- One Republic -
I recently (in blog time) wrote a post about how I really don't like the trend of "resolutions" and "new year, new me." As is the phrase I like to use on occasion, which seems, quite frankly, to be the basis for a lot of general grievances against me - "it depends."
It depends on what you're trying to leave behind.
There's a lot I could write with the stream of consciousness I have right now, but my specific history isn't the subject of this post - just the background.
I left my parents church without telling them or anyone else, as well as left the same half of the country, in 2016. I was being subjected to religious, financial, and psychological abuse trying to pass itself off as concern for my soul. My world was in a stranglehold, and I was denied mental health resources on the manufactured grounds of my wanting to manipulate therapists into feeling sorry for me. I was told by at least one individual that I was making a mockery of what "real" abuse was, and I'd better stop talking. At the same time, I found out late 2018 about c. 2012, my parents were telling their community that I was clinically psychotic, in such an extent that were it true I would have been in and out of mental hospitals frequently, and no one reached out to me to confirm or deny what they were saying.
It turns out there's a portion of the Christian community who thinks clinical schizophrenia can go unmedicated and fly completely under the radar unless someone's parents tell you about it. Strange thing, that.
In my own research and reaching out to professionals and people with mental health concerns of their own, including resources from a non-profit doing fantastic work (a post on SBSK later, definitely), there's something there more akin to a mix of ADHD and PTSD.
But I digress.
As I've been learning from occasional encounters with a new philosophy on the mainstream radar - if it doesn't bring you joy, let it go.
We still have to do taxes, vacuum the carpet, and take cold capsules. But it assists everything else that should be giving us joy. If it gets in the way and cannot be worked at to improve or complete, let it go.
It's taken these last few years to work through my feelings on the subject of religion and spirituality. I might share some of that in upcoming posts, if there's something more concrete I want to say. What I've learned in addition to that, however, is that while community can be a tool to help others and be helped, it's meaningless if it's not receptive to your best intentions and efforts. You're not entitled to do whatever you want, but if you're doing your best and keep being told that you're lying...it's really not worth it.
I've spoken with people disillusioned, hesitant, and confused about where they fit into their various communities, or if they even do anymore. It's what's finally prompted me to write some of this post. I'm a part of the LGBT community, but I avoid the community on the whole, because some of them hate me, "for the greater good." I'm now a part of a different spiritual community, but even with the limited experience I have, I avoid the community on a larger scale. Because some of them hate me, "for the greater good."
People who share my same category don't define me, and can't tell me what to do unless I let them. There are experiences and rules and guidelines set up, but unless I can learn why those things are how they are, they're meaningless. There is no merit to "because I say so," or "God works in mysterious ways." This is who I've realized I am, and it didn't change. It just surfaced.
But I really don't care.
It all goes back to it depends.
A lot of things have gone into the subject here, and like said above, most of it has come from realizing that I'm seeing more and more people disillusioned with the "community" they're supposed to be a part of. These have all been mature adults, but there has been a scale from genuinely scared to leave for what might happen to them, to people simply vocalizing and owning the fact that it's weird to not be plugged into that circle anymore.
Almost ten years ago, I published my first book. It was under a different author name. This was because I was in denial that I was seeking approval from those around me. I denied that I was scared of it. As the book was edited and re-edited, I started feeling the first tremors that something was wrong that couldn't be fixed.
I've self-published four books since 2010, and while they're stories near and dear to me and hold the core of that, it got worse from there. The books became a parallel to how I was expected to edit myself, or face the consequences of not falling into line. They aren't my books - they're a product of the community I was in trying to protect their reputation. I'm alive in the world to be a means to tear reputations down and let people get a look inside.
I worked with a fantastic publishing company, who had no idea what was going on might still not, I don't think. This included the works - Ingram catalogue, amazon listing, Print On Demand, and I would never go anywhere else, even from my past experience.
I asked personally about changing my information after moving, including my name, and it was accepted without question or confusion, which is substantial because even my bank hinted to laughing at me when I notified them. When I joined an upcoming contest and had issues, one of the owners directly emailed about my questions. And so, when the idea struck me that it might be possible, I asked for all the files for my old books back. I've been thinking for a while about my new freedom to rework my books, particularly to finish a trilogy that helped me out in difficult times.
Guys, I have all my work back.
And I'm writing again.
I'm still drawing, but that longer process is juggled with the woes of adulthood. I do what I must, so there's more to put into what gives me joy. It truly gives me joy that I'm now "allowed" to tell this story the way it's meant to be told, and it's only up to me how hard or fast it gets told. The money for publishing will come later, because the story is now.
The old books, as well as the old name, are still on the internet, floating around somewhere. And so, please recognize the kind of thing I'm about to tell you, and what that could mean for me now and in the future. I'm just so excited to tell you, on top of everything I've learned since 2016...
Sydney West, second edition is coming.
I look forward to telling you all about it, and getting all three pieces into your hands.