Recent writing: faith

While my blog “proper” hasn’t had much action, I’ve been compiling posts about the topic of joining and leaving my former church. I know this isn’t a topic that will interest most of my readers, but as I go through the process of leaving, and the psychological and emotional healing that it demands, I’ve been journalling some of it. I have shared a few of my thoughts on here in a new section. If this interests you, you may find the posts under the heading “Wandering the Spiritual Desert.” I can’t say it enough, but these are personal, journal-type writings (though adapted for the blog audience): that is, they’re not attempts to state a universal truth of any sort. I freely acknowledge that my faith experiences may be vastly different to other people, even to other people who have been a part of the same religious community. It is in no way intended as an attempt to convert or deconvert people to or from any particular faith position. It is best read as personal narrative, with all the limitations of individual perspective that entails.

In other news, I’ve been focusing on my art instead of writing in the last two months. I hope to scan and share some of this art on my blog in the near future! Thanks to all my readers who continue to subscribe: it’s very much appreciated!

I am also already starting work on my NaNoWriMo planning. November 2016 will be my fourth Nano and I’m preparing earlier and earlier each time. One of the biggest time-drains on my writing is choosing character names, so at this stage my Scrivener layouts mostly involve lists of names and their meanings, possible alternate spellings, and attempts to describe the kind of character to which they will best apply.

That said, I am enjoying working on developing the story so much that I will likely start writing it before Nano – in which case I will resort to a Star Wars: The Force Awakens fan fiction that I’ve also been planning but don’t necessarily want to write because I just feel totally awkward about letting people into that part of my brain (it contains far more adult themes than the film ought to generate).


NaNoWriMo Journal 2015: 10

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

There’s not a lot to say. I finally got up the courage to ring my hairdresser for the first time in almost 18 months to book a long-overdue hair makeover. This image from the IntrovertDoodles Instagram perfectly illustrates my feelings regarding going to the hairdressers. I also forced myself to go for a quick bike ride this morning, but after ten minutes of having to dodge lots of complete strangers on the local bike track my hyper-vigilant anxious introvert tendencies kicked in and before I knew it I was taking the first turn-off straight back to my house. Oh well. I’ll try to ride for longer next time.

This is a terribly busy time of year. The school year ends in a month’s time, so all that end-of-year stuff happens around now. On top of that, we have most of our birthdays around now. And Christmas, God help me, is just around the corner, with all its pointless stress. I quite frankly can’t be bothered dealing with all the histrionics and if I have to say no to each and every one of our  families’ Christmas events in order to maintain a shred of sanity, then that is what I will do. I sort of wonder if our Lord and Saviour had all this drama in mind surrounding His birthday celebrations. (Okay, historical realities and context aside, that is, seeing as the whole date and notion of a birthday for baby Jesus is contentious and it just happens to be the same time and similar imagery to a set of ancient pagan festivals. By the way, I tried to find a reference on that but it’s hard to find decent information on historical Yuletide celebrations when there are so many conspiracy theories on the topic.)

Instead of working on nano last night like I’d planned, I filled out reams of paperwork. School end-of-year excursions, next year’s school book list orders and fees, ballet school re-enrolments and end of year concert tickets, permission slips to go swimming with the school, and paperwork to do with the fact I’ve spent an insane amount of money on medical issues this year (in Australia you get a discount on your annual government-subsidised medical bills if you spend over a certain amount – we’re very lucky to have that system in place so I’m not complaining).

Not to mention a huge wad of incorrectly addressed mail that needed redirecting. (Aussie) Landlords take note, your tenants are not legally required to act as your own personal mail redirection service, and you can’t reasonably expect that. Unfortunately we are legally required to sit there sifting through every bit of incorrectly delivered mail, cross out the original address, scrawl “return to sender” on every single envelope.

Whinging about petty little issues put to one side, the reality is that things are okay at the moment. Not great – my health could be better, my depression could at least try to be less severe, and the process of de-converting from my current religious context is terribly difficult – only people who’ve experienced that for themselves will understand. But it could be far worse so I will try to uphold before me a sense of gratitude that in the grand scheme of chaos in the world at the moment, not being able to meet my intended nanowrimo word count because I was writing out a huge pile of forms while trying to decide whether to enrol my kid in either technical ballet classes or pilates for dancers is really not that big a problem.

Now, when I say de-converting, I haven’t gone quite so far as a head-first launch into Atheism, though I have plenty of friends and some family who wish that I would shed the shackles of organised religion and embrace materialist philosophy as well as science (I love science, not so convinced by materialism). For me, by de-conversion I mean that the styles, forms and theologies of fundamentalist-Pentecostal Christian belief that have informed my life over much of the last fifteen years have reached their logical endpoint for me. I read de-conversion stories and see a lot of familiar emotions, rational struggles and interpersonal difficulties in them. It’s taken such a huge toll on my mental health so that I’m now back to monthly visits with the clinical psychologist when for a while there I only needed one every few months. While there was much good within my church experiences (namely, the friends I made and the opportunity to give back to the local community through volunteer work), when I try to balance that good against the less-positive experiences, I can no longer ascribe to this style of belief without the pressure of a whole lot of cognitive dissonance. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I have a lot of very mixed feelings surrounding my time there. I see great value in parts of it and I still willingly take my kids to services and allow them to participate, especially my extroverted son who finds the social context positive. However, it is time for me to move on and whether I want to or not, I find myself propelled out to spiritual paths more representative of the person I was before I married a Pentecostal guy.

On that note, back to nanowrimo…

Current word count: 25,899 / 50,000 words

Today’s writing soundtrack: Mutter by Rammstein