Sunday, July 6, 2014

Speaking My Peace

A few months ago I wrote a post about finding my true name, and what that meant to me. I then proceeded to change my name on all my social media outlets to send the message to everyone I know that I have indeed, changed my name. It didn’t catch. There were a few friends (including my immediate family)  that were faithful in using my new name, but I think the problem was that most people did not take me seriously. In a few worst cases, it may have been that people wanted to control me. To make sure that I stayed the same. To cling to who they thought I should be, rather than who I really am. Which brings me to the point of this post. Why do we want control over anyone other than ourselves?

Think about it. If someone disagrees with you on an issue that is close to your heart, depending on your personality you probably try to convince them to see things your way. If they refuse, you are sad or even angry. You want control over their opinions, because obviously if it is different than yours, it must be wrong. I have been guilty of this. I am also aware of it, and each time it happens, I stop myself, and realize that I am talking to another human being, who is no less important than myself. And I give them my respect. Or at least try to. There are a few people I have a very hard time respecting, because they emotionally abuse those closest to them, while maintaining a pleasant reputation with the rest of the world. I do not respect people like that, but I did give them a chance.

What we need to do is realize that there is room for everyone. No one has to be crowded out or walked upon. There is room for each person to stand upright and walk shoulder to shoulder. There is room for different beliefs and religions. There is room for those with no religion. There is room for everyone. Except those who think abuse is ok, and participate in it willingly. I’m not making room for those people, because in doing so I would be making room for them to continue abusing their fellow human.

Let’s be free. Let’s choose freedom for ourselves. I’m standing up, and I will always be myself. I believe the unconditional love that my parents poured into me is one of the reasons I have the strength to dig deep inside my core, and with eyes wide open, see who I really am. I think that when we stop hiding things from ourselves, and become fully honest with who we are and where we are, then we have uncovered the secret strength to a calm, inner peace.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Question I am Not Allowed to Ask

How old are you?

Now I know this sounds trivial, but it has somewhat bothered me over the years, as I was told not to ask a grown-up their age. I have always loved knowing ages, birthdays, and middle names of friends and family, or even people I just met.

Why is that not allowed? Why is it considered rude or obnoxious? Age is nothing to be ashamed of or hidden. In this culture, so many things are shamed, while youth and perfection are glorified. When I am very old and very wrinkly, will I be any less important that I am now? I think not. Will I be ugly? I don’t think so. I will look different, that is for sure. I won’t look as I do now.

I think it’s important to step out of the box that our culture has created for us. The box of thinking that worth is tied to beauty, and that beauty is only what you see on in magazines or on tv.

I have 5 more months to be in my twenties, and at first I hated the thought of turning 30. But now I am learning to love it and embrace it, and look forward to it. I plan to feel the same way when I turn 40, 50, 60, 70, and so on. Love your age. You are beauty.

I wrote this during a write-in with Story Sessions. The title is the prompt I was given.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I would put Flowers on your grave

This is long. This happened several months ago. I needed to write it to help me process it.

"It's ok sweetie, mommy will be back for you soon" The grooming salon assistant spoke these words to Daisy as she gently tugged the reluctant canine toward the back room. Daisy looked up at me with her huge brown eyes wishing she could just stay with me. I quickly turned and walked away. It was just a bath. I wasn't being mean to her, but it still always hurt a little to leave her like that. I squared my shoulders and pushed the door open and walked through the store, and out the double sliding doors. I didn't like it when they called me Daisy's mommy. It never felt right. She wasn't my daughter. It wasn't like that. She was my friend. My companion, and, if ever the need arose, I knew she would be my protector.

She was intuitive like that. If I felt nervous or surprised around someone, she would start barking and growling, letting them know she would not allow them to mess with me, her friend. Sometimes she got a little confused, wanting to attack anyone who showed up at the door unexpectedly, but she always let me restrain her at those times.

Daisy was not perfect. She was a dog, and had some habits that I wished she wouldn't continue with. I'm not going to list those imperfections. I don't want to. I want to remember all the good things, like how she would lay calmly on the floor while my toddler climbed all over her. She endured her ears being tugged, being sat upon, and even allowing herself to be pulled by the collar by kids so small she could easily have pulled away. I think she secretly adored the attention from the little ones. She often reminded me of 'Nana' on Disney's Peter Pan. In the evenings she would curl up on my feet while I watched tv. Her companionship meant so much to me.

