Meet Lyndsay – A Mormon Refugee who decided to kill herself.
Posted on 26 May 2015
A Love Letter From Lindsay Clark
I love the message of Beautiful Disaster because it is all about embracing the whole of who we are – wild, reckless, free, wonderful disasters. We have all been through crazy shit that has made us question ourselves and our worth. But I wish to share my story with you as a reminder that no matter what happens to you, You Have Value.
In all of your wildness, your beautiful disaster self, is so incredibly valuable and important. And moreover, you are not alone. You are part of a tribe of empowered women who are all beautiful disasters, and we get it. We understand. Life can be brutal, but it can also be beautiful, and this is where my story begins.
I am writing this blog as a love letter to all those that have known the tyranny of shame and oppression. If any of you have ever known the feeling of the complete loss of hope in life or your own worth, I wish to tell you now: You Have Value. There is nobody else in the cosmos who expresses your unique attributes, skills, talents and quirks. There is only one you, and you are so incredibly precious. If you remember anything at all from reading this, I wish you to know that you are so very loved. You are held in the palm of a loving universe who desires to see you shine and glow with the knowingness that you are here for a purpose that is determined by your very own heart. You Have Value. Feel it in your bones, connect to that deep within your heart. You have so much to offer the world that nobody else can, because you are the only you. And this is where my story begins.
Last summer, I had decided to kill myself.
I had reached a point after 6 months of hate mail from my only living parent within a Mormon community where I felt like such a sinner, I decided that my life was no longer worth living. I could hardly bare the thought of getting out of bed because each day seemed to bring only more pain and hatred, and death sounded like the only way to find relief from the constant, gnawing, hopeless pain in my heart. It felt like I was dying slowly each day as my desire to live and breathe diminished with each ruthless text message and email.
My Mother was on a war path. She we certain that because I had taken my stand and decided to leave the Mormon faith, I had been seized by the devil and she had to do everything within her means to break me back into submission. In her eyes my eternal salvation was at stake and she had to bring me back to a place where I could be managed by the larger community values in Utah. Generally, Mormonism keeps people in a tight little box where the guidelines for life are very well understood. This particular religion is extraordinarily prescriptive, it gives guidelines for everything. There are manuals handed out to teenagers for how to engage physically (no below the belt touching and certainly no passionate kissing. Breasts of course are off limits). There are guidelines for how to be a perfect mother, father, sister, son. You are to attend 3 hours of church every Sunday, perform a “family home evening” every Monday night, and fulfill your church callings dutifully throughout the week. They seem to have everything covered. The cosmos is ordered into a proper package with schedules, rules and conditions that teach you how much you should loathe yourself based on how well you follow the rules or not. If you have not paid 10% of your income to the LDS Church headquarters, you will not be issued a “temple recommend” which is your gateway to visiting God in designated temples. There is such a strict sense of what determines your value, and none of it is intrinsic – your value must be earned. You must prove your worth by fulfilling a role that was handed to you.
During my fall from grace towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I remember earnestly seeking answers to my questions about the Church. One night I was reading LDS church history books in my childhood bedroom and my Mom came in and told me to stop reading anti-church literature. When I explained it was in fact church historians who wrote the books that demonstrated to me that it was clearly nonsense, she told me that I should ignore the facts because if I didn’t, I would be tempted to leave the church, and that is what Satan wants. It became abundantly clear that my seeking was not only embarrassing to my mother and my family, but it was also dangerous. I was questioning my entire community and the power structures that be. I was fully aware that if I was to start living a life that made sense to me, I would have to leave. This was in 2007, and I did leave in 2008 for 5 years, escaping to beautiful Vancouver, Canada for graduate school and the most healing 5 years of my life. My work permit expired and I had to figure out what next steps to take. I made the decision to move back to the USA with Utah as a home base for building my own business. What I did not know was what was waiting for me.
