I have felt that I should share this blog post with you for a while now but have been unsure what to say exactly and how to say it. After a weekend of deep thinking and conversation, I knew that today would be the day but I am still nervous because I know I need to make myself vulnerable at an emotional and spiritual level. Unfortunately, many people still view vulnerability as weakness. I believe this not to be the case so I am going to share what has been going on in my life and the impact that has had, and will have, on YouBelong with you now.
When the pandemic hit, many people, organisations and areas were greatly impacted by it. Many jobs and lives have been lost and communities and families torn apart, but, for me there has been little change.... until about 2 weeks ago when a bundle of negative emotions appeared.
It happened gradually. First, doubt about YouBelong and whether I am capable of running it; then frustrations around my body as I have been having a few more bad days than previously and I was getting frustrated at how little I was able to do. A combination of my own expectations and those of others was starting to get to me. Then, one day, I realised that my faith was struggling. I had been reading the bible and praying for others who I knew were struggling in some way but the gap between myself and God felt vast. I was scared. I didn't want to lose my faith and, if I did, I knew it would affect YouBelong and many of my relationships, so I couldn't tell anyone about it either for fear of judgement and of more doubt being placed on me. The final straw was when I saw pictures and videos of friends and people of a similar age starting to return to 'normal'. Photos of day trips, holidays and birthday parties were appearing on social media again and I suddenly realised that the time when I felt 'normal' by being indoors all the time was over.
I am not a crier (in fact, I am often referred to as the 'ice queen' by those who know me because I don't cry at happy or sad moments in films that others do), but for 4 days I cried almost all the time. Nothing in particular had happened but I guess each small thing had accumulated in my head and I couldn't handle it all anymore. I hid those tears for a few days until I couldn't anymore and told my Mum about what was going on. I am struggling to explain it but basically, I just feel overwhelmed with emotions that I have not wanted to let out ,and a lot of the time, I just feel numb. No happiness, joy or excitement, but no sadness, anger or upset either. Just nothing.
The reason I am telling you this now is partially because I want you to get to know me, Laura, the person behind YouBelong, who is just a regular human struggling with some of the same things as you, and because what I am experiencing personally is starting to affect YouBelong. I feel that sharing posts that are positive and happy all the time when that is not how I am feeling would be wrong. As I mentioned before, whatever is going on now is causing me to doubt a lot too, and that includes in my faith. I so badly want to be a strong, faithful Christian, but that is not how I am feeling now. That was the part of all this that I was most scared to share with my family and with you because I worry it makes me look like a fraud, but that's why I wanted to be honest with you about it now.
Despite everything that is going on, I do feel that YouBelong is meant to be, because I don't believe that it would have had as much interest and support as it has without that being the case, but it will likely change a bit as I try to work out the best way forward for me personally and for the organisation and community. I am hoping to share more blog and social media posts a bit like this to keep you informed on what is happening behind the scenes, as I think honesty helps to create stronger connections between people. It will hopefully help you understand why things are not happening as quickly, in the way that you might like, or as I have before.
I plan to have some more resources and activities happening for us to engage with as a community including bible studies and video calls etc. I will also continue engaging with you all on social media because I love chatting with you and doing life together in that way, but it will likely be reduced as I take some more time to myself to enjoy life as much as possible offline. As you may already know, we have been working towards charity status for some time now, but it is a much bigger task than I anticipated, and it will likely be sometime yet before we see any fruit in that area. Prayers on this would be greatly appreciated and I will try to keep you updated as we travel further down that road.
If you have got to this point, well done! It has been rather long but I wanted to be fully open and honest with you to help you get to know me a bit more and to understand what is happening at the moment and what I hope to see happen in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for your time and for being involved - it really is appreciated and I love knowing you are a part of the YouBelong community!
Posted: 03/08/2020 15:52:04 by