A Path Less Traveled

January 14, 2018

I’m writing this for closure.

Because somehow it blocks my flow. Seizes my ideas. Runs its exhausting course through my mind so late into the night that I can’t even write.

Let me out! Let me out! it screams. I need to get this out.

Before it screamed, Stop! Don’t go there. Follow me. Chose this marked path laid out for you.

I don’t belong there anymore. Not any part about me does.

I’m tired of hiding. Pretending. Shadowing myself as if I am poison, a traitor.

Traitor for what . . . choosing a different path?

It used to be like a blanket of fresh snow: Pure. White. Clean. All was perfect and bright as long as I stayed true on the plan laid out for me; follow equals sparkly snow.

I try to adjust my eyes now to see the pre-destined plan like that again but I can’t. It’s anew, and I feel what was once uniform, stark, unerring is now heavy. Wet. Colorful.

Not so scary.

Will my old friends still love me? Will my new friends understand the devastating heartbreak?

Somehow it carves its way deep into the grooves of my soul.
Somehow it bruises my insides black, nasty with madness.
Somehow it bleeds anxiety, crystal clear like ice running through my veins.
Somehow it triggers me and the old lies I hear make me want to cry.

I thought it wouldn’t matter, that I was strong enough to endure another man’s history, but somehow the truth still hurt.

Yet somehow it feeds me life . . .

I left my childhood religion and this is my story.

I didn’t leave for ease and comfort. I didn’t leave because I got offended. I didn’t leave because of my spouse. I didn’t leave because it got too hard, or that I didn’t have a ‘testimony’. I was all in . . .

And I left for me.

When I discovered that the one thing I had been defending was causing me so much pain and not forthcoming I couldn’t get away quick enough. This was my choice, and it wasn’t a mistake.

Follow your truth.
Question everything.

These will be the new words I teach my children. I will teach them everything I possibly can about life and religion. I will teach them to be kind to others, to respect others beliefs, to not judge others, to serve, to lead, to treat everyone EQUAL.

I will also share with them how hard it was for me to leave, the pain it caused me physically—emotionally—as well as the pain I have caused others. Millions of salty tears, sleepless nights, constant worry, the unanswered prayers and silence . . . and then the peace.

My choice brought me peace. The fucking WORLD brought me peace. The world I was taught to fear. To view everyone with new lenses as they are, and to love them without conditions is so breathtaking. Snowflakes are all different and unique, aren’t they?

And they choose their own path.

To not act on fear anymore. My life is literally in my own grasp now. No waiting till I die to see if things will happen how they’ve told me it would happen.

Oh the unquestioning trust I placed in their hands makes me sad. Angry. Hateful.

My new purpose: To let my past go. Be present. Love everyone.

I needed to write these words so that I could move on. It’s been since late April 2017 that I left and nine months later I still feel the scars of what feels like a regime. Still want to cry for so many reasons. It’s a difficult thing to maneuver when you are born and raised into a high demand religion, married in their temple, and baptizing your children in the faith.

Mormonism is a culture, way of life and a tradition.

A tradition I had to break.

Where ‘break’ to them means breaking hearts. Breaking promises. Breaking trust.

I had been trained to break my own doubts and wandering thoughts before breaking this tradition. I had been trained to feel like my choice to leave was wrong and unwise. I had been trained to only see my life and the world in one way, and that I couldn’t possibly be happy if I left. But it was breaking me, and I would break that tradition before I let it break myself.

I’m hurting writing this. I know what me breaking the culture means. I was a victim to it when my husband left first. You mustn’t forget that I felt everything a member feels when someone they love loses their faith. I was in it chin deep. I almost got divorced over it. It was like living a nightmare. Literally. I get it.

But now, breaking the tradition to me means breaking fear. Breaking depression. Breaking the silence.

And doing what’s right for me.

