Yesterday my dad and I stopped by the Art at Rice Creek festival at Banfill-Locke in Fridley for a couple hours. I didn’t walk around as much like I had last year, but it was still a good experience. I met a woman named Mary who was guiding a writing exercise called “erasure,” in which the reader/poet draws over certain words of a page in a book and leaves the rest that they want to make up the poem. She showed me a pile of book pages; I gravitated toward the pages from the Confessions of St. Augustine. Being that I like to write horror, anything about death, blood, or Hell seems interesting to explore, especially in a religious context. Ironically these things have been the source of much of my past anxieties; That’s probably why I like to read and write about existential issues. It feels good to have a more relaxed viewpoint about living.
So, I worked quite long, using two pages from the book. I colored certain words red for emphasis. This is what I came up with:
I just wanted to reflect a little. I think the whole thing attests to the fact that I have struggled with the fact that I’m gay. It wasn’t like people were coming at me all the time about it either; My own mind created those spooky circumstances of god getting revenge on me. I was always scared, trapped in a tumult of “cautious” worry. Of course, sharing this with some people did not turn out well; some acted helpful and nice until they found out. Of course they were identifying as Christian. Unfortunately there are things about the faith that I could not reconcile. And it wasn’t because of the rejection from those people. I have Christian friends who don’t judge me and more so mind their own “biz.”
In the beginning of the first page of the exercise, I think it’s an expression of how I felt like pursuing religion and likewise wanting to break free of the fear were both in vain. Throughout life, I liked the feeling of being praised by an audience even at my own expense- like preparing violin recitals and for concerts, etc. It was at my own expense because I suffered through my own painful health conditions for the sake of entertaining through music; Of course, I have a passion for music still, but would like to pursue other areas and instruments.
I actually flipped the meaning around when it comes to being “deceived.” St. Augustine was talking about the Christian God and that he and his friends by not believing in it were deceived. I feel I was deceived thinking I would go to such an awful place like Hell forever for something as non-threatening as being gay. It’s a declaration of how I felt taken advantage of even by my own beliefs and own mind. Also, I’ve made a declaration of letting the “proud” religious zealots out there deride and make fun of me just for being who I am; And for every one of them, I hope they end up gay in their next life or find themselves who I am so they could experience it- it’s not easy to be expected by some people to try to defend why my marrying a woman would be different than marrying a horse, a dog, a brick, or the Mississippi River (thankfully that battle has been won according to the courts). So mock me, keep on mocking what you see as some perverted weakness in me according to your moral code, just as St. Augustine would have most likely believed being even how “guilt-tripped” he was for having sex with a woman he wasn’t married to.
About “teaching desire,” preferring honesty, that’s more an affirmation of helping others who are gay. I firmly believe there are other gays not deserving of my help, however. Those fascist gays who even go as far as to outright hate religious people were part of my strife when I was very religious. All of us ought to strive to not hate each other or make preconceived judgements about certain groups, etc.
The rest basically explains that I took a woman and was faithful to her (an invented scenario since I have never had a girlfriend or wife), and that there is a separation between marriage and love- of course from my viewpoint, I see that marriage grants legal rights and isn’t something special according to a deity. It’s simply about having equal opportunity, etc.
I would want my marriage or partnership to be supported after all the demon magicians of my mind had me at their mercy over this issue. I won’t give those demons victory. Saying that “I loathed the filthy gold immortal” is basically saying I hated God, because the demons in my mind were my Gods, telling me I was doomed. I hated the immortal, even if the devil exists since that would be the punisher. To me, God and the devil are both punishers in the Christian faith. Satan does the tormenting and God would be the one sending you there to be tormented. So I won’t let those creatures and demons in my mind skewer me alive. I said “My heart, it was not evil. I didn’t know how to love…” since my mind could not get past or “rise above” the imaginings and fears that seemed like a massive boulder spinning down a mountain. All that time, I offered the painful fears, those demons, a sacrifice of my sanity, “feeding the winds,” feeding my pointless obsessions and wasting my life.
Today, I feel like I didn’t waste my life. I was able to spend some time enjoying the nice weather, despite pondering the darkness in the world. I looked through my writing leader Joyce’s binders of colorful mandalas that she claims she drew freehand. I was pretty damn impressed being that some were so complex and accurately calculated. I got to chat with a couple other writers that I see regularly at the group. Throughout my stay sitting at the table, the winds tended to gust spontaneously, blowing papers and things away if not anchored down. I kept good watch on my work; Today I wasn’t feeding those winds.
© Bridget A. Brimer 2015