Friday, September 11, 2009

Fear and Trembling, Part XXXV

I love Kierkegaard. Especially on night's like this. If I'm not mistaken (don't quote me on this), he believed that we are all existentially responsible for ourselves. That we will made accountable for our choices, and that this creates a fundamental anxiety about freedom. We all fail, we all have guilt, we all fear death. And God. 

Lately, I've been thinking about the nature of my social anxiety, the sense of fundamental anxiety I possess in relationship to others, the debts I owe them, the death I fear from their anger or displeasure.

If I am not loved, I literally feel like I'm going to die. 

And this all began with a comment about emotional constipation a few weeks ago. R's pain. And, the cold water to the face realization that I have not shouldered my load, have expected the world, other people to help, pull me along. It is hard to face myself, to peer into mirrors. I hate my choices. I always have hated my pain, even while not understanding it. I hate "freedom" and would rather hand my decisions over to others.

The other night, in class, I had a panic attack. And, though I realized it's getting worse in me, it's also getting better. For the first time in a while, I entertained the possibility that the pain has some redemptive purpose. Maybe, just maybe, it is making me a better person. Slowly. So very slowly...Maybe it's burning away parts of my personality that need to disappear. Maybe pain is the only way to become holy. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, some whisper of hope that has not been there before.

Oh, sweet hope. 

The other night after class, and for the first time in ages, Romans 8:28-32? spoke to me.

Nothing. Not death. Fear. Abandonment. Shipwreck. Self-hatred. Sin. can separate me from the love that is in God in Christ Jesus. It struck me. I am more than a conquerer, not weak or insecure because God is behind the scenes making it all right. There is a larger hand guiding me. And it is glorious.

I never thought I would thank God for pain.

But if it's what He knows I need, I accept it gladly.


Sunday, August 30, 2009


Things have been so crazy lately, the past month full of sadness. I broke up with R. I remain here, agnostic of my sexuality. All I know is the last spasms of pain before the end. 

There is pain here now as well and regret, that I put her through this. She deserves better than half-hearted commitment. She deserves someone who is not double minded and conflicted. 

After this break up, I do not think I'll ever marry. Little girls dream of perfect, flawless love studded with romance and part of me always has. Slowly, painfully, I realize it is not enough for happiness. 

I got a tattoo of a white flag which seems to encapsulate my intent.

It's late, I'm tired. I will write more tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Morning Song

Psalm 34:1-14 (NRSV)

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. O fear the LORD, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want. The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Light of Some Kind...

I'm in Williamsburg with les parents visiting with distant relatives from NY. They are frickin cool and remind me of my brother: lively, talkative, and entirely winsome. Luke went to visit a few weeks ago and had the time of his life with them and Nicole. I know why. They're fun as hell.

Tonight, I use the Holiday Inn's computer to tap this out. I just came in from outside from an interesting conversation over cigarette with a young man named Ryan He comes from a military family, is in the army himself. And, I am humbled. He told me about his experience in the forces and the sacrifices he's made. While he had a hardened look in his eye, used language like "exact revenge" and other hawkish phrases of it's ilk, it was not difficult to see him as a person. He's angry seeming, bitter seeming, but it was incredibly, well, humbling to hear about his struggles, how he lost his friend in combat, how he had to endure fire and sleeplessness and pain for his country.

I have never known what it's like to be that close to bullet fire.

Don't get me wrong. This post will probably not devolve into a patriotic salute or saccharine declaration of loyalty to my nation. It is not my nation which requires my loyalty, but my greater human family. I hate war. I hate the fact that people have to die over ideology. On 9-11, Americans died of the hatred in the world. Now, we go to Afghanistan and Iraq to die to pay back our enemies. Attitudes like his only seem to perpetuate the evil done against us. Fire with fire. Hate with hate. I can't help but this will make everything escalate.

But, tonight, I realized something. He's a person. And, too often, in rhetoric about how members of conservative persuasions tend to pit "us against them", tend to see the world in black and white and our adversaries as the "bad guys", I have forgotten that behind the conservative opinion, there is a person. He's not just a conservative, a hawk, or any assortment of other labels. He's Ryan. And he has the sovereignty of his experience and has his reasons. Like we all do. My "us" and "them" is no more noble than any other false dichotomies. Even now, I'm bristling at his language but a part of me prays for the to see him, and others like him, my father, with compassion, respect, and empathy. Love is such a hard road, suspending judgment so much more difficult than empathy.

In other news, my ex Wade e-mailed me asking for my forgiveness. We did not part on the best terms. I broke his heart, and, in retaliation, he broke mine with perhaps well deserved, and hateful words. This over a year ago. Since then, I have hated him, hated myself, hated the pain we caused each other. The pain I caused. It was a beautiful thing to find this e-mail, seemed like a very redemptive thing. Perhaps the letter I returned will help us both heal. It seems too much to ask, really, that he forgive. This, too, is humbling. A "follower" all these years and it is still difficult to accept responsibility for mistakes, to love in the face of rejection. To realize that I need to love my "enemies", especially when they are not truly enemies but people I have hurt. There is joy in this, to think some repair can be made, some restoration.

In still other news, I stumbled across the book UnChristian. Basically, it's a research driven investigation into Christianity's image problem, or, more specifically, how we act UnChristian. It tackles gaps in generation, how mosaics and busters (people from 16-29) see the world differently from the older generations. It briefly tackled the differences in post modern and modern perspectives. It's a great book. Though, my pomo age is showing because the author kept using the term moral relativism and my hair bristled and I was like: "relativism? compared to what?..."

It frustrated me even while imparting hope. I look at Jesus and see truth, beauty, freedom, and love. How He made the greatest sacrifice and showed the greatest love, and how He offered us the opportunity to reconcile to Him, ourselves, and each other. Then, I look at the church and see judgment and emotional violence and unnecessary combativeness and how people hate Jesus because of it.

Not to say chapters pointed a finger at me. One in particular knocked me back and made me do some hard thinking. But, this was also redemptive. Change is possible. For me. For the church. And, for the world at large.

We can make a difference.

I'm so thankful for God telling me to pray. I know the hope I've had lately is because of this...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A No Brainer!

It's no surprise that I have been "working out my salvation with fear and trembling." It might seem from the outside it's too much work to keep going. Though, it's not unlike being starving and denying oneself food. If you eat, you get energy. Life is easier when you're stomach isn't growling.  

Lately, I've been dying of hunger spiritually speaking. And, the energy required to reconcile life and faith has been exhausting. Something did not compute, not with the God who promised rest and an easy yoke. "EASY!?! Ha!" I scoffed, "This is hard as Hell!" 

Then, one day, I cracked. Got on a message board and reached out to fellow pilgrims. I talked about being both in the Christian and LGBT communities. That act alone, the reaching out, plus the prayers they sent up which I have felt, have been making all the difference. The act of surrendering and being somewhat transparent with others. 

It's all come together. The other night I was told by Mark and Willis I needed to "make a decision." Then, Cindy came over and kept telling me to "decide to trust God." Later that day, stuff about "trust" came up. Like Kierkegaard's "leap of faith", one has to just do it. 

Jesus' directive to "follow Me" has seemed like terrible work. Then, I prayed for the first time in months. Really prayed. And before that, it had been years. Fear of rejection is no excuse for not spending time with God. And for years, it has been my reason. What if He didn't talk back? What if I would be left alone? What if He isn't real. Or, worse, what if He is and wants to play a game? 

So, I'm praying thinking about what it meant to "follow." Move to Africa as a missionary? Follow all 612 OT laws? Get exorcised for being bi? 

Then, I heard a voice. Ok, not a literal voice, but a thought which resonated clearly and loudly in my spirit. "You will pray to me everyday!" 

