I’m a student. I am currently in the middle of my studies.
I study religion. I study Christianity specifically. I read a lot about trauma both in and outside of class. There’s so much that my classes do not and will not cover.
I feel heavy and lost.
I feel like my voice does not matter.
I feel like my voice is lost in an ocean and no one is watching to see if the bubbles are coming up.
I don’t know the impact of my voice.
I don’t know if this studying will pay off.
I am told my voice is a gift, but their lives do not reflect that the gift is received.
I have a sexuality.
I am desexualized often.
I want things.
I am hypersexualized often.
My wants are not considered.
I’ve fought hard for myself.
I’m a mess. In therapy for more than 7 years.
I am told I am a saint.
I am told I am a problem.
I am told I am intimidating, “too” good, by people who haven’t lifted a finger to move their own hearts.
I am not a place for cheap compliments.
I am not a place for flattery.
I don’t know how to survive the world as it is.
I don’t know how to survive this emotional landscape.
I don’t know how to survive without my friends. The ones who recognize and respect my autonomy. The ones who know how brave I am, but do not leave me alone in my courage.
I want more spaces where I can feel everything and it is not a problem.
I am not a place to be fixed.
I am not a place to look at so that you don’t look at you.
I am tired of self-reflecting in a world that doesn’t self-reflect.
I am tired of hearing “be yourself” in a world that doesn’t value authenticity.
I am a ballroom.
I am a place to waltz in.
(from January 2nd, 2020)
I am crying out of me
18 years (give and take a few)
of grief for having no choice
over my coming and goings,
having been trapped and made captive to be my mother’s extension,
and being beaten into her image.
Maybe the tears will free me
to make a little more space for myself.
My tears will help me find a sacred room of my own choosing
with a door that I myself control.
Maybe the tears will save me from
a shriveled body,
tense, small, curled and bent with
Everytime the anger rises,
“What’s still hurts here?”
Instead of revealing a mask
the truth trickles out.
Then, after, I watch the last drop land
I stand up, take a step forward,
making for myself the life I can still live.
I remind myself,
I can do that again
And will need to, again,
the next time the tide of anger comes.
– withdrawn type
(Knowing how warm my tears have kept me
I try not to apologise for crying
for they have kept me from mutating
into a tragic nightmare.
In my most peaceful dreams,
Jekyll and Hyde are friends).
There’s a lot of talk about “giving up” something for Lent.
But what are we giving up? Who is giving *what* up? And why?
How we talk about lenten practices ought to be sensitive to our stories and social positions.
For instance, if a person finds themselves to be a part of a group that is socialized to put others before themselves, it can be damaging to insist that person choose to “give up” or “take away” something that gives comfort. For myself, I was raised and socialized to consider myself last, make myself small and to make others happy. I uncritically accepted messages about “making oneself less” or “putting others first” because I grew up repeatedly being told I was selfish and “too much” for doing normal, healthy developmental things for my of my childhood. I learned then that choosing time for myself, asking for space, prioritizing my own interests, and seeking warmth and comfort when it inconvenienced others were not safe for me to do. To this day, I still struggle to not have thoughts that something bad will happen to me – that I will be alone, unsafe and abandoned – if I choose myself.
(Because of the world that we live in and because of real dynamics of power, this sense of danger and threat in response to my authenticity exists. However, it is not the whole story).
We don’t have to follow the catch all trends we might have been taught about how to observe Lent. These days, I like to think of “making space” instead of “giving up”. What am I making space for in my life that is life giving for me and the collective? What do I want to see less of and make less space for?
There are definitely people who will find that it makes sense to give something up. There are people among us who need to hear how beneficial it is to make oneself uncomfortable.
We get to choose what is right for us in this moment in time, in this particular place we find ourselves in our personal and shared journeys.
We get to be critical of trends and traditions and expectations that don’t work for us. We get to choose.
Who in your community can help you discern what feels right for you? What feels right is as unique as you are.
What do you care about? What do you want to see more of? And how do you make space to create that in the world?
What are you making space for more of this Lent?