Daisy was about 10 and 1/2 years old. She started slowly eating less and less. I tried switching to canned dog food. Tried to tempt her with all sorts or treats. She wasn't interested. When she began vomiting up almost everything she ate, I took her to the vet. They said it was probably acid reflux. In my heart I knew that she was dying, but I wanted to believe them, so I gave her the meds they prescribed. That didn't work. I took her back to the vet, and they took some x-rays.

That evening the 5 of us went to go pick her up from the vet and hear about the results. I knew that it would be severe, and that we would be saying goodbye soon. We waited in an examination room. We probably waited about 30 minutes, and the kids were getting restless. someone finally came and led us to the back. I had already talked to the kids about the likely possibility of losing Daisy. We were prepared for what they were going to tell us.

The Veterinarian showed us the x-rays. There was a large mass in her chest area. She said it was mostly likely cancer, and that it was very advanced. They could operate, but the chances were slim. I was ready for this. I knew this would be the outcome. I also knew Daisy was old and worn out, and that any procedures would just prolong her suffering. I started to speak, I said she needed to be put to sleep, but that we would like to take her home for a day to love on her. I wasn't able to get all that out. Instead, I began sobbing hysterically. I was holding my 2 year-old, and I hugged him tightly and walked as fast as I could. I had to get outside! No one is supposed to see me cry!

I nearly bumped into 2 people, and then finally made it through the labyrinth and out into the fresh air, still sobbing. Then Love showed up. It took the form of a small older lady with grey hair. She set down her box of canned food, and wrapped her arms around me. She started crying too. She said she had just said goodbye to her dear pet, but it was more like losing a family member. I nodded and tried to thank her through my tears. She understood. She just held me and knew. Jon and the other 2 kids joined us after a couple minutes. Lacey had tears in her eyes as she came over to hug me. Simon was worried because I was crying so much.

I began feeling calm, and the lady asked my name. I told her and then she said she would not forget, and that she would pray. She got in her car after giving me one more hug, then drove off with a wave of farewell. I will never forget her.

We took Daisy home that weekend, so that we would have a couple more days to cuddle her and tell her how much we love her. I don't know if that was the right decision or not. By Sunday, she could barely stand, and was in so much pain and misery. We called a local shelter and they said they would put her to sleep that day, if we brought her in.

All 6 of us piled into the van. I sat in the very back, on the floor. I held Daisy close and baptized her with tears of a thousand sorrows. Lacey cried with me. She understood. When we got there, Jon took Daisy in the fill out paperwork. I sat in the van with the kids, the tears just never stopping. I sent Jon a text telling him I really felt like I should be there with Daisy, so he came out to take care of the kids, and I went inside to meet death.

They led me into a small grey room, with an old blanket on the floor. Then they led Daisy in. I sat on the floor, and pulled Daisy next to me. They gave her a shot to make her sleep. She slowly collapsed next to me, and I hugged her close, telling her the whole time how much I loved her, and how wonderful she is. Then they gave her the next shot. The fatal one. The one that stops the heart and invites death.

I sobbed loud and hard. I hugged her so tightly. goodbye, Daisy. I will see you again when the world is perfect...

Artful Travels

So,  it's been awhile. This will be short. Things have been busy, I've been unmotivated, ect. I went on my first cruise. I liked some of it. Not all of it. I discovered that I sleep really well on a moving boat, and that eating dinner on one of the lower decks while the ship is moving quickly makes me feel sleepy and slightly nauseated. I also learned that I am kick-ass at haggling. It's over. I'm home. I want to travel more, but not by cruise ship. The End.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Finding My True Name

Have you ever considered that the name you were given at birth isn't your true name? What if there is a 
name, hidden deep inside you,that comes from your core, from who you really are. No one can know what is 
deep within you more than you yourself can.  A wise and ever-knowing friend counseled me to consider these thoughts, and by doing so, she helped me to give myself permission to find my true name.

