Mentioned the testimony I had written out to Ben Patterson in my last blog that has not been accepted as something “appropriate” for Chapel. I wasn’t sure if I should post it.
I have been so utterly impressed and happy to see Westmont students actively advocating THEIR causes and SPEAKING UP about THEIR stories and experiences. Even wiring this makes me want to cry. Compared to the fear I lived in, of not being seen, heard or cared for, the new wave of love and seeking of truth in connection that I see at Westmont now, be it in discussions I overhear, on Humans of Westmont Page or the efforts of the Spectrum Community I’ve just been exposed to. I am so grateful for you and so happy to know things are changing and that the dynamics are shifting. That fear is no longer controlling.
SO this piece was the typed out testimony I tried to present as a Senior testimony. I have a story. It’s intense as a lot of people’s are. I could say it in many different ways. I struggled in figuring out how to word this. People told me “what do you want to say to Westmont?”
What I want to say is that I WANT TO SEE YOU. I would want to say I SEE YOU. But I know I don’t I know there are so many unseen people, unheard stories and I want these to be brought out. So this was for the unseen. You are NOT ALONE. Our stories may differ but I think we connect deeply in the feelings we have.
- I’m Gay
- I hate my roommate
- I hate my body
- I smoke weed everyday
- I don’t believe in Jesus
- I had sex last week
- I like Capax Dei
- I don’t have money to pay for dinner
Do any of these statements resonate with you? Some resonate with me. Some used to. In any case I know these are things in many situations one would not feel comfortable expressing.
My testimony is to anyone who’s felt this way. That you have things you have not been able to have seen about who you are.
I came to Westmont thinking my whole self would be loved.
That I could finally be my truest, fullest self.
That I would find ppl yearning for the same connection, wanting to just love each other.
I grew up in a missionary family in France. None of my friends were Christian. In fact it is a very dark place spiritually, where being christian, believing in God makes you a laughing matter. Spirituality, faith are not subjects up for discussion. I had a perfect Christian home and church and then my other life, in the other world. I learned life from my friends. I thought that coming to Westmont I could finally be amongst people who would accept me. That I didn’t have to have two different lives. Yet my first attempts at being genuine were shot down as I felt excluded, judged and hated.
I got over freshman hall testimonies with RAs a month into school.
Most ppl get over it by sophomore year. Are section meetings still a thing? We all give up right? No one listens, no one sees you even after you’ve exposed the most vulnerable parts of your life. Or perhaps the hardest is that this is only ok behind closed doors. That you might have close ties to your section but no one else would see who you are.
There is such a dire need for community at Westmont.
I’m tired of being alone, of feeling alone. I’m afraid of my pains turning to bitterness once again.
Pain is not bad. I was called back to its uses. When I met with a friend a couple weeks ago and she echoed so clearly what I had so ardently felt in my darkest times. How much I hated that no one was willing to admit how broken they are. That I was seeking for real, raw pain and brokeness. Because that is what we are. So why do we hide our faces so? And why do we let soooo many members of this community fall through the cracks? So I prayed for pain. I prayed to feel how I felt because in those moments I was so broken and hurt that the whole world misunderstood who I was and missed the comfort of this community of outsiders I had found.
I’m tired of counseling center being go to if you have a broken heart, international sudents organization if I don’t fit in.
I want community here and now. I am overwhelmed with this feeling of individualized help and relationships. Of hiding “problems”. I want to be in an integral part of community.
When I went to Urban Initiative in San Francisco I realized you have to be active in a community, you can’t just expect it. I know this is really tiring. And so difficult because to truly see people you have to accept where they are, accept we’re all different. Sometimes you don’t like that no one is where you are.
How can we better see each other?
I am asking for the Help from the WHOLE COMMUNITY
This is not a testimony about how my life was shit at Westmont and now its great.
Amazing transformation and growth has happened to me yet I’m mostly before you now because I still have this inability to feel like I can truly, shamelessly tell you all about myself.
We need to actively create a safe space where we truly put God first; the God in each human being and if you’re not sure about God, just put love first. I can tell you first hand that life without love, pain and bitterness do not fulfill anything and do not let anything grow.
I see darkness at Westmont College I know this is not the case for a lot of you. But I’ve felt invisible. I mirror things. I mirror the darkness with which you have looked at me. Break these mirrors, look down at them , pick them up and see the light shine on all the many facets.
Come speak with me.
Write a petition
Conduct a survey
Play music on the lawn.
I am so happy about humans of Westmont, about the GISA campaign, I know there are still so many unseen facets of you and me and us we have not seen. We need to learn from each other. community is not coherence.
Show us what you love, teach us how YOU love
In Thailand I learned a community development model that I would like to try with you. It involves thinking of three exceptionally positive moments in your life, Once you have identified these, think about what the commonalities are? What is the life giving force? Then imagine how these life forces factor into the dream of your/our future?
How do we get there?
If you feel comfortable and willing, PLEASE SHARE these moments and your dreams for our community below!!