Everyone’s beliefs aren’t just thin white lines but are tremendous wavelengths pulsing through us. It’s what moves us. They’re our truths, our guiding markers. And I am guilty of trying to alter those of people I love when I left. I was acting on pain and anger. I wanted to expose facts, but I know that they’re my truths and not someone else’s.

I am sorry.

My new perfect world would be where unplowed tracks are carved with choices—not commodity laden ones, not tampered with compliance and consequence ones—ones that are a part of your soul and need only be freed by you.

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  • Reply Melanie January 14, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    I love that you spoke your truth. Letting go of anger and disappointments is so liberating. Thank youfor sharing your journey.

    • Reply Dela January 15, 2018 at 4:49 am

      Thank you Melanie! You inspire me ten fold…especially with your braid trade. If only I could braid my girls hair like you!

  • Reply Jen Young January 15, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    I love you so much. This is written so honestly. Big hugs, high fives and twirls girl, being brave isn’t easy and being honest is a barrier a lot will never know.
    Always and forever your soul sister

    • Reply Dela January 17, 2018 at 5:25 am

      Moon sister, I love you to the Sun and back. Thanks for always being so incredible.

  • Reply Amber January 19, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    I love this lady. My heart goes out to you. You are so strong and I have a huge amount of respect for you. I love the words you poured out on this and it makes you such an inspiration.

    • Reply Dela February 1, 2018 at 4:23 am

      Thank you Amber! Kisses.

  • Reply Frida January 26, 2018 at 1:21 am

    thank you for Sharing.
    Speaking your truth is the best way of letting go and moving on.

    • Reply Dela February 1, 2018 at 4:25 am

      Thank Tia, sending virtual kisses…muah!

  • Reply Mandy February 1, 2018 at 1:42 am

    All the love to you on your journey.

    • Reply Dela February 1, 2018 at 1:51 am

      Thank you so much. Means the world.

  • Reply Leslie February 1, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for sharing. It’s only been about a month for me and the wounds are still fresh. I’m trying to read as many stories as I can so I can try to find…something…anything. It’s exhausting. Good luck on your journey and congrats on your liberation!

    • Reply Dela February 1, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      Isn’t it shocking to think that actual wounds occur from something you once believed to be so valuable and good? Never in a million years would I have expected to be where I am today. With a lot of work I can finally say that I am extremely happy now. I hope you can feel some relief soon and know you aren’t alone. There are thousands of us who have, or are currently, licking our wounds. Much love to you and your journey!

  • Reply Laura February 1, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Love this. I only left a month ago, and much of what you’ve described is so fresh and real right now. Beautifully written, this gave me hope. xoxo

    • Reply Dela February 1, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      I’m so proud of you! You’re probably getting a lot of shaming and guilt from people you love. I am so sorry, it isn’t right. Be the bigger person and try to remain loving to them. Know you aren’t alone and that there are thousands of us out here that can validate your story. Do you, follow your path.

  • Reply Lisa Gilbert February 1, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    I am so grateful for this post. I too just left this past April. I’m 56 freakin years old and this is all I knew!! Still kind of living a double life cuz some family members do not know yet. This had been one of the most agonizing things i have gone through, wondering (but knowing) if i have done the right thing.

    • Reply Dela February 1, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      By agonizing you mean maddening, right??! There were, and still are, so many times where I feel like the mad hatter. What makes me feel more like the mad hatter is the fact that I know I sound crazy to them! I know exactly how I sound but common, what else do I say? They don’t want to talk about anything that isn’t faith promoting. Maddening. Truly, maddening. When Monson passed and their uproar over his NY Times obituary was all over I saw a quote from someone I follow on Instagram (who isn’t Mormon). The saying went something like, “The problem with people is that they only want to hear what they already believe.” So true in this case. I hope you feel better soon. I feel your pain. And 56? Phew! So many more years to live your life! You should be grateful you discovered your new truth at such a young age. 🙂 There’s thousands of us just like you out here in this “scary” world. We are proud to call you our own.

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