Right now, this is His will for me. Duh. I mean, you have to talk to those you love. But still. It was nice to have a specific, not amorphous, directive. Pray. Sit with Me. Trust Me enough to have a conversation. 

Because, I realized, if I do this, He will be there. Eternal life, Jesus said, was knowing God and Jesus, the One He has sent.

Heaven is possible everyday. 

In other news, I need to find somewhere to volunteer. I'm thinking Samaritan's House, to help women and families which have dealt with abuse. 

Jaqui will drive! Yay!

On another note, has anyone heard this song? When R and I went out the other day, the chorus got hella stuck in my head. The lyrics describe this post perfectly. And my life. 

"If your friend tells you he loves you, DO NOT PUNCH!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm confused.

I'm a conservative with a liberal worldview. Simultaneously, I believe what I always have, and yet, I have adjusted to the complexities of life. Right now, I feel I must follow my thoughts to their logical conclusions...

A lot of new stuff has happened since I last blogged. There has been job searching and networking with the Department of Rehabilitative Services. A sweet girl named Jaqui is now working as my aide, basically a chauffeur and this has been fun.

Independence is neat. 

Today, my brother got yelled at for not wanting to marry his pregnant fiance until he has a job. On one hand, marriage seems like a good idea. Ironically, the reason he doesn't want to "make her an honest woman" is because he feels like without a job, without being an adequate "provider", he cannot marry her. It's a weird catch-22 and as much as my parents hate the fact that he doesn't want to make the official, legal commitment, I don't think they understand the fact he won't get married yet stems from the same motivation which compels him to seek marriage. 

I will file this under "patriarchy hurts men too" section.

Anyway, it's making me ponder the nature of marriage, of commitment. For all intents and purposes, he is married. He never leaves her side, they make decisions together, they have a child on the way. Their lives are so enmeshed and bundled up together, and everyone knows this, that I can't help but wonder if, in the truest sense of the world, they are already committed in a way that needs no piece of paper.

Not that "making it legal" wouldn't have its advantages. Benefits, benefits, benefits...

In the Bible, whenever anyone ever had sex, it was seen as a promise made with the body, that if the couple were caught, the man would have to pay the father of the woman the "bride price". As archaic and sexist, it begs the question if, in the eyes of God, if sex=marriage. 

Wow. The implications of this. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Night Has Opened My Eyes...

"I'd like to argue that we don't have faith in God at all. We have faith in our own faith rather than the God who transcends it, faith in a faith that will somehow save us." --David Dark, RELEVANT Magazine.

Dan Savage has turned me, of late, into an agnostic. He's "culturally Catholic" and sexually progressive. And, his emphasis on honesty and integrity has shaken me. 

You see, people can be full of such bullshit. 

And, because I'm in the in-group, I can say this, Christians claim a lot of bullshit. That evolution does not exist on the word of an ancient creation poem. That all things are blue printed before hand. That God will answer prayer the prayer of an American searching for a parking spot but would deny the request of a dying Darfurian refugee. 

One might find the story of Jesus bullshit. Here, the idea of God reaching down and becoming human doesn't shake me. Of course, according to Savage, I would be naive and easily appeased. But a story of such love strikes me as true. Honest. Grace, being known completely and being loved completely seems true. An archetype. Everyone's heart swells when they see acts of heroism, when somebody shoves the kid out of the way of the bus. Everybody wants to be that person. Everybody aspires to love and be loved, to give to be given to. 

But the other bullshit just ain't flying. My bullshit detector is honed to perfection. The fact that Christians live in denials has been intellectually dishonest. And, if being a Christian required such suspension of disbelief, I didn't know if I could do it.

And, in a weird way, I wanted to get completely naked and yell at God (I do this a lot). I wanted to say that "this is me. I can't lie and pretend. Take me or leave me!" 

This is where we get it wrong I think. We think we have to get it right. That we have to be something we can't be. And that's the rub. We don't.

Tonight, I opened the RELEVANT I was too scared to open; it's sat on my desk for two weeks (an article on abortion...).

God and I do this. I get all pissy and hide. And He gets this stern, loving look on His face. Then, She speaks and allays the misgiving. 

I found an article about doubt and how God welcomes that hard honesty; S/He was like "let us reason together."

I love when S/He speaks, it's not always about what S/He says, but that S/He says things. Or, speaks at all. I missed Zir. 

And my eyes were washed, and I got my sense of balance again.

They say 3 a.m is a spiritual time. I think it is. 

I missssssssed Zir (just like a certain other person *sighs*)...

I can't wait until Sunday. Mark and I are going to MCC. They don't stone the queer.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Remembering To Remember

Lately, I can think only in yin
In pink and profit
Humanity traffiked through the one way mirror
Of memory,
Honest as a hieroglyph
Or a scale of cyclopses

I always blamed her mouth, a stiletto thin spike of focused light, the little girl perpetually poised
Over the magnifying glass 

Or that's the way it seemed

I used to believe in kindness diligently, watched her hands like garderners through wax fruit and
Rubber gloves, 

Before that last back handed 
Compliment about a lost shoe

I palmed a prism
And never said her name
aloud again

it was highschool
In a closet
Of psychic ties
Too obscure even for a scientist to recognize, 

And I swallowed the things she said
 eyes and limbs divorcing from 
Their logical conclusions

And limped back from love in monochrome

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Aside...

My girlfriend writes some of the sweetest things.

I love dating a poet. 

So much. 

That is all. 

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jennifer Beals Said...

"You have to realize how precious human life is, when there are tsunamis and mudslides, when there are armies and terrorists -- at any moment, you could be gone, and potentially in the most brutal fashion.
"And then you have to realize that love is truly one of the most extraordinary things you can experience in your life. To begrudge someone else their love of another person because of gender seems to me absolutely absurd."


Juneteeth, You, Me, and Story

Simone De Beauvoir, in The Second Sex, claims the "regular", "non-descript" human, in culture at large, is the male and that women are somehow derivative, an aberration to "mankind." I believe this also holds for race. The generic, non-descript person is still white. And any person of color is an "other."

Today, from my front yard, I could hear music from our local park and the Juneteeth festival happening there. And, I couldn't help but cry. It was beautiful to me that people who once had there culture ripped from them, could now begin to celebrate it again.

It seems odd I reacted so viscerally, and sad that it seems odd. On one hand, I don't understand why everyone isn't weeping, for the humanity we share. The fact that we can hurt each other so deeply.

On the other hand, I realize, a white person, that it is a privileged position that I can cry about something not specific to my history. I've never felt odd, wrong, or out of place as a caucasian person. It'S wrong to appropriate someone else's history, someone else's past and present struggles, to empathize with a wound I've only seen others sustain. 

It irks me even more that, a white woman, even a cripple or bisexual, an "other" in other contexts, race is still such a problem for me. And for America. 

Or rather, I hate that I am the problem.

No matter how "progressive" I want to be, it's a huge exercise in humility to realize, like confirmed "racists" and "bigots", I, too, have internalized several oppressive attitudes and behaviors from my family and from culture at large. I feel them when I walk down the street and see a black man walking towards me. I have to shove the stereotypes down when I'm in racially mixed groups. Skin color is the first thing I see. It's written into the culture, and it's written into my personal history.

It has been drilled into me, as de Beauvoir might say, that I am the default. Maybe not explicitly, but it doesn't have to be. I go to church with white people, live in an almost exclusively white suburb. When I go to a movie, I see my ethnic group represented. When I  look to my local leadership, I see people of my race. No one stares at me (because I'm white) when I walk down the street. I never have to "behave", or to act a certain way to represent my race. I have never suffered violence for being white, and I have never been called terrible names for it either. People like me are the rule, and anyone else is a variation, an aberration, an abomination, or a novelty.

