The other day, an old real life friend and current Facebook "friend" messaged me to say hello. It's been some 17 or 18 years since we've had a conversation or been face to face, though we still live local to each other.
It was mostly a nice conversation and we'll probably get together for lunch in the next few weeks... But from the moment she mentioned the name of the church, it was like being swept up in a wave I didn't see coming. For awhile, I simultaneously chatted while spewing my fears on Twitter, in effort to remain polite while feeling like I might just drown.
She was part of a bible study group at the church we attended at the time... A small, supposedly nondenominational but mostly holy roller Baptist congregation which happened to be home of the area's only Christian radio station to play anything but traditional hymns.
I was a deejay (air minister) with the station for most of our 7 years with CotHS. The last 18 months as the only daytime staffer whose shift was more music than recorded or satellite talk ministry. There was a request hour called Lunchline which was both the best and worst hour of my weekday.
Even now, I miss radio. I miss the unique experience of being in front of a microphone yet invisible... The sense of reaching out to others yet staying safe inside my glass box with my controls.
That time in radio, that I miss yet believe to be a part of a past I'll never recreate or relive is a really good metaphor for the Wall of denial and delusion I lived behind during those 7 years.
We moved to SC only months after the disastrous therapy session which sparked the creation of a mental brick wall between my then present understanding of self and all the splintered, fragmented parts I'd struggled to understand.
Did that paragraph makes any a sense?
In April of ’91, while pregnant with Becka, my second child... I took drastic action to silence and shut away the voices and memories I'd lived with since about age 3. After that moment, I was someone else. Someone malleable and desperate to be who I perceived I was expected to be.
My influence was the belief I was a disappointment to my parents, to a student therapist, Charlie's parents (who hadn't really accepted me) and after the move, a church that taught every mistranslated idea of men and women that still holds back the Christian church of today.
Without opening the #yesallwomen can of worms... Those 7 years taught or reinforced to me a lot of the damaged bullshit I've had to unlearn since entering treatment for DID... And since leaving a traditional southern church environment.
So, T messaged me and 7 years of trying to be the perfect Christian Wife and Mother jumped on my back and started slapping me around.
A simple "wow, pastor sure has mellowed and gentled since those days" hit me as "you should come back to this church" and all I could think was HELL NO, WE WON'T GO!
I'm not only a different person than I was almost a generation ago, I'm only barely recognizable to her. But I'm not so changed that walking into an environment I KNOW isn't healthy for me wouldn't fuck with my head in ways there's no energy or will to fight right now.
I don't have the energy to fight the battle for equality that must still be fought in the average southern church. I certainly don't have the energy to sit through a southern gospelized version of praise and worship. Sorry, but twangy music makes my teeth itch and my skin crawl. I don't think I can trust myself to hear LGBT bashing from another pulpit without screaming BULLSHIT... which at this church would really cause a scene as the Sunday service is broadcast live.
This is the church and radio station I embarrassed and misrepresented when, as The Virgin Mary on the Christmas parade float, I breastfed my 3 month old daughter (Rachel, in her first acting role as Baby Jesus) under my robe before the parade began. A local shock jock saw me and when I wouldn't pull back my robe for him to see my daughter, he went on air to talk shit about it and basically suggest I went topless during the actual parade.
Rather than defend me, the pastor/station manager gave me a dressing down for feeding my infant daughter in public and banned me from participation in the next week's parade.
You've seen the controversy over public breastfeeding that still rages in America. This happened almost 22 years ago when a breastfeeding mom was expected to keep her baby and herself at home during mealtimes.
I could go on... and expose the degree of "bitterness" I carry... air the dirty laundry of the past and prove I haven't come to terms with such things... I could open myself up to hearing from people who hate Christians and Christianity and decide my post is the place to attack... or from Christians who want to admonish me or Jesus juke me for refusing to attend an organized church service right now... But I've done that... Over and over and I'm too damn tired for that particular fight. I'm burned out. I'm taking time to heal before jumping back in. Deal with it.
It almost doesn't matter what I say about those years when I denied myself... The person my God created in love... and submitted myself to backwards and damaging ideas of who I am supposed to be... because there's nothing I can say that wouldn't elicit dismay I haven't abandoned faith in Jesus altogether or self-righteous disapproval I'm not following Him according to someone else's idea of what is right.
This is what even thinking about CotHS does to my thinking. This is only part of the swirling shit storm raging in my head.
I don't want to go back there... But no lie, there are things left unfinished in my life... Regrets which need to be laid to rest and goodbyes which need to be said.
So... Lunch it is. In a public, noisy, safe space. Because it's never the wrong time to put away old wounds and accept peace.