As soon as I opened that door, a name came bursting in like the wind, and settled itself into my mind. I 
don't think it's supposed to happen that fast, I told the name. The name ignored my protest and stayed put. 
Fine, I will consider you, I said to the name. Working hard to keep an open mind, I started off on a walk a 
few days later. This was also at the suggestion of my friend, from something she had recently read.
I was supposed to take a contemplative walk, and consider whether God was giving me a new name, or 
rather, revealing my true name.Instructions were also to look for a stone, and write the name on it.

Well I walked. I tried hard to empty my mind of the tangled thoughts and intrusive name that had already 
settled there. I prayed, then I gave up and just decided to slow my determined steps and enjoy the beauty 
all around me. As I was on the last stretch of the walk, I started thinking about my miscarriage, and my 
beloved daughter that was lost to me. Tears threatened to spill, but I rapidly blinked them back as a couple
 of people walked by. I had planned on naming my daughter Evangeline River, if she had been born. 
Instead, I only gave her the name River, because she flowed away from me.

But Evangeline was the name that had burst through my mind's door when I opened it. What if...

swallowed and tried to grasp
this mind-blowing concept. What if when her body died, her soul became bound to mine, in this life. What if she never really left 
me, but together we are...I am...Evangeline.

As these intense thoughts were swirling around, I had been kicking a large pebble along without realizing it. I suddenly stopped,
quickly drawing in a gasp. I picked up the stone. It was just big enough to write the name on it. There were no other stones in sight.

In fact, I hadn't seen any others the entire walk. Suddenly I felt lighter. Free-er. I continued on and headed home. My steps 
were light and full of joy. So from now on I am:

Evangeline grace Nathan

I plan on legally changing my name before too long, and yes, I have read up on the process. I may write more later on this subject, and include some other deep reasons for changing my name....or I might not. I might choose to keep those to myself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

prompted by poetry

It is the dirt beneath my feet
where the rocks and soil meet

Staring down, wanting peace
sound and pain and fear increase

rhythms STRONG, patterns Bold
breaking thoughts I tried to hold

Shifting heart, balance strands,
words the map to peaceful lands.

This is because of  Story Sessions, more specifically, the 40 days of art journaling that I am taking part of within story sessions. I drew the word Poetry today out of a bunch of words that we were given as prompts for each day. We were also encouraged to take a walk and see where the word we had drawn would take us. #ssartjournal

Friday, March 7, 2014

She Belongs

         She sat on her bed, arranging each stuffed animal in its place. They each had their special place to sit, and they each belonged. She stared deep into their eyes. "I know you can talk", she told them. "I just don't know why you don't trust me enough to talk in front of me. Maybe God will make them talk to me." She thought. So she prayed: "dear God, if my toys can really talk, please make them talk to me now, so I know it's true." She opened her eyes and stared at her stuffed animals. Nothing. They remained motionless and quiet. "fine, but I still know you can talk. You can't fool me." She knew it deep down, and things that she knew deep down could not be swayed by a single, failed attempt at communication. Nothing could touch her inside. Deep inside, she was safe and accepted, because God lived there. At breakfast she informed her older sisters that she knew the meaning of a certain word. It was a big word, and complicated for one so young. They did not believe her, so they insisted she describe the meaning to them. She refused. She knew the meaning of the word, and by holding it safe in her heart, and not proving herself to her sisters, she knew that she had power...that she was power, and that their unbelief could not touch that.

          She was hungry. She was always hungry it seemed, and always wanting a snack. Her stomach stuck out when she walked, mostly because she slouched. Her hair was short because she had asked her mother to cut it like a boy's hair. She wished she was a boy. Her sister joined her in their room and plopped down on the bed next to her. "I heard something that I probably shouldn't tell you." Her sister informed her.
"You have to tell me!" She demanded. "now."
"Well..." Her sister began. "I overheard dad talking to mom, and he said you were getting kind of chubby. He's wrong, though! You aren't fat at all."
Her insides felt like they were plummeting, and suddenly she knew. She knew she was ugly. She knew she was chubby. She knew she wasn't good enough anymore. She wasn't a lovely little girl anymore. She was just...ugly.

