fixations of childhood, obsessions of adulthood

Do you remember when I was in middle school and so obsessed with John that I created an imaginary friend named Jay who looked just like him? He was like my mind’s replacement. I think I said he was twenty-three (much older than I was at the time but still tame, although inwardly I wished he were older) and had blond hair and green eyes, but I could never keep track of the eye color, so sometimes they were blue instead. I imagined he walked with me when I went out, and he slept beside me with one arm draped around me. I never thought I was starving for romantic affection, but I was, and desperate for a man to accept my obsession. I don’t know why. I don’t know when it started. Back when I was eight years old, I fell in love with a forty-year-old singer from American Idol, and I don’t think that was the first time. I loved the Doctor because he was nine hundred years old. I loved Motorcycle Man, the 33-year-old from my church. I was absolutely dumbstruck by every single male pastor and teacher and counselor I ever had, so I kept up with ten-page journal entries about every single one of them and I gazed at them, chest aching, from across the campfires of youth group retreats. I ought to burn all the journals I kept before ninth grade. At least after ninth grade I began to learn to hide my obsession.
At high school graduation, I proceeded down the line of teachers with outstretched hands to shake, and instead, I hugged all the ones I loved the most, and the one I’m too scared to name said “thank you for everything, Emily” and when I sat down I realized they could not see me the same way after this. In adulthood, everyone is the same. But the way I love men is divisive.

when I write, I cast a line for God.

God would not give me all of this hope to choke on.
my death anxiety has stilled because every time death is mentioned I do not believe it’s real.
death will not come for me.
not in the way it comes for everyone else.
God will reveal the truth to me and finally, finally, I will understand how my joints fit into one another and how it is not cruel for God to flush the population of the planet down His toilet bowl.
there is nothing here that will tell me the truth.
God, God, God, one day God will stop the overflow of deceit by omission.
tell me. tell me, God!
tell me.
tell me why you boil me until my flesh is tender but do not consume me.
tell me why you pump fog into my skull until I am too tired to move.
tell me why you demand I follow you when you are nowhere in sight.
damn it. damn it. damn it.
how do I know the difference between my fear and your concern?
take it away. take it away. please, God.
take my fear away before I die.

brainstorm on internalized misogyny

I grew up in a protestant church, and women in church aren’t at all encouraged to pursue theology or philosophy or anything like that, and they’re usually banned from teaching except in women’s groups. so people mostly just conveniently assumed that girls generally aren’t into that sort of thing. but I was! and I constantly asked questions. the female counselors didn’t know how to talk to me about it. they referred me to the male counselors, who were very interested in my questions. so it seemed like all of my productive conversations were with men. after a while, I think I just didn’t trust women enough to ask them questions, because women had never given me answers I was happy with. it wasn’t like they weren’t smart enough. they just… didn’t talk about theology or predestination or virtue. those subjects were confined to male circles only, like some unspoken rule. it was strange.

I went to a homeschool co-op until 8th grade, so I did a lot of reading. and the vast majority of classic literature, history books, old plays, etc. are written exclusively by men. men dominated the field of writing and philosophy for so long. and because I was so indoctrinated with religion for my entire goddamn childhood, I hardly read a single thing written by a woman. hardly a thing. everything I was passionate about was only taught to me by men. so I have this fucked up natural aversion to women, because I’m so used to only men sharing my interests! I hate it! and there are plenty of women involved in English and philosophy and religion and that sort of thing, and I’m constantly trying to seek them out, but I still notice this very subtle shift. I’m just not as interested in what women have to say. I’m a woman myself, but I still naturally equate female bodies/voices with not just physical weakness, butmental weakness. I’m so tired of it.

a lot of men try to tell you that there aren’t as many women in certain fields because women aren’t naturally inclined towards said fields. but I really, really don’t think that’s true. I really, really think that men have dominated those fields for so long that women just keep their passion inside and never share it because, without even realizing it, they don’t think women are good enough. and they don’t think they themselves are good enough.

I think that’s why I struggle with my gender identity, too. I just can’t figure out a way to identify with the female gender. I care less about my own physical strength than my mental strength. I do have body dysphoria, but I wonder if it has more to do with that mental gap than I thought. I don’t know why I have such a problem with being a woman. I think I consider myself weak because I’m a female. Somehow, if I were a man, my interests would be validated. My mind would make more sense. The women in the church sometimes thought I was only talking to male counselors because I had crushes on them. I did have crushes on them. But I didn’t experience sexual attraction at that age — at least not overt sexual attraction. I was just… more attracted to the men in my church because they radiated a sort of wisdom that the women didn’t. There are women in my life now, who I love, who would talk to me about religion and philosophy until the earth burned. But there’s this part of me that, God help me, just wishes they were men. What the fuck is up with that? I’m bisexual. I’m sexually attracted to women. This isn’t a matter of me just wishing I could have crushes on them or whatever. It’s deep. It’s a hatred of who I am. The fact that I’m a woman should have absolutely no bearing on my career choice or my passion. I can still study work from men who lived a thousand years ago. They aren’t going to stop me. They’re dead. But the aesthetic appeal of philosopher, of wise man? It’s all masculine. I want to be masculine. Not a man, but just as strong of will and of character. I can’t describe how much I hate that women are always assigned a submissive or a secondary role. Women aren’t supporting characters. God fucking damn it. God damn it.

