So, here is my second C. I wanted to give a bit of my background so that readers can understand my perspective, spiritually speaking. Also I needed a C letter. I warn you, I am bearing my past to you, the reader. There are some unpleasant things here, ones I am still dealing with. Yet, I think that all of this has helped formed me, strengthened me, and will help me on my future road. So, I share with you a small window into my past, so you can understand my present, and walk with me through to the future.
I grew up in a twice a year Christian household. While that may be the story for many of us, I was actually raised fairly spiritually in some ways and not at all in others. I learned to read from mother reading to me out of a kids picture Bible every night. I don’t remember if it was more positive or not, but I remember loving that book.
All of my family was Christian. Even if I never went to church I was still surrounded by the general ideas associated with mainstream Christianity. My mom’s family was from TN, and were baptists, but liberal. I have no idea what branch of Christianity my father followed, or my grandmother on his side. I do remember at an early age my father’s mother asking me if my mother went to church. I told her no, she didn’t always go, and my grandmother told me that my mother was going to hell, but that I wouldn’t go because ‘God doesn’t send little children to hell, sweetheart.”
I decided that I wanted to become an official member of our tiny Baptist church nestled in the back woods around the age of 10-11. However, I never truly enjoyed that tiny country church. As I headed to middle school I began to ask ‘those questions’. Whether all paths lead to the same road. And of course, I never got the satisfactory answers, I was just refuted and then ignored by the Sunday School teachers.
In middle school, I went through a ‘spiritual separation’ of sorts. After years of discontent, I decided I didn’t care about spirituality or religion. I wasn’t an atheist per se, I just didn’t care at all. I also went through the awkward stages of being a teenage girl, with the addition of having an over protective mother who not only pushed me into sports and refused to allow me to have a social life beyond special occasions (I was limited to at most 10 minute phone calls, was not allowed to do anything social at someone else’s home unless my mother knew every detail of what we were doing-all movies watched, all the people who would be there, in-depth descriptions of all my friends, and having confirm everything with the parents of the friend who happened to be hosting the event, AND, even if all of that was confirmed, I still didn’t get to go half of the time). My mother’s overprotective tendencies quickly became emotional abuse, as I was called horn-dog for talking to boys my age, slut for wearing tight clothes, and then threatened to have all of my contacts, preferred clothes and make up taken away, with my mother saying that she would dress me every day if I didn’t do what she wanted. Eventually this behavior led to me being curled up into a ball, sobbing and crying, while she stood over me screaming curse words and nasty things, and in come cases did become instances of physical abuse. Even now, years later, she still can’t understand why I have a hard time interacting with her. But more on that in a different entry I think!
Anyway, with all that shit going on, I quickly became depressed. I did self-mutilate (I was 13 at the time) and I was convinced the world was a black hole. I had no fluffy bunnies, no beautiful green fields. Nothing spiritual brightened my day, there was no silver lining. It was a very difficult few years for me.
When I reached high school, most of the social problems I had didn’t go away. I became better in sports as I finally started developing muscle mass (although I had an early onset period, I never filled out or fully developed until I graduated when, at the age of 18 and 5’2″, I weighed 93lbs. I never had an eating disorder, but years of high mileage endurance running literally kept me from developing into a womanly shape), but I still felt as if I were a little boy. I had no curves, no breasts and anytime I voiced my concerns about my body, my mother would give this line “Enjoy being that thin while you can! Once you hit triple digits you’ll never go back!” At a few points during school I did hit 100lbs, and I was made fun of frequently by my parents when I was at that weight, even if they only thought it was only done ‘out of love’ and ‘jokingly’.
During all this turmoil, I did manage to maintain excellent grades, involve myself in several clubs, and earn 8 varsity letters (4 for cross country and 4 for track&field). Yet, I was missing something. Early my freshman year, I did try to rekindle my Christian leanings. Later that year, my friend lent me a book- Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf. Yep, that’s right folks, my first pagan book was THAT book. Now, I had always loved Greek mythology. In my reading class, we actually did an entire unit on it, and man did I love that so much. My love of myth, desire for magic, and wish to get out of my own life quickly led me to the pagan path (yes, not all of those are good reasons, but it ended up coming out to a good end). I then fell in love with Brian Froud’s “The Faeries’ Oracle” (I still have this and LOVE this deck, I don’t care how much you want to hate on Froud!), as a friend owned it. I later purchased my first pagan book, “Solitary Wicca for Life” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock (this book is actually one of the best 101 books I had ever read, even though I don’t follow a Wiccan path), and was given two books for my birthday. One of these was a general reference book of random witchy terms, and another was a spell book for household spells that I still have and still want to use!
I got my hands on all the pagan books I could (which weren’t very many), copied rituals by hand or photo copier, and just went to town researching. Yet, I was very very restricted in my practice, as I was terrified of my mother finding out. I eventually told her long term boyfriend (who functions as my stepfather/father anyway), but she to this day still doesn’t know my religion.
Soon, however, I began to have a warring in my heart between Christianity and Paganism. I wanted the community of the church. I hated not having support behind me, particularly the old I grew. For almost a year, I had packed up my pagan books and pieces of paper, almost convinced they were satanic. Then I tried to reconcile the two by becoming a Christeopagan. Now, this does work for some but, needless to say, not for me. I realize now that I had this community disconnect because I couldn’t see the little things in life. I didn’t realize at that time how much divinity truly permeated the world…that it WAS the world. Those profound truths don’t always appear to an 18 year old (hell, I feel privileged at 22 to feel any truth).
I continued to struggle with my spiritual identity as I headed to college. As I quickly found myself drowning in anxiety, depressive symptoms and poor study skills, I did find for the first time people who actually cared about me (in a social context). I had had friends in high school, but they were few and far between. I really found my friend ‘soulmates’ in college. And, eventually, I found a good pagan friend. He helped rekindle my desire to connect with the divine. At this point, all holding to Christianity fell away, and in fact was replaced with resentment. Since then, that resentment has fallen away as well. We are all individuals searching for our own paths in life, who am I to judge?
Eventually, my time at college (at least then) came to an end. I had to leave the place that felt more like my home than any other, to save my sanity. When I returned to my hometown, I was devastated. I barely kept my spiritual ties. Slowly, over the past year, I’ve rebuilt them, and have made them stronger than they ever were. I still struggle with focus, with meditation, but I’m a student in a tradition, trying to work past my armchair pagan tendencies, and working for a healthier life in general. I think that sometimes, people use spirituality to just blanket hurts, when in truth it needs to be entwined with your very being to do you any lasting good. Not sure if that makes sense but yeah, it does to me…
Over the past month, I’ve made several discoveries. I know now that I’ve been called to this path. No matter what, it has always come back to me. It served as a comfort blanket for me in hard times and now, it’s time for me to give back to the Gods, to the path, and to my fellow beings on this earth.
I’m not sure if this entry ended how I wanted it to end. I believe it just took on a life of its own. But there you have it, my past. With some of that, you can see my perspective now, and understand why I am so hopeful for the future!
Whew, that was a long one!