The Lie: You Don't Matter. You don't matter to the world, to those around you. You know you are loved by God, but you don't know that anyone else could love you. Like, only a Mother could love you. Only your Mother God.

"The adults walk above me. Children look up and see me."

          She sat on the carpet floor in her bedroom, head bowed, clutching her diary to her chest, and listening to the voices talking and laughing downstairs. The family had company over. Tears silently ran down her cheeks and dripped off her nose. She was hiding, hoping beyond hope that someone would miss her and come ask her to join them, because she was important too, and her words mattered. No one came. No one ever did. She knew the truth. She knew her voice couldn't carry the weight anymore. Maybe it's time to end it. To end her. Why was she here, if no one needed her anymore. If no one cared enough to find her. Something was wrong. She was fading away. Her words of "I love you" and the way she tried to catch their eyes...failed. Somehow her voice was never heard. Somehow she was too often overlooked. Caught in the cracks of not being old enough and also being too old. She wanted to leave. To end this life that didn't seem to matter. She opened her diary and wrote: Hold, me God. I'm fading away, and you're the only one who cares. Why should I stay?


Hello, little grace. I whisper to the little girl sitting on her bed with her stuffed animals. She looks up and smiles at me. I'm lost. I came to you because you are not lost. Do you know why I am lost?
"Yes." She says confidently. "it's because you forgot you are an artist. A genius artist! You make things prettier." Yes. You know this. You don't doubt, and you are right. I told her. She look thoughtful for a moment. "Does my dream come true?"
Which dream is that?
"Do I get my own baby, and it calls me mommy?"  My heart warmed, and I felt my whole self glowing from within.
You get three. 
She beamed at me, and picked up a teddy bear and gently started rocking and singing.

Linked up with The Girls We Once Were

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Love in Art

           Lately it feels like everything is pressing in on me from all sides, and soon I may just implode from the pressure. I fight, and take deep breaths to keep myself whole and in control. There are moments when I feel completely free and light. Those moments come when I am creating. I recently finished painting and re-upholstering our dining room chairs. I also painted the table. I have a sewing project I pick up and put down when I feel like it. My art journal is always there waiting for me. Last night I started making a mosaic on a round kitchen table. It's going to be gorgeous.

I think sometimes that if I can create enough beauty, then maybe some of the ugliness in the world will be cast out. It just won't have a place anymore and will have to leave. Each beautiful thing I create is like turning on a light in a pitch black sky scraper. It seems daunting to fill the entire building with light, but room by room, I have to believe it can be done. Although, maybe some rooms are meant to be left dark. Darkness can be warmth and rest. Renewal. It isn't all oppressive.

When I create art, I feel Love right there with me. Inspiring me, and sometimes guiding me. It's like each thing I create is a mission I've been given, and when I'm done, it's complete and whole, and I feel more complete and whole. It's healing.

I think that everyone has hurt and pain in their past and in their present, and in their future. For me, when I've been hurt, it feels like a small piece of me has been taken away, as if I'm a puzzle. So I'm not whole anymore. When I desire to create something, and I fulfill that desire, it feels like I get one puzzle piece back. I'm one step closer to being whole, or at least you can tell what picture I'm trying to show you, even if some pieces are still missing.

When I paint, each stroke of the brush is like an empty riverbed, opening up a channel for the negative emotions to flow out. When I sew, each stitch that pulls a seam together is also connecting the rational thoughts with the irrational feelings, bringing them together to form sense and clarity. Each piece I glue down, every line or swirl that I draw, each strip of tape, smattering of color, and each word I write. They all flow together to continue in the creation of me. Love formed my soul, the canvas, and then handed me the paint and the brush.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I am ready for….

I am ready for….

I’m ready for the world to hear me. I’m ready to stand up and speak the words of my heart. The words that were formed within me, and were waiting to be birthed. I will not be silenced, my story will be told. I know that people will try to “fix” me, and think that I am lost. I know that they will tell me I’m wrong, and have a million and one bible verses to jab into my forehead with tacks, as if I am merely an empty corkboard, needing to be filled with reminders of who they think I should be.

This will not stop me. No one can. Because I am ready. It is time to take off my cloak and reveal the wings on my back that have been hiding for too long, folded up against my skin. Unused. Useless.

