I’m not who I was, but I’m more ME now than I was before I became who I was not.
I recently turned 46. In the past several years since we left our very conservative Christian church after 18 years, I’ve been struggling with trying to get my feet under me again. It’s been hard. On the one hand, I miss being involved in a church and having that family around me for friendship and support.
On the other hand, when we left it was as if God threw the doors open wide and said “Look what you’ve been missing! Real life! Everywhere!” And it was good. Eye-opening and amazing, in fact.
18 years in a super conservative environment have taken their toll on me.
Several revelations have come to mind as I’ve been processing everything and current political, social, and societal ills have really forced a shift in my thinking. It’s difficult to toe the straight-edged Christian line when all around I see Christians who would rather string someone up or tear them into little pieces than show them the love they claim in Christ. It’s sickening, and to be honest I really don’t want any part of it.
So much has changed.
I completely missed the 90’s, up through 2013. I mean, I was THERE, but I missed everything that was happening in the world outside of the insulated Christian bubble that we lived in. Music, my love since early childhood, became confined to the boundaries of contemporary Christian and worship music.
Entirely. About a year after giving my life to Christ, I actually took approximately 650 beautiful, playable vinyl record albums to a local used record store and sold them for $150.
Limited editions. Bootlegs. Collector’s issue picture discs. Kiss, Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Journey, ACDC, Dave Matthews Band, Metallica, Bob Seger, Eric Clapton… and the list goes on.
I know. I still cringe thinking about it. It makes me ill.
Everything that had been part of ME was stripped away.
Me, the Central California girl, hippie and Deadhead at heart became Dawn, the ultra-repressed-Christian-homeschooling-mom. Practically perfect in every way. Oh, wait–that’s Mary Poppins–but I sure tried to come up as a close second.
I pulled on the Christian homeschooling mom identity and lost myself.
That new Dawn sheltered her kids from a lot (although not nearly as much as many homeschool parents we knew!) and didn’t let them listen to secular music or go to functions outside of youth group and church except on very rare occasions. I was surrounded and absorbed by everything our church did and was, and my kids were everything. Being a good mother isn’t a bad thing, but it can’t be everything. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I realized I had lost myself.
The hidden me, the Dawn who the church and homeschool crowd didn’t know, who used to get in line at Ticketmaster at 4 am to get concert tickets to her favorite bands on sale day, frequented Grateful Dead shows when she lived in the Bay Area, enjoyed a whiskey and diet Pepsi or a nice glass of wine never really went away.
I just went into hibernation. Sort of. Like the time when I slipped and let a swear word fly from my mouth accidentally, at church. I thought the woman I said it to was going to have a heart attack. She didn’t, but if looks could kill! I’d told her, “Oh, HELL NO!” When she asked me if I wanted to help out with a kid’s summer camp. Oops!
That Dawn wasn’t acceptable in the Assemblies of God circles of moms.
She never really fit in there. She never fit in with the ultra-conservative homeschooling crowd either. That Dawn couldn’t possibly be a good Christian because she doesn’t fit into that AG/Proverbs 31 Woman mold. But really, who does?
So here I am. An open, questioning seeker and back-on-the-bus Deadhead since I won tickets to a Dead & Company show from the radio in July 2016– WOW! I’m exploring life around me, meeting new people, and playing music scene catch-up by couch touring every show that comes up. I am working my way through an extensive book list and also studying everything I can get my hands on about deconstructing faith and leaving church. Reclaiming Dawn is as much about reclaiming MYSELF as it is about reclaiming EACH DAY, not “for Jesus”, but for LIVING.
You may see me as a hypocrite. You may see me as an inspiration. Either way, you will see ME. I’m awake. This is who I am. I’m Dawn.
New here? I’d love it if you’d pop your email address in the form below so you will receive new posts as soon as I publish them! I am currently walking through deconstruction and deconversion from Evangelical Christianity, and it is touching every area of my life. Please read my About Page for more about me. If you’re looking for support in your own deconstruction, I found the #exvangelical hashtag online to be the first lifeline and step toward making sense of it all.