Having been presented with the nature of duality heavily this past year, it only suits to speak about it from the understanding that I'm simultaneously holding being Mormon and being Ex-Mormon in my body at all times. As is every other Ex-Mormon that you see.
I met with a fellow Burlesque performer this morning who dubbed themselves an Ex J-Dub (Jehovah's Witness) and we fell right into it. Into the conversations around what we were TOLD our AFAB bodies are meant for and what we DECIDED they were meant for. We've both decided that the prescription we were fed is poison beyond belief. Beyond belief as in beyond faith. Clearing that poison out can take an entire lifetime. We laughed out loud because it happened...THE REAL happened within the first two minutes of our drive to the Toast Bar where we were meeting for brunch.
Something about a religious upbringing brings out holding that religious upbringing in our bones deep into our adult lives. That REAL reality of having broken through a cult. How hilarious to know that we still are pulling back curtains we swore we had already seen through. Especially because we both pull back curtains to perform on stage as professional naked people.
This is the formality, the etiquette as it were of holding both perspectives. Of knowing you are EX religious and knowing that at one point you didn't ask WHY. You didn't ask WHY and once you did...that's when you began your journey to being EX and once it starts...there's really no going back. Not that you would want to either. The WHY is just so wonderful to sit in because it gives you perspective and a sense of control that religions/cults are determined to beat out of you. The WHY forces you from custom and begs a different reason.
So then you have to find your reason.
That's the agreement. The WHY begs from us a different reason and not one that is force fed to us, but one that we create from the dregs of a broken bond between upbringing and self actualization. One created from a life we can't see...on a faith we don't call religion. To that place beyond the curtain that we pray holds grace and a smiling crowd of people there to celebrate us. To the family we choose, the life we choose and the stage that holds us there.
And I guess this is why we call it church, because we want to feel God the way we know it to be in our bones. It's the MOST personal WHY that brings us to this space of grace on a stage in the middle of cities far across the world. I've had to learn to hold both things. My aversion to God and my obsession with finding it. My reliance on faith and my separation from religion. My Ex-Mormonism and Mormonism colliding headfirst into each other as once again I'm reminded that who I was and who I am aren't the same, but I am fundamentally shaped by what I escaped.
So I hold my own hand and sometimes I hold my friend's hands as we traverse the why and hold both sides of us behind and in front of the curtain. Grasping onto each other during the bows to applause and smiling faces of an unseen, but heard crowd. Blinded by the light of a pure white spot letting us know that God is who we make it and sometimes faith is one step closer to sinning than we've ever been led to believe. Sinners and Saints both know the rules you know...Just depends on who's writing them.