Preface: These thoughts come to me in the midst of a new, budding relationship. Yes, there is a “new Boy” who’s been nothing but kind and thoughtful. Still, it’s been a hesitation of mine from the start that he “identifies” as Catholic. I know identifies is a funny thing to say in defining someone’s religious choice, but for me he’s not the Catholic I grew up with—he’s more of the John Pavlovitz type—to the point where there are times that I want to say to him, “You’re not really Catholic then.” In my mind, to at least help me make sense of it all for now, I’ve divided it up to the Catholic Church as a business, and Catholic the religious practice. But to back track a bit, he’s seems (and has stated) that he genuinely does not care that I identify as spiritual. Which makes me question if I am hypocritical in my own spirituality that I do question the sustainability of our relationship because of our beliefs. I won’t let myself completely off the hook with that thought, as I do want to make sure that I don’t deny others of the religious and spiritual freedom that I was denied growing up. However, I do want to acknowledge the weight and heaviness of the religion classes and lectures I sat through as a kid. I thought I had processed it all before this relationship, but it seems that the Universe is offering me a new challenge. As a brief example (with the rest being in metaphor below)…I’ve felt the need to bring up things that I normally would not want to do so early in a relationship so the new Boy has a clear idea of what he is getting himself into. After much stumbling on my words, I told him I had no plans to ever get married (leaving out that if I ever change my mind, I want to get married outside the confines of four walls and by a woman). I can’t blame all of that on the Catholic Church…part of it has to do with my parents’ divorce, my young and married uncle dying before turning 30, and the narrative I created in childhood around that. But there is the religion class where we were told that the obligation in marriage was to procreate…and while I love kids I’ve never wanted them for myself (plus, Pacer is the best little girl I could ask for!). And the whole “two become one” thing always seemed skewed in the man’s favor. Finally, there’s the whole patriarchal and oppression thing that surrounds most religions…but that’s been written about more eloquently by others, so I’ll end this very long preface now.
I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe
I try to cry
But I am drowning
Cleansed, I hear them say
But from a made up sin I did not commit
My clothes are white
But then my body grows, and its back to black
I run down the street on wobbly legs
All heads turn the other way.
I am but a ghost. A Ghost?
No, for I am a woman.
I trip and fall.
I am but a ghost with bloody knees
Is this my cross to bear?
I choose to wear only bones
To be more like a Man or further hidden,
I no longer know.
Still, without this chest
Without my life-giving blood flow
There’s less force to do the things that I am told
Like my body is only for him
And the children to come after
For that is what is required for me to become seen
If I am good
Am I good?
It is only years later that I inhabit my body again
That I realize it wants to sing, to dance
To come forth as only the feminine spirit can
So I choose to run
Miles, valley, rivers, and mountains later
I break free of the chains, my cross
Finally, I have found my Heaven within.
The evening after writing this, I cam across this amazing video: Be a Lady They Said