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give in to love, or live in fear

Image is of me holding up a sign with words written in many colours. The words say "LOVE IS THE MOVEMENT. MY GOD IS LOVE."

Image is of me holding up a sign with words written in many colours. The words say “LOVE IS THE MOVEMENT. MY GOD IS LOVE.”

So, once upon a time (that is, back in high school), I was anti homosexuality. I hate saying that. I feel disgusting saying that. I feel like it’s a part of my life I should hide. That whole “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” thing? I thought it was the most clever thing EVER. I thought it was amazing! I thought I was speaking in love when I called people out. I thought I was, you know, being a good little Christian girl and looking out for their souls. I was mistaken. I was wrong. I was cruel. I don’t want to think about the poems I wrote (yes, I wrote anti gay poems. I cringe majorly).

But the thing is, people can change. It doesn’t make it right. It makes it wrong. It doesn’t mean I didn’t hurt people with my words and feelings. I did. I hurt people who are now my friends. I hurt people before I knew them. I was a hateful person, even though I thought I was speaking in love. Even though I thought I was being kind and compassionate. I wasn’t. I was far from it.

What did it take for me to change? I read stories. My heart started breaking. I realized I was using love as a guise, I realized I was using love as a reason to hate. It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? That I was using love to fuel hatred? I thought I was being so kind and caring and compassionate. I wasn’t. I was wrong.

I studied the original Greek and Hebrew texts. I prayed. I wept. I talked with friends. I talked with people deeper in the faith than me that I trusted. And I came to realize that using my love to fuel hate was wrong. I came to realize that there was something greater I could do with my so called love – I could rally to make a difference.

Instead of trying to change people for what I thought they were doing wrong, I could pour my energy into making a difference in their lives. I could be a kind, compassionate friend. A listening ear. Someone who wept with them when they were mistreated. Someone who stood up for them when they needed an ally. Someone who was ready and willing to be a voice for them.

It isn’t easy to admit that you’re wrong, you know. It isn’t easy to admit that you were once filled with hate. Am I ashamed of it? Yes, yes I am. But I know now, with all my heart, I am no longer that person. I can love. I can teach. I can learn. Anyone can. People can change and people can mature.

I’m sorry I was a bigoted asshat. I am that way no longer.

Love is love.

Love knows no gender.

Love is for everyone.

And I fully believe, with all my heart, that God feels the same way.

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a bittersweet day

It was the day she looked forward to.

I can imagine her reaction to all the rainbows. She loved rainbows. Tye dye. Bright colours.

Oh, how much she would  have loved to see facebook lit of rainbow.

Oh, how happy she would have been to see that marriage was finally legal. To see love win. To see us finally stepping in the right direction.

I found out about gay marriage and not even a full hour later, I found out that Beth was dead.

I found out the friend who loved Peeps and Rainbow and Tye Dye was gone.

The friend who I could say “hippos” and knew exactly what I meant.

The friend who we could assess each other’s moods in Princess Bride and RENT quotes.

The friend who I could text with random shit.

The one who I could blow through thousands of texts in a month. Gone

The one who shared my love for Muppets and Sesame Street and Doctor Who. The one who finally convinced me to watch Buffy and Firefly.

The one who would stay up with me and chat with me in the hospital.

She kept me company when I was sick.
I kept her company  when she was sick.
We kept each other company when we were both sick.

She could read me like a book.

We both supported each other.
For our mental health.
For cutting toxic people out of our lives.
We were there.

Some days, my only laugh of the day came from the wild and wacky convos from Beth.
And now where will those days come? Who will make me laugh those days?

And right now, I am thousands of miles from home. From Minnesota. Even further, than usual, from Colorado. My friend Stephanie told me that I’m in the best place I could be right now – that I’m in Australia and whatnot. That I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me, vs being locked in my apartment alone. But it doesn’t make this any easier.

Love won.
But I lost a member of my family of choice.
What kind of fucking victory is that?

