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I was brought up in a strict Southern Baptist family, community, and private school system in Huntsville, AL. After questioning my sexuality, I decided to move away for college - where I eventually "came out" my senior year and separated myself from religion. After dating my first girlfriend, I experienced a real crisis of faith and identity, and in a way re-closeted myself to date a man for almost four years. After a long hard relationship, I was able to admit I was a lesbian, but weeks later I found out I was pregnant with my son Greyson. During this time, in order to maintain the relationship and find some peace, I looked to a lot of spiritual practices for guidance. I found a lot of peace in Buddhism, especially in the ideas of suffering and impermanence. That partner and I finally separated when Greyson was six months old, and I'm still on the path of a Buddhist practice. It has been daunting to try to find a balance between my faith, Greyson's father's atheism (and, in contrast, his family's evangelical beliefs), my parents' Southern Baptist ideals, and my role as a mother in a queer space.

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Nikole recorded her story on July 2, 2013 in St. Louis, Mo. Her full story will be online soon.