Broad Strokes   4 comments

In my head, everything swims. I can’t swim in all actuality and I see the irony. Maybe this is how it’s supposed to be fair or balance out. If I could see a troop of professionals, I’m sure they would say more than what’s been already said. Currently, other than being ridiculously over weight, having high blood pressure and newly diagnosed Type II Diabetes, I am also someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. I don’t really need anyone to tell me that it’s the fat that’s holding me down. The blood pressure and diabetes are surely brought on by my insanely sedentary lifestyle. I’m not stupid. Really, I am actually rather intelligent. The problem is that what my brain knows, what it understands innately as well as from extensive education on the matters at hand, doesn’t get to the “action” phase. There is a great gap between what I know and what I do. I am one of the most detached people I have ever not known.

But the Borderline Personality bit, that makes perfect sense to me. That I almost enjoy because for the first time in my almost 37 years, I see some reason behind the things I’ve done that have always confused the hell out of me in retrospect. I have always been a very colorful person in some regards. Not the way you might imagine however. Picture a table at a Denny’s in the early 90’s filled with all sort of punks, freaks, Goths and then there was me. I was wearing jeans that didn’t fit properly because I was too afraid to ever try anything on and a tee-shirt that was way too big for me because I always felt huge, even when, in fact, I wasn’t all that heavy. Nothing like I am now, anyway. I never did anything to my hair other than wash it as often as possible because I always felt dirty. I never did anything remotely feminine. And this wasn’t because I was really all that butch, it was more because I was always afraid that someone would think I was trying to be attractive and label my efforts a failure. I can honestly say at this age in my life, if I woke up tomorrow with the perfect body, I still don’t know how I would dress or present myself. I could go anywhere from Drag King to Barbie, I just have no fucking idea. And I think, quite sincerely, that’s a big part of the reason I’ve lost touch with myself so easily and to such great distances.

When you don’t know who you are, you don’t really worry all that much about further definition. When someone sets off to learn more about themselves, I’ve concluded, that it’s because they have gotten to know at least a core concept of who they are and that whets their appetite to learn more. When you don’t know anything, you don’t really feel the urge to take further steps into the unknown. It’s not that you’re content. It’s that you’re numb to the possibilities and therefore see no reason to conquer what has yet to be discovered. Maybe if I had any notion that there was more to me than this, I would go looking for her. Maybe if instead of comparing myself and seeing only defeat, failure or misunderstanding I felt encouraged I wouldn’t have given up so long ago. I guess I may never really know.

But what I do know now is that for years God has been the topic of most of my inner dialogues. See, the way I was raised gave me that much. I have never doubted God. I may have questioned the ways, the identities, the deities, but not once have I ever felt like there was nothing other than me. Maybe that was one sole virtue of feeling so poorly about me; I have never had a problem trusting with all my heart that there must be more, something better, something greater.

And in all my years of seeking, questioning, pondering and trying on the variations of faith that I have witnessed and dreamed up, God kept me safe in the way someone who cares about themselves might because in caring for God, he cared for me. We were a team all this time and I just didn’t know it. I knew I was less than, I trusted he was greater than, but what it took me many years to uncover for myself was the simple, amazing truth that we were in no way separate. We have never been foreign to one another. And in all my efforts to better know God, God has set me on a path of self understanding and compassion that has led me to know us both better; both of us, as we stand side by side and not worlds apart.

Now, before I say any more I need to make it clear that most of my religious education is of Christianity, mainly that of Catholicism. I have been a part of the sacraments; baptism, reconciliation, communion and confirmation. My family is Catholic and I even have an uncle (my father’s younger brother) who is a much loved Roman Catholic priest. I attended not only mass every Sunday growing up, but often with my mother on Monday nights which also included a Rosary and a few novenas. And I honestly loved going, loved prayer and being in the church. I just have always felt very uncomfortable in crowds and therefore did my normal “teenage rebellion” act saying it was church I didn’t want to attend for the sake of church itself. If I were born a decade later, I probably could’ve talked it about it and gotten some help for my anxiety, but not only did we not have the internet yet, my mother was a little older and from a different era and just didn’t want to think that anything BUT God could help.