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Give in to love, or live in fear

There’s been so much hate circling the Internet lately. Toward the Duggars, toward Caitlyn Jenner, toward people of colour, toward disabled people. Everywhere you turn there’s a new horrifying story on the Web. Why can’t we simply learn to love?

God loves the Duggars. Yes, even Josh Duggar. Yes, what he did to his sisters was awful. Yes, God forgave Josh Duggar – if Josh truly repented before him. But just because God forgave him doesn’t make it okay. Just because God forgave him doesn’t mean that his victims have to act like nothing ever happened. It’s okay to still guard yourself around someone who hurt you, even if God and even if (and that’s a big if) you forgave them. It’s okay to forgive someone, but still never want to see them again.

God loves Caitlyn Jenner. He created her, yes, I said her, perfectly. He loved her when she was Bruce and he loves her now as Caitlyn. She was still created perfect and precious in His sight. God is saddened when people spew hate at anyone. Spewing hate does nothing, my friends.

God loves people of colour. He gave up His son and His son’s life for them. He weeps with them as the police hate them, attack them, for no reason than the colour of their skin. Why are we defending the police officer? If the same police officer had attacked a white boy for the same reason, we would be up in arms. Why does their skin tone automatically change everything?

God loves people with disabilities. We have the sam rights and freedoms as everyone else. We deserve to fly a plane and not risk being escorted off. We deserve to walk down the street and not be turned into someone’s inspiration. We deserve the same life as everyone else.

God loves us all. He doesn’t pick and choose.

So why the hell do we?

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And we pray that our unity may one day be restored

Christians are becoming divided. We bicker about everything. You are for the marriage amendment, you are against it. You don’t think anyone should take birth control, you are fine for it for medical reasons only, you are all for it. You believe in evolution  you don’t. You are voting for Romney, you are voting for Obama, you aren’t voting at all.

The Marriage Amendment is the big one. It’s ripping apart churches, it’s ripping about colleges, it’s ripping about the body of Christ. Come on, people, is this what being a Christian is TRULY about!? You claim you love God, but then you trash-talk and name-call those who don’t believe what you do. It happens on both sides – neither side is innocent of this. We are all guilty of casting undue judgement calls and being far less than perfect.

It breaks my heart to see my state, to see people I love and care deeply about to bicker and fight for what I believe to be a basic human right – the right to love and the right to marry. I realize that you (general you) may not feel the same way I do, and I can accept that. You may feel that marriage is one man, one woman. I am not here to debate that at this time, nor am I here to try and change your mind.

What I am here with is a broken heart. What I am here with is a plea to remember that while our views may differ, at our core we all love the same God, we all love our friends, we all love our families. I assume as the election season gets closer, the fights will get more heated. The name calling will get more coloured and hurtful, and the body further divided. What good does it do, though? What good does it do we do causing such strife and turmoil within a body of believers? What is the purpose of doing that? To help them see our point? Getting into a heated debate won’t change their minds.

We need to remember that at it’s core, Christian simply boils down to a doctrine of love. While at times we are poor vessels of it and we fail magnificently at demonstrating such love, it is no excuse to instead choose a path of hatred. We need to remember the words of the hymn “And we pray that our unity may one day be restored, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” We can restore the unity and we can show love.

Whatever you choose to vote on 6 November 2012 is your choice. It is not my job, my duty, or even my desire to persuade you one way or the other. So no matter what you mark on the ballot: Romney or Obama, for or against the marriage amendment, for or against the voter ID law, or the numerous other issues on the ballot, DO choose to vote in love. DO choose your votes, your choices, out of love, not from hatred. Make your choices based in love, and allow your actions to show forth.

