Here in the buckle of the belt it is Easter and by, for, and because of the LOVE OF GOD you will go to Church to believe the story of the day which is that a man who professed to be the son of God, born of a Virgin was crucified and three days later after his death resurrected back to life in order to cross over to the other side and rise to heaven to be with his dad. So he was dead then alive to be dead again? Okay, then.
Religion requires a suspension of disbelief that would be akin to Neil deGrasse Tyson watching The Martian. The difference is that there are fewer scientists of his intellect in the world then there are believers of this book called the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud or any other religious text that makes one believe the stories told by men about visions or conversations they had with this God they call whatever name they choose to give.
This morning at dawn I awoke to BBC World News doing a story they called the Stations of the Cross. These were narratives told by women who had survived horrific lives to cross over to the other side of life in which to not just survive but to live. Station 11 resonated with me as the narrator was so calm as she recalled her abuser taking her to a motel that the clerk asked no questions and only cared that the room was paid, where there was an elevator yet they never used as they walked up the stairs and there were thirteen, an irony not lost, and taken to a room where she serviced the sins of those who walked the same path. No questions were asked and no one cared as long as the money was paid. Ah yes ask me no questions I will tell you no lies.
This week again I found myself at a station myself where I was asked a question and why I could not lie I wondered why I cared so much I was screaming at the top of my lungs to a person who not unlike they many believers that align the pews of their place of worship wanting to believe whatever lies that they hear and in turn pay for them as a debt if not of gratitude but of obligation.
For me my home is my Sanctuary and my house of worship is the Theater. When the house lights go down and that moment before the first performer hits the stage there I see and experience a moment of excitement and pleasure that I feel in the early morning hours and that of the dusk when the light of day changes from night to day or day into night. I am sure that is the moment when the air changes and all the goodness and darkness meld into one and I find peace. Those are short time frames but yet they happen every day and it is every day I am grateful that I have another one to live and learn. And I don't need to go to a place indoors to recognize the greatness of the world and its creation when it is all around me.
Then I came to Tennessee a city on the rise, much like Christ, as there is little here they don't seem to appropriate that analogy when it comes to anything and everything here. It is a sense of arrogance and entitlement that one would think would come from places that have rich histories, rich people and a rich culture that enables them to have that air of superiority; places like Manhattan London, Paris and yes even like Moscow. But there is little here to say that anything in Nashville is akin to these metropolitan cities, even Boston which I loathe, should be but really the people there are so horrific you rarely hear that city in the same breath unless it is about Sports, Marathons and Harvard. Hmm that is just like Nashville only we have a block of bars where the sinner go to wash away their sins down with cheap beer and really bad music that no church choir could ever replicate. To that I go, THANK GOD!
Perhaps why they lie here, not like a rug as a rug offers decor, warmth and a sense of purpose, what lies that are on offer are just that lies. When I came home to my place of peace and my sanctuary the other day I found a neighbor sitting aside the door to the unit below mine waiting for the real estate agent to let her in. The same neighbor of the last two years who endlessly complains, whines and atones about the building, its neglect and the neighborhood all while having no reason to stay and who lives in a dumpier unit than mine for no other reason than this is convenient. Almost everyone agrees this is a very convenient location. If by convenient you mean "downtown" Nashville of which there is nothing for those who reside here unless honky tonks are your thing. For the record there are better areas that are no less convenient but they are not as cheap and as a transient as this building. So when we were told it was going condo someone forgot to tell the people who are still renting and the few that are buying that no one is going unless they are actually legally forced out and at this point reading laws and leases are seemingly beyond the capability of anyone who lives, runs or owns the building. But the thought of this disturbing and bizarre girl living one step below was too much. The six months I have left are my stations of the cross and each month I carry it one step at a time to the end of the journey only with this cross I plan on dumping it at the state line as I am done abusing myself and being the victim.
I came here broken and I had an intent on fixing some of the things that mattered but the wound, the deeper wound I simply thought would heal as distance and time as we have been told often heals such wounds, had not. Whoever said that must of been a Nashvillian as that is a big lie. So while I have done little to nothing other than move here I do what I do best, keep busy, bury the dead and run from the living. I should be a extra on Walking Dead as I have lived a life much like those survivors constantly on the move and on edge.
And while this week was the hysteria about the Muller Report I was in arms about my own rage and unhappiness that seems to never end. There are these brief moments where I feel that my cross has been lightened only to find another station around the corner and then up it goes on this back where seemingly no straw will ever break this Camel's. So when I look up from the weight I cannot see the light as while I wear no crown of thorns my eyes are blurred not from blood or tears but of rage.
This is one cross that weighs a ton.
Trying to understand my anger means going back in history to study the past in which to learn for the future and try to cope in the present. I have finally realized that all of this self analysis and self diagnosis is like the Bible it is just bullshit on a page that somehow is to supposed to explain, justify and excuse all the actions of man. Note man. The men who write the stories rob those who surround them and take their strengths and make them their own. Even the book of Psychiatric Disorders is called a "Bible" of mental health. And when I read this story on NPR I could not ignore that this same Bible shares a common thread with the other as it too has labeled and mislabeled illnesses that had little to do with mental health and more about the personal issues of those who authored said bible. Homosexuality anyone? But there are many others that suddenly one finds oneself with a new label and fistful of pills in which to cure/treat/abuse or ignore. I found this essay on Bustle tries to explain what happens when you find yourself at a new station in which to place the cross.
What defines us is often what destroys us. We often choose that definition over time but often it is assigned to us and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to live it up, live it down or simply not live it. We change names, we change spouses, we change gender and we change where we live. We never stop changing and we never stop until we stop living. But again this a CHOICE, we can choose our faith, we can choose our family and we can choose how we live our lives. That is the purpose of free will. Some are fine with who they are and they know that and like a tree they plant early put in their roots and spread and that they stand until the forces of nature or man choose to no longer wish it too.
