Tuesday, January 15, 2008

So, you may have noticed I haven't posted much in awhile. I could use the holidays as my excuse, and it wouldn't be a lie-- the holiday season always wears me out. But it's not the whole story. Over the last several months, I've come right up against the dark underbelly of having been raised fundamentalist, which is fear. It takes two forms-- one, the normal fear that people won't like you, your family will disown you, no one will want to be friends with you; the other, the fear of bucking the system, the fear of pitting your little voice against the wisdom of the group, which is a deeper, darker thing. In my experience, the hold that fundamentalism has over you is based on the subtle undermining of your own opinions at the same time you are groomed to see the beauty of supporting the group-- in other words, inimidation. In other words, bullying. It's difficult to tease out, because often, and certainly in my case, the people who are doing the intimidating and bullying are people who love you and only want the best for you-- it's just that their definition of "best" turned out to be pretty different than mine. And also, it is innocent on their part; my parents, extended family, and church didn't do anything "to" me that hadn't been done "to" them, that wasn't part of the culture in which they were/I was raised.

I run this blog anonymously for several reasons. The main one is that I really am a privacy freak, in my normal life as well as online. But another important reason is that I don't want my family to read this. They know I no longer consider myself a conservative Christian, but I've never been much more specific than that.

If they read this blog, I'm afraid of what would happen, honestly. It sounds silly, doesn't it? I mean, after all, they're not going to come after me with pitchforks. My family is not so fundamentalist that they would cast me out, as happens in many conservative faiths (I read "Leaving the Saints" by Martha Beck last month). They would be sure to point out to me the error of my ways, but they wouldn't disown me. There might be one or two more distant relations that would refuse to speak to me, but most would just disapprove. Pointedly. And they would pray for me, that I would see the light (by their definition, natch).

I hate that. I want them to see my point. I want to believe that if they started at the beginning and read through my reasoning, they would agree with me, or at least understand where I was going, and I could take my family with me on my journey. But I'm pretty sure that's not true. I'm pretty sure they would agree with certain points, but there would be a mental line in the sand beyond which they would not go. It makes me sad.

Oh, I'm babbling on again, and neglecting the main point which is that I've been dealing with this gut-level fear of speaking out, "speaking my own truth," as they say. I'd like to be able to say I'm done with it and now I'll be fine. But I don't think that's true. It will be an ongoing thing.

1 comment:

  1. ok, it's just me, commenting on my own post again. I can't believe I didn't even mention the fear of eternal damnation. Maybe it wasn't bothering me then. And it doesn't bother me now, rationally. It's just my irrational moments that get me.