Friday, June 17, 2011


Well, here I am again, lost. Really lost. I'm sure I should be doing most of my writing privately, given the circumstances. But it's back to that "follow your gut," feeling, and something told me to come back here and give this another go.

I'm used to tying my identity to external things. I've always taken on something of the character and interests of the people I've dated, or of the friends I happen to be spending my time with. Being alone is uncomfortable for me. I don't mean being alone in the sense of "not having people around." I try not to do that too much, but even I need some time without people. By being alone, I mean not being in a romantic relationship, not identifying with a group of friends, not belonging to a religious group or a tribe.

I was raised in a very large family and I was raised as part of a very large church. I grew up in South Texas, where football is a religion and religion is more than fundamental. I've always felt an affinity for fundamentalists of every stripe, though I mostly feel compassion and pity for those who don't have a choice about it. Yet, as a long-time atheist I still have an odd kind of respect for those who believe they have the answers to life's difficulties. Don't I wish I could just grasp on to one of those ready-made solutions and fly with it?

By the way, if this blog seems increasingly selfish or self-centered, it's not coincidental. Too much of my past dishonesties have been in the misguided attempt to save or help other people. If I can't cope with my own mysteries, how am I ever to help you out? If reading my extroverted introspection does anything for you, then by all means, continue reading. Otherwise? You know where the exit sign is.

I'm not calling myself an atheist these days. Agnostic comes closer. You don't make a decision to go on a journey based on nothing but passion and interest and instinct and then have the gall to declare that nothing metaphysical exists. I have and have had parallel tracks- belief and unbelief. But it's still complicated.

That said, I'm having a hell of a time with morality these days, and more of a problem of identity. Who the hell am I? I feel increasingly that I am completely out of touch with the people, the things, the ideas, that I most cherish and love. I've become a collection of roles, most of which I was playing out to please other people and keep my network intact. As if it were my job to protect everyone around me from the truth, for fear they might all fall apart. The good daughter, the good wife, the caring mom, the productive employee, and so on and on. And more of my time was being sucked away by pretending to be a lot of things that I thought would make me happy.

Now, I don't know. Everyone has a different answer for me. I came away from the World Domination Summit with a great, glowing hope. I was determined to find the way through. I am determined. So I'm here, and I'm certainly not giving up.

But who am I, when I don't define myself by my relationships? What do I really love? What will I make, contribute, teach? Where will I go? What do I want to look like?

Most of all, how can I be good? Where does personal responsibility lie? I have children I need to feed. Should I take another soul-sucking, dead end job? That way lies madness. But keep living off of the kindness of family and friends? More insanity.

So do I believe in myself enough to make a go of something entirely different? (Everyone from #wds is screaming YES, right about now...)

Can people change? Can I heal from the past, get stronger, and go on to do something extraordinary? I wish I knew the way forward. Very much so.


  1. Jackie,

    I can absolutely relate to what you are sharing here. I came to the US 3-4 years ago; having grown up in an Asian world with "westernized" cultures and values. I've shared the exact same sentiments; and I believe that many of us feel this way deep inside.

    I think we're all learning in our own ways. The beauty that is social media has enabled us to connect with one another - find people of similar interests which more importantly - becomes the foundation and the pillars of who we are as people.

    Maybe the answer is not necessarily knowing the way forward. Maybe it's best to stride through one tweet at a time; one tweetup at a time; and have others who understand us help give us ideas on where we want to be. My heart goes out to you.

    It takes great courage to write what you just did. Chin up. Maybe sometimes all you need is to be assured you're not alone with these very thoughts. It's knowing that other people out there have the same fears.

    And it's knowing that people care.

    Thx for bringing this post to attention; Ty_Sullivan.

    RdLessTkn #usguys

  2. Ah, Chris! Thank you so much. I certainly didn't sit down with intent to write this, but it's what came out. I'm feeling intensely vulnerable now, and it's people like you and your caring responses that keep me reaching out when all rational reason says to keep quiet & quit.

    I'm glad you identify with my story. I'm only just beginning to realize the power inherent in sharing our origin stories and our personal journeys. I too, suspect that there are more people out there struggling than are openly admitting to it, and hope someday I'll have the strength again to do some good for others in the same situation. Right now I have to concentrate on doing what it will take to pull me back out again.

    Social media has brought me into contact with the most wonderful and amazing people, full of joy and strength and energy. It's become one of my passions. Thank you again for reminding me of what's good in the world.