Dear Catie, Hippy Jesus and Hamptons Jesus.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about religion lately – whether I’m for it, against it, in the middle of figuring out what the fuck about it.

I’m a hot mess about religion, let me tell you – except I don’t need to tell you because you already know (as does anyone else who’s reading this blog.)

(I’m pretty sure God reads our blog.)

So, what threw me off of religion this time was yet another argument I had with my cousin about religion. My cousin grew up with religion in her life. I did not. She has been going to church since she was born. I started (consentually) going in my teenage years (because I wanted to hang out with the cute boys) and then seriously when I was about twenty-years-old. This was during my ‘I want to find Jesus to save my marriage, because I heard you can’t have a marriage without Jesus in it’ phase. When that fell through – and didn’t ‘fix’ my marriage, I gave up again. Then when my marriage fell apart (I am not blaming this on religion at all, by the way, readers), I went back to church to try again.

As you recall, it. was. fantastic. I found people who believed in the same kind of Jesus as I did. This is a direct quote from myself when I was speaking with our mutual friend Melisha / Lareia.

“Shit has been so damn difficult lately, and it’s made me think about religion a lot.

I am torn between Religion and God. I believe God exists, but I just wish I found a group of people who felt the same about him as me – and that’s hard to find. Even more so, I feel like it’s about the relationship between myself and God. Not the relationship between Religion and I. But just like a new friend you’ve met and think is totally awesome and great and all that, you want to introduce them to your friends and you want your friends to like them too because you like your friends and you like this new friend and it would just be so much simpler if you had more than just the two of you to hang out with.

That’s what kills me. I don’t have friends who know my ‘friend’ / God the way I do, or don’t see Him the way I do, or whatever. Now, this isn’t just a ‘I have friends who are atheists’ cry, this is a ‘I have friends who have a different kind of friend named God that they think have rules and regulations on how to be friends and etiquette and blah blah. Like, their God (in my metaphor) is from the Hamptons and there are rules of being that classy and that great. Don’t air dirty laundry. Don’t talk filthy. Don’t wear certain clothing. People can see you, so be on your best behavior 100% of the time.

Meanwhile, me and the God I know and love are kickin’ it back in our sweatpants watching Netflix marathons. We talk about all kind of things – things I’m proud of and things I’m not. And when it’s just us I feel so great and fantastic. I’m relaxed. I feel like I’ve got my shit together – even if the laundry’s not done.

But I still have friends who don’t know him, or they think he belongs in the Hamptons, and I just.. It’s hard. It’s like, not only does believing in him narrow the field of people who I could potentially get along with / date, but even further still, the Him that I believe him narrows the field even more to impossible percentages.

So then, with it being so small a number of people that I’ve met that feel the same, I’ve begun to think in the back of my mind: What if I am in the wrong? What if it’s MEANT to have all the damn rules and Hamptons shit? I mean, he’s GOD, shouldn’t he be treated like royalty like the Hamptons kids?

Or what if my God is an imaginary friend? What if he doesn’t actually exist and I’ve made him up because I seriously cannot deal with life sometimes and rather than feeling like my misery and existence is all for nothing and why not just die today, I made up a story about a creator who gives it purpose, suddenly?

Shit is hard. But no matter how many times I’ve tried, I cannot shake the feeling that he’s real. So, I’m back to the scenario of my God being too chill and loving like a hippy than like the Hamptom kids want.

Ugh. I hope all of that made sense to you. I have the Hampton kids analogy because I wasn’t born in to religion. I wasn’t forced to go to church or anything. I didn’t know about God until I was a teenager, and then I only went because it was the ‘cool thing to do’ in my circle of friends. Then when Elijah was born, I tried discovering more about it, but was shunned because of my circumstance by the Southern Baptist churches and like minded churches.

