I wrote this when I was feeling more sarcastic, and more angry. Like most things, in my head it was going to have multiple points, instead of just the first paragraph turning into a novel.
All sarcasm aside, this is my thing that I cry about every time PMS rolls around. Or every time Sunday rolls around. Or every time Saturday rolls around because Sunday follows it. Or every time I end up in the emergency room for the second time in one week with the nurse asking what my religious beliefs are, like, what, why, do you think I really am dying like I told you? Because you were supposed to tell me I’m not, and I say Christianity because that’s the right answer, and wish I had someone other than my overtired mother to call at three in the morning to come pick us up.
Maybe everyone has like one thing they go back to when they get PMSy. This is mine. Grieving every weekend. For what I wanted my kids to have and for what is gone. For the rhythm of the year and my lack of it and the sense of structure and belonging and groundedness. For spring and Easter dresses and seeing people who were my extended family and who I know are my people. For having regulars in my life. For having ACTUAL HUMAN PEOPLE in my life. For the security and seeming stability and ability to take it all for granted.
So while this list may be super sarcastic, I cry about it every week, I am crying about it right now, I sit in the dark of my kids’ room since they’ve started refusing to sleep and I cry about it. Having kids and weekends and the turn of every season takes me to some nostalgic place that is my grandparents’ house tied up with church and the rhythm and routine of it all, which I did not in any way enjoy at the time but find that I now miss.
I thought I would try to get my own thoughts in order, or make a long and fairly complainy list of reasons to map out my defense as to why we can’t go to church ever, and why I can’t find the motivation to buy my kids Easter clothes (because where would they wear them?)
These reasons are not in any order. Just as they come to mind.
We are essentially a circus. We are the trifecta of attention getting, and probably more. Foster care! Single parent! Twins!
Please hear that like I am hearing it in my head which is the You’ve Got Mail “TALL! DECAF! CAPPUCCINO!”
We literally fall into three distinct groups of families who are all sick of hearing, “I don’t know how you do it” and “you must have your hands full, hahaha!” I will hear it on every side. If I gloss over one area or don’t broadcast it, it doesn’t even matter, because all the other reasons will make up for it. And they’re all connected so one leads to another and I am left trying to make it not awkward which is impossible, because I always make everything awkward and because there is no way not to. If such a way exists, I would love to find it. If I pass them off as mine, someone inevitably asks about my husband, if I manage to avoid that conversation, they’re still twins! Cue omg you sure have your hands full double trouble I could never do that better you than me how do you cope.
I have 0% emotional or mental capacity to handle these awkward conversations. There is no buffer space in my life to allow for them. I don’t want to have them.
Add in normal toddler behavior, add in behavior resulting from trauma and attachment issues (…primarily mine), and if we weren’t attention getting enough already, GUESS WHAT WE ARE NOW. HEY LOOK, HERE WE ARE. IN CASE YOU DIDN’T SEE US. WE’RE HERE! IT’S US! SOMEONE’S YELLING! COME MAKE AWKWARD PERSONAL CONVERSATION TO ME WHILE I PEEL MY LIQUID CHILDREN FROM THE FLOOR. They’ve gone boneless! It seems their bodies have just absorbed their entire skeleton like a caterpillar in a cocoon!
And while you do that and while I try to lift this dead weight, I’ll also be second guessing all of your motives. Are you telling me about the nursery to help me out or as a subtle hint that we’re unwelcome? Do I want to join a small group or do I want to join your cult? Would you be talking to me like this (good or bad) if my kid was another race? WHAT IN THE NEAR VICINITY MIGHT BE A CHOKING HAZARD? STOP LOVEBOMBING ME JUST TO WALK AWAY WHEN I DON’T MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS BECAUSE I INEVITABLY WILL FAIL TO MEET THEM.
Someone get me some reclaimed barn wood, I need to make a sign:
In this family:
We are hypervigilant
Everything is a threat
We Google the worst possible outcomes
We fear ALL THE THINGS
If it happened before, it can and will happen again
We stay home and watch Netflix
It feels a lot like an unhealthy, codependent relationship. So many of the reasons generally given for why my reasons are not valid feel like boundary violations. Give and take, no church is perfect, etc. etc. I’m so weary of these. How long do you keep on? How long do you keep trying the same thing with no change? That is insanity.
My expectations are both impossibly strict and pretty low. I want a place to just go to church. That’s it. I don’t want to join a thing or do a thing or fill out a thing or be promised a thing. I just want to go, and be, and I want hymns and pews. I don’t want (and wouldn’t attend) children’s activities (because predators and sex offenders, and also well-intentioned people who say hurtful things). I don’t want promises made to my children, something that seems to be par for the course with foster/adopted kids because people get awkward, don’t know what to say, and end up using my family as an object upon which to dispense their charity, even though my kids have me and the rest of our family. I’m pretty sure a car dealer promised Josh NFL tickets once and also for a former Super Bowl player to come to his gam just to prove how not racist he is. Please, can you just stick to having a black friend and leave it at that? Or better yet, just stick to selling cars.
I have a difficult enough time trusting people. Some of these things have been said by people who know that. Please, please be cautious about what you say. If you can’t do something, don’t offer it. Even if you think you can, please don’t offer it. I am an over-offerer and I have scaled way, way back because it can be so hurtful.
It is also difficult because each little thing on its own may seem disproportionate, but piled up together, it is a lot. A lot of disillusion and a lot of reinforcing that we don’t really matter in the overall scheme of things. And I know we will never matter anywhere as much as the organization as a whole.
I don’t fully know where I stand on that, because I am not truly that selfish and don’t want to be, but this is where it starts to break down into a borderline abusive relationship in my mind. I am not going to keep chasing someone (the ~*Church*~) that doesn’t care about me. I don’t want to hear about how “no church is perfect! Churches are full of sinful people! Everyone’s flawed LOL” because that is a copout. I am not pursuing any type of relationship(s) or commitment with an organization whose best response when faced with its failings is, “OOPS WE’RE NOT PERFECT; MAY AS WELL NOT EVEN TRY.”
Something about it is so shallow and dismissive. I never asked anyone to be perfect. I just wanted someone to care. Like the sense of almost obligatory caring my church seemed to have growing up, haha, you’re stuck, you have to put up with me because we belong to each other and always have and always will – until that church falls apart and gets sold to become a roofing company and insurance office.
I sincerely hope that one day I look back on this and mercilessly mock myself. I don’t want to feel this way. I want it to be easy (easier since another common trope is to complain about how people want things to be easy – HA. HAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHA), but it isn’t, and right now, it can’t be. And I’m not willing to take on more than one fight at a time.