Archive for the ‘religion’ Tag

Covenant   Leave a comment

Not everything that breaks the skin
Is an affront to my senses
Some things are just more worth waiting for
While others are better left alone

From the jump
I lost my footing
And found myself spinning
Out of control and going under
There is always a rhythm
That escapes my knowing
And I flail as I fail

But I get up
And I try, try again

You’re like my “watched pot”
That I can’t seem to ever catch boiling
I feel like no matter how I trick time
It’s me that gets covered in
Lost anthems of relationships
And wasted moments of inner conflicts

Night terrors and static and the reincarnation of everything
I thought I laid to rest
Here again
Pressing me up hard against the glass
To be examined by the doctors of my failures
And the professors of my testaments
Battle weary Argonauts
And the wreckage left of sunken ships

Everything repeats
Only now I’m tired
And I’m less inclined to seek the Holy Grail
Now seeking out a new covenant

This is my gospel
According to me

Jen

Advertisements

Sweet Things   Leave a comment

Dear friends,

I love you all. First and foremost, let me just say that because I, by now you know, don’t wait for “special occasions” like Thanksgiving to say sweet things or show my emotions. I have been bitten once too often by the misfortune of time to know that we don’t often get to reach the anniversary of milestones before the definition of our existence is qualified by the manifest of our character. By that I simply mean, it is not the memories of those gathered around a table on holidays that make me filled with love and gratitude, but instead all of those times past when minutes slipped by silent and unknowing and one of you or another had helped me justify my reality that lends to me now this feeling of such full honor and reward. As I prepare for a quiet celebration this Thursday, just a small meal that I will prepare myself for the two of us and then in the evening meeting up with my dearest friend for some not-so-casual conversation, I am thinking of everyone living up to their traditions who are surrounded by families and friends and busy with the coming of Christmas. I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore because I live its message all year round and no longer believe in its foundational origination. The same as I gave up faith for knowledge and prayer for learning, I have given up telling stories for sincere communication and dwelling on the past for weaving my timeline so that I can constantly be present while ever moving forward, slow and with purpose. I come to you now, humble and with a sincere heart, offering you with all the hope, honesty and innocent commitment I can muster, my love and friendship and my constant effort to be a quiet place where your weary heart may find comfort, your tired soul may find peace and your restless mind may find refuge. As you have all done for me, from time to time, whether you know it or not, I extend to give you now and always. I love you, my friends. Thank you for bringing me to this place of self love and acceptance. I could never have found me without you.

Enjoy your holiday,
Jen

Unravel (my Aquarian Mantra)   Leave a comment

Do not expect me to explain myself to you

To the point where you comprehend

My inner most revelations

You will not understand

You can only perhaps respect

The position I am currently taking

Because I have come to you from a place

Of integrity and personal conviction

My mind changes constantly

Much like my spirit ebbs and flows

As it processes the new and ever changing

Energies and environments it encounters

As it channels its way through the various highways

Forging forward towards each epicenter that I find

Challenging and rewarding

Until I have a firm and satisfactory understanding

Of just how and why I have been called into

The corners of the universe

Which choose to seek me out and unravel another mystery

Pushing me further into greater

And ever more brilliant domains

I am not here to press faith into the heart of your consciousness

I ride the wave of thought and dream

And I know only the limits of my own

Imposing trepidation

Of which there is none

Jen Czahur

1st Mother’s Day without Mom   Leave a comment

 

It’s Mother’s Day.  I know that I should be missing my mom, that I shouldn’t be able to stay composed what with this being the first time I have to spend this holiday without her, but I promise you that I am truly OK.  My mother was a pure delight of a human being.  She was laughter and dignity and charm and compassion.  She could take care of you no matter what condition you were in and always leave you feeling as though you were the most important person in the world and at no time did she ever make you feel as though you were putting her out.  Her love and care were effortless, she was able to comfort you without putting someone else down, she was able to build you up without setting someone else to take the fall.  She could spot a liar from a mile away, but she wouldn’t always call you on it because she knew sometimes it was just what you needed.  She was nobodies fool, but from time to time, she would let you get away with murder.