Then I started looking for nondenominational churches, and I always remember thinking that big churchs that have fancy shit in them must be Hampton like — but the one I found “IBC – Irving Bible Church” is huge, and has a lot of people. So much people that I feel like not everyone in the room is watching me as an outsider, but also that there’s so many people that they split in to study groups for those of even more like-minds… So people like me can find each other, but also more specifically, people like me in my age group, or people like me with kids as a SINGLE parent… That’s one I’d never seen before.”

So, my darling cousin (whom I love enormously, which is why this hurt so much) and I were speaking about a mutual friend we have. This mutual friend has become pregnant outside of wedlock with a guy she fell in love with (at 18/19 years old..sound familiar?) and so now they’re engaged to be wed and are moving to California for it all (where his family lives) and my cousin is.. just not having it.

But that’s besides the point. That just started our little debate, in which Hannah said she couldn’t support anything about any of that, because she’s recently decided that in her ‘faith journey’, she’s going to adopt Admonishment. Admonishment is defined as follows:

“to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner”

“to indicate duties or obligations to”

Now, I understand that this is meant as “gentle and earnest” manners, but to me, it also reads in as a lot of… judging others, disapproving of them, and then suggesting what they ought to do for their own good — which, you know, I just love to hear about. And in addition, there is way too little room between the boundaries of stepping on that line or over it when trying to do this in the most gentle way possible.

Anyway, I don’t believe in getting in other’s business like that, or telling them what they should do or shouldn’t. I don’t feel like it is my job to judge anyone for their sins. That’s God’s job. It’s not my job to see if they’re truly repenting or if they ‘deserve’ Heaven or not. Why would you try? We don’t deserve Heaven, or God’s love. That’s the whole point. We will never be worthy, YET HE LOVES US. How crazy and unconditional is that?

What’s that word I just used? Unconditional? I feel like religion based upon ‘do this or don’t benefit’ or ‘do this and you’re damned’ is kind of against the whole ‘died for our sins’ policy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you ask me for advice, or it’s something life-threatening to you or another, I will probably say, “Hey, think about this before you do it, because it could be a bad time.” But am I going to look down on you? Am I going to judge you, you heathen? No. I am not perfect, and that would make me come off as holier than thou. Which, I personally feel, this Admonishment movement with Hannah is making her come out to be.

We fight all the time over it, and this argument we had the other day.. broke me. I said fuck it. I said if this is how religion is, then why the fuck would I believe in it? It’s so hopeless. I cannot strive with the anxiety every day of wondering if I have been good enough, or if one of my friends is going to fucking judge me because of whatever mistake I made forever. And I love Hannah. I love her so damn much it hurts that we fight like this, over something so vulnerable for me, something so personal to me. To have what I believe, and have struggled so hard to believe shut down as false, to be told I’m doing it wrong, to be told that my God is not the same, not the correct God…

I mean, fuck it, right?

 

So I gave up on Him for a little while. I mean, Hannah has been doing this her entire life, right? So she has all the authority on this over me. I should trust her, believe her. Even if it makes me never want to look towards Him again.

 

And then I had a thought.

 

Miranda. God knows you. He knows you exactly where you are right now in your life, in your past, and in your future – should you choose it. He knows what He’d like, and he knows what you’ll choose. He meets you where you’re at, and he takes you and lifts you up. He is in everything you appreciate, everything you struggle with – guiding you from the straying path. And even in this, even in an argument about Him, He still waits. He knows what hurt it’s causing. He knows that moderation is key. He knows that while mistakes happen, strive for Faith, Hope, and Love. He is forgiving, while condemning – something I believe only he can do, truly and deeply, as he is not human, and he is not prone to these mistakes that humans are – which, again, is why I don’t think we have the right or capacity to do so. Especially those of us without training, education in this specific field, and seminar.

 

So, I still love Him. Thank goodness, He still loves me and I don’t have to worry about how many mistakes I make that will finally make Him leave me. Hannah is going to be how she is, and I can’t change that, but.. I can just not talk to her about God. She just may have to be one of those people who can’t hang with my chill Jesus, and that’s hard – because we’re so close – but it’s also what keeps me sane and I would rather get along with Jesus than with her without him.