There is nothing to do but wait.

I think of my grandparents as still alive. How could I think of them as anything else? How could they not be somewhere parallel to me? Where are they, that could be unreachable? Is this God’s plan for us? Live side by side until one timeline breaks and falls away to he-knows-where-but-I-do-not? Is Papa safe? Is Grandpa George safe? Does suicide take you to the seventh layer of hell? Does hell exist? I think there’s something very wrong about all of this. There is nobody to ask. There is nobody who has gone and come back. The only ones to ask are the unbroken. The dead know now what my body squirms daily to discover. I could have asked them in life but they did not know, not then. Only now. This is unfixable. Unknowable. Putrid, obscene ignorance that sticks in my flesh like shame. It feels like a sin, gathers together suddenly in waves of pure, destitute panic. It’s strange, the way the vulnerability in desperation can sometimes feel akin to an orgasm. My mind lurches to fill its empty spaces and finds no information with which to do so. Nature is infallible because she doesn’t pretend to be kind. God, however. God allows my suffering and still proclaims he is kind.

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

I thought you knew that God couldn’t be pinned down. You’ve said so many times that his nature is incomprehensible. Why do you tell me we can’t know the concrete truth, but then, with the same tongue and absolute certainty, tell me I’m wrong? There is no absolute truth. I know you think that’s a logical fallacy. But you ignore every logical fallacy I bring to your attention, and you know why, don’t you? You know it’s because there is no absolute reality. You know that, because even the color red changes from human to human. Even eyesight, depth perception, hearing. I’m deaf in my left ear. I can’t hear the birds chirping in the morning. My best friend is schizophrenic. She texted me the other night about the way the voices seemed different than they usually do — they were alarming when usually they’re calm. How come you hate vanilla ice cream when I love it? How come I care so much about hell when you don’t? How come I’m wrong when I say that truth is relative?

Vanilla ice cream is delicious. There is no absolute truth.

Everything about life is subjective. That is the nature of reality and the beauty of it, too. God will not damn me to hell because he did not reveal the same truth to me that he did to you. God is Abba, Father, Mother, Protector of his/her children in life and in death. He knows where our differences lie. He knows that fear will never be solid ground for my faith, even if it is for you. We aren’t the same.

You know that God is the God of second chances. You know the parable of the Farmer and his workers. He hired men to tend his vineyard, and they worked all day starting in the morning. When afternoon came, he found more men waiting for work, and when he asked them why they were waiting, they said nobody had hired them. So he hired them, and they worked until the end of the day. When the Farmer paid all of the workers the same, the ones who had worked from morning complained. “‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.'”
(Matthew 20)

God is in control. He will save some of us now and some of us at the mouth of Death. We will never be penalized for waiting.

I’m waiting for God. All of the faithless are waiting. We cannot be cast into hell for the knowledge that is withheld from us.

The road to truth is dim and slippery and every human being is given a separate route.

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎10:13:06 PM

I’ve found myself struggling to reach a sense of peace.
I haven’t been content since I was a Christian kid.
Dusk felt fresh and everlasting, and on cold nights
at summer camp I would sit by the fire with my
hands tucked into my sleeves. I thought about how
I would die, but I didn’t think about it the way I
do now. I was Christian, so I was guaranteed heaven
when most of the population wasn’t. And I was so
scared that my focus might shift and my worldview
might blend in with society’s until I became part
of the majority that was destined for hell.
Now that’s me, so I haven’t felt stillness for what
seems like a long time. There’s a restlessness
behind everything. Always waiting for peace to come
but no promise that it ever will, just fear and
the intrinsic knowledge that I’ll never really know
anything for certain. It seems melodramatic, but it
seeps into everything. That’s why it’s all I’ve been
able to write about. It’s all I’m able to feel.

Peace feels temporary, like falling asleep in the car.

I know the answer is waiting for me just out of reach.
It’s nestled comfortably on the tip of my tongue, sleeping restlessly.
The answer to what? I’m not sure I can tell you. Just the answer. The solution.
Whatever wind or breath of life that grants me insight has refused
to give me the final solution. The formula.
What beautiful aching I feel in every silence. What savage loss of hope
seizes hold of me when I look at a glorious sunset or sometimes
a perfectly-formed cloud, traced by the sun with rich yellow as if with
a freshly sharpened colored pencil.
Today I told my mom, it’s not that I’m ungrateful, or that I’m
rejecting what God has given me. Dad thinks so because Christianity
feels right to him. It doesn’t feel right to me. I feel, I know,
there’s something that I haven’t found.
I’m not ungrateful, but I’m impatient. I feel dread because
my time is always running out and I don’t know anything.
Life really feels like a test on the chapter of a book I haven’t read.
Can I be held accountable for that? For not knowing despite my
desperate and urgent search? I’m waiting for the answer, but
it hasn’t revealed itself to me. I guess that means I have to find it
by myself, dig through my thoughts until I find whatever it is
I’m even supposed to be looking for.