Typewriter Confessions: Claim Yourself

Begin again. This time with feeling.

I let everything and everyone into my backyard. They brought with them chainsaws, sledgehammers, and their opinions. I thought if I was able to please everyone, that surely something great would happen. It didn’t. I pleased no one. No one won. Although no human being won the title to my life as The Ultimate Influence, I still greatly feel as if some unknown entity succeeded in throwing me off balance. I tried–because of my childhood to be–excuses are everywhere. I have a choice here. Become the woman with a pen or chase the woman I thought I should be.

I love God. Before I knew God, I loved her. It was when I began to know God through other people and institutions that I thought my knowing wasn’t enough. My knowing has carried me here. Here is a place that is uncertain yet good. Uncertainty at this point gives birth to exploration. I’m trying on pieces of myself in hopes that something sticks. However, I know explorations to true self-hood are always divine journeys. Always. Rarely do these journeys make sense or are clear, but they are divine and sacred nonetheless.

Where am I going now that so many things are done? Unfortunately, nowhere. Right now, I am cleaning up all the brush and debris, removing clumps of my hacked up trees, and chasing away any stragglers. Someday, there will be room for flowers, but you can’t put flowers in rotten soil. They won’t flourish, and them, like you, will question why you wanted to grow anything in the first place.

So, what does this mean for Elohim&Esh? It means that I include everything that is currently in my soil, in an effort to purify my life, my spirit, and my relationships.

In an effort to be transparent, here’s five things about me:

  1. My name is Aisha. I believe in embodiment, especially when it comes to names. I am life. My name means beautiful. I believe that too.
  2. I believe that life is a cosmic dance. It will never make sense because we, as humans, don’t get the privilege of knowing every little detail of each others lives.
  3. I am a womanist, with no retractions to the original four part definition written by Alice Walker.
  4. I hate going to church, but I love taking communion.
  5. About a year ago I asked God to make me a tree. Since then, trees have become vastly more intricate. I don’t know how yet, but I definitely do find myself becoming more tree-like: Resilient.

Musings

Life is about consumption–to live and not be consumed. Balance. Never consume too little that you’re left bare on the shore, with only the water hitting your toes. Never consume too much, that you’re being overpowered by the waves in the sea and you cannot see. You drown. Consume in a way that is fruitful and forgiving. It’s curious and filled with pure delight and gentleness. Did I mean consume or love? What is love without the consumption of all things?

I devoured The Handmaid’s Tale like a parched man in the desert. And I, without pen in hand, let it devour me. When was the last time I did something for pleasure instead of necessity? When was the last time I allowed myself to be devoured?

Don’t Say Just

I believe language is everything. Words seep down into the crevices of the spine, and they grow. If they’re good, then the person will stand taller. They will radiate light. If those words come with judgment or hostility, a person might lose a few inches, stretching to find the light they once had. It’s a hard road when you’ve been knocked down a few inches, but I think eventually, the light finds you again.

When I left seminary, a few weeks ago, I had to meet with a professor to have a conversation about my decision to withdraw. I realized quickly it wasn’t a conversation but a pitch. It didn’t matter I was leaving because of personal reasons and mental health. She offered me in several different forms a reduced time in seminary for a different degree. “How about the M.A.C.M.? Two classes and CPE and you’ll be done? Have you thought about only taking a semester off?” When I explained to her the logistics of my time, CPE is 40 hours a week and I work nearly 40 hours a week, and that isn’t ideal, she let out an “Oh.” It was an oh I wish I caught on camera because as a pastoral worker, we are taught against every reaction she had in that 10 minute meeting. I digress. Before I left, she asked me what I would do since I wasn’t in seminary. Unfortunately, she did not word it like that. “So you’re just not going to finish? You’re just going to be a deputy clerk?” The just is where I am hung up on. Let me explain.

In undergrad, I had this amazingly wonderful professor, Dr. Martin, and he would make sure that in any of our responses–either verbal or written–we never used the word just. When we said it in class, he would interrupt us and say, “Don’t say just.” As annoying as I found his incessant interruptions, his words stuck with me. It wasn’t until I left undergrad, when I didn’t have Dr. Martin to call me out, that I understood why I shouldn’t say just. Just is a limitation imposed upon someone or something. When you say just, you are imposing your expectations upon them while limiting them to be something you find limiting for their potential. With just, they have no room to be anything else. I felt deduced to being only a deputy clerk. Her words were instantly frustrating. I responded back rather harshly and defensively. I started rattling off things I would be doing instead of being in seminary. If her question were worded differently, I wouldn’t have felt the need to defend myself against the limitations of just. I’ve had many people ask me what I was going to do post-seminary, and with some I was honest: “I am going to rest.”

Words matter and hers left a bitter taste in my mouth. Because this is such a fresh loss, when I think back on my time in seminary, I think back at the most recent things. My friend, who also left seminary earlier this year, said, “It’s like attending your own funeral.” And it really is. At the end, I could only see those who supported me, those who judged me, and those who only cared for me within an academic context. It was humbling and deeply saddening. So, today, I’m doing some processing of those feelings. I’m grateful for what the experience was. Despite the bitterness, I believe my time there was intentional both in my life and the lives of other people. I believe it mattered. I wish other people could see that too. Today, I am stretching to find the light I had and to believe in the great purposefulness of my journey.