 

I hope any of this made sense. I love you, Catie.

 

Miranda

P.S. This gif is hilarious, because as punny as it is, this is literal bible thumping:

 

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Dear Catie, I’m starting my new beginning before the new year. #becauseican

So, allow me to apologize and thank you at the same time, my darling Kettle.

I apologize, because I have been rotten the past few months. I’ve been hurting in my own way, and that made me more bitter than I care to admit – but will anyway because admitting my feelings is more healthy than pretending they didn’t happen at all. I sincerely thought this would be my new life, this not caring, being sassy, and bitter thing.

But, it was not meant to be. And, while I was doing it all, and writing out in my darkest moments, I truly appreciate you for responding with haste, with compassion, and with humor. You and I speak on a level that is secret to our own nature, our own way. It’s a language people can see and hear and understand, but they may not fully comprehend the depth. You reached me. And I thank you so much for it. I’m surprised you didn’t just:

 

 

I mean, I would have taken it.

 

Anyhow, let’s move on to the new things.

 

I thought up a few new ideas for a book. Two are in this world. They’re fiction, but it’s like, modern day. 2014. You know. Another is in another world, made up, very steampunk meets victorian.

I moved in to my new apartment. Tomorrow, my father moves out of his house and stops sleeping at my apartment – and Elijah and I will be completely and totally alone. I love my father, and this isn’t a jest at him or the old, “I’m so glad to kick my parents out” joke. I am seriously thankful for the opportunity to be in my own home. My own. Just me (and Elijah). And more so, that I can magically afford it somehow, like a grown ass responsible and independent woman that don’t need no man. Huzzah.

I’m also kind of thankful that Dad’s gone because I could not get the man to cook healthy. I mean, come on. I am trying to lose weight. Stop making potato-cheese-bacon melt casserole, jeeze.

I also no longer have to deal with toll roads. Hallelujah. It takes me 20 minutes to get to work, even from Dallas, because every time I drive the highway is against traffic rather than with, and thus I don’t have roadblocks. I’m sure they will periodically happen. I’m not daft, but it’s a much better situation.

Oh, by the way, I am in the center of everything. I love the city, and have always wanted to live here. I’ve lived in suburbs, but this is my first in the actual city where sirens are a daily occurrence sort of deal. I love it. There’s 3 malls around the corner, a million bookstores on my block and my walmart is two stories tall. (Three stories with the Sams Club attached. Oh yeah.)

I read an article the other day about people who want to travel to go on their ‘soul-searching’ journey – and the author was like, “Quit coming to my country looking for your peace. We are not for you tourists pleasure. We do not magically fix you. You fix you. You will not be ‘fixed’ unless our mind and heart and soul are in the right frame. If you have to come here to ‘get away’, fine, but do not assume we are miracle workers. You can do this at home. Just find a place inside to sit and ‘get away’ and find yourself. It’s frightening, but cheaper!”

My apartment has become this. Granted, I pay for it monthly, but I’m on my own. My own rules. My own decisions. My own life. I am so thankful.

I know that this may be backwards, but after many disagreements and arguments with my cousin who is very devout in Christian faith, I have decided to take the label off of my faith. I believe there is a God. I believe whatever this God is is fair and just and lovely and fascinating and has to exist because this world, nay, universe is too much for chance. I believe in paying respects. I believe in thanking each part and piece of nature and our natural world for it’s existence. For thanking calm as it washes over me. For thanking worry as it reminds me that I care about something so much to be anxious over it. But I will no longer call myself of Christian faith. It was the hardest decision I’ve made recently, and one that broke me down to tears. It’s a long story, but it has been brought to my attention that my way of life was hardly anything to do with Christianity, and if that is the case, then fuck it. 

I’ll do good and be a good person because I am a good person.

I love you so much.  I may write smaller pieces here and there because there’s more I want to write to you but have momentarily forgotten. I love you. I love you. I love ou.

I appreciate you. I see you. Thank you.

