it's been well over a year since i casually but still pretty officially walked away from the church. it's been SUCH a good year in regards to my mental and emotional health and well being. and my spirituality, more than anything else. i've grown so much into the person i really am, the person i never knew existed through all my years of mormondom. i feel so free and relieved and authentic and whole. i have no regrets.
i hadn't realized until last week that i've been wandering in search of community. community is a special, wonderful thing the church provides it's members. a worldwide community. i knew when i walked away that i was giving up the church community. but i had a contrived idea in my head of what that might mean. i thought that meant i would miss meeting new women in relief society each week and having visiting teachers over. i loved that part of church activity. and i do miss those parts.
but rather than missing the actual church community, i more so miss the sense of community. and that's something you can't control with behavior, only with belief. you just don't get to fully experience the sense of community when you flat out don't believe what the church teaches. even if you do attend and are actively involved, that sense of community is gone when you just don't sincerely share the common beliefs.
that doesn't mean i don't love to death my friends and family who are involved with the church. i can love individuals no matter what they believe. but. the sense of community, the feeling that you belong to a network of people larger than you, most of whom you don't even know, where you all share this common, general set of beliefs, is really such a grand thing.
and it is no longer part of my life. but that's really okay. that aspect of community didn't disappear from my life all at once, rather it faded with my belief. the church community isn't supposed to be part of my future, because it's no longer who i am. it's not specifically the church's sense of community one needs in their life so much as any sense of community, with people whom you sincerely connect and identify, despite what you might hear in general conference.
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i've been searching for "home" rather intensely this last year, but it's actually been on my mind quite a bit since jared and i got married. before jared, i just wanted to travel, not necessarily looking for a landing destination. but now that he's part of my life, for which i am eternally grateful, i'm on this search for home, and i'm very much ready to find it soon. i will look back and remember 2011-2016 or 2017 or 2018 or 2019 or however long it takes as my "finding home" years.
and i will remember 2014 through however long it takes as my "finding my tribe" years. and although i hope to eventually find a tribe, a community of people whom i share beliefs and ideals and views, whom i work and play and live among, i plan to always be searching for my tribe. as i discover more parts of myself, and parts of the world, and communities and peoples and lifestyles, i hope to be ever expanding my tribe.
because although Mormon™ will always be an ethnicity to which i identify, it is not my tribe. not at all.
and although utah will always be my home state, the place i grew up, the place i met my husband, the place where i experienced the majority of the first 27 years of my life, it isn't my Home™. it isn't my landing destination. my friends and loved ones must be so sick of hearing about this, but utah just isn't my place. although it feels familiar, it has never felt like Home™. logically, i count all the ways and reasons that utah is a terrific place to live, a wonderful place, really. but logic can't make the heart agree, it can't make a place feel like home.
i think about this all too much and will be the first to admit that it is verifiably exhausting. but the alternative would be much worse. i consider different locales around the world and hold various places in my mind and heart for several days or weeks, wondering if they might be home. sometimes i think it might be a climate and weather situation that will make a place feel like home. sometimes i think home might be a place i would never ever choose myself, or perhaps it is a homestead on nantucket island, or a villa outside milan, or a cottage on an english hillside.
but i think i've figured it out in the last few weeks. people feel at home when that place is where their people are. where their family and community may be found. but jared and i don't feel tethered to this place. i've realized that for jared and i to find home, it will have to be a place we make together. we're never going to find a perfect place, we have to create it. as i've been unraveling who i was supposed to be and so many aspects of my life and communities and social circles that were handed to me, i've been finding who i am. and who i want in my life. i feel a bit lost right now, at least socially and communally, but i know this won't last forever. this is part of the process of my life. and i'm striving to enjoy the process. and one day, i will find myself in a home i love, involved in a community i love, working and playing and living with people i love and connect with. and for now, i'm enjoying each day, each present moment i have, with people i'm lucky enough to already have.