Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reunions


          I met an old friend this weekend.  This girl is my Mormon counterpart, the “what-if” version of a life spent inside Mormonism, rather than outside.  Our parents are long-time friends; we grew up in the same ward and attended the same school.  We were the minority Mormons in school, a fact that threw us together on a regular basis.  We were both blonde, straight-A students who went on to study biology in college.  Between early-morning seminary, our shared honors classes, and youth activities, she was the person that saw me the most.  And so, when my belief in Mormonism began to fall apart, she was the first person to pick up on the tension.
          I wish that I had a story of a friendship that transcended religious belief – but I don’t.  The fall-out was messy, involving a seminary schism and the involvement of her uncle the bishop.  I guess we both had our anxieties surrounding the Mormon faith - we were just on different sides of the spectrum.  I was angry with her for a long time; now I find my anger is slipping away.  And so, when I made the arrangements to visit my parents, I contacted her to see if she wanted to get together.  She said yes and we agreed to meet at a bakery downtown.
          We are now a little older, a little fatter, and more aware of life’s realities.  Neither of us have the life we dreamed of in high school.  I am OK with that; I like my life, even if it is not the life I expected.  We have both had our struggles; a traumatic accident for me, an autistic child for her.  She joked about her son, saying that he was the clone of Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.  I joked about my accident, saying that my thick skull came in handy.  I have learned that life cannot be controlled; I suspect she has learned that too.
         I have been running from my past for my entire adult life.  I have avoided my high school classmates and most of my college-friends; they are a reminder of an angry, painful period in my life.  I have kept quiet with my family, afraid to spark controversy or tackle the harder issues.  I am not good at confrontation; I do not know the art of constructive argument.  Avoidance is easy - but does not solve the issue.
        I needed the space to sort out my thoughts, to figure out who I was and what I believed, to arrive at acceptance.  Now that I have grown into my identity as a post-mormon agnostic girl, the time has come for reunions, for confronting the past, and for moving on to a future that includes all the facets of who I am. 
        Past, present, and future.  

6 comments:

  1. It sounds like you are at the point where you are ready to take control. Over the years I have shared this quote with a lot if abuse survivors when they are ready to look forward instead of just running from their past.

    "You are strong enough to go somewhere that is right, instead of just leaving someplace that is wrong."

    I am so glad you got to have a good talk with your high school friend!

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    1. That's a great quote - I might have to use it one of these days! :)

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  2. I am not good at confrontation; I do not know the art of constructive argument.

    No one is; and quite frankly I've discovered that no matter how well reasoned and inoffensive your argument is it doesnt matter. People will react as though you rape babies to death and eat them for dinner of you disagree with one of the pilliars they based their lives on

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    1. I have found that there are many things that people can disagree on, without having it become a problem, as long as everyone is respectful and caring.

      For me "Confrontation" generally means disagreeing in a non-respectful way. There are some things that are hard to keep respectful, but I don't think there are very many things that have to create conflict. Some of my best friends are people who don't have the same religious beliefs, but that do share basic desires to have deep, meaningful friendships.

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  3. I haven't seen any of my LDS friends in years. I moved about as far away as I could get from my little Southern hometown & it's small but close-knit Mormon population. Many of them have found me on Facebook now though but the only one who has really approached about my leaving the church was my best friend growing up & through college. She doesn't understand how I could just "let go of all of the things we dreamed of". But even she didn't pry or even really ask why. I think that they don't want to know & I personally believe that's because they have and/or had some of those same doubts.

    But Mormonism makes you feel safe, secure & - dare I say - better than everyone else. So instead of asking "Why have you chosen this path, Heather...?" They simply say (behind my back)- "That poor Heather, she has been lead so far astray... The devil must have gotten to her." And that's that. I'm happy for you that you were able to sit down with your friend & share things about your lives. My conversations with my friend are strained & that "Poor Heather..." look is always on her face or hidden into things she says to me online. Regardless of the fact that I am a success in other ways - I have a successful career in the medical field, own my own car & home... But I am not a wife nor a mother. Those are the two Cardinal Sins to Mormon women. So not only have I been lead astray from the church - I have also committed Female Mormon Cardinal Sin. Both of them. Unwed mothers are held in higher regard than those of us who aren't mothers at all!

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I love hearing comments and I welcome all viewpoints; however, I request that if you do choose to comment, please do so in a manner that is constructive and respectful of others.