I didn’t know I was different.
I grew up looking, behaving, feeling like everyone else. Well, yes, at some point I figured out that all of us in the “tribe” were different—we didn’t drink or dance or go to the movies. We didn’t wear make-up or pierce our ears or dye our hair.
But I fit in with the tribe. I went with them to church on Sundays and Wednesdays and I played with my church friends after school. I attended weddings and dreamed of the day I would be an 18-year-old bride walking down the aisle to my devout Christian husband. I knew I would have a large brood of children and they would play with their numerous cousins and life would be lived happily ever after.
I legitimately thought I was the same as the rest of them.
I can’t pinpoint when I started to discover a different truth about myself that didn’t match the one I was raised believing. The truth is, I don’t want to live my life as a member of the church in which I was raised.
Maybe it started when I realized that not everyone from the tribe believed the exact same way, or upheld themselves to the same standards of conduct that I thought were fundamental to our faith. Maybe it was when I found out that even my other church friends weren’t perfect Christians. Maybe it began in the middle of a tough conversation with my long-term boyfriend in my early 20s.
Maybe it was earlier on, when a close non-church friend of mine in high school started dating a guy from my church. She and I had a discussion about how she just couldn’t get over the fact that we all believed she was going to Hell just because she didn’t attend our church. Was that a simplified version of the truth we were taught? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on who you ask. Whatever my opinion at the time, I was forced to confront it head-on, in a very personal way. It was not an easy conversation, and maybe that’s when my mindset started to shift.
Whenever it started, the process continued slowly for many years.
I’m the same as everyone else.
Am I different? No!
Am I different? I don’t think so. I still believe the main message of the church.
Am I different? I hope not. I still want to be part of the tribe.
Am I different? I’m afraid so, but I can hide it.
Am I different? Probably. I’ll try to talk about it with my friends.
Am I different? Yeah. I hope I am still loved and accepted by those I care about.
Am I different? Yes, and now that I know that for certain, I can thrive and live a fulfilling life on my terms.
Have you ever gone through a transformation from discovering, to owning and living a new truth about yourself?
Then you know it’s a scary, hard process. If you tell others, you may jeopardize your relationship with them. If you don’t, you live a lie, which jeopardizes your relationship with yourself.
“To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying ‘Amen’ to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson
My own evolution has been difficult but incredibly rewarding.* It’s liberating when you find out that people love you no matter what. It’s monumentous when you start living and breathing the real you.
We all have hard truths that we have to confront. You’re not alone in that.
What’s your real story?
Have you told it? Are you living it?
If not, what’s holding you back?
I want to help you…
…Be Unique. Be Authenic. Be Yourself.
*More to come in future blog entries. Keep reading and commenting so I know you want to hear more.
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