Tonight I talked to a former high school teacher. She was an amazingly influential part of my life when I was graduating from high school, and remained really important to me my first couple years of college. We have drifted apart as I have moved and she’s started new ventures. We hadn’t talked in months when I sent her a message today.
We used to joke that I was like her kid, she was like my mom. we were really, really close. Our conversation tonight was awful. Maybe she changed. Maybe I changed. Maybe I am less willing to take people’s bullshit and blatant disrespect of my ideas and ideals. I don’t know what happened.
We really started growing apart when I told her I was trans. She didn’t care, which is different than saying she didn’t mind. She asked me why I had to tell her, if I was still the same person. She never grasped how important it was for me to come out to her.
Tonight I told her I had been going to church. She mocked it, and said that it’s sad that I have to go to a church to find community. That the world doesn’t need organized religion telling people what to do. She told me that she prefers to define herself. I said that one of our principles was the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Her response?
“I don’t drink koolaid, no matter the flavor.”
She was so unwilling to listen to me. Only interested in telling me how dumb religion was. how dumb this awesome thing that I have found a lot of comfort in was. It hurt a lot. I am really glad we had the conversation, but it hurt.
Was that how I have acted toward evangelical Christians in the past? So unwilling, unaccepting, unable to see past my own prejudices to recognize that even if it wasn’t .my. choice that it was .a. choice, and a valid one at that?
Even with all she said to me, I’m so grateful for her presence in my life. Without her insistence I would have never applied to college, moved across the country, or grown up nearly as much as I did. I just wish our friendship had turned out differently. It’s like when a little kid idolizes their mom, before realizing all her flaws. Not an exact analogy, but close to what I am feeling. for so long she was this person who stepped up to the plate when she realized my family of origin wasn’t going to do much. Now I realize that that was useful and important, but that I did a lot of it for myself.
I’m glad I have found new people to support and encourage me in my journey. In my free and responsible search for truth and meaning.