I left because I was alone and afraid and angry. I left because I thought I had no voice. I left because I did not know what else to do to be heard.
I returned because I wanted hope. I wanted to believe. I wanted to return to my roots. I came back to be the voice I had lost.
I stay. I stay because I have hope. I stay for me. I stay because I want something more. And that more is not of the world but of me. I am better when I listen to myself, my voices, my kindness, my generosity, my real. And I only discovered this by leaving. And for that I am afraid; I like this me; I fear losing my voice as an aging Mormon woman, with a voice.
I'm afraid for others who are leaving because they are listening to others' voices rather than their own. I worry about the toll my journey has taken on my lovelies, and while I want them to be fully aware that doubting and questioning and exploring, and even removing are good, they must be careful and not reckless. It's the recklessness that hurts, on any journey. And for this I am so sorry. So sorry it took my abandonment to find myself.
This is a tough place to live. It's a tough place to be a Mormon or a not-Mormon. It's tough to be 58 years old in a region that caters to those under-40, catered to by those over 40. In a village that never ages, aging and changing and transitioning are hard, hard as the asphalt trail hiking the Y, and just as steep and harsh.
I'm grateful I'm no longer angry or lonely or tired or afraid. I'm just another person trying to be fair, to be true, to do no harm. Yet I'm still learning how to dream my dreams.