” As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.”Butterfly McQueen
Although, I didn’t grow up in the evangelical church, I was baptized into the catholic faith at a very young age. The church would call it the age of accountability, that would be 12 years old. I participated in the church’s rules of catechism, and holy communion. I was baptised in a white veil, white gloves, and dress , symbolism of Christ’s pure bride. Growing up as a foster child was hard enough, living under the roof of an older man (my foster father) who lusted for me was terrifying. My first kiss came from him, and he was a Church going Catholic. That’s another story for another time!
So although I wasn’t brain washed to win souls for the Lord, as I grew older and left home is when I stumbled upon religion again. At the time I was in a Lesbian relationship with a woman in New York, and my children had already been recruited by the baptist church. That led to regular visits to my drive way, and the exchanging of uncomfortable conversations. My children didn’t then know the truth of the church that I know now, they were raised very closed off from having a lot of friends, maybe due to fear of there fathers or possibly because I felt I had to protect them from people. See, I too am I survivor of many traumas, starting from having a drunk passive-aggressive father, to having a domestically abused submissive mother, to experiencing rape and domestic violence myself, my husband was not a very nice guy. Again, a possible story for another time.
So, when I came to Georgia, my children started hanging out wit some of the church kids that they’d met at their new school, and among the first series of teachings they received from the church clergy was that being gay/homosexual and lesbian was a not only a sin against God, and Jesus , but that I was going to hell, and deserved punishment. My children from there on looked at me differently, they felt uncomfortable around me, and any chance they got, they ran to church to hang out with friends. At the time , I was still with Linda, my lover, partner, and that eventually came to an end. I felt heart broken over the relationship, and found myself seeking out other ways of coping with what I was emotionally going through.
Finally by this time my son had enlisted into the the Navy and my daughter became rebellious towards me, it was combination of church friends, and hanging out with the troubled neighborhood children going through their on family traumas, and being the street hanging out was their way of coping with what ever was going on inside of them. Mind you, no gates of heaven opened parted the skies to bring my daughter home, she ended up with pretty bad people. Not everyone in the world is bad, but we all know that there exist really bad people , non the less. I spent most of my nights at home coping and dealing with my mind, eventually I made it to the baptist church, my son was getting baptised before leaving to the Navy, and wanted my presence to congratulate him. In my opinion, baptism though it may be a genuine act for some, it in my opinion is just a guilt tripping into being a follower of Christ.
My son didn’t know this at the time, and yes you guessed it, after my son’s baptism, month’s later my daughter followed, and then later I followed, and although Catholics, and Baptist doctrine is different, you’d think the one bastising me a second time would’ve known that, you don’t need two baptism’s to be saved. ( Another joke for a display). Christianity is exhausting, like most christians, who at the opportunity to serve would jump, I did too! I didn’t know what I was getting into, no one ever took the time to tell me about the ugly history of the church, and the 1490’s spanish war against puerto rico (Boriken Island) Taino turf then. The Connecticut School curriculum forgot to mention , Christopher Columbus ‘s secret appetites, of greed, and murder.
Go figure, the Europeans, and Tainos and African’s are my ancestors. HAD, someone told me the history, it could’ve saved me years of religious trauma, and suffering. I spent seconds’ hours, day’s, months, weeks, and years suffering a mental, and physical exhaustion, like no other. I was alone, scared, and confused, and when I turned to the church they’d only gave me scriptures to read. I was so terrified that someone would consider me crazy, and delusional, and have me put into a Psychiatric ward, yes it was that bad, that I continued suffering in silence. I was in the brink of starving myself, not drinking water, and not sleeping for months on end, and in all that mental confusion, I never once doubted that God wasn’t causing it!
In fact I thought that he was enjoying watching me suffer. But, yet, I continued worshipping, praising, and going to church. My situation didn’t let up for years. I experienced moments of blacking out, passing out, screaming for help, and suffering in silence with the fear of someone declaring me insane, or believing that I was some how being disobedient to God. It has been a very long ten years. Not once did God show up to comfort me, Jesus either. I carried with me so many lies in my head about life, redemption, repentance, and spreading the gospel for Christ. It was , I was in my mind a laughing stock, just another woman seduced by poems, songs, and promises of salvation. Judeo-Christianity for awhile had me in a mental prison, of self sabotaging behavior, learning destructive , belittling self – talk.
I was scared on what to wear, what to watch on tv, what to listen to on the radio, who I spoke to, who to love, and whether there was someone else in my ears listening, the unbearable trauma, exhaustion, and pain was so real to me. My daughter and I one day exchanged some pretty harsh words, and she said, you’re crazy, you need help! And, that is when I started trauma therapy, and PTSD therapy for what I was going through. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I self diagnosed my self with Religious Trauma. This all led to me being introduced to Seth_Andrews#The_Thinking_Atheist, FFRF, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Recovery from Religion, and Dr. Marlene Winell, from journeyfree.org/. Then is when I started sensing that I was not alone, and that others had been experiencing similar challenges. Although its been hard terribly hard even after building up the courage to leave it all behind me, my mind and body had to be convinced that it was safe, and that the boogie man GOD was not lingering around to stimulate another attack on me. I started doing the work, the research, listening to 1000’s of hours about the the topic on podcasts, and I started feeling a sense of safety, and believing in me became more centered.
Our world needs help, some many people are dying because of religion, we see it everywhere, I was a very lucky one. All this talk about Grace, and God’s redeeming Love, but not once did I feel that God, or Jesus loved me. Most Christians, believe that spreading the gospel saves souls, and that in return we’ll have a position in a greater glory with God and Jesus in heaven, hate to break it to you, “I don’t want it”! “I don’t need it”. It is all works! We are not blind, we can see who is benefiting, I did my part, I served, I was in the Army of God, and I spiritually put on the armour of God, thinking I was standing against evil, I guarded myself and my heart with with truth,and righteousness, I prepared my feet to spread the gospel, and walked in confusion for years, I took on the shield of faith, and placed the helmet of salvation upon my head and used the sword of the spirit, and prayed (Ephesians 6:11-20) for everyone, all the nations, all police officers, schools, gays, straight , lesbians, pastors, judges and priest, and for Israel. I am exhausted! Mentally , Physically, and my heart hurts! I take it off, the whole amour, I stand naked in my human self, in my truth ” I am woman”. “Here me roar!
Strong men-men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.Michelle Obama