I was baptized Catholic as an infant, then I was baptized Southern Baptist at age 10, and when I was maybe 20 my family and I did a Christian group baptism. I was raised being told that I was born a sinner, no matter what I always had original sin on me, and the only way that I wouldn’t be doomed to the fiery pits of Hell for all of eternity was through committing my soul to Jesus Christ — no matter what I was like in this life, good or bad, nice or mean, loving or hateful, happy or sad.
I prayed the prayer of salvation many times and I saw other people pray it many times, as well. I heard people speak in tongues. I saw them speak in tongues. I went to a faith healer when I was 8 to try to fix my eyesight. My mom took me, I wore a nice dress, and the healer called me on-stage at the service. I remember feeling blank walking up and talking to him. He dipped me down and put a handkerchief over my eyes that he had wiped his brow with and he said a prayer. When the healer asked me if my vision had improved, I felt the tension in the air, and I knew my cue. Everybody was hyped up all night. They wanted a good feeling, so I gave it to them, as vaguely as I could without telling a complete lie. They cheered.
I really don’t like lying. I try not to lie at all. I know I have lied in the past, but I can’t think of any that press on my spirit. If I lie, it lays very heavy on me and I can’t really do it. It is obviously easier to withhold information than it is to lie. There are few instances in which I have withheld information that weigh on me, but more things I don’t think are necessary to say. However, I say that and then think of one situation in particular that I wonder if it would have gone a different way had I been completely honest. Even now I sit here and hear the voice in the back of my head say, “The choice you made not to divulge all of that information in the past situation in question is valid, you still don’t have to tell the whole truth,” but am I babying myself with this thought?
Do I need to deal with every little thing in life or do I get to get away with something? Is it even “getting away with something” if you don’t feel like what you did was wrong? But, I wonder, would circumstances be different now if I would have told the whole truth? Would this other person be better off if they had the full picture in their head about me? But no one owns me and just because something happened during a period of time doesn’t mean I owe anyone an explanation for anything… right?
I always felt less-than because I realized at the age of 10 I couldn’t feel Jesus’s love the way I was told I was supposed to. I was so scared because I couldn’t fake a feeling and I didn’t feel it for real, so I knew that meant I was doomed. I think we are all little sociopaths as children and the goal of parenting and socialization is to create a human who can empathize with other people and understand their own feelings. At the age of 10 I didn’t know how to feel love inside of myself. I didn’t know what love was. I knew that I loved my mom just because I loved my mom. But when it came to this outside force that I couldn’t see, that I just had to believe, and feel — I couldn’t feel.
I remember dreaming in my head throughout the hour-long service that felt like half a day. This was around the age of 12 that I have these memories, but I’m not sure exactly when the daydreaming started. We were told that the devil heard all of your negative words and thoughts, so the mental police patrolled my brain 24/7 and pushed my feelings down where the devil couldn’t find them. I remember feeling so guilty after thinking about what I thought sex might be and as I got older, I would use the services to play out a full relationship with Axl Rose in my head. I dreamed about the future and living in LA. I really used those services to cultivate my plans for getting out of the town that I never planned on staying in. I became really good at being in a different place inside my mind when I wasn’t happy with the reality outside of me.
I couldn’t focus on the sermons, I think mainly because I didn’t believe it… but I was so torn because my family and “everybody” believed it, so it had to be true, and I was too scared to talk about it because I didn’t want the devil to hear. I felt forsaken and damned. I asked God why I couldn’t believe, was it his will to send me to Hell? It felt so unfair when I wanted to believe so bad. I didn’t understand that the feeling of love that everyone was getting from God, is what I am now getting from myself. Everyone else was always getting it from themselves too, it’s just easier to love someone else than it is to love yourself, so they displace that love on Jesus and God.
I think Jesus is amazing and I am striving to learn the ways, but I think the idea most widely perceived about Jesus on Earth is skewed. I believe we are all Godly, Heavenly spirits, sent to different places throughout every corner of space and time simply to experience and learn. I understand this as the universe’s attempt to know itself completely, through every possible experience. I believe after this beautiful, wonderful, strong Earthly body that I have now, that I am so grateful for, expires, my spirit will go somewhere else to learn something else. I believe that Jesus also knew we were Godly, Heavenly beings and that Jesus healed people not only because others believed in him, but predominantly because he believed in himself.
Jesus had followers who wanted to learn his ways, not worship him as we are taught to do today. Jesus believed that others could achieve the amazing things that he did because he knew that if he had this power in his spirit, others could have it as well. On Earth, I believe that some people know this now. I think it is the greatest secret of the Earth, but it seems so easy once you learn it and understand it. However, some people want to control other people and it is much easier to control people with fear. And we have all done this to a certain extent, too, even an ultimatum is an example of trying to control someone with fear. “If you do this, I’m going to do this.” That sentence, I think, sums up both organized religion and government.
If I have learned anything, it’s that that kind of love is not what real love is. Not to say that someone who treats you this way doesn’t love you truly in their heart, I’m saying that is not how you show love. That’s a love that has crippled me throughout my life. That’s a love that I unknowingly gave to a person that I was truly, unconditionally in love with, and it pushed him so far away. That’s a love that doubts and holds people back. That’s a love that is scared. I’m so tired of being scared. True love is understanding and trust. I want to be open and strong and understand that it is okay to not be open to the things that I don’t want to do, but also patient enough to be/show/live that true love. I choose what is or isn’t true to me and what I make a part of my life — that is up to me.