I went through a big struggle this last week.
One of my best friends in the history of ever was staying with me for the week. I don’t think that there are proper words to describe how good it was to have her here. She’s one of the few people who have stuck it out through all my levels of crazy over the past seven years.
I can’t believe we’re old enough to have been friends for seven years!
We still look like teenagers.
Yet, being around any of my friends from when I was studying to be a missionary always creates an inner conflict. Part of me still wants to be that person they knew and loved when we were at school. The rest of me knows how inauthentic that person was and realizes that becoming that person again would be like thrusting myself straight into the seventh circle of hell.
See, when I walked away from religion, despite the fact that I was being true to myself, I felt like I was betraying my whole community. I felt like I was turning my back on all of the people who had been my support system and who had invested in me for the last several years.
It was hard to emotionally separate the fact that I was turning my back on a belief system that I now believed to be false and not the people who shared that belief system. That was the thread that held us together so I assumed that without it, I’d lose them as well.
We went through lots of awkward space as I discovered my true self and went through the growing pains associated with finding authenticity. Really, I just made a lot of awkward jokes about bacon, hell, tequila, and blow jobs.
This last week, though, it looked like Sugar Muffin (my obnoxious nickname for my best friend) and I had found that authentic space. The only problem was that the aching “I want to be one of you” feeling started creeping in again and I started struggling.
Last night, my first night alone again, I woke up in the middle of the night with this sense that I had some processing to do. At first, I tried to go back to sleep. After failing to do so, I gave in and started trying to feel what was going on with me.
I took myself through a process of revisiting some of those harder times and imagining what things would have looked like if I had been more honest and authentic in those moments. I imagined myself having some of the conversations that I really should have had but didn’t out of fear. Then, I imagined what a conversation about those moments would look like now.
I found myself almost meditating in a way to try to put that sort of energy out… and then I felt like a total new age hippie.
I mean, my middle name is Forrest so it’s not like I’m not at least part hippie.
At that moment, though, something struck.
In that place where your sense of self and belief system intermingle, I felt a real deep down sense of exactly what I believe about the universe at this point in my life. In that moment I felt such a real sense of identity and context.
For the first time in my life, the idea of living your truth actually made sense to me.
It’s not like I think I suddenly have all the answers to life and how the universe works. I might be a twenty-something know-it-all but I’m not quite that pompous. What I do know is this; in that moment I felt a sense of radiance and peace that I haven’t felt for a very long time.
So, am I going to tell you anything about what I believe at this point?
This isn’t a proselytizing blog… well, unless you count the fact that I’d really like to convince people not to eat processed food, but I don’t work very hard at that anyway. I just wanted to share this experience.
I’m frustrated to be having so much trouble articulating it precisely but it was a moment of feeling truth deep down inside of me. The idea of truth from within is heretical to everything I’ve ever believed in but at this moment it just feels… right.