I grew up on the plains. I grew up with red dirt on my knees in the summer and straw-colored grass on them in the winter. I grew up going to church every Wednesday night and Sunday morning. I grew up being taught that I should be a lady, a Christian, a virgin, a wife, a mother, a servant, an evangelist. I grew up being taught that yoga was evil, demons paced the halls of my high school, and that those who believed differently from me were somehow lost.
I started this blog as a place to talk about home. But a different kind of home than the one I believe in today. I’m never going to take beautifully sunlit photos of the china at my dinner parties. Realistically, we have “dinner parties” twice a year and serve chili in paper bowls every time. At least one of my dogs will get into the desserts, and we’ll probably set the yard on fire once or twice. I’m going to call it. A “lifestyle” blog is probably not in the cards for me.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my therapist’s office talking about why, even today, I can’t enter a church building without shuddering. “Why then,” I asked her, “do I still feel like I should be trying?” She prescribed a book called “The Four Agreements” which explained that the agreements that are the hardest for us to break are the ones we were born into. The agreements we did not choose. Those are the agreements that we cling to, that we feel we have to fight for, even when we don’t. So I guess this blog will be about breaking those agreements I didn’t choose, and embracing the ones I did.
The thing is, I still believe in God. He might look a little different to me than he looks to you. He might require different things from me than he requires of you. But I believe in him. And I think he’s the same God I believed in when I lay hands on people in middle school praying they would be healed. I think he’s the same God i believed in when I marveled at the incredible faith of a little Muslim boy kneeling in prayer between our tutoring sessions in Cairo. I think he’s the same God I believe in when I laugh with good friends and cry during Celine Dion’s concert finale of My Heart Will Go On (I know it’s coming, but it gets me. Every. TIME).
At the end of our session, my therapist told me I might be able to help some people with where I’d been and where I am today. To be clear, she told me I should get a PhD in theology and teach a class, but I thought redirecting my mostly dormant blog was more on par with my personal levels of motivation and drive.
For 23 years I believed a lot of stuff I don’t believe now. That doesn’t mean that what I grew up with was wrong (except for that shit about yoga being evil…and maybe a few other things). I respect the devotion of my friends who faithfully serve in their churches. I am in awe of women my age who have two, maybe three children, and raise them so lovingly. And I’ll be damned if I don’t delight in ordering a Big Country pizza (all the meats!) with two sides of Ranch dressing when I go home to Oklahoma. It’s a thing of beauty that deserves some sort of anthem and salute all its own.
So, this blog will still be about home, but the home that raised me and the home I live now. I think our homes represent truth to so many of us. Our homes are where we cry, where we fight, and where we’re probably the most truthful with ourselves and those we choose to love.
This blog is a place for me to share the painful marks and many blessings of growing up in the Bible Belt. I hope that sometimes it will be funny, sometimes it will be uncomfortable (I just told you I see a therapist!), and sometimes that it will strike a chord in your own life.
I hope it’s a place to leave what’s heavy behind. Let’s leave what’s heavy behind.