a really vulnerable morning pages that talks about religious trauma stuff
Got several other letters in the works—my latest ADHD letter is almost done—but this morning, I felt strongly as I grabbed my fresh, new yellow legal pad that instead of writing my morning pages there, I was to share them with all here (which I’ve done a few times before and may well do again.)
I’ve mentioned these before, but in case you missed it, Julia Cameron writes in her Perennial Classic Whose Name I Can Never Remember that one of the greatest ways for an artist (oh, that’s it! It’s “The Artists’s Way”—read that sucker if you never have it is a goldmine) to keep the flow of creativity primed at the pump is to sit down every morning before anything else and write three pages. Three pages of anything. And I do mean anything. (For me it is usually uninhibited stream-of-conscious type stuff. But it’s always so interesting to see what emerges from that complete lack of preciousness, guard fully down.) I have two years of pages that I’ve written, and many legal pads completely filled, and as I have engaged in this practice I can attest: it somehow does keep the creative pulse in one’s being alive. It also organizes thoughts that are not yet coherent but that are bouncing around in the head. And a lot of the time, even if I start them feeling crummy, by the end, I feel better, which is a lovely side-effect I never anticipated.
So, without further ado:
Morning pages 8-28-23
Well, those paragraphs up there count as morning pages too, don’t they? Cuz we wrote them. And it’s morning. so of course it all counts. (Yes, yes. It counts.)
I think we should do the thing where no matter what shape this is in when we’re done here we should post this so, once again, we can get accustomed to pressing the “post” button. (Yes, we shall do that.)
Am I just having an actual conversation with myself?
(Yes, yes you are.)
Don’t think, just write. Imagine yourself writing on the legal pad. What would you say there?
Oh, I already had a sentence, and that sentence was what I wrote last week in Silverwood, and it said “We are at Silverwood this weekend and I am extremely sad.” I was VERY sad that day. I was resting while the rest of the fam went to Silverwood. Over the years I’ve realized roller coasters wreak havoc on my body, and as a point of self-care I made it a point to let everyone know that this year I was taking one of the amusement park days and staying home and just being good to myself. This is more possible now since the kids are so much older, and also because Carlos is the sweetest husby and assured me he was fine taking them (and Lolly came too, which was so fun! Jake wasn’t able to go; having Lolly there was so excellent and I think we all had such a great time.)
So, on the appointed day, I stayed home as everyone else took off for the water park (GROSS!) I started my day by drawing a nice bath and putting honey in the bath (because I read online that that was a nice thing to put into your bath, though I can’t remember why, and that was the only thing we had in the AirBnB). It felt lovely to do that for myself. I had intended to read—I’m reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the first time—so fascinating to see this ur-text of a main component of our culture’s horror folklore and observe how different, and how similar, it is to its non-canonical variations). Didn’t get much reading in before the water felt too uncomfortable, but it was a nice experience nonetheless.
I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, and I hadn’t taken my ADHD pills (which is a way I try to provide my body with rest on occasions like this) and so my brain was foggy and my emotions were bleedy and I lay down in the huge comfy bed to take a nap. And somehow or another, I got to thinking about the time Ben, Whit and I all had solos in the Tacoma production of Rob Gardener’s “Lamb of God.” And so I pulled up the soundtrack for that and started listening, and then immediately started bawling. Like raw, unrestrained sobbing. And the feelings went very deep and very bleak and I was soon even feeling suicidal ideation—not suicidal, but the kind of thoughts around existence that are like “what’s even the fucking point of this thing we’re all doing here? Like, why are we living on this rock when there is so much fucking suffering here? What is the poiiiint?”
