Monday, April 8, 2013

A Change in My Life

I have always had an obsessive need to be understood.  That's what I always thought, anyway.  But perhaps more accurately I've always had an obsessive need for others to think well of me, and misunderstandings which led people to think I was uncaring or somehow unworthy always hurt me to the core.  I'm learning that while I do care a great deal about people's feelings, I also need to learn to let go and allow people to think of me what they will.  It's time to learn how to find solace in knowing who I am, rather than seeking solace in the approval of others.

With all of that, I feel it's time for me to be straight-forward with my friends and acquaintances about who I am, and where I am in my life; not for the sake of asking opinions or getting any feedback, but for the sake of living my life wholly, undivided, and without pretense.  Without constantly worrying about being judged.  It's time to let go.  This is a very hard thing for me to say, but for a while now I have been less active in my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Ben and I haven't been attending Church for the last eight months or so.  The reasons are far too numerous, and some too personal to share.  We still love and treasure so much about the Church, and we love everyone we have attended Church with in our wards and stakes.  While this is something Ben and I are going through together, I will restrict the rest of my words to my experience alone, as I really only speak for myself.

This has been a very difficult process for me, with a great deal of loss and grieving, but also a great deal of hope and joy shining through.  It is hard to be away from things that I have known and loved my whole life, from things that are so familiar and comfortable to me.  My friends who have never been Mormon may not ever understand how much meaning and beauty and happiness can be found in a Mormon life, or how important that meaning will always be to me.  But it is something I carry with me.

While I do not know for sure what the future will hold, for now my life is very different than it has been.  I'm doing my best to keep my heart open, and I still believe that God loves us very much.  I still see many blessings in my life for which I am truly grateful.  I continue to seek guidance from the Lord in helping me to be the best, healthiest and happiest version of myself I can be.  As my beliefs have shifted over time, I have been acutely aware that most of those who know and love me might feel confused or saddened about this change.  Nevertheless, I feel compelled to exercise integrity and live in harmony with those beliefs.  I also feel compelled to express these things publicly because I don't want to feel as though half of my life is a secret.  I know I cannot live that way; constantly trying to hide or explain away everything I do that others disagree with in an attempt to retain their approval.  I cannot lie.  My friends deserve more than that.

For those of you who know me best, you already know I can get carried away with explanations, wanting to make every detail perfectly clear.  At this point an attempt to explain how my beliefs have shifted and why I am making the decisions I am would be a very bad idea.  I am not a woman of few words and it would take far too many of them, and far too much emotional energy for both you and I to go through it all.  I cannot explain myself to you.  All I can do is let you know that my life is changed, and I am changed.  I am sorry to those of you who feel let down or disappointed by this, or by me.  Know that I still support you in your faith, and that I'm still proud of my Mormon heritage.  I am still proud when I hear of my friends getting mission calls and getting married.  I'm still happy for your milestones and contributions in the Church and the world.  Know that I am still in the process of becoming.  And despite my many flaws, I believe it's going well and that I am where I am meant to be.