Thursday, May 12, 2011


After hearing an interview on NPR (as if I listen to anything else) with Anne Zimmerman, the author of An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of MFK Fisher , I wanted to read something by MFK Fisher. She was a food writer and if there are two things I love -- other than sleeping -- it's writing and eating. 

In one of the pieces in MFK Fisher's book As They Were, she mentions a lodestar. 

Anything can be a lodestar in a person’s life...
It is fortunate to recognize lodestars as such. They light our paths, and shape us mysteriously, and in the process can teach true humility.

A lodestar is a guiding light, like the North Star. Something that directs you were to go, shaping your path. I got to thinking. 

I don't think I have a lodestar. As a Mormon, I might have read lodestar as "Holy Ghost" or "Book of Mormon," but now. Do I have a lodestar? Do I have a guiding influence? For me, one of the most frustrating -- and scary -- parts of leaving the church was the feeling of Holy-Shit-What-Do-I-Believe-What-Controls-My-Life-Now!???! 

I panicked after reading the lodestar. I've been feeling a little lost and chaotic after the excitement of moving here as become a little more day to day. I have to slow down and remind myself that I don't have to have everything figured out. Especially right now. If I can't quite figure out exactly how much food it take to feed only two people, I'm not the biggest domestic failure there ever was. If I have no idea how to get anywhere on this island other than the grocery store and the medical school, I'm not a lost moron with no sense of direction. I'm new to the island! If I try to drive B's jeep with the broken emergency brake and touchy clutch it into a tree without even leaving the parking lot and a big, fat man laughs at me and shouts to B: "Better start praying!" I'm not a dumb girl who can't even figure out how to drive. I panicked! If the other spouse's don't "click" with me right away, it's not because I'm a social retard who can't figure out how to make friends. I just need to relax and smile and keep trying to make friends. 

I think the biggest reason behind my panic at not having that Lodestar in my life is I was taught (however explicitly or in-explicitly) to distrust my own thoughts. I was taught the ultimate Lodestar was in control and I, as a human, had no fucking clue what was going on. I was weak, I needed guidance, I couldn't trust my own thoughts without the approval of those in authority. I lived for that approval. In some ways, I still do. And it kills me. I long for approval, but at the same time, loathe it because of what it represents: I still don't trust my own instincts. How could they possibly be right? 

While writing this, I came to a sort of mini-realization: Fuck this. I'll be my own Lodestar. My own guiding light. I'm calling the shots here. I don't have everything figured out, but don't panic. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. 

Everything is going to be okay. De-programming and learning to trust yourself takes time. I sometimes feel like I'm not "recovering" as quickly as I should. The Church wasn't even that important to me until suddenly I had to evaluate it and then I realize how much it really did shape my thinking and EVERY SINGLE PART OF ME. 

I hate it. It's been almost two years and I still fucking hate it. 

Stop mindfucking me. Please. 

Just leave me alone. 

Let me be. 

Let me be me. 

Let me be my own Lodestar. 

- Emily


  1. Great post..

    Something I've come to learn now that I took the cap off my jug of bubbles.. is that the beautiful, round, light bubbles had to float through the air, and it took awhile for them to land. They haven't all landed.. but those that did showed me the things that I would now be living for. Like human rights, love, sunsets, humor, the constant hunger for knowledge, my daughters, etc. I realized that those things were all I needed. There didn't have to be anything else.

    I'm still learning, and still figuring it out.. but it's happening!

    Hang in there.

  2. I'm so glad the interview inspired! May you find your lodestar...


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