Today I had two "in the world, but not of the world" experiences.
First I found myself at General Conference (I went with my family). I blended in. I hummed along without thinking. I had to restrain myself from raising my arm during the sustaining votes (it's still such an automatic response!). Beforehand I wondered if I'd be angered, or inspired (in spite of myself). Instead -- I was mostly just bored. It seemed like two hours of mush that boiled down to...largely underwhelming platitudes. Through it all, I noticed the contrast in my feelings: externally comfortable, internally disconnected. It was like visiting a former home now inhabited by strangers.
Then, in the evening, I joined up with some friends at a bar. In contrast to the earlier experience, I did not blend in (most girls at the bar were decked out for a night on the town, while I wore no jewelry or make-up and a rather frumpy outfit). Initially I had a burst of extroverted animation, but as the night progressed I found myself forcing interest in drinking stories I couldn't relate to, increasingly exhausted by my efforts to make small talk. I was conscious of my awkwardness, ashamed by my vulnerability. I felt neither externally nor internally comfortable.
Somehow these two experiences remind me of a rebroadcasted This American Life show I just heard for the first time. The story was about two grown women who learned - in their 40's - that they had been switched at birth. The revelation helped explain why both girls seemed so different from the families in which they were raised; but rather than resolve the dissonance, it exacerbated their feelings of disconnectedness. The knowledge seemed to make both women feel separated - not only from one family, but from two.
Similarly, I feel so disjointed. I am connected to the non-Mormon world by values and pursuits; and I am connected to the Mormon world by language, understanding and long-ingrained habits (e.g. modesty). Yet rather than feel at home with one group or the other - I just feel out-of-place with both. I feel like a refugee and an imposter. And I feel sad.