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Someone’s waiting to love you

To all the unloved;
One day, you will be loved. One day, you will break free of the vicious cycle of abuse. One day, you will find hope, peace, comfort, and joy again. You may scorn now. You may feel like no one could ever love you. If the people who created you can’t love you, how could anyone? If your boyfriend beats you, why would you deserve any better? You may scoff and feel like you’ll never truly be loved.
I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to cry myself to sleep, feeling lost and unloved. I know what it’s like to be alone in the world, to have no one but yourself to look out for you. I know what it’s like. I’m no stranger to abuse.
But I also know there’s another side. I know that there’s another way. And you don’t have to be here forever. There are people who want to love you, if you just let them. There are people who want to help you. And if your abuse is “just” emotional? Emotional abuse hurts too. There is never any “just” for abuse. Here is a PSA I did on emotional abuse last fall for a class.
If you are a teenager and a victim of child abuse, please get help. It doesn’t matter if it’s happening now or if it happened in the past, if you’re still feeling unloved and in danger, seek help. Check out childhelp.org . If you are being abused by the ones that claim to love you, young or old, check out thehotline.org
You don’t have to live this way forever. You did nothing wrong. You did nothing to deserve it. And one day, you will find someone that is waiting to love you.
5

They’re not like you and me, it means they must be evil

Pocahontas may be an odd choice for a title of a blog entry about equality, but I think that it has a valid point. “They’re not like you and me, it means they must be evil.” “They’re not like us, it means they can’t be trusted.” “Savages, savages, barely even human.” I think that’s how some people VIEW anyone who isn’t straight and doesn’t fit in the cookie-cutter one man/one woman mold. They’re different, therefore they are evil. They’re savage, because they have “THE GAY!” OH NO! 
In all honesty, I don’t care if you think being gay, trans, bi, and everything in between, inside and outside the box is a sin. I really don’t care. That’s not truly the crux of the issue. Thing is? They are human beings, just like you and me. Just like your church pastor. They bleed, they laugh, they cry. They have beating hearts. 
Fine, you think being gay is a sin. I don’t think that abortion is always the right choice, but I don’t think that it should be outlawed. It is not my place to decide what someone else does with their body. My personal views don’t jive with abortion. Your views might be “I want an abortion, and so I am getting one today. End of discussion.” And while I may disagree with you, my religious views shouldn’t trump your freedom, your rights. I think the same can be said for homosexuality. 
A few years ago, I thought that being gay was a sin. I didn’t think that anyone should be gay. I was squicked about by people being trans. I can’t say I’m proud of things I said or things I wrote. But I watched people I care about deeply struggle. I saw how hard it was for them and the way they were treated by something that isn’t their fault. I saw their struggles, and it broke my heart. It changed me. I saw the struggles in their lives, and you know what? It’s not fair.
It’s not fair that because of who they love, they can’t get married. It’s not fair that because of who they love, they can be discriminated against in the workplace. Oh, I know some Americans will say that “Well, I’m a Christian and I get bullied/I get ridiculed/etc”. Know what? It’s not the same. As Christians in the US, we are damn lucky to be living here. Sure, we may get “persecuted”, but we keep using that word. It doesn’t mean what we think it means. Just because our children can’t pray in public schools, doesn’t mean anything bad. Just because they don’t teach creationism, doesn’t mean anything bad. Doesn’t mean we’re some kind of martyr or that everyone is out to get us.
Back when Jesus was on the Earth, he hung out with the undesirables. The tax collectors. The ones that society threw the stink eye to, both proverbially and literally. If he were here today? I imagine He’d be hanging out with the homosexuals. Because my God, my Jesus, is a God of love. He doesn’t condone hate. 
I don’t want to make anyone change their views about homosexuality. You may think it’s morally wrong, and you have a right to think that. Your neighbor may think it’s morally right, and they have the right to think that. The person across the street may fall in the gray area between, where maybe it’s okay but certain aspects aren’t. But the heart of the matter is that we live in a country where certain rights are for ALL people: Christian and Atheist, gay and straight, male and female, and every other living person has this promised to them: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson didn’t write “Oh, but not woman” or “Oh, but not homosexual people.” ALL MEN. 
I am a Christian, and I support human rights. I support equality for all. I think that they should have the same rights as any of us, because we live in the “land of the free, and the home of the brave.” It’s not just the people who fit our mold of Christianity, it’s everyone. Everyone. We can’t pick and choose who gets the right to marry, the right to this and the right to that, because that’s not what this country was founded upon.
“Oh, deep in my heart. I do believe… we shall all be free someday.”

