Belly of the Whale

Put down the crosses you’re carrying

They weren’t ever yours to hold
Someone placed that thought in You if the truth be told

But

You are enough just being you
And when you’ve had enough
You can be someone new

Keep on pushing

Keep on losing

Any path that wasn’t your choosing

You need to exhale, need to befriend your doubt
Cause you can’t fill up what’s never been without

Sink down into your unbecoming
Float in the sea of the unknowing

Cause in the deep
The tomb does its work

And it’s there in the quiet
resurrection leads to a birth

Do you understand what I’m trying to say
Its a glorious darkness inside the grave

From the belly of the whale it’s a slow escape
but you can learn to enjoy the burn of a dimly lit flame
Only if you let a fire lead the way

Of those gone before you who lit up their torches
Of those who beat down the path so that you could now forge this

Follow their lead, come alongside me

Together we can come up for air, together we can learn to breathe

We’ll burn down the bridges, we’ll untie the strings

No puppet, no master, just a reckoning

In the belly of the whale, I set myself free What kind of savior throws his child out to sea? Only one who is setting up a false delivery

Don’t ask us to be what wasn’t meant to be
In the belly of the whale, I chose me

——————Nineveh can wait til I’m ready

Written by Stacy Johnson 6/29/19 (cycle day 5 crone)

Alone With My Thoughts

Thoughts, how dangerous, how absolutely dangerous.

How beautiful they once were.

I recall a time in the not so distant past where things were different in my head, before leaving faith, before realizing that “submitting” was actually me agreeing to be silenced, before waking up to the abusive tactics patriarchy implores-and calls this God.

Back then, in the “before” period of my life, for every negative self-talk, there was a dozen scriptures-racing to take the place of the daggers inflicted by that of the “devil.”

I needed the devil. I could blame him for putting such awful images in my brain about myself. 

But I needed God even more. I needed a savior outside myself to come in and “make me new.” I needed God to swoop down, ya know, cause that’s what the God of the Christians says  He’ll do, He’ll swoop down and meet you where you are—He is, the only God who does this—— 

I needed that God to rescue me from myself.

I had after all, been taught that my own thoughts, my own will, my own nature was inherently and irrevocably dangerous, not to be trusted. Not even to do the work of asking questions…

From the earliest of days, being told that hell awaits those who reject God, was terrifying, everything was a rejection of God. Eating too much, reading for pleasure when I should be reading the Bible, secular music was a gateway to humanism, television watching would corrupt your purity,  spending money was an idol, high-lighting my hair-vanity… it never ended,  until I eventually took everything about myself away. I lived this out for years in an attempt to bring God all the glory. 

Every fucking thing I could do, could be a way to reject God, and I couldn’t chance it.

So, I denied myself every possible avenue of joy in my life minus mothering. 

Then……Silence. Disappearing into nothingness. 

When I first realized this way of life had led me into a severe depression, Friends would ask, “well, what’s your favorite music?” 

Me: I do not know.

“What shows do you enjoy?” 

Me: I don’t.

“What is your hobby?” 

Me: I don’t have any.

Folks, I kid you not, religion stole Me from Me. 

The Dark Night of the Soul led me to the blatant realization that not “being of the world,” means you are VERY LONELY within. Cutting myself out of the culture of our time, left me in a state of adolescent adulthood. 

Denying myself time and time again. Over and over, in every circumstance because Jesus was self-sacrificing, did baaaaaad things to me. I had no identity beyond wife and mother. 

Typing that, my stomach turns, because that is supposed to be enough—-I should be filled with praise, and here I sit, alone with these thoughts, telling me that because it is not enough, I am bad-so bad.

But isn’t that the pattern of what religion does to us. It tells you to do something/be something, something you can’t, you realize you can’t and you ask for a savior, when that isn’t enough, there you sit—- “I’m naturally bad.” The only difference is, for the believer, they think God cleanses the bad away. But for those of us who don’t believe, WE must do the work to remove the “I am bad,” sense of self, and this is not easy.

I don’t know how to do that. 

Instead I sit with the pattern of self-defeat regularly. How badly, I want MY TWO HANDS, My brain, to figure out how to LOVE MYSELF. But being told you’re a sinner from childhood on, well-its damaged me. There are other relationships that have damaged me along the way, but because I struggle to love myself, I allow them. 

I HOPE to find a way to mend the pieces of me. If you are a recovering former believer, what have you done to help you LOVE YOURSELF? Or, if depression is a battle you’ve faced, what helps you most? 

Thanks for stopping by, friends…