Miranda

 

 

 

 

P.S. I got a text from my mom as I was closing this and my mom announces, “No breast cancer!! Just cysts!” Yeeeeehaw!

 

Dear Catie, S. O. S.

Everyone’s gone.

 

I have never felt so incredibly alone since I was a teenager.

 

You (understandably) left games / even Skype. That was the beginning.

 

Everyone else seemed to follow suit. Zach left the Skype group. Adam got busy with school. Frank went AWOL. Melisha is busy doing stuff in her life. God, I miss all of them. So much. Holidays are upon us, so I’m sure that has something to do with it, but this has been going on for the past two to three months. People just.. trickling away.

 

Aside from Skype, I don’t roleplay anymore. I’m not in that crowd. The new crowd I met in [vox]  is too new for me to vent to. You know how that is. We’re friends, but not friends. Not yet. And my facebook ‘friends’ have dwindled due to divorce.

 

Was it something I said? Was it something I did? What the hell do I do?

 

I have been a great friend to everyone else who went through something hard, something difficult. I have stuck by. I have tried hard to console, to confront, to comfort them in their times of need.

 

I’m crying right now because.. Dammit, I am going through one of the hardest things in the world. Me. It’s my turn. Someone fucking take care of me. Someone fucking tell me it’s going to be okay. Someone fucking reply when I say a fucking greeting, even if it’s just to tell me ‘Hi, sorry I’m busy doing X I’ll talk to you when I can!”

 

I’m sorry. I shouldn’t curse at you. I’m not going it at you, really. Please know that. I’m just.. venting.

 

Help. Anyone. Please.

 

S.O.S.

Miranda

Dear Catie, It’s Nobody’s Business, But Here’s My Last Six Months In Gifs. (Featuring Emma Stone and the cast of Easy A)

 I mean, not really. I’m figuring it out for the most part and I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come thus far in the journey. But, still. Here’s a quick series of gifs that explain how I feel, despite feeling all of this and having select few people who know little or nothing about me ask me how I’m doing, because… Let’s face it. They’re not doing it out of my best interest. They want the scoop, the dish, and the gold medal of being a friend ‘whose shoulder I can cry on, if I want to.’ Thanks.

When I made the decision to separate, and told close-to-me people. Thanks for the vote of confidence that I have an idea of what my life is like, and what it isn’t.

Which brought this on:

The gold-trophy-award-friend who gives me a shoulder to cry on to win said award (and gossip):

When I go on a date (since our separation):

I mean, dang. How do you really feel about me and my life decisions?

Because I’m tired of hearing this:

One thing I’ve learned about people who are divorced (and those who end up as single parents like myself), is to not be so judgmental. It’d be great if others did the same for me, you know, if you wanna be friends that is.:

So now, on my days off (Sundays), this is me… By myself… Being awesome:

And finally:

Love you, Catie. I’ll end with this:

Dear Catie, I’m grasping at straws. (Warning: Rage)

Okay, real talk. Just so you know, Catie, I am not yelling at you, and as a disclaimer to you and our religious readers, I am not trying to ‘diss’ on any of you, or your Gods. In fact, the world would be fantastic if we could all just agree to love each other because that’s what we’re supposed to freaking do, but I digress. Actually, I digress a lot in this post. Ugh.

 

These are the things that I feel or know:

  • I know that we are not alone in this universe or else-wise. There is so much untouched and undiscovered that we can’t be the only aliens alive.
  • Despite attempting to see the other side of things, I cannot in my heart or sound mind assume that everything is for nothing, and that the creation of it all wasn’t the work of some greater power, some fantastic God or Goddess, a high power – if you will.
  • Things in my life have happened that are so miraculous or coincidental that I have a hard time second-guessing them as proof of either karma or divine intervention.

