Living in a Community of Scum

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About a week ago, I had reached my limit. It was infuriating having to get up on Sunday mornings having to go to church, only to see the same customers who abuse me and my coworkers at the store. It was distracting. I spent a great deal of time sitting behind them, afraid they might see me and come after me, like I was the one who didn’t allow the coupon to work. As if I made the rules. I was afraid to be subject to their anger. Their malice and hatred. I spent a great deal of time, being embarrassed for them. Embarrassed that if I were to even convince a coworker to come to church, that I would be afraid in the same manner for them as I would myself. Sadly, I find myself hopeful that no one would ever want to come to church with me. Even more sad, I never even want to invite people to my church.

I have spent visiting this church on and off for about 3 years now. More consistently in the past year since graduating from college. It was a struggle, and continues to be a struggle to fit in there, mainly because my work schedule is inconsistent, but also because I have only two people who actually attempt to connect with me and who I feel comfortable connecting with in return. No one else has introduced themselves to me. No one. Others have introduced others to me, but I have not even encountered those people again. They do not wave. They do not smile back. They never say hello.

It has been heartbreakingly discouraging.

So I decided that perhaps this church was not my place. Perhaps I needed to go elsewhere? But with the price of gas and the distance between communities, I have been unable, and even unwilling, to search out new church communities. Where can I go in my community where people do not know me? Where can I be fresh and try again as a new person? As the person I am, not the “fragrance counter girl at X.” So I decided, since money was low and so was morale, I was no longer going to attend church. I needed a break from the fake. I needed to separate myself from the hostile. I needed God to come to me because I was not willing to go to Him.

Thankfully He did.

For a strange and rare moment I had felt as thought I needed to listen to a sermon online. I needed spiritual refreshment, which is very unlike me to admit or even acknowledge, much less to actually act on. I searched an old church I had attended back in high school. One I had felt comfortable with, and one I had been sad to leave when we moved several states away. I randomly selected a series from their web page and began to listen. It was the Series on 1 Corinthians and it was chapter one. Little did I know that the message would predominately be about every issue I had ever had with the church.

I was reminded of my own mess, and in turn reminded of the mess of others in the church. I was not the only human being who sought refuge from the hostile, and I myself was often one of those hostiles. I was reminded that one of the important parts of a faithful walk with God, is to walk with other people, and love them in their mess. This was both encouraging, and terrifying for me to hear. It meant having to find a place in a community, and to let go of my Western culture ideals of individualism. It wasn’t about me and God. It was about Us and God. About Church….with an uppercase C and a lower case me. We are called to live in community with one another, and deal with our mess and issues in love. To call each other out, not because we are angry, but because we are concerned about the spiritual health of another person. Because we love them.

This means living in a community of scum. Of the worst of the worst. Of which I am a part. So I suppose what I’m saying right now…is pray for me. Because this is really gunna suck to figure out and will include a lot of growing pains.

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Beware….a Feminist Book Review….Or Something Like That

Recently, I began reading a book called Killing the Black Body which is a work about the history of African American women’s reproductive rights and it’s switch from the culture of slavery which forced these women into motherhood, to enforcing the government funded sterilization (without patient consent) and suppression of their right to give birth. It’s heavy. Filled with case study upon case study of control, violence, and political struggle. It’s heart breaking really. Causing me to wonder about the intensions behind the existence of contraceptive drugs, the ideals of Planned Parenthood, racism, and the ever changing meaning of (and threats to) reproductive liberty.

There are many reasons I chose to buy and read this book.

Firstly: Because it is a book about Black women. I am not Black. I am a woman. I seek knowledge about both because…I don’t know what it means to be either of those things. So in a search to understand my femininity and my ethnicity, I sought out a piece of literature that might help me understand things outside of my realm of white (enough to practically glow under black lights) and into the common ground of female.

Secondly: It is a history that I am only slightly familiar with because of American History Classes, that are predominately written to give a brief (and not very detailed) history of America. A bit of an experiment with my national identity as an American, and how I may be informed about the laws and issues that surround all women and how those laws effect women on a large and individual scale dependent on issues of race, social, and economic status.

Thirdly: Because it’s a freaking book and I love reading.

When I began reading this book, I found myself not only painfully taking in each case study, but also trying to read between the lines. The forward had informed me a little bit of what the author, Dorothy Roberts, was intending to write about, but I wanted to see what she was REALLY trying to say. To be truthful, I was more or less trying to figure out if she was for or against the ideals of Planned Parenthood. A topic I have come to be more conscious of as I grow and mature in my femininity.

What I love about informative literature, is the questions they pose to me that differ from my own beliefs. But what I enjoy about this book more specifically, is it is written in a way that I am only able to hear the voice of the author in a very subtle way. It is unique, in that it is about the topic of racism saturated culture and the issues it has caused in the realm of Planned Parenthood, but it is also unique, in that it does not disrespect either side of the argument. It tells the story, perhaps not the whole story, but enough for a person to accumulate the gist of both sides of the issue, and to think for themselves.

