An ex-boyfriend of mine showed up stoned to a memorial for my father. Another run-in with a former beau was so noxious he penned an 8-minute ballad chronicling the debacle. And I spent years avoiding entire cities for fear of bumping into somebody that I used to know.
This proclivity extends beyond romantic involvements to include former friends and even establishments with which I had, at some point in my life, been deeply involved. And for the most part, its suited me just fine. I go my way, they go theirs, and everyone is better off for it. Or so I thought.
Recently I've realized that there's one past relationship I just can't hide from. My relationship with the Mormon church. Like most of my breakups this one was messy. I knew the relationship wasn't good for me, that I was worth more, and that telling myself everything was okay wouldn't make it so. But extracting myself from the dysfunction was a long and drawn out process. It left me feeling deserted, unlovable and alone. But, for me at least, a religion proved far more difficult to close out than a man, because with a family a big and close and devout as mine, cutting all ties with the faith would mean cutting all ties with the people who bring the most joy and meaning to my life. And that was simply not an option.
So, I'd have frequent brushes with the church, and every time my gut would churn, my palms would sweat and I'd spout out some sort of snarky logorrhea to let off steam. The situation was far from ideal, but it seemed to be the price of spending time with my family. Then over the course of the past year, everything has changed. All of the angst I used to feel during encounters of the LDS kind has slipped away. I've come to better understand the comfort faith brings my family, they've realized that it just wasn't for me. Even though the church and I couldn't make things work, I'm grateful for the role it played, and in a much smaller way continues to play, in my life. And for once, I'm able to say that I've stayed friendly with my "ex," and it works just fine.