It's amazing the paths that life will take you down. I've always said that I would not change my past, because it has shaped my present, and I honestly like who I am. I'm not perfect, I have my bouts of insecurity, but at the end of the day, I think that (finally) I've developed a healthy sense of who I am.
This site was referred to me by an old boyfriend, he being Catholic, and I at that time being very confused. I think he actually pointed out the site when I told him that I'd become a Mormon.
I started on this forum a green little Mormon convert girl, under the name of baby_LDS. I was sure in my faith, and tried to counsel others with what little bit I knew. If I've learned anything, it's that my journey as a Mormon was meant to teach me not only the value of humility, but the value of myself as a woman. I think I went through the Mormon path in order to bump and scrape my knees, even dash my head at times. I'm now an ex-mo, and I would not go back to the church, but I can finally say I no longer look back in anger.
I changed my name to God_is_my_refuge, or GIMR for short about a year into my journey. I was having trouble fitting my identity (like I knew what that was) into the cultural constraints of the church, and began asking a lot of "why" questions. Some people met my questions with concern and answers, many of which I couldn't swallow. Others met my questions with recrimination, an annoyance I would have to deal with for a few more years until I was strong enough to leave the church. You see, back then I still bought into the concept of a "one true" faith. I didn't want to be wrong. Now I believe that God speaks many spiritual languages. It's ok if you don't speak the same one as everyone else.
I went into the church lonely and vulnerable, hungry for a spiritual experience. I came out of it angry, bitter, and disillusioned, eager to congregate with people who would feed my sense of righteous anger over what I had endured at the hands of other people. It was easy to forget the good things and people, while focusing on the negative. That is not to say that my experience wasn't extremely painful, but I hadn't yet learned the lesson of letting go. I'm still learning that lesson every day, but in other situations.
I have been on some awesome forums that spoke on Mormon topics. I've been in places where at first I felt at home, but when my desire to criticize and analyze died, I realized that I no longer had a place. I've bumped heads with a lot of people. I think that came from a combination of anger, confusion, and the budding sense of who I am...and my reluctance to have anyone mess with that.
At my lowest point I declared that "God was not my refuge". I felt abandoned and alone, unsure of how to navigate through religious conservatism, and at times fundamentalism. I thought that if I responded to everything with anger, I'd get results. All I got was a bad rap.
These days I still have my moments of worry, but so much has happened in the last year that I can't let myself be ruffled anymore. There are simply certain things that do not bother me. Personal attacks still do, but I think that one day even that fly will die on the wall.
I think that the last time I was posting here regularly, I was a very depressed, loney, and frightened girl. I have since blossomed into a woman, through a year of having all that was comfortable and familiar to me taken away. I came out of it with a support I'd never dreamed of, and am now moving away from a lot of toxicity. I'm also about to become a mother.
So much is in my life right now that I used to sit and think about in my late teens and early twenties, convinced that I'd never have. I just don't have time to find fault anymore. It does no good.