentecostal pastors. I explained the depth of hurt it caused me. I also explained how my family had no clue about me–that fact, however, changed quickly.

Soon after I posted this blog, I received over 15 frantic texts from my grandma (the pastor). Where I was told:

“How could you do this to me?”

“Your granddaddy already wanted to move, you just made his decision easier.”

“You are reprimanding us as pastors, and the church as a whole.”

“You are a confused little girl who is making a big mistake.”

“You aren’t gay. Is she pressuring you?”

“I can’t look at your facebook anymore as it makes me sick, I am blocking you. So is your grandfather.”

“How dare you? Do you just enjoy hurting me?”

“Are you doing this to hurt me purposefully?”

All of these were sent to me back-to-back, during a very important dinner I was having with a fellow coach. When I read these, it was such a punch in my stomach that the wind was knocked out of me. I didn’t entertain her with responses, I just let her continue. She found out about me, and hated me. As a grandma, and as a pastor, she hated me.

Weeks later, she called me to her house and I reluctantly went. When I walked in she had bible verses printed out and scattered across the couch. She sat me down and told me I was confused and that I didn’t know what I was doing. She told me I was going to hell if I didn’t “change my ways.” She told me “let me pray for you, it will help.” In which my response was I’ve prayed for years not to be gay, not because I am afraid to go to hell or think I will, but because I knew I would be the biggest disappointment of your life. She didn’t disagree. She told me “I never should have allowed you to go to that liberal college. (Side note: I went to a private baptist university…liberal? I think not.) She then pulled out a blown up version of my blog post “Preachers Gay Granddaughter” and I thought she was going to slap me she was so mad. She said she was having chest pains, she told me she would rather die than this.

Following this conversation, I deleted my blog post. I was in such a dark place that I just deleted it. It is one of my only regrets that I have. “Preachers Gay Granddaughter” was a huge step in the right drection for me. It is the first time I had publicly said the words “I’m gay.” It was refreshing, and I let someone push me to the edge of deleting it.

This is my rubbutle to my own stupidity. I am still, and always will be the writer of “Preacher’s Gay Granddaughter”. And I am proud of that fact.

I am excited to get to writting again. I have a few things in mind. Please follow me on this journey, and enjoy.

Giving Cali a Forever Home.

Shortly after Tawny and I moved in together we made a wonderful $50 purchase on our little fluffy angel, Tucker. He was so tiny when we got him 7 months ago. Tawny was at home a lot by herself while I worked and she was getting tired of being alone, and I just wanted a cutie pie running around the house. Having a puppy was an interestingly hard journey. He peed everywhere, he pooped even more, and I was so scared to leave him alone because the thought of him being sad broke my heart. Tucker eventually outgrew the puppy stage, and now he is totally house broken, sleeps with us without any problems, and is the best little boy I could ask for.

Lately, we have been talking about getting another puppy for Tucker to play with, perhaps a little sister for him. Yesterday we finally went through with it and went to pick up our tiny ball of fur. Even though we didn’t get her from a shelter, I say that we rescued her because of her awful living conditions.

Tawny and I pulled up to a small trailer that had about 15 dogs running wild outside. The first person to come out of the house was a 5-year-old boy holding our soon-to-be little girl, and he was covered head to toe in sores. Instantly I knew that we were about to enter a place neither of us were used to. The little boy’s father finally came out and the first words he said to us were “Well, they smell bad. They’ve been shittin’ everywhere and rollin’ in it. Eatin’ it too.” You could imagine my face when he said that. But, I still wanted to see this little girl I had found. Upon entering the house there was a woman on the couch, also covered in sores, holding 3 precious puppies. We saw her and where she lived, and we knew that we couldn’t leave her under the “care” or pathetic excuse for that, with these people.

Tawny and I grabbed our little one and left as quickly as we could. The smell that radiated off of our new angel was so disgusting that we were both light-headed just from being near her. She had no energy, she was exhausted, and she was taken over by fleas. All you had to do was look at her blonde fur and you instantly saw fleas crawling all over her. She looked up at us with the saddest eyes, and Tawny (being the softy that she is) started bawling. “She’s just so little. She doesn’t deserve this. We have to get her better.” So that’s exactly what we did.

We drove an hour and a half home and went straight to the sink. We pulled out the dawn soap and bathed her 3 times. After bathing her I held her while Tawny hand-picked over 50 fleas off of her. 50 damn fleas. This sweet little girl was treated so unfairly. After her bath and being dried off she slept harder than I imagine she’d slept before. She was happy, and eventually after getting used to her, Tucker seemed happy too.

We are now back in the puppy stages. Tucker is such a good big brother, and anytime Cali wines, he is the first to let me know. Cali, named after California (Tawny’s home state), has been the best addition to our family. Tawny is obsessed with her, and I love her so much. She’s perfect.