My mother had a strong faith, she talked about God and Jesus all of the time.  So often that it was easy to forget everything you had ever heard about them from anywhere else and find yourself starting to have a relationship with them through her.  But she didn’t use this to her advantage like most people would have.  She wasn’t interested in controlling anybody or gaining an upper hand.  She just wanted everyone to be able to have the same peace, the same satisfaction that she was afforded by sheer virtue of her closeness and trust in what she believed.  Her faith was so simple and pure that when we discussed it later on in life and came to points where we disagreed about religion and even the existence of god, she was very comfortable letting me have my own mind provided I allowed her to have hers.  She didn’t need to dominate my lack of faith.  She just didn’t want me attacking her need for it.  And I respected my mother’s beautiful relationship with her religion so much and was so grateful for all of the comfort and strength her faith and concepts of god had provided her over the decades that I never wanted to debase those ideals now at the end of her life when she was so frail and ill and they could stand to serve her most.  It was a deal I was more than happy to strike.  I found no greater joy than in merely accepting my mother for whom and what she was and in being accepted for the same by her.

My mother and I always had a close, odd relationship.  It evolved like everything does.  We were very dependant on one another the last handful of years even when I lived in Georgia.  I would make calls to her several times a week crying about how sad I was in what I could only classify as the “completely backwards, backwoods south”.  She always urged me to come home, which might sound like a typical mother but it wasn’t my mother, not typically.  And when she needed money or advice, she would call me, her youngest.  And when she was ill, she called me.  And I came home to care for her because my heart was always with her and in her illness I was dying and being reborn.

But the last two years of our time together were two of the best years of my life.  Yes, my mother was dying.  And yes, I was basically jobless, near homeless, suffering from a manic episode that would not pass, in and out of mental health treatment, dealing with many other family crisis-type issues and flat out broke, but I was there for my mom when she was sick, when she was scared, when no one else could figure out how to be.  I was the one she called and I was able, while going through all else, to be there for her.  We would stay up all night talking and laughing.  We got to discuss things that I’ve always wanted to, we got to gossip, we go to philosophize, we got to hold each other while we cried, I got to spoil her rotten on whatever food she wanted to eat and all the ice cream and back rubs she could ever want.  It was like heaven for me because for a while there my mom got to finally be the center of the universe and in my mind that was what she always deserved.  It took old age, 4th stage cancer and an overall tiredness to allow her to let me give it to her, but finally I was able to show her just how special she was to me.

I wasn’t perfect at it.  I would go a few weeks here and there where my own mental illness symptoms would flair up and she would have to take a back seat to my raging.  But in a way, that was a certain kind of blessing.  I needed some of my mom that I hadn’t been able to get up till that point.  And having me on my best behavior 85% of the time gave my mom a clear comparison to see just how hard being bi-polar really is and she could finally sympathize with my struggles.  It broke down walls for us so that I could explain what my life was like and so she could ask questions and get more involved.  My mother passed on knowing all about therapy, medication, symptoms and other treatments.  And that’s really important to me because now when things get hard on me it helps me to know that my mom understood and would want me to seek help and take care of my problems and not just hide or deny or pray it away.  She was proud of me for all that I dealt with and she loved me for exactly who I am.

Last summer, my mother and I were up in the middle of the night talking.  She was sick, coughing a lot and having a hard time catching her breath.  She was a few weeks away from going into the hospital for the last time.  She was telling me, between struggling gasps, about how when she was pregnant with me a lot of people thought she was too old to have another child and how maybe, just to keep the peace, she should have an abortion.  I already knew all about that, but I figured she needed to say it for some reason so I just listened.  She stopped talking for a few minutes and her expression changed.  I can’t really describe the look on her face.  It just warmed my heart in a way nothing else ever has.  She looked at me for what felt like forever, only now I know it wasn’t forever and a part of me wishes that it could’ve been.  She smiled at me and then said, “Can you just imagine if I did what they said where I would be now?”

