I just now read a post from Urban Koda over at Koda Think Tank entitled "Looking Back." In the post, he speaks of not understanding fellow apostates (such as myself) who struggle with leaving because they feel that the church is and will always be their "tribe," that in some ways they don't foresee disassociating completely with the Mormon title.
I've written a lot about having those feelings lately. To be honest, a large part of me hopes that'll change. Another part of me doesn't want them to change. And I envy Koda's feelings of detachment to a degree.
The thing for me is, the church was the first place I ever felt truly and genuinely welcomed. Not by the leaders--they bugged me with their fawning--but by people my own age. I had friends who didn't grow up with me (small town, anyone?). It was amazing. And they were so nice. They didn't make fun of me for being so straightedge. I actually got out of the house for the first time ever. These were people I trusted, and I needed them to help me cut the cord from my mama, from my family.
In the church I was praised for being right. It appealed to my inner martyr. I found mother figures, father figures, sisters, brothers, etc. People who carved a place for themselves into my heart forever. People I am terrified of disappointing. People whose respect and love I am terrified of losing.
But so far so good. Eric's family has been pretty amazing. His father has been good, though he likes to make snide comments, once telling us that instead of shopping on a Sunday we should've been in church. And his father hates Eric's beard. Can't go without saying something derogatory. Eric laughs. He began this beard because he wasn't teaching, it was summer. Now he thinks he'll keep it, both to spite his father and to prove to his family that guys with beards aren't scary. Besides, he likes it.
His mother has hardly changed since our kids ratted us out. Even complimented my legs one day when I wore--gasp--shorts.
I felt like I found a home when I joined the church. I found a family in a few ways--literal and figurative. Leaving feels like I'm leaving them. A part of myself. I don't do well with leaving comfortable, familiar places. Places that comforted me and validated me. Tradition and structure.
It's hard to reject that totally. The church did a lot of good for me. It hindered me loads, but it did lots of good for me.
This place outside the church is unfamiliar (as an adult), lonely, and a little scary for me. So I waver. Even though I discovered after becoming a "young married" that I have nothing in common with 99% of the women in the church, I can't help but feel I'm losing something. Even though I guess I'm really not. Fake friendships, maybe? Obligatory people who are willing to "serve" because they feel they should? People so intent on looking perfect they seem inhuman?
When I joined the church, being Mormon became everything about me. And now I don't know how to be an adult who isn't Mormon. I didn't associate with non-members with, like, one exception. It was everything I was--and not to be overly dramatic, but how do you fully disassociate with your bones, you know? your blood?
Further I had people at my back when I joined and my family was fighting against it. I know I have Eric now, and you gotta know I'll take him without hesitation, but it's hard still. I don't know where I belong anymore. How to fit in. How to act.
So this shit is scary. And awkward.
But it should be good. Even if it is a bit of a trial by fire. I'm willing, just hesitant.