I Keep Emails from a Dead Man

While this is unusually dark, especially on the Eve of Christmas, it is true. I keep the emails of a dead man. I am technically locked out of this email account. I cannot get new emails, and I cannot send them out. My inbox stays in this weird limbo from the last few years. I can delete the app off of my phone, but then where would his emails go? They would sit somewhere on the internet waiting. Waiting for what, I’m not sure. Waiting to be remembered, possibly.

I spent some time with a friend who had to leave her last home pretty quickly. She had to do an inventory and mass haul of all of her belongings. What she could not fit in her room, she could not keep. She told me she was glad to get rid of it all. “I’m typically a very sentimental person when it comes to particular stuff, but I realized I was just collecting junk.” I came home after visiting her and thought maybe I had collected junk along the way too. You’d be surprised at all the things you pick up and hold for “someday.” Someday never comes, and instead those things sit and wait to be used.

But those emails. What do I do about those? I can clean out my kitchen, library, and every bedroom. But what do I do with those things that can’t be donated? The contents in those emails do not exceed 150 words. They are not particularly substantial, yet they remain.

I have made a graveyard out of my inbox. At some point, the recipient was responding and aware and here. To remind myself of that person, that dead man who I keep emails of, I hang on to my graveyard inbox, visiting on occasion at the witching hour when I cannot sleep.

During this holiday, I am grateful for the family I have, the family I love and know and celebrate. I am also aware of the family that is not here, the absent ones whose pictures I have hanging around my home and emails I refuse to delete. As I get older, I try harder and harder to balance the reality of a changing world with the magical wonder Christmas promises. Every year, that balancing gets harder, but I believe I get rooted firmer in love, which, in my opinion, is an unchanging reality.

Merry Christmas.

My Bumblebee Being

My greatest woe was that I would let You down. That I would have rejected the person I was supposed to be so much that I became ordinary. Then, I quit the one thing I thought was sure to make me extraordinary. I left seminary and the hopes of a PhD. None of that makes any sense to me right now, but it feels so good. I don’t know much about anything like why birds sing at dawn, why the world wakes up right before the Sun, or how this world can continue to exist as it is. But, I do think I know one thing. We, if we choose, can be bumblebees.

Bees do not have to think about going from flower to flower, they just do it. They are who they are. In their creation, they know innately how to be and that’s what moves them from flower to flower. I am a bee. In my spirit, I know exactly how to be. It is in that being that everything else flows from. The beauty of being is that I never had to work at being extraordinary. Being who I am, what is innately natural to my spirit, that is what makes me extraordinary. No degree can do that. No church title can do that. No position can do that.

Metamorphosis IV

December 9, 2019

I am here. I am here at my breaking point of school waiting to be released. I am here believing that my life is more than this. I am here going crazy.

If I hang myself at this exact moment, will I still have to write this paper? Hell is me writing academia over and over again. I never thought I’d get here. I never thought that I would hate academia, but I guess this is metamorphosis. This is me coming out of my cocoon. This is me getting my wings.

I am here with feathers outside my back and the world feels differently than it did months ago. I feel different. I’m not sure what to do here, except to fly. I always wondered how birds knew exactly where to go. I am learning that freedom is innate. I don’t know how I know where to go, but I know I am headed there with my new wings, new heart, and my awakened spirit. This is what it means to fly.

Metamorphosis III

July 21, 2019

They lied to me. They said I would sprout and I would be aware of it. That didn’t happen. I felt a coldness under my shoulder blade. I felt a scratch from the inside out that I couldn’t reach, and I knew: It was time to fly. I did everything that came to mind consciously, continuously, and passionately. Every little detail I held dearly. Every decision I made rested well into my soul. Night after night I tossed and turned. Flying should never be this restless. It was worse than restlessness. It was falling knowing you were able to keep yourself up. It was Icarus. What is wrong? What is wrong? I asked myself. And what poured out were dreams deferred. Dreams that I had buried and held wonderful ceremonies for. With every decision being made firmly and no new whims, I was able to refocus on the reasons I began my shift in the first place. I recollected all the reasons why I wanted to be where I was at, and I remembered the goodness of those dreams. How me then thought that I wouldn’t get to where I’m at now, but knew I had to get there. I’m here now, and it was hard, but it was worth it. I’m doing internal and external work—spiritual and supernatural work—to be made whole in the image God has promised me. With each resurface of a dream, I cry. I cry for stagnation, frustration, uncertainty, unplanned resets, and children I wish I had. I wail for children I wish I were prepared for. Then I rest, and the scratching in my back has left. Wings don’t grow at the same length. They’re like wisdom teeth. One finally broke the skin, and I am able to get off the ground, but not for very long, and it cannot carry me. So, now I wait. I wait to see under what circumstances and when the other will break the skin. But they lied, they said I’d know my wings when I got them. I won’t, and you won’t either. I can’t be sure, but I do believe that no one’s wings grow in symmetrically perfect and full and lush. It takes determination and faith for them to sprout, and honesty and consistency to water them.

Tell me Papa, tell me that it’s not wings.

Someone recently told me that I am one of few people she knows who she believes thinks things thoroughly through. Because she associates that with a connection with the Spirit. The Spirit of God that pulls these wings out of me. It was one of the kindest things anyone has ever told me. She may not know it, but her wings are growing in quite nicely too.

We don’t know it because we don’t remember, but we are angels entertaining one another. We are magically divine because the Source of the Spirit that we come from is the most of all magically divine creatures to exist. The Spirit without creation, without birth, birthed us into forgetfulness to encourage one another to believe that we are all divine.

My, Sundays are always whimsical.