I am beginning to notice or finally realize that I am more open and raw with these blog posts and my emotions. I'm no longer afraid of them or afraid to share them. Talking with a good friend yesterday, she told me that my blog posts have helped her realize she is not alone and has given her comfort and strength. There aren't enough words in the English language to express how much that meant to me. Knowing that my blogs, sharing my experiences, emotions, and struggles, are helping someone else. That was part of my goal with this all along. Not only to share what I am going through and feeling but also to let someone else, even one person, know they are not alone. Today, I woke up feeling content and happy, genuinely content and happy. There was no feeling of dread, and my mind wasn't racing with "what ifs." My mind was instead racing with thoughts of "I need to do laundry, clean the couch, and vacuum the floors," LOL, standard adult stuff this time. I did a lot of thinking and reflecting yesterday, during my morning walk and throughout the day as well. I know the path I need to go down and what I need to do; the struggle will be how to accomplish it. Part of me wants to return to the church, but I have many reservations about that. Quick back story: When I was 19, my boyfriend and I… let's say we made a decision that was severely frowned upon in the Catholic Church, but it was a decision we both felt was the only one we could make. After deciding and going through with it, we went to church. He held my hand as we walked to the first pew, and I could feel the eyes on me (he was also black, which was a huge red flag in my small town ::eye roll::). I tried talking to my pastor about it, went to confession, and ultimately, I felt abandoned by the Catholic Church, and so did he. We both went there trying to get comfort and guidance, and we were shunned and told we were no longer welcome. So, since then, I have probably gone to church… maybe four times, in almost 20 years. Let me be clear: I DO NOT think God failed me, just the Catholic Church. Let me also add that my boyfriend (at the time) and I did not take our decision lightly, and we had a deep conversation about our choices and the life we would have had if we had gone through with it. Our only regret was that we felt that was our only choice. He has two beautiful children and is happily married. I have two beautiful children; we think about that decision sometimes, and we still keep in contact and talk about it occasionally. And when we talk about it, it is not with sadness or guilt, but with an open heart and understanding that we made the right decision and are at peace with each other.
Because of that, I hesitate to go to Church because it feels like a lie. It could also be that I have yet to find the right one, which, let's be honest, is true, and I haven't even tried to look. Now, my kids, on the other hand, because of that day, I refused to get them baptized in the Catholic Church. I wanted them to find their path to God and choose a religion that suited them best. And they did; both of my children found a church and a village that they loved, and both are now baptized as Christians, and I couldn’t be more happy or proud of them. My daughter has asked me why I don't attend church with them, and I struggle to explain why. She seems content with my response, "I don’t need to go to a building to believe in or worship or talk to God." This is absolutely true, and I feel strongly about that, thanks to the book "The Shack" by William P. Young (they made it into a movie a few years ago). I highly recommend it for anyone who is struggling with their demons. It gives a whole different perspective on religion and God and Jesus. It says it's fiction, but I find it fascinating and more true than fiction. And how he talks about how God and Jesus want to be in a relationship with us and not worship in a building or through a religion; it makes sense to me. I would rather be in a relationship with God and Jesus than sit in a building listening to a hypocritical interpretation of the Bible. Okay, I am going to move on from that. I could go on and on, but I prefer to avoid getting into debates on my beliefs or politics, for that matter. Now, if we are having an actual discussion about it, that is one thing, but what bothers me the most is that so many people feel that if your opinions do not match or align with theirs, you are wrong and disobeying God. Also, and I am absolutely going to throw this out there: God DOES NOT PUNISH PEOPLE. It almost drives me insane to think of all the people out there who genuinely feel and believe that God punishes people. And before you say anything, yes, I have read the Bible, and my counter to you is that the Bible is full of second and third-hand accounts and interpretations of someone else. It is NOT the actual written word from Jesus. Okay, moving on this time, for real, LOL. I love my weekend morning ritual, having coffee on my front porch, listening to the birds, and watching them at my feeders. I look forward to this time, as it's mine. Soaking in the sounds and sights, feeling the breeze, it's just so peaceful and calming. It is even somewhat entertaining watching the birds almost fight over who gets what position at the feeder, and the hummingbirds, I love watching them almost dance with each other when they fly around the feeder. I've grown so much in the last month. I can feel and see it, and I am finally proud of myself. That pride goes deeper and is more profound than my "I did good at work and am proud." I'm always proud of my work; I love what I do, but this is different. I have more confidence in myself, am finally realizing my self-worth, and can feel my self-esteem rising. I will give credit where credit is due, and I absolutely could not have done this alone. My circle has been inspiring, comforting, and absolutely amazing these past few months. My boss, who is now my best friend, my "Cooters" group (LMAO), my newest co-worker, who is pretty much now a best friend, my counselor, of course, and my boyfriend. The past month, especially, goes out to my boyfriend. Regardless of where this goes, and let's be completely honest, it could go nowhere, and that is OKAY. Why is it okay? Because it doesn’t need to go anywhere. I took a chance to getting on that dating app and messaging him back, and that chance has helped me grow so much. I truly feel, with all my heart, that I was meant to meet him. He has opened my eyes and helped me finally see the short- or long-term love I deserve, and I couldn't be more grateful to and for him.