So it’s been a little bit since I actually got to write here and I apologize to anyone who might actually be reading this blog. But there are a lot of things that have kept me from things I wanted to do for the last couple of weeks. One of them involves my family. I warn anyone that this subject might be a little controversial and possibly a bit on the shocking side for some of you out there.
I grew up in a very conservative, religious household. I know being from the South, that’s a shocker right? lol My parents were strict but not overly so and they wholeheartedly believe what they taught us growing up. I truly respect that and I don’t necessarily disagree with most of it. My youngest sister is a full time volunteer in the ministry work and I know she enjoys it and her faith is what keeps her going much of the time.
However, the truth is…ever since I left my ex-husband, I’ve been living differently from the way I was taught and brought up. It’s not that I no longer believe or that I am openly rebelling. More like, I just got tired of trying so hard to be a perfect follower and feeling like a failure. I got tired of being exhausted and tired, frustrated and angry because others weren’t living up to what they were supposed to be as well and making things more difficult for me. I got tired of sacrificing my own happiness and what I wanted to do for everyone and everything else. I got tired of trying so hard to be “good” and feeling like I would never be good enough. I cried myself to sleep frustrated and disappointed so many nights that I lost count. And I admit that I got tired of hearing some variation of, “If you only keep trying and stay on the ‘narrow road’, God will reward you in the future. Yes, you’re miserable now but think of all the future blessings!”
Do I blame my parents for the way I was raised so I ended up so out of balance that I always gave to the point that I didn’t feel I deserve to be happy? No, not really. (Although my father is a huge perfectionist when it comes to himself so he is always feeling like a miserable failure too.) Do I blame the religion for not teaching everyone that God always blesses those who do try to be obedient? No because they do. Do I blame God for me being miserable and deciding that this was too hard? Absolutely not! I just find that, for now, that’s not how I want to live my life.
So what’s different? Well, technically, I’m not supposed to have divorced my husband and I’m definitely not free to date or remarry. It might shock you to learn that I’m currently dating two men who are both wonderful. (And yes they know about each other.) We’re talking about eventually, possibly, all three of us living together. I also enjoy spending time reading and watching some things that were considered too risque and would never have been allowed in my parents’ home. If my family or the leaders of the religion were to find out, I would be put out and my family and friends would never speak to me again unless I ‘cleaned up my life’.
I fully know this and was prepared to face this head-on. I don’t like living a lie and I honestly don’t like feeling like a hypocrite. So why haven’t I told everyone and faced the music yet? Because my grandfather is not going to be with us much longer. Because my grandmother on my father’s side has Alzheimer’s and also won’t be with us much longer. Because my father is going through enough mental and physical problems that I’m just waiting for his doctor to confirm that he has Alzheimer’s and he’s only 66. Because my family needs me to translate ‘medicalese’ and help be there when my grandparents on either side finally go and help take my dad to doctor’s appointments. My mother is not mentally and emotionally strong enough to handle it all herself. They lean on me and I can’t help them if they shut me out of their lives. So I go on trying to pretend that I’m still trying super hard in the church and being the same daughter they have always known. Do I feel guilty about this? Yeah, honestly I do a little. But they need me and I know I will have to eventually face up to whatever the future holds.
So am I a terrible person? I hope not. I go a long ways out of my way to make people happy, safe and comfortable. I don’t hurt anyone if I can help it. I try to not be a burden on others and I try to be someone who people can lean on. I’m striving, not to be perfect, but to be different and happy. I’m striving for balance and peace. It’s a struggle that will go on for a long time but I’m honestly happier than I’ve been in a long time.