burn the house down

“I’m a little kid and so are you. Don’t you go and grow up before I do. I’m a little kid with so much doubt. Do you want to be there to see how I turn out?” ~ Turning Out, AJR

“Way up, way up, we go. Been up and down that road. Way up, way up, oh no. We gon’ burn the whole house down. Watch me stand in the line. You’re only serving lies. You’ve got something to hide. We gon’ burn the whole house down. We gon’ burn the whole house down.” ~ Burn the House Down, AJR

This coming of age story is brought to you by dystopian fiction, dystopian reality, and burning bridges that only led to my own destruction.

From ashes come new life.

Here’s to 7 years of healing from sexual assault, 23 years of surviving sexual abuse, and 27 years of surviving fundamentalism. Here’s to burning it all down and walking away from things that hurt me. I think I turned out alright.

And still the body remembers. The body remembers what you did to her. The lies, the manipulation, every unwanted touch, every chisel you used to sculpt her into what you wanted. The body remembers and she won’t go back there.

Childhood is such a strange thing. Especially when it’s stolen from you.

“You say I turned out fine. I think I’m still turning out…” (Turning Out, AJR)

They tell me I’m resilient now. That this has made me stronger. And it has…but I never wanted to be strong. I only ever wanted to be a kid with a “normal” childhood where I wasn’t afraid of hell, or my father, or the deacon and neighbor in my church. Or my ex-boyfriend.

One thing I’ve realized is that I was robbed. Robbed of innocence, of my early adulthood years. So I’m taking back what was mine. Because it was never theirs to begin with. They had no right to take ownership of this body, this soul, this mind. I will have the last say and the last laugh.

Childhood is such a strange thing. Especially when it is taken from those who become presidents, senators, judges, pastors, fathers.

We are taking back what is ours. Which means we are willing to make your lives a living hell for taking from us what was rightfully ours.

We are our own and no one else’s.

We will burn the whole house down and leave no brick standing. Not only will be burn the house down…we’ll rebuild it as a healing, safe place for everyone to coexist.

So, to all the men who stole my childhood:

You can go fuck yourselves. We’re out here exposing you for what you are.

We’re burning the whole house down.

This coming of age story is brought to you by people who are taking their lives back, by  the healers, the over-comers, the arsonists who burn bridges when they need to.

And this coming of age story is brought to you by those of us who are building new bridges. We turned out alright.

From ashes come new life.



dreams within a dream

0HibVeZITR6klGvjV8d37g“Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.” ~ Colin Kaepernick, Dream Crazy Nike Commercial

“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:23-24

Once upon a time, at a conservative Christian summer camp I felt God “calling me into ministry” at the age of 14. And then the church broke my fucking heart. They told me I didn’t belong and couldn’t possibly pursue a calling into the pastorate. For a while, I didn’t want to and avoided it like the plague because let’s face it, organized religion often doesn’t have a place for those of us on the outside looking in.

But God has a funny sense of humor doesn’t she. Guess what past abusers, my undergrad college, friends who left me because I came out as queer and not a republican: This kid’s starting an MDiv program pursuing ordination and chaplaincy next week.

I fought it as hard as I could and here I am. I was Thomas seeing my Lord crucified and having all my dreams crushed. Because they weren’t my dreams but the dreams others had for me. And yet, much like Mary Magdalene, I’ve seen the risen Christ and still he calls me and has never stopped loving me and accepting me as I am even when the church did.

Like Mary Magdalene I say, “I have seen the Lord…” and no one believed me either, Mary. They laughed, or black balled me and told me I was a heretic. And yet Jesus calls to me still and I say, “My Lord and my God.” 

Self-doubt is persnickety. That’s a sentence I wrote earlier this week and thought, who the hell says persnickety. Jesus. I’m way too hard on myself and most of that is learned behavior. I am so tired. and I am done with people ignoring my boundaries.

Boundaries…because I need to be able to give myself fully to whatever task I’m doing presently or whoever I’m with instead of dividing myself up so everyone can have a piece of me to use and/or abuse. That hurts everyone including me.

Boundaries…because even the ocean and the sky have some separation.

Boundaries…not to shut people out but to only let in what is helpful and good not what is harmful and destructive to me.

BOUNDARIES because it is not a sin to take care of yourself so you can take care of others better.

Boundaries because I am not a hotline for folks to call at all hours of the day or night. I am a human being who needs to recharge before I get overwhelmed.

I have learned finally that my body, my mind, my soul are not reusable resources for abusers to pimp out, or well meaning but overbearing mothers to manipulate. Or even for friends who come calling.

This calling requires of me to realize that I am a multidimensional person and am worth protecting and conserving energy for. Who knew you could be more than one thing when you grow up.

I am a renewable energy source but only when I take the time to renew and recharge.

All that to say, I have finally let myself dream again and pursue those dreams. Whereas before, others controlled what I let myself dream. I was living in someone else’s dreams and those dreams were often my nightmares.

It’s time to dream again even if it seems crazy to other people or if they are offended that I’m prioritizing my self for the first time ever.

I’m here to give you a message from an unlikely source: Maybe there’s more to life than meets the eye if you’re brave enough to seek it out.

“Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough…”