Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Something Like Love (The Birth of a Flame)

It started or, depending on your view of things, ended Tuesday night. Watching ancient paper documents from long ago employments, along with other things like wood and paper plates, burn in a fire pit in the backyard of my group leader’s house was, for lack of a better word, magical. There’s something intriguing about seeing something decompose right in front of you. You throw a meaningless piece of paper into the fire, waiting for the flame to lick the edges, and soon, it becomes one with the other mass of flammable objects.  Your eyes grow big with wonder and amazement (well, at least mine did) as you stare at nature, seeing the paper transform from a crisp, white thing to a mini cauldron of charred blackness, never to revert again to its original state. It was mesmerizing.

Throughout the night of food and fellowship (and revenge via multiple games of Brazilian Uno), I spent a lot of time by the fire and the one word that would not leave my mind was “altar.” It shouldn’t surprise me that, at this time, I still continued to feel God pursuing me, despite me wanting him to stop. His pursuit of me seemed to increase over this month, though I do not know why.

~

Twelve days ago, in the wee hours of the morning, around 2:35am, something happened. I felt something that I’ve not felt in some time: a prick in my soul that indicated to me that maybe something was wrong with the direction my life’s going, as far as spirituality and purpose are concerned. Call it God touching my heart or conviction, but it felt like someone pinching a sore spot in the middle of my chest. It started with a conversation with my best friend who called to gloat about Taylor Swift’s latest album (she’s convinced she’ll turn me into a Swiftie but that’s never happening). During that conversation, we talked about guys, our parents, and reminisced about our college days. Eventually, the topic turned to Christianity, and Jesus specifically. I asked her how could she still believe in Jesus/God after everything she’s gone through? (Like me, she too has had traumatic and painful experiences in her life.) Her answer surprised me. She said that without God, she would be literally dead and that she would not exist anymore. Also, she explained that one particular experience in her life would not make logical sense if not for spiritual means.

As we talked, I interjected at times with reasons why I felt I couldn’t come back. “I can’t pray,” I told her. “Every time I try, I have a panic attack.” She asked me why would I be afraid of God when he loves me? “Simple,” I responded. “Trying to converse with a divine Being who has the power and ability to snatch the breath out of my body at any given moment is kinda panic-inducing. Just sayin.” She was silent but I could almost hear her eyes rolling in the back of her head as she pondered what I’m sure she thought was a stupid statement. She made me get out of my cozy bed and grab my Bible which was, and still is, on my computer desk. I obliged, not because I saw it as an opportunity to engage God, but merely because she asked and because she is my best friend. Low motivation, but it worked. Every defense I had, she countered with Scripture. I was more than annoyed, but I continued nonetheless. To my surprise, and despite my annoyance, she directed me to various passages of Scripture through what I now know as guidance from Holy Spirit. I know this because there’s no way she would have been able to duplicate that process on her own if I asked her the next morning. There is one passage in particular in Job that stopped me in my tracks and made me so angry I considered ripping my Bible to shreds. I cannot remember the chapter or verses, only my immediate response. I was pissed. I was infuriated, but in my anger, I realized the next morning that I engaged with Scripture, which was her point all along (Mission accomplished, dear friend!).

~

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what’s  going to happen now. I’m still the same analytical, inquisitive person I was before so I doubt I’ll stop being curious and asking questions regarding theology, God, Christianity,  etc. The main emotion I felt Tuesday night while staring at the fire was tiredness. I was tired of feeling empty, miserable, and purposeless. I was tired of consciously engaging in suicidal ideation. I was tired of running away from God, especially with the knowledge that He wasn’t going to stop pursuing me just because I wanted Him to. I did end up having a panic attack though in the middle of worship because, as previously stated, He’s a divine being who could snatch the breath out of my body at any given moment. The trigger was either that or the spiritual abuse I’ve dealt with from other Christians throughout my lifetime. Regardless, after I calmed down and went back outside, I said a silent prayer, in the midst of watching the fire wildly dance through the night, that was basically, “Okay, okay. I hear you, God. I wanna stop running. Can we just start over?” To that prayer, I’d like to add, “You keep telling me to trust you but I don’t know how. You say you love me, but I struggle to believe it. Can you be patient with me while I learn to let you love me?”

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Another Letter to My Abuser

Dear Voldemort,

I know I shouldn’t say what I’m about to say because it’s not uplifting or triumphant; there’s no happy ending to this particular moment in time. I need to get some things off my chest and you need to listen.

I have spent the last two days in complete depersonalization mode, just watching myself from some far-off place and never being able to enter fully into the present moment. I can still function, from the outside, but inwardly, I’m so gone. In case you’re unaware, that’s 48 hours of being lost in La La Land. 48 hours of forgotten meals, of questioning everything, of conversations I’ve missed. 48 hours of paranoia and sleepless nights and insomnia. 48 hours of fighting sleep because I don’t want you infiltrating my headspace any more than you do when I’m awake. 48 hours of avoiding my stepdad if I hear him in the house because I’m afraid he might suddenly turn into a version of you and hurt me worse than you did.

To further bring you into my world, let me give you more examples: I hear song lyrics and my traumatized brain immediately takes them out of context and flips them, so they mean something much more sinister and vile than what the songwriter intended. I have no idea what comfort and safety in a relationship feel like, though I crave it often. You took that from me. My body automatically tenses up when male friends hug me because I’m afraid, and always on guard, of them having an accidental erection and causing me to become triggered. Do you see it yet, the damage you’ve done? Can you acknowledge it for what it is? I hate that you took vital things away from me, especially my ability to trust my friends. Mind you, I can retrieve that with time, but it still sucks. My body is endlessly tired from being in flight/fight/freeze mode constantly. I can’t relax, ever. If I do happen to get a moment’s rest, I can’t enjoy it. I’m suspicious of it, always awaiting the next trigger or flashback or panic attack. You turned me into a broken pendulum, stuck in one spot. Congratulations. Are you proud of yourself? Don’t be. You are, and will forever be, a worthless son of a bitch.

Yours Truly,

A Slytherin Warrior

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Breaking up with God: The Aftermath

It’s an odd thing, being in a relationship with someone, loving and caring for them, and then separating. One becomes two again. You avoid them as best you can, inwardly cringing and outwardly hiding if your paths happen to cross. The awkward conversations you have when you’re not yet in the “we’re still friends” stage. Every love song reminds you of what you had, the beautiful moments. After some time has passed, you grow comfortable with their absence. Yet, in the still of the night, you find yourself thinking about them. You would never admit this, but sometimes, you miss your ex.

That’s where I am right now. Sometimes, I miss God. I miss the closeness we had, the soft quiet I felt when in His presence. I miss losing myself in worship and giving myself up completely to this entity and being part of something bigger than myself. I wonder, often, if I made a mistake in leaving. I question if I am wrong or not. Others, Christians, who I talk to, who know where I am and give me grace in my confusion and struggle, point me in the direction of God and the Bible- everything I’m familiar with. I wrestle with coming back or staying away because my biggest fear is that I’ll return only because it’s familiar, not because of any conscious decision on my part. I don’t want to be a nominal believer, and that goes for any religion, not just Christianity. I don’t want to be one who just plays the role so perfectly but never allows a belief to have any real, substantial meaning in my life. That kinda defeats the purpose of having personal religious, or nonreligious, beliefs and is what contributed to my exodus of the faith primarily.

Nonetheless, this is an unusual, weird place I find myself in. Sometimes, I still pray, to God or whoever is out there, but only in my head, as praying aloud still results in panic attacks. I still listen to some Christian artists, as their songs soothe me when I go into flashback mode. I still talk to Christians about their faith, ask questions, express my doubts, and the like. We have interesting and meaningful conversations. They give me resources that they think will help and I let them pray for me, though I don’t necessarily believe in it despite the fact that I do it. Regardless of whether I pray or they do, I don’t really believe it-it’s more of a force of habit. I feel empty at times, miserable even, but I guess that’s what happens when you start questioning your worldview. Maybe I’ll find solid ground one day.