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So tired that I couldn’t even sleep

December 3, 2004.
3:43 AM Eastern Standard Time

“sometimes, i just want to give up. i just want to scream. and cry. just to avoid the look in people’s eyes. just to avoid the look in people’s eyes. it’s why i hate talking to people, you see the pity in their eyes, not only pity, but concern, but love…

Did I say I hate love? I really don’t know. I hate pity. I have having people worried about me, and concerned. And love…it almost scares me. I’m not talking about a boyfriend “oh my gosh you’re so cute” love, or a grandmotherly “I want to squish you” love, I mean a more of..compassion? a more of I care about you, Angelique love. and in a way, it does scare me. having people love me. having people care about me. That honestly is a scary thing, because if I screw up, I have people who will be worried about me, because they do care. If I show them how much I’m hurting, I have people who will be worried about me, because they do care.

and it’s just…I don’t know. I don’t even know anything anymore. Well, I know stuff, saying I don’t know anything is like saying a fish doesn’t know how to swim. and I just want to break down. and let someone hold me, and let me tell them what all has been eating at me. and it just seems…like I can’t. like there’s a wall.

And I know I’ve always been one to build up walls. I’ve built up walls for so long, I don’t know if there’s anyway to tear them down.”
****
I wrote this 7 years ago. I was 17, homeschooled, and still living with my father. This was before all the shit hit the fan.

I wonder the same thing this days about love. And walls. Do I put up walls to protect myself, or do I put them up to protect the ones I love? Do I really love? Love still scares me so much. To allow myself to be loved, and allow myself to love. To be that vulnerable, that open, that free with someone. I don’t know that I can allow myself to do that… and it scares me because I almost like my walls. They’re not the best for me, but they’re safe.

How do I tear down and allow myself to be vulnerable?

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Love in any language, not so spoken here.

I find myself struggling with love. It’s such a simple concept, really, but at the same time it’s so complex and layered. It’s seemingly simple, but also complicated and painful. There are so many Bible verses that speak of love:

“Perfect love casts out all fear. We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not post, it is not proud. blah blah blah” 1 Cor.

And so many more. The Beatles sang that “All you need is love.” We need love at the core of our being, it’s something we all long and crave for.

But the thing is? Love scares the everliving shit out of me. Imagine being a child, and your father never telling you he loved you. Imagine being a child, and the hands that were supposed to love you wound up hurting you. Imagine it. (This is also why I cannot view God as a father and cannot grasp that theological concept, but that is another blog entry all together).

People who know me know I struggle to tell my friends I love them. Sure, I show it in many ways: I send them small gifts, I send them cards, I write out Bible verses on note cards to encourage them, and so on, and so forth. But to actually say the words “I love you” is SO DIFFICULT.

And I think that is where some of my God struggles come into play: I can’t grasp the fact that He loves me so. I can’t grasp the fact that I am loved by Him. And it’s not that I don’t want to be Loved by Him, it’s that I don’t fully understand fatherly love. At all. Again, the father rant is for another blogpost (likely on 31.10, considering that’s my independence day)

Love is so much – and something I crave so deeply. Something my soul yearns for, something my spirit desires.

But I don’t understand it,
and it scares me to death.

1

Reach out and touch faith

I hate how I feel my faith is pulling me every which way. Part of me longs to return to my Nazarene roots. Being born and raised Nazarene, I want to go back to how I was raised, what was familiar, what I know.

Part of me wants to explore Lutheranism, as my new college is Lutheran.

Another part of me pulls towards borderline agnosticism. And another part of me pulls to not believing in anything. Logically, I know faith should boil down to the old hymn:

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

But the other part of me wants to have a strong assurance. I want to subscribe to a certain set of beliefs. I want to belong to a certain denomination, crazy I know, but still.

But this means exploring theology.
This means exploring dogma and doctrine.
This means figuring out what i believe.
And I don’t know how to figure this out.

