The Elementals
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The Elementals

When God Blinks

January 26, 2020. I’m folding clothes while cursing at the sky. My heart is broken as I think of the irreplaceable and complicated legend we just lost along with 8 other souls, 3 of whom children. All I could think was about their futures. How we and they were cut short from seeing their stars rise. “You got this wrong”, I say as I continue folding. The clothes on my bed become metaphors of a busy, new constant: arguments with God.

Growing up, I was intrigued by the story of Job. Back then, my thinking and Sunday teachings leaned towards how massive of a being must you be for God to test you so harshly. The spin I heard most in church was losing one thing and gaining more and better equates to, even in grief and confusion, glory. As I’ve grown in both body and beliefs, the story has stopped sitting well with me, instead becoming a mark against Old Testament God and the ways in which he sought said “glory”. What amounted to a metaphysical pissing contest between two beings cost one man immeasurably. What of his afterstory? We are mainly left with Job receiving a new family, new riches, new fields and livestock. But what of old? Is he to just move on — the bonds made with his slain wife and children meaning nothing because “better” has arrived? Are these the mistakes we’re told can’t be possible? It’s reminiscent of the partner that breaks your bones, smashes your car windows, cracks your spirit. Because they love you. With flowers and a handful of dollars, all can and should be well, even forgiven. What was taken meant everything to Job, yet his feelings, in large part, go unacknowledged, with God answering Job’s legitimate statements of anguish and neglect with the B.C. equivalent of “you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym!”

When God gets it wrong.

I get into one-sided screaming matches at least once a quarter now. I sit behind the wheel or with my feet planted on my bedroom floor, face towards the ceiling railing about the latest thing that’s gone wrong. The unexpected death of a neighborhood child. A screen legend. A musical genius. The person that was never supposed to die. The tragedies that come with life never make room for their impact. They just hit, leaving us with the shells. We are told that battles come to the strongest soldiers, yet we aren’t taught truly how to fight. Just to endure, silently. To tarry. To quote. To accept. Because our brains can’t possibly understand the very real traumas set upon us. And we should be grateful that we’ve been chosen to suffer. The comfort allegedly comes from knowing all this will bring a reward. I ask, “to who? At what cost? This pyrrhic ass ‘victory’ brings glory to whomst?” The audacity to check someone else’s work is not lost on me. I know I’m stepping onto water that steams as I draw closer.

I sought my ancestors during a spiral. “What did we do wrong? Where down the line did someone create this pact that all of us must suffer?” There’s no worst sound than when heaven falls silent, when the directions for the lessons are expected to be utilized without incident, when the dues for the sins of the father are up to be collected. No further knowledge of why other than “it is written.”

When God Breaks

I think about how many people go to their graves with unsettled spirits and questions unasked. it’s unbecoming to question, damn-near blasphemous. I left organized Western religion — my baptist Christian upbringing — a couple years ago. I stood ten toes in my decision when I said live on our podcast that I no longer considered myself Christian. I talk to my ancestors more. I no longer center one way of relating and thinking. With that comes suffocating questions; thoughts that knock the wind out of you as you look back to perform a postmortem of an abusive relationship. My pastor, while deducing the expectations of jealousy and obedience required to accept this relationship, compared God to a “crazy” lover. The church shook with knowing smiles as high fives broke loose, familiar with that feeling, connecting over the shared understanding of “that” type of lOvE. We reminiscence on those times of smite, somehow looking back lovingly on abuse catered as tradition. We quote scriptures that to the outside ear sound like a God gone mad. We then defend the madness, stating he doesn’t mean it like that and that they’d need to know him to understand. Why is that someone we’d still want to know?

I’m purposefully ignoring those who would say I can’t say this. That by sharing these truths of mine I’ve committed Apostasy. Perhaps I have. As many of the teachings I was taught no longer hold true. Is a relationship not strong if it doesn’t bear pressure? At this point, I’m applying pressure that’s been long overdue. We are owed the time to be in our spaces without whimsy, without theatrics, without justification being demanded of us for the anger and disdain rising to the surface. It’s not enough to quote a text and hope for the best. What needs to happen is a reckoning. Because some of this shit is fucked up and I, in my humanity sans perfection, cannot be the only reason why.

When I and God Reset.

I can’t do it anymore. I can’t live by the by-laws, by the unspoken expectations, through the shadows and by this energy.

“You have to fix this.”

“This has broken us.”

“You owe us this.”

Having boundaries after abuse spreads across all relationships, including spiritual ones. For all I know, God played along with everyone else because it was convenient. Because it’s been par for the course for eons. That doesn’t make it right, and I should be able to expect more from a God that sees everything. Am I afraid of revenge after this? Yes. Because I’ve been raised to fear a vengeful God. I cannot seek the same revenge without harm. Religion, and from my experienced relationship, is a practice in learned helplessness; an exercise in trauma response. I’ve been socialized to bear as much as I can plus more. A drop cannot slip. I wish I had a word to tie this up in a bow. Something to denote a happy ending from this after-school special of a life so far. All I have is how I feel, what I know and what I’m doing now. Right now, that’s all that can be enough.



Sex. Power. Movement. Support. What elements move you? In The Elementals, we write about our core feelings to pull them to the surface.

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