What makes us, us? The fundamental things or things that make up our being, are they the things we can’t change or the things we don’t want to? Are they the things we like and want to nurture and foster and grow or are they the things that we can’t run away from or weed out? Is it the sum of these things? And people. The people who encourage us to be ourselves, are they the ones who help us be who want to be or more of just whoever we are at the moment?
Religious. Not spiritual. I am, always have been, probably always will be a religious person. A religious person believes that there is more to life than this, yes. But beyond the limits of Paul Tillich’s definition, I am religious. Regardless of the discipline thereof I will always have a desire, pull, and need to be part of a religion. For the past probably 5-8 years I have thought that I could be religious in a different religion other than Christianity and now more than ever I believe it. But leaving religion altogether, no. I will always have a want to be a part of a religious belief tribe if you will.
And I look back at this blog while I’m asking myself why again and that’s it. Every post should be tagged as bittersweet relationship. I’ll always be religious. It’s the one piece of me he hadn’t swallowed whole yet. Every other piece he could polish, shuffle forward or backward, digest, shit and flush away at will. He could and did shame and silence me for daring to mention what was half of my whole world. It gets clearer the farther away I get and here in landlocked Kansas I can see the ocean for what it is. An eddy. All the weights I tie onto myself endanger my very being in its depths. Drinking, self-doubt, anger, unpredictability, jealousy. They don’t endanger my life on the ground. Religion was my rope, the one thing that I refused to let go of that ended up being the thing that drug me out. It wasn’t a life raft. It wasn’t an air tank. Just a rope. Something I was unwilling to left go of, something that the water couldn’t completely swallow. The water is my mirror. It forces me to face everything I am and in its reflection most times all I can see are the blemishes. The pieces of me I’d rather hide are suddenly the center of my attention.
He always hated that I was religious. Thought less of me because of it. The square edge that he just couldn’t round. I’m glad for it. As much as I hate it sometimes, truly, I love it. It’s a passion. It’s an interest.
It fascinates and excites me. It saddens and angers me. And in not being willing to give up just that one thing, but feeling a growing shame of it, I realize that I was pretending. And the drinking. That’s the part of me that was dying to please him. It came from the shame of not being the girl who could drink vodka like water and therefore just right for him. I can drink vodka like water now. It didn’t change who I am. Not really. But it could have been consumed me, like everything else in the same way. Those little pieces that you let go of along the way, not because you want to, but because you feel you must to keep what you think you need.
Who I want to be, the things I try to cultivate because I want them, that’s who I am really. Those things I want to rid myself of and work hard to keep in check, that’s not really who I am. I don’t want my life to be defined by the capricious, reckless, careless aspects of my being. Just because I have to work to be what I want, doesn’t mean it’s not a part of me. Just because I don’t want the volatile to rule me, doesn’t mean I’m not free. Maybe I was born to be a surgeon- bs, md, phd, internship, residency, fellowship and half my life later I know for sure that this is what I was supposed to be. Laziness isn’t authenticity.
(Not perfect but it made me bawl like a baby and isn’t exactly irrelevant)