Good evening, folks! If you’re reading this, that means you’ve likely noticed the styling changes here. While I liked the old look, I thought it was time for something fresh in time for the new year. I’m not 100% pleased with all of it (I’m aware the links are a little bit hard to read against the new background) so expect to see some minor tweaks as time goes on, but overall, I think this new look is going to suit me just fine. I hope it works well for all of you.
As most of you know, I have also deleted my Facebook account, which I’m afraid may have a significant impact on the overall population of this blog. Alas, I knew this when I pulled the plug. It is my hope that the people I love will still take the time to stay in touch, but time, distance, and social-media market segmentation are always factors in these things. I’m no longer comfortable holding an account solely for the sake of others.
At one time, when Facebook was still new, I think we all wanted it to provide us with one easy way to stay in touch with our friends and family across the distances that separate us; these days, I fear it has become a platform for the loudest of us to scream epithets at our neighbors who don’t agree with us or approve of our life choices. We are far too busy focusing on the differences between us to remember our shared humanity. What I want, and what I have always wanted, is a place for mature, respectful discussion to take place, free from blatant personal attacks and random acts of disrespect – and I will find it, even if I must build it for myself.
I intend for this blog to be a welcoming, inclusive, and open-minded place for others, no matter what countries we are from, what faiths we believe in, what genders we identify with, and what (who?) we do in the privacy of our own homes. It is time for a return to the old ways of “live, and let live,” and for me, it starts with this blog. If others cannot conduct themselves in a civil manner among people that may not share their viewpoints, I cannot offer them more than my hope that they will someday understand the harm they bring to this world.
There are, of course, exceptions; when the choices made by those you love become too painful to bear, and they are no longer willing or able to address your concerns. The act of living, and allowing others to live, can sometimes mean recognizing when you have reached the end of your ability to help or care for someone. In the end, we are all entitled to our own choices in life. This is a truth that carries both freedom and suffering for all of us, as we tend to choose the things that make us happy, while thinking we know best what is right for others. At some point in the midst of this dilemma, we must make the painful decision to let go and let live – and we must also choose whether we have it in us to bear the weight of watching as those we love suffer as a result of their own choices. Perhaps because it is Christmastime, I am more struck than ever by the idea that the God we believe in has given us this gift, and continues to watch, every day of our lives.
Perhaps there truly was a star in Bethlehem; perhaps I simply want to believe it is possible for something or someone to be so strong in the face of true despair. Your mileage may vary.
Despite this, I have chosen to set aside the weight I’ve carried for most of my life as my mother’s daughter, and to distance myself from people who repeatedly make choices that cause harm to themselves and others. It was not a decision I made lightly, and I will forever regret that mature, respectful discussion failed to do the work of which I still believe it is capable. Perhaps, in His image, I might have closed my eyes and my mind and my will for the right to stand by her side until the end of her days… but I know that to do so would have closed my heart as well. I was raised for many things, you see: to stand up against injustice, and to speak truth to power, and to never give up, no matter how dark the dawn may be. I am brave enough now to do so.
And to preserve that – to preserve the thing that drives me to help others in need, and to fight for the things I believe in most, and to face the fears that have crushed me since I was a very little girl – I have made the only choice that sits right with my soul. I have watched countless people I love lose themselves in the process of trying to save others. I cannot allow myself to make the same mistake. I have a husband, and a family yet to come, and a group of people who recommit each day to helping me build a future that means more to me every day. In the end, I am more terrified of throwing away that promise, than I am of losing what remains of my past.
Decency, of course, demands that private family business stay private. If you’d like to know more, you’ll have to ask her, or me, on your own time. I have no plans to elide this subject for the rest of my life, and someday I will speak of it as I do of all things in my life; with a mixture of joy and sorrow. As the wounds are still so fresh, and as I have no will to further break the bonds that yet remain in my family, I am choosing now to focus on other things. I hope and pray that my choice enables us both to lead full, happy lives on our own terms, and should I ever find that I misjudged this situation, I will be the first person standing in line to apologize. I want nothing more than to be wrong, because being wrong would mean her recovery and health!
Until that day comes, however, I will carry out my plan to grow stronger, physically and mentally, and give rise to the future that I want so desperately to see – not alone, but at the sides of those that have helped me find my strength, my dignity, and my worth when I had none.
Should the God I believe in find this decision flawed, I trust that He will grant me that knowledge in His own time; my family and friends must believe what they choose, as well. I have done my absolute best to honor the woman that made the early days of my life a joy, and who gave me and others so much of herself when she had so very little to give. I only wish she had realized sooner, for her own sake, that she no longer had anything to give away.
With that out of the way… I leave you all with the Google Holiday Party photos that I promised in my last post. It’s a bit of a dramatic subject shift, but the two are linked in my head. Though I had a wonderful time at the party, I found myself sad and thoughtful by the end of the night. The dress I chose made me look and feel, for the first time in my entire life, like a real lady… and I wanted so badly to share that with my mom, who I felt had never seen me like that before. Hell, I’d never seen myself like that before! I am still a bit overwhelmed even now.
It is the culmination of two long years of growth and change, and the exact sort of thing I could never have accomplished on my own. Without John by my side, and without the wonderful people that have guided us through this transition, and without the friends and family that have supported and cheered us on every step of the way, I’d still be the helpless, overweight, unhappy child that I used to be. I am so grateful to have all of you in my life, and I’m lucky to have known all of you. No matter how difficult it is to forge ahead without my family, it is the knowledge that I’m never truly alone that keeps me going, and continues to keep me going each day.
Tragedy and grief are powerful, but love and commitment can change them into a force beyond reckoning.
This too, I believe God knows. He’s seen that for Himself, too.