“Our definition of perfect was written when you were born.”
it was love. i know you know that.
This month marks the fourth year since my sisters and I left churchianity. It’s been four whole years, and I think I thought I was over it. But maybe I’m not. I think there are parts of me that still carry resentment, about the way we were treated. The way we were outsiders for much of our time there. I won’t deny that God in his goodness certainly worked it out for our good, because we made some good friends. Although I remember my mother would tell us, ‘hey guys, I think you should leave,’ and we probably should have listened. But we stuck it out. We were like let’s give this another chance. I say ‘we’ even though we didn’t all agree at the time, but when we left, we left together, and we were in agreement that it was time.
It was a painful experience. I was there for eight years, my older sister more, my younger sisters less. It was a lesson in acceptance, and self-worth. A battle to be accepted by your peers, but even after everything, they still don’t accept you. I’ve come to realise now, that as a person, I am not for everyone. And I am fine with that. But learning it was a traumatic experience, and it has made me so leery of some people in the church. I remember going to this girl’s Facebook page, only to find that she had unfriended me, and my sisters. She was one of the elder’s kids, so from that we knew that the story had probably made its rounds in the leadership, and she was my sister’s classmate. She was more of an acquaintance to me, but I remember thinking, how come you get to unfriend me? As if you were the one suffering at the hand of cliquishness and churchianity? Why do you get to unfriend me, as if I am in the wrong? It made no sense to me. Unfriending people is something very serious in my world, I don’t take it lightly. I still haven’t unfriended these guys to be honest. And I don’t know why. Maybe healing starts with that. Maybe healing and moving on starts with actually just removing them completely from my life. Part of me says that, but part of me is also like, but we were in each others’ lives for a long time. We grew up together. You can’t just throw that away.
Maybe I’m just sentimental. Because it turns out, that you can.
This is the first post in a series. We’ll see how it goes.
I am super brave. I moved halfway across the world to study in a country where English isn’t the main country spoken. I work and study. And i am responsible.
But the last year has taught me that there have been some deep-seated issues surrounding relationships and my relationships with boys in particular. I met someone. And i didn’t know what to do about it. He also would end up leaving to go back to the US at some point which i didn’t know at the time. I realised that my encounters with boys in the past had taught me to be afraid of reactions. Or non-reactions. They’d taught me to blame myself because maybe I’d been too much. Maybe I’m a lot to deal with. Too outspoken, too opinionated, a firecracker, a firestarter. Too much woman. I’d internalised these things and I swore I wouldn’t be that this time.
But that was acting out of fear. Which is something I never want to do. So I had to work through those issues. Why do i feel this way? Who told me i was too much?
I would write a letter to this person and second-guess myself because, what if i was being too much?
My sister said something she’d picked up from watching an Oprah life class, and she shared it with me. It was one of the most freeing things I’d heard in a long time and it moved me to act.
“What would your bravest self do? What would your strongest self do?”
My bravest self acts without fear. And always expects good. My bravest and strongest self is confident in who she is.
I think that sometimes we allow the past to dictate our present and then our future. We think that because it was that way in the past, it will be that way in the future. As though out default setting is that fearful behaviour. As if we are condemned to repeat our mistakes over and over again. As someone who thinks a lot, I tend to replay moments and condemn myself for them. But I’m learning. Maybe we were immature back then, fine, but let’s forgive ourselves and let it go. Don’t letthe past impede on the hope and good you can expect from the future. Don’t let your past self keep you from being your best self today.
Today, I am being intentional about being my bravest self.
I hope you are too.
I met someone who made me believe that a different narrative was possible. That a truly incredible love story is possible. That I’m not condemned to the past and my mistakes or questionable actions and decisions. We didn’t get to talk much or even hang out even though i asked him out for coffee- something i have never done with someone I’m not friends with- but he means something to me. I’m grateful for the experience, although I’m caught in my feelings. I thought of him in the future tense. I saw him in my life. I considered what it would be like for him to meet my family, my brother, my sisters. My mother. My father. Would he want to learn my mother tongue? Would he move back with me?
Funnily enough I don’t even know him well. And he never gave me any clear indication that he was interested in me. But I’m an empath. I feel deeply. Keenly. And with him I felt hope. And I believed again.
Even if it comes to nothing,
I know i won’t forget him quickly.
The last year has been interesting. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and who I am as a person. I wrote a bunch of letters, grew, became braver but still I wrestle with this concept of taking too much space. Of being too much. This concept of likability.
I found myself in a situation where I had the choice to bring all of my expansive self to the forefront and I didn’t. Because part of me feels/felt like this expansive self, the universe I carry is what was not wanted or chosen in the past by young boys who couldn’t handle all this greatness. I wasn’t made for everyone. I realise that now. But I also find myself lowering the volume on myself, on my voice, on my personality because maybe it is too loud for some. And this was my predicament.
Taking up space. I thought that if I tone down I might be better received. And in toning down I muted myself to greys and whites so that the brilliance of myself in full technicolour was not realised. The hues of my wit, the shades of my humour, the extensive palate of my vocabulary.
Because someone in the past couldn’t handle the brilliance and maybe that has stuck with me more than I care to realise.
I didn’t want to be too much this time around. So instead I became less.