there are many sides to any story. there are many sides to my own stories. there are the stories i tell now and the stories i’ll tell tomorrow. and there are the stories that tell one part of how i feel right now, and stories that tell a whole other part of how i feel.

the important part of my last post for me was that Right Then, i was feeling Very Disillusioned. as i wrote it, i tried to express that it was probably temporary and that i also felt a load of other things. i was as frustrated with the person in question, and as sympathetic to my meeting as i was angry and disillusioned. it felt urgent and it still feels important that i wrote it from the lens that i did, because i don’t express that part of things much. and there’s always a part of me that wants more from quakers, that wants to push harder, that wants to hold the group accountable to the things that i’ve learned from quakerism to hold myself accountable to.

it hurt people. i didn’t want to hurt people. but it’s hard not to hurt people when one is speaking from hurt. (which is a potential lesson from our experience with that person.) but there’s also tremendous potential for healing. which was what i was going for. i was hoping that in being honest about how i felt about the situation, i could heal and the meeting could heal.

of course, with blogs, honesty becomes one-sided and poisonous. whether you intend it or not. it doesn’t feel like dialog, and it can seem invasive.

i’m leaving my post up, because it’s true. it’s also only part of something. it’s not totally true. it’s not my whole truth, and it’s not The whole truth. but it’s true for what it is. and because there are posts before it and after it that keep it in context. our meeting wasn’t perfect, it did the best it could, it’s been amazing for me, i wish it could be amazing for everyone. that’s what i tried to tell. you miss that if you only read that post. that’s another scary thing about blogs. mine’s a conversation with myself and it’s easy to misunderstand things when you just catch part of a conversation. it might be a generational thing, i might be embarrassed someday, i regret that it was hurtful, but i think this blog serves the community best when the seams show. a flawless community is not real– as much as i wish it were.

i’ve gotten 10 visitors in the past few days that have visited my site from searching for cubbie, quaker, and blog. before these past few days, that had happened a couple of times, but once i became controversial, people wanted to find me. i hope that they will come back and see the calm days, the loving days, the joyful days. those are most days.

i hate that our meeting has caused people pain. i hate it because it has not caused me pain, and that makes me feel strangely guilty, very sad, and a little angry at everyone involved. who are you that you can not be perfect to me and also this person? who are you that you do not find the perfection here? who am i that i am willing to accept this place that has wounded you?

when i posted about feeling like an enabler, it was true. there have been times when i feel like i’m making excuses for abusive behavior to a wounded person. i am not wounded by these people, but i’ve seen it happen, and i’ve tried to make the woundings not true. “have you tried this? have you considered that?” i feel like i’m making excuses. there is a truth to the disconnect between mine and others’ experiences that is not abuse, but it feels so much like my experience of dealing with abuse that i don’t know how else to name it yet. i’ve known denial. i haven’t known this “one person’s medicine being another person’s poison” like this before.

since my post, i’ve gotten 3 phone calls and a few emails. i’ve felt embarrassed, stalked, hounded, and loved. every conversation, i expected some sort of cease and desist order, but instead, i got love. some hurt, some agreement, tons and tons of love. and not just to me. i heard about so much love for this man. and honestly, i’d sort of forgotten that part, even as i claimed to sort of remember. i’m sorry i forgot. i’m sorry if you felt like your efforts and care was dismissed. i screw up. and you still love me. i raged like i did because i believed we could handle it. i forgot that that could hurt you, but i knew i’d be forgiven. that’s pretty juvenile, i guess. i’ll try not to take advantage of that again.

talking with him that day reminded me that i need to be honest. and it reminded me that i have not been faithful to all that i should be honest about. i’ve talked in my clearness committees about my yearnings for scary conversations, and haven’t really done them. i initiated a one-sided scary conversation over here, not expecting the sort of follow-up it had, and was confronted with a number of scary conversations that made me want to show up at meeting with movie star dark glasses. but i didn’t. i held myself accountable to my words. and now i will start on those scary conversations that need to be had. the ones that don’t ambush– the ones where we choose to be brave and face each other and ourselves… and god or whomever is there to keep us safe there.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Haha, you SHOULD show up with movie star glasses! That would be so awesome. New Quaker Chic.

    The past few weeks I have been coming to terms with some things. I have never, even when things were going good, felt comfortable saying the following statement: “I am a Quaker.”

    I tell my friends things like, “I hang out with Quakers” or “Quakers are really cool” but somehow I have always deferred to the concept of Friend and dropped the Society of part. I didn’t know why until more recently, when I decided the simple truth is…

    I am not a Quaker.

    It gives me a huge sigh of relief. Now I don’t have to change them, people who are good people and trying hard to be better. Now I don’t have to go to every Meeting or event.

    Maybe MB and I are the same. Maybe we are not good at “we” statements. Searching for community, yet not liking it once we’re there. Maybe we are not, and never were, Quakers in the first place.

  2. I applied for membership (13 years ago) after an experience in a community meeting where I wanted to introduce myself as a member of the RSoF, but realized I couldn’t. Not officially and honestly, anyway. I went home and fixed that.

    I wrote on another blog this morning that “I’m happy with my monthly meeting. It’s not perfect, but it’s trying. Opportunities to grow in the Light and to practice Jesus’s teachings are a normal part of it.” So, so, not perfect, but really, really trying. I hope that describes me too.

  3. cubbie and others–

    I believe that navigating through periods of disillusionment, anger, and scary conversation within a community, when the community can hold the tension between the scary, risky stuff and the warm-fuzzy Love stuff–and when people can stay during and after that process–that that is the most growthful of times for both the individuals involved and for the meeting as a whole.

    In my experience, it takes a lot of spiritual maturity from a lot of folks to navigate those “rapids.” It sounds like you and others in the meeting are planning to stick around, and for that I am pleased.

    Blessings,
    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up


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