This week I decided to shut down my non-profit, Thrive LGBTQ+. I have been wrestling with doing that for about a year and especially since last summer. Unlike when I helped shut down a gigantic/toxic/millions of screaming voices non-profit (not an exaggeration) that I used to work for (Exodus in 2013), this came with nothing but peace. Thrive had succeeded in that it was something I needed to help find my voice but isn’t necessarily required to accomplish the goals of shutting down conversion therapy and ex-gay ministry.
Most of the folks contacting Thrive for help or opportunities to speak/advocate were not doing so because of the organization but because of my own story/journey and personal advocacy.
After three and a half years, Thrive as an organization never fully jelled anyway. There is a lot that needs to happen for a non-profit to “happen.” It requires consistent attention and commitment. Since starting Thrive, my pay the bills job has gotten more demanding and rewarding. My freelance work has become even more critical to help pay the bills. Plus, my top priority is my family that has come into being over the past four years. Thrive wasn’t getting the attention it needed to function as an organization. I felt daily guilt over that.
Some asked if we could have hired someone to take over. I decided against it because while Thrive was always its own organization, honestly, while in it, I couldn’t separate my identity from it. The realization that my heart wasn’t lining up with what I knew to be the best for the organization was the tipping point for me. I finally realized that Thrive, in a weird way, was something my fave counselors call “repetition compulsion.” It was unhealthy in the sense that I was using it to correct my past, fix things I don’t have the power to fix, and even take revenge on people who will never “repent” for their abuse toward me continued abuse toward others. It was a revenge compulsion within my own heart even though it decreasingly manifested in words or actions over the years.
I don’t need an organization to make amends and do better now that I know better. It may be more powerful and meaningful to do this without the trappings/expectations/dynamics of running a non-profit around it too.
In a weird and much more complicated way than described here, to let Thrive go was to let a lot of unhealthy heart dynamics go finally. That doesn’t mean I won’t speak out against former friends who still make a living off of smiling cultish abuse in the name of love or oppose conversion therapy; I most certainly will (and may increase that here.)
Don’t get me wrong, Thrive itself wasn’t “wrong” or in any trouble. I just came to realize it was a stepping stone and a place of familiarity to make the complete transition out of an unhealthy way of operating. I feel like all the former things that bound me are now fallen away. Thrive was a safe place to be honest and speak up authentically. Still, it was also about finally recognizing those unhealthy compulsions and assumptions about being an “executive” in a non-profit; that I don’t need to be that to be credible or take personal responsibility for the past and present.
I don’t regret creating Thrive at all. We did really good work there what will only lead to greater work to help speak the truth, live in authentic love, and save lives going forward.
Let’s have the courage to be ourselves, together,