Rolling guitar chords mimic the sound water makes over rocks in a mountain stream. Paridae starts singing, “It’s a long way down,” and everything inside of me stops. Blood stops flowing through my veins; my cells cease transferring energy, my lungs still. I’m emotionally arrested.
Paridae’s new album’s opening song returned me to a place and time almost no one knows about, a place and time so full of secret feelings and longings, of crushed hopes and grief that I’ve never fully shared it with anyone. And for a second, I wonder how she found me out. …
Earlier this year, before that afternoon when (too little too late) the government told us to stay home, we had a tree cut down. It was a thirty-year oak tree, and the trunk was large enough for two adults to wrap their arms around it, robust growth the arborist said was due to the taproot growing so close to our pond.
His crew was there to cut the tree because many of the other roots had grown beneath our house, pressing the foundation up and cracking the concrete, jarring the walls and windows with the slowest of earthquakes.
I was recently asked how my politics changed. Aside from the years when I was forbidden to vote by my complementarian first husband, who believed in head-of-household voting, I was once a right-wing conservative voter. I now vote blue. Fairly often and always during an election, I get asked how my vote changed.
Notice, I said, “how,” not “why.”
The questioners are people from my past who don’t understand how I could change and there’s a level of accusation in the question itself. …
You don’t like to hear stories of abuse.
You especially don’t like it when I call something traumatic or abusive when good intentions are involved. Almost anything can be forgiven when the doer meant well.
And church? Well, that’s kind of off-limits altogether. Christians all mean well. You don’t want the institution damaged with stories of abuse and trauma. That makes you uncomfortable.
“Nobody’s perfect,” seems a good defense. “It’s all in good fun.” Falwell even used it, his pants open, drink in hand. “I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out.”
Wait. Let’s not…
This happens all the time:
A friend or new co-worker casually mentions an Old Testament reference, and suddenly we realize a bond: religious trauma. We’re exchanging stories of the nightmare-feeding stories we heard as young children:
As a “good Christian girl,” I refused to admit I was angry at God. It seemed a dramatic cliche to thrust a fist at the heavens. But, it’s also a line not to cross, like not saying the Lord’s name in vain and avoiding penetration when flirting between sex and purity. Good Christian girls cross legs, not lines. They don’t get angry with God. It’s not allowed.
By the time I was 30, excommunicated, and formally shunned, I was no longer a “Good Christian Girl.” Divorced and shamed, plenty of people didn’t even think I counted as a good person…