Anxiety

One of the struggles I face most after leaving the Christian faith is an inability to quiet my mind’s desire to unhinge the religion. I so wish to pick each and every part out that damaged me, and announce to the world-how we can fix it, I so badly want to SCREAM, “You have google at your fingertips, Christian people—— research the shit out of this——you are DAMAGING your thinking children, and you won’t know it til it’s too late!”

Imagine one of those billboards that stream their message flashing from left to right. That is precisely what my thoughts look like running through my mind. And what’s strange is that I’m up and about, going and doing, but ALWAYS in these two places. My head is invested in whatever my hands are doing, but the flashing billboard is zipping by, sometimes slow, but usually fast. When it’s rapid firing, I notice that I’m tense, my jaw is clenched, and I have to force myself to loosen up. So much of this is based on the fact that my subconscious is hurting and angry. The systems at work inside Christianity are so degrading and I was raised in them from birth. I torment myself at times by mentally listing the ways it warped me, here are a few things I believed and in the parentheses is the reality:

You are worthy of hell,  (but there’s not one)

Your natural state is sinful, (I’m actually innately good)

You must ask forgiveness for Every Sin, (harm no one and there is no sin)

Women caused the fall of man,  (Patriarchal folktale)

Women are weaker minded, (FALSE)

Women need leadership, (FALSE)

Women must submit, (FALSE)

Women can’t teach men- only children, (laughably false)

Your body isn’t yours-it’s your dad or husband’s, it’s a temple, (She is fully mine)

You can’t trust yourself, (Always Always trust yourself)

You can’t trust your questions, (ask and research EVERY question for yourself)

Women have roles in the home that men shouldn’t, (Patriarchal BS)

You must not divorce unless there is an affair or physical abuse—-but really you should stay to work it out… (Get out the moment you realize they aren’t who you thought they were.)

Besides the basic false teachings of the church, the folktales that were told to me as fact, as God’s word, that I’ve had to research and tear down the walls of, I’ve also got these corrupt brain hi-jackers, that were embedded in me, that aren’t as easy to silence as a mythical Bible story. I know they aren’t true—-but I believed with my whole heart every bit of it, and that means for most of my life, I believed I was not good. I was a child, believing that I was innately in my core, bad. That is some tough shit to recover from. So the flashing lights stream on, playing over and over. This is simply me trying to pinpoint where the pain is coming from, me trying to undo the abusive talk of a subconscious that was herself, abused.. Sometimes I just wonder who I could’ve been had these systems not been at play. I mourn and lament for her…

Your child is not a Christian

Recently while listening to Richard Dawkins’, “The God Delusion,” I had to pause and let some of his words wash over me—they were cleansing, if you will.

I won’t quote him directly, but here’s the jist:

**There can be indoctrinated children, and there can be children of Christian parents, but there are zero Christian children.**

Obviously, a few years ago I would have wanted to battle back and proclaim that MY children were believers and students of the Holy book. I would’ve scrambled to find the flaw in his statement—- but deep in my noggin, I would’ve been arguing, not with Dawkins, but with my own indoctrination.

As much as I would’ve wanted to believe my kids WERE Christian kids, the truth was—every belief they possessed came directly from me or the Bible stories I’d allowed them to learn. Sure they knew scripture, but how did they learn it? –Me, a curriculum I’d chosen, a class I’d taken them to… Sure they knew the prayers, but how did they know who to pray to and the format of recitation? Me! These weren’t things they would’ve ever approached on their own. They were simply babies who wanted to PLAY! But my kids were my echo chambers, they were simply regurgitating by beliefs right back out at me. It’s scary to think how deeply I had sculpted their entire world view and reality. Shits terrifying, man. Wheeeew. Breathe. Even scarier is the way some folks never realize what they are doing….

Fortunately for me now, as a deconstructed exvangelical, when I read Dawkins’ words, I was in complete and total agreement. It was actually freeing to hear someone else saying what I knew from my own childhood and in raising my kids.

Every single attempt at raising Godly kids is a form of indoctrination. From reciting scripture, creeds, and prayers at young ages, to attending weekly services, to routines of the home. Every time a parent intentionally places their belief system into the mind of their child, they are indoctrinating that child. Every time a child declares they are saved or that they’ve had a God experience, it is simply a replication of what they’ve witnessed from adults around them or is a fictitious response to hormones released in emotional situations. Again, a fabrication of that child’s reality set up by someone else.

Children are born religion free. Again, when a baby is born, their brain has zero knowledge of any religion. Yet, they are divine. They come to us with an awe-struck curiosity for the mystical experiences of nature. They are bright eyed and eager to explore, they worship in the form of wonder. Wouldn’t it be grand to approach guiding them, with that same joy of learning that they implore. When THEY ask about God, faith, sins, the devil, as parents we show excitement and present them with timelines of all the major world religions, allowing them to see for themselves the bigger picture. There is NO indoctrination in that method. And, there is no right answer, therefore no pressure to conform out of fear.

