Archive for July, 2010

A couple notes

So, I’ve spent a long time thinking about stuff, lately, and I’ve decided I need to do some more planning here. I’m almost done with a post with my thoughts on God and love… nothing deeply theological and philosophical, but it’s a way for me to try and put what I’m thinking onto paper.

I’ve also set up a twitter (@betweenbw) and an email – betweenbw@gmail.com. The twitter is so I can (somewhat) anonymously tweet about things I am thinking about, and the email in case anyone wishes to contact me and ask me any questions, etc.

In the meantime, I am struggling with the rest of my story for NLQ. If I am as honest as I feel the story should be, then I out myself, but if I do that, then I have to deal with whatever backlash and falling out there is with my family. I love them dearly, and I feel like we were starting to sorta patch things up. I don’t know if I’m ready to reopen everything and have them know what I honestly think.

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Moving Out

I remember the decision to switch from one university to another. I remember the reasons I gave my parents, I remember the real reasons I had. I wanted out. I didn’t want to see them on holidays, I wanted to be on my own and away from the judgment.

Or the getting married and moving to the other side of the country. My youngest brother wouldn’t talk with me on the phone for months after I left. He didn’t want to talk with me in person when I went to Williamsburg in that first March after I got married. They didn’t understand why I left, why I would want to leave.

It really sunk in that, when I got married, my youngest brother was 4. I was 19, and I was married, and that meant I should start having children. My youngest brother was four. For all I knew, my mom didn’t want to stop having children yet. And that creeped me out. But the response from my childhood is that I was being selfish and placing secular values on something that was holy and created of God.

So, I moved out. I was selfish, I didn’t care, and I definitely wasn’t emotionally or spiritually mature, or I wouldn’t have done it. That’s what they said, repeatedly. Not always in so many words, but it was there.

But for any young woman who is going through any of this… no matter how hard it is… I promise you that moving out is actually a good thing. It really, really is. You need to get a breath of fresh air and start looking at things without your parents right behind you, breathing down your neck.

They’re still there, of course, trying to influence everything you do. I doubt nothing will ever change that. But it matters how you go about dealing with it, and trust me, there is no real healthy way of dealing with it when you’re in the same house as they are.

They will tell you about the family, about your parents, about your brothers and sisters, about the duties you have to them. Darling, more important than that, however, is the duty you have to yourself. You’re an adult, you need to take care of yourself first, before you can help take care of others. And in the end, the only people who have a duty to your brothers and sisters are your parents. You are not a mom, too. You’re just their sister. You’re just like them. You need a loving parent, too.

So I may have started talking to myself at the end. But I think it was necessary.

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We were all hung up on being the “Perfect Daughter(TM).” We all knew what was expected of us. We all knew what would happen if we didn’t live up to those expectations. We were disappointments, failures, sinners, we would go to hell. We made our parents sad, we made our parents cry. They would ask us where they went wrong in having such ungrateful children. Why couldn’t we be better, why couldn’t we be like Sally from church? Did we want to disappoint our parents? Did we want to make them look bad? Didn’t we care about the family and what other people would think?

Perfection came from appearances. As long as we looked and acted perfect around others, they thought of us as perfect. It didn’t matter what was on the inside.

At 12 I started writing a Proverbs 31 devotional, because I needed it, and felt that God wanted me to write one, so I could help other girls. It really was all about helping. I wanted to be good, to be perfect, but more than that I wanted to help other people. I wanted to write a book like the Ludys, I wanted my parents to be proud of me.

If I did all these things, I would have done so much, and they could be proud and they would love me, and I would be good. I would be Christlike, perfect, godly, lovable. That’s all that mattered.

If I could know, and I mean really know, that my parents loved me because of me… but how is that possible? I’m not perfect. I mess up. I’m not this and I’m not that…

Look at me now… a far cry from the visage of perfection I dreamed of not even 6 years ago. My hair is short, I wear jeans, I’m not a Republican, I have a job, I’m getting divorced, I like women, I listen to Lady Gaga, I drink, I swear, I go clubbing, I don’t believe in God, I wear a bikini, I have cleavage, I show skin. The list can go on and on. What good is there in that, let alone perfection?

How does it feel to be a failure? The same as it did then, at 8, at 10, at 12, at 14, at 16, at 21. There was all this that I wanted to do, but I have achieved none of it. I have no happy husband, no children, no quiet home, no plans to homeschool, no staying at home and canning and quilting…

But what I do have is worth far more. I have me. I have a job. I have friends. I have independence. I have the ability to set a goal and reach it. I can say No.

I have a dream.

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Grasping at Straws

I don’t miss going to church. I don’t miss the worrying about whether or not I’m sinning. I don’t miss the prostrations, confession, communion, etc. I don’t miss the expectations, the vigils, the long prayers, the headcoverings. I don’t miss believing in a god.

I do miss the meditation and relaxation that prayer provided. I miss the comfort of moving beads through my fingers, and letting go of my worries. I miss the incense and the candles. I miss the soft music the chants provided. I miss those sensations, and the feeling that I didn’t have to worry and obsess anymore.

Does that mean I want to go back to church? It most certainly does not. I wouldn’t trade the freedom I have right now for anything. I’m no longer being held to some standard of perfection, or worrying whether I will be good enough to please some supernatural entity.

I’ve thought about looking into meditation stuff, but I feel a little lost at where to start. And, while I don’t currently hold any specific beliefs, I do want to respect the beliefs of others, and don’t want to treat this lightly and randomly pull from what makes me feel good, without actually understanding it. Basically, I have some research cut out for me. Maybe I should go light some incense…

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