Last night as we were praying before bed, I got to change “Thank you for Tawny and Tucker and my perfect little family”, to “Lord, thank you for Tawny, Tucker, and Cali, my perfect little family.” And because of that, because of this beautiful little family that I have been blessed with, I am all smiles.

Rebellious Wildflowers

I didn’t look out my window and see a beautiful building make of glass. I didn’t drive down a highway to get where I needed to go. I didn’t hear traffic from my living room. I looked out the window and saw the greenest grass. I drove down dirt and gravel roads. The only cars I ever heard from my house were the people driving by honking at us with their hand sticking out their window waving frantically and smiling, or calling our names. I heard crickets at night and saw fireflies dancing in the dark lighting a path that led to wonderful adventure. I’m not from a big city, I don’t live life in the fast lane. I’m from a small town, where cows are more populated than people, and where literally everyone knows who I am.

I was born in a itty bitty town, with people who had itty bitty agendas. No one planned on being a president, but instead we dreamed of being farmers, teachers, preachers, oil field workers, and if you were lucky like one of my classmates, you made it pro in football. We lived for Friday night lights and the bonfires at my best buddy’s house afterward. Where we’d sneak cheap alcohol, get on a four-wheeler, and hit the creek. We lived for ourselves, and we lived for each other. No one had enemies (except for school basketball and football rivals), and everyone was friends in someway with everyone else.

That’s how I grew up, and I loved every second of it. I should have savored it more than I did, I would give anything to relive some of those nights we had, the ones we can remember. We were dumb kids, but we were in love with our lives. We lived for the mud on our boots, and the wind in our hair. We existed for the nights we would climb the water tower, and literally paint the town. We were born to experience the small town heartaches and triumphs.

My granddad was the mayor of my tiny paradise. My mom was a school teacher, and my grandma was a preacher one town over.  I was the captain of the basketball team, I played 3 varsity sports all 4 years, I had gone to school there since Pre-K, and I was friends with everyone. Everyone, and I mean everyone, watched what I did. People knew Shelbie Welk, or so they thought.

I was a super happy person the majority of the time! Obviously sometimes my teenage attitude wasn’t always in tip-top condition. But not knowing how to express myself was a major cause for that. I didn’t know how to accept who I was. I fought it, oh boy did I fight it. I dated boys left and right, but I was kissing other people on the side, usually girls. I had a hard time relating to other girls because despite how much I tried, I wasn’t like them. I was the off-brand to their name brand. I was trying desperately to please my family, and the wonderful, yet close minded people of my town. I couldn’t let them down. I couldn’t be someone they didn’t expect me to be.

After I graduated and left my comfort zone, I had to learn who I really was on my own. I went to a Baptist University in East Texas.I knew my roommate, luckily we were best friends in high school, but despite that I was completely alone. She started making her own friends, and so I did. I became best friends with some of the players on the softball team, who ended up being my roommates the next few years. With the exception of one of them, they were all gay. Surprisingly they were fighting it too, so we learned to lean on each other. When we all finally accepted that we were who we were, it was a beautiful time. I realized that I could finally relax my shoulders for the first time in years. I had been so uptight while I was trying to portray something I never was, I finally got to take a load off, and enjoy myself.

That lasted for a while. Until I met a speaker in chapel, who convinced me that me being myself was a sin. I wasn’t supposed to be gay, and my family had been right all this time. I was a sinner, and I had a one way ticket to the flames. I believed him. I tried not to, but I believed him with all of my heart. The guilt consumed me in ways I never thought possible. I ended a relationship, and started trying my hand at men again. Needless to say, it didn’t work (this will be a story in another blog post.)

After years and years of trying to mask who I was, of trying my hardest to please the people around me, I couldn’t anymore.

My hometown left a huge mark on me. One thing it showed me was that there is so much beauty in letting things grow wildly, and on their own. Letting things be free, like the cattle that graze the pastures, like the birds who nest here in the summer, like the rushing waters at Brushy Creek when it rains, like the wildflowers on the side of C.R. 3211. No one planted them, no one picked them, but they chose to grow there, they chose to root themselves in that particular area. That is what I am choosing to do. I choose to live in God’s will, but I also choose to express my freewill as a human. No one can pick where I land, or where I go.

I am a wildflower, a rebelliously beautiful breed. I am someone who can’t be tamed, and I won’t be planted in a box. I choose to live outside of the box.  I choose to be myself. I won’t be blended in with the pack, but I’ll stand out. I can thank my country roots for that. Because even though I was surrounded by a lot of close minded people, they taught me to be open-minded without even realizing it. The land I was surrounded by, the animals that roamed around me, the people who dared to be different, they taught me what it meant to uproot yourself and grow elsewhere. And I am so blessed, and grateful that I learned to be myself.