I promise I'll do all that I am supposed to do because she nominated me. (Answer the questions about me, nominate others, etc.)
But first, there's other stuff that I want to write about:
It surprises me when active members of the church get to know me, and they are okay with me. It surprises me when they tell me they appreciate what I write. It surprises me that people have been so kind and respectful to me.
I have written a ton about how awesome my family has been... because they respect me and love me.
It really IS awesome that my family loves ME... and at the same time... when did it become awesome to have a family that was loving and respectful and nonjudgmental?
The thing I recently realized about myself?
I'm prejudiced against Mormons. You know how I know that?
I say things like, "They are still members, but they are really good to me."
"They love the church, and yet somehow they still love me."
How could I have not seen the way I think before?
I get REALLY cranky when people say racist statements, like:
"He's black, but he's a really good man."
(As if to say a good man and a black man aren't usually the same man. BULLSHIT!)
So, when did it become okay to hold members of the LDS church to a lower standard than I would hold the rest of the world?
Maybe my prejudice comes from the way I was as a member...
I cut off friends who went inactive or who left the church. I never told them why - I just stopped talking to them.
I was self-righteous...
I was self-sacrificing AND I had an expectation that good
I pushed people to be obedient.
I told them what to do, how to think, what to feel.
If they got any answer that was different from the church, I dismissed them and their answer.
Just four years ago, I sat with my sister and told her she was taking the wrong path. I am SO GLAD she didn't take that shit from me. She told me I was caught up in my life and my problems, and I wasn't seeing HER. She was right. I apologized to her immediately, and have made every effort to see HER. I hope I am a better sister now.
I wanted to be GOOD. I wanted to be a good, righteous, person who was worthy of being loved... and that desire drove me to be a bitch. (Other days it drove me to be a doormat. I was a very confused soul.) Leaving the church helped me to let go of all of that.
I feel amazed, because I don't know if I could have done what my family or people like Jeannie have done.
My prejudice also comes from observing others:
It is amazing to me that my family isn't judgmental, because I see how other families are.
It is amazing to me that my family doesn't try to get me to go back to church, because so few families are respectful enough to do that.
It is amazing to me that my family comes to visit me when I have heard of others that won't visit family as long as they are"living in sin". (i.e. I live in the house with a man I am not married to.)
I think it's awesome that my parents, siblings, aunts, grandparents, and a cousin all SAY and MEAN, "I love you and I want you to be happy," and they trust ME to find my own happiness. They have no prescribed "plan of happiness" that I have to do, or they won't believe I am happy. They listen to ME.
They don't tell me I am following Satan, I need to repent, or any other of the crazy things I have heard people tell their "apostate" loved ones.
I am SO grateful. My family treats me the way I wish ALL families would treat each other.
I also wish I didn't think it was so amazing and awesome that they are the way they are.
It's just... I'm not sure how to change my fear of Mormons.
That's what my prejudice is:
Fear that people will first: judge me, and then: use their judgment to hurt me.
My prejudice keeps me alert and wary, and it's easier to not take it personally if they do something that hurts. As much as I hate to say this, maybe I'm not ready to let go of that.
Right now, I feel amazed by very simple acts of kindness, and can shrug off huge acts of abuse. Maybe that's not a bad place to be in... at least for a little while...