Health and fitness have become increasingly popular and talked about over the last few years, in part because there are so many different avenues and diets that people can incorporate into their lives in order to shed a few pounds or detox their systems.
Veganism, vegetarianism, paleo diets and many other lifestyle changes can be mentioned here, all purporting to get the individual to a better state of physical well-being and attempting to undo some of the damages that we have inflicted upon our bodies. This has a special relation to everyone, but this writer will be scrutinizing these implications towards the LGBTQ community.
In an attempt to gain an understanding of a holistic lifestyle and what health in general should look like, The Carolinian talked with Divinity Studies Master’s Graduate, Terrinae Wilson, for a unique perspective regarding not only physical health, but spiritual and mental health as well.
Q 1: The first question that came to mind was, “How would you define self love and what importance does it hold to the LGBT community specifically?”
“To me, self love is the value you place upon your personhood physically, spiritually and emotionally. This means that the more you value your entire being, then the less likely you are to allow others mistreat you or make you feel less than. I believe that the LGBT, and I’ll add Q community, makes this claim to embody self love. We see this in the old school “coming out” phrase, ‘I’m here I’m queer get use to it!’ In saying this, we are meaning that we have accepted our truest selves, and find no shame in that. However, I do not think that many of us truly believe it. In my opinion, I feel as though we have accepted the lie of our love, sexuality and gender-nonconformity as sin. We allow heteronormativity and misinformed religion to say, ‘hate the sin, not the sinner,’ ‘no sin is greater than another’ and their actions of don’t ask don’t tell. Forever hiding our love or sexual expression out of shame. We let them treat our being (who we are and how we are created), as less than valued and purposeful in the view of the creator. When [we], as a whole community, begin to truly and honestly know without question, that we are intended to live this life to find whomever attractive or love whomever and however we want, we will then embody ultimate self love, real self affirmation and begin holistic healing,” said Wilson.
Q 2: What would you recommend as the most important and central part of a holistic lifestyle?
“Learning to center one’s self, quiet the mind and open one’s self in order to hear one’s purpose. I believe this is central, because without purpose we are often more naive and willing to be strayed in the name of ‘love.’ See, we all want love in this life (as well as the last and the many to follow). We want love so much that without purpose, along with self love, we will live our entire lives unfulfilled, because we have spent it trying to live up to other people’s vision for us. Instead of the purpose with which we were created. All of this is to say, no one part can be separated on an holistic journey. It will take mind, body and spirit working in unison in order to reveal one’s purpose. When separate, we may pursue things that make us happy, but we will always have a feeling of unfulfillment,” said Wilson.
Q 3: “What would the lgbt community stand to gain by putting more emphasis on spiritual well being?”
“The funny thing about the LGBTQ community is that we either find those who love religion or hate religion and everything about it. We millennials are interesting for ‘believers’, because most of us live by the, ‘I’m spiritual, not religious’ notion. However, as a person whom once lived by that motto, I realize that we often use that as a cop out. Queer people, however, have a pretty legitimized reason for feeling this way, after centuries of being persecuted and ostracized by family and religious groups in the name of God. It took me attending seminary, to come to grips with both my spirituality and queer identity. In both journeys, I have embraced the roll as a seeker. I seek knowledge of self, creation and the Creator(s). I seek knowledge of love and the Spirit, because in my queerness, I am most attracted to a spirit first. It is through seeking, in order for my soul to feel well, that I began to understand the interconnectedness of it all. Knowing deep in my core, that all of me was created out of love, was a radical and extremely spiritual awakening. It strengthened me in order to combat the hatred that is spewed to me personally as well as my community. Therefore, I implore everyone and particularly those [of] us born beyond the spectrum and outside of the margins, to seek what speaks to your soul. For it is through seeking, that we shall individually and communally become truly free. Free to live, free to embody and free to love. Unconditionally,” said Wilson.