The main reason I am breaking this down is because if I do continue to write here of my faith and of my experiences I don’t want anyone to feel tricked. My faith is evolving. I have gone through every phase of religion. I have sought out knowledge from Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Buddhist and other new age religions. I have taken the Gnostic path using everything as a learning experience trying to dissect and see, piece by piece, just what the truth might very well be. And to this day, no matter what my personal inclination towards a certain “religion” might be, I still see beauty, wonder and power in all of these teachings. I don’t believe that God has kept such a tight hold on my heart only to lead me to a place that demands total obedience to a certain book of rules or list of lessons. I find my Catholic background intense and wonderful, I love learning about the Saints and about the church teachings, but I’m not void of factual history and therefore I know that Christianity, or at least those in the name of Christianity, have done some very horrible things that I will never be able to tolerate, understand or pass on to others as sound and truly Christ-like.

Also, I curse. I curse a lot. I don’t need to because my vocabulary is lacking. I do it because I don’t see why I shouldn’t. I try, with all my will, to not say “God Damn” or “Jesus Christ” in anger, but that was so easy for me as a child around my mother and not nearly as easy for me today when everywhere I go people see no reason to not throw the phrases around. Trust me, you may hear (or read) me say it, but as soon as I catch myself I apologize to God for it. And if I’m being a good person, I’ll apologize to you as well because sincerely the greatest lesson I have ever learned came from my mother when she told me at a very young age, “The greatest sin you can ever commit is to tempt someone else to sin. You have your faith. You have no right to interfere with another person’s relationship with God.” And that has stuck with me all of these years, sometimes as a taunt other times as a blessing, but I trust completely at all times as the truth.

I’m also gay and I will not apologize for it in any capacity. I have my own, personal struggles with why we are the way we are and I am not beyond still questioning just why I feel the way I do. But I actually thank God every day for giving me this struggle. I come from a family that sees only one shade of everything. My father’s family, while such sweet people have corrupted my senses of what is good and right and without being gay I would probably have just bought into everything they have ever preached as law. And if that were the case, then I would not only be extremely homophobic, but also a racist, sexist and in many ways lacking common sense and the broad strokes of love my heart now paints with because by being gay I have had to question, I have had to learn for myself. And now I know it’s not acceptable to just follow other human beings no matter how much you love, respect or care about them.

This is also why I prefer to keep my true “church” on the road of life and not in a building. Fellowship is amazing and I would suggest everyone reach out and find some people to share in the spirit of faith with. But learn God on your own terms and never let what someone else preaches to be the thing that keeps you from asking questions, taking notes, changing opinions and yes, when necessary, tearing the whole damn thing down, burning the remains and starting from scratch.

God is big enough, strong enough, true enough and present enough to give you the time you need. He doesn’t wear a watch, go by a calendar or watch FOX news. He just wants you to realize that all this time you’ve spent trying to figure him out, you were really just trying to figure yourself out. And when you finally see yourself in him and he in everything you do, you’ll start to understand that it was never having questions that was the problem, it was not completely trusting that there are answers and it doesn’t matter, in the end, if we ever find them.



4 responses to “Broad Strokes

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  1. Pingback: 7×7 Link Award! | Jen Czahur: There is More than Enough Time in the Day

  2. Pingback: 7×7 Link Award! « InTrinzic Value

  3. My friend, that was the most beautiful piece I have read in a while. I understand where you’re coming from with God. For years I had this on again, off again relationship with God because I was told I couldn’t go to him if I was gay. Do you know how it feels to be told that the all knowing, all loving God of eternity, the God that loves you no matter what now hates you for who you are? For something that I had no choice in deciding? It hurts. A lot. It took me years to finally get past that lie and realize that there is nothing that separates us from the love of God. It took a lot of tears and laughter and, just like you, the more I discovered God, the more I discovered myself. It’s beautiful!
    I too take a Gnostic approach. I believe all truth comes from God and his truth can be found all over creation. Especially in science. Some people think science disproves God. I, on the other hand, believes it not only proves there is a God but confirms his existence by giving us a peek into how he put it all together.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to ramble on but thank you for sharing. Oh yeah, Type 2 Diabetes? Same here. I was diagnosed two years ago. It sucks but it gets easier. I’ll end this by leaving you with a scripture that has really encouraged me.
    “When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but to the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby.” — John 11:4

    • Thank you for the comment, Avainti. It means a lot that you read it and took the time to respond. 🙂 And I feel exactly the same when it comes to science. I’ve been explaining it to my mother over the last 20 years and even she now sees how science is not the enemy, but the proof in all things being “created”. I’ve never understood people being against evolution at the expense of being pro God or vice versa. 🙂

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