I was asking those questions out loud. And I’m not exactly sure what it was about hearing those songs that led me there. It was this weird melange—feeling what to me now feels like the naïveté of hope in some kind of Christ figure (like, seriously, on a cosmic level, WHY would it be required to have someone atone for sins? Literally, WHY would that be necessary? Why couldn’t whatever “restoration” needs to happen—which I don’t actually think makes any sense either—simply happen through whatever cosmic powers created the Universe? It honestly, genuinely, doesn’t make any sense to me now, although I still do find the purity of the Christ story to be very beautiful in a many ways and I don’t begrudge anyone’s literal belief in it) and how that symbol was used to perpetuate such actual, visceral, direct harm upon me and upon those I love (mostly upon those I love in abuse scenarios—the uncovering of which has become perhaps the greatest trauma and tragedy I will ever know in this life). And also, how since I have had what I can only term as some kind of spiritual awakening since leaving Mormonism, I have felt the “I Am”-ness of self so many times, and how hopeless it feels that there are entire branches of religion that are focused on one dude being like “hey, I’m like *literally* part of God/Source, and ya know how Moses WAS, well, get this: ~I AM~ like seriously, Sanhedrin and followers, let that one sink in for just a moment because YOU ARE TOO” and instead of seeing that this was a call for everyone to access their own timelessness, their own infinite presence in the now—instead of awakening to a new earth and actually ushering in the dispensation of the *fullness* of times—entire religions of millions and millions of people took that beautiful message and constructed damaging thought-infrastructure after damaging thought-infrastructure around it, massacring thousands upon thousands in crusades, and eventually tooling on over here to the America’s and committing actual genocide and using this story to justify some of the most horrific systemic carnage humans have perpetuated upon one another.
I mean, it’s so fucking sad to me. And it’s so fucking sad that it continues—that the love I have for my Carlos would be maligned by these folks—the great love-story of my life, and perhaps the most beautiful and deep and wonderful human relationship I may ever experience, would be spat on by people who claim to carry Jesus’s name and message.
So, yeah, I was bawling and bawling. And Kelli is dead. And Mom is dead. And I felt very, very alone. And this confused child-part within me was so very distressed by it all—so confused by the great whirlwind of imperative-based and contrasting messages it had lived through throughout my life. Like “be this, do this, follow this and all will be well, and everything will turn out right, and also listen to your heart, and also Jesus saved you but he didn’t but he did but he also did not if you are gay but oopsie you are actually gay so never, ever act on that and marry Lolly because for sure He will help you through that oh oops no he won’t, that won’t work at all and that heart you were trained to listen to is telling you to do the exact fucking opposite of everything you’ve been taught, and wouldn’t ya know? It’s actually 5,000 times better and life is more beautiful and awesome than you ever imagined. But concurrent with that, people you love have now realized that they will never undo the damage done to them by proclaimers of Christ’s name—deeds done *in* his very name—and also one of them literally just died—early, and for no foreseeable reason other than the damage done to them as a child—and also your mommy died without ever knowing all that happened to her babies, and oh, by the way, did we mention that you have members of your extended family that will stop talking to you for years on end now that you have lived into your truth, and people you thought would never leave your side will totally, one-hundred-percent leave your side, and you will learn so, so much more about yourself as a spiritual being than you ever could while under the constricts of a cult-like religious infrastructure, but also you will never be able to escape the eight-generations-long influence of that adherence for as long as you live, even though it so thoroughly damaged so many people you love, and also you miss it, and also there are little boy parts of you still totally baffled by the life you are living, certain that you are now dross worthy of being tossed into the flames of hell forever and ever to suffer the bland ignominy of Telestial Glory of Aloneness and Nueterville (as they actually called in in seminary class) and NO you will not be with Carlos or your family, you will be alone, cuz THAT makes sense after all of this, but oh wait you don’t believe any of this so…
And on and on.
If I think too hard about this, or even reread it, I’m guessing I won’t even publish it. And I’m trusting that I “felt” like doing this for a reason. So, I’m gonna just do it, sight unseen, sorry for its wind-y non-conclusiveness.
Maybe tomorrow I can tell you about the kinda sweet way it all ended. But for now, posty Mcposterson! Please don’t judge or hate or be mean to me!
Love you all!
Bye for now!
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