Wherein, I rant. You have been warned.
When I was growing up I was part of a religious community whose message seemed to be, as far as I could make out, “We must at all times be cognizant of Just How Much We Suck, and how we really don’t actually deserve to be alive at all.” With a special, bonus addendum that stated, “And if you’re a woman, then ppfftt, don’t even bother man, because you are totally beyond salvation.”
That message was kind of a stumbling block to the rest of my life due to the fact that it seemed to pose some eternally irreconcilable problems, such as the fact that a) I’m not supposed to exist but yet, here I am, and b) It’s horrible to be a woman and yet, oops, guess which gender I got stuck with? You might say that this made it a little difficult for me to function in my day-to-day life, just as you might say that Donald Trump has a passing interest in making money.
The thing that was at times my salvation, and at times what made me feel even crazier, was that this story is completely foreign to my own personal experience. Ever since I can remember I’ve felt close to God and connected to the Divine. We’ve kept up a constant stream of giving and receiving communication, and never once have I been told, “Wait-hold up. I can’t talk to you until you can find an available penis to come and translate for me.”
Anyway, all of this is sort of “up” for me right now because this weekend I went to a wedding. I’ve been to a lot of weddings like this before, weddings that presence the following touchstones:
-all the passages in the Bible that mention women as “the weaker vessel”
-all the passages in the Bible that describe how a wife should “submit herself unto her husband as unto the Lord”
-the description of a “virtuous woman” in Proverbs 31, where apparently the pinnacle of womanhood is to be “as a creeping vine in the recesses of your home” (whatever that means)
This wedding added an extra special bonus by including passages that basically said, “And you know, if you really wanted to, for extra credit, you could actually call your husband ‘lord’,” (New Jenny Ryan Living Translation)
And all of this, it just makes me want to say (among other things)-“Dude! What are you all so afraid of? What exactly do you think will happen if you aren’t constantly working to “keep a lid” on all of us females?”
Did you somehow infiltrate a meeting where you discovered our nefarious master plan of taking over the world by ensuring that everyone has enough socks, underwear and clean toilets?
I have, as you might imagine, made my feelings known far and wide upon this particular subject, so much so that when the wedding was over three separate people told me that they were watching me throughout the wedding to gauge my reactions. So much so that I received many compliments along the lines of, “I was so proud of you for your ability to restrain yourself and not stand up in the middle of your pew, bring the wedding to a screeching halt, and announce, ‘Excuse me, but I’ve got a really big problem with this’.”
I will say that I have improved over the years. I no longer stop breathing and turn beet red from suppressed fury, nor do I cut off all the circulation to my husband’s hand by transforming into The Living Tourniquet Of Being Outraged. And I’ll tell you why that is.
I finally realized that if I want to be free to live my life according to what is true and optimal for me, then I must also give that freedom to everyone else, no matter what it is that they choose (damn personal growth, self-awareness, and enlightenment! :P)
So I went to this wedding with my husband, my wonderful partner, a man with whom I share mutual respect and appreciation. I smiled, I congratulated the bride and groom, I supported the family with my presence.
But inside I was standing firm in my own personal experience and reciting my own truths, truths that said, “And God made women. And God saw that women are very, very good.”