I have been sitting here staring at the computer screen for at least 30mins trying to figure out what to write about. I want to write but something very heavy that tends to weigh on me somedays, today in particular I woke up feeling it lingering in the background. Now I’m not saying I walk around with a deep sadden or that I literally think of my past every second. I just notice this somedays. (I’m generally quiet those days or I laugh and crack more jokes then usual to make up for that sad shadow following me.) I normally live my life distracted or almost oblivious to this shadow only to acknowledge it when I’m trying to reflect on myself.
This is what happened on June 19th 2015.
I gathered my tooth brush and tooth paste and threw it in my already heavy luggage I had packed days ago, in preparation for a trip to Michigan that was only supposed to be 4days of visiting my family. I had two large bags packed. My aunt called to verify when the plane was scheduled to leave. When she hung up, I felt this sadness almost too much to take. Have you ever looked at someone or talked to them and thought to yourself, that what you were going to do that day was going to change them and everything forever, that nothing would ever be the same? Not that I thought I was so important to them, I just knew that this was going to be like a semi truck hitting them with a ton of emotion and pain. I knew that what I was choosing would hurt my then husband, his family and my family. I knew that this would crush my best friend. But it didn’t change how I really felt and what I really needed.
As I made my final rounds looking through my house for anything I was forgetting. I thought to myself.. ‘Wow I have so much stuff and in a few hours I’m going to have nothing.’ I hugged my chihuaha so tightly and I whispered to her “I’m so sorry. Please make the family smile, just as you have made me smile.” It took almost 2hrs to get to Lexington airport, my now ex husband’s mom and dad came with us to drop me at the airport, and they took me out to breakfast which only made me feel even more horrible for what I was going to do. I said my goodbyes to them and told them I would see them within a few days, I turned to walk into the airport with tears running down my face because this was it. That moment. That choice that was going to effect my family and my relationship. It was going to change my life forever.
I walked up to the counter and requested my plane ticket to Arizona. Yes I had lied to all my family and friends, even my husband. I had tried several times to leave and this time I planned, patiently thinking every detail out right up until the plane ride. My family didn’t know until I boarded the plane and sent a mass email to everyone telling them where I was going and that I would contact them within a few days. They took it hard but within two weeks of leaving my husband, I was shunned by the religion and then shunned by all of my family.
The pain of shunning is as if everyone died all at once but only worse because people you love make a choice to delete you from their lives. It sends such a terrible message, I mean this tells me that they loved a religion more than me. I even felt like I was worth nothing because they chose to leave me. I felt broken. I began to question if my family had loved me at all. I felt as though I was the most selfish person in the world for everything that I had done that led me to that moment. I focused on relationships trying to distract me from the pain and hopefully replace the broken heart with a whole feeling within. This definitely led to some very big mistakes and harder lessons I had to learn. In the end nothing seemed to help but passing of time and living my new life.
Now as I sit here, I may feel a bit of sadness like a shadow that lingers but I am filled with relief to be free of the amish like religion I was apart of. I am strengthened by these memories. I realize that just because my family chose a religion over me doesn’t define me and who I have become, this doesn’t make me less. I was true to myself and I will hold to that belief as something that meant more to me than the opinions and support of my family who loved me on the condition that I believe what they believe. I created a new family and I made a life not on conditions or religious standards. I am proud to be who I am and what I have come from. Sometimes the hardest choices we make, come with the most amazing adventures to follow.