Geez. This is hard, yo.
When I was writing before, lo these two and a half years ago, it was much easier to be earnest and open and vulnerable. I felt like I knew what I was writing about—and that my audience (both of you) would understand it. Or at least you would assume good intent. I’ve become much more guarded in some ways over the past two years or so; I feel even more strongly than before about certain things, but I struggle with how to express those strong feelings without alienating, well, most people.
The thing is, I’m kind of cranky a lot these days. Anger is one of the stages of grief, and I’ve been grieving over a major life upheaval for a while. And that was before the presidential election in November; I don’t know that I’ve felt “normal” since I woke up at 3:00 AM November 9 and read the horrific news on the BBC (I’d gone to bed at 9:30—not because I had any doubts about the outcome, but because I didn’t want to have to watch the incremental roll-in of the totals). Although I’ve been more politically active over the past few months than ever before in my life, I still feel frustrated and powerless*. And exhausted, and guilty for not doing more, and overwhelmed.
Add to that an ever-increasing awareness of social justice issues and the very real consequences these issues have on specific people I care about as well as the public at large. Black lives do matter; systemic discrimination does happen; gay people do love their partners and deserve to be able to marry them (and call it marriage!) every bit as much as straight people, and marriage equality is not going to cause the downfall of society. White privilege exists, climate change and evolution are real, the refugee vetting process is already extreme, and Muslims are no more likely to be terrorists than you are. People can have tattoos (I don’t, yet) and wear more than one pair of earrings and dye their hair rainbow colors and go to protests and swear a lot and still be genuinely good people. These are all things I believed—or professed to believe—before October 2014, but I always felt vaguely uneasy about them, because they didn’t fit the narrative I heard most frequently. There was a lot of cognitive dissonance. Now I believe them wholeheartedly, without reservation, and I feel frustrated and angry that the narrative I had tried to believe in with all my heart turned out to be untrue.
Which means that of the several stereotypes that now fit, the one that many people will choose to see if I write about what’s frequently on my mind is the bitter (or at best misguided/deceived) former Mormon. I know the mindset that will interpret my current life this way quite well, as it used to be my own. And how can I profess to be happier (OMG, immeasurably happier) outside the LDS church than in it if most of my posts are negative?
Well, I guess I’ll just have to try not to care what people think. (Wish me luck with that.) And hope that most of my Lenten posts won’t be negative; in reality, they probably won’t be, because they’ll be too short to say very much. And hope that posting these thoughts in a public place will help me get some of this frustration out of my system. And hope, as well, that readers will understand—or at least try to—why I feel the way I do, and that relationships will remain intact, though some may change.
*Before anyone says something truly idiotic like “Now you know how we felt for 8 years under Obama”: That is not a valid comparison. The way you felt under Obama is similar to the way we durn lib’ruls felt for 8 years under Bush, and the way you felt under Clinton, and the way we felt under Reagan/Bush I. P45—I seriously hate the look and sound of his name—is far, far removed from anything the country has experienced before, and is equal parts nauseating and terrifying.