this is a different tack than the rest, i read something. he could have been telling my story with a gender-binary switch. even though it filled with a language so similar to what i fear and long for in the same breath, so i kept reading. i read because someone said it was a good article. i read because i don’t know how to stop in the middle of something, even a trigger. i kept reading, and i read:
“I believe you, too, have a story to tell: a story of your belovedness.
It’s a story of how your scars and wounds and death fit into the story
of the death of Jesus, of how your victories fit into the victory of God’s love over the power of death. “
i don’t know how to hear those words without cringing, without waiting for the belt to fall. there’s the constant expectation of pain to follow these kinds of promising words. i don’t know how to take a g-d that can take pain and make it something good. i don’t want a g-d that can explain away the bad as if it’s good, but i want a g-d that takes my scars and calls them ‘lovely’.
because, because, i can take and count my scars. up one arm and down the next, and across my legs. i feel the fire of old marks across my shoulders. they hunch as i write. delicate traceries of lines follow the curve of myself, until i feel there’s nothing but my scars. they paint my hands, one long ugly burn mark under my first knuckle. it’s bent my nose, left tear stains upon my bones. it’s divoted my forehead, parted my hair. it lines my chin. always just enough, that i know they are there. just enough to know that my shame cannot ever be less than a river that drowns my words.
i know scars. each one left on my skin hides the deeper mark inside my soul. the most secret secret shames of being known, of having been seen as never should happen, they sear my mouth shut. there are only so many lies i can tell myself in the day – reality, deserving, shame, blame, they all hover. angry birds ready to eat my hopes.
most days i am wordless on their reality. most days the shame covers them until i can almost say they were never there. most days i ignore the fact that in my memory it was g-d handling the belt, handling me like a toy. i believed. every word that was said, every verse that was given, i believed. until there was no breath to breathe, until the salt fell from my face, and the world turned dark. i believed.
and in believing, hoped that i could give enough of my self, a living sacrifice, broken and spread, that g-d would say ‘enough’ and love me. it never worked, and so g-d became the angry voice that shouted inside my soul. until i ran. i ran from g-d’s voice, i ran from the heavy-handed transactions of grace and mercy.
somehow still the words echo ‘beloved’. ‘beloved’? my name was supposed to mean that, it should have meant ‘beauty’. my name was supposed to be a good thing, but was torn and twisted into a scarlet contemptible thing. it defined me, instructed my use.
is there truly truly a g-d that calls ‘beloved’ into the night yet leaves no red to drip off my soul? is there a g-d that can honestly meet my sorrow and anger without a returning vengeance? i ask these questions. into the deeps i throw my words, do they return more than empty platitudes? does g-d speak to the one he left broken on the floor?
i want to hear ‘beloved’ come back to me.
but i know scars.