(Content warning for spiritual abuse and suicidal thoughts)
Let’s face it. I’m in therapy in part because of my parents. So, today–Mother’s Day–is not usually a fun day for me. This year it’s been extraordinarily difficult because it’s the first Mother’s Day since coming out to my parents. Holidays in general are hard for queer kids of conservative evangelical/fundamentalist parents.
Based on my experience so far, I don’t really know how to make it any easier other than to either avoid them or do your best to survive them. It’s a survival thing either way, which I hate. This time was part surviving through avoidance/part surviving through participating. And it was the first time I didn’t go to church with everyone, and I had panic attacks basically all weekend. If that tells you anything about how it all went. Thankfully I have some really great friends and we kind of all got through it together.
And THIS WEEKEND especially has so much pressure to it. It’s nearly suffocated me because I know I’ll never be enough for my parents. Not only am I not a fundamentalist Christian, I’m also gay. Literally never going to measure up to their idea of how my life should be. Learning to accept that I don’t have to be enough or them–I’m enough for me–is a new concept.
Also, I don’t even know if I’ve talked about this nearly enough, but I’m a preacher’s daughter. A gay preacher’s daughter, who is also studying at seminary to be a preacher. My life is full of dramatic irony like that. I love my dad and my mom, but they don’t know how to love me and accept me for who I am. They are WHY I’m even studying to be in ministry. Not because it pleases them (hello, a woman preacher?), but because there are so many kids with parents like mine who have been damaged by the church.
The church ought to be a place of healing. And mother’s day ought to be a day where everyone can be honest about their experiences with their mothers and as mothers regardless of whether that’s one of beauty, pain, or a mixture of the two.
So…moving forward. I’m enough for me. I am enough as I am. We are all enough as we are and deserve to be treated with love and kindness.
P.S. I am apparently writing poems again and I’m glad, because it helps me sort through things better. Yes, I’m ok and I’ve survived another holiday, but bad theology can destroy:
Spilling Your Guts
Preacher’s daughter turned preacher but one preacher,
Preacher and father turned into a violent spewer
of hate, with his daughter on the receiving end.
Why don’t you love me the way I am?
Why can’t you just love me like you love those you preached to every Sunday?
Why can’t you show compassion to your own family–your own flesh and blood?
This whole time I thought I could be good enough for you.
You were spilling your guts in the name of righteousness–getting something off your chest.
You rolled the burden off your back onto mine.
It was a burden I shared with you, but then…
You used it to crush me. I couldn’t carry it further.
It wasn’t mine to bear.
But now it’s shattered me beyond repair.
Now I am damaged; my throat slit.
My guts spilled out on the concrete.
I’m just a preacher’s daughter and all I ever wanted was a father.