I have several different study Bibles in various translations, I’ve read the Bible numerous times. I can argue theology, I can spew out Bible verses at the drop of a hat. I did Bible Trivia as a child (and did rather well in the Southwestern Ohio Nazarene District) and know my Bible well.

I struggle with the concept of love. I don’t love simply or often, but when I do love I love deeply and I become fierce with my love. My love protects, calms, comforts, teases, enjoys, hangs out… it’s a special relationship and bond and I love it. But I am afraid of receiving the love I so rarely give out. And I think that is part of why I struggle with a faith and religion currently – all my book knowledge tells me that there is a God who loves me that deeply and more, and the scared, abused part of me cowers in fear of that love. But yet at the same time I long and crave for that love. The love that I never really felt as a child. The love that I want so badly, but I fear.

At times I want nothing to do with Christianity. I see a religion that spews out hate in the alleged name of Jesus. I see a religion of people who walk the talk, but don’t talk the talk or walk the walk. I look at my own life and want to yell at this alleged faith. I look at one of my favorite worship songs from high school:

In the long hour of my sorrow,
through the darkest night of my soul
You surround me, and sustain me
My defender forever more

When hope is lost, I’ll call you Saviour.
When pain surrounds, I’ll call you Healer.
When silence falls, You’ll be the song in my heart

Part of my issues with Christianity were the way I was treated at old school. Please note that I know people who have gone to Old School, and are still there and loved it. I do not intend to bash the place that is, for them, wonderful and healing and a good fit. However, for me, it did a great amount of damage to my faith and even my mental health. Please know that just because Old School wasn’t the right fit for me, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good school. However, because it was damaging to me means that I will often talk of it. It is not an attempt in libel or slander at the school.

All that stated, I came out of that school damaged. I came out the school a wounded spirit. And I don’t know what my faith is. I don’t know what I believe. I don’t know how to explore it without reopening wounds that I’m not ready to heal. I hate this turmoil that’s taken over my soul, and I don’t even know how to begin repairing it.

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living with, not dying from disease


We’re kinda taking a different spin from Northwestern Issues today, to write about something that’s important to me.

Feb 28, 2011 was Rare Diseases day. And it’s interesting, you know? I suffer from a variety of “rare diseases.” I’m an alleged “medical oddity.” But when I look in the mirror, I am no different from you or you or you or you. I have two eyes (albeit one is cut off in that picture. Fail). I have a nose, a mouth, ears, and hair. I smile and I laugh, but I also weep and I cry. My disorders may one day take my life, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to get to know me.
I may always walk with a limp, even if I don’t always have crutches. I may always suffer from back pain, even after back surgery which will allegedly help it (famous last words, Dr. Dude). There is no cure for my three throat problems, just monitoring. Add in all my other array of stuff, and that’s my life.
But you see – I am just like anyone else in many ways. I laugh and sing and dance and hope. I weep and cry and grieve and mourn. I have passions and dreams. I love anime and manga, monkeys and armwarmers, RENT and The Princess Bride. Take away my health problems, and I’m still very much me.
I think at times, I tend to let my health issues define me, as much as I try not to. On one hand, I claim to not let them define me and that I am still me beyond them all. But on the other hand… they very much are me. I sometimes can’t hang out with friends (and feel like a friend failure) because my health holds me back. I fall behind in class and ask for extra help because my pain flares. I miss on hanging out due to doctor’s appointments. Instead of spring break being a time of refreshment, it becomes an ideal time to fill up with doctor’s appointments so that I don’t have to miss class.
And what I don’t get is how people think I’m strong, how I’m brave. How they couldn’t do what I do. But you know what? When it’s your life, you learn to live and adapt. I don’t have a choice if I do it or not. You don’t know how I do it? I don’t. Some things give. Some things fall to the wayside. Not everything gets done. It’s life.
I don’t know what the true point of this entry is. Maybe to see what discussion it spurs about disabilities. Maybe to make people think of what it may or may not be like. Or maybe because my poor blog was looking just a tad neglected and needs life again.