Or thoughts on “thought in ‘the church.'”
You’ll read this again if you get through this post. I want it here at the beginning too, because it sets the stage for the madness that follows. 😆
This post is something new for me. I had thoughts as I laid down and instead of just brushing them off and trying to fall asleep like I would have in the past, I grabbed my phone and let them all come out. Thank you talk-to-text.
I dumped this brain dump into Grammarly. It wasn’t a big fan. After editing, Grammarly still has lots of angry color. The post below is deliberate. It’s my attempt to convey the emotion behind the words that inspired me to grab my phone and speak.
If you make it to the end, know that I genuinely appreciate you giving me a piece of your time. It is a precious thing and it means the world that you shared a little with me.
Thoughts on evangelicalism I was exposed to as a child. And where I’m at today.
I was taught growing up that you had to sacrifice yourself. You had to be a servant. You had to put others first. You had to – oh, I don’t know how to say this – you had had to be meek. You had to be selfless. You couldn’t think of yourself. You couldn’t put yourself first.
You couldn’t be selfish.
I lived that way from the time I was in third grade (probably), or maybe a little later, to when I came out last October. I think that’s when it really started to be ingrained in me, third grade, and it was miserable.
I was miserable. (Added later: Fucking miserable.)
I never truly took care of myself. I wasn’t allowed to cry real tears. I wasn’t allowed to show struggle, and I certainly wasn’t told it was okay to ask for help.
(Added for clarity: I struggled. I cried. I didn’t ask for help) Don’t get me wrong I totally was allowed, but it was told to me by elders in “the church” – I didn’t have to ask for help. I just had a struggle through it, and that was all part of the existence, and that was the way things were set up. I was going to be better off when I died because I put others first. I had to put a “brave face on” for my family to show them I was strong and it was all going to be okay.
All that did was leave me in misery. I was emotionally distant. I was a terrible husband – of course, as a woman I couldn’t be a husband but that’s a different story and another blog post. I wasn’t a very good parent. I was a horrible child, and not a very good sibling.
I didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t prioritize my mental health and my physical health and my emotional health.
I was miserable until I was 39 – almost 40. And then I had an awakening. (Added later: I feel, to my soul, that God breathed an awakening in me.) I don’t really know what to call it, but I knew that I had to get help. I also knew that if I got help, it would drastically change my life.
(Added later: I did it anyway. The other choice wasn’t an option)
I did, of course. I prioritized myself knowing that it was going to probably end my marriage and change EVERYTHING for me. I did it because I knew that I had to – for myself.
My life since coming out as transgender, being open about it, living authentically with no fear (Added later: But really there’s fear, just a different kind, and another blog post, I’m sure), really seeking to know myself and putting myself first; my life has been incredible! (Added later: I don’t use that exclamation point lightly – and it’s only be 11 months.)
I have found happiness, body positivity, and a sense of peace and contentment that I honestly didn’t know was possible. My brain is happy and clear. My creativity has exploded. I finish things. I hang out with my parents. I talk to my brothers. I love waking up in the morning (after a couple of snoozes most days), getting out of bed, and going to work. I love talking to my kids and playing games with them when I get a chance. I love driving to see them – I love driving my car. I have new friends who are sweet, kind, positive, driven, and fun. (Added later and this is important: I. HAVE. FRIENDS.) I love to talk to people and to myself. Ha!
I am living this life. I never thought this kind of happiness was possible. Strangely, here I am lying in bed recording this in an Apple note. I have never done this before. I would’ve just gone to bed and tried to remember it in the morning. I would have failed at remembering the details and that would’ve been crap.
I’m not an expert. (Added later for clarity: I didn’t go to seminary. I don’t have a degree in religious studies.) I feel like there are things I was taught that are so utterly wrong.
We have to take care of ourselves first.
We have to be incredibly selfish and put ourselves first. If we don’t, how can we possibly be healthy, loving, and emotional? How can we be there for somebody if we’re never there for ourselves?
I could be totally wrong here, (Added later: God gave me a chance to start fresh. To start my life, truly, for the first time.) but I would not go back to my old life for anything. I am grateful for my story and my journey because I am here today. Life is beautiful and it’s full of color. Relationships are amazing. Emotions are incredible; to feel, to experience, to be able to create things, listen to music and get goosebumps, and enjoy the warm sun on my face – how can I… how much of that did I miss?
I can’t focus on that and I won’t dwell on the past. I cannot (Added later: and would not want to) change it. I am grateful that my story has me here and now. I am grateful to be where I am. I’m even more excited about where I’m headed in the future. At the core of it all, I’m happy to be me.
(Added later: If you knew me before, you’d know just how incredible that really is.)
I’m saying it again because it is truly something.
“Thank you for giving me a piece of your time.”