The return to Utah nearly killed me. In fact, I will say that it did kill me. It killed the old me that wanted to be approved of and validated. The old me was willing to be tortured and shamed. Last summer, I spent months on end considering ending my life. Months. Each day the question was, can I do this? Can I face another day of this torture and hatred? I felt like I was living on an island surrounded by people that simply hate me and everything that I stand for. I had reached a point where I no longer saw my own value or worth. I started to believe the shaming and the criticisms of my character and spirituality. When your only parent hates you so deeply, it seemed obvious that I must be the one that is wrong if everyone else here seems to be blissfully compliant. But something inside me rebelled, and it saved me.
I think I will call it the voice of my soul. My own Divinity whispered to me to not give up; “Find your strength Lindsay. You can do it. You are loved.” I listened to this voice and started my healing process by reaffirming my own essential goodness. I stopped attending family events and refused to see my mother for months on end. I blocked her on my phone so she could no longer text and call me all day with hateful messages. She could still email me, and routinely sent pages of hurtful words every couple days, but I figured I could use that as fodder for my book about how to recover from emotional abuse from Borderline Personality Disorder individuals. So feel free to keep sending it crazy lady! Thanks for the great material!
I sought out ways to invest in myself. Simple little things that would affirm that I do have worth and that I am worth loving. I treated myself to ice-cream and time in my hot tub in the back yard before work. I ended friendships with people who were not entirely real and trustworthy – I weeded out the garden of my life to only let goodness grow. Namely, I ended my relationship with a man who was just as much a piece of work as my mother. It took so much courage to walk away from someone I loved, but who unfortunately was very unhealthy for me to be with. I felt so very alone during this process, but it was ultimately such a necessary change.
Since last summer, my life has changed dramatically as a result of choosing to live for me. The new me will no longer accept shaming and aggression, and my own soul has become the more dominant voice in my head. I feel stronger, more resilient and harder to break. I am rediscovering appreciation for who I inherently am, a soul with intrinsic value. I now choose ME. I choose to value who I am and what gifts I have to offer the world. I realize now that if you allow people to make you small, they will do it. People who hate themselves will project that same hate wherever it is allowed. But where there is light, darkness cannot remain. All the shadows are thrown off by the beautiful, piercing light of truth.
I have discovered within me my own true divinity. This is something that is pure and loving and kind, but it is also fierce and unbroken. My soul cannot be crushed or shamed, because it is by its very nature expansive and loving and untouchable. And this is what I wish you to take away from this story. I have lost everything. I have lost my entire sense of family stability and community, both in Utah and in Vancouver. And I’m still here. Anything that can be taken away from you isn’t the real you. The part of me that has survived all of this IS what is real – my inner divinity is what has given me the strength to survive the despair and the moments of suicidal thought. I will say that it is grace that has helped me to make it through the darkness and I have discovered such joy as a result of throwing off all the false concepts of myself and who I was “supposed” to be. I feel so completely liberated and full of potential!
I will leave Utah on my own terms. I will walk away from this place as an unburdened, unbroken human being full of love and hope for my life. The girl who came back here was killed. She did die, and thank goodness for that because she wasn’t who I really was anyways. The soul within me survived and now I’m going to go out there into the world and help thousands of people to connect with their purpose and heal their hearts. I am going to help people to overcome emotional abuse and know that they can survive it to find joy again in life! There is so much beauty in this universe and it is absolutely worth living for. So, again I will say: You Have Value. Simply because you do. You do not require validation or approval from anyone. You are loved. And the moment that you start to connect to that deeply within your heart, you will start to change. Your life will transform before your eyes because you will realize that all those projections and fears and concerns are just shadows. When you shine the light on shadows they simply disappear. So be full of love and light my friends, know that you have something beautiful to create with your life. Live on your own terms. Choose YOU.
Wishing you joy and happiness,
Lindsay Clark, M.Sc.
Founder of Impactful People
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Original Submission: 5/26/15
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