A few days ago, I changed one of my post categories from ‘personal’ to ‘diary’ in an attempt to give myself the freedom to write about whatever comes to mind. Future diary entries may or may not have comments enabled.
Writing personal entries is a real challenge for me lately. Funny, considering when I started out blogging seven years ago everything I wrote was a personal retelling of a bad day or the occasional rant about how much I hated stapling and collating things for community college instructors and elementary school teachers.
Don’t get me wrong. Even with the addition of top ten articles and how-to posts, I’ve always written what I wanted to write here. It’s just that I used to be fearless about it. Now, instead of recklessly mind-dumping all over the place, I stare at the cursor and wonder if maybe—just maybe—someone will get the wrong idea.
I’ve been suffocating myself, yes. But mostly because I am convinced it’s for the greater good.
I don’t want to be that blogger either. I just don’t have the wit to be all snark all the time, and I don’t want to intentionally hurt people with what I write. But I’ve got shit to say—wildly unpopular shit to say, I might add—and for some reason I find myself always coming up with reasons not to say it.
Some of them are really good reasons, too. For example? Protecting my parents. Although my mom and dad don’t read my blog, they know I blog. And people they know read my blog. So it’s not much of a stretch to imagine a scenario in which I make a personal declaration that breaks their General Baptist hearts.
My parents are two of the strongest, most resilient people I know. Yet when it comes to this…this thing, I treat them like…
Here comes the dread, because I’m about to put it out there anyway.
It happened to me about the time my ex-mother-in-law decided she’d seen enough of this life, but I didn’t recognize it for what it truly was until much later. Then, instead of facing it head on, I blamed the people in my pretty white church for being asshats. (To be fair, many of them were asshats, but I was avoiding a bigger personal issue.
The pretty white church had a family counselor/pastor on the payroll, and on several different occasions I found myself sitting on his couch with a box of Kleenex. The counselor and I weren’t alone in that office, however. There was this other guy who liked to leave his wedding ring on the bathroom counter instead of wearing it to his grad classes on Tuesday nights. That guy sat on the couch next to me.
One day, a few months into our sessions, I emailed the counselor and explained that I had reached the end of my rope. Could he recommend a family lawyer, someone within the church, to help me file for divorce?
The counselor responded with the name of someone, but the information came with a side of grief. He could “never condone divorce,” he explained. However, there was another woman in the congregation who had used [name of local attorney here] when her husband had shown he was “unapologetic” and “unremorseful.”
The rub for me was in the counselor’s careful word choice. “Unapologetic” and “unremorseful.” At the time, my ex was apologizing all over himself and admitting to being a horrible human being all the live-long day. And somehow this ridiculous, months-long farce was supposed to warrant my sticking by him.
He was sorry after all.
The insinuation was that as a good Christian woman I shouldn’t be abandoning my husband. Thing is, the ex wasn’t similarly being urged to keep his wedding band on or stop “studying” with exchange students.
But truly, this isn’t about the divorce. The connection between this episode with the counselor and my eventual loss of faith is a result of the douchey double standards that existed within that pretty white church. Nothing makes a girl like me re-evaluate her religious beliefs like good, old-fashioned injustice.
In the end, I suppose I have that same injustice to thank for my current state of contentment. It was the only thing that saved me from a certain and insufferable future. It propelled me to preserve what little happiness I had left, before I completely tuned out and became emotionally void.
There was some internal dialogue going on in my head about this same time. It went a little something like this: “I’m sorry ‘God’, but I’m no longer convinced you have my best interests in mind. If you’re so worried about him having a wife, YOU marry him.
“And, oh, by the way. If you are so bloody fond of things with penises, why don’t you stop making things with vaginas?”
I’m guessing that right about now, everyone is waiting for me to roll out the “A” word, and I half expect it of myself. I’m not really in the mood to be unequivocal about anything, though. And while I’m certain that Pretty White Church God was fabricated by a bunch of long-dead good ol’ boys, I’m still open to almost anything else. Well, except crystals.
Photo credit: artM