the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

Why am I ashamed?

Bee ButlerComment

I have made a post, a blog, a brand, a business... a LIFE, out of being unabashedly honest about everything in my life. Often to the chagrin and displeasure of my family, and, occasionally, my friends, my upfront and in-your-face writing style has been a major part of who I am.

I talk about mental illness. ALL OF THE TIME.
I mention, divulge, and occasionally word-vomit my way through my multitude of diagnoses and medications, and sometimes I give unrequested commentary on current events related, in any way, to the mental health world. I TALK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME.

So why, upon getting into college, traveling out into the world, moving across the country, TRYING TO BECOME WHO I WANT TO BE, did I completely clam up about the longest-running theme of my life, the very thread which holds together every part of my being?

I have, in the last few years, literally run from the idea of speaking, publicly or otherwise, about God. About Christianity. I have not set foot in a church in over two years. I have avoided saying the words, "bible study" or "ladies group" or "bible class", and I have let someone who is incredibly close to me frequently refer to the denomination I grew up in as a cult.

Part of me thinks that yeah, maybe a little bit, my specific church and groups and the things I got caught up in... they were a tad cult-ish. Except the thing we were worshipping wasn't a batshit idiot like David Korresh. We were, quite literally, worshipping the God of the ancients, in a Judeo-Christian sense.

[I would like to add here that an absurd amount of study, which is also somehow a complete lack of complete knowledge, has added to this issue. I went to a Church of Christ private Christian university and took in-depth, honors-level biblical study classes. I have been a church-going, bible-reading, memory-verse-competing religious dork since the day I was born. I know quite a bit about what it all means and where it came from and I am somewhat afraid of where I feel like I'm going in relation to it. So, yeah.]

I curse. A lot. I am terrified of consequences (thanks, Relient K) and I hate being in trouble. I am super loud and over-the-top, and after an abusive relationship I have learned quite a bit about the world and myself in relation to it that scared the living fuck out of me. I am trying to become someone, something, anything... a person or being who matters.

I believe in science and I would gladly sit at the feet of Neil deGrasse Tyson for hours in a way that inappropriately mimics a certain Bible story. I know that global warming and climate change are a huge issue. I am a loud, proud, liberal-out-the-ass democrat, and I think that part of that system of beliefs stems from an upbringing that focused quite largely on Jesus and the hippie, love-on-another, give-to-the-poor, shirt-off-your-back lifestyle. The dude was a nomadic Woodstock ad half the time, but the people I grew up with somehow took that and became hardcore GOPers. 

What the fuck. Go figure. 
(And go read Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne)

I AM SUCH A GIGANTIC, SLOPPY MESS.
I love arts and crafting and making friends and all kinds of other toddler-esque crap. I quit drinking, on purpose, for good, in March of 2016, because I was quickly becoming a used-up, slutty alcoholic that nobody would take home at the end of the night. 

I don't want to be that girl.

I'm sitting here, writing all of this, and the things I'm explaining the most or rationalizing or just plain "covering" for are the least significant, most obvious and simple things about me.

I am a Christian. I was born and raised in the church, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I have spent my entire adult life running back and forth, to and from God, in a desperate attempt to find happiness. When His way wasn't fast enough, I would run myself into the ground trying to prove that "my" way was superior. It absolutely was not. Not once. In fact, I got myself into one hell (ha, God pun) of a pit out here, and I legitimately attempted to give up God for good.

It lasted all of an hour.

I am not sure what happens next. I'm not sure why I'm so scared to tell people that hey, I actually believe that Jesus did what the Bible says He did, and I capitalize all of His pronouns because He was GOD. I have faith, as small as it may be at times (insert mustard seed joke) that He died for my sins and redeemed me in the eyes of the Lord, who will take my soul into the place He has prepared for me, Heaven, for the rest of eternity once I am dead.

I do not believe that "this" is it. I don't think dying on earth means everything ends. I don't condone the notion of a silent black nothingness, post-mortem.

I have been holding all of that in, scared and anxious, because I have friends out here (and some not-even-close-to-friends who have far more control over my wellbeing at the moment than you would believe is humanly possible) who are not Christians, do not condone the lifestyle, or find it too absurd to deal with. It might be a dealbreaker for them. It might not. 

I have been too scared to find out.

What if I Jesus so hard that they run? 
Will I ever accept the church again after the shit it pulled when I was 17?
I have so much baggage to unload and I don't know what happens after this.

 

Why am I ashamed of the only thing I have ever been sure of in my entire life?

 

 

 

Tonight, I had Air1 playing in my car as I drove home from work. I cried a little when "Home" by Daughtry came on, because that song has some deep roots in my life. As it ended, I wondered, how am I supposed to do this, be a real Christian out here, alone, with no church and no clue as to what it looks like anymore without being a full-fledged granola weirdo?"

and it happened.

A song came on that I knew, honestly, had to be for me. Because God does that in my life and it reminds me that He is listening and that He genuinely cares, and however narcissistic you find it that I believe the Creator of the universe gives a fuck about my feelings, it is true.

Please listen to this.
This is me, right now.
If you want to meet me where I am and go forward, please do.
I can't afford to be ashamed anymore, though.

 

God and I, I'm sure, have plenty to discuss.
Like, you know, the cussing.

 

Until next time,