Because I’ve revealed on here before that I was raised Mormon, went in a mission, got married to a Mormon with plans to raise lots of little Mormon babies.
Now I’m strictly areligious with only two little apostate babies and an apostate husband to boot (thank god).
And I love Tyler Glenn’s new video.
And the song too, of course. The beat is amazing, the lyrics paint an adequate picture of the emotions he’s experiencing, and his style is, as always, flawless (and I fucking LOVE the new look!).
And it’s fucking offensive as shit (in a very good way as you will find if you keep reading). I haven’t been to church in 6 years and it’s hard not to cringe during certain parts. Old habits and feelings die hard and I admit, my first reaction was “this is a bit over the top”.
But that’s bullshit. It’s not over the top, it’s exactly right at the top. It’s art. Since when did great art NOT offend hundreds of thousands of people? And it’s beautiful and emotional and reflects very clearly how difficult and soul-wrenching it is to feel betrayed by a belief system that once informed your entire identity. My knee-jerk reaction is a simple result of years of being told that it’s wrong to be angry after leaving the church, and why don’t I “leave it alone” and “quit being offended”. There are a lot of de-personalizing messages that are difficult to shake, even years later. I’m not angry anymore – I was as angry as Tyler a one point – but it still takes time to shed 29 years of hardcore training. It takes time to discover who you are without the church; who you really are. How to live without that constant safety net. How to discover that you really had the power and the strength to overcome challenges, be a moral person, and make sense of life without a strict and codependent narrative.
I’ve been watching Tyler Glenn for years, since before he came out as gay. Not in a weird stalker-ish way, but after he finally came out of the closet, I figured leaving the church wouldn’t be far behind. But he stuck with it; held on. Like the rest of us always did when we hit a bump in the road. I went to an amazing concert just after he came out and was just blown away by how much joy he was finding in embracing his true self. It was inspiring to watch him up there being exactly who he is, unafraid to express himself fully. I wouldn’t necessarily say I hoped that he would lose his faith – that’s not an easy road to wish upon anyone – but I knew how manipulative the “doctrine” and narrative around “same-sex attraction” was (this is what they call homosexuality in the church – it’s considered a weakness that can be overcome) in the Mormon church and I feared the cognitive dissonance he might be experiencing could be substantial.
Now I watch him in this video and I feel like I’m back at that concert again, seeing him bloom once again, but spreading his wings even further. The music is better, the dark aura of it is more emotional and intriguing, and his passion is clearer. I look forward to the full album with a fervor I can’t describe. I love to see people raw, open, and splayed out without fear (perhaps because I personally find this so difficult to do); his projection of this almost feels sacred.
Like Tyler, I’m a writer and artist (just a whole lot less famous lol). Many of you may not know, but I’m actually a songwriter first and a story writer second. Songwriting is all about diving into deep emotions and finding unique ways to interpret and express them so that they have meaning that only you might understand but that others can leach into if they’ve had similar experiences. It’s all about freeing yourself; emoting the parts of humanity that are sometimes disturbing. It’s a very personal, very scary experience to put that out into the world. Tyler is taking a huge risk here and I can only hope he sees how much it’s paying off for those of us who understand. We’ve been there, man. I’ve never been there as a gay member, but to a certain extent, we understand.
And no matter how offended members of the church might be (and I’m quite sure they will be), I think it’s important to note how sacred this particular form of expression is to him. He’s not being disrespectful; he’s showing how something that he once revered filleted him into pieces. If nothing else, this video is an important representation of exactly how painful and soul-crushing it is to try to survive as a gay member of the Mormon church.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s the video: