woo (hoo) woo

Christianity SOM

This draft is from two years ago, an earlier version of my first post here, Woo fucking woo. I really like it. My writing was better back when I was closer to grad school. I didn’t edit it that much. This is really an introduction to my spiritual journey. At the time I wrote this, I wanted to talk about being in church again, but ironically, I left after joining it, just a few months later, so all my elation as well as the novelty, has worn off.

Please, blog gods and goddesses, forgive me. It’s been 18 months since my last blog post. The drama that I most feared found me. But at the very least, I learned that I was a writer, which was the point of the last blog.

So now, I’m back, to talk about spiritual stuff. Spiritual stuff is probably what I am made of most, and the last blog was veering into almost mysticism anyway. So I might as well pick up where I left off.

But first, a primer.

Before I decided that I wanted to get an MFA in Creative Writing, I was torn about going to seminary. I read a book by theologian Marcus Borg, called Reading the Bible Again for the First Time. I believe I was 30 and it just threw me for a loop. What seminarians learned in seminary and what I heard every Sunday seemed like they were located on different continents and hemispheres. So when I thought about going to seminary, I wanted to go to get that truth that had been hidden from me. I felt like I had been lied to my whole life. One thing that I learned from that book that still bothers me–maybe Jesus didn’t know he was the Son of God while he was on earth? What kind of faith did I have? What was it based on?

I read another book, Divided by Faith, written by two sociologists who surveyed many people regarding white evangelical Christianity. Those responses and their analysis of them reminded me that I was a black woman in a very white, white, white middle-class world. I had been trying to fit in my whole life and I was never met to. What kind of faith community did I have? Who was it comprised of?

Those two books, along with convos I had with a friend who studied theology, were my benediction out of the evangelical jungle and into the deserts of agnosticism. It was lonely out there without a church community, a community of any sort. I had grown up in Presbyterian churches, and then non-denominational/charismatic/evangelical churches. My closest friends were always friends from church, and because of the churches I attended, almost always white.

And I was burned out from church anyway. I served on the worship team. I sang and hit the tambourine on the 2 and 4. I was in a small group/home group/cell group. I went to church whenever it was open. When I was a teenager, my youth group was a sanctuary from the dysfunction brewed by my father’s growing mental health issues. But 12 years later, it had become a chore. Being with people who didn’t really see me, or who chose to see me with their colorblind eyes…trying to “do” community seemed to be my burden alone. And that sounds whiny, which was another reason to leave. Who wants to be a martyr? But truly, race kept creeping up in my relationships–e.g. got kicked out of a wedding party because I didn’t want to chemically alter my hair. And this white woman was marrying a black man. She now has a daughter and I wonder about the hair politics there…

But that’s evangelical Christianity. Very narrow, and not in the “narrow is the way to the Kingdom of Heaven” way. Narrow in its expression of humanity, of God Him/Herself. It’s what my parents found in Ghana while their country was hemorrhaging from coup and coup. And it’s what they taught me. It’s what we all knew and relied on.

I never thought that I would leave church and be dabbling into the things I’m into now. Astrology. Tarot. Crystals. Angels. Woo woo stuff. Or what haters of Harry Potter would call witchcraft.

And yet, Spirit. The Universe. God. Speaks.

I moved down to Florida to get this Mother Fucking Asshole degree and a writer’s community. Well, the drama from my classmates and my blog made that permanently unavailable. So much for dreams and being painfully honest.

I’ve floundered here. Emotionally. Physically. Financially. Never felt like I had a solid foundation here. Geographically speaking, it’s swampland that Mickey Mouse built. It’s meant for transience.

My mom, who believes the church solves all problems, insisted that I found a church community here. And the churches here, in the South–well, I’m from the South. This ain’t Chicago. I didn’t want to live Divided by Faith. I would rather be alone.

Through my floundering, spirituality washed ashore. I got into personal growth stuff pretty deeply in the summer and fall of 2013. And it just increased (I’m skimming over this because I hope to write about it in more detail later) as my problems (read: poverty and unpopularity) increased.

Renewed faith in a higher power is nothing new for me. I had to (had to?) rely on God when I unceremoniously took a year off between high school and college because of my father’s paranoia. Lots of prayer, books, TBN (yes, that’s Trinity Broadcasting Network), and well, eight years later, I graduated from college.

