Hello fellow tightrope walkers!
For the last two years, I feel like I’ve been walking a thin, wobbly tightrope, constantly fearing a wrong step, a wobble, or an unexpected wind will throw me off and push me to my demise as I attempt to balance my conservative religious upbringing with my more progressive work.
The balancing act is necessary, because to many, I am a first.
In my more conservative circles, I’m the first to go to college. The first woman to have a professional career. The first woman to wear pants. The first to have a nose ring. To that end, I’m constantly walking the fine line of being true to myself and my values, while also being clear that my personal convictions have not changed.
In my professional circles, I’m the first…I don’t want to use the word conservative, so perhaps the slang term “fundie” is more appropriate? I’m not sure how to accurately describe myself within this field. I’ve never kissed, and probably won’t until I’m at least engaged. I want as many kids as I can have. I plan to homeschool and be a stay at home mom. I also have pretty conservative Christian values for myself. I don’t want to hide these facts about myself, but at the same time, I wan’t people to know that I’m not a jerk, that I genuinely love people, and I don’t want to force my values on other people.
Being truthful about my beliefs has caused me to lose “friends” on both sides.
But, at what cost is being truthful worth it? I’ve had to carefully consider this question. Wouldn’t it be better to tell half-truths and keep silent? And by doing so keep the peace and maintain friendships?
If you’re reading this, fellow tightrope walker, the answer is a bold no.
I want to be loved, wanted, and respected for who I am: a Jesus loving woman with a nose ring; a lawyer with conviction; simply, Krista.
I want to show my faith community that I can keep my convictions and have a career. And I want to show my professional community that I can be a great lawyer and keep my personal convictions. It shouldn’t be that tough.
As I said, being true to yourself will often cost you. Communities like cookie cutter people and it’s tough to be the first to break the cookie cutter mould.
It can be scary, but if you’re walking your own tightropes, you need to take comfort in being a trailblazer. Because of me, it’s easier for kids from my church to go to college, for women to dream about having a career. And I know this, because I’ve helped 4 women apply to various forms of college.
I also know, that because of me, some of the stereotypes within my professional circles about “conservatives” have been broken. They now see that a person can. R pro-life and fight for women’s rights, and that a person can have convictions without forcing those convictions on others. I know, because some of my colleagues have told me that I’ve challenged stereotypes.
So if you’re walking a tightrope, I know it’s tough, but it’s worth it.
I also know that the tightrope has to be walked. If I went into one of the churches I grew up in, immediately flashing a nose ring or announcing my beliefs about the election, people wouldn’t listen to me. I first needed to maintain their respect and be tactful in how I brought up controversial topics. I needed to balance.
Similarly, I couldn’t waltz into professional events and announce “I think what you believe is wrong!” First, that would be so ignorant (maybe I am wrong, after all. How do we actually know what I believe unless I listen to others?) Also, it would just be weird if I announced my views of dating, for example, without making sure it was an appropriate time. So again, I needed to balance.
What tightropes are you walking? How are you balancing? I know it can be tough, but it worth it. Above all else, be true to yourself and your beliefs. After all, only you will be forced to look at yourself in the mirror every day, and you deserve to be at peace with yourself.