Dear Patriarchy

Dear Patriarchy,

I was placed into your grasp as a little girl. I ate the crumbs from your gnarled and mangled hands. I watched you work the system and create a breed of subservient little female beings. You chewed us up and spit us out and told us our purpose was to simply be present to help You. You needed our fertility, open our legs for your pleasure and your cum. Carry your babies so you don’t fade away into oblivion. We sit here now foaming at the mouth ready to rip your fucking throats out, and you tell us to smile, keep quiet, be a lady. Meanwhile, you’re lusting for the blossoms in the church pew, with your pious and godly wife sitting right there beside you. But she doesn’t know how to be the Slut you need. The Sacred Whore within, she’s never unleashed. You did that to her. You, Patriarchy! You told her to be good, but with everything you are, you like em bad. So so bad. You told us to be honest, but you’ve got your secrets. You snicker, and you smile, and you keep things under the table. Your army, your squad, your “good ol boys”—- they uphold you as the Man among men, and while your wife may be fooled cause she’s a product of her raising, just know-your daughter won’t bow down to ANY SYSTEM that’s degrading, she’s not just the winds of change-she’s a fucking tornado. She is tearing this shit down and you don’t know what to do. You hang on to your faith cause it ALWAYS WORKS FOR YOU. Cling to your traditions, the empire built by men for men, but your daughter yells, “No!” She’s watched and she’s listened to every command made on her mother and her sisters, she’s thirsty for the blood of every person whose ever said, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen.” She is harsh and bold and she is ready to hurt your feelings. She yells, “Fuck you and fuck your religion! You pieces of shit-stealing the minds of the innocent, and they can’t even think critically enough to harbor resentment.” Your daughters are coming for you, Patriarchy, are you shaking in your work boots? We are coming for you, right after we untie your shoes.

Written by: Stacy Johnson

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…

Dry Land, a poem


 I am just a woman, standing in my gown 

asking to be enough for this night

I want to feel beautiful, not plain

Do you remember 16, firm flat tight

I’m softened now, worn even

Battered and stretched and faded

Not by time, but mothering

Brutal, harsh, barren this land I walk along

But because  I love, I tread on

Day in and day out

Night in and night out

Tread on, I must

I sleep without dreams, eyes 1/2 open

They’ll need me

They do need me

I am their God

They want to worship now

But why 3 in the morning 

I am just a woman, standing in my gown

asking to be enough for this night

Written by: Stacy Johnson

1/22/19

2018
2019