How We Are Together – JR Heaton
About 10 years ago I started a blog. I had reached a crossroad in reconciling two parts of myself. Up to that point, my conservative Mormon self had dominated the conversation with my gay self. Or at least it thought it had. My gay self was leaking out all over though, in plenty of unhealthy and self destructive ways. 10 years ago I set out to give my gay self some oxygen and space to explore in more open and intentional ways. What resulted was a complete deconstruction and the beginning of a reconstruction of my identity.
Gayness was my gateway issue, but ultimately my whole belief system unraveled. I’d say it was unsettling and scary, but it really wasn’t. Mormons often describe this process as a faith crisis. It didn’t feel like a crisis to me. It felt more like a slow motion reveal of myself. It was a process of quieting the external voices telling me what I should do, believe in and who I should be and learning to trust my own voice to tell me what I should do, believe in and who I should be.
Not that I didn’t experience any existential angst. I did. But it mostly felt like I was finally coming home to myself.
At the time, there was a small, tight-knit community of other gay Mormon bloggers who were kind of hashing this all out together. I hopped right in and obsorbed others’ experiences and perspectives and shared my own. It felt like the first time I had found my people and could speak out loud.
I actively blogged for around 3 years. I made lots of friends and unearthed a new me in the process.
And now 7 years later I find myself ready for another round of loosening the grip on who I am and allowing new ideas to flow in. Fast forward 7 years or so and I have a husband, a 12 month old daughter and a totally unfulfilling career.
I recently read How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan. That and I recently spent a year getting a professional coaching certification, learning more about people and systems and how they interact and change. I ended the program with a certfication and mostly decided I don’t want to be a coach. I think I find people/the process too exhausting to do that. I believe the exhaustion comes from finding it extremely difficult to resist the gravitational pull of who other people are. I default in assuming people know what’s best for themselves and it feels unnatural to assert other ways of being. I prefer more to be a sounding board. I found people often expect more than that from a coach though. I thoroughly enjoy the process of learning about and studying human development though. When I recently heard Brene Brown say in an interview that she never had any desire to be a therapist, just a researcher, it was like someone had shone a light on a party of myself I hadn’t noticed before. I had seen vague contours, but now I could see a little more nuance.
So here I am. Wanting to expore people and systems and myself. And see if I can take the current iteration of who I am and unearth the next.