You hear something your whole life and it goes from being too complex to comprehend, to too painful that first time you get it, to too numbing because you’ve just had to find a way to make it not matter anymore.  I’ve known my whole life that I was the kind of pregnancy that made my really Catholic mother contemplate an abortion and on many levels in many ways I have had to wrestle with that knowledge.

But with that one shared moment, all the pain washed away and I was reborn.  I still have a lot of struggle in me.  But my mother adores me and trusts me and knows that all the pain and sacrifice was more than worth it because she raised the kind of daughter who would always be there for her mother.  And that is because she was always there for me.

So today is Mother’s Day.  And I assure you I do not miss my mother today.  Not because I do not love her dearly, but because she is more apart of me today then she was the first 37 years of my life.  She is in my heart, on my mind and all around me.  And in her love, I have all the faith in the world.

Jen Czahur

Splinter   Leave a comment

 

Red crosses lay at the foot of my bed

Made of splintered wood and stained

By the blood of battle tested,

War weary bodies thrown

On pyres, neglected by the sought after

Mighty and glistening celestial

Gods that demand in their own absence

What preachers and holy mother church

Postulate and ascertain by design of

Their own reward and etched out

In palaces and rectory halls

With sure hands that find their way

Into the very minds that doubt whether or not

There is reason to believe

Reason to question

Cancel out the faith that brings in the

Guardian light and the eager deeds of what every

Mother and father has put upon each young soul

I am not a believer

In heaven and hell

I have cast out my own demons and denounced my

Own bitter need for the sky lord

Still voices echo in my war torn head

And I find no sleep

Only red crosses at the foot of my bed

Made of splintered wood

Stained with my blood

My body warming by the flames of the nearby

Pyre.

Jen Czahur

Destiny   Leave a comment

I don’t think it makes any sense to half ass having a religion.  I think if you’re going to have faith you should go all out.  And yes, I mean that to the fullest extent.  If you’re going to have the nerve to tell anyone that there is a hell then you should figure out just what the fuck you think makes you worthy of going there and you should stick by that conviction.

I was raised to be Catholic.  I think it’s horrible to raise a child a religion.  I think everyone should be allowed to figure this out for themselves.  But if you believe in your religion, I can see why you wouldn’t give your kid any room to think.  Thoughts allow for too much reason and reason destroys faith.  And what’s really messed up is that sounds like I’m being disrespectful, but I couldn’t be any more straight with you right there if I tried.

Anyway, I was raised Catholic, but as usual most of my family members pick and choose when they are really strict with their rules and when they are lax.  My mom and my Grandmom were rather devout however so I wasn’t all that upset to think that when my mom first found out I was gay she was going to flip out.  To be perfectly honest, she didn’t.  She handled it great, but she did let me know that while she loved me and would always hold her arms wide open to me, her faith was her faith and I know what her religion states about homosexuality.  She always treated me with respect and warmth and I never doubted her love which is all I could ever hope for.  But she was constantly thinking about my soul burning in hell forever.  Now, that’s some heavy shit, isn’t it?  I mean, she really believed that.  How sad and horrible for her.

I’ve never told my Grandmom.  Presently, she’s rather senile so it doesn’t make any sense to mess with her head now.  But she has never held back her hateful talk about gay people.  And yes, I mean hateful.  My father’s mother speaks very clearly with a racist, homophobic and otherwise intolerant tongue.  Growing up, she was pure love or so I thought.  But as I had the opportunity to pull away and see the world for myself, I learned just how much anger, sadness, jealousy and fear she worked with.  While my mom’s version of being Catholic led her to be sincere and concerned, my grandmother’s seemed to only lend it to her attempts to dictate and dominate everything and everyone.

Over the years, I examined the people involved.  I thought perhaps it was the difference between my mom and my Grandmom that would tell me the story I needed to hear.  Then I looked at the perceptions of faith or the experiences of childhood and upbringing.  I tore it all apart and analyzed everything I could.  I have always wanted to understand.

Once our country was attacked on 9/11 I felt overwhelmed by the fear of religious radicalism.  I went the traditional, gut reaction route first.  As a Christian at the time, I thought Muslims were crazy and we were sane and innocent.  Then, it shifted to simply, “You can find nuts in every religion. Every group has its extremes.”  I settled there for the longest time.  My views shifted all over the place while maintaining that general perspective.  As I examine the entire situation, I find that most people are stuck in these parameters.

