Posted by: ImpendingDawn | April 29, 2014

Insignificance

I will never be as important to my family as God is. I am flesh and blood; I stand before them and talk and laugh and cry with them. I’ve supported and loved them through everything. I am here. God is not. God does not exist.

And yet, God is more important. An entity that does not exist is more important to them than I am. This nonexistent entity will always be more important. And while I am rejoicing my escape from that mindset – that religion, that cult, that abusive relationship – they are trying to push me back into it. I am free.

I am free. And I am alone.

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | February 2, 2014

To the Girl With the Scars

Your arms are torn by knife carvings and burn marks are etched into your skin. Most of the scars are old and faded by now, but they mark you all the way up to your sleeves.

There are others, though, new ones. How new are they, the blistering red gashes, the bloody rips? Did you sit in your room with a razor or scissors or tweezers, or did you use your manicured and sparkly nails? Was it today? Did you lose control? Do you need help?

Because I do. Sitting here on the bus with you, I need some help.

I can’t cry in this place full of strangers, and I can’t let you know that I see and I care and I want to do something. I’m still recovering and you are a trigger. I’m still recovering so I can’t be near you.

Do you still have emotions? Can you feel them properly or do you lose yourself in everything; do you care too much? Do you still care about yourself, about your own life? Can you see how twisted it is to hurt yourself, or have you gotten to the point where cutting makes perfect sense?

Does suicide whisper to you?

Do you whisper back?

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | October 9, 2013

Differences

Cutting is different than almost every other addiction. An alcoholic can learn to avoid bars and clubs and parties and liquor stores. An alcoholic can choose to keep their wallets closed and their houses free of temptation. Cutting is not affected by any amount of self-control; we cannot choose to avoid scissors and tweezers and knives and razor blades. We cannot rip out our own fingernails to escape the temptation to scratch, to see our skin rip and tear, to feel the blood welling out. We cannot pad every corner and avoid every accidental scrape and bruise.

Cutting is always there; in craft rooms and bathroom drawers and kitchen cupboards. It’s in sharp corners and accidental falls and untrimmed nails. Cutting is different; you will always be able to hear it taunting you. But hearing is different too. Hearing is different than listening.

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | February 18, 2013

This is Hell

“…apart from Me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

So many children grow up hearing and accepting this as fact. Without God, you are worthless. If you don’t obey God, you are abhorrent. If you don’t repent, you are damned. We tell our children that if they disobey some invisible Being and His inspired Book of commands, they will burn forever in a pit of fire, separated from everyone and everything they know and love. Hell is not a place to threaten anybody with, much less a young and impressionable child. It is absolutely disgusting to me that spreading such ignorant, bigoted ideas is not only accepted but praised as “teaching good morals”. Call it what it is: threatening children. Absolutely disgusting.

Not only are these children raised with the dread of their own eternity in hell looming over them, they’re told that they are responsible for sharing the Good News with everyone around them. The Great Commission is lorded over these kids in such a convincing manner that I spent the majority of my formative years terrified that my friends and their whole families were going to burn in hell and it was all because I couldn’t communicate my faith in a convincing manner. Every time I would hear of a death, I immediately asked, “Was he a Christian?” If the answer was no, I spent hours crying, envisioning the devil laughing over some poor sinner as his skin burned off. These questions and the resulting guilt began before I was even 10 years old.

Not surprisingly, the guilt increased as I got older, and so did my devotion to this God and His Great Commission. I prayed constantly, seeking repentance and personal improvement. I reveled in any guilt I felt, because it meant I had something to work on tomorrow; if there was no guilt, I had simply missed something and must think harder. My sins were many, and I was just as deserving of hell for thought-crime as someone else would be for murdering a complete stranger.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty
of all.”
James 2:10

This attitude haunted, tortured, crippled. I was not good enough on my own, I was undeserving of His love, I was supposed to constantly aim for perfection but be aware that – being human – I could never reach it. Guilty, always guilty. And yet I continued to devote every single part of myself to God. And if I couldn’t even have thoughts without worrying whether they were bringing glory to God, I certainly couldn’t have dreams and goals and a life plan without first seeking God’s guidance. And if He didn’t show me the way, I was supposed to figure out my plan by searching through the Bible, but accept that my plan could be changed at any moment by God suddenly blasting some sort of divine vision into my life. Ridiculous.

And now, as a new atheist, I am broken. I am raw. I find the freedom to make my own plans frightening and completely foreign. My previous beliefs have been so ingrained into my life that I find it very difficult to separate true morals from threats of hell; often I cannot see a difference between truth and religious propaganda. Any confidence or security I might have had in myself as a person has been stripped away. Oh, the terrible things I have said and done as a believer. So much hurt inflicted that can never be taken back. As a 12-year-old, I might have been able to cut myself some slack; most people that age still largely follow whatever doctrine their parents have – however lovingly – shoved down their throat. But I should have known my beliefs were flawed at 14, at 16, at 18. I should have known. Why did I not look deeper? Why did I not study, analyze, learn?

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
– A Fake Buddha Quote I Love

Can I ever forget the hell I knew as a child? Can I ever forgive my family for pushing me into it? Can I ever escape the hell I’m suffering as an adult? Can I ever forgive myself for not trying sooner?

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | November 26, 2012

Matthew 27:46

I have to admit, I felt a little bit guilty during the year I struggled most with my faith. The irony of chaperoning a group of youth to a Christian conference while desperately trying to cover up a massive hickey on my neck did not escape me. It was funny, yes, but as someone who was trying to keep up the appearance of the “Christian role model”, it was immoral. It was wrong.

And then one day I opened my purse in the church bathroom and saw a pack of condoms I’d forgotten to take out. Seriously? This is me now? Disgusted and empowered in equal measures, I had no idea what to make of myself. What to do when you still believe in God but not in the book that’s said to contain his Word? What to do when you’re to the point of only attending church to see your friends, not because you care at all about “deepening your Christian faith”?

Several months later, I found myself at that same youth conference, this time just with my boyfriend. He, as an agnostic, found almost no value in the services, but I was still trying desperately to believe in the One I was told I owed my entire life to. I thought and I worshiped and I prayed and I cried over and over again.

My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why hast thou forsaken me?  

It’s hard. It’s SO DIFFICULT to realize that you’ve outgrown the belief system that largely shaped you into the person you are today. It’s even harder to realize that you were depending on this God of yours, this beautiful Savior, for fulfillment of so many of your basic emotional needs. I may be in the process of abandoning my religious faith, but I still need love. And hope. And a life goal. I still need fulfillment and the sense that I am important, or perhaps the ability to recognize that I am not and that’s okay.

Most importantly, I need people around me to reassure me that the world isn’t going to end if I don’t believe in God anymore. This talk of life decisions having an eternal impact is really getting old; I’ve heard the fire and brimstone sermons. I’m not going to mercilessly dump my otherwise amazing but *gasp* AGNOSTIC boyfriend, simply because some people think I might be dooming myself to a hellish afterlife. Sorry.

It would mean the world to me if all the important people in my life understood that I need their love and support, not their advice. But they don’t. I guess I can understand that, because in their minds they’re just trying to save me from an eternity of indescribable pain. They have only the best intentions. But let’s be honest, their religion and subsequent inability to accept differences in belief is forcing me to divide into two distinct people.

I cannot be myself, yet I must. Religion is slowly suffocating me. Religion has chained and gagged me. And I don’t know how long I can keep quiet while my family and friends insist on pulling the chains tighter.

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | October 1, 2012

Decay

You were the undisputed mastermind behind the world’s birth; the brilliant author of my existence. You created me; You formed my skin according to perfect molds, designed my brain with painstaking detail, shaped my heart and filled it to bursting. I found love in Your silent whispers and airy embraces, and Your Word filled me with passion and knowledge and joy and serenity.

How can I cast away these beliefs and convictions when once they were the foundation of my world? How can I accept the fact that my world might survive – is surviving – without its foundation?

Do You understand that You’ve made it impossible to love You? I delved into Your Word, I swear I did. I tried and tried and tried again. I’m still trying, I’m still crying, I’m still using and losing the mind I thought You gave me.

Is that a sin?

