Last April/May is when my life hit rock bottom: my ex and I permanently broke things off, and I was left facing not only an emotional mess, but a religious crisis of unprecedented proportions. Because yearly anniversaries tend to resonate with me, recently I’ve been pondering my life and revisiting where I was a year ago.
I think the most important thing I’ve gained from everything that has happened is a stronger sense of who I am and an easier time being that person unapologetically. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be liked, trying to live up to certain kinds of ideals, and trying to be the person others wanted me to be. I’m still concerned about being responsive to others, and I still have healthy doses of self-consciousness and anxiety. But I’m so much more comfortable in my own skin. And I’m working on no longer taking responsibility for problems that I haven’t caused and are not mine to solve.
I’ve been reminded that I’m as painfully imperfect as ever, and it’s taking me longer to sort out all my issues with God and religion than I expected. But my students make me laugh. And I have the most incredible family ever. And on most days, I think I’m a pretty decent person.
What I have learned:
*Taking ownership of your mistakes and dysfunctionality is difficult but ultimately freeing.
*Interactions with God often do not work out like stories from the Ensign or conference talks. They are messy and don’t make sense. However, God bestows grace and healing, which makes the messiness a little more endurable.
*I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be in a relationship with someone who understands how to make me happy.
*Mormonism has some pretty incredible doctrines.
Things I’m still trying to work through:
*I’m still afraid to embrace life sometimes. Fear of pain and fear of disappointment are difficult fears to conquer.
*Dating is hard, and something tells me that it’s never going to get easy.
*Balance. It’s too easy to get caught up in work and forget the rest of my life.
So, that’s where I’m at. Nothing astonishing or major–just trying to live life as best as I can. I’ll end with one of my absolute favorite poems, “The Wild Iris” by Louise Gluck, because it sums up the past year of my life better than I can:
At the end of my suffering there was a door. Hear me out: that which you call death I remember. Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting. Then nothing. The weak sun flickered over the dry surface. It is terrible to survive as consciousness buried in the dark earth. Then it was over: that which you fear, being a soul and unable to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth bending a little. And what I took to be birds darting in low shrubs. You who do not remember passage from the other world I tell you I could speak again: whatever returns from oblivion returns to find a voice: from the center of my life came a great fountain, deep blue shadows on azure seawater.
- 16 May 2010