I Am Being Weaved: Matt Vickers

I am Gay and I am Christian.

I am done hiding. My past has laid a lot of burdens on me and I couldn’t be happy and I couldn’t be myself.  For so long, I had no idea who I was, I was afraid to be who I was and was afraid what people would think of me. I battled with identity issues for a long time and was afraid to confront them.

So here I am and here is my story. I graduated from North Park Spring 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and a Certificate in Nonprofit. Like I said, my past has laid a lot of burdens on me. For 20 years, I kept a lot of pain and suffering to myself. I did not want it to contain me any longer so I told a few of my friends and began questioning my sexuality and began drinking heavily to ignore my insecurities. As I continued to drink heavily and created a new addiction to porn I did what I knew best and that is to run. I continued to run from my insecurities and ignored all the emotions and issues that were bottled up. I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions and never had friends that cared about my personal life. As I continued to run, I pushed away friends and did not allow anyone in.

At this time, I wasn’t part of a community until I transferred to North Park. The community at North Park was loving and supportive but I was too afraid to expose myself.  I just continued to drown my emotions and pain with alcohol and continued my porn addiction. I did what I knew best, and that was to not allow people in my life and continue to drink. As I continued these habits, in the fall Semester Junior Year I began to slowly collapse and slipped into depression and took off the semester. As I began counseling, I was afraid of the outcome so I did what I knew best and that was to run, yet again. It wasn’t until I met Amy (North Park Student), that I really trusted that there was a person in this world who would love me for whoever I was and whatever I went through.  She was the very first person I allowed into my personal life and she was my very best friend from that point on.  I relied on her prior to graduating where things began to collapse quickly and I slipped into a deep dark depression that changed my life dramatically.

At this time, I left my pride behind me and began counseling again. At that moment of joining counseling I knew I had issues that would resurface especially my sexual identity. This was frightening because I had never allowed myself to be true to my sexuality or let it be exposed because I thought my family would deny me. When the sexual identity issues started to resurface I began to think I was ill for having same sex attraction. At the same time, I thought I would overcome the same sex attraction through counseling and the support of family and friends. As I continued to attend counseling the depression worsened and I began to have severe anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and no hope. Here is a blog from the midst of depression (October 27, 2011):

“Through this process, I have felt alone and afraid. More and more, I want to end my life. I feel that I have no support with friends and family; no one seems to understand. I repeat and repeat my feelings of sadness, suicide but nothing seems to trigger friends and family. Simply, I just need support. The hard part is not knowing what support I need. You can continue to try an help but it won’t be enough. It’s a continuous feeling of not having enough support and love. This continues to be a battle.

When I continue to reach out to family and friends; nothing seems to be done. When will family and friends support me, when I try and commit suicide? This is not what I want to do but when will they get it. I don’t want friends and family only there when something tragic happens, i need the support now.”

This is just a small glimpse of the depression I encountered.

Looking back, I think, how did I get through this? When I really think about it, I realize that it was a God thing. Each day Christ was carrying me through the depression. I say this because in retrospect I know there was absolutely no way I could have carried myself through the depression. (James 1:2-8)

When I really began questioning my sexuality and coming to terms with it I began to pray daily. I researched about homosexuality and watched documentaries. I knew if I was gay, I needed to know where it came from–in the terms of history and understand what the bible says about it. As I began to slowly come to terms with my sexuality I continued to pray and allow God to be part of this.

I remember the day; I finally admitted it to myself. I was sitting in my parent’s basement and admitted to myself that I am gay. At that moment, I knew for a fact, that Christ had planned that for me and I was born that way. I was proud and stood strong in my sexuality because Christ created me this way and so, I came out to my friends. All my fears and thoughts about being abandoned, abused and not loved by friends were torn apart. I remember my friend Becca saying, “Matt, I missed you and I love you,” and I knew that I had friends that were supportive and would love me no matter what. I felt comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my entire life.

Through the coming out process, my North Park Community was the biggest support system through the coming out process to my family and without them I would have never made it. My coming out process went something like this:

On November 9th: My parents asked me to stay home and wait for a delivery but fortunately the delivery ended up coming in the evening. I prayed all day and talked to my (North Park) friends and they prayed for me over the phone and told their friends to pray too. I was loved and blessed. On this day, I wrote my coming out letter and came out to my parents. The rest is my parent’s story to tell.

All I know is each coming out story is different and some people get denied by their family or their family is completely supportive. Whatever the story is, we are all there for each other and you have to find your family whether that is friends or a Church that supports you. Fortunately, I have both. My friends and Church are my family right now and I know that this is a process for my family and it may take a few years, or even 10 years.

My quote during all this: “My puzzle may be complicated but he still knows where the pieces belong.”

  • Robert Bradford

    Matt, I’m glad you have come to the realization that Christ created you to be the wonderful person that you are, and that you are moving forward in your life. I understand the feelings of anxiety and depression all too well. I didn’t come out until I was 33, even though I knew at the age of 7 that I was gay. But finally standing tall and subsequently sharing my story has helped to be a stronger and better person, and I know it will be the same for you.
    You are loved!
    Rob Bradford, North Park Class of ’89.

  • Mandy (Kline) Griffin

    Hey Matt- I’m so happy for you. When I knew you at north park you were such a sweet guy, fun, and a great volleyball player! I had a lot of fun getting to know you, but it always seemed like something was missing, or not quite right. Now it all makes sense! I am so glad that you can finally confidently be who you were meant to be and don’t have to pretend to be someone else. I haven’t seen you since college, but from following you on Facebook it seems like you are much happier and although I’m sure parts of this new life are still hard, you are a new man! I am also so happy to hear that you have such supportive friends and a good church. Congrats on your new life and thanks for sharing such tough stuff! I hope to run into you sometime 🙂

    • Matt

      Hey Mandy- It was great hanging out with you and talking to you at North Park. I do miss ya! Ya, things were definitely difficult around the time i talked to you during volleyball but I was definitely good at hiding it 😉 or atleast i though i was. Thanks a ton for the support and for this sweet message. It is incredibly appreciated! I hope to run into you sometime too : )

  • Lynda Hampton

    Where ever you run, you find yourself there. I’m glad that you’ve found your real self waiting for you there. Blessings.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Matt. I found in my own life that I could not achieve true happiness, mental health and peace until I came out and accepted myself for the person God made me to be. My life has only gotten better since that time, nearly 30 years ago. God has blessed me and given me a loving wife and beautiful children, and so much more happiness than I could ever have hoped for. Bless you. I pray and hope for your continued growth and health and happiness as you discover more and more about the wonderful person God plans for you to be, and the wonderful life ahead of you.