If you follow this blog at all, you know that the last couple of years have been a roller coaster for me. You know that my husband was arrested, that I decided to leave him, to stay with him, and finally to divorce him. You know that I stood up for gay parents, mourned the lack of support from my church, and tried to wrap my head around a church that filled my soul and broke my heart each time I attended. You know that I bought a house, started a new business, started a new website, and eventually disappeared from everything for almost a year.
Even many of my friends don’t know the details of the past year – except what they’ve pieced together from my social media accounts. Hermit mode is real, and the longer I stay there, the harder it is to reemerge. Thank you to all of my family and friends who have been so understanding of this ridiculously annoying (to you and to me) trait.
It’s been a long year, one of conflicting emotions and personal growth. I have felt more anxiety and depression than ever, but I have also found happiness and love truer than I ever thought I would. Somehow, they haven’t cancelled each other out.
I’ve been wondering a lot lately where my anxiety comes from.
I guess it’s hard being happy when the world expects you to be in mourning. It’s hard to leave a church that holds some of your dearest friends, knowing that any happiness or success you find outside of their community will never be fully celebrated because they believe it could be more. It’s hard to start a new relationship when the whole world is watching, worried that you’ll be dashed against the rocks again, anxious to trust you into another person’s hands.
But most of all, it’s just hard to figure out who you are.
My life started disassembling around me and I wondered what would be left once everything else was stripped away. First, who was I if I wasn’t his wife? And then, who was I if I wasn’t Mormon?
I shrank at my own vulnerability. All the labels I’d allowed to flesh out my identity were gone, and all that remained was me. At a time when I needed love and acceptance more than ever, I withdrew – afraid that I would find rejection instead.
Am I good enough?
Is love conditional?
What will people think?
And I’m still scared of those things. Anxiety and fear are my biggest battles right now. There are days when I spend all my energy just treading water in wave after wave of emotions – confused because I don’t know where they come from or how to stop them.
I refuse to give into those fears without a fight. When life falls apart, you can treat it as a tragedy or an opportunity. Restarting means you can be more efficient in your growth. You rebuild walls in different places to make room for the additions you know are coming. You use stronger materials to prepare for the storms ahead. You find new things that need to be added – old things that are no longer good for you.
I wish I could tell you I have things figured out, but the only thing I’ve figured out is that life is more complicated than I want it to be. The world’s gone crazy, and it’s taken me with it.
I wanted to wait until I was through this journey to include you. I don’t like showing the world the unkempt, scattered, broken pieces of myself, but I can’t truly heal until I come to terms with the parts of myself that are ugly and torn. And maybe, just maybe, if I let you see the ugly, I’ll be able to find the beauty. Better yet, maybe I’ll be able to help you see the beauty in your own brokenness. Because as cliche as it sounds, I really do believe that we’re all in this together.
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