I remember the fear that being a Christian places within parents. The “their blood is on your hands,” approach to training up children. Hell, I pulled my kids from school so I COULD INDOCTRINATE them to think like me.

I remember feeling afraid when they “sinned.” I remember crying out to God that he would guard their hearts. I spent literal nights awake trying to envision a way to best teach them so they’d know God’s Love….

But now I see, if you look at your child as a fallen being to be saved, you’ve lost the chance at letting the magic of life teach them. Their own Life is their best teacher. You are cutting them off from their own flow when you’ve set the default state of being as a religious one. They have very little chance at growing beyond that default setting, and for many Christians that is their hope.

How sad. But that’s what you get when generation after generation sits in the church pew and never does the work of thinking. You get uneducated worldviews, partnered with indoctrinated beliefs, sculpted into little robotic beings, passing off their ideals as the ONLY right way, all the way into their adulthood, and this then repeats itself with their children. And it’s ALL misinformation, but they live from default because it’s safe and requires no conscious effort to learn new ways and new information.  It’s frankly, an irresponsible way to live.

For me and for my children, I did the work of reprogramming my default settings. They will not have to deconstruct, they will not have to “go astray” or “leave the fold.” Together, we are free to let Wonder, Curiosity, and Life be our teachers. Please join me in ending the brain-washing of our youth-they deserve better. They deserve to be the joyful explorers that they were literally born being. Let us, as adults, give our children the space they need to be here, free from your default settings.

Thanks for reading! XO

Glorious Girl, a poem

So you’re turning 14

That’s a big number to mommy

You’re turning 14

I didn’t know it’d be this hard on me

See, when I was 14, I let my divinity go…

I cut my beautiful hair, I traded in lion king panties for lacy underwear

I went from having never been kissed to loving someone deeply, and being completely dismissed

At 14, my first heartbreak left me different but not totally broken

with threads of insecurity, my heart was stitched up but gaps were still open

At 14, I watched on confused as the light of innocence left me

Hell was coming, no matter how hard I prayed, no matter how much they preached grace, I still knew my place

After every sin, I knew I’d need to repent again,

and so this game of guilt and shame was one I could not win

At 14, I understood fear to be the driving force, behind every single of one my life’s choices

It wasn’t about following my heart, it wasn’t about using my smarts, I’d only be okay if I learned early to play it safe, stay inside the boundaries so I’d be covered by grace

At 14, deep longings for more, resounded in my spirit, but because of indoctrination the flow of life couldn’t heal it. My divinity whispered for me to draw near, but I simply could not hear it.

See, I didn’t know I was still perfectly precious, I didn’t know I was still totally infectious, Being a sinner is what I let define me, not the amazing woman who was hiding inside me

So, Baby girl I just have to share, you carry a warrior’s glare and you have a mighty stare,

Your wear your armor daily with your strands of gold and copper hair

YOU know your truth and with YOUR hands you build your empire, and don’t forget like a dragoness, my girl you can breathe fire,

Your veins hold the pulsing of women

who fought so hard to be here, hold up your hands and cup their courage should you ever find yourself in need, dear

You have fierce wisdom of Athena

And great beauty of Aphrodite

Put them together and channel that strength, it’s beyond almighty

In your mind you carry the intuition of Dione and you hold wilderness of Artemis, listen to the call from within, she won’t leave you mistaken

Baby girl, at 14, you can begin to manifest your dreams, you can leave people behind if they don’t align, don’t feel guilty and deep down just know, that’s how you grow

And don’t you for one second think a mess-up is reflective of who you are, when wounded be proud of your scars, and deep down in the marrow of your bones, know your beauty, your truth, and your worth.

And baby girl at 14, when insecurity creeps in, acknowledge her presence but don’t let her win, make her an acquaintance but not a close friend,

Remember you earned your place on this earth, you get to be here for this moment in time, and though you’re only 14, you’re able to see, that this in itself is truly divine

When mommy set out to write this for you, I let my mind go back in time, I don’t know why but I started to cry and so I stayed there for awhile.

That girl was beautiful with a heart of gold and smile she could not hide, but oh the sadness, such sadness were hiding in those green eyes.

I saw the Universe in those eyes, and I heard a whisper in the wind, you, JUST you, you are enough, so I let that voice rage from within,

I placed my arm around that girl sitting to my side, I said- chin up sister, it’s a matter of time, you’re gonna be just fine,

I gave her a hug and left her there

because 14 year old me, could not see it, much less try to live out and be it…

My baby girl now, I’m calling you out, I see your glory, your beauty, your grandeur….and at 14, if there’s only one thing you let engulf you and fill you up, please let it be that warrior raging within, “I KNOW I AM more than enough.”

