Monday, January 12, 2009

Mommy Dearest

Hi, my name is Shannon, and I do not want to be a mother.

From the reaction I usually get from people, I would have to say that this is one of my most controversial stances. It's pretty funny if you ask me. People are always offended when I say things like, "No, I am just too selfish to be a mother." I really do not understand why.

If I were to do anything good for the universe, it would be to not procreate. You see, I'm a decent person. I abide by the law. I pay taxes. I try to stay away from credit card debt, but none of these things really mean I should have a child. In reality, I even have a tiny bit of a maternal instinct. That tiny bit is completely eclipsed by my knowledge of the absolute truth that I should not have children. I know me better than you do, so don't tell me that I will grow out of it or it is against nature for a young woman to not desire to have a child of her own. I hear of women that ache for a child, and that's wonderful. I am glad there are people in this world who truly love children. I'm glad that these people can ooh and awe for what seems like hours over the sight of a child spitting up on itself. What they call cute, I call nauseating.

Please, don't get me started on how I feel on pregnancy. I'm not a big fan of symbiotic relationships. Fetuses are the biggest and most popular parasites. I would rather not think of some life-form sucking my nutrients through a fleshy tube. This is the thing that gets me. People always tell me that there is no way a woman cannot truly desire being a mother. I do not see how hard this is to disprove. Either I am not a woman, or I really do want children. Considering, I would rather throw myself down a flight of stairs than actually carry a child to term; I'm thinking I really don't want children. Also, I have ovaries, and I shower with myself daily. If anyone knows that I'm a woman, it would be me. Let me guarantee you. I am a woman.

I guess all of this is brought on by me living with my brother. He has a beautiful three year old daughter and a striking one year old boy. I love them a lot, no really. When my niece was born I never thought I would really attach myself to her. Soon she had me eating out of her hand like a domesticated fawn. I adore her. This does not make me want to have one of my own. In fact, after about two hours with her I am usually ready to hand her back and say "Thanks, I'll call again in a couple months". I'm really not a monster. I think I was just born without that gene that made me want to give birth to anything.

Don't tell me I'm just young. Don't tell me I need to keep my internal organs intact.

I promise you. I know what I'm doing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The House of the Lord

Yesterday, for the first time in over a year, I went to church. This usually wouldn't be so monumental for me, considering I spent 19 years of my life solely dedicated to the church and its teachings. For some reason this time felt different. Two years ago, I had finally decided that the church was not filling the aching hole in my spiritual life. I haven't really looked back since. You see, even though I am haunted by the guilt of "forsaking fellowship with the brethren" that guilt is completely overshadowed by my disdain for organized religion

Two weeks ago when I moved to North Carolina I knew that church was in my distant future. My brother is the worship leader for a local church that is pastored by the same man who baptized me as an infant. This man is like a father to me. He has been with my family through its most tumultuous times and loves us despite our more than obvious flaws. I have nothing but respect for the man, even though his life is formed around something I don't quite agree with anymore. I promised both him and my brother that I would give the whole church thing a shot. I told them not to expect much. I am hoping they didn't.

I walked into the church at ten and instantly felt uncomfortable. Religious people would call that the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I call it bad memories and indigestion. People were all smiles, and some of them were barefoot. In my experience with charismatic churches, a barefoot sighting is bad news. That means there will be random acts of dancing and speaking in tongues. The sign was correct, for shortly after the music started people were prancing about with smiles facing towards the heavens. It wasn't too bad yet. After the music went from joyful celebration of God's love to intimate love songs of humanity's failure and desperation for Christ's forgiveness, it got a little messier. A woman stood up and started speaking in tongues loudly.Growing up in a "Spirit filled" church as a youth, I was taught this is the sign that you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. Now I feel like it is just a quick way to scare people out of the pews. A man started speaking as if the Lord was speaking through him. I tried not to be too cynical, but when the man used improper grammar, I couldn't help but think God would know better. Maybe God was just using day-to-day colloquialism. I was pretty sure the worst was over. The "Worship" time is usually the most uncomfortable for me. I figured I had made my way through the hardest part. I was wrong.

After the music slowed a man walked up and said the words I dreaded. "Now let us prepare for communion."My stomach dropped. Now, even though I am so permeated with heathenism that I can gladly write a post about my attitude towards organized religion, I don't have the balls to stand up to a centuries old ritual. All I could think of was how we were taught as children that you should only partake of the body and blood of Christ if you are cleansed and worthy. I shift in my chair, which might I add was quite comfortable for a plastic chair and stared down the elderly couple passing around the juice and bread several rows ahead of me. As they drew closer, I thought that maybe if I looked uninterested they wouldn't offer anything to me. This didn't work. The woman looked at me and smiled genuinely while holding out a plate filled with bread pieces. I half smiled and waved my hand. I'm sure I looked so terrible doing it. This wasn't even the worst part. The old man following her didn't see me shrug off his wife, so he came to me with the juice as well. I have to wave away two elderly people in one day. Both of them with completely honest smiles, and I'm sure kind hearts. I felt like a beast. I argued with myself about how I should have just taken the communion to be polite. I finally came to the conclusion that I made the right decision. What is offending two people when the alternative is supposedly offending God. After the communion was over I was sure that I was in the clear. The pastor was dismissing the children and then said "But before you stand up please be sure and speak a blessing over someone, even if you don't know them. Send them off with a blessing for 2009." I refuse to stand. I pretty much locked my ankles around the edges of the chair and dared anyone to look at me. Then a little hand touches me shoulder and this perky teen sits down beside me. I honestly couldn't understand what she was saying. She was so joyful. She was so peppy. She was so nervous. Not until she was almost done "blessing me" I noticed that I was probably scowling at her. Poor kid, she did have something nice to say though. She flitted away and I unlocked my ankles.

I felt defeated, and a little bit mean. I was ready to go home and maybe take a shot of something. Did I mention I was overdressed? As the children were being dismissed I noticed that I was of the 5% of people who weren't wearing jeans. I really just wanted to go home. The sermon was not applicable to me, as it was sort of a state of the church address. He did point out the new roster and there, right underneath my brother's name, was mine. Yes, Me. I was on this church's roster and this was the first time I had been there. The guy in front of me turns around and says "Hey, isn't this your first time. Why are you on the roster?" I smiled and said, "Guilt by association" I pointed to my brother and smiled in a way a Stepford wife would admire.

I cringed through the rest of the sermon and mingled for a few minutes after church was dismissed. I wandered around long enough to realize I was out of my league now. The smiles made me nauseated and the "Bless you's" made me feel empty. I tapped my sister-in-law on the shoulder and said I would see her at home.

"You not feelin' well?". Lori asked in her always pleasant voice."

"Nope. I am just overwhelmed."

I walked to my car and waived "bye" to people who love my family, and thus love me. I closed my door, and told myself I would not be doing this anytime soon. Church just isn't what it used to be to me.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


This is me trying to find a new home