This past week I wrote about taking my life back rather than working on making someone else's dreams come true. As a woman, a mother, a Mormon, that's a tough changing of the guard. I've been taught, all my life, that not only am I responsible for my own life, but for the lives of those around me - husband/s, children, friends, church congregation. And that by losing oneself in service, I can find myself.
But - I've never really been taught how to take care of myself. And so when I've attempted to care for myself, take some of me back for me, it has come across, to myself and others, as defiant, angry, fearful, out of spite rather than love. And I have hurt.
Years ago I decided to step away from Mormonism. It was out of anger, defiance, "I'll show you who's in charge," mindset. It wasn't about self-love, more about preserving what self I had left, at any cost. didn't know any other way. And that cost was high - because every morning when I awoke and put on my morning attire, I was also seeing what I wasn't putting on, and that became the definer - the "not," rather than that "have," the choice I was making. I constantly reminded myself of the hole rather than my wholeness.
This wasn't a knee-jerk decision, rather one a long-time in the making. I spent the two years with that hole right in my face, and so it was never so far away that I couldn't examine it. Which is what I wanted - but out of love.
The bad news is I inflicted that anger and defiance onto my family - Clark, Tyler, Jenna. It was important for me that they were able to see my questioning, see my searching, see my individualism - and to see this was safe in our home. But I didn't feel safe, I only shared the illusion of safety with them. And I wonder, even today, if their religious, spiritual, political, familial, beliefs have been affected by my "crisis of faith."
Sadly, I made this leap, this transition, this stepping away, alone. Well, only with the support of other like-minded folks, particularly women who were as made and angry about Mormonism and patriarchy as I was. Today, looking back, I yearned for an open-mind rather than a judging one. Where was someone who could walk beside me, on the other side of me? I had a mass of folks on the "betrayed" side, but no one telling me that my transition was safe, that I was safe, that I could have hope and be angry at the same time.
But no one asked me what I was feeling, how I was journeying, and I shared with no one within the faith.