I am ready for the bridges, the connections that will be made in revealing my stories, and I am ready for many of the old bridges to be torn down, so that I cannot be invaded by attacking forces.

This doesn’t mean that I am now invincible, and that I will be free from hurt feelings and the pain of my very self being rejected by others. It means that I’m ready to deal with all of that. Sometimes it will hurt a lot, but most times...I will remember that this is good. Because I will be able to breathe huge, deep breaths, no longer chained or boxed up, but free.

I’m ready to be who I am, who I need to be in every moment. I’m not the same. I am always changing. I will not be defeated when too many challenges threaten to beat me down.  I will rise up! I am strong. What I am doing is what is right for me. No one else has to approve. Only me and god. Only me and Love.

Where is he calling you to risk right now?

Relationships? Maybe He’s calling me to risk relationships. To test them, see if they can withstand the barrage of truth, emotions, and life! To see if friendships will last when my friends see the real me. All of me. The me who no longer nods and smiles when people talk to me about things I totally disagree with, but the me who says “I hear you, but I don’t agree, and that’s ok, because we don’t have to be the same to stay friends.”

What am I really risking? Am I really so close to those people I call friends that I will miss them if our friendship ends? Or am I really risking my vulnerable heart. My feelings.

To stand tall, like a tree on the top of a mountain seems like risking everything, but in reality, maybe it’s not as much of a risk as I thought. Maybe I forgot that I have roots. Roots that go down so deep that I cannot be torn down or blown away by the hot air blasted at me by those who think that since we disagree, I must be severely wrong.

Is he calling me to risk, or is he calling me to dance? To sway with the cool breeze he sends me, and let my branches dance and sway in the wind. Not weak, as some might perceive swaying to be, but strong because of flexibility. Not stiff and steadfast in the wind, coming ever closer to the breaking point, but instead gently leaning and bending, refreshing my view of the world from each angle the wind guides me to.

I wrote this in response to the writing prompts given to me during a write-in with Story Sessions. It was my first write-in, and I loved it! I came away feeling refreshed and loved.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Why I no longer attend church

So, I know a lot of people wonder why I don't go to church anymore. I know I don't have to explain myself, but I'd like to be able to let my friends know, so they can understand me better.

When I go to church I feel like god is in a box there. I feel like it's all closed up, and that I am expected to follow a set of rules, and behave a certain way. I don't like that. I don't like identifying with just christians. Since stepping away from church I am realizing that I can find god in unexpected places. Did you know he's sometimes in the movie theater? I met him there yesterday. I also found him at panera yesterday morning. He met me there for coffee. I heard him talking when a teenage boy spoke fondly of his younger brother. I felt his arms around me when my son ran up and hugged me. I saw him smile when the sun came out. I heard him laugh when a little girl told her grandfather a joke.

I don't believe that the bible is 100 percent true. I don't take it all literally, but churches and churchgoers do. I don't like sitting for 30 minutes listening to one man's opinion on a passage in the bible. I don't like singing songs praising america, and I don't like singing lame songs that have wimpy lyrics and melodies. I'm a musician, so I know quality music when I hear it. I'm also a poet so I know the beauty found in words, and I can see the lifelessness in cheap songs that are cranked out one after another. I have heard songs I like in church, but that is the exception, not the rule.

The reality of it is, I don't like who I was when I was a churchgoer. I think because that wasn't really me. That was someone who was squashed into a chevron patterned box, with a hot pink ribbon tied to keep it closed. Perfectly dreadful. I cut up that ribbon and burned the box. I couldn't breathe inside of it, and even though I still felt god there, it kind of hurt, because I'm not square-shaped, and I thought he wanted me to be.

Turns out he doesn't! I happen to have an hourglass shape, and god, my love, thinks I am beautiful. I'm able to meet him everywhere because I'm not folded up and in pain inside that box anymore. I can think and see more clearly, and I can also question everything under the sun! I don't have to have answers all the time, but I love asking questions. Kind of like a child.

