That’s all behind me now, the beliefs and the underlying system to boot. Starting in my 20s, I un-converted myself. Like, all the way. I didn’t want to let go of the beliefs but hang onto the patterns — become a judgmental atheist, for example, or a dogmatic yogi.
After dismantling my life, I picked back up a few handy concepts, like soul. You might say that I lost my religion but found my soul. Life outside of fundamentalism is less simple, but it’s a lot more meaningful and enjoyable. Instead of certainty, you get curiosity. Instead of black-and-white simplicity, you get gorgeous, colorful complexity.
If you happen to be stuck in fundamentalist hell yourself at the moment, I’m happy to point you toward an exit and be a companion along your path out. (For more of my un-conversion story, you can read my take on being lost and being found. Or see which books helped me the most along the way.)
I give talks and write about recovering from fundamentalism in a way that I hope is both illuminating and entertaining. You can read some of my recent articles on The Millions, Bustle, Racked, BuzzFeed, The Hairpin and more. I've written a book called Soul Bone. It's about my experiences growing up and my escape, as well as the role fundamentalism plays in our culture. I'm looking for a publisher.
I was an English teacher for a few years, then went to grad school. After that, I started an editorial career as a travel, shopping and arts editor in San Francisco. I moved into management positions as I moved around the country — to Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Nashville and back to San Francisco, then across the ocean to London.
Along the way, I started doing what the kids call content strategy and content design. I’m still doing that, working for a big tech company and living in London, drinking tea and saying whilst and fortnight like those are totally normal everyday words to use.
I also teach classes about voice and tone and about writing for emerging markets.
Also, Susan Gray Blue is my real name. It’s not from an elaborate color wheel naming ritual or anything. Gray was my maiden name. Blue was my married name. Weird but true.
I send a letter called the Soul Bone every new moon. It's usually lists and links about life after fundamentalism, sometimes also about notebooks or lip balm.