The idea I had for this blog is kind of two ideas into one so I apologize if it comes out somewhat jumbled. I wanted to talk about the things we don’t say to people and I also wanted to talk about faith. Weird pairing right? Well give me a chance here.
I am a pretty honest person and since starting this blog I have also tried to be transparent while respecting people in my life who might not be in the same mindset. I don’t hide a lot from people and so when people have asked (or even assumed, eye roll) about my beliefs and my identifying religion I am honest in saying that I am not religious. I don’t identify with a specific set of values that are “followed” by a large mass of people in any capacity.
That usually ends the conversation. People of a strict religious belief never want to ask the follow-up questions, well what do you believe? Where do your values come from? Why not? Etc. People automatically assume that because I don’t identify as something that I am whole heartedly against it. I have found myself in situations where I am harshly judged by not being able to check a religion box on a piece of paper because people assume that means I am the antichrist in some capacity. In these situations I don’t feel the need to explain myself. I don’t go out of my way to justify my answer to people if they choose to not inquire because they are too busy being judgemental. In these moments I hold my tongue and let the situation play itself out without my further input.
People tend to believe if because I don’t fit into a specifically named mould that I will at some point be disrespectful and unworthy to them. This is not the case. I have the utmost respect for people who have something higher to believe in. I studied addictions counselling in college and I think that the people who come out of an addiction to have something spiritual to hold on to and to help guide them is a blessing, for them. I have religious friends and I have friends that I have no idea what they believe in because to me, it doesn’t matter. If someone has a good heart and is respectful and loving I don’t need to have the same views as they do because they have the same friendship values I do.
More often than not people who get married are of the same beliefs or at least pretty close to it. In my marriage this is not the case. My husband was raised in a fairly rigid Christian home and before we even made the decision to move in together (which was more of a practical decision than anything else to be honest) we had discussed it at length. The things he does and doesn’t believe, what he values and what he feels his beliefs are now compared to how he was raised. His beliefs have not changed in the years we have been together. He still believes in God and although I don’t feel it is my place to share all his beliefs his belief in God and prayer is something he does not hide. I have asked him many questions, we have discussed church and how we want to raise our kids and the things that might be difficult eventually but we somehow have it all worked out, for now. It’s hard to have all your plans work out when you have kids but hey, we at least know how we hope it will turn out.
I bring all of this up because it shows me that although I have had many negative experiences with judgement and hatred from people who claim to be accepting and loving because of my “lack of faith” there are people like Andrew that no matter what will have an open heart. He gives me faith in some people being able to set those things to the side to look at a person for who they really are and the things that matter. We have the same values about respect and life choices and the privacy of other people’s relationships. We both believe in gay marriage and love and we are open to loving people equally no matter their background or beliefs. My husband and I share an incredibly large number of the same views about the world and the people in it although we were raised so differently.
I am so blessed to have a mom who would love me no matter what, I was able to attend youth group and church a couple random times as a kid and my mom never would have considered stepping in and saying no because she didn’t care what I believed in she cared if I said please and thank you enough. Up to this point in my life, nothing about any religion has spoken to me. I have not had a moment where I wonder if I have God to thank but I am entirely open to the idea that it might happen for me some day, who knows? Unfortunately not everyone is like my mom, people have the tendency to assume the worst in people because they feel far superior and it blocks them from even allowing themselves to get to know people and that is not me. That and many other aspects are why I struggle to identify with those who follow select biblical teachings. I have encountered a lot of hypocrisy in organized religion that makes it hard for me to invest my heart in it.
This I guess is where the other part of my scattered blog idea comes in. I try to be peaceful and respectful and do my best to gauge situations for appropriate responses. I have encountered, as many of us have I’m sure, moments where holding our tongue and ignoring people is the best option. It is taking the least hurtful route possible that sometimes leaves people confused and hate filled. I do my best to not lash out, although my emotions run high it’s possible I can, but I have too much respect for myself and others to always say what is on my mind. I have had opportunities to respond to people who have hurt me and sometimes I have nothing but hurtful things to say in return so I choose to not follow that path and just continue on with my life avoiding allowing that part of me to show when it will not improve a situation.
With that being said I think it is healthy to have an outlet, lucky for me my best friend is fully updated on the situations that arise like this and she lets me vent to her without being harmful in any capacity. I believe that this is more effective for me in every way because it allows me to say the things I need to but not to those who it would be hurtful to. Growing up I did the same thing about my biological father so when the time came I actually sent a response to a message he sent to me, I was confident in what I said and how I said it without emotions overflowing I got my point across eloquently and effectively. I was very adult in a situation that it would have been understandable to be childish.
Unfortunately not everyone believes the same thing. We have been subject to a fair amount of passive aggressive approaches in our lives along with guilt trips and blatant lies. We have been slandered and thoroughly discussed and harassed after repeat attempts to get it to stop. All of this seems exhausting to me, to lie and to try to keep stories straight, to be manipulative and consistently use guilt to try to get your way. Turning loved ones against others to feel as though you won something, somehow. Spending so much time investing in how you want people to see you and think of you instead of spending time on self-reflection and growth. I am not perfect and I embrace that, I have made colossal mistakes and learned things from them and become better each time. Over time I have learned how beneficial it is to think before I say or do things, how easy it can be to take time to see things from another persons perspective and the biggest thing I have learned over and over again is how valuable it is to listen to people. To listen to grievances and instead of play innocent or the victim, acknowledge that whatever trauma you may cause a person that you disagree with, if it feels like trauma to them in any capacity that is how you should view it too. Try to heal new and old wounds, don’t divert blame, own it and do some self-reflection about where those feelings are really coming from.
I have gone through a lot in the last few years with Andrew and I have grown so much because I am on his team and he is on mine. We have both grown as people and have learned so much about each other and our mental health and our past experiences and most of all we have learned what is best for us moving forward. We have figured out life and how to make it is as peaceful as it can be and we have talked thoroughly about the things that bring us down and don’t lift us up ever and we are trying our best to only surround ourselves with the uplifting. We have cut out people who have been continuously harmful to our hearts and we spend so much more time on building relationships with people who are now our chosen family (lookin’ at you McCormacks, Millars, Boomers etc.) who want nothing but the best in life for us. All the people I love the most in the world don’t care what I believe will happen when I die; because right now I believe in spoiling their kids and spending time with all of them and making sure they know I love them.
Self love isn’t always about what you eat or how you look at your body etc. sometimes it’s just taking time being happy with who you are as a person. I’m a good wife and friend and daughter and grand-daughter so I will keep putting those things first. I value who I am and I don’t need people in my life telling me I am not enough when I know I am. I make the people I love happy and feel loved and that matters to me than fitting into any mould that others believe I should be in. That is why our wedding was so magical, we invited the people who were thrilled for us and wanted nothing more than to be there to celebrate with us. We got married in the woods, basically that’s my church, and made it as comfortable for everyone as we could. We did so much that wasn’t traditional because we aren’t and it was perfection. I am not sorry for who I am, I am not sorry for what I do and don’t believe in and mostly I am not sorry to those who can’t love me for me. Life is too short to give a shit about people who are cruel and judgemental and hurtful.
Bees don’t stop flying and working because someone might swat them, they have to many other things to worry about. Butterflies don’t stop being beautiful because someone might touch their wings, they just enjoy the breeze and look magical anyways. I won’t stop being strong and “different” because someone doesn’t agree with who I am, I’ll just go on having a magical life and marriage, happily ever after.