When Protection = Hurting yourself

Welcome to one of my disorganized posts…

When protecting yourself is hurting yourself…

That could be the mission statement for my life. Period.

In many ways, pain has been a constant companion in my life. And I’m okay with that. Maybe my mission statement should actually be:

You know you’re alive when you feel pain.

Embrace the pain. Ignore the pain. Get used to pain. Nothing but pain.

Yet pain and anger are a volatile mix.

I was explaining to my friend a few days ago that I was raised within a sect of an already strict religion (7th Day Adventists, look it up if you want. Shit’s cray-cray).

{Sect – remaining in an existing religion, still attends church, follows parent religion’s precepts, but has slightly different opinions on certain components.
Cult – completely separated from “parent” religion, doesn’t attend church and doesn’t follow most/any of precepts with radical opinions on certain matters.}

The things you pick up in private christian school…

Talking about my childhood upbringing brought shock to her face.

Funny, I never thought it that bad until other people reacted to it.

And she didn’t even know 5% of it.

That when you’re the minister’s kid, expectations are high and everyone watches every single move you make. That you are the weapon to attack your parents, and that your parents became the weapons against you.

How people who hated my parents took it out on me. People who were supposed to be “Brother X” and “Sister Y”, upstanding members of the religious group who commanded (or demanded) respect. How they would quote bible verses and use them like knives, how they would use their authority to abuse others.

Then they’d tell me to “listen to instruction”, “turn the other cheek”, “love one another”, “Jesus doesn’t like when you do ___”.

In the next breath, they’d be quarreling over money, power, and imagined slights. In actuality, religion was just a game and people were simply pawns on a chess board. Children were used to cut like saws in the most vulnerable places.

Then I saw the faces of jackals as they conquered the field. Fooling the sheep into giving them control. The group split in half.

These jackals broke into safes and broke into the Treasurer’s office. Ironically, there was no cash on premises. It was all in the bank -which they pursued with lawsuits that were eventually dismissed.

Do you know what naked expression a money-grabbing, power-hungry man shows when he lets his guard down and thinks he’s won? I do.

It took me years to blot it out.

The eyes of a child can be very discerning. I saw much too much, for a very long time. What does a child see? What does it matter what they hear? They don’t understand anyway.

Uh, yes they do.

Young doesn’t =  stupid. And if I emphasize a bit too much regarding taking care around little ones, it’s because I was little once, and I was exposed to things -power struggles, backstabbing, religious feuds, grudges, etc.- that are still buried in the back of my skull.

Children are often the silent, overlooked victims. How does one measure the sin of staining the brightest, purest potential in such a way?

I used to imagine what I’d do if I saw any of them ever again. How could I convey the depth and level of their misdeeds and revisit it to them in kind? A vengeful reckoning.

And then I realized how little the world cares. How little people care. How little parents care.

You are the only one who cares. The world passes by, nations rise and fall, economies dip and wane; and you are the only one wrestling with the sense of injustice.

“Obey your elders/parents”. How blind are the precepts that lead the sheep astray.

I started noticing how much anger I’ve bottled up inside.

The trick is, you can’t bottle that shit up forever. It’s just as effective as burying nuclear waste under dirt. It’ll leak into the water sources eventually, start killing people and animals, radiating the earth, spreading destruction in it’s wake.Eventually it leaks out, spills into emotions and actions and before you know it, you can’t explain why you’re behaving or reacting or destructing the way that you are.

But if burying it doesn’t work, you gotta dig that shit back up and put it away properly. Which can be just as dangerous.

Now I’ve got to look back at all the crap from that shitty time. Unpack it, make it real again. Remembering is like reliving it all over again.

Who’s gonna catch me this time? Can I catch me this time?

Last time I was dealing with it all, it was with the skin of my teeth, and the tips of my fingernails that I held myself together. It was all I could do to cap the volcano and put it all away in a box, locked in a distant corner of my memory castle.

Taking it out is like reliving every slight, every hurt, every slice of pain. I’d rather get tied down and whipped -no joke! I can get over physical pain, no guarantees with mental or emotional pain.

Everything hurts. The past is nothing but the fantasy of a masochist.

If I don’t feel pain, I must be dead.

So I embrace what makes me stronger. Perhaps, pain truly is my destiny.

If so, I’m at peace with that.

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