I truly have the right to think for myself.
I know that sounds odd coming from a woman in the 21st century, but it’s a truth that I have to constantly remember. One of the unfortunate results of being raised by a Borderline mother and a Narcissistic father is that I was considered an “extension” of them. I wasn’t a person with a set of thoughts, feelings, preferences, and dreams. I was an extra arm or leg that was supposed to obey their every brainwave automatically.
A lot of their control looked completely normal from the outside. “Don’t get the pink shirt; get the blue one, because it’s more fashionable.” Or, “Why on earth would you consider being a singer when you should be a brilliant doctor?” My favorite was when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, I asked for a watch that had the rotating gears visible. I thought it was so neat to be able to see the mechanisms of time-keeping while it happened. I watched the minute and second hands tick by with utter delight while we were at the store jewelry counter.
They got me a lunar calendar watch instead, because it wasn’t a “piece of shit watch like that one you wanted.” It was better quality. It was the right kind of watch. Since they knew so much better than me, I was supposed to be thankful. And I was! “Oh, thank you for getting me the right kind of watch! I didn’t know that the one I wanted was wrong.”
And on it went. “Silver jewelry? No, that’s low-class trash. Get gold instead. What do you mean gold makes you itch? Quit complaining! Stop listening to that ni***r rap. You’re a white girl, and you should act like one. You are so fat, you need to get rid of that belly. Why do you keep wearing clothes that cover you up all the time? You’re beautiful! I don’t understand why you don’t have a boyfriend. You should be hanging out with the popular crowd, not those losers. Why aren’t you a cheerleader?”
Any preference, for skirts, for pants, for long hair, for career goals, for hobbies, for trips, for friends, for school, for working, for not-working—any single opinion that wasn’t theirs simply didn’t exist.
That was one of the beautiful things that drew me to Christ–He supposedly loved me for who I was, because heck, He created me. He loved me unconditionally. He loved me fully. Loving Him would allow me to be *more* of myself, because He fundamentally knew my inmost being.
His was the most attractive Love I’d ever known. I felt like, after a lifetime of wandering in the desert, thankful for even a drop of love and acceptance from my parents, I found a never-ending spring of water that satisfied a deep desire for love. As a fourteen year old girl, I spent hours reading the Bible alone in my room.
I didn’t find a church for about six months after I got saved (a story I’ll tell later) so I had absolutely no influence from teachers, pastors, or even my parents on how I was reading the Bible. I consistently tested at the top of my classes on reading and comprehension, so no one was worried that I’d misunderstand. My only influence was the local Christian Book Store, which was close enough to bike to. They had every single denomination in my county represented. It was like taking a girl who’d only ever eaten cornmeal to an all-you-can-eat buffet and saying, “Have at it!”
Suddenly, I discovered new tastes.
I couldn’t enjoy electric guitars before, because only one style of music was allowed in my house. I suddenly LOVED the sound of distortion when it was connected to the passion of worship music. I couldn’t enjoy teaching, because only my mother’s ideas were allowed to filter through my mouth, but suddenly I discovered a gift for explaining the Bible in common language. I couldn’t enjoy clothes, because I either felt fat, exposed, or out-of-date. Suddenly, I felt like I was a daughter of a King, and outward appearances didn’t matter. I had a new confidence, a new strength in my gaze, and a new gait to my walk. I was His, and He was my covering.
How did I ever allow myself to fall into a heresy that took my freedom in Christ away? It’s a long story, which I’ll cover here in depth. Now, after emerging from an eight-year-mental-nap induced by the heretical Patriarchy movement, I’m discovering that wonder and beauty of gazing directly at Christ again. My Father created me. He alone knows what I’m capable of, and what I’m called to do. I’m allowed to think. I’m allowed to feel. I’m allowed to like guacamole and layered haircuts and soft cotton shirts. I’m feeling the beauty of a guitar in my hands again. I can make decisions for my own life, as an initiator, without constantly feeling like a victim. It’s almost like a second conversion experience.
I’m His, and He created me.