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the maker

April 7, 2009

i’ve described, albeit briefly, my relationship with my mother. recap: mom passed many years ago, and she was the victim of incest at the hands of her father. my mother was addicted to numerous drugs and she was a crazy and insane alcoholic. despite all of this, i do have good memories of my mother, though sometimes those memories are clouded. she’ll always be in my heart and my soul, and i thank her for being partially responsible for making me the kick ass woman i am today.

over the years as i was growing up, mom took it upon herself to “educate” me regarding the world’s religions. it’s not an exaggeration to say i’ve been to just about every religious service known to mankind. i was also the recipient of a prestigious scholarship for two years to a very exclusive religious school. (i’m not sure what that last bit says about me, but i need to put it out there to continue the story.) my religious “education,” up until the age of 15, left me feeling lost and not truly understanding God.

i ran away from home numerous times, and to this day i remember feeling horrible for doing so. i didn’t feel that way because what i was doing was wrong, but because i was leaving behind my younger brothers and sister. how can i justify needing to escape, but leave my siblings behind? did i really need to get away that badly that i could handle knowing my sibs might be in harm’s way? a child’s mind is a strange and wondrous thing, and i sometimes still wrestle with what i did as a young girl.

couple all of this with paternal grandparents who were “holy rollers,” constantly preaching hell-fire and damnation, and what you got was a girl who was extraordinarily confused. i was never given the opportunity to do my own investigative work on this whole God thing; instead, religion (not spirituality) was constantly shoved down my throat.

fast forward many years and many religious services later … i’ve come to the realization, in my own time and in my own heart and soul, that i do believe in God. here’s the thing: when i was really young and living with mom, and sometimes homeless, i would pray desperately to God to help me, to show me i wasn’t insane like my mother, and to show me the way out of my own personal hell. all the preachers i’d heard told me if i believed, God would “speak” to me and show me the way. when i went away to christian bible camp and heard some folks “speaking in tongues,” i had no clue what was going on. (still don’t.) as a young girl, i needed to believe in something, and i needed to believe in everything everyone was telling me about God.

alas, the answers never came, and i never remember hearing God speak to me (unless of course i was balls to the wall inebriated or stoned off my ass). i never had the epiphany or awakening or [insert your own kumbayah here] to show me that God was listening to what i was saying, and that He’d let an 8-year-old frightened child know everything (eventually) would be all right.

here’s another thing that freaked me out about religion: on december 9, 1975, at the ripe old age of 9, i was “saved” and then baptized at our family’s church in evansville. i remember my tiny baby sister — who was standing with my drunk mother at the altar and looking up at me in the baptismal — screaming, “don’t take my sister away!” repeatedly for what seemed like 6 hours. “saved” from what? how can you “save” a 9yo? what does it mean now that i’m saved? did i understand what was going on? hell no, sweetheart. when i got home, mom and step-sob told me i’ll now go to Heaven when i die. excuse me? so you’re telling me if i had died yesterday, i’d be rotting and burning in hell for all of eternity, but being “saved” means it’s all good from this point forward? what the fuck!

so here we are, many years and numerous life experiences later, and i find myself believing in God. yes, i’m jewish, but i don’t observe any of the holidays, traditions, etc. i don’t attend church … at all. does that make me a bad person? don’t know. i know when i die i’ll have to explain all the bullshit and shenanigans here on earth, and i’m ready to do that. coming to this … what is this? … this understanding, this realization, this personal blah blah blah, came very slowly. very slowly. i used to feel that folks who were “Jesus freaks” didn’t have a firm grasp on life, and that these same folks needed a crutch, if you will, in order to function. (don’t ask me how or where those thoughts originated, for i don’t know.) and here’s another thing: for as long as i can remember, i’ve been writing and saying “God Bless You,” even when I was that 9yo wee lass in the baptismal.

my relationship with God is my own, and it’s good. i do pray (something i think i’ve always done, in both good times and bad), and i’ve read the bible about 50 times over the years. still don’t understand it all, but that’s fine. do i feel any differently or act any differently? no on both counts. i’ve always been me, so take me with all the good stuff and all the shitty stuff i bring to the table. i have always tried to be a good person, but that didn’t always work out. i’ve thrown punches, i’ve slashed car tires and i’ve broken windows. i curse like a sailor, and i still get really fucking pissed off when idiots drink and drive. i smoke (brown and green) and always turn over the keys if i’m going to tie one on for the night. i’ve only stolen 1 thing in my life, and that was when i was really hungry and 5-years-old. i’ve never taken another life, and i’ve never wished death on anyone. perhaps all the good stuff i’ve done on this rock will negate all the idiocy in which i’ve involved myself over the years. i’ll have too much pressure to deal with at the pearly gates, so yes, let’s go with that assumption!

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