Split Personality

I grew up learning how to hide. I grew up hearing stories about how members of the Unification Church, the faith I was born into and raised in, were kidnapped by their families and forced to undergo abusive deprogramming tactics. I heard about how members were put in jail for prosthelytizing their faith. On a personal level, my family was asked to leave our neighborhood Christian church because we "weren't really Christians". The word "cult", would cut me open if I heard it on tv or in passing conversation, leaving me feeling exposed and ashamed.

These stories were worn like a badge of honor by most of the people who told them. As if these kinds of experiences were proof that you were doing something good. God's messengers are always misunderstood.

But as a child, I didn't want to be a prophet. I wanted to have friends. I wanted to belong. Since I grew up in a town with no other "church families" around, there was no place for that "church self" to belong in school or in my community. So I tucked that part of myself away, and only let it come out every other Sunday when we would drive an hour and a half to church, or once a year at summer camp. But that left me with the burden of then tucking away my "school" personality. They were both me. Neither was me. So in trying to "belong" I denied myself and others, the chance to really and truly know me. I don't blame myself. I simply think I learned to cope with a complex situation the best way I knew how at the time.

Now, as an adult, as a mom, I still struggle with this idea of identity and the theme of duality that seems to manifest in different ways, but with the same old feelings. There was a point in my early adult hood when things came to a tipping point, where I could no longer stand to live like a secret agent, and worked hard to stitch myself back together. I feel that same pressure now, mostly revolving around my creative life. Like things are filling up, getting ready to spill over. I think it will be a relief. But as it was before, I know it also comes with growing pains.

On we go. Wherever I go, there I am, and other such platitudes.

"Be yourself" seems like good advice, but if "yourself" is constantly changing, growing, hopefully learning, we may have to take a pause every once in awhile to figure out who exactly, that is.