Once I again I find myself struggling to write. I’m struggling because the only things left to write about are the things I have not wanted to go there about. Things that I have kept hidden and secret from everyone. Including myself. Yet, as the days go by I can’t suppress the urge to up the ante. I always tell myself I’m all about honesty, so maybe it’s time for me to really be honest with myself and who I am.
We are only three days into the new year and I already find myself torn between who I am and who I should be.
Yesterday, I hung out with some friends I’ve known since I was twelve years old. Whenever I get around them I feel….free. I feel more like myself than I do in any other place or with any other group of people. I can swear, I can drink, I can say what’s on my mind without a filter and they do the same. They accept these things about me without judgement or criticism. It’s amazing how relaxed I get around them. I don’t need to mind my “p’s” and “q’s”. I don’t need to censor myself for fear of offending anyone. I don’t need to hide my past or what I want for the future. I can talk openly about sex with them and not feel ashamed or dirty about it. If I’m being honest with myself, sex is hands down my favorite topic and has always been. Women who like to hide the fact that they really like sex…yes, I’m guilty of being one of them. Yet, with my friends, I’ve never hidden this fact. I can be honest about past and present relationships and discuss them candidly. I can even be honest about my future.
The other part of me is the opposite. There are more often, times then, not when I’m watching what I say. I’m trying so hard not to say that curse word that is sitting on the edge of my tongue. I try hard to suppress that dirty thought that crosses my mind every time I see something that answers the question of what could be a “phallic symbol”. The most recent epitome of that answer being a lamp I saw while shopping at IKEA with my mother. She really wanted me to get it and I thought it was a really nice lamp but I just couldn’t help thinking that the shape of it look just like an erect penis. I had to pass on it. I didn’t want that shrine to manhood lighting up my living room. She is the good girl. The honor student. The teacher’s pet. The one who treats sex like a taboo topic that should never be referenced in public. This person doesn’t want to be caught in a bar or at a happy hour drinking and talking openly about sex. She’d rather be at home reading. She goes to church most Sabbaths and enjoys the peace it brings her. She is patient and hates to be rude to people even when they are rude to her. She is kind and polite. She ultimately is me. But if she is also me, then why do I resent her so much sometimes?
My upbringing makes me feel so conflicted I spend most of the time worrying about whether or not I am a good or bad person. My religion makes me ask myself this question too. I do a lot of things that I know I’m not supposed to. I can help it most of the time, but sometimes I just need to let loose a little bit. I don’t want to feel bad about it because it’s not like I’m putting anyone else in danger or causing irreparable damage to myself. At least I don’t think so. Why can’t my identity be both of these people? Maybe it is. I just choose when, where, and how I want to bring them out. Maybe I’m not so conflicted with my identity as much as the guilt I feel when the fun me makes an appearance. Yes, I do feel guilty when she makes an appearance. Why? Because she does the things that my religion tells me not to do. She drinks, she swears, and she’s open about her sexuality. In my religion, everyone says when you give yourself to God it will change you and take you away from the sin in your life. It has changed me in a lot of ways. I’m much happier. I live healthier. I love and respect myself more. But it has not completely absolved me of all of my sins. But perhaps I’m not meant to be completely sin free because that is not the human condition. 1 John 1:8 – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” There couldn’t be a scripture that more describes what I feel at the moment.
My identity is in my truth. My truth is that I am a complex person with different sides that come out at the appropriate time and place. I like to have fun and I like my peace. I appreciate honesty but I struggle to be honest with myself at times. I also struggle with acceptance of all the different sides of me yet somehow manage to find solace in the word and presence of God. This is my identity and as strange as it is to me, I have to learn to accept that fact that it is me.