I have been a member here for quite a while. My membership doesn’t give me a join date, but I believe it was sometime in 2014. It is now January 2017, and these have been years of tremendous growth in exploring my bedrock truths and finding my voice.
I had been blogging as “revgerry” for years, both on other people’s sites such as DailyKos (political), Open Salon and other sites, knowing full well that left me anonymous. Even my own blog (pictured) was as “Rev. Gerry.”
I had started a “my eyes only” FB page, Open Hearted Musings, where I was exploring spiritual issues and had only recently made it public (though I had not told my FB friends and family about it) when I found The Wellness Universe.
I am not sure why I was afraid to “come out” as myself but I told myself I would lose followers because my name is so hard to remember. Well, so is Iyanla Vanzant’s (another fine Dutch name).
Part of it comes from being the rainbow-sheep (who ran away and lived in a commune for 10 years) in a very conservative authoritarian family. Then too, I never fully “fit in” anywhere I was from early childhood on. We moved a lot, including 6 years in post-war Netherlands in the early 1950’s. When I cam back to the US, I always felt not only “different than” but also “less than.“
By my 20’s – and until my 50’s at least – I had thought I was a deeply flawed “Eleanor Rigby” for some secret reason I could not understand, unlovable, a failure in life…and other self-fulfilling nonsense. I was actively suicidal for many of those years. I had been deeply depressed for so many years of my life and now learning to love myself in recovery – never mind being delighted and proud to be me – has been a long process of overcoming a deep sense of shame.
I had come a long way. I had close friends. I studied and was ordained a (metaphysical) minister, founded my own church, supported other churches, was active in the community. I grew in a long-term love relationship (20+ happy years now) and we raised 2 boys who had had rough starts. When I retired from ministry and from community involvement, I needed to redefine my purpose.
I had moved from private journaling to public blogging (as revgerry), but had few followers, and of course that infant FB spiritual page. But I needed co-workers, colleagues, to learn from you and to know I was part of something bigger than myself again. It wasn’t until I found the support and friendship and COMMUNITY of the Wellness Universe WorldChangers… that I began to find and own my voice as ME, as Gerry Straatemeier, and to explore my truths “in public.” It was because you trusted me and believed in me that I could trust and believe in myself. I always said I “won the jackpot” when I found WU, and I am so grateful.
But I had largely stopped blogging, because, honestly, it was difficult to find a following and WU made it easy to find a FB following. Now I have a new blog and begin to see awesome new possibilities.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
PS: I have a new task. As I put together my new WU bio page, I realized that I have four major areas of focus (see below). That’s too many. I need to go deeper and see what it is that informs all 4 of them, to pull it together into one coherent world view/philosophy/message. Am thinking about it and it’s a subject for another day.Published in