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We recently received this submission from a former ATI [Advanced Training Institute] student that was written during this tumultuous period in her life around age 20. We thought it important to highlight, because we know that there are many people out there who have gone through, or are going through, the same type of struggles in their own lives. We want them to know that they are not alone.
Why do I feel so lost?
I realized recently that I’m seeking something. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what.
But I think I know now. I’m searching for me.
For the real me.
It’s hard to put it into words. I mean, my life looks so good on the outside.
I changed my Facebook profile picture a couple of days ago, and I got over 50 likes on it. Which really surprised me. I wasn’t even expecting people to really like it. Several people commented on my beautiful eyes, but I feel like they are lying. They don’t know that what they are complimenting isn’t the real me. It’s just the shell I live in. The shell I don’t belong in.
Man. That sounds really weird, I know.
How can I even talk like this? I almost can’t believe I’m saying all of this. I didn’t even realize this was all in my head till it started coming out.
I believe in God with all my heart. I go to church. I live a good life. Not the crazy conservative life I was brought up in, but not a bad life either. I’m learning to be happy.
But is that person really me?
Or are there two of me hidden inside of me? And which is which? Who of me is even talking right now?
I’m so confused.
How can I know the truth and still feel this way? How can I know that I know the truth one minute and then be questioning what even IS truth the next?
I wish I could know for sure who I am and what all has happened to me in my life. Do I remember everything, or am I still blocking many things out? It’s hard to believe how much I had blocked out before I started to face my past. But then, I almost wish I hadn’t started to face my past, because I wasn’t ready for what I’ve come face to face with.
I could never let my mom know how I feel about all this. Seriously. I know she meant well. She just wanted to protect me, and to do everything “right.” Somehow it’s backfired on her, and she doesn’t even realize to what extent.
She pretty much thinks I’ve become pagan because I wear jeans now when I go out, and I listen to music besides hymns and classical music. I’ve even been to the theater twice.
I try to respect and honor her. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s the farthest thing from easy. I feel like I’m just going to go in circles if I continue living like this.
But what can I do about it? I wish someone had explained more things about real life when I was younger. Maybe then I wouldn’t have such a strange curiosity to know everything there is to know. To experience what I haven’t experienced.
I know I need to get out on my own. How can Mom think that sheltering me from the world and everything in it helps me? How could she not know that cutting me off from all of the “less godly Christians” around me actually cuts me off from the only place where I can ask for help?
I don’t really blame my mom, who meant well and still means well.
I don’t even blame Bill Gothard, even though I trusted him even more than my mom did. Well, until I stopped.
I don’t blame my father for being gone for most of my life. He was a good dad, and it’s not his fault he’s not here anymore.
I don’t blame my neighbors because—for crying out loud—they always thought we were a perfect family without any real problems.
I don’t blame my sisters, either. They are young and innocent. I really should have protected them more.
I don’t blame God. I do trust Him, however crazy that sounds. I know that He was always with me and kept me from experiencing worse.
I don’t blame the church, since we never really involved ourselves enough in the church for the church to know there was anything wrong.
I guess that means the only person left to blame is myself. And even though I know I shouldn’t blame myself, right now I can’t help it. There’s no one else to blame.
So I guess I’ll just blame the other me. Whoever she is.