Over the course of this last year, I’ve seen a number of friends shake their heads and even their fingers in lament at the “changes” they’ve seen in me.
And I have made a few changes.
I changed political parties. True.
I’ve become more active in the blogging community and thus more vocal on issues I’m passionate about — advocating for survivors of sexual abuse, my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and my brothers and sisters of color.
I’m disappointed in my former churches and fellow Christians when it comes to their resistance to rooting out abuse, misogyny, and bigotry within their ranks.
And I’m absolutely done with being shushed about any of it.
But I’m still the same person.
I’m just not stuffing. Not making myself small. I’m not whispering and waiting for someone else to speak up and say what I want to say. I’m opening my own mouth — opening it a little wider and speaking a little louder than I’ve ever allowed myself to before.
I can tell you, though, those who’ve sat or stood closest to me over the years are not in the least surprised.
I’ve always had a heart for the underdog. I’ve long been a fan of Beyoncé, Eminem, Missy Elliott, and the like — edgy, raunchy lyrics and all.
And the word “FUCK” does not bother me.
Rape, Brutality, Racism, and Inequality, these bother me.
True, my views on some things have shifted, changed, progressed over time and experience. But it’s precisely because I know this about myself that I’ve chosen to keep an open mind when it comes to others and their experiences. I don’t like when people discount me or mine, so I’m mindful to not discount them in theirs — it’s that important to me.
I like my new-found voice. I like having the right to stand firm in my beliefs, change my mind, or have my mind changed. I like having friends who give me the time, space, and freedom to do so — not on their timetables, but on mine — and that’s the kind of friend I like to be to others.
Some “friends” and family have not been fine with this. They’ve given up on me because they’ve realized their views and mine — or the ones they’re just now hearing about — aren’t in perfect alignment anymore, if they ever were.
They’re baffled at where I stand and my willingness to admit it. I’m baffled they’re baffled and so willing to walk away.
But this is me. It’s always been me. It’s just out loud now. And I’m not going back in the box for any of you.
Love you. But no.
And don’t worry. I still love Jesus, and Jesus still loves me.