It's funny, because I know that some people who read this will be somewhat pissed that I didn't capitalize god. They might think I'm going to hell because I think I'm all that. Seriously, that is funny.  I'm not afraid of god, and I never will be. I adore him, because he adores me. I respect him too, but that's because he respected me first, and to me respect=love. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be right now. I may not ever return to traditional church, and that's not wrong. It's just right. For me. Because god? He's all I need.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

PANVOCANTA (unfinished)

Paint the words of the
world from that place
in your heart
Where the healing begins
and the restoration starts.

In the vast chasmic 
depths of the turning
of the earth.
Seeing beauty make holy
revealing our worth.

Placing hands over wounds
that were hiding
in the dark.
Speaking pain with our lips
where our skin still bears the mark.

There is hurt there is
fear in the moving 
of the crowd.
So be still and you'll hear
All The Voices Singing loud.

Inspired to share this because of a prompt in the Story Sessions group I am a part of.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Claiming the Tornado

Recently I feel as if my life has been tossed into a tornado, and I'm spinning around and around just trying to catch my breath, find my balance, and spread my wings to fly within the mess. I've had discussions with people close to me about how I don't don't believe everything in the bible is 100% accurate and true. I don't base my whole life on a book. Hey, there's a lot of wisdom to be found in the bible. But really, if the God I worship really ordered whole cities to be destroyed (and that means sweet babies and chubby toddlers), then I can't follow a god like that. I believe in a God of Love, and Love doesn't destroy. It's not its nature. And that is simply one example of so many things I have a problem with in the bible.

Love nurtures, builds, creates, protects, and uplifts. God is Love. God is not death. I have stepped away from the bible and gained clearer understanding. I am also learning that my journey looks different from yours, and maybe you don't believe the same thing as me, but that's ok. Accept me as I am. I accept you as you are. We are each on our own paths. Sometimes those intersect, sometimes they go parallel, and sometimes they go in opposite directions.

 That doesn't mean one of us is evil, and the other is good. I'm human, so of course I wish you saw things the way I do, and it hurts when you don't. These feelings are real and I won't pretend they don't exist. I think you feel the same way. We are human, we do feel things deeply, especially rejection. It doesn't have to mean rejection. I'm learning how to live maybe a little more gently, and let those around me be themselves (as if they need my permission). I'm also always going to be true to myself. No hiding and pretending that I'm "good," that I have it all figured out. Because the truth is, no one has it all figured out.

So, instead of thrashing and screaming within this tornado that is spinning me head over heels and round and round, I'm spreading me wings and gliding on the current to see where it takes me, but also to take control of myself.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Finding My Outlet

Ok, so I had heard about art journaling sometime last summer from Jamie. She told me it might be a good outlet because I was skyping her and talking about how I needed to create stuff, but it was hard because we were on the road a lot. I think I was skyping her from Boston, at the time. Or maybe somewhere in Maryland....can't remember. Anyway, I forgot about it for awhile because it didn't seem to make much sense to me.

Not too long before Christmas I met my friend Brittany at a Panera Bread, and she had been art journaling. She showed me the one she had with her, and I was immediately in awe and inspired! There's no right or wrong with art journaling. It can be perfect, or imperfect. Crazy or serious. Whatever mood you're in, and whatever emotion needs to come out. This is now my outlet. I repurposed an old and huge diaperbag and put all my art stuff in it. I now have an art journal, and I add something to it at least once a week, but my day doesn't feel complete unless I open it and look at the heart within. Almost every Sunday morning you will find me at my local Panera, art journaling and drinking coffee. Come join me sometime.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This is My Story, and I Will Not Be Silenced.

Fuck. Fuck shit damn blast crap, and hell! Ok, now I can begin.

This is my story. A story about how I was naive, trusting, and foolish. A story about how I got hurt because of that, and a story about how I lost faith, and gained freedom.

It begins with an end. A life ended. My baby's life. She only lived for 7 weeks inside of me, and then she left me. People were so kind and loving at the church we attended. I hated it. I didn't want kindness. I didn't want support. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to leave. I wanted to run. So we did.

