Trigger Warning: Suicide, Abuse, and Self-Harm
2017 almost destroyed me.
2017 saved me.
2017 was my worst year ever.
2017 was my BEST year ever.
My chemo baby, my own personal miracle, my literal reason for living in every way possible, turned two.
Two weeks before that, I had turned 30.
Two weeks before that, I had almost committed suicide.
Over the course of my insanely fucked up life, I have survived sexual, spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental abuse at one point in time or another. The thing that finally pushed me to suicide, however, was when wounds that I’d barely ever even admitted existed got torn open. It happened in a way so insanely violent as to later cause my first psychotic break.
2017 nearly destroyed me in more ways than I generally care to admit.
Thanks to 2017, I discovered that I am FAR from alone in these experiences from Spiritual Abuse. I’ve found my tribe, and together we are all discovering that as ExVangelicals, we all sort of have a super power, and through it we are learning how to heal ourselves together. Hopefully we’ll also figure out a way to heal the world, as well.
Of course, the absolute highlight of my year has been “discovering” Wicca.
You see, choosing NOT to believe in the things I’d been brainwashed into was one thing. It wasn’t even really a “choice,” as it had been proven to me time and again what absolute bullshit my entire belief system had been: both through simple education, and in observing the dumbfuckery the church has been committing since Trump announced his candidacy for president.
If THOSE were the “good guys,” you can bet your ass I was gonna be a bad guy.
Which, weirdly, is what lead me to Wicca.
It’s not in me to simply not believe in anything. I am, at my core, a spiritual person. That’s something Evangelicals could never give me, and it’s not something they can take away, either. That core of me is constantly searching and changing and evolving, striving to be better and better all the time. I want to be the best human possible, and that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not there will be eternal punishment if I step out of line every now and then, intentionally or not.
That was always a hotly debated topic in my theological discussions back in my “Beverly” days (inside joke amongst Exvangelicals). But as I’ve come to find out, that’s sort of one of the ONLY places where that’s an actual, serious discussion.
Wicca helps me personally to be a better person, and it doesn’t even really require that I acknowledge any deity or consequences if I DON’T become a better person. It simply teaches you to value all life, and that all life is valuable to the point of sacredness. Therefore, it also teaches you how to value all life.
Once you’ve got that figured out, being a better person is sort of a side effect, rather than a religion itself.
This value for life is actually something that far too many Toxic Christians mock, and with a frequency that makes me queasy these days, especially seeing as how these people are the ones flying the banner of “pro-life.”
Thanks to 2017, I am much more at peace these days than I’ve ever been in my entire life. The lack of peace was literally something I felt wracking guilt about during my days as an Evangelical. I heard so many fiery sermons about how PEACEFUL we should be as Christians, right!? That’s what Christmas is all about!!! And yet, I had so many rules flung at me with such a frequency and ferociousness that it landed me in the pastor’s office, being shamed into a panic attack, that I RARELY felt anything beyond anxiety and barely-repressed rage, rage that would often manifest itself through cutting myself till I bled.
“They shall cry ‘peace, peace!’ But there shall be no peace”
The waves of panic still wash through me as I write this. I’m still sitting here wondering what I’m messing up, what the consequences will be. The guilt is still just below the surface, needing me to acknowledge it and rationalize it until it finally goes away, till I can finally say, “They were wrong. About you, and about all of it.”
It’s an exercise my husband tried to get me to do about a week ago. I still haven’t said it out loud. Maybe if I can get it out there on the internet, I will be able to say it out loud by the end of 2017, and learn to be soft again in 2018.
I feel like too many of us have lost our softness in this life. The world is so harsh and cold these days. We are seeing the resurgence of a terrible disregard for life that we haven’t seen in a generation or more. For many of us, that lack of softness extends most intensively inwards.
When Wicca began teaching me to value myself, I had a full blown meltdown that lead to a psychotic break. Valuing myself outside of the justification I was taught was needed by Christ BROKE MY FUCKING BRAIN.
If I have to explain to you how exquisitely fucked up that is…you’re probably at least partially part of the crowd responsible for that shit.
It’s a breathtakingly poetic irony: I was taught that Wicca would assist in the rise of the Antichrist and bring about the destruction of mankind. I feared Wicca’s presence lurking in Troll Dolls, Cabbage Patch Dolls, the Smurffs, HeMan, incense, lava lamps, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Little Mermaid, and sooooo much more. THEY were the bad guys…right?
Well, I guess I really am a bad guy then. If the good guys are the ones who brainwashed me, got Trump elected, support him in all the horrific things he’s doing to our world, and mocking those who, like me, are learning to be softer…
If the bad guys are the ones teaching me to be softer, to value myself more, teaching me to hold ALL life sacred, and not just the lives that look and act like mine…
I’ll be a bad guy.
Blessed Be, Ya’ll.
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