Of course, as a cripple, it would be easy for me to say I understand. I don't. I may have an analogy with disability, feeling out of place or marginalized because I'm different. This is, I realize, only an analogy. Similar, but not the same. 

And, while conservatives claim that it's not "our" fault that slavery existed. It's not "our" fault that Jim Crow existed. It's not "our" responsibility to apologize for something we didn't do. They might say it's not my fault, nor my burden to bear. 

However, these same folks fail to realize how removed they may be from the experiences of people of color (it seems). Of I fail to realize how removed I am. It is my responsibility to get over the bullshit!

Sotomayer is NOT a racist. She, like any of us, has sovereignty over that which she understands, her heritage and experience...

It's remeniscent of well meaning people who exclaim "I broke my leg and was in a wheelchair for two weeks. I understand."

Let me tell you, people who break their legs only "understand" about two weeks of my life. They don't know what repeated exposure to rejection does to you, especially when your body, your circumstances, are not in your control. At least, not in the specific way I do, the way a differently abled person does.

Of course, the analogy stops here. I don't understand. But, I know a way white folk can help effect racial reconciliation, is to understand how little we do understand...

This is my first step. What the bleep do I know?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

*insert smarmy music here*

Mark and I are outside, tapping away on our computers. He's wearing one of my plaid jackets and his plaid pajama pants looking a little like a lesbian...or, more specifically, my twin brother. 

Right now, I'm being a solipsistic limerist (if you don't know what that means, look it up). Today has been fun and sleep is beginning to appear attractive. Though, there is one problem. When Mark and I separate for the night, I'll be alone. 

Which is ok, since being a hermit by definition means one is comfortable with being by her lonesome.

But I miss her and, these past few nights have seemed longer than usual. Even longer than the past few weeks. Which have been long without her.

And, I miss her. I miss everything, and I want everything even though I have everything...

Is that weird?

Monday, June 1, 2009


even the moon 
is breathing

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Good Day

Tonight was good, even getting off to a shaky start. The family, all of us sleep deprived, headed home from the beach.

As you know sleep = sanity and I was feeling like roadkill again. I made the mistake of rereading a journal from age sixteen after two years of "madness". I wrote of the women I loved at summer camp, there were many and nostalgia appeared in full force. For the feeling of community there. I am much less social than I would like to be. And then it turned into oh no! God is gone again! (not true). And that turned into shades of existential panic.

Fortunately, these days, the voice of sanity is louder than it has ever been. I told God, and myself, that I would have "faith". That I would trust that the feeling was temporary and that I was sleep deprived and everything would work out. Instead of mourning, or freaking out, I decided to accompany my mom and aunt to a concert at auntie's church. 

This has never happened before, the ability to say: "stop freaking out and keep moving."

The concert was good and God seemed to comfort me. And, since it was a worship concert, I actually worshipped. Which, seemed superfluous before like "why does an omniscient, perfect being need us to stroke His ego"? 

Short answer? He doesn't. We need to see Him. I, personally, desperately needed to see beauty and purity and love. And, seeing and communing in this way, was nourishing and was a step of faith. It reminded me that it's not all up to me and there is a magnificent transcendence in which to lose the ego.

And, three out of five of the "major" religions recommend losing the ego...

That being said, I didn't want to buy the guy's cd since it was worship thing. But a nice lady decided, out of the blue, to give it to me anyway. I suppose this is either a message or an example of the rampant commercialism in christianity. Mine. And Everyone else's. I think, or choose to trust, that it was a message. 

The cool thing I read about depressives is that the worst thing you can do is be nice to them. If you make them function, they can. Because, while depression is an illness, it's also a neural pattern and a pattern of habits. You can't erase the craving to smoke, but you have to change the routines that trigger you too. 

God, I believe, understands this and forces me to stretch. Another instance of grace. C'est belle!

Later, I tweeted snarkily about "Christian culture" and auntie messaged me about it... This is going to be a fun discussion (not really) *groans internally*

What is Christian culture?

The fact we honor our itinerant, Jewish Carpenter by singing "Christian" songs, in a "Christian" place and buying "Christian" stuff. I'm bad as anybody, so I can't talk. But my conscience was pricked about money and my relationship to it and the way I waste it. And the way faith can be so masturbatory.

It's about us and Jesus. And our Starbucks and our apathy about problems in the world (guilty as charged). 

But I digress. 

Tonight was good. And now, I think I'm gonna sleep. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Night At The Beach

I'm back at my aunt's beach house in Nag's Head after a space no longer than a few days. It's 2:20 a.m., everyone else is sawing logs and dreaming about Santa Claus. lol.

Originally, I planned to stay home by my lonesome but my father, with skill and persistence (and bribery), wore me down. For several reasons, I really wanted to stay home. Accessibility, for example (being stuck in one place while sleepless with no friends to cuddle with like last time). And, of course, R. We were going to meet up away from the watchful eyes of mes parents, or, that would be, if they knew...

And omg. I'm clawing at the walls missing R. (More on this later...)

It's been a firestorm of emotional activity lately. I've been cleaning out an endless closet of old notebooks, and excavating the accompanying memories. From summer camp which was an amazing experience, of high school which was arguably the worst, of childhood, middle school. I have eleven years worth of pictures of Mark, enough to create a wall high shrine. Letters from boyfriends. Letters from old crushes. Old friends. Current friends. Old poetry...

It was a surreal experience to walk back down those roads, to read of joy and pain in my own handwriting. 

But, of course, the thing that stood out most was writings about the "point of contact" (though POC was a person, it's not about the person. Instead, the experience of an event. It was a trigger for mental illness for me). That weird moment in my life that seems to have halved it into THEN and NOW. It could just have been puberty (those crazy, killer female hormones! *shakes her head*). That would explain a lot, actually. But, I can trace all the SAD and depression to this one point in time. And this is weird because you'd thing enough scratching could relieve the itch but it doesn't. So you have to suck it up and keep moving. It's the only option if one wants to avoid being a rolling, breathing Heathcliffe...

Brooding is soooo last season. 

The good news is that now, even though I still feel it, I can close the book and leave the vivid sadness that used to spring up when I thought of THEN. 

Life is good. I like the blend of joy and sadness. How every silver lining has a cloud and every cloud has a silver lining. The duality keeps each experience fresh, keeps it in a tension of flying and falling. Right now, I'm doing both relationally...

Something weird I noticed, which totally escaped me, was that I thought my dyketry was "caused" by POC. Reading back, it was clear that women have always fascinated me. That several girls in my adolescence stopped me in my tracks long before ninth grade. At the time, it didn't seem anymore than "admiration." Even when squeally crushes would keep me up at night, shifting in my bed because I was excited to see her (whichever her it was) the next day...

Yeah, real "straight"...

Anyway, besides this non-event, I've been formulating some ideas. Today, inspired by Josh Blue and Margaret Cho, seriously considered stand-up comedy. I even wrote out some jokes about crippletry. Maybe another CP comedienne would raise awareness? Get a dialogue started. Though, the audience would be an interesting one.

Cripple, Christian, Queer, or Crazy? This would appear to be a unique, and small, niche. But a riotously fun group. 

Then, I've been writing a apocolyptic lesbian love story. In B&N, they seem to have a lot of lesbian erotica. A lot of books on lesbian sex. Though, not many good old fashioned love stories. Girl meets girl. Girl loses girl. Girl flies across the country to convince girl to come back. Girl and girl live happily ever after.

*sighs* It's love. It makes you want to write silly love stories. I miss her. So much. I can't even type how much I miss her right now. 

You have no idea. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

Purple Prose

The night before, they lay naked in each others arms waiting for the sunrise; that last, potentially noxious sunrise that would lay waste to their former lives.

