Monday, January 05, 2009

That's A Beautiful Necklace



During Christmas break my rapist took me to a Unitarian church with his father and stepmother. My family didn’t go to church except for a brief flirtation with the Baptist whose main message seemed to be that hell wasn’t a metaphor, but a lake of fire and that it was crucial to win souls for Jesus and that steeples were phallic symbols so one Sunday we were instructed to cut the one off of the church in some bizarre Shirley Jackson-like ritual where everyone took the ax and pretended to kill the phallus. As strange and traumatic as it was for the women, I hate to speculate about the effects on the young boys.

The Unitarian preacher told us that God is love and love is God and we didn’t need to think about Hell because nobody was going there as it didn’t exist. He handed us stickers for our shirts -- rainbows splashed with God Is Love in puff paint. I couldn’t bring myself to wear it, remembering the last time I wore a rainbow on a necklace chain. That’s a beautiful necklace, a boy in my sixth grade math class said. When I smiled, he said, Did you steal it off a dead nigger?

In Sunday school the rainbow was a symbol of God’s covenant, but in real life it seemed to be a little more complicated. Some people in my hometown didn’t condone rainbow anything because the symbol was associated with gay rights. My dad had already told me that some boys liked other boys and there was nothing wrong with it as many of my childhood friends already showed signs of being homosexual. But I had seen what had happened to boys who were a touch too effeminate at the wrong place, wrong time. I’d seen a boy get beaten while being called a faggot over and over. But mostly people in my hometown ignored what they didn’t want to see with pat explanations like, Oh, he’s all right. He had a date to prom, conveniently rendering thirty years of living with another man insignificant in detecting sexual preference.

When we left the church, my rapist asked me what I thought. I’d always been drawn to Catholicism because of the crucifixes, the incense, the priests. I’d convert in my early thirties, drawn in by ritual and suffering, the saints. As a child, I often heard people say that the Catholics worshipped Mary and practiced voodoo. That was enough for me to be sold. “There aren’t a lot of rules,” I said, trying to sound diplomatic.

“That’s what I like about it,” he said. “Anything goes.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is." Vladimir Nabokov

Cocktail Hour
Drinking dvd suggestion: Vicki Christina Barcelona

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

8 comments:

jodi said...

Hi Sweety, I used to have a rainbow necklace, too. And my hometown, like yours, were and sometimes still is, clueless on any meaning except maybe happiness or luck with the fugly thing!! Hope you are feeling better. xoxo

Scott said...

Hi Michelle!

That bit about the 'phallic' steeples is the funniest and scariest thing I've heard in a long time.
I never went to church as a kid, but I found out that I was baptized as a baby when I was about 19 or so. About a year or two later I asked my mother what I was baptized as, and she told me Catholic. I do like the fact that voodoo and other 'occult' religions have some aspects of Catholocism interwoven into them. Stuff like Santa Muerte really fascinates me,too.

-p.s.-'Nuther great picture. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I heard those stories about Catholics too, and that there were tunnels between the nuns and priests' houses, and that the priest got to sleep with all the brides on the first night.

the walking man said...

Most of the priests & nuns I ever met would have benefited from having some good sex. Hetero or gay either way it may have saved some minors.

Play the game "Name The Churches"

Catholic
Presbyterian
Episcopal
Methodist
Unitarian
Baptist
Southern Baptist
Church of Christ
Church of God in Christ
African Methodist Episcopal
Mormon
Jehovah's Witness

There that's 12 but tell me how many have I left off the list?

What point do they all have other than to sow seeds of discord, distrust and diversion?

jodi said...

Hey WM, how about Lutheran? Or Missouri Synod? Does Scientology count? Wiccan? Buddhist?

chris said...

Religion = Admit nothing,deny everything and make false counter accusations. I don't think it is the religions fault,just man kinds take on it.

I once went to a Chrch with a neighbor in Tennessee. I thought they acted a little strange and I had a hard time staying awake. My ideas about them were proved correct when they made the Bible study Teacher with the lowest number of return students from the previous week, come up in front of all, to recieve their rubber chicken award,an actual rubber chicken. I felt they were making a mockery of religion.
But it really sank in when the Teacher started talking about,the Jews think they had it bad with Hitler,well they ain't seen nothing yet !!!

I knew from that point on I would only trust my own beliefs. Now the Catholic church,that must be how you keep your fine form. All of the up's and down's,it was kind of like a work out for me,heck maybe I should go,exercise ain't bad.

After reading your Second day reported,I find you to be one hell of a Lady. So many friends of mine back in Ten will never ever,leave the State regardless of their level of education and some are well educated.

You on the other hand have achieved many degrees and moved away from that little hell hole in Texas. It will always be home but you don't have to live there. Best wishes to you and I hope this year is a lot better for you,no surgeries.

the walking man said...

Jodi...my point exactly...religion is what separates people.

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