You have a lot of people filling up the side of “I am Christian, hear me roar!” who are basically as loud, militant, crazy and unstable as any Muslim Jihadist.  You see these types all over the South and Midwest, but they aren’t isolated there.  They are everywhere times have gotten tough and reality has become avoidable.  They watch Fox News, vote Republican and would rather believe conspiracy theories than anything remotely factual.

But what are even more frightening for me are the moderates.  There are many Americans who use common sense most of the time, who are fair minded, kind, realistic and not tied to any particular dogma that makes them fundamentally unreasonable.  When you speak with them they listen, they actually pay attention to what’s really happening and care about the facts of any given situation.  But for whatever reason, they are loyal to their religion when push comes to shove.  While they will calmly and without fear of judgment stand up for themselves and others in regards to all of the ways in which they will break the rules of their identified religion, you will stumble upon a concept every so often where their devotion rears its misguided head.  And no matter how much sense you throw at them, no matter how many good points you make and no matter how little they care about their “faith” in any other situation, in this particular moment it is all that matters to them.

But if you think about it, why have a little faith?  Why not have it all or nothing?  I don’t believe in god.  I don’t believe the bible is holy.  I don’t believe in heaven or hell.  I enjoy this one life and I seek out my challenges and beauty with all that I have.  I am not afraid of death.  I am comfortable with how I feel about all of this.

I don’t understand however how someone could believe in god and want to please him and then only worry about it sometimes.  Or if you believe in him but just think he’s there but doesn’t care what you do, that’s cool too, but if you believe in judgment or hell, how can you not read your holy books and fight your wars?

I find myself mistrusting those that speak of god who do not spend all of their time trying to bring me to him.  I am annoyed at those who do, but at least I trust you.

For all the Christians running around the US talking smack about the Muslims, they are following their hearts and their lord.  How can you mock that?  How can you deny them that?  Your god has done nothing more to prove himself.  He has done nothing more to show himself almighty or dominant or real.  It’s simply your faith against theirs.  It’s your voices no one else has heard vs. those only they have heard.  I don’t think either of you are right.  But how can you be so hurtful, disrespectful, and angry at them for fighting their fight?

Last I checked people from every faith and from no faith get cancer, die in car crashes, win the lottery, get hit by lightening, fall in love, have heart attacks and breathe oxygen.  Your prayers and faith have not separated you in any meaningful way.  So instead of trying so hard and fighting one another over gods who don’t even care enough to show themselves, maybe you should spend some of your precious time and valuable resources doing the things you ask your god to do for you.  I know you like to say “All is possible with god”.  But the truth is we are the choosers of our own fate.  God didn’t make us.  We made god.  And it’s time we took back control over our destiny.

Jen Czahur

Not Nervous   Leave a comment

I wasn’t nervous exactly.  At least, that’s not what I think of when I use the term.  Nervous is how I feel when I have expectations placed on me about performance.  When I’m nervous it’s because I can fail and it’s that persistent fear of failure that makes me get all jumbled up.  It amps me up so that my heart thuds and my hands go numb and my thoughts scatter and all that keeps me from flipping out and going all sorts of ape shit violent is that I must care about whatever the fuck I’m doing there or I wouldn’t have forced my ass to be there in the first place.  And that reason, whatever it is, gets seared into my brain and etched into the bones of my spine so that nothing else happens without it going passed the blatant truth of it.

But this was nothing like that.