“I love you, Tina,” 

“I love you, Bette.” 

They closed their eyes. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


So, I haven't blogged in a while. Life has been great/crazy/terrible/interesting/insert adjective here. I quit school and, as my dad says, I'm recouping, having taken somewhat a downward turn in the last few weeks of the semester. In a way, it seems like "running away" but also taking a break and re-examining life. Priorities. Right now, it's my best (and only) option. 

Things are going back up. The big difference is sleeping. Some people get thrown off by the weather. Some people can't handle their alcohol. Without sleep, I am a nut case. It's just not good. So, I've been sleeping. And while some of my issues are perennial, sleeplessness intensifies the crazy one hundred thousand percent. 

Doing art work has been another good change. I've gotten into art work, some weird found sculpture. Not only is it a fun, relaxing activity, it's also satisfying and meaningful---to create something tangible and beautiful. Culture pivots on it's artists. So much is said, even without words necessarily. It is nourishing. And someone else might benefit from the work, which is its aim anyway.

And then, I saw people. Namely, Mark, my bff/fag to my haggotry. We spent several, stupefyingly silly days together. And it was all good. 

Weirdly enough, my father, lately, has been amazingly sweet and loving. One day, he brought "his favorite girls" flowers. Turns out, he had a revelation a several weeks ago and realized how much he loves me and how he has hurt me. It's been nearly a 180 shift. It's brought so much healing and joy. Another instance of grace.  

Consequently, I've been happier. And I'm making peace with God, life, and sexuality. God loves us. A lot. I realize how much grace has been present. It will still be a long journey, though, to find shalom. But He knows everything and loves anyway. My dad is a miracle. Mark is a miracle. Love and happiness are miracles...

I have determined to rest in that, and have also decided to "crucify belief", to hold belief in abeyance in the search for truth; so often "orthodoxy" muddies truth instead of clarifying and helping one understand. Words like justification, expiation, trinity, propitiation, with their cultural baggage, have done nothing but distance me from things like "salvation" (relationship with God through Jesus) and God's compassion, forgiveness, and love.

As for my sexuality, I really feel like I need to accept myself. R (or TGF as Mark and I have referred to her in surreptitious discussion around the house) is my girlfriend. And friend. And I love her. I love how kind she is, and how generous, and how creative and how she is yet another facet of grace in my life. 

Just to let you know, I don't think homosexuality is wrong. Or, at least, modern homosexuality (it was way different in the old school). 

This is not just because I'm bisexual (or, pansexual/queer). I did some research on the Bible which made me think twice and also found website flipped me out because it was so kind and inclusive and "grace-filled." Trapped with the acceptance which has floored me from God Himself. The LGBT folk on that cite exhibit a hundred times the grace of other "Christian" sites. 

Besides, the relationship with Rachel is making me happy. Not just the giddy, excited "abducted by aliens" kind (though that too), but it's also inspiring me. We get each other, nurture one another. She is a beautiful woman, and, for her, I want to be the best woman, christian, human possible. The relationship has taught me how to express negative emotion in better ways, has taught me more about grace in general. From what she says, I believe we have tutored each other...

Interestingly enough, I became emboldened when my dad started changing. I believe it was because something is knitting itself back together in my heart. Trust. Slowly, but surely. 

When our relationship becomes destructive, I'll end it. But I don't forsee that happening...

So here you have it. My life. Thanks for tuning in.

AC Out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seasons of Love!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Go Cho!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Saved Again

Last night, I was up late on this project and, having not slept the night before, felt like complete death. To make matters worse, God was seemingly MIA. I kept praying that He would say something. Anything. A peep. A holy whisper...

I checked the devotional on and it said something about being the pure bride of Christ. At this time, the last thing I wanted to hear was about being "pure." Pure has wrecked so many lives, just ask the ex-ex-gay survivors, or the rape victims who never got a fair trial because they had been "sluts" before the rape. It seemed that God was behind the whole messed up system. Injustice. Pain. His servants are horrible PR people, God bless us all. 

Of course, this little episode was projection of my hang ups of the highest order. So, I went outside and yelled a bit David style.


 Of course, none of this is His fault, especially the silence. "The pure in heart will see God" the bible says. A heart will see what it is and not what really is. My heart has been out for blood lately, and not pure in the least, not loving, not hungering or thirsting after "righteousness." It's starved.  

Then, I put my ipod on shuffle. The song that came on first was about "her putting her hand in mine." Please please please don't call me a heretic, but it sounded like Jesus. His essence. Only conceptualized as female. Or, if you'd rather, God as Sophia, the gentle, "feminine" side which nurtures and heals.

In this way, God affirmed me, again. As a woman. Or, more specifically, as a woman wounded by the "patriarchy", i.e, the family patriarch and alienated by gendered language. He affirmed me as a person with very specific experience and a lot of pain at a time when thinking of a "Heavenly Father" or "Heavenly Husband" or Boyfriend (Jesus is not a boyfriend!) would make me want to froth at the mouth and burn a bra-ible or something. 

And, answered a prayer. Why. Why is this so hard to remember? He does listen, and He is so incredibly responsive...

But, even more than that, the most important thing about this answer was that He affirmed Himself, gently and without condemnation reminded me "what manner of spirit" He is of.  I was able to sense His love in the midst of a total existential temper tantrum. His grace. HIS purity again. He was a perfectly loving God who chose to serve and die on earth at our hands to break down the walls. The walls my anger was building between us. Remembering this was a total attitude adjustment. He is so beautiful, behold the lamb of God!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rebel Yelling, etc..

college is what "you're supposed to do" even if you forgot why. straight, "well-adjusted" and "in control" are what "you're supposed to be" even if you're queer as a three dollar bill, and FINE (f***ed up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional).   

if you feel like you never chose anything you've done one way or another, one day you bust right out of all the boxes. school is been bad right now. i have no motivation, no vision, no self-control, and i'm really apathetic. relationships are also crawling along, the heart's door seemingly locked from the inside. 

the first step is admitting that i did this. my choices, allowing fear to be my "god" and not Love. now, the question is, what now? where does one go when she needs to fake her own death? 

there is good news. it seems, at the bottom, when you shoot yourself in the foot so long you're lame, when you're broken, bruised, and exhausted, you have to reexamine everything you thought you were. everything you thought you knew.

my name means "full of grace"/"seeker of truth." for so long, i've lived lies, in silence; lived for other people's opinions. there has been no fence on the lawn of my psychological space, no "do not disturb" sign on my heart. all my life, it seems, people traipsed on, trampled my garden. if sneakers were not sufficient, they brought tanks. it seemed, there was no protection, and no safety for the wounded heart. 

after a while, it was either give up hope of people knocking respectfully or build a fortress so no one could get in at all. it turns out, that one is a complete false dichotomy. there's a third option. build a fence so trespassers are kept at bay, but build a gate so those who should be able to get through, can. 

in the last two weeks, two people have broken into my dorm. both looking for the hermit who never opens the door, or picks up the phone, both well meaning. but, it cheesed me off. it's about more than doors or phones. 

if the door is closed, and no one answers, DO NOT COME IN! 

my anger was and, still is, about sovereignty. the first time, i was naked in bed. the next, i was scantily clad and unpresentable. it's about privacy, respect, and space. 

and, while it is true that i am also terrible with others space and time, it seems, i also have no idea what it means to have a balance and still have people in my life. 

there needs to be a balance. 

there will be no more knockless interlopers in my brain. i will not yield veto power to anyone outside of myself, in fidelity to my vision. in return, i will seek to respect others.

it's not over yet, thank God. it's a learning curve. even being at the bottom of the class. the only way to go is up.


Dazed and Confused...

Right now, I am trying not to give in to the urge to hurt myself. I have done a lot of stupid things lately, knowingly and yet, it didn't seem like any of it could have been avoided. Somehow, I ended up skipping classes again (sheer terror, not neglect) and then, in bed with someone (with a vagina). On Thursday, I was literally dry heaving before classes. The messed up part is that my motivation for being here is not about the future, it's being liked, accepted by people. So, freaking out gets compounded by projected self-hatred. Then, this sweet girl appears, a friend, and then, well, you know...

I can no longer trust my own judgment and I look at religion and feel so cynical about God, too. There are so many voices.  What happens when you can't even figure out who you are, what you need to do to get your act together, much less tackle questions of "ultimate concern"...

Who am I?  Why do I exist? Why am I here, alive, in VA, in college? And what-the-fuck-was I thinking this past week?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Barbaric Yawp!

It's been like 15 minutes. 

I don't know how to change the pattern, how to redirect the rumination into hope or health or happiness. I don't know how to stop trying to justify my existence. It feels like I'm dying, or a part of me is dying.

All I know is that it's going to be ok. Even after this moment, I am certain that hope is out there, that God is out there. That life can be trusted. That people can be trusted. It is no accident that one gets exactly what one needs when she needs it. It is no accident that people are kind. And that love exists.

It is no accident that sunrises are exquisite and that music is soothing and that food nourishes. And that strangers and friends reach out. And that forgiveness is possible. Given and received. And that this moment is only one of billions and that night gives in to morning and that the heart knows, it knows, what is true. What is healthy, good, and helpful. 

I have to have faith; Not only because it is necessary for survival, but also because it is true! 

It's true!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Productive Hissy Fitting at 2 am...

I've had it with the rhetoric, with the self-justification, the ego involvement, the guilt tripping, and being bullied into silence. 

*screams as loud as possible* 

Just writing those words feels better.

He's gone to bed now. 

I don't have to lie, here. I don't have to sit for an hour at a time, listening to the same stuff over and over. I don't have to smile, or "be nice", or swallow every word whole to gain acceptance. Tonight, mom and Lucas went to bed and left my dad and I here alone. Within two minutes we switched from discussing movies (movies! a subject we agree on! something fun and lighthearted!) to discussing "rights" and how the ERA is unconstitutional.  Or, no. WE did not switch topics. He made the unilateral decision to lecture me. For a seemingly endless amount of time. Before, the family was happy and laughing, we were playing scrabble one minute and then WHAM!

If his lecture one enough, he has to bolster his opinions  with a variation of "with God on our side" thing. I was like take the ERA, take the ban on prop 8, take the whole thing. Just leave God out of your ugly words. Don't tack on my God's approval to your hatred! As much as I believe that Jesus wanted justice on earth, I also know He was no more a liberal than a conservative. He's apolitical, the purple-party. 

Everything is about "rights" with my dad. If only this were hyperbole. Nearly everything, everything he talks about, is about his "rights". 

"Obama is taking them away", "the queers are taking them away", "the blacks are taking them away!"  And don't get him started on those uppity women demanding extra legislation. How dare we!!!

And people wonder why feminists are so "angry"? Oppression still exists. If it exists in the living room of the most patriotic, freedom loving American in the United States, we're all screwed... 

The irony is, that in his crusading, he robs me my right to independent thought, to the respect granted to another human being to be listened to and actually HEARD. 

But, of course, it's not about politics. It never was. 

It has always been an argument for worth and value. He believes that if I don't agree with him, he's failed as a dad. If I don't agree, then he is completely insignificant as a human being. And, "if my daddy doesn't care about how I feel, he implies (nonverbally of course) that I'm insignificant", too. 

I am a cracked mirror, a disobedient shadow. And that hurts to know that is effectively all I am to him. 

Maybe it's not "factual", but it feels true. It's all ego; his reaction to what he assumes is a communist loyalty, and mine to what I assume is male privilege and arrogance. 

We're both wrong, the truth somewhere between "us/them" or "me/him"; we're both boxing at the air. 

Even knowing all this, I'm angry.

I'm angry, because it is still unbearably hurtful to know all this ranting and raving political ideology is ultimitely more important to him than I am. People say "he loves you. he's just bad at showing it." He loves me. As much as he can. I believe he can't help the verbal diarrhea. You can't deny a drowning man oxygen. He desperately NEEDS to be right just like I desperately need to be heard, loved, and understood. 

In a weird way, I can empathize. Right now, I'm drowning too.  

I am the daughter he supposedly loves and would do anything for. I wish, instead of battling the communists or protecting the country or "walking through fire" for his family, he would just shut the fuck up and be my dad.  

This would be the time to ask WWSD (what would Seligman do? Positive psych). Would he march into the bedroom and try to talk or...

Dammit. And there God comes again (Ironic turn of phrase, there).  

I'm going to pray for him. 

Then, tomorrow, a cue from Jesus and positive psychology, I will inform him that we will no longer be discussing politics. At least not for the next twenty years. Or until he learns how to play fair. 

It's a "victim-y" word, but this is what you call re-victimization. The neural path down this dark road is well worn, a land mine of triggers. It has got to end. Now. Or I can't talk to him again. It's not worth it anymore. 

*takes a deep breath* 



In my positive psych class, we talk a lot about gratitude. It's always lurking in the back of my mind, even if I'm not practicing it actively. I'm having a down morning, so I think I'll make a list of things I'm grateful for and utilize the wealth. 

1. The ocean. It's beautiful to watch, so infinite.
2. My little cat. He's so soft and lovely.
3. The fact that the world is a pair of open arms. We're not alone. 
4. Spring!
5. That I was able to wake up early today. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Seabird Lyrics 4 Survivors and Victims

I promise with my life, I will bite my tongue
And I won't say a word,
'til all the listening is done
And hold onto these memories,
the ones that drive you away

Sing 'til your heart hurts, then sing some more
Don't stop singing 'til we see the shore
Sing it loud and clear, I promise you
Someone will hear you sing

Sing it without the fear, 'cause I promise you
The whole world will hear you sing


Tonight, I discovered a family friend's children were molested.

By a family friend.

Whom they trusted.

Two little girls. 

It's flabbergasting because the parents LOVED those kids. They did all they could to keep them safe, to provide for and nurture them. It's totally crazy that someone could do this.

But, of course, people do it all the time.

I'm trying not to hate the world right now...

Please pray...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

On a Different Note...

than my last gajillion posts there will be nothing but gratitude for the good in life, and no more impassioned rants about social injustice. In this entry, anyway. (Tomorrow is a holiday. lulz.)  

It is a good day. The week was relatively good (however foggy). The sleep study was fun, the technician and I cracked some jokes.  And no crazy doctors thrill killed me (see the movie Pathology to get the reference. perhaps the creepiest movie I've ever seen). 

Happy Easter! 

I've been sleeping!!!!!! 

*hallelujah chorus*

And, before I thought I was just straight up crazy. Living even three or four days ago seemed like breathing through a bullet hole, if that makes any sense. But maybe this was just an attribution error (this may just be the best word ever!!!!!) and it was just sensory deprivation. "Circadian arrhythmia". No wonder my mind sounded like a wheel squeaking like it was gonna fall off, it probably was. 

There is a chance that sleep matters and that I'm not categorically defunct, or, "flat-out fucked" (thank you, Elizabeth Wurtzel). Hmm....

*let's think about this, shall we?*


Anyway, today, I volunteered to face paint for my church's Easter celebration for neighborhood kids. The "eggstravaganza" was a lot of fun. Paint got everywhere. And kids are too cute even sans paint. Yay! 

AND OMG!!!! 

I discovered The Inclusive Bible!!!

