CW/TW Christian abuse of queer kids. Childhood abuse.
I probably should’ve written a blog post about this a while ago. Honestly? It’s not a place I like to go, it’s in the past and by all that I hold precious I wish it would stay there.
But SINCE I’m already there, and it’s Monday, I’ll talk about it.
First. A definition for anyone who needs it.
To be triggered is not to be made uncomfortable.
Here are a couple of places to look for further info… these are not, each, by themselves complete, because a trigger can be ANYTHING.
I had to run away from my social media just now with my skin covered in sweat, my heart rocketing a mile a minute and feeling like I’m about to scream or curl up into a self protective ball until the memories fade back to the slime covered pit of my subconscious.
I can taste the dust of the Sunday school room. I can feel the way the pews felt. The nap of the carpet as it dug into my knees in the hours they made me kneel… all of it. It’s with me again in ways that I haven’t experienced in a while.
What caused it? What caused me to be triggered (out of the fucking blue this time, I didn’t expect it, didn’t even KNOW it was a trigger).
A person apologized for the wounds their faith had done to me. A stranger in my mentions on Twitter. I get it, it’s not all Christians. I’m trying. It’s all I can offer, that I’m listening and trying.
Don’t apologize to me for the wounds your faith has done. FIX YOUR FAITH. Clean it up so other kids like I used to be aren’t wounded by it. (I guaran-damned-tee you someone is being hurt by your faith right now, probably in your own church.)
Don’t apologize. Saying you’re sorry to someone like me doesn’t help. It only hurts.
I haven’t yet (screamed) but I might… still. As I often do, I turn to writing as a method to self-soothe and expunge these memories and emotions.
An apology triggered me. Even if it was meant in good faith (and I believe it was) it triggered me.
You read me right.
A bit of background, since I’m already sitting in OMFG memories I didn’t need to revisit today-ville.
I was raised very poor, and very religious in the Adirondack mountains of upstate NY.
The Adirondacks, when they were stolen from the Kanien’kehá:ka, Mahican & Abenaki, (and others) were settled mostly by Scots, English, and Irish settlers coming up from the south and later, escaped slaves (which is why even though a lot of people look white in upstate NY? They really aren’t.) It’s also why many people born and raised to the area have southern accents. They’ve stuck through the generations.
The settlers and escaped slaves brought their faith with them. Christianity.
It’s an odd sort of Christianity, for sure, because a LOT of the people I was raised with would now be considered ‘Christian witches’ even though I had it rammed into my head that horrible phrase about witches that I can’t even make myself write (and is a mistranslation by the way).
So 30 some odd years ago, I lived in a small town (tiny, we’re talking less that 300 people and that spread out over the mountains) the ONLY social centers were church and the local bars.
Lol, there were as many bars as churches, if that tells you anything.
There wasn’t any such thing as internet and the library was almost an hours drive away.
My mom was uber-religious. Like… I don’t even know how to find words to express that. She’d probably argue the fact, but she really was. (Still is, considering she completely rejected me after the Frumilstiltskin election because I wouldn’t shut up and she wouldn’t accept she’d done anything wrong, her faith and clinging to her perceived rightness ended up being more important than her eldest child.)
We went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, (not for, like an hour, for the whole evening on W and the whole damned day on S) I’d been baptized three times by the time I was 11 (and from everything I know, I think it’s only supposed to need to be done once??)
I grew up, absolutely convinced I was going to hell because I’d been born a girl.
My mother’s friends were all, arguably, more religious than she was, because she doesn’t quite pass as far as the whole ‘looks white’ thing goes. (She wasn’t ever accepted because Jesus was WHITE you know. Eyerolls.)
So when my first sexual experience was with the minister’s daughter, you can damned well bet we didn’t tell anyone.
Odd to think I didn’t actually KNOW it was possible to live a free and open life as who you are, all of who you are until I was in my early 20’s in University and I met my first openly gay couple.
When I had my first real crush on someone, it wasn’t on a guy. No, I never told anyone that either, because even though I didn’t ‘know’ what would happen to me… well. I knew how strictly my church stuck to scripture.
The Christian cross is a trigger for me. You try being beaten with a belt in front of it and see what kind of effect it has on your psychological health.
Try being in a Sunday school room and taunted, yelled at, screamed at and in other ways psychologically traumatized because you asked why Adam and Eve had belly buttons and why, if Jesus existed, he wasn’t black because people from the area he supposedly lived in very likely would have been. Why… if Christ was born in December, why isn’t there much if any reference of cold/snow on the ground in the bible? (It does, rarely, snow in Jerusalem in December.)
Remember I’ve mentioned that I’d read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica by the time I was nine. I wasn’t joking. I loved maps too, and thinking about things.
I think I was 10 when I asked that question. Hunh… lol, maybe that’s why they baptized me so much, I kept asking questions? It was the old fashioned kinda baptism too, creepy white dress, bent over backwards in a gods fucking cold mountain stream.
Enough of that though.
Because I’m autistic and because I’m queer… (that ended up coming out, of course…)
I have HUGE TRAUMA RELATED ISSUES REGARDING CHRISTIANITY. I’m not going into the rest of it.
I refused to go near the church anymore after around the age of sixteen or so? So I did get out. It didn’t change living with a Christian parent, in a very Christian town.
It didn’t change what had already happened.
Christian holidays and their ever-present being shoved down my throat is also a trigger for me. I do my best to avoid it, just like I avoid the cross as best as I can. (I live in North America… it’s REALLY HARD to avoid.)
Knowing they are triggers helps me, because I know how much I can take, how I’m likely to react and I know when I need to find a safe escape route IRL. I know when I have to ask people to stop talking about it or when I need to stop taking part in a discussion online.
I do not want or expect people to stop showing their faith. (I mean, hell, it’d be nice if Christmas weren’t shoved down my throat from July to January, but I can deal/self-care, I’ve been through therapy.)
I know which times of year I need to stop being so active on social media (guess when?!)
I know which people of Christian faith are safe for me to follow on social media, and I know which ones aren’t. Because I do, in my heart, KNOW it’s Not All Christians. Here’s a clue for you, if it says in your bio you’re Christian, a Warrior for Christ or a Jesus-lover? I’m extremely unlikely to follow you back until you’ve proven you’re safe because I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE SAFE ONES.
If every one of your posts on social media includes prayer, or pray or a reference to a verse (with my eidetic memory, I probably remember more than you do anyway, unless you’re also so blessed/cursed.) You’ve got an unfollow coming up fast.
The unsafe ones have already caused me enough damage thank you very much.
Look, I get it. I’m happy you have a faith, I have one too. But faith is a lot like having a penis, don’t shove it down my throat without asking me first, hunh?
Knowing all of that doesn’t change my damage, or my triggers.
It doesn’t change how very blind-sided I feel by this one.
Just be aware, please, that unless you HAVE triggers (regardless of what they are) you probably don’t understand how badly they can affect people. That your words have power that you may have no idea about.
Especially if the person you’re talking to is Queer, North American and you’re talking about Christianity.
Oh, and fun fact to blow your minds. The Christian church used to openly and joyfully marry queer folks, right up until the middle ages.
Stick that in your craw and smoke it, then go fix your faith so no other kids are hurt like I was.
Boswell: Same sex unions in Premodern Europe
Freke/Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries