I really don’t know how to start or what to say, all I know is my being is welling, my inside are tempestuous and feel as if they will flow up and out and over my soul until my breath is stolen. I find my self consumed with this notion of meaning and purpose and your need to inject this life with your misguided beliefs.
What do I do? I have no idea, I suppose I have no choice I will do what I always do, deal with the grey by peeling open my skin for it all to escape, by letting the words filter through my being and fall out through my fingers. It is the only thing that ever settles my soul; imagery. Words that reconcile the black, words that speak my truth and reveal my internals, words that solidify into an image and eventually melt back into words.
Letters landing on my page, images coming into focus, eye lashes and kisses. Moments and details, love and art. These things are my religion, the only things that keep me moving, the only things that feed my soul, that give me a voice and open my wings.
So here is where we are. Just you and I. I have something I need to say, you are under no obligation to listen, read or hear. You are not a captive audience, take what you want and think what you like.
There are a few things I suppose I firstly need to offer:
There are always many sides to any story, two children can live the same childhood with the same moments and each experience those moments very differently. This is just my story, my truth, there are many versions of the truth.
My childhood was full of Sunday school, bible verses, prayers and dedication to God. My Christian upbringing was motivated from many things, from the female energy in my life it was honestly about raising us in a way that they felt was best, about helping us to be the best we can be, about faith being a life-force to be guided by. For other influences in my childhood this was motivated by the need to control and insight fear and guilt.
As an adult I have spent more time as a member of a church than not. This was motivated by my desire to just be the best I could be, to follow women I did admire and embody things that mattered to them. As I was bought up to believe; being a practicing Christian is the only way to be a good person. I left and went back, looking for something I felt I was missing. Trying to be something I felt I wasn’t, trying to reconcile things I felt were broken. I no longer attend a church; I haven’t for approximately 2 and a half years.
I didn’t fit, something did not sit right with my being, something made me feel constricted and uneasy. There was a disparity between the things my soul needed and the things I was being given in that environment. Your eyes open when space gives you a broader context and the opportunity to become an outsider looking in.
I am not an atheist, nor do I really fit into the agnostic box. I believe in something, I believe there is a higher power in this life, a guiding force, I have faith in something bigger than you and I, sometimes I call that God, sometimes I call it Universe, Fate, Mother Earth or Father Time. Sometimes I visualise it as the collective energy of the amazing people in this world or a singular amazing connection with another being.
All I do profess to know for sure is that no one man can possibly know the truth. I believe that there is something out there bigger than you and I. I have felt this energy, prayed to this divinity and have had undeniable sublime moments in my life that I cannot deny.
I believe this ultimate truth is one that no one will know until we know, until our end or the end.
I believe there was once a singular truth but that over time due to desire for control and greed and egos this truth was twisted and perverted.
And of course, this is just my truth, which is my right, and I respect your right to take your own truth, whatever that may be.
Every aspect of my life and how I have traversed this world and our culture has been permeated by my religious upbringing. I have had to spend time deconstructing the negative parameters and beliefs caused by those religious notions. Over my life so many negative people have used religion, guilt and fear as a tool for control and abuse.
My soul and my skin holds black from all of this that will remain and heal into something bigger than I am.
And lastly, I believe churches, of any denomination, are full of good and bad. I have been within that, I have met beautiful genuine people that are truly trying to be their best and to seek a light. I have also crossed paths with people that attend church every Sunday and give sermons and lay hands on others to pray who are pure evil.
Nothing in this world is black or white, it is all made up of many shades of grey.
And so I come to this moment in our life, this moment that has been the dip in the surface, the moment that has given way to all these words.
As a child I remember being told the story of the mark of the beast, of being taught to fear technology and progress in banking as it could lead to the mark of the beast and then of course I would face the wrath of God. Thank fully as I grew I had other influences that deconstructed those fears.
Bible prophesy was something as an adult I felt was interesting but rather confusing and I had never particularly read into it too much.
My daughter is an amazing insightful young woman, she is almost 13. She feels, so very much, she picks up on emotions around her and just feels. Unfortunately that also includes negative emotions, she has a tendency to be anxious and worries a lot, which is something we are overcoming together.
Recently we were visiting family, having cuppas in the kitchen chatting about life, we got onto the subject of banking and transaction cards which somehow evolved into future banking, someone noted: well one day we wont even have cards, we will just get our arms scanned or something, I made an off the cuff comment about the mark of the beast and sarcastically said oh we all better be carful!, I giggled and walked off to go to the bathroom.
I came back into the kitchen, the air was thick and all had disbursed. I noticed B (my dearest partner in crime and life) was outside leaning on the front gate. I called out, hello? Where is everybody? I went outside to see if B was ok, his energy was dark, what’s wrong?
My daughter came outside, all shaken, worried and upset. That was so freaky mum, what happened?
Just a little moment in time, just a moment, nothing really significant. To my daughter it was, to B it was, to me it was. We gathered our things and said our disconnected good buys.
A strong maternal energy that my daughter has trusted and valued, waited until I had left the room, took my daughters hands in her own, faced her squarely and looked her strait in the eye and provided a warning with passion, fear and conviction: Be very careful, don’t you ever get a chip in your arm or a mark or anything, it is the mark of the beast, God will not be happy with you…
At this point B was raging and chose to leave the room, not wanting to create arguments when it was not his home…
Once they were alone, the warning continued: If bad things happen, you come to me, don’t go to mum and B, they could have the mark of the beast and are on a path of evil, come to me.
I will note here this moment, that as I was not there, it is not recounted verbatim, it was pieced together from things noted by B and my daughter and the impression of the moment it had on her.
In the car on the way home my daughter asked if she would go to hell, is there a mark of the best? Is banking evil? Being the beautiful emotional being she is, she was genuinely afraid that she might have the wrath of God bestowed upon her one day, and asked us if it was possible. This person was someone she has trusted and valued, why would this person lie to her?
For me the only way to move past fear and control is education, when we got home we researched the prophesy and let her read things for her self, read things out to her, I bought out my bible and we googled. She was ok when she has been provided with some context and was able to read things for her self. It was hard to find any clarity and she decided to dismiss it all as nonsense.
We also talked about motivations, any action motivated by guilt or fear need to be examined, you need to be aware of these moments and only in that awareness make your decision.
Guilt and fear are two emotions that do not serve a positive purpose in my life, they are emotions that constantly bubble to the surface and get in the way of me just being. They are emotions that others have used to control and abuse. They are emotions that I have found many religions use to propagate their messages and control their flock.
It has been a part of my path to be aware when any actions are motivated by fear or guilt; is this fear rational or solidly founded? Is my guilt warranted? Have I actually done anything wrong? I am still learning to be aware when my actions are governed by these emotions.
There are a few things about this moment in time that have been particularly significant for me and I can not decide what I am struggling with the most…
The fact that my daughters natural tendency to feel anxious was leveraged to attempt to indoctrinate her with a fanatical fear…
That it was delivered by someone that I have trusted and who often has my children in their care..
That this person I have trusted, waited until we had both left the room to manipulate my daughter and undermine her confidence in B and I.
That in those words she inferred that B and I are on a path of evil?
That this person, who has known me my whole life thinks I am evil? To the point that she feels my daughter needs to be protected from us?
That this collective family energy has seen the battles and daemons I continue to fight due to the negative religious and marital structures that have been a part of my life?
That I have discussed with them all wanting to protect both my children from being impacted by those things I feel are negative..
Or that this belief is full of genuine conviction; how do you discuss/approach/confront something like this when it is so passionately believed?
That in a broader context this type of religious fanaticism has caused so much black in this world..
That our society continues to perpetuate ideals based on negative religious ideology, it infuriates me..
That in the last few years I have been increasingly vocal about the things I believe need to be deconstructed and apparently that is seen as evil…
That this energy who I have leaned on for support with my children can no longer be trusted and we will no longer have that network in the same way it once was?
I cried and cried that night, hid under the covers of our bed and childishly grieved that this maternal energy is no longer someone I can trust and felt a sense of loss. Loss that this nurturing structure of female energy I was trying to create around my daughter and my self is not really there, that it is just an emotional construct that I have attempted to create and nothing more. I miss my Grandmother. I cried and just wanted a nurturing maternal energy to encase me, my blankets and beard were thankfully warm.
I felt so alone, sometimes I feel ill equipped to raise a daughter, to raise a strong woman. I can’t do this on my own, I needed you. I needed you! I have needed you for me, when I have felt dark, I have needed you. You have attempted to undermine and deconstruct my relationship with my daughter, why? Because you feel I am evil? That I am going to hell? Because you are trying to protect my daughter? My soul feels so sad and I feel alone. And my tears and all the grey have just been a swirling nightmare in my physical casing.
The worst part of it all is you believe you have done nothing wrong, I am quite sure you truly believe you were trying to protect my daughter from the evil path I am on and from the beast, as I understand it, this beast will rise up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns, wait I might have that wrong, this beast has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion, oh but it was actually the dragon that they worshipped, the one that gave the power to the beast, I think that’s right? Nope, I am wrong, there was another beast to come, as noted in Revelation, this one only has two horns and speaks like a dragon, apparently, he is the one that will give us the mark of the beast, both great and small, rich and poor. This mark means you will sustain the wrath of God, this mark is 666, the mark of the devil.
I thought perhaps education, if I can find the truth in this prophesy I can perhaps help you see past this fanatical need to elicit fear and control. But the thing is this, you do not need to scratch the surface very far to see how contentions this particular Bible prophesy actually is. Many self claimed Bible prophesy experts have conflicting interpretations. I have read all of Revelations, several times. The thing with all of this is that it is so very subjective.
From the crazy, infuriating websites that proclaim to know that the mark of the best will be a chip implant and anyone with it will surely go to hell, to the Christians who are against this type of fanaticism and don’t take the prophesy literally and feels the latter give good Christians a bad name, and everything else in between, it has been impossible to gain any clarity.
Some say the mark will be 666, some say the mark will be 666 written in Hebrew characters, some say you need the name and the number for it to be the ‘mark’ that will elicit all the wrath, some say there will be six hundred and sixty six different versions of the name ‘Devil’ that will be used. It is all a bit much really.
When in their care, I have never stopped my children going to church or Sunday school with my family, I had thought it good for both my children to be exposed to it all, but this really was too far.
I understand that you and others truly believe you will go to hell and face the wrath of God if you have said ‘mark’ and you truly believe you are protecting my children. And that is precisely why this is all so hard. How do I resolve any of it?
It makes me entirely furious at the whole religious construct. This stupid, fucking world. It all feels so full of nonsense. Black and white? There are all the shades of grey in between…
A spade is never just a spade, it is seen through our individual life experiences, emotions and views of this world. Nothing is objective, we all travel this path in our own way, through the light and the dark and all the grey in between.
This is the path I have chosen to walk, because I believe it is right, because here I am trying to do my best, because I believe in embracing our light and love and shade, because I believe the negative things in this world need to be deconstructed, because I believe we all have a voice that needs to be heard, because I have chosen to still try to understand and accept you for all that you are, even through all the darkness you have taken us through.
Please see me through more than your religious notions, I had chosen to see you through my negative views of those religious notions. Dearest you.
For all of the moments that can never be taken back, for all of the moments forgiven but never forgotten.
photography, lighting tech, post production- editing- b.
artwork concept, styling, make up- Aj