I wish more literature was that way. I dislike being beaten to death by an argument that has no standing. One that wants me to be brain washed, and force fed only to regurgitate it out later whether it is relevant or not. I don’t want to be assaulted by an author. I want to be informed! I want to know the angles. I want to know the responses to the opposition. I want to actually learn something, not be told to think something, and not to be told to think something that isn’t useful to me. Or worse….isn’t relevant. 20140628-211118-76278861.jpg

The Intimidation Method

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He slammed the fragrance tester down on the counter. Demanding that he buy the tester for a discount. I told him we don’t do that here. You buy the product out of the case. I took a look at the shape under his shirt. Couldn’t tell if it was a concealed carry or if he had stolen something from somewhere and was hiding it under his shirt. I stayed calm and cool, but the moment he left, I began to shake profusely. He was the most rude and intimidating customer I had ever encountered, his words were meant to sting, but after dealing with him, I wished he had pulled something so I could call the cops and nail him. I’ve had some rude customers, but none that made me fearful as much as he did.

After talking to my MOD, I realized how strange the whole situation was. The man, from what others told me about his behavior in the store, said it seemed as if he was targeting me, and in turn, my MOD informed me I was not to walk to my car alone that night. I didn’t. I would take no chance. Especially when there had been a rape just last week, with a man still at large. I drove home, constantly looking in my mirror hoping no one was following me.

I slept restlessly.

This is only one of many stories the women of retail can tell you. The men of retail have plenty themselves too. Stalkers. Crazy exes. Customers who feel as if they are superior and try to cause scenes to force you to break the rules. Disgusting phone calls. I cannot say whether men of retail or women of retail have it worse or better. All I know is some customers suck. Intentionally too. They want to hurt you, for whatever reason. They feel bad about themselves. They think they can get what they want if they bully you. They want to hurt someone, maybe get them fired.

I could never understand such a cruel mentality. In fact, I almost feel sorry for people who feel they have to do something like that. It makes a person wonder who hurt them first. Of course I never let my pity justify their actions. If they want to be jerks, then by all means, let them make a fool of themselves. Let their intimidation method fail.

How nice it would be if sales people could treat their customers the way the customers treated them. I feel like retailers would have a lot less customer complaints, because customers who didn’t want to be treated like dirt like they treat sales people would avoid retailers.

Oh to dream.

Spent over $100 on books yesterday. I regret nothing.

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The Accident

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After flight for life left and the police had finished there report, she came inside. The afternoon was much more exciting and terrifying than we had imagined. I stayed out of the way. It was not a situation that I was willing to handle for long. I was glad it was over.

The driver was distraught. Kicking himself that he hadn’t seen the kid. The kid kicking himself he hadn’t seen what the driver was doing.

The track of the helicopter is still imprinted in the soft ground of our

The motorcyclist was thrown into our yard. He had been conscious the whole time. Talking to those who were around him. Combative even, not sure what happened and unsure why he was in a ditch. As far as I know he lived. He seemed to be okay while trying to push people off of himself. Kid had spunk.

Thankfully he was wearing a helmet.

Telling Eyes

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Eyes tired
Limbs weighed down
The fog hung heavily outside
Not that she could see
Kept captive within walls of
Steel
Stone
And glass
Other eyes wandered
Often coming to hers
They would turn away
Quickly
As if they didn’t want to
See her eyes plead with them
As if her eye screamed too loudly
Help me

Church People: A Nightmare

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I had a dream last night.

I was in church at a Sunday school and I don’t remember what people were talking about, but I kept trying to contribute to the conversation, and everyone was talking over me, like I didn’t even exist. I got so upset, especially at this one lady, (who doesn’t exists in real life, but was friends with my mother in my dream) who was the worst culprit of them all, who smiled to herself every remark she made while her eyes seemed to barrel into me. She had the audacity in this dream to continually harass me about helping out with….something. I think it might have been nursery. Anyway she kept trying to talk me into helping, and finally, I just snapped at her, told her I was pissed off and she was a self righteous bitch and to quit harassing me if she was going to be a rude human being who loved to hear herself talk.

She walked away. Outraged that I called her rude. Outraged I called her a bitch. But no less self righteous. No less full of herself. No less annoying as hell. Thankful she walked away I found myself angry at every single person in the pews. I tried to go to my mom, to tell her I was leaving, and I couldn’t take that place anymore. She was sitting in the back row, next to some people I had seen at the Sunday school. I whispered to her as I was trying to leave, that it was leaving. She nodded, but also cooly dismissed me. I walked out to my car, crying, pounding my steering wheel outraged that it felt like God wasn’t there.

I woke up with tears streaming down my face.

I have been attending my parents church for almost six years now. In those six years I have managed to strike up three conversations with three people. In that time amount of time, one of those people has not spoken to me since we completed a design project, one pretty much only says hello to me every so often, and one only calls me to hang out, as part of a transition into asking something of me, a kind of formality that is always followed by a request to house sit or help them paint something.

Is it just me…or was that dream a personal manifestation of my deep and desperate loneliness?

What I really find myself going to church for these days, is for spiritual community. If no body else is going to talk to me, well then, God and I are going to talk. Half the time I don’t even think I’m listening to the service. I’m really just pleading with God that something happens, and I find a place in church that I can help out and not feel taken for granted and used. Somewhere I actually enjoy helping out.

So far, I am getting the vibe that this just isn’t my place.