Reflection, Remembering, and Change

Fall is such a meaningful season for me.  It stirs up emotions and fond childhood memories: fall festivals where we built scarecrows from old clothing; leaves changing as I get excited for Thanksgiving, my birthday, and Christmas; pumpkin patches and apple cider and hoping for snow.

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photo credit: me!  Halloween 2010

Halloween, however, has never been my favorite holiday.  This response is generally met with many gasps and reprimands by fans of the day.  I generally laugh and make fun of scary movies, or get bored of them, and I’m not one of those gifted people who can whip up costumes for $10 from thrift stores, junk closets, and creativity (alternately, I don’t make enough money to drop $200 on a gorgeous Elsa or Princess Zelda costume).  I’m not really into gore, bloodiness, or haunted houses, though I do enjoy general creepiness.  As a kid I enjoyed Halloween enough, and I distinctly remember dressing up as Sonic the Hedgehog and the mask making me all sweaty.  I just didn’t know how to relate to the holiday as an adult.  Then I read a blog post about a year ago (sadly, I don’t remember where or I would link!) suggesting Halloween could be a holiday for remembering and reflecting.  Now, that is something I can relate to.

This all ties together with last night, cleaning out old files from my file cabinet and finding many documents with my changed name, my first husband’s last name tagged on the end of mine.  Shred, toss, purge, pause, hurt, repeat.  Emotional pain feels like a ball in my chest and a lump in my throat.  The pain of old memories and regrets is soft but still present.  And then dreaming.  I dreamt of my best friend who has been buried for almost 4 and a half years now.  We saw each other, and hugged, and cried because of how much we missed each other.

How can you know how much you will change?

This blog is mostly a way for me to deconstruct changes, to reflect on my personal journey.  I know my religious journey is tied up in this, and is often my main focus, but in many ways I find that my changes have been about gaining understanding of my emotions, my humanity, and my body.

I’ve written about my difficulties relating to my body, relating to a body when I viewed myself more as a soul with a body encasing it.  I’ve written about distrust of my emotions, when I thought Satan was a real entity who could manipulate your thoughts and feelings to keep you disconnected from God.  I strove for “perfection” as I had concocted it my mind: not lusting (remaining “pure of heart”), not being so damn anxious all the time, achieving, accomplishing, and praying praying praying.  I didn’t know how to deal with emotions, so I wished I had none.  I didn’t know how to be a functioning human, so in some ways I wished I wasn’t, and instead could be robotic in my thoughts and actions.  I adopted the original sin theology, so humanity was dirty, sad, and broken.  So, while my broken and twisted understanding of life had its origins in evangelical Christian logic and ideas, once I broke away from Christianity, the changes and growth occurred in the other areas (understanding emotions, humanity, and my body).

How can you know how much you will change?

I will be 28 this year.  Almost 10 years since I’ve lived outside of my parents’ home.  10 years, and so much has happened, most of it in the last 4.  And yet, so many choices – college major, the decision to go to grad school, career path – were made in the pre-divorce-and-death world.  It feels like I’m on a path another person would have liked, but then I had to start over in the middle of it all as someone new.

Now, I’m this person.  Where does this person want to go, and how am I going to get there?

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