…Does it matter?

Does anything matter when you are the witness to the death and decay of a God? Does anything matter?

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | September 7, 2012

Hard Truths

Despite the fact that I have greatly expanded my circle of friends and feel infinitely more comfortable around people in general, I have never felt so alone.

I have become an agnostic.

I am losing my faith. I am losing my dreams. I am losing my comfort. I am losing my hope.

My past is a farce; how could I have wasted so much time searching for something – someONE – all evidence suggests doesn’t exist? My present is inconquerable; how can I cope when I can no longer trust the One I depended on completely? My future is meaningless; how do I create new goals when His plans were my only purpose?

My upbringing has conditioned me to believe that if I make the wrong decisions and don’t repent, I am going to hell. Am I to believe that God creates and professes to love us, then sends us to suffer for an eternity if we don’t obey Him completely? Am I to believe that we are all damned if we have a slightly different perspective than popularized Western Christianity? Can I with confidence look into the Bible to find answers to these questions?

No. I can’t. My research has led me to believe the majority of the Bible is completely inaccurate and consists mainly of religious material manipulated to serve the church’s purpose. And if God exists, I cannot – I simply CANNOT – reconcile the idea of a loving Creator with the somewhat maniacal tyrant that condemns anyone and everyone for the simplest mistakes.

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m hurt and conflicted and angry and sad and constantly scrutinizing and reforming my opions. I guess my pastor would probably say I am “lost” or “searching”. I prefer the more accurate “fucking confused and trying to figure out what this damn life thing is all about”.

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | March 20, 2012

A Misconception

You don’t notice as Death slinks close by, stops, follows. You don’t hear when it whispers. You don’t feel while it touches. Death slowly creeps, crawls, infiltrates. Makes a home in your mind, and then, your heart. It spreads silently, suffocating rationality with self-hatred. It cloaks your mouth and grips your throat with its black fingers. Eyes and nose are crippled while hands and feet are bound so tightly they leak blood. Death wraps, envelopes, manipulates; Death promises escape from the black world it created.

Ensnared, you listen. You obey. Death unbinds a lone hand for a moment, because that’s all you need. It only takes a moment to sever the thread of light that keeps your heart beating. And so complete is Death’s illusion, that even as it guides your hand to swallow the pills, slit the veins, pull the trigger…

You do not notice. You do not hear. You do not feel.

Death grins.

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | January 2, 2012

Obligatory New Year Post

Oh, January. Here you are again.

I both love and hate making posts at times like this. Holidays or other important events always make me want to write, but I feel like such a fraud for writing only at these times. It wouldn’t be so bad if I still updated around 4 times a month like I used to, but I just don’t feel the need to write anymore. Sad making.

Anyway. This was quite the year. About 12 months ago I was severely depressed and trying to put a brave face on it. I spent a lot of time thinking and writing and trying to figure out the world, and not very much time  admitting the fact that I was drowning under the weight of my problems. Help was desperately needed but I just couldn’t seem to accept that. As a result, I set about making New Years Resolutions and promising myself that I wouldn’t fail at keeping them like I do every year.

Despite all my efforts, my depression and self harm only worsened as the weeks dragged on, and the relationship with God that I had committed to restoring simply stayed the same: stagnant. Finally, events and feelings in my life culminated to a point where I prayed every day… for death. I lingered at the edges of bridges and railings. I considered stepping in front of vehicles. Visions of slitting my wrists and waiting to die on my bathroom floor haunted me. Eventually I had to be talked out of swallowing a bottle of extra-strength Tylenol. It seemed like nothing would ever get better… until it did.

Honestly, I still don’t know what changed. Gradually the depression lifted and I started to feel normal again. In addition, I quit cutting. I made a promise to my boyfriend to stop self-harming for an entire month, and I succeeded. And after that month was over, I just kept clean. It was hard, and there were definitely setbacks and relapses, but I did it.

As the year went on, my mind became clearer and clearer. My relationship with my family improved drastically, as did my relationships with my two best friends, one of whom is my boyfriend. I also began a course focused on graphic design, and have found it challenging, yet extremely enjoyable. I absolutely love it. In addition, the friends I’ve made at post-secondary are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and I am extremely grateful to have them in my life.

