After my grandmother died, my dad went nuts and found religion. That’s probably not how he’d tell the story, but that’s basically my interpretation of it in a nutshell. My dad is far from crazy, but he did pick a religious denomination that is a favorite of crazy people. I blamed my parents for years for all of my various eccentricities (bat shit crazy behavior), neurosis (being looney tunes), and short comings (I suck). It very recently dawned on me that I’ve been raging against the wrong machine. My issue ain’t with ma and pa, it’s with three other equally terrifying people: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I grew up in the Pentecostal church. I’d specifically name the large and powerful denomination that had a big part in shaping me into the standup individual that I am today, but a). I’m trying to stay as incognegro as possible and b). I’m pretty sure they have enough money to put out a hit on me. Let’s see; what’s the best way to describe growing up Pentecostal to people who had a
normal different upbringing? I think listing the various things that were off-limits to Sexy Kid Ambrosia might give you the best glimpse of what I was dealing with:
- I have never seen an episode of “The Smurfs” as my church called for a national boycott of the program for including “real magic spells” in the show. I just never got around to it as an adult because honestly, the show seems pretty freakin’ lame.
- I was not allowed to have a unicorn My Little Pony action figure as unicorns are magical creatures and MAGIC IS
- I was not allowed to listen to the radio or secular music in general until middle school, with a few notable exceptions.
- I was groomed to wait until marriage to have sex, probably starting in third grade.
- I was also groomed to expect the Second Coming of Christ, i.e., the Apocalypse, from about the same time as I was groomed to keep my legs closed. I found the idea of Jesus coming back absolutely terrifying and not comforting as I expect my parents and Sunday School teachers intended. I’d talk about it kind of a lot at school and couldn’t understand how my other friends hadn’t heard about this event that was coming to destroy. . . most of them.
- I went Trick-or-Treating once at three-years-old (I was an angel, complete with a halo
magicallysuspended above my head. Dad is a very talented guy.) and then again at 13 after begging and crying and explaining to my parents that they were ruining my life. What happened during those other 10 years you ask? Oh, didn’t you know? Halloween is EVIL. It is from THE DEVIL. It is DEVIL WORSHIP (Basically. It’s kind of a long story, actually.) So Halloween was off-limits for families that really loved Jesus. Instead, we dressed up as fruit or Bible characters and had “Harvest” parties in the church gym. I apologize to the few friends I was able to convince to come with me to these parties over the years. I owe you a pillow case filled with candy.
- I never, ever believed in Santa Claus. EVER. I had to look up how to properly spell homey’s name, that’s how much I have never believed in him. Santa Claus was a
pagan“secular” distraction from the True Meaning of Christmas: Jesus dying for our sins. Oh, you thought Christmas was about a sweet baby being born and Mary and angels and sheep and really mean motel owners? No, fool! EVERYTHING is about Jesus dying for our sins and don’t you forget it. Even if you are a little girl who takes things very literally, probably because you are highly intelligent, and the thought of Jesus dying makes you feel terrible and cry. (The Resurrection was of little comfort to me because it meant that yeah, Jesus was alive, but he still cryptically peaced out on everyone who ever loved him and was never seen or heard from again. . . if you’re not a good enough Christian, that is.)
- This isn’t something that was banned or off-limits, but I feel like I ought to mention that probably ’till the age of 15ish, I was a staunch pro-life Republican. Thank God for giving me a liberal Democrat grandpa who steered me left. Get it? Oh, and my dad is totally a Democrat too, don’t let him fool you. My mom is a lamer; she’s registered as an Independent. Ugh.
So, getting back to my issue with God actively cockblocking me: it’s kind of hard to have a healthy attitude about sex when you’ve been trained to believe that having it before you convince some sucker to marry you makes the Holy Spirit cry-cringe-die a little on the inside. I wanted to be a good Christian, I truly did. Even though Sexy Kid Ambrosia had doubts, even as a sexy little kid. Even though Teenage Ambrosia burst into tears so hysterical that her mom had to pull the car over because she couldn’t understand how or why a loving God would send her BFF to hell for being gay. I tried, dammit. I tithed. I studied the Bible. I went to soul-crushing youth retreats and services. I dragged friends and boyfriends to church at every opportunity. I was very prepared to be a bride who really deserved to wear white. Until I met He Who Shall Not Be Named.
