Inside of Me

There’s somewhat of a flea inside of me that moves me. It’s jumpy and impulsive. And yet, I am afraid to give things my all. I know that with spiritual stuff it comes from my early training, my parent’s religion, what if I play with witchcraft and find out “the Devil” has led me here. My family warned me for years not to worship elephants or demons. Tarot cards are forbidden in their religion.

These taboos are in the fiber of a person raised in a belief system. For me to walk against it, and I have, takes a complete turning around and walking backward. For a time nothing feels right. It is like walking without instincts. With no sight or sound to guide you. It is a walk that is stronger than faith because with every step of the way the gods in your head are screaming your doom.

I went through a crossroad back in December 2002. My world ripped open, and my insides spilled out onto the ground. I gathered them up as well as I could. Tried to piece me together. I didn’t know if I was going to survive. Divorce is one of the most challenging times in a person’s life, and during the holidays it gets worse. Pain. Despair. Expectations. Smile and be happy. I hate holidays.

One thing I’ve learned is to do something because otherwise I will sit and analyze over a small decision. (Should I go to the store?) I used to check and recheck, examine everything when I was a Christian. I would second guess everything. Finally, I found relief from within me. My wisdom stopped me, and I realized, do it or don’t. It doesn’t matter. These were small decisions. But what about the more significant choices?

I trusted myself. I had to. There is a mighty force, as I mentioned, a tiny little flea that won’t stop jumping, which propels me. This energy is me. Like in the quote from James Joyce,

You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning…

You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to go. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.

I can no longer serve what I don’t believe, whether it call itself my home, my church, my country.
The girl god

Ruthless

There’s a time when we have to face the truth. Ruthlessly walk through the fog and never look back. There’s a time to cling or to fight without mercy. If only we knew when those times were. Because just as there’s a time for ruthlessness, there’s also a time for mercy. For kinda-sorta-maybe. Gentleness is strong also.

I know ruthless. When I was growing up in a small town, I tightly gripped my faith and would not let it go. I believed. And no one could shake it from me. It wasn’t that I was afraid of punishment. No, I believed because I loved. I loved what my faith stood for, the God of all creation and all the stories of redemption that I learned. The prophets that spoke to me from pages of paper and ink. The stories were real to me, more real than any story I could read in a history book.

I was aware of how different I was at that time. Different than the other students in my classes. They let me know with every word and every glance. By the time I was in junior high I knew not to talk about these things. This created a cycle of hiding and shame. I connected to the stories of the lone prophets more and more. They were different and when I read passages like, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb, Jeremiah 1:5 or…Do not say, ‘I am too young, Jeremiah 1:7 ..I felt they were speaking to me. They brought me courage.

It’s hard to say what came first, the hiding or the connecting to the solitary. Maybe if it hadn’t been the Bible, it would have been another story or book. Harry Potter is a favorite of many kids because of his uniqueness. He’s misunderstood. He has special abilities. And in the end he triumphs.

When I was in therapy a few years back, my therapist talked about how common it is for children to connect in this way. It helps them cope. Helps them find a way out of their fear. Sometimes they believe they are adopted. Or they are an alien child. In the old Irish tales, people believed that fairy children were sometimes switched with human babes. Changelings.

As I step away from the religion I grew up with, I’m not yanking my roots away. All the same I know I want to let go of the tradition. I’m not bitter. I’m not angry. In a strange way it served it’s purpose. Like an imaginary friend, the stories kept me company. As I learn more truth it’s easier to let go, a little at a time. I can’t relate anymore to the lone, orphaned child or the misunderstood prophet of truth. That’s not me. And no, it never was, but somewhere inside I felt like that.

When you’re involved in Christianity, your life is constant abandonment. What does God want for me to do? It’s constant proving that you are loyal and dedicated. Jesus said to follow him and forsake all others. Pick up the cross and lay down your life. Anyone who loved their family more than him was not worthy of him. It was ruthless. It was constant. It was merciless.

I’m now picking up my life. I’m dusting myself off and standing. Even if no one understands, I feel stronger just by doing it. I’ve decided to learn more about the world around me. Physical things. Science things. People and humanitarian things. This time of gentleness feels so much better.This is true compassion and love.

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