I was born into the LDS church. During my teen years I struggled a lot with mental health issues. And that started me on a road that wasn’t easy for me to be accepted by a lot of the older ladies in the ward I was in. I wasn’t perfect, and instead of looking at it as a work in progress, they acted like I was a sinner because I’d been cursed with these mental health issues. I wasn’t praying hard enough, or reading the scriptures enough. That I wasn’t enough.
Let that sink in. They were telling a child that they weren’t enough. Repeatedly. And I believed it. I still believe it to this day, that I’m not enough. That no matter what I do that I’m not enough. Its a struggle.
So when I turned 18, I decided to leave the church. I stretch my wings and see what else was out there. After doing some research I started to practice Paganism and living with the earth and its seasons. I was a solitary practitioner but there was still a lot missing in my life.
My twenties were nothing but heart ache and trials. I gained a lot of weight trying to control my mental illnesses with all the wrong medications, that reacted poorly with my PCOS as well as an undiagnosed thyroid issue. At 27 years old I went through the process of getting gastric bypass.
18 months went by and I’m losing weight, feeling awesome and in a going no where relationship. I knew that I was going to have to break it off soon, because he was just getting more and more ridiculous with his drinking. That’s when I got a message on Facebook to text this number after 5 pm.
We’d played this game before and I knew it was my best friend. He’d been stuck in a horrible marriage for a really long time and whenever he needed to talk I was always there. Fast forward a few months, and we were together, he was divorced, I was pregnant a second time, we had an adorable one year old… and I was pregnant again.
July 14 2015 I was in the operating room for the first of eight surgeries. Seven weeks in the hospital and I was finally able to come home. I had to learn to walk all over again. I was on a ventilator… anyways. My health hit a stretch of hellish months.
Finally September 8th 2016 I had my hernia repair and access skin removal and the healing could finally start to really happen. Except I got an abscess and had to have a drain in. And that was fine until the drain fell out. And then the abscess came back and burst… do you see the theme of Karyn can’t catch a break?
Anyways during this health crisis so many people were praying for me to stay on this earth. And here I am alive and well. There was a few other reasons I went back to church but I did. I nervously walked in with my mom and two children. I thought I’d be rejected. I thought they’d see me with two kids and shun me.
They welcomed me. A lot of the older ladies that had been so judgmental were gone. They had either moved on to be closer to their children and grand children, or they were just gone. The new families that made up the ward now were so different and everyone was happy to see a new face.
Sitting in that church I wasn’t nervous. I didn’t panic. I felt like I was coming home. I went to the next class, the Sunday school and it was like I’d found my Tribe. It was confirmed in Relief Society that this was where I belonged and that these were my people.
On the way home I’d realized that I’d wasted so many years being rebellious and angry for nothing. I was being a silly girl that was throwing a tantrum because I couldn’t be perfect for everyone. (Again that’s one of my anxiety triggers. I think I have to be perfect for everyone all the time 24/7 and I’m not allowed to show imperfections at all, ever.)
But I learned something through those Sundays back. I’m just a work in progress. I’m there to learn and to grow. I’m there because I’m already perfect. I’m there because I am flawed and because I am human.
I’m there because I believe in prayers. Even the unanswered ones.
I’m there because I beat the odds that were very much not on my side and I lived.
I’m there because that’s my tribe and its home.