Wow, that was a long preamble to what happened today–

I went back to church, after years of now being there. And today made me tired. I want to talk about it in earnest, with a less foggy head.

This blog post is the first pancake and I’m sorry.

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Whose cards?!

tarot cards SOM

Today, while lazily laying in bed because I woke up at 6am, I decided to do some tarot cards. Well, the “cards” are actually in a Yes/No Tarot app from Tarot.com. You can ask it a yes/no question, mainly about what you should and should not do.

There has been one issue that I came upon last summer, which, for the sake of my pride, I’ll refrain from sharing, and it’s stuck with me. Every time I have asked this card about holding on, this app has said either yes, maybe, or yes. My track record with this app is pretty solid. I checked today: YES. Stupefying, actually. Either this app is enabling some far-fetched dream or it’s spot on.

So, unrelated to far-fetched dreams, I decided to ask about teaching. The angel card reader lady had said that I’d be great at it and that I’d have a great career, la dee da. I was wondering if “my angels” that she was speaking to are actually her practical thoughts about things?

Usually, my experience with spirituality is that is it not so cut and dry. I can’t remember what I was listening to yesterday–I believe it was Jo Dunning, though–she said that the journey is usually about taking the next step and we seldom get the whole path laid out for us.

Angel card lady said: lease a car, move to the DC area, and be a teacher. I’ll be married and have only one kid. Really? How does she know all these things? Granted, prophecies I’ve received never seemed to be what I would be doing in the future. Um, and they still don’t. Hm.

So. I asked this app about teaching, if I should continue to pursue it. The app said, flatly: NO.

Whose cards?! Who’s right?! I really don’t know. All I know is that I need to finish this semester with some semblance of dignity, find a place to live, and a better job situation. Sure, I don’t want to stay in Florida too long, long enough to suck out the rest of my soul, but it was snowing in the DC area last week. Spring just came. I don’t wanna to live in the North ever again.

And, actually–I had a big breakthrough yesterday which is unrelated to all of this except as to why I’m down here. And to be even more cryptic, all of that, that I broke through, was a sign, many signs, that I am on the right track.

It’s unfortunate that I seek confirmation from Spirit via technology and people and get polarizing answers. My gut says…I don’t know, but I have my next step.

And, I’ll check the app again…soon…hmmph.

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A trip to woo woo land

2015-03-06 11.54.25

Archangel cards–they are like a kinder, gentler tarot card. From top left Archangel Raphael, Archangel Metatron (allegedly, he’s Enoch if I’m not mistaken), Archangel Michael, and Archangel Raziel.

Today, I went to talk to an angel card reader. It’s my fourth time getting some spiritual guidance, and the second time I received it from this person. The last time was a few months ago and life was in flux.

This time, life is still in flux. I don’t know where I’ll be living in a month and a few days. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue to teach. I don’t feel any roots here in Florida. I’m carless. I feel like my life here has been one big interstitial gasp. What’s next? Is it Los Angeles? Do I just like to visit there? Where is home? What should I be doing? Where is my family (my family)?

Today was cool and gloomy in its blahness. Sunshine State my ass. Although yesterday was glorious, a cold front has pushed through to bring temps into the 60s. I woke up with anticipation that ‘d get some answers to my seemingly flatlining life. The angel card reader, who is also a fellow church member, and I sat outside on the porch of this metaphysical bookstore that my therapist in grad school, whom I miss terribly, told me to check out a year ago.

I really had come because I kept seeing the angel number 5 in duplicate and triplicate. For more about those fun things, click here. And it was pissing me off–it still does, sort of. It’s not comforting to know that big changes are coming soon that will be of benefit–it’s not here yet! The number 5 has been around for months and has only grown in intensity this year.

So I opened with that. Of course, the reader replied that of course, this is all good things. As most people are, I care mainly about results, not the promise of results. The multiple 5’s seem like a tease, like a mirage in a desolate wasteland. And I’m so fucking thirsty. I don’t like being teased.

Right now, as it was a few months ago, housing is my #1 concern. I am moving out by April 11th, to somewhere. I know I cannot live on my own. I had forgotten how I had to pay for all those fun utilities like electric, water, internet (we can say the internet is a utility now: yay, Net Neutrality!), cable. I don’t have to pay for that now in my current space. I’ve embraced that I will not be living on my own for a while.

