A Renewed Sense of Me   Leave a comment

 

After many years of writing under a pen name and trying to dodge key elements of my true nature, I have come to a point where I am finally sure that I want to be honest and clear as to who I am and what I stand for, including all of my many flaws and counterproductive mannerisms.  I am aware that this, from time to time, will seem like some sort of public masturbation, but I promise you that while I do tend to enjoy my own company, what I share here is either because I think it will serve a positive purpose for those reading or because it helps me in some fashion by writing.

I need to vent, explain and map out my thoughts, perhaps even more so than the average person because I get very confused and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ideas I come up with.  Again, I’m not going to assume that this is because I’m a genius.  It may very well be simply because I have so many issues that I am combating.  But regardless of their origin, I’d be a fool to pretend that I understand everything that goes on inside of my head.  I find it a scary place, sometimes a lonely place and always challenging.

Let me give you some background on who I am so that we might continue with a level of awareness that gives you a bit more stability and freedom to not feel sorry for me or, and I’m hoping strongly for this one, annoyed by what I share here.

My name is, in fact, Jen Czahur.  I am a 38 year old woman living in the North East with my girlfriend.  I am currently out of work due to severe mental health issues.  I suffer from Bi-Polar I disorder that is currently being treated with medication, but is far from controlled.  I also have Borderline Personality Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I am currently in an Intensive Outpatient therapy program which is basically designed to help me get a handle on my mental health so that I do not need to be further hospitalized.

At this point, things are stable within the program, but if I were to suffer any misstep, I do believe I will wind up as an Inpatient somewhere.  I am enjoying and getting a lot out of the program I am in, but right now I feel as though we are digging deeper into my problems and I may find myself unable to control things for much longer.  It’s strange, but part of getting “better” is making a mess out of what I had so carefully tied together all of these years.  I am invested in the situation and remain hopeful, but I won’t lie and say that I am free from concern.

Like many people who are mentally ill, I have lived a colorful life full of extremes.  I am an over eater, I have participated in more than my fair share of illegal drug use and abuse, I have the sexual past of a true deviant and the only reason why I have been able to find any footing with regards to these issues is because of my relatively new and incredibly amazing venture into Atheism.  Where most people live a wayward, empty life only to find God just at “the right time”, for me it has been the exact opposite.  But my story is no less rewarding.

I come from a very devout Roman Catholic family, Italian on my mother’s side and Polish/Ukrainian on my father’s.  I have received all of my sacraments; baptism, penance, communion and confirmation.  And until my mid 30’s there wasn’t a day that had gone by in my life where I doubted or feared God.  I never bought into the jealous and angry version; to me God was all-knowing, all-loving and truly accepting.  I believed he forgave us all and was never trying to trick us with crazy rules, difficult choices or maddening riddles.  God was love and with him in my corner, I was never alone, never defeated, always safe.

Sounds great, right?  People used to beg me for the secret.  They wanted to know how they could find that level of trust and faith because it obviously was making such a bold difference in my life.  And I did talk to who ever wanted counsel.  First thing I told them was to toss their bibles in a drawer and forget about them for a while.  Until you felt the love, the rules were just going to confuse you and cause you grief.  Anything that had you denying yourself love or happiness made no sense and the only reason I could see for such nonsense were the men and women (mostly men though) who held us down by making us afraid, teaching us to be submissive and demanding that we always put someone other then ourselves first.

It wasn’t, “put your kids first”, or “put your neighbor first”.  It was always, “give to the church”, “give it to God”, “and trust this person to know better than you”.  It never sat well with me.

Well, the clarity with which I felt the bonds of love and unity between myself and my God was so effortless, so complete and without any room for fear or hesitation, that when I realized I was gay it never dawned on me that it might be a sin.  I was a good person.  I loved another good person.  There was nothing wrong about it, so I followed my heart.  The backlash was minimal because even the most devout Catholic and Christian people in my world at the time couldn’t find a way to say that I was an evil doer.  To them, if I was gay then maybe this was one of those parts of the bible that wasn’t literal.  All of a sudden, their iron clad faith was starting to meld.  And along with it, my witness to religion as a whole was starting to be called into question.

I am a firm believer in following your heart, using your mind and knowing your own soul.  As those that believed started to pick and choose when and how they followed their sacred teachings and as those who didn’t believe started to explain to me their scientific method, and for those less advanced this was basically a lesson in common sense and a refined respect for trial and error, I began to realize the various outcomes to my prayers in relation to the method in which I prayed them.

If I came to God scared and overwhelmed and begged him to intercede, I would pray until I had no energy left in me.  Just by sheer virtue of the “act” of prayer I was venting and releasing stress.  If I started my prayers by centering myself first, gaining focus, removing tension, verbalizing the problem and giving myself a safe place to float among the possible solutions until I settled on something that “felt right”, I would give all the praise to God for being there for me yet again.  If I prayed for something selfish and didn’t receive it, I would thank god for knowing better and if, from time to time, I was the lucky benefactor of a misplaced request I would jump up and down and declare that God was my homeboy who secretly gave me stuff that wasn’t really all that “virtuous” because he really “got me”.

Now, before people assume that I took a very well established faith that guided me for roughly 35 years and just decided to toss it, let me explain the experiment I used to better define my thought process.

I stopped talking to God.

It was literally that simple, but it had very far reaching repercussions.  Instead of having any of the above mentioned talks with the Almighty, I would have them with myself conscientiously and with purpose.  I would vent the negative emotions, I would center myself and state my concerns, and I would verbalize all of my problems as well as the possible solutions.  I didn’t speak to anyone else until I reached a level of calm insightfulness that afforded me some confidence and gave me the self-awareness to be mindful and true to whom I am and what I was attempting to pursue.

Before I knew it, I was answering my own prayers as well if not better than God.  Removing the middle man and being so open and honest about, not only my problems, but my ability to solve them filled me with clarity and determination.

Needless to say, arriving at the ultimate conclusion, that not only was I able to solve my problems, but that, in fact, I was responsible to gave me a renewed faith in myself that was lacking.  I simply stopped handing over my life to someone that I had never met before and started being my own best friend.

The road is long and winding and I am by no means a completely healthy individual.  But for the first time in my life, I have a truly positive outlook and I am finding the will and the desire to love all of who I am without regret, shame or judgment.  I do not mock those that find strength or virtue in a relationship with any god or gods, but I also no longer find myself hiding the truth about my own bold and rewarding relationship with the one person destined to be by my side for all eternity.  Loving you is the first and most important step in any journey to fulfillment.

 

Quite sincerely,

Jen Czahur

Posted December 17, 2011 by reclaimingtecla

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