This past week found several cherry trees here in Nashville being dug up to be "moved" to meet the demands of the next biggest religion in the South - Sports. The absurd NFL draft arrives here next week and to think that watching a bunch of men, pick a bunch of boys and paying big money for them to play on their teams is just another irony here in the South as it seems to remind me of a slave auction as most players are in fact Black and it cannot be lost that for many faces of color the only way to find success and wealth is from Sports But the irony that this is also from Football, a sport that abuses the body and inevitably takes the mind as some reward for being the best at what you can do to entertain the masses. And here in Nashville they are literally finding absurd religious analogies to this as some type of resurrection to the city. To that I go MY GOD! And yet I find myself using the same sporting analogy to define and understand my anger, that the perpetual state of offense in which I live has put me in a perpetual state of defense; that is anger's paradox - a strength and a weakness.
The story of Jesus found himself with 12 Disciples and one willing to sell himself out for 30 Pieces of Silver, funny I think people in Nashville would sell themselves for less. The obsession with money, the arrogance, the entitlement again shows itself in the children and their parents who cannot seem to function in the most basic of settings. Yesterday at Yoga once again we found ourselves cleaning up after the previous class as if putting away the tools you use in which to keep God's body and mind strong and capable (as the walls at the YMCA are adorned with such scripture) is overwhelming. Funny that again that more than 3/4 of the people who live here are overweight and have massive health issues which is a good thing that the major employers here are Hospitals, with Vanderbilt being the largest.
And as we put away our tools another student and I spoke with the Teacher about the way people are here and the inability to listen and actually hear when you speak. And when they do hear you they elect to select what you say and ignore it or misrepresent it. My Yoga teacher was told to encourage the concepts of Yoga philosophy in her classes at Vanderbilt, which she did and was promptly reprimanded for teaching a "religion." Which is odd as that was the same day the observer/evaluator commented that such a tool would be welcome. So which is it? Then there was another time when asking students who were on their Menstrual cycle to advise her so she could accommodate. This was considered too personal a question. Another strike. Will the third be you're fired? Doubtful this is not about anything that really matters as none of it is here it is simply to put people in their place, to reprimand and to scold is what they do, from the pulpit to the street it is a never ending struggle to listen and to be heard. The fellow student, a trained and educated Nurse, was called addled by a Doctor there due to the meds she was using to offset knee pain which was why she was there in the first place in order to find another solution. But rather that listen was instead given a drug that she specifically told him she was allergic too leading to further major health issues and all accompanied by a bill. So much for putting the Patient first. She, as I did after my first go around with Vanderbilt, complained to all the executives and others in charge and in turn apologies offered but no real accommodation to resolve what brought her there in the first place, so she moved on to another facility to find care. In my case I decided I had to finish what I started and see this as just another station of which to stop with my cross but again it has been a lot to bear. Vanderbilt has major problems and most of them surround communication, the word of Christ is one I have said many times during my encounters with the staff there.
Prayer is the drug, the message, the miracle, and the tool used to salve the body and the mind. Prayer is my conversation with God but in reality it is just to hear myself speak, to remind myself I am sane and yet talking to oneself is also a sign of mental illness. Ah yes another conundrum and another lie. Faith is just that a belief and a choice. That thing that Religion seems to want to take you away from, choosing to decide what one needs for one self. But this same prayer to generate faith is used win a game, to get the lotto millions and to heal the sick. So this gives you an idea how the tool that which is used to hammer a point home that only those who practice said faith matter and get what they deserve. Funny about that prayer thing isn't it. I have realized living here I don't get any of it. I was told yesterday that the derogatory slurs, the ignorance and the failure to listen to me is not something I should take personally. Well there is truth to that as there is again a presumption that everyone is an idiot and in turn need to be disrespected but when it is just coming at you non stop what choice do you have but to take it anything bu personal. I see and that the reality that the idea of strength comes from this faith, from these teachings that fill this book that is of fiction. There is no way that all of this matters other than to those who wrote it and yet thousands of years later it is still literally gospel. Well I have taught history and literature for years and found strength in facts and from fiction but I know the difference. And I know that when you speak to me personally it should be personal by knowing me and knowing of me. So the only way I can cope is by withdrawing to my sanctuary and hiding in my home. And the week that found the ways I do so falling apart (aka my Sonos system collapsing along with the thought of that lunatic nut living one step too close was another straw another station) and despite and finding others who have had similar problems doesn't make it better it just makes me less alone. And I guess that is what wish to find in my Easter basket, Harvey, the invisible bunny that kept Elwood sane in a time of need.
If you do not know the story it is about Elwood P. Dowd (played in the movie by James Stewart) a wealthy drunk who starts having visions of a giant rabbit named Harvey. Elwood lives with his sister Veta and her daughter; Veta worries that Elwood has gone insane. In the process of trying to have him committed, Veta admits that she occasionally sees Harvey herself. The director of the mental home, Dr. Chumley, tries to reconcile his duty to help Elwood with his own growing experiences with Harvey.
And that is what I wonder if being mad brings on the madness and that I will find myself crossing over to the other side where I cannot be rescued and in turn resurrected. Life is like the water at the Baptismal fount and in turn gives life but faith that is intrinsic not extrinsic. So sit in your pews and talk aloud and call it prayer and sing a song for the missing. I will not be there and I know no one misses me and I will walk on with those who choose a different path to carry their cross. I just keep reminding myself that this is not a place I plan on resting with mine. For a place of such Christians they are few and far between. True Believers often are. No wonder we walk alone. But we are not missing we just have not been found, we too can be resurrected.