Here’s where I am now starting to get a little squicked out by specificity. Back in the evangelical world, I had been prophesied over, and I had learned that you should just receive the word and file it away; bury it like it’s a time capsule. Now in this realm of spirituality, I’m seeking guidance. So it’s not necessarily about prophetic words–which honestly just mean truth-telling. As an adult, now I have to consider that, yes–people have their own projections of things, so maybe this has nothing to do with me. I have to also trust that God/Spirit/The Universe/Source/the angels flow through this woman, and that she’s a willing vessel for that flow of truth.

Also, I’m emotionally raw. I’m not like the type of raw that would bite someone’s head off (well um…not anymore). I’m just feeling ultra super uber sensitive about everything and everyone. That’s how it goes when you don’t have a permanent home or a reliable way to get around your town. I’m an unempowered Capricorn, which means I don’t really have much to live for (yes, that’s hyperbole).

So the reader says that I am gifted as a teacher. I haven’t even looked at my teaching feedback from my comp class when I was observed two weeks ago (I am also a prideful Capricorn). Her method of talking to me was partly spiritual but partly brass tacks, like she was a life guidance counselor. She talked about how Florida is just not a great place to live because of how conservative it is and how poorly they pay teachers. She got really specific about where I should live–Virginia, specifically NoVA as they call it–Northern Virginia. Ironically, and coincidentally, that’s where my parents started off their lives, right outside of DC in Arlington. In the meantime, she also gave me advice to look in specific schools here–one college and a couple of private schools.

I’m not really interested in living above the Mason-Dixon line, or anywhere near it. It’s still snowing up there! On the other hand, I like money. I like it a lot. And I’m not making much down here. Nothing and no one is holding me down here, and that’s a good thing.

For life here, she saw me living with an older woman downtown in a house. This woman would respect my space. With my car situation, she saw me leasing a car and gave me a specific monthly payment on the car, which I was like–dang, that’s specific.

Then I brought up grad school and how painful it was. I wasn’t necessarily feeling some kind of way about my former thesis advisor, but she felt some energy there. Yay forgiveness, etc. She taught me how to cut through that. I feel more energy towards my classmates than towards the former advisor.  At the same time, I feel like just doing a blanket forgiveness/letting go ceremony for those kids–because I do not have the time.

I asked about my desire to have a family. As like last time, getting clear on my career and becoming more financially stable first was the order of my priorities. It’s been a very lonely, isolating time. This extended period of crisis has left me with few true friends–and that’s the way life tends to go. I should not be surprise. Nevertheless, companionship is pretty important to me. I don’t want to tweet about how my day was when it’s a scattershot in terms of who will listen. Although it was good to hear that I am getting extra support from the angels/God/The Universe-as-Cosmic-Sadist, and although it’s really hard for me to even admit this to myself, I do want in-house love support–both to give and to receive. It’s just not coming now. And it won’t be in the form of a rescue. I’m a tomboy anyway–we do the rescuing. I’m finally in a place where I can feel the actual pangs and aches of a partnerless life.

There were so many times down here that I know I wouldn’t have suffered as much, or suffered at all, if I had a partner in life–or so I think. I could be wrong. I could be deep into a fantasy. Or, I could be right. These pangs and aches aren’t soul crushing. No, fucking with my housing and transportation is what crushes my soul. It’s more of a phantom limb pain. Maybe. It’s not even about the person, per se. It’s more about a role that I want to play. Well, two roles to be exact: wife and mother. Motherhood is in the cards, but the card reader only saw one child. I want four so we’ll see how that goes. She said that maybe the dude would have his own kid(s), and it’s funny because I was imagining earlier this week if I could be a stepmom. Strange thoughts and synchronicities.

Overall, these struggles allegedly have to do with letting go of false beliefs that there isn’t enough, and that comes from my father’s side. It’s also interesting we talk about my father’s side because my mom talked a little bit about my father’s side and how little she knew of it. What my mother does know isn’t very uplifting–there’s some deep, dark shit lurking in that bloodline. I explained to the card reader of how my father acted like there wasn’t enough, so much so that he went to prison for it.

