Aug. 18, 2015
My first visit to church in two months this past Sunday is only part of my rebound from my rough summer.
Three posts ago, I wrote about all the recent challenges in my life this summer. It all started with my bout with pain in my left eye due to chronic eye dryness in late June. Also, around the same time my old car began failing, forcing me to take it to the shop for a sensor repair only to trade it in this past July. These two major challenges alone discouraged me from my novel writing during this time after making good progress through the better part of June.
My ambivalence towards church was my most difficult challenge of them all. Most notably, I stated my disgruntlement and hurt from my time in my college church, comparisons with my life to those of my cohort from college, and concerns with fitting in due to my race as reasons for my indecisiveness in continuing my Christian faith or not.
Faith is mainly the reason why I rebounded back into church. I once had a spiritual leader around my home. Now that this leader is no longer involved in the Church, I didn’t want to fall down into this person’s level because of similar scrapes with the Church. I realized that I have the choice to continue my faith even with the depressing stage of life that my former spiritual leader is in now.
I also realized that I was attributing too much of my discomfort with attending church to people in the Church who hurt or failed me in the past. For example, I keep fearing that I’m going to get hurt by a small group just because of the girl in college and her friends who hurt me as far back as three years ago. I have also attributed my fears of racism or racist attitudes too much from people in high school who hurt me. It’s like I keep thinking that just because people in my church are mostly white and I’m black, people might say hurtful things to me or about me like bullies “Sam” or “Than” once did. While these fears are very warranted, they are not entirely healthy.
I have been allowing past hurt or my own mistakes to control my mind, or influence my thinking, towards possible scenarios that may not even materialize. Also, I have realized recently that some issues with my race or my personality around other people are just unavoidable. I stand out as a young black man in a predominantly white church, and I am my own person. But, just because I’m different than most people around me doesn’t mean everyone else is going to be racist towards me or not want to associate with me just because I’m black.
One big part of my discomfort, however, is coupled with my desire for a relationship with a woman in the church. One of my big wants in life is to take care of woman, have a healthy relationship with her, be excited and happy with her, and, hopefully, raise a faith-based family with her. Unfortunately, there are two big problems with this want.
One is that I’m only attracted to people outside of my race (mostly white women and other races). With this problem, I face the challenge of traditional mating of two people of the same race: White tends to mate with white. Blacks with blacks. Plus, whites in my area tend to hold negative attitudes towards interracial mating, from the father forbidding his daughter to a white woman looking seemingly disgusted at a black man being attracted to her. My counselor reminded me of this cultural tradition two years ago when we discussed dating and race. On my walk back from his office that particular day, I wished I were dead. I wanted to die. I felt that I could never date someone who was different than me because I was black and the world around me was cruel. Lately, I’ve felt this discouragement as I go to my local church, see the women of my age around me who are white, and think “There’s no way they would ever feel attracted to me or want to walk with God with me because I’m black and we’re too different. She won’t trust me. She’ll think I’m creepy, scary, or evil just like those stupid girls in college.“
Over the past few years since, I still have little hope that I could meet a White woman, or a Latina, Native American, Indian, Russian, or Asian woman and take care of her someday. I want to marry someone who is different not just because I want something different and exotic than myself but because I want to break barriers and show that love