Another thing I’m grateful for is therapy. After needing it for years, I found out that it’s available for free at my school. I’ve only been to a few appointments – and it was a huge struggle for me even walk in the door the first time – but I’ve found it rather enjoyable and pretty darn helpful. I’m also learning to talk about my feelings more often rather than simply bottling them up or taking them out on myself through cutting. There are good days and bad days, but on a whole I think I’m learning quickly and making huge strides towards improving my self-esteem, my health, and my life in general.

However, my life itself is improving but my relationship with God is not. In fact, I wouldn’t even say it’s a relationship at all. I’m extremely confused about my beliefs and I’m struggling constantly to reconcile several directly conflicting perspectives on how a believer should act and who God Himself really is. This has been a huge cause of stress and sorrow for me lately, but I’m hoping that everything will work out in the end.

And I’ll keep hoping. I’ll keep learning. I’ll keep improving.

This is going to be the best 2012 ever 😉

Posted by: ImpendingDawn | November 29, 2011

Therapy Ramblings

HOLY BEJEEZUS I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IN THIS THING FOR AGES.

Just had to get that out of my system.

So I finally sucked up my pride, faced my fear, and booked myself a session with a NAIT counselor. Strange as the idea of talking to a stranger about my problems seemed, it actually wasn’t that weird. She’s pretty nice and she took all of my confessions with an extremely level head. Obviously she’s a counselor and she’s pretty much paid to be calm and rational, but it just seemed strange. And kind of nice, actually.

She asked me a lot of questions about my support system, coping mechanisms, and tendency towards perfectionism. Due to the fact that I psychoanalyze myself to death, I already anticipated the majority of these and had prepared answers to them. All in all, I think she was impressed that I had figured out ways to manage my problems on my own for so long. Four and a half years of depression isn’t exactly a phase. Unfortunately, I had strategically planned to drop the bomb of my suicidal tendencies when she was least expecting it, and she barely batted an eyelash. I guess it isn’t that much of a bomb to people who don’t know me… Oh well.

However, she – Margaret – asked me something I hadn’t anticipated. At all.

“Do you ever allow yourself to do something you aren’t good at, just for fun?”

What the hell? Who doesn’t!

I sat. I thought. I thought some more.

“…no, I guess I don’t.” I eventually replied. In fact, I fucking hate doing things I’m not good at.

So my homework is to think about that. And to start writing again. And to record my thoughts when I’m feeling angry or irrational. And to not concentrate on avoiding self-harm. And to not beat myself up mentally if I do self-harm. (I got the feeling that she thought self-harm was inevitable. I can feel several new cuts under my sleeves, so apparently she was right.)

I haven’t talked to her about my effed up body image yet. Or the fact that the thought of my cousin – who died recently due to alcohol poisoning at the age of 23 – sends my mind into a panic that I can hardly shake myself out of.

This talking thing is difficult. Up until the last time that I cut (my record being 8 WHOLE MONTHS!) my main method of saving myself from harm was to pretend that the urge to hurt myself didn’t exist. I’d have a fleeting thought and I’d quickly drown it out with music or conversation or reading or exercise. This worked well for me.

But now I’m honestly trying to tackle the underlying problems so I can truly fight back against self-harm. I’m not deluded; I know that because of my addictive personality and the extent that self-harm and depression have affected my life, I will probably never “recover”. And that’s okay. (At least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself.) It’s just difficult to face the problem rather than ignoring it. I’ve spent these 8 months carefully training my brain to selectively observe my surroundings; for example, an exacto knife wasn’t ever something I could potentially use to harm myself, it was merely a tool used to open boxes at work. I carefully ignored the link that my brain automatically makes between exacto knives and self-harm because it was the only way I could get through work without carving my arms up. And it worked, but it’s not healthy to purposely ignore problems. Based on this conclusion, I am trying to carefully open my brain back up again so I can get to the root of my problems. Unfortunately, opening my mind last night resulted in a few new cuts on my arms because I had to use that damn exacto knife at work, but whatever.

I’m making progress. I think. I hope.

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