I was meeting my new therapist at 5:30.  She asked me how many times I had gone through this process before at this particular facility since it’s basically a turnstile type center for professionals in her field.  That pleasant catch-22 for people with a lot of education who need some experience before they can do what they have just spent a lot of time and money being prepared to do or for people like she who just had a bit more education to go before they were both highly experienced and educated and ready to take on much bigger things.  I hadn’t done the math before, so I ran through my stats and we figured out that in the year and 4 months since I started there I have been with four therapists.  I haven’t had a lot of experience with doctors and therapy, but it felt like a high number and her tone kind of echoed that sentiment.  Regardless of that fact, I had a feeling she wasn’t going to be staying much longer and she was kind enough to give me the truth when I asked her.  I will probably be going through another “first time” encounter sometime this summer.  But I don’t feel bad about it.  I like this lady, she seems like someone I can actually open up to in a way I haven’t been able to thus far with any of my other therapists and, for that reason, I know I’ll miss her when she goes, but I am going to focus on the positive and just try and get what I can out of our time together.  I think it will be a better use of our time to get the most out of it instead of wasting it worrying or complaining about the lack of it.  Besides, if I do open up to her maybe by the time I have to tell someone else she will have written down thorough notes and talked to her supervisor often enough that I won’t have to do as much talking initially next time.

Anyway, getting back to my point, I wasn’t nervous.  But I did feel awkward and I wanted to place the emotion because it didn’t fit in with what I was used to.  One of the things I rather enjoy doing lately, almost like its a little game that I play when I’m alone, is that I try to diagram my thoughts, feelings and reactions before, during and after interactions with people.  At first this started as a way of figuring out just where it is that I first take a step off the so-called “normal” path.  By that I simply mean that I have spent a lot of my life watching people and if in a given situation I can pretty much say that Person A in Situation B encounters Element C and then Reacts by doing or saying D, I know enough about myself to acknowledge that I do not do D, but rather E and even sometimes F or the dreaded G.  But just knowing that I do E, F and G isn’t enough.    Being prepared and ready to cover up things, make excuses, avoid situations, find colorful distractions or what have you is getting not only tiresome, but rather difficult and nearly impossible as I get older and people get closer.  So I need to find other answers to the questions.  So I take apart my mannerisms, my thought processes, my reactions and the like,  all with the sincere purpose of trying to expose just why it is that I am not functioning like the masses.

Now, I have never claimed to be normal.  I don’t want to be normal.  I don’t know what it is and I’m not aiming for it.  I like being honest, I like being unique and comfortable being myself.  But I also am not trying to be anything just to be “different”.  When everyone else was getting tattoos, piercings, dying their hair crazy colors and dressing like punk rock zombie gods I just made sure I showered daily and wasn’t naked.  I have always had major sexual identity issues and have never felt comfortable bringing attention to myself to the point where sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I don’t even know who that person is looking back at me.  I can argue any side of any debate and convince anyone of anything.  But I don’t give a damn about anything.  I’ve always thought that deep down I had these core beliefs that could not be shaken, but that other than that I was just not engaged.  My father raised me to be that way really.  He used to go on and on about it, about having a code and how if “it’s not worth dying for it’s not worth killing for and if it’s not worth killing for it’s not worth fighting for”.  But sincerely, I thought that one day I would find something that was worth dying for and that it would all fall into place, but I’m 38 and still nothing matters to me.

I want there to be a test, a magical set of questions that figures me out.  I want to get to the bottom of it all.  Do you have a conscience if you don’t kill people because you know you don’t want to go to jail?  Is that really what morals are?  Because it’s not about god or love or respect or decency or not hurting someone or not being able to inflict pain, it all just comes down to the fact that I don’t want to be forced into a certain reality for the rest of my days and if I get caught living out the life I really am starting to feel compelled to I know that I’ll be miserable.  But as the days go on and I am losing more and more options to the point where maybe I’ll be homeless soon I don’t know that the next time I feel overwhelmed by my anger and rage and all I want is the freedom to give in and feel the sinking in of the knife and to use the garrote the way my father taught me as a kid because that’s the kind of thing a father teaches his daughter on a Sunday after church, I don’t know, I just can’t see me fighting myself forever.

So I go to the therapy and I talk to the doctors and I take the pills and I tell the people that urge me to just jump in with both feet and make a claim on the world just beyond my finger tips to wait and to stand back and to give me room to breathe, but they never leave and I just stand here playing word games like a foreigner in the motherland of my own soul.

I’m not nervous.  But just what I am,  I have no idea.

Jen Czahur

%d bloggers like this: