In 2021, I recommitted to growing Muddling Through Together by working through a blogging course. To help me focus my vision for this website, I wrote the post Who Should Read Muddling Through Together. I concluded that post by writing:
Muddling Through Together welcomes the misfits, the rabble-rousers, the women living outside the confines of traditional womanhood.Brita Long, January 4, 2021
But I never fully explained just how I’m a Christian misfit.
Today that changes.
I Married an Atheist
My husband and I had our first date on July 30, 2011.
Dan asked me to be his girlfriend on October 16, 2011. (I was already in love with him).
We first said “I love you” on Thanksgiving. (I already knew I wanted to marry him).
He proposed on October 20, 2013.
We got married on March 22, 2014 with just our immediate family in attendance.
I don’t remember exactly when we discussed our differing religious beliefs, but it was early in our relationship, November or December 2011. When we finished our skype call, I prayed. Hard.
I always thought I would marry a person of faith. I was already living outside the typical Christian beliefs because I was willing to marry someone of any faith.
But there I was, in love for the first time in my life, with an atheist.
I prayed and prayed and prayed. I fell asleep that night, still not knowing what to do.
The next morning, I woke up to perfect peace.
I would keep dating Dan and see what happened.
God had created so many unusual circumstances for me to even meet Dan in the first place. Our relationship was completely unexpected. It went against everything I had imagined my first relationship to be, and yet I had never been happier.
I reached out to a close Christian friend and shared my thoughts with her. She understood.
Family and Friends
During the course of our relationship, Dan has met most of my friends and family, many of whom are devout Christians themselves. Over and over, my loved ones tell me the same thing.
Dan is perfect for you.
Even my amazing, faithful mother, who spent so many years praying for the right Christian husband for me, agreed that Dan was the right person for me.
And Dan’s family and friends all think I’m perfect for him!
In fact, when I met them all that first Thanksgiving, his brother Nick looked at my small plate of food. He told me I could take bigger helpings. I explained that I didn’t like my food touching, at which point he burst out laughing and said I’m the perfect woman for Dan. (My dear husband is a notoriously picky eater).
Of course, as a Christian woman who writes on the Internet, I open myself up to criticism.
When I first started my lifestyle blog, I wrote a fairly standard blog post, 6 Lessons I Learned in My First 6 Months of Marriage.
One reader wrote a short essay in the comments about all the reasons why my marriage would fail. Obviously I deleted it.
But he was only the first of many Internet people to criticize my marriage, to question my faith, to dismiss my relationship as a “missionary marriage.”
You can see why I needed to create an inclusive space online for Christian women who don’t fit anywhere else.
I’m Unashamedly Queer
I slowly started coming out as bisexual in 2011, right before I met Dan. In fact, one of the reasons I didn’t see a future with him is that we dated briefly in Ohio before I moved to New York, where I planned on dating women.
Well, we accidentally started a long-term relationship instead, and the rest is history!
I publicly came out as bisexual in February 2016 through a satirical blog post.
However, I only started embracing “queer” as part of my identity in the last few years.
One of my online friends created a beautiful design (affiliate link) that says “The Queer in Me Recognizes the Queer in You.”
And that is what happened to me, to help me acknowledge I’m queer.
A fellow queer content creator and I talked a lot about LGBTQ+ representation in media, as well as the challenges we faced as LGBTQ+ content creators. They sent me a holiday card, telling me how much they appreciated having me as a queer friend and content creator.
Before that moment, I had shied away from describing myself as queer. As a cisgender, bisexual woman in a monogamous marriage to a cisgender, straight man, I didn’t feel like I qualified as queer.
But I do.
My relationship is a choice. My sexual orientation is not.
Coming out as bisexual was so hard. I had pushed this part of me down down down so that I couldn’t feel anything, wouldn’t feel any personal hurt or anger or anguish when I encountered LGBTQ+ oppression. I was an ardent ally, but completely unaffected emotionally.
Until I came out.
The dam broke.
Everything I had suppressed for years exploded out of me at once, but I still wasn’t publicly out. Suddenly my act as a straight ally hurt. Every word and act of hatred cut me to my core.
My family had no idea why I was so emotional over bigotry that didn’t affect me. Oh, they agreed with my basic values of equality, but they were bewildered by my emotional breakdown in response to a discussion about our church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Only now can I look back and put a descriptor on these years of feelings.
Queer rage. Queer love.
Fierce, authentic, raw, messy queer resistance to a world that wanted me to be the polite ally who supported equality in a detached, academic manner.
I thought I couldn’t be queer because it’s too easy for me to “pass” as straight.
But inside of me is a maelstrom of love and justice that so desperately wants the world to see ALL of God’s children the way God sees us.
We are wonderfully made, in God’s own image, a bold and brilliant rainbow of creation.
I am a queer Christian, and I will not be silent.
I Have Tattoos
This final reason I’m a misfit Christian is more of a joke, but it’s also true. I have two tattoos, and I’ve considered getting a third. A conservative Christian blogger went viral a few years ago for decrying Christian women with tattoos (and college debt).
I also swear. And drink alcohol. And read erotic literature from time to time.
I wear a bikini in the summer.
I even posted a tasteful nude photo of myself on Instagram after my surgery.
But I’m still a woman seeking God. A woman constantly reading and writing and praying, just trying to understand a fraction of the beauty and wonder that is my glorious heavenly Parent.
Final Thoughts from a Christian Misfit
I don’t expect everyone who visits this blog to agree with me, or even to accept me in the fold of God.
I don’t expect everyone who loves me, or who loved my mom, to agree with me.
The body of Christ is a beautiful, messy, confusing conglomeration of sinners who agree on Jesus–and not much else.
I created Muddling Through Together so Christian women could learn from one another, so we could grow in our faith together.
You are welcome here, no matter your background.
And if you’re a Christian misfit, I would love to hear your story.