This is a tough one I've been struggling with for a while now... people keep asking me about it, so I figured MIGHT AS WELL WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT IT.... yeah, cuz that's effective. hahaha. Oh well. Here I am. So STOP ASKING DAMNIT.
Keep this in mind as you read the rest of the post: I read a story the other day about a bird trap in India, a platform that turns upside down when a bird lands on it. The upside-down bird believes she'll die if she lets go of the platform, so she clings to it until the hunter comes and carries her away. To escape, all she needs to do is let go. Then she'll fly.
Okay... let's get to it... but first, here's a little back story... This is going to be all over the place, but it will come together, I promise. At least, I hope so. So bare with me.
Over two years ago, J and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Waaahoooo. I can still hear the southern twang and smell the BBQ. mmm. Anyway... when we moved there, J started working and thought it was cool if I stayed home for a couple months. I was down for that. I had just graduated college and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Well, I decided I'd take those couple months and turn them into life-changing memories. Umm... yeah.... I succeeded. But not quite in the way I intended.
In July 2009, I wrote my memoir, "My Five Fathers." Sounds all happy and jolly, right!? OMG. SO WRONG. By writing these stories, I had to relive the darkest, saddest days of my childhood. Days filled with drugs, alcohol, abuse, depression, suicide, prison, neglect, and fear. Days of complete darkness... By September 2009, when every "t" had been crossed and every "i" had been dotted, I was completely and utterly exhausted.... but so relieved. By writing and reliving those memories, I was finally able to come face to face with pain I had buried deep within myself for years. It strengthened me. Gave me wings. And I am so thankful to J for encouraging me to take that time, because it changed my life.
That being said... I have more craziness to deal with... this time, it's my own doing. I can't point my finger and say "Why did you do this to me!?" Nope. Not this time. I did this to me. I made these decisions. I need to take ownership for them. Well, here it goes... let the public stoning begin...
I've only had one relationship that's lasted longer than J and I (as if 8 years isn't long enough... wowsss). This relationship started when I was about 12 and grew really intense around the time I was 16, the same time J and I started dating. The relationship progressed and by the time I was 20, I made every single decision in relation to this relationship. It wasn't until about January of 2011 that I started to doubt where this courtship was going. And just as the foundation cracked, so did my faith.
Part of my breakup with J has included my total and utter rebellion. I haven't just tested the waters... I have swam in the friggin Pacific (maybe even the Atlantic too... but that's TBD). Well, part of this rebellion has been rejecting every thing that reminds me of J. I'm not kidding. Every single thing that J liked, I decided I didn't like. Politics for example. J is a DIE HARD conservative. So what am I? Oh, don't even act like you don't know... pretty friggin liberal. And since we're on the topic, let's stop being legalistic and ignorant and legalize gay marriage, because gay people deserve the right to be as miserable in marriage as straight people. Just sayin'. ANYWAY.... another major topic has been... yup, you guessed it, religion. GASP. I know, I'm not supposed to talk about this. And trust me, this will be the only time I do.... but I had to get it off my chest.
My religion defined me. I clung to it like a child clings to her father's leg when he tries to drop her off at daycare. I hung on tight, refusing to let go because I was afraid. Some days it seemed easier to hold on... easier than admitting that the world is bad, people are evil, and life is unfair. I wore my rose-colored glasses and smiled, because as a Christian, that's what I was told to do. I became a snob. "Be in the world, but not of it." Oh, I LIVED that verse. TRUST. I started cutting people off that "weren't like me". I'd blame it on society and how corrupted people were, not realizing that I too was screwed up. Then one day.... I woke up.
So, I broke up with God. Breaking up with him meant losing everything I had built my life on up to that point. My marriage, career, friends...It was devastating. So devastating, in fact, that I moved back to Maine. Yeah... might as well make myself MORE depressed... haha jk, friends! I know, this isn't funny. But I don't do well with this awkwardness... so turtlish. Regardless, I had to decide what I wanted for myself. Idk why I'm writing in the past tense... I NEED to decide what I'm going to do. This is a major breakup. TWO major breakups occurring simultaneously. If I don't go up in flames, I'll be surprised. No pun intended.
Almost daily I am asked "What can I do to pray for you" or "Have you found a church in Belfast?" I appreciate the concern, I really do, but I need to figure this out on my own. For 12 years I've just listened to what others have told me. My faith was built on false pretenses. Now, I need to discover the truth for myself. Don't get me wrong, I believe in God as a creator... it's the idea of religion I struggle with, but even THAT I want to decide on my own.
I've lost a lot of friends. Ppl don't know what to say or how to react, so they don't or they turn their backs. Even worse is when I get bombarded with messages (FB messages, mind you... c'mon, for real?) about how terrible of a person I am for making this decision. Sounds absurd, right? Well, I've gotten quite a few. One common thing among them all? They're all preachin the gospel. Jesus says to love your sisters, not shove your ignorant, unfounded rants down their throats during their time of need. Don't tell me how I'm supposed to feel, don't tell me how your religion thinks my marriage/divorce is supposed to be, keep your opinions to yourself. I don't force MY faith down your throat, do I? "But Sonja, you don't have faith, remember? What a lonely, desperate life you must lead." Bullshit. I feel more free now that I've decided to spread my wings than when my wings were clipped of all their beauty. PLEASE don't get my wrong.... I value faith. I think faith is required in most things... especially relationships. What I struggle with is those that are force feeding me scripture in hopes that I'll turn from my wicked ways. Sorry, but I've been told that I am supposed to stay in a marriage regardless of how unhappy I am.... all because of my religion. If that's the truth, that's not the religion for me. Especially a religion built on the foundation of LOVE. Regardless... this is something I need to find out for myself. I may end up back where I started, but at least I made the journey and learned truth through the trials.
One last thing, then I'll leave you poor people alone... a poem that rings true to me in this moment. Enjoy :)
Love After Love
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
Next post won't be so heavy. I promise. But thanks for sticking with me! I'm quite the ranter, aren't I? Ah well. Time for bed. I have a test tomorrow! Ahhhhh!!!