It’s hard to feel like there’s more than enough when you’ve been in positions where you’re not sure where you will sleep that night or how you will get to work the following day. It’s hard to believe in an abundant universe that is working all of this for your good. Is it cod liver oil good or chicken pot pie good or kale salad good or Metamucil good or cotton candy good or what, really? What kind of “good” are we talking about? That’s why the 5s fucking everywhere are so frustrating. When I think of life-changing good, I think of all of my problems solved or manageable, especially not thinking about where the hell the rent money will come from, or how I will pay this bill or that bill. I’m done with his adolescent spiritual growth spurt because it’s bruising my soul from the outside in.

Emotionally, though, sitting there–I felt like I couldn’t be truly honest with her. I felt a bit of a boundary that we had both erected. I couldn’t bear to ask about the guy I met on the beach in July and still think about. Or to press about those classmates from grad school. At least I could talk about the despair that wants to kill me. Or, put another way, a despair I’d like to escape through death.

This brings me back to my tween diaries from junior high, where I confessed my desire of a boyfriend and a best friend. I really would like someone where I can say all that stuff and not be judged. At the very least, I’d love to be in therapy again.

Back to my suicidality…it’s like batting around a ball of yarn. The yarn will never ever fully unravel. When I was talking to the card reader today, I didn’t feel that despair at all. But I wasn’t asking in the sunshine of hope either. I felt nothing except the coolness of the late morning. Maybe there was a bit of fretting, but not the gnawing desperation to really be OK, to be happy, to feel safe. Maybe that dreadful beast had taken a nap while I was there.

We ended our session with a handshake (I oddly wanted a hug, but she is technically an angel therapy practioner). I went into the store and took a while to find some candles to burn: one for finding the love of my life, one for cleansing a home of negative energy, one for friendship, and one for financial help. I also bought some incense to burn as well (wealth and riches–told ya I was a Capricorn). I came home and started burning all the candles except the one the cleanses the energy of a place.

I decided to try to do some work, but I had been feeling tired. The weather wasn’t helping either. I wrote my supervisor about some procedure that I had to do with my work. She wrote me back speedily and then asked if she could give me more hours since she is going to be on maternity leave soon. I currently work 20 hours and this increase would put me at 30 hours. And this would start on March 20th. What a way to celebrate the new season of spring. I’d be doing some editing and contributing with other content. I’m so grateful that this is occurring. That financial help candle (it has honeysuckle oil) was pretty handy. I hadn’t even been burning it for half an hour. It’s still burning now, almost 12 hours later.

Even though I’m not sure if I will end up living in the same town that my parents started their American lives in, I do have a little more hope that I will be OK. I had it even before I got the 10 hour a week increase in my workload. Even if I was a bit wary and reluctant to spill my guts, and even if the shame monsters were tugging at me as I shared what I felt comfortable to share–I did spill some of my guts, and I did share. I wasn’t alone. Someone care to show me how to take care of myself.

I’m tired: physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, energetically–in all ways tired. The advice to reach out to my guardian angels feels like work, but it’s work I need to do in order to get the despair monster to stop torturing me, in order to sleep better, in order not to feel that existential exhaustion. All these fears of being unheard, unseen, unknown…I even have them with Spirit. Am I really in a Universe loves and knows me? It has felt quite uncaring, while I drove around the city with so much stuff in my now gone car. When I had to move before that. When I had to move before that. When I was in over my head financially because I was too hopeful about how I’d be oh so gainfully employed.

I really wanted to write about this because I may have had some energetic exchange with the card reader and with burning these candles. I fell asleep later this afternoon and I didn’t think I needed to. It was hard to focus today–to know that I do have a great job and family waiting for me, that I will come out of this swampy morass called Florida more than OK. Things were unhinging and unmooring and unsettling. They still are.

I also wanted to make this blog post yet another time capsule to bury in my subconsciousness. Who knows if any of this will pan out? After my reading, I at least emailed the Dean saying that I’d teach in the fall–but who knows if I actually will do that? I do know that even if I am tired, I can still pray, saying, “I’m too tired to pray. Please, just be here with me now.”

My faith is flagging, but at least that gaping maw of despair and heartache has been shut up for the day. I have some potential answers, some potential paths to ponder and, maybe, to take.

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