Written by-Stacy Johnson, April 13, 2018

I wrote this last year on the eve of my daughter’s 14th birthday. I needed to channel the energy I was feeling into something positive, as 14 was a tricky year for me…

MY GLORIOUS GIRL:

******Today, I watched that 14 year old, stand before 150 high school band students and play a solo. A 3 minute piece that captured the magical essence that is my daughter. You see, my girl had only picked up a saxophone 9 months ago. Her teacher didn’t believe her when she told him she’d be first chair by Christmas, but SHE believed in herself, and that’s all she’ll ever need. She is not only first chair, but was was chosen to do that solo, I couldn’t have been prouder to watch her play up there. I witnessed the anxiety ridden tears throughout the week, but SHE GOT UP THERE AND NAILED IT. She cupped that courage and it paid off. I cried. And I’m giddy. She’s brave.

Thank you to:

My sister over at The Irresponsible Blogger, she reminded me that today was International Women’s Day and this poem goes right along with celebrating women, healing women, and empowerment of women. Thank you for reading, Friends!

My BEST GIRLS and Me (plus one sleeping lil guy):

When I don’t Exist…

Do you ever let your mind go to the place where you no longer exist?

You’ve lived. You’ve done your time. You’ve journeyed your path and then you close your eyes and are no more? 

Sometimes, while I nap in the recliner, my brain starts reeling with intensity, “GET UP! Get up!! There is so much you haven’t done, so much you haven’t seen, wake up, you’ve got to get to it—-life isn’t waiting.”

I’ll nearly leap from my recliner, gasping for a panic-ridden breath.

Urgency. 

I’ll pace the floors a bit, prioritizing cooking dinner, or running away to Paris, or writing the book that’s been brewing…..Mothering wins, I turn on the stove and lose myself in the stir of the hamburger helper.

Slowly,  I blend the seasonings and the steam warms my arm…I welcome my existential thoughts back and give myself space to process the sorrow of knowing that it’s true. 

One day, I will not be here. The history of humanity will carry on and I will have come and gone.  My snippet on the timeline will be set. My face will be remembered by my children, their children, and MAYBE their children. My name will be carved into a stone somewhere, leaving passerby’s wondering, “Who was this beloved mother, Stacy?” If even that…

And while I don’t know about an afterlife, no one on earth really does—we have our choice of myths, metaphors, and musings to satisfy our need for there to be something—-anything after this life. I’ve come accept that just because we believe something with our whole hearts, that doesn’t make it true. And just because we want something to be real, that doesn’t mean it is.

That was hard to reconcile as a former fundamentalist Christian….. oh, how religion keeps us wrapped with its false promises…. an abusive affair indeed.

I stir on, and I let myself feel the warmth. I look at the sunlight beaming in. Dust particles float in the rays, a  shimmering glitter dancing suspended in a haze. 

I am here now. I am here now. Feel your breath, in through your nose, out through your mouth. 

Letting go of what’s to come, holding with gratitude what is. 

I am here now. “Okay, kiddos, dinner is served.” Four faces fumble into the kitchen, eager for food. I watch them, they are my sacred endeavors. They are my cycle, my season, my continuation…

One day, I will not exist, but because of them, parts of me always will…

Thanks for reading… XO

Voice in my Head

The voice inside my head is so cruel.  

She doesn’t match the smile she masquerades behind.

She is nothing like the voice who encourages those around her. She hates me. 

She loves hating me in the meanest ways.

She has steered my life so that my home became the prison where she does her work. She has eliminated the chances of me having value to others. Exactly her desire, it makes her dominant.

Her taunts and chatter are exhausting and while my heart aches to know she isn’t speaking my silent truth, she’s become louder than that of my intuition.

Unworthy, unloveable, broken at your core, “there’s no fixing you, you’d need twenty grand to ever come close to being who you were before them.” She scowls and winces at her reflection. 

The voice inside does not rest. She berates even in sleep. “You are lazy, there is so much for you to do, get up off your ass, and take care of this now.” 

She hates everything that could bring me joy and she sneers disgustingly if I simply want to read a book. I don’t know how to please her, she grows louder every day.

Every day, my heart breaks a little but it’s happening slowly. She is nothing I can’t handle with fakes smiles, small talk, and the completion of one mundane task after another.

I cope with her hatred of me in the silence and I never introduce her to anyone. They know nothing of the torture I take daily and that is as it should be.

“Mommy, I love you,” small hands that I created in love, reach up for me. She flees, and she’s banished… she is not welcome in their presence and she scurries outside, until I’m alone again. 

I wonder if others have the constant war raging behind their kind eyes, too? She says they don’t. That this is just broken me doing broken things. 

She rebukes on. And she does good work. Some days she silences me  into a state of  quiet defeat. “SpaghettiO’s for dinner, folks.” 

My son rounds the corner and smiles an endless love grin up at me. For a moment, I am someone’s everything. That single moment, my weapon, to battle her another day.

They warned us in Bible-class that from the heart the mouth speaks. They told us to be careful because the influences you allow, become the way you think.

…..His voice became my voice…

….HIS VOICE BECAME MY VOICE…..

SHE———never had a choice, because his voice became MY voice.


She doesn’t stand a chance.