Previously published on my Tumblr page, http://a-woman-apart.tumblr.com/
I’ve spent the greater part of the last few hours just lounging around and not doing too much. Always, though, in the quiet solitude, my mind brings up visions of the past. I thought about the last five or six years of my life. I’ve moved twice, gotten and left jobs, and completed various semesters of college. During the course of that time I also went through various financial “trials”, where sometimes I had much more than I needed and other times I was barely scraping by. I’ve made and lost a few friends, and I’ve had transient experiences with dozens of acquaintances.
While I am tempted to believe that I “wasted” most of my teenage and earlier adult years in a losing battle with my mental illness, I can’t deny that without those unforgiving years I wouldn’t be who I am today. The value of my painful experiences is more easily seen in more recent times. There isn’t a single event that happened that I don’t feel like taught me something important. There were people that I struggled with, that I couldn’t stand, but who reminded me that people will walk all over me if I don’t stand up for myself. There were people who I trusted, even when my first impression was to dislike them, and it turned out that my first impression was the one I should’ve gone with. On the other hand I didn’t trust my parents, because sometimes the things they did in love hurt me, and now I realize that I probably should’ve given them far more credit than I did. (I’m still working on that right now.)
I’ve had mentors who’ve sort of phased out of my life, but I haven’t forgotten the things they’ve taught me. I believe that as long as I continue to be open to new people, places, and things, the right experiences will come to me.
Looking back and seeing all that I’ve gone through, I’m realizing that I need to have faith that it’s going to be alright, even if the way I express that faith is changing. I need to be open to the fact that the changes that I’m experiencing are a crucial part of the outline of my life’s story. I need to accept that if I’ve made it this far without caving, that the resources that I need will continue to be made available to me.
Yes, I will need to fight sometimes. Yes, sometimes, I will feel like giving up. I don’t have to be a prisoner to those feelings or belittled into believing that only a certain level of happiness is what I deserve.
I don’t have to adhere to a specific religion in order to be happy.
It has taken me a lot to say that, coming from a background where unless you believe the “truth” you’re a morally bankrupt unbeliever just inviting God’s wrath on yourself. Outside of the “umbrella of God’s protection” you invited yourself to attacks by “the Enemy”.
With these beliefs so deeply ingrained, I am often “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” When things become difficult, I’m quick to question myself and wonder if this is the consequence of my newfound changing worldview. Am I attracting misfortune to myself through the things that I believe?
I’m much better now, but in the past I would toil and agonize over each decision, asking myself if this was “God’s Will” and straining to hear his voice.
Now I know that I “hear” his voice. It’s that gentle tugging inside when someone is trying to get me to do something that makes me uncomfortable, even if the reason for the discomfort isn’t apparent to me. It’s the anger that comes when someone infringes on my personal sovereignty. It’s the hot or cold flashes I get, that “creeped out” feeling that some people or places give me that warns me to stay away.
Of course, I can’t always trust my feelings. Sometimes, I’ll feel guilty about doing something that isn’t really wrong just because I’ve been indoctrinated into that guilt for so long. The more, however, that I learn to trust my own [and I say perhaps figuratively] “God-given” intuition the more clearer things will become. (If I remain shackled to the whims of other peoples’ interpretation of God’s will then I may never learn to be independent.)
So right now maybe I don’t “see nothing in the light” but in the end I see a lot less. Things have become much less mystical for me and faith is becoming something tangible and practical.