Love and faith. They are two things that I talk about a lot. They pretty much define my existence; in fact, I have them tattooed across my back: God and Love. Two words so intricately intertwined that some would say they are the same. Divinity and connection, spirituality and sex'each similarly seeming to be the evocation of a constant human yearning to find something greater than ourselves, to find some piece of perfection in the fragmented world around us. You can find the same in each.
The first time I found it was in a kiss. I was 23 years old, beautiful with vibrant green eyes, and addicted with track marks up and down my arms. I was newly positive and well into designing my demise. I was witty and charming, cultured and well-spoken, and had been fucked by more men than I could count. He was supposed to be just another one'but this was different.
He was beautiful. Not beautiful the way they tell us we should be'with name-brand jeans and 5% body fat. Not beautiful the way they show us in the magazines or teach little girls to be in school'with their air-brushed skin and their #FF0000-colored (that's blogger digitalspeak for deep red) lips. But beautiful in the way that takes your breath when you realize that they see you'the you, you want to be. He was beautiful the way we should be, without judgment or criticism, seeing perfection in every flaw. He loved me. And it felt exactly like they say: It was all butterflies and rainbows, all roses and pale blue boxes. I finally knew what the songs were about and why movies made you cry. I loved him. It changed me, strengthened me, and made me finally use a condom every time. It made my addictions fall away and my darker cravings cease (although I did gain a few pounds).
Seven years have passed, and loves have come and gone. And with love being such a fickle thing, I've learned to temper it with faith. I needed something for the times when I was left to fend alone. I returned to church, returned to prayer, and began to praise again. I read my Bible with fresh new eyes and found a God I never knew'one of whom preachers never preach and whom conservatives deny, one who healed the sick and broken and loved the ones no one loved. And since I was diseased and broken, I figured he would love me too.
I had called to him on my hospital bed when I thought I would die. I prayed that he would save me and offer blessings of something good. He sent to me my mother; we hadn't spoken in two years. We let go of the anger as she wiped away my tears. She is terrified of AIDS and still doesn't get the gay thing. But we both believe in God. And it's enough to bridge the gap. I found perfection in a prayer. But it would be naive of me to think that I prayed alone that day and that the many who came before me hadn't also hoped for grace. These are the blessings of prayers made over 20 years ago: to have a host of pills to save us, mothers who finally understand, boyfriends who do not judge us, and the knowledge that God is love.
Saucier is a writer, blogger, and performance artist based in Los Angeles.