Reaching the Limit

Ah, a blank page. You know what this means? Time for more heresy.

My husband says I am only allowed to chew out one thing or person per day, so here we go. I’m meeting my limit. Hi, limit. My target of the day is something I have been meaning to rant on for a little while now, so here we go.

I am so happy for you if you are a member of a church and it works for you. There are some things I cannot abide by, though, in any doctrine it is found. I’m going to use my experiences in the Mormon church for reference because that is what I know. If anyone has any qualms with what I’m saying, feel free to chime in. This is an open forum.

One of the worst curses in Western literature I have found to date is found in the dying words of Queen Jocasta in the play Oedipus Tyrannus – “may you never know who you are.” I think about those words a lot, especially in the context of what I’m about to talk about.

I hate being told who I “should be”. If I don’t know who I am, what gives you the authority to tell me who I am? Spoiler: nobody has that authority. There was one time I bought into what people told me I was, and it had long-lasting effects. About every year or so, the kids are all wrangled up and are taught about “virtue” in Sunday School or in their classes by gender and year. I always hated that lesson because “virtue” really was a guilt trip about being sexually “pure” until marriage. It made me beat myself to a pulp for even being physically or sexually attracted to anyone, especially when it came to people of my same gender. That was a HUGE no-no, and I tormented myself with guilt over all of it.

I found out that I could be attracted to anyone, not just men, the hard way – I repressed all of the “impure” thoughts and refused to believe that there could be any option of that on the table. Ever. My church experience didn’t help, either, with “purity” shoved down my throat. Everything changed when I got into an abusive relationship. I went from being told that I was “pure” so long as I didn’t think, didn’t look, didn’t touch, that I was supposed to be a “good girl” or I would fail everyone to the “slippery slope” all of my church leaders had talked about where I slowly became “impure” by their standards. I didn’t know anything but the “only good girls allowed” culture, so when I was guilt tripped in other ways by my overgrown boy of a boyfriend, I tore myself to mental shreds. I felt that all of my worth had gone. When he left, I was rudderless. I had to go to church, and I felt so out of place. During the time I had been in that relationship, I confronted the fact that I was going to find people of any gender attractive, and there was no going back. I didn’t belong there anymore. The more I forced myself to go, the worse it got. I had been told two things about myself. On the one hand, I had been told that I must be a good girl to live up to standard, but on the other, I had been told that my attractions were fine, that it was okay to not be a good girl. I had lost my innocence and was trying to get it back. It never returned.

All the while, I started to gravitate towards my more masculine side, which my family shot down with such ruthlessness that I believed what they told me. It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me, I was just pretending, it was just a phase. Again and again, I let others tell me who to be. Nothing fit. Was I not trying hard enough? Who was I supposed to be? Why did the past call so loudly if it was just a phase?

Fast forward to this past November, when something hit me so hard I couldn’t mistake it for anything. I knew what it was – I had shed a weight. That was the first day I knew where my identity was. I tried to shake it for about the next month, but that feeling of lightness wouldn’t go away. So I kept it safe.

The next major breakthrough came when I started going off my meds a bit. Happiness replaced sadness, and I find that alarming at times. It feels like a fire started burning inside of me, and no matter how many buckets of water are dumped on it, it won’t go out. It’s kind of weird.

In short, when I started learning who I am for myself, things opened up. I hope they will continue to do so.

Until next post,

Meg

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