So, this blog is my attempt to talk about and put into perspective some of the more fundamentalist aspects of my childhood and young adulthood. Silly me, I thought it would be easy.
I haven't posted for about a week, mostly because I've suddenly and unexpectedly been feeling guilty. Irrationally guilty. Intensely guilty. I feel guilty for mentioning TeenPact by name. I know, that doesn't make much sense, but that's why this guilt is irrational.
I loved TeenPact and it was an extremely positive experience for me at the time. For the first time, I felt loved an accepted by my peers. I had always been the weird homeschooled girl (a reputation I definitely deserved, but that didn't make it any less lonely). Suddenly, we were all weird homeschooled kids together. I felt at home. I still keep in contact with some of the friends who I met through TeenPact or who went to TeenPact with me. One of my best friends is married to someone who works high up in TeenPact. I feel as though I'm somehow letting those people down by admitting that TeenPact wasn't all great times and positive experiences for me. I feel like if they knew what I think of TeenPact now, they'd feel like they don't even know me.
And that's another thing - what DO I think of TeenPact now? It wouldn't be honest to say that at the time, I didn't honestly love it and think it was one of the best things to have happened in my life. It wouldn't be honest to say that some aspects of that statement are still true, even now. Regardless of religious beliefs and conservative values, TeenPact did alter my life for the better in some ways - I gained confidence as a person, discovering that I could make friends; I became a better public speaker and a more confident person in general. But then I remember all the bad (and from my perspective now, often downright silly) things I had hammered into me: America is God's country. Women can't be leaders. Gay marriage will remove God's protective hand from our nation.
So I'm conflicted. I loved TeenPact. I hate TeenPact. I still love parts of TeenPact. I have no idea how to reconcile the two: I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but what if the baby already climbed out of the tub because the water was too dirty? And why do I feel this huge amount of guilt for even mentioning the name of the organization in an anonymous blog?
This is turning out to be harder than I had expected, but I don't want to quit. I want to work through these thought and these emotions - and this guilt. I want to keep writing about a system that I believe is morally wrong and that victimizes and disempowers lots of people in the name of glorifying God. I don't want to stop writing just because it makes me uncomfortable - and it DOES make me uncomfortable, and I didn't expect the feeling to be so strong. I'm just adjusting, I guess.
Thanks for reading, whoever's reading.