How to start this...don't you hate it when you have competing voices of sources in your head wanting to be notice first...ha. Maybe it's just the mind of a writer.
I grew up hearing all these stories about how you should "go your own way" (Fleetwood Mac) and be your own person. We had Breakfast Club with a group of kids determined to chart their own path, Footloose about dancing if you want to dance (in spite of religious condemnation). Indeed, the COMMON theme in the 80s and 90s was being YOUR OWN PERSON, in SPITE of those that want you to be a cookie cutter version of themselves.
It's not a new theme. Shakespeare wrote "to thine own self be true" and the entire country of the USA was founded on people that fought to BELIEF AND WORSHIP THEIR OWN WAY, against the way of the countries they fled.
Then, we got to the late 2000's and early 2010's and absolutist fascism took over. One group....Republicans and specifically EVANGELICAL Republicans revived their Inquisition and Crusade roots of their religious bodies, convincing me that I cannot endorse ANY Christian denomination, even though I am a Christian, because they retain without condemnation the heritage of those that burned witches, stoned girls having sex, and converted at the edge of a sword in RICH houses of worship paid for by taking money from the poor and suffering. Every time a "new" church begins to break way and attract believers wanting religious freedom, the backbone of Christian organized religion sets in and says "and now, THIS is how you must believe and practice to be a REAL believer." Until the established church condemns it's structural past, we are doomed to repeat it, and I cannot participate in a religion that defies the love of Christ to evangelize LAW and CONDEMNATION.
And, so I live free. This year, particularly, I have fully embraced the advice I have given to "follow your bliss" (to quote Joseph Campbell). The idea he proposed was this..
"Yet it is important to note that following one’s bliss, as Campbell
saw it, isn’t merely a matter of doing whatever you like, and certainly
not doing simply as you are told. It is a matter of identifying that
pursuit which you are truly passionate about and attempting to give
yourself absolutely to it. In so doing, you will find your fullest
potential and serve your community to the greatest possible extent." - JCF
Indeed. To boil it down, do what you want to do. In doing so, you will be BEING your TRUE SELF, as you were created to be and following the best advice for every decision and display your true face to the world...the face that you were CREATED to be.
In Silmarillion, JRR Tolkein had a section about the song of the universe..
"Eru brought all the Ainur together and declared that they would play a
song greater and more complex than they had ever sung before. He told
them that they would be allowed to weave their own thoughts and ideas
into this Music, since they had been kindled with the Flame Imperishable and thus had the power of creativity."
Get that...they ALL had been kindled by the Flame Imperishable and, as such, had a voice to play in the great song of creation in order to achieve true harmony and the full expression of creation.
However, in that story, Melkor disturbed the harmony by getting prideful of himself and trying to force the music to be ONLY how he wanted it to be....sound familiar?
Yes, we have our own Melkor's in our society that, while racist-ly declaring others tbe "different" requires them all to be like themselves. So, the rich and white preachers declare the attitudes of the poor, divorce, sick, or of another party to be SINFUL, since THEY declare THEMSELVES to be the standard of righteousness, having never experienced the sufferings of the lives they condemn.
I remember when I first WOKE to this (to quote SNL ha). It was after I could no longer take being used and abused by my ex and decided to actually live happy and consider my own needs that my ex was not even noticing. The church IMMEDIATELY set out to condemn me, citing scriptures against divorce, while at the SAME TIME ignoring the PAIN and SUFFERING I was experiencing in that dysfunctional marriage. So, those that had only known a loving relationship was telling me how I needed to live in suffering, which was really easy for them to do not having to LIVE the advice they would give. The same can be said of their advice of "suffering for christ" in poverty with expectation, when those same pastors give not a PENNY of their own money to the poor out of fear of experiencing the same life, themselves.
There is a song in my most recent running playlist on my fitness blog http://runmyownlife.blogspot.com that conveys this.... Shinedown - What a Shame..
"What a shame, what a shame
To judge a life that you can't change
The choir sings, the church bells ring
So, won't you give this man his wings?
What a shame, to have to beg you to
See we're not all the same"
Indeed, we are NOT ALL THE SAME, and that is not only OK, it is HOW IT WAS CREATED to be, and, until we are willing to allow others that are different to be themselves and listen to the song they create, we will NOT be the society the creator wants, either.
As for me and my web presence, I welcome all ...all religions, races, all sexual orientation and all genders, and if that last one confuses the conservatives, see my posts on the topic. Male isn't male isn't male, and female is not female isn't female. However, just as an example, if I were to choose a gender that matched what makes ME happy being, it would not be the average male, not liking football, fighting, competition, etc and being very sensitive to the poor and suffering, hurting, and liking the arts, music, fashion and deep meanings in songs, painting, and life. In fact, I hate being around MEN, and I have since I was young and have always got along really well with women, which does not make me a MUTANT (to quote X Men) to be hunted as in The Gifted but it makes me HUMAN and a part of the great chorus of life.
What distinctive notes do YOU have to play in harmony with the world? Are you playing them, or are you a slave to the Melkor's of this world, who will use you to their own ends and forget you ever existed for them. Maybe it's time to let your voice be heard.