We moved to FL. We quickly found a church there that seemed ok, although my gut feeling was that something was just sort I ignored that feeling because I wanted my kids to have stability. To have friends. I didn't want to drag them from church to church looking but never finding the perfect one. That happened to me. When I was just a kid. It wasn't fair. So we stayed there

. I got pregnant again, and this time I knew my baby would stay with me. The ladies in the church threw me a nice baby shower. I felt special, and even though they kept me at arm's length, I felt loved. I easily trusted. The trouble began when I gave birth and returned home. We came to church, excited to show off our newest family member. We were welcomed, and baby was properly swooned over

. As time moved on people began to notice me and my baby. They began to notice that I didn't always go to the nursing room to nurse him, but instead innocently sat down and lifted my shirt wherever there happened to be an available seat. After all, he was hungry, and I wanted to continue being involved in conversations.

One evening, we showed up at a friend's house who was hosting small group, and he offered to put a chair in his bedroom where I could nurse my baby if I needed to. I said no thanks, I'll just nurse him wherever I happen to be sitting. He flushed a bright red and said how that might bother people. I told him that's too bad. I nurse my baby wherever I happen to be, and that they will just have to accept that. He let it go. A few weeks later at another small group meeting we were all seated around a large table. My baby was hungry, so I started to feed him. I looked up and noticed the associate pastor's wife glaring at me with truly evil eyes. I had no idea why. I thought that was so weird. After small group ended she immediately left and went to go sit in her van. I noticed her sitting there staring at me as we walked out to our car later on.

A couple days later she sent me an email, saying she wanted to talk to me about a 'sensitive' issue. I wrote back and told her sure, how about we meet at panera sometime this week. She wrote back and said no, that won't work for her

. Later on she suggested that we meet at church right before the service. I was like, hey, sure, why not? When we got to church that morning she led me to the pastor's office since it was empty. She had another young mom and her baby meet with us as well. Together they began to tell me about how they'd had complaints about my feeding my baby in front of people. They told me how I needed to cover up so that I would not cause my brothers to stumble. I started seeing red. I felt like they just hit me in the face with a brick.

WTF??? I was so angry, so hurt. I felt so betrayed! First of all, people were complaining to her about me? Why not talk to me directly? I looked her in the eyes and told her no, I will not cover up. So she said I was being selfish, and not considering how my brothers might stumble. I told her no, that they need to see more women nursing their babies because it's lovely and natural. I said I know you think I'm sinning, but I'm not. She gasped! "sinning! I didn't say sinning, did I? She looked at the other woman in the room. I answered for her.
"no, you didn't use that word, you implied it."

She quickly moved on to talk more about using a nursing cover. Once again, I refused. SHe couldn't believe that I was refusing. She looked me in the eyes and it was a fight of wills. I have a very strong will. She got nowhere.

THe whole time I was shaking on the inside, while remaining steady and firm on the outside. I knew she was wrong. She even told me that she loved me, and that she was trying to help me. I have never felt less loved. I don't think she knows Love. Love doesn't act like that. Love doesn't try to change you or control you.

When the meeting was over I stood up. Smiled a very fake smile, and said goodbye. I walked out and found my husband and kids. I told my husband "We are leaving, and we are never coming back."

So we left. I no longer like church. I've seen how it's so full of fake people who pretend to love you. People who preach from the bible and have it all memorized, and who want you to live like you were in bible times, only if we really did that then I would have several sister-wives or I might be a prostitute or just a very violent person. They would also have a special title. Pharisee. You know, those ‘bad guys’ in the bible who Jesus was always telling off because they had so many rules? Yeah, them. So here I am. I've been hurt. I healed a little, but it still hurts. I never knew what a 'trigger' was until this. I'm shaking as I write. I shake when I talk about this, and I'm going to admit something. It scares me, and I fucking NEVER get scared.

But through this experience I have learned something important. I learned how to be free. I’m learning how to fly. Sometimes the memory of this threatens to steal the strength in my wings, but I won’t let it. Because of all this I have stopped reading the bible, and I’ve stopped going to church. I no longer call myself a christian because I am not one of them. But I have found someone. I found Love.

I can meet with Love anywhere. Love is the one who created us, and Love joins us together. If you look around you, Love is everywhere. You carry Love with you wherever you go, and you cannot get away from Love, because without Love you will not survive.

I am from Love.

When I pray, I pray to Love.