What I would like to believe:

  • That God exists. One God. A solo, single god. Be it that all the religions are just talking about the same god under different names or one or the other is wrong and it’s actually this guy not the other. I’d like to believe that one exists.
  • That whomever this God is, he is merciful. That he realizes not everyone at all times is going to be on point all the time – or even the majority of the time. That he won’t belittle them or show them the door just because – as humans – we continue to fail.
  • That God truly does forgive, and doesn’t hold the grudges of the things you’ve begged forgiveness for.
  • That God saves. That his son really did die on the cross so that you could make those mistakes.
  • That the bible isn’t just a string of great moral stories fabricated by man to explain the things around them that they didn’t understand, and also to grant us a great sense of morals to follow by so we don’t all kill each other like morons.

Believe me, fellow readers who are of a religion, that I am in no way trying to bash your religion. I am not trying to cause doubt in your minds. I am not trying to shit all over Jesus. What I am trying to say is there are things that I know and have cemented in my mind, body, and spirit and then… there are things that I just really wish I felt the same about. But the honest truth is, I have a hard time, a really hard time, with just about everything in the ‘What I would like to believe’ section. I don’t want to doubt it. I don’t want to disbelieve what millions upon millions of other Christians so readily believe and have gone past the trials of not believing. I do.

I’ve been trying to think of the reasons why I can’t wrap  my head around them just yet, and a lot of it has to do with:

  • Guilt / Shame of my life and some the choices I have made. (I’ve made some really good ones, but… we all stumble.)
  • Pressure of very strict religious environments and their lack of acceptance of pretty much anything I’ve ever felt needed some mercy and understanding.
  • People I know directly who are so devout and mean well, but truly, they just push and push and do not understand that they are driving a wedge between myself and wanting to talk to them about anything other than the weather – which, by the way didn’t you know, is a gift from God for those of us who haven’t royally screwed up today/this week/this month/this year.

I’m being catty. I don’t want to be catty, but I’m about to explode. I felt like I almost had a grasp on God, and having a relationship with him, and screw anyone else and all the organized religion that everyone wanted to push on me, and the communities that scrutinized me, and forget them because I had a God that was forgiving and loved me despite my flaws and was working in my heart in the most beautiful ways.

But wait, I’m doing it wrong. He’s merciful… if you deserve it. He forgives you… if you really try to change. He loves you… if you love him back. You can have him… if you change absolutely all of your ways and shed off any sin you currently practice.

Weird. It sounds like he’s becoming a human being instead of an Almighty God. But wait, this wasn’t his doing. This is some of his followers. This is humans, talking about him. This is humans talking about him to me.

Slowly, I began to realize that nothing makes me want to give up religion altogether and stop struggling to believe… more than the people who follow him.

I. Absolutely. Love and Adore. The people who make me feel this way, and it breaks my heart. I also recognize that I, myself, am giving them the permission to get under my skin and grind my gears with their pressure. It is not their fault I am being pushed away, not really. I am within my own power and right to not give them that chance, to not let them in. So I haven’t been. When religion comes up, I bottle up and bow out. When something is said I don’t agree with, I give up even wanting to argue the issue — especially on social medias, where everyone is a winner as long as someone agrees with you. 

I wish I knew others who felt about Him the same way I do – without the bullshit of condemning me and all of that shaming, guilting. We all get it, okay? Just because my sins are on the surface and yours are well hidden doesn’t make you any different from me. People make it so hard to love God with all of their damn nit-picking and rules and … I could rant for days on this agitating experience.

I’m ranting.

I’m sorry.

At the end of the day, I want so badly to believe in God. The same God that every other Christian believes in, rejoices in, and prays to. I want Him to love me so badly because I get that I am not perfect, and never will be, and that’s why He completes me. I want Him to wrap His arms around me and sing to me in the car when He plays that special song just for me – because He knows that’s how I hear Him best – and He knows that because He is God. When I think of Him alone, I am content and peaceful and feel like I can do this.

I’ll let you know how it goes, but I wanted to be open and honest about my feelings. Hopefully, in time, I’ll have posts about how great life is with Him in my life, but today is not that day. Today is a day of great struggle, as now I’m fighting against myself and the world.

Wish me luck,

Mojo