The Bible. Translated by Catholic clergy (of both sexes) into egalitarian, non-sexist, language. It might seem like heresy to call Jesus God's Only Begotten instead of the traditional "Only Begotten Son" but it is so helpful in more ways than one. 

Am I the only "good, Christian girl" who feels alienated from passages in the Bible which speak of "mankind"? Even if, in reality, it, unlike the constitution, actually means "humankind"? 

There's a verse in which Jesus calls God your "loving God" instead of "Heavenly Father" and I literally bawled. For joy. Because, as our lovely post modern philosophers point out, language is not fixed. And, certain words have accrued such cultural baggage they're not even what the original writer intended. When somebody says "father" to me, I hear "distant, scary yelling guy", but, you know, in the sky. By and by.

"Loving God". Well, that is somewhat easier to conceive. "Loving God", in that moment, meant both mother and father, friend and lover, savior and redeemer, rabbi, and this meager construct of language just ripped my intellectual sky in two. Just like the curtain in the temple.  
Reading this Bible, I glimpsed Jesus, not just His "Name." (Neither as a curse word or manipulative tool  to compel belief or conformity.) It was like He was there tangibly, inviting me into the sun, into loving and being loved. It was like drinking cool water after being in unbearably hot weather. Like looking through Jesus as window to God, to everything. The historical and cosmic Christ in one.

The words both included and transcended His presence. Near me? In me? 

It seems so ethereal. Speaking of spiritual experiences is nearly impossible. But, really, that moment was no doubt the meaning of Easter. God alive. God with us. (ok, that's Christmas. So what?)

Hallelujah. Since then, I've been ridiculously happy, at peace. 

And, as life is wont to do, these recent experiences got me thinking. In one of my classes, we're studying religion and spirituality. Religion was defined as seeking significance through a search for the sacred and, spirituality as the search for the sacred. I started thinking about "church" and the eggstravaganza. And how contrived it seems to sit in a building to commune with a being who is supposedly everywhere. Why didn't we go outside and look at the sky, sit in the breeze? 

But, then, I thought, if we are together, we are All together. A pot luck or kitschy celebration with Friends is infinitely better than being alone even watching a sunrise...(and sunrises are amazing!)

Yay panentheism! lol. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Throwing My Arms Around Morrissey

I was thisclose to having a nervous break down two minutes ago.

Then, I found this:

sure, he's old enough to be my father, and dances like he's drunk but somehow, he manages to be fricking adorable.


The original emo boy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


So, the sleep doctor suspects my oversized tongue(?) is choking me at night, evinced by the swamp of drool on the pillow. This, in turn, disrupts the sleep cycle and this, in turn, contributes to my feeling like being run over a truck in the morning. Or afternoon. Really, any time. This explains why no amount of sleep has been refreshing for the last six years. Cripples, he said, in so many words, frequently have this problem.

He also said that I didn’t open my mouth wide enough. Of course, that could have had something to do with the wooden stick halfway down my throat. On Thursday, I get to sleep at the hospital, connected to wires and monitored by a camera.


Angel starts rousting me out of bed at 7:30 tomorrow; And, today, well, was the first step back to sanity. Today, I made it to every class. Objectively, it’s not a huge step but it feels so much better not to be drooling onto a pillow or hyperventilating in the hallway.

This morning, Fayne walked with me to my first class. And, then, later Joey appeared again. He showed me some of his art work (how cool was that? he’s really good, too). He inquired about the pinched, lemon expression, and I told him going to class was freaking me out. A next-to-complete stranger, he offered to walk me (ok, not so much a stranger anymore).

This was very cool. The morning I saw Fayne, I’d prayed for help. The anxiety was becoming too much. The fear was going too far and I allowed it to push me into a box the size of a cigarette package. Smaller. Monday was as far back as I could allow myself to recoil without springing in all directions, and, lo and behold, Fayne appeared and sent the e-mail to my professors that I feared sending. Today, I talked to all three of them. And will keep communication open (hear that, me?).

The coolest thing, though, was that I prayed that someone would walk with me. The length from the dorm to the batten center allows for too many u-turns. Bushes. Shrubbery. In the hours implicit in anxious minutes, there is too much room for retreat. It would be better God, I prayed, if the walk wasn’t so solitary. If there was yet another sign of the kindness in the world, of the reality of grace after all this terror.

When Joey said he’d walk with, I almost cried. Another one of those kairos situations.

Why is kindness always so surprising?

Oh well, let it be a surprise; it means it’ll always be this awesome.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Today, I have a lot to say, and do not know where to begin.

So, it must start with this: Thank God for Jesus. A God who understands pain, injustice, betrayal, and abandonment. Thank God for a God with scars. Thank God that He's not a man (of course, maybe Ze is a better pronoun for this), or a woman and that Ze does not have a race or a political party. That Ze doesn't think like me, or you and that Ze thinks bigger than us...

That being said, my dad started a conversation about Rush Limbaugh and his summit for women which somehow ended up being about socialism. How special interest groups function under socialist ideologies and its all power grab 

(which, true enough, it IS about power. But not about taking power away from anyone but instead, evening it out. Somehow, pointing out inequality is sexist). Somehow, we ended up discussing Thomas Paine and the constitution. 

What is maddening as even as my dad claimed women were equal in society to men, he called feminists lesbians (where have we heard that before) and then, claimed that lesbians weren't REAL women. Then, he said that black people were the n word, and that gay men weren't real men either.

Then, he talked about how there discrimination no longer exists.

See, the thing is, special interest groups exist because of power. Or, lack thereof. Now that non white, non male folk have gained a voice, they're challenging the status quo, they get blasted. Or, get accused of reverse racism or sexism. 

When a woman is paid as much as a man, can negotiate as aggressively as she needs to and still get the job, when being "feminine" is not an onus, when the first thing people hear when they hear black person is the n word, when the world is still so entrenched in this colonialist, ethnocentrism, America is not free. America is not equal. 

My dad says we need to go back to the constitution, where God was in public life and our constitutional rights were upheld. 

For one, what about the rights of the indigenous Americans?

For another, the constitutional rights only applied to rich white guys.

For another, the the founding fathers weren't all Christians. Many were deists who espoused the ideals from the enlightenment era: rationalism, empiricism, etc...

God was added into "public life" in the forties and fifties as a way to "protect" America from communism. 

For another, Christianity as a system hasn't worked. And, in my opinion, as if the Way weren't hard enough, we married it to conservative politics that thought little of those marginalized by society. It's created more atheists than anything else, IMHO.

The point is, the system sucks. And always has. Don't get me wrong. I love my country. I just hate that we think we're Gods gift to civilization. 

Friday, April 3, 2009


Since this week and all the rage, I decided to begin a blog expressly dedicated to raising awareness of issues about equality from a Christian perspective. 

You can check it out at

More to follow later. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rape, Gender, Society...

Last night, I couldn't sleep, spent the whole night fuming without really knowing why. I was stuck in this miasma of just...ugh, pissed-offedness. Then, the reason why hit me. Mr. Sexy Christian Guitarist Guy. Just as the words "it's OK" hit the air. I suspect the book triggered feelings of rejection about him which went all the way back in time to my dad. Like a mine field. It makes sense. A good general rule is if there is strong emotion which is either inappropriate to the situation or generally irrational, the problem is really with something else. As Rob Bell says "this" is really about "that." Rejection is one of my deepest wound and I guess, right now, I'm not OK. I'm hurt and disappointed. And this is OK. This too shall pass. 

 Today, in the light of day, examining the issue calmly and sensibly, I came up with an essay which presents my thoughts in a form other than in the form of a verbal raspberry. I still agree with my general thoughts about rape, but I realized that I was also upset about the fact that, at least in my humble, unsubstantiated opinion, men don't seem to care, have an attitude like "you're not over that yet?" or, as you'll see in my essay, blame the "victim" (victim is a horrible, horrible word!). To the men I've known, rape is not a human rights issue so much as just a "woman's rights" issue and thus, irrelevant to them. Which sucks because men can stop rape. Which is what upset me initially last night, apathy and dismissal. Or, the fact that they seem threatened by the fact women, the majority of victims, are so angry about rape, which is perpetrated most often by males. It's understandable that they might get defensive, or personally feel attacked as men, just as I took last night personally. The essay is pretty good and pretty fair so I'll share here: 

Recently, I read an article by a man who compared rape prevention to locking the doors on a house. In his opinion, women could drastically decrease the chance of getting violated sexually by taking the proper precautions. I would agree that, in general, being safe is a wise decision. But, of course, the statistics fly in the face of his premise. As it turns out, avoiding dark alley ways and bad parts of town are not the most effective ways to ensure safety because, according to RAINN, 38% of rapes are committed by friends or acquaintances, 28% percent are committed by intimates (there is an underreported phenomenon of partner rape), and 7% are committed by relatives. Stranger rape is far less common than alarmist images of masked men hiding in the bushes suggest. 

A disproportionate number of rapists are people women trust. 

On the comment section of the article, there was also a discussion about how often alcohol is involved, and how women put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

This is, at best, gas lighting. And, considering the aforementioned statistics, it is also largely irrelevant because, again, rape is often perpetrated by people who have gained the victim’s trust. In no way can this be construed as the woman’s fault. 

This article is just another insidious case of “blaming the victim” (“victim” is a horrible, horrible word); the author of the article presenting the “she was asking for it” fallacy in a more rational disguise. It is not primarily the responsibility of the one raped to “protect” herself, it is primarily the rapists responsibility NOT TO RAPE. If the RAINN statistics are accurate, a woman would potentially have to be on guard at all times, with every man in her life, in all places. Even at home. She might never be raped, but she would probably suffer a heart attack from all the stress.

Besides, if it was a less controversial topic in question, say, murder, few would even think to condemn the victim for her own death; it would be seen as a tragic crime, summarily unacceptable, and the murderer would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

Of course, I think I understand where the writer was coming from. Rape, since the seventies, has been a highly volatile, political issue championed by feminist groups; It is only natural, when any group gets angry, when there is a public outcry, there will be a back lash in its wake. People naturally get defensive. In this case, since women are statistically more likely raped than men (more on this later) and men are statistically more likely to be the rapist, I believe cases of rationalization of the sort mentioned above, men fear they will be demonized, mistrusted, and hated in the public eye (not to mention falsely accused by cunning opportunists who seek to work the system). Or, perhaps, for average decent, good man the idea that anyone else could behave in such ways is incomprehensible. These reasons would explain what seems to me, more willingness in men to deny or down play the serious damage caused by rape and the rage expressed by women over this issue; And, perhaps, why rapists on average spend no more than five years behind bars. 

As a feminist, I can appreciate the concern of men (Since even the label “feminist” will inevitably bring fire). Judgment volleyed at an entire group because of a few is also injustice, whether it be leveled at men, women, or green headed goat herders. In fact, there is already a politically charged buzz word for it. Prejudice. And, well, prejudice and sexism is part of why I’m writing this essay.  

All this said, however, since articles like the aforementioned are still written, I don’t think, as a society, we understand the gravity of sexual violence. One in six women is sexually assaulted or raped. Furthermore, one in thirty three men is sexually assaulted or raped. Victims are at a significantly elevated risk for depression, PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal ideation. Of course, the numbers do not even touch the phenomenological, the sense of shame and violation, the inability to trust so commonly reported by “victims.”

To shed the formality of the essayist and be completely honest, even as a third party, without personal experience, the fact that I’ve seen so many people, usually men, dismiss rape as relatively unimportant pisses me off. (It’s also a shame because we, as women, want and need our brothers to stand up with us. Men can help stop rape. See 

Sexual assault and rape are bad enough. Denial that sexual assault and rape matter, or the subtle implication the victim is really in the wrong, however indirectly, is worse and only compounds the problem. 

The clinical term for this denial is called invalidation. Martha Lineham, creator of Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, writes this: Invalidation has two primary characteristics. First, it tells the individual that she is wrong in both her description and her analyses of her own experiences, particularly in her views of what is causing her own emotions, beliefs, and actions. Second, it attributes her experiences to socially unacceptable characteristics or personality traits. Furthermore, invalidation is linked with self-destructive behavior. A self-injurer, for instance, invalidated as a child, might think her feelings are “wrong”, and punish herself for those “bad” feelings by cutting, burning, or otherwise harming herself. Invalidation has also been implicated in the fragmentation in multiple identity disorder. In the mind of the invalidated, there is insecurity about the integrity of his or her vision, his or her view of the world. 

For the rape victim, her right to sovereignty over her own body has already been compromised by the rapist. The integrity of her vision, the magnitude of her pain, should not also be robbed from her as well by society. I have heard it often said that woman are more likely to blame themselves for the injustices perpetrated against them. Perhaps this is why, according to RAINN, something like only half of sexual assaults and rape go reported and only six percent of rapists see jail time. Women aren’t sure it was “wrong”, or “genuine rape”, or if being manipulated or emotionally battered into having sex counts as sexual violence (it does!). When people, already dealing with  the fallout of sexual violence, have to wonder “Did I really fight him off hard enough” or, “was it my clothing that drove him completely over the edge”, there is something profoundly immoral occurring.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Rant on Sexual Violence

Ok, I haven't been this livid in a while; seeing red, breathing fire, the whole bit. It all started with stumbling onto a review for a random book I'd never even read. Something about how males are being endangered in culture...

Agreed, it is pretty terrible how stupid men are portrayed on television and in other forms of media sometimes. And I do have to agree there has been a "trivialization" of men to some extent, or the traits assigned to traditional masculinity, but, honestly, I think it has less to do with misandry and more to do with an awareness of what constitutes mental health. A balance of stereotypical male and female traits is ideal, and the more stereotypical one gets, the more restricted an individual is by norms, the more problems there are. 

I mean, guys are more likely to have substance abuse disorders, to end up in jail, to die by suicide or in accidents. They are not taught to deal with their problems in constructive ways. Women are more likely to have body image issues, to be codependent, to be depressed. They are not taught to stand up for themselves. Each sex has its liabilities. I really think this goes back to where the man was supposed to be this warrior guy and the woman was supposed to be a delicate, demure flower. Men, in culture, are deprived of the power to experience the inner world, and women are just beginning to gain the opportunity to experience the outer world. 

Though, honestly, until men and women are equal, I am not going to be happy. Until women make up more than four percent of CEO's of fortune 500 companies until being compared to a woman is not an insult: "stop acting like a bitch", until the "feminine" aspects of a person are valued as much as the "masculine", I am gonna bitch. 

Oh well. I just really didn't get this book. 

One of the premises of the book (it is said) is that boys are getting a raw deal in schools because teachers are assigning more "female books", books which deal with themes like depression (which, hullo, is not even an exclusively "female" issue. boys, instead of getting weepy or present irritability and aggression) and body image issues (anorexia and bulimia are less common among males, but not unheard of); something else was mentioned how it's not fair to force boys, naturally aggressive and restless, to sit down for hours on end in school. (Never mind that for most of American history---No, for most of HISTORY---MEN have been the scholars, the "men of letters." Not the women. I mean, with this author's logic how the hell did Mark Twain sit down to write his genius smart ass work? How did male pianists like Bach or Mozart sit down to compose?) 

Anyway, this part is not what pissed me off.  (Gender roles blah blah blah.)

What pissed me off was the book was the disregard for victims of sex crime. 

