So I just got back from a trip to China. I loved it! Thinking about it makes me so overjoyed. I made great friends. And looking at photos makes me laugh and reminisce of the freedom I had to be myself there.
Typically, I only find this freedom in the summer at camp. School drags me down so easily into a stressed out busy body, disliking the courses I have to endure and the loaded responsibilities of work and school. A week before I left for China, I would have gushed to you about how camp is my stable environment where I am loved for who I am. Things have changed a bit.
Today a friend asked on Facebook, “Why aren’t you working at camp?”
I responded with the truth. No point in hiding it, right? “I really wanted too, but our boss didn’t hire me back. He said I was harsh, run over weak people, and I don’t admit to it. I love him, but I don’t think he knows me very well.”
A week before I left for China, I was bogged down with so much schoolwork that I literally broke down in class when a professor gave us another assignment. I dubbed it “the worst day I have had in a long time.” I spoke too soon though. The next day I met with the camp director who I have worked under for the past 3 years to “discuss my role for the next summer.”
Can I tell you how much that conversation with my ex-boss crushed me?
It took my self-doubt to an all time high and my self-worth to an all time low. I questioned everything about myself: who I was, how I act, how others perceive me, everything. I left my body and observed from the outside, questioned each action I had taken during the summer, during the school year. I lost my confidence. I lost myself in general. I asked friends, coworkers and strangers, who was I? Did I act this way? I didn’t know up from down.
In a latter post, I talk about having my reputation pulled out from under me by another camp staff member at the end of last summer. I described it as having a rug pulled from under my feet and falling on my face. This though, this was having the entire floor ripped from beneath me.
At the time, I did not know what to say. I blubbered some sort of nonsense and cried for five hours straight. Luckily I had plans to go home for the weekend and had my family to hold me up, because I know myself and after so many heartbreaks in my past. I know my nervous system is physically incapable of handling this stress and without my family or the vitamin B at home I am sure I would have had an even greater nervous breakdown.
Thinking about it all now is still hard. It has affected much of my motivation to do schoolwork, to go to class and to interact with old friends from camp. I am afraid they will not see past the accusations. I am recovering slowly. Normally, I wouldn’t share all of this. I don’t like to be seen hurt or weak. I am not dramatizing it, but this is an event in my life that will take a long time to get over.
When you last heard from me, it was about my loss of churches. I had always considered camp a church. This too is lost.
And this, my dear friends, is why I am so jaded by Christianity. Looking back on my life, the people who have hurt me the most have all been Christians. How much do I wish this weren’t the truth! Because it affects me and I am unable to change that. I did not choose my scars or baggage.
I still believe in God, I still believe in Jesus, but his followers (myself included) are mostly screwed up.
When I went to China, I was myself. I was able to connect with these individuals, Christian or not. Groups typically split into different cliques on trips, but I was able to intermingle with everyone. I did not run over “weak” individuals. The person I reverted into was fun-loving and carefree. And I was accepted for me, never told not to act a certain way.
To tell you the truth while I was there I did not have much time for reading my Bible and I did some things that I am sure other believers would not approve of. But I think I acted in my relationships how Christ would have wanted- interacting with everyone, seeing flaws and looking past them to the good in everyone.
It is a lot harder for me to do this with Christians. I hold them to higher standards and you know my history so I am always wary.
I think China let me be myself for 2 weeks. And you know what? I like who I am. I know I have flaws, some sarcasm to smooth over, lack of punctuality, some chips on my shoulder to fill in. But I do not run over weak people, harsh is not my default, and I recognize and admit to my imperfection.
This song came up on my Ipod while I was in China. The end of summer and up until China have been the darkest moments in my life. I think this song captures the emotions pretty well. Too much has been and is presumed about me, but I will continue to run to the exit and let the sun (Son) shine down upon me. I think, hope, and pray that China was my exit sign.