Since my diagnosis I have been having a spiritual crisis. At first I was too angry with God (or the gods, whichever you prefer) to go to church or even talk to him. I know that may not be rational, but that is where I was. I tried to go to church because I thought maybe if I went I would have an epiphany and get over my issues with God. It didn't work. While there I fidgeted, doodled on the cards where you write your name and such on, and thought about all the other things I could be doing and what a waste of hair products and makeup it was for me to go there and think about how soon I could leave. So I gave up on church until I could go for the right reasons. Yesterday Princess said that we needed to start going to church again and I tried to explain to her why I don't go. I feel it is worse to go and not want to be there than to skip it altogether -- whether that is the right answer or not I can't say. I'll let you know after I leave this world, if I can. I even stopped going on Easter and Christmas, to my little sister's horror. She is a C & E church goer and thinks it is sacrilegious to not go on those 2 holidays. I think I would rather stay home and trim my nose hairs than go, so it is better for me to stay home. I felt like my belief systems no longer believed in me and didn't know where to turn for comfort. I was so angry at God and so ashamed for being angry at God, that I didn't feel worthy of approaching him in any way. My aunt, who is deeply religious/spiritual, told me that I may have gotten away from God but he hasn't left me -- a comforting thought, but I still have deep doubts about it.
I was raised in a non-denominational church that we went to every week unless you were on your deathbed and even then my mom would wheel us in regardless of how sick we were. I was first taken to church at 3 weeks of age and attended every week until I was 18. The only way we ever missed church was if you were so ill you puked out your stomach, pooped out your innards, or if your Aunt Flo was so horrible the cramps incapacitated you, and even then it was a crap shoot -- if my mom thought you were still able to make it through, you went. Being raised non-denominational I don't understand the trappings of a lot of religions. We didn't have any certain things that we always did, or rituals or different saints. My husband was raised Catholic and his mom is such a strict Catholic that even though she has been married to a drunk bastard for over 40 years of hell (as she says) she still won't leave him because that would be a sin: marriage is forever. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, she told me I couldn't wear white because I couldn't fool God. I told her that I wasn't trying to fool God because he had been with me over the years and knows I'm not a virgin. She didn't want my husband to marry me because:
1. My parents are divorced. Because I had a say in all that. Why it is held against the children is beyond me. My parents didn't ask us our opinion of what they should do in their marriage. My dad didn't consult us when he walked out on us. She (my ex mother-in-law) felt that my ex husband should have married his ex girlfriend because she "came from a good family," ie her parents are still together. Never mind that her father was unfaithful to her mother for almost the whole duration of their marriage, that is irrelevant. The important thing is that they are still married; not what the marriage is.
2. I'm not Catholic. (Cue the sound of a shrill woman's voice shrieking EEEEEEK!) Time to pray to the patron saint of making heretics see the error of their ways! She can't comprehend that somebody could not be Catholic and still function. She was forever foisting blessed figurines on me and whenever something would happen she would tell me which saint I should pray to. I let my husband keep the figurines because they mean nothing to me and I really didn't want them. She had all these different effigies of saints for different things that she would give to us for different situations; they remind me of baseball cards and I refer to them as "Jesus coasters" because that is what they look like. My ex, who is about as interested in going to church as I am in having a sex change, couldn't fully shake his Catholic upbringing and put a lot of the different coasters in the cars to protect us when driving. I have to admit that I love the idea of a saint for everything and being married to a Catholic has given me more ammunition than I would have thought possible. Whenever something goes wrong for him I ask him if he had his Jesus coaster on him or if he prayed to the patron saint of ______? Reading about the lives of the saints is one of my favorite subjects, it being fascinating stuff. I have nothing against any religion as long as you are not hurting anyone else and it makes you try to better yourself; so if Jesus coasters and saints trading cards make you feel better and try to be a better person, more power to you.
3. My "boy" haircut. This has been a bone of contention for her since she first saw me, and if I had a dollar for every time I have heard about my boy's haircut, I wouldn't have to fight the SSA anymore. No matter what the subject is, she can always work it back around to my boy's haircut. "Well, I thought it would be a problem because you don't like to eat meat and you have a boy's haircut." "It reminds me of the first time I saw you! We went to where you worked and he said, 'There she is' and I was surprised by your boy's haircut." "Its amazing you guys worked out, he never dated anyone with a boy's haircut before." "All his other girlfriends didn't have boy's haircuts; who knew he liked that?" "Thanks for the birthday meal! I'm glad you took me out with your boy's haircut." And so on. For the record, my ex liked my short hair and didn't want me to grow it out -- even an inch -- and I never thought much of it until my ex mother-in-law became obsessed with it.
So where does all this leave me? Disillusioned and still struggling to find a belief system that believes in me. Even after 3.5 years of knowing I have MS, I still get so angry some days that I am not fit to talk to anyone, especially if it requires worship and thanks giving. I try to be thankful for the things in my life because I truly am thankful for a lot of things, but sometimes this anger overwhelms me and I lose sight of the good. In the stages of grief, isn't anger pretty low on the list? Like one of the earlier stages? That makes me wonder how long one should be stuck in one stage, but I refuse to force it. If anger is where I am, so be it. Acceptance, if one can ever truly accept something that is always changing and rarely for the better, is a pipe dream for me. Honestly, I am not sure I will ever get there and I'm not sure I really care. I don't want to become complacent about this. I would rather not be what people expect when they see someone handicapped -- a benign, accepting, not-quite-a-person type being. Maybe I am projecting my own feelings on others. I feel like I get treated that way, but maybe I am being overly sensitive on this. Regardless of which one it is, I intend to continue on this path life gave me, being with my feelings and looking for a belief system that believes in me.
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