The review said something about how unfair it is to force men to sit through sexual harassment and rape seminars. And how unfair it is that law abiding men have to go compulsorily. Never mind women have to attend compulsorily too. 

According to RAINN statistics, one in six women and one in thirty three men will be sexually assaulted/raped. That is a lot of people. Who do you think perpetrates these crimes? Men (AND, YES, ALSO WOMEN) who might very well be forced to attend sexual violence seminars. You know why innocent men have to go? Because no one can predict who is and is not capable of sexual harassment/assault/rape on sight. If you wouldn't hurt someone else, what's the big deal in having to sit through something like that? Someone else might be spared the emotional distress of being violated because of them. 

Granted, it could be argued someone who would rape or assault might be too far gone for a seminar to help. But, I'm not all that sure. Interestingly enough, unlike pedophilia which is a notoriously difficult mental disorder to treat, rapists are not considered to have a mental disorder. They're considered, well, just rapists. And, anyone with even a perfunctory knowledge of psychology can tell you, rape is not about sex, but power. I wonder if at least suggesting this idea to people wouldn't make some kind of difference, suggesting a new paradigm through which to view relationships with others. The way I understand it, rapists can disengage from their victim, and objectify them for the sake of some sick sense of pleasure.

I really don't think rapists and law abiding men who would be upset about a stupid seminar alike really realize how devastating sexual violence can be, or any kind of violence can be for that matter. It can fuck you up for a long time. 

Prose Poem?

Nature requires no description, no speech whatsoever; an exquisite seascape does not need to borrow my voice, it has its own; though, it is necessary for me volunteer my language anyway, to edit my ego into the iconography of beauty. 

Tonight, I stole out onto the deck for a quick smoke before bed, but found myself, instead, unmoving, arrested by a night scene. All day, the wind had been threatening storm, had been ripping at the ocean. All day, I sat in the house, unthinking, intentionally unaware that a miracle of grace roared outside the window. 

If the universe had a breath, I thought, the ebb and wave on the shore would be it; its pulse and vital sign the noisy collapsing of white caps. 

On the horizon, the dark sea and dark sky were cleft only by the visible light of two ships trawling. There, where the two planes converged, I sensed something like the focal point of infinity, and with it, an irresistible gravity drawing out my soul. Something about the darkness, the ambiguity of forms, accomplishes this; when there is little light to distinguish shapes, it is easy to imagine the rest of the power and glory forever and ever, amen. 

I stood for an hour, dizzy, head spun, at the immensity of the horizon; the immensity of whatever forever truly is. 

The sea knows much more of God than I will ever hope to. Hallelujah.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

La Vie En Rose

God is such a cunning fellow, with the email correspondence with that guy on OKcupid coming with perfect divine kairos. He appeared out of nowhere, a divine emissary, just like Daryl did when I was with Wade. So far, the connection to Ben has been little more than a device to further plot, to bring me where I should have been all along. And, well, even though he hasn't written me back and though he seems, by his silence, uninterested (he's just not that into you!) I can sincerely say that this is OK. Or, at least, it will be. I refuse to let his silence send me spiraling into another pity party, "no one will ever love me" because this is blatantly untrue. 

Now that this hellish cycle (more an ! than a .) has passed, there are more important things at hand than staying sane: classes, success, trying to get poetry published, and building friendships/close relationships. There are things to do, people to love. I am sick of pretending to be Juliet, and believing that romantic love is, in Rufus Wainwright's lyricism, "the copious prize." I suspect this yen for romance is nothing more than the cleverly disguised attempt of my body to find another dopamine producing addiction. This is never the right reason to get into a relationship, it's "usery"; for God shutting this door to me, I can muster up at least a little gratitude. 

Though, to be honest, while this is "OK" and I know that God knows what He's doing, it would have been nice to have a guy around; It would be nice to have an opportunity build a healthy, respectful relationship with a guy and to also shed the stupid, unfair stereotypes of men as horndogs and/or shallow dolts. I have to be careful to remind myself that Mr. Progressive Christian Guitarist Guy is not insulting me personally. And that, well, on paper, it's good to know that what I'm looking for could conceivably exist.

This rest of the week has been such a high, and it's slowly sinking in that really huge things have happened. First, there is a fledgling relationship forming with my dad, and then, I am realizing my ability for assertiveness, especially with R. It hasn't been perfect, the walls are still high and fear is still there but at least, steps have been made and change is coming. God has seemed intensely close, and I'm getting to know Him better. Once, He "told me" obedience in breaking up with R is simply "remaining in His love." It is true, doing the right thing removes shame and self-blame and enables me to get closer to Jesus, "look Him in the eye."

This weekend was good, too. The family went to Nag's Head and we all sat around at the beach house, eating and talking. Gretchen and I got into a long conversation about religion and politics, and with her, unlike with assorted other ideologists in the family, it didn't devolve into a dramatic pissing contest. The one-on-one was really good because my family was beginning to trigger me, as a group, you know.

And. Oh my goodness. At night the ocean is beautiful. On Saturday night, I stole outside for a smoke at three a.m until six when Aunt Barbara woke up and opened the door (which was locked me out from the outside). For three hours, I watched the horizon cleft into dark ocean and dark sky. The wind was up so the ocean was loud, a roaring thing. The only light was from two ships "passing in the night." It was transcendent, watching my soul and night converge in the distance; knowing God is  "in here" for sure is nice, but becoming aware he is also "out there" is astounding when you've forgotten. "The skies declare the glory of God." The scene was an icon, a mirror, and a door. It spawned some poetry and some major gratitude in me.

Who knew getting locked out could be so amazing?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pinch Me!

Granted, the Graham Greene references have been copious in my blogging lately because he's been a project in one of my classes. However, there is so much I relate to with the guy and his work, especially the catholic trilogy: the agnostic nature of his faith, his struggles with morality/his lapsed catholicism, his complex characters and his bipolar disorder (which imho explains the rest of his problems). Sarah Miles is something of a mentor, especially with my history of unwise relational attachments...Today, I ended my own "affair". And, got my dad back. And, my heart. All in one day. It'll be difficult to put into words. It began this morning, and the prayers of my mother and I. This weekend, I decided I would put an end to this "affair" and would also give my dad a letter explaining the anger I had towards him. This morning, my brother was worried about getting through his entire lesson plan while dad was feeling sick. My mom and I prayed first for Lucas, that his day would go like he needed it to go. Then, we prayed, at nine a.m. that dad would feel better before getting my letter. We then prayed I might have the strength to go through with the break-up, and that R and I would not be alone together in the dorm. Because, well, when we're alone, stuff happens. Inevitably.

Today, this love thing was extremely easy. Conversations were rich, full, and real. And I wasn't holding back and I wasn't afraid! Then, R told me she's commuting for a while, her parents want her home. We didn't spend the night alone in this room here together! 

Then, when R and I were finally out of ear shot, with an hour before her mom picked her up, I looked her in the eye, to her face this time, and told her that I want to be with a boy. It was o.k., an amazing feat for someone seemingly unable to confront anyone, and rarely that honestly.

Then, I called my mom's cell phone, cowardly avoiding the home phone lest my dad answer instead. She didn't answer the cell, so I called the house phone. Guess who picked up? On this day, who else? Soon, my dad was apologizing and almost crying, saying he would make it up to me, would fix it, and that we would be friends.

You have no idea how miraculous this is for him to say things like that, to say that he's sorry. You have no idea how long I've needed to hear the words that he said today. It's hurt so long that words can't even come close to touching at the bone. 

I was able to express anger!

And, even to make it more amazing, he said he began to feel better physically right around the time we were praying for him. And Lucas' day when just as good as mine, smooth with the kids. 

This is un-fricking-believable.

And He loves so much. Even still. Even now.