Laying out the gory details of my dealings of HWSNBN is for another post that I may never write as that junk is deeply personal, (Not like this stuff isn’t; it’s just mad different.) but here’s what you need to know: I met him when I was 19. I was going through some thangs. He is probably, in my professional opinion**, a sociopath. He was certainly an alcoholic and just abusive enough to pretty much destroy me, but not abusive enough that anybody thought anything was wrong with me dating him. He was a mastermind of f*ckery! And he convinced me to do it with him. I was 20 when he managed to break down my resolve. He was the first, last, and only
man male human being I’ve had sex with. I haven’t been 20 for 12 1/2 years, so yeah.
After the smoke cleared from my “relationship” with HWSNBN, I was too damaged and fat and androgynously dressed for sex to be a factor for a long while. And then, eventually, I became somewhat less damaged (Or maybe just learned to stuff down the damage with delicious cheesecake. Have you tried the mango keylime cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory? You can eat some feelings with that bad boy, I tell ya!) and slightly less fat and let my hair grow back and started caring about looking like a girl. I declared that I was ready to date again and would give the sex thing another go with a man who was kind to me and not mentally disturbed after making him wait for 90 days (I had that idea before you did, Steve Harvey!) and was met with crickets.
I believed that my complete fail at finding anyone to do sex with was really a problem with multiple causes, but the biggest one was that I was actively planning to SIN and God HEARD me planning IN MY BRAIN. I was already pretty convinced that my awesome time with HWSNBN was divine punishment for the sin of teh sex, and here I was, DARING to not only sin AGAIN, but planning out my sin IN ADVANCE! How dare I? I went running back to church with my tail between my legs and made a loud vow of chastity to anyone who’d listen and bought way too many books on the topic of not having sex and waited for God to bless me with a husband.
As you can tell by the title of this blog, God did not
magically supernaturally deliver me a husband. I figured it was because I wasn’t a good enough Christian. So I tried harder. I prayed louder and longer. I cried more tears of repentance. I spent more and more time at church. I gave more money. I volunteered more of my time. I studied the Bible like I was gonna be quizzed on that shit. Until one day, during a church membership class, I said “Fuck it.” (Not out loud! I’m not that awful! YEESH!)
I was tired. I had given up. I’d had enough. I gave church and evangelical Christianity a few more tries until I just sort of shrugged my shoulders for the last time ’round early 2011. “So Ambrosia, you mean to tell me that you threw away your faith in an almighty, omnipotent god because you couldn’t find a date/get laid/get married??” Um, sort of? It was more complicated than that, believe me. But if I’m going to be honest, that was a huge piece of why I currently identify as a super doubtful person who had been indoctrinated into a Judeo-Christian worldview from birth/semi-agnostic. I can’t call myself a Christian. That’s a lie, at least at this point in my life. I can’t say I don’t believe in a god. Life is too. . . everything to have been accidental. There had to have been some magic involved. Yeah, I said magic.
I realize how ridiculous it is to shake my fist at a god who might not even be there because I’m bummed that I can’t get a date. But the thing is, I tried so hard to believe, to do what I thought and was taught and told that he wanted me to. I wanted to give my thanks to him with a marriage that would honor him, with children that would learn to love him and hopefully, not fear him the way that I
did do. And that prayer, that desire of my heart, went more than unanswered. It went unheard. I felt like God wasn’t even acknowledging that I had asked, that he was throwing other people and situations in my face to mock my plea for love. And because once you’re trained up in the way you should go, it’s hard as hell to depart from it, I still believe that because I am determined to have a loving, intimate relationship with a man who I may not be married to, God hears that shit and is all like “Nuh-uh, bitch! How many times do I have to tell you, you are not getting any booty! Not up in here. NOT UP IN HERE!”
So, now you know. I think I’m being cockblocked by God. The worst part is, I can’t just give in and let him and go join a nunnery. Not because I’m filled with doubt and disbelief, but because I’m not a goddamn Catholic! Just my rotten luck that my dad had to turn on the station that aired Fred Price‘s sermons and not the Pope’s (The Pope has televised sermons, right? If he doesn’t, what is he waiting for?) when he was grief-stricken and couldn’t sleep and searching for An Answer.
Eh. It could have been a lot worse. We could have ended up as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Man, those guys are really messed up.
*According to urbandictionary.com, the proper term for preventing a lady from having sex is called ‘Box Blocking’ or ‘Clam Jamming’, but I didn’t like either of those and the word ‘cock’ is both funny and dirty.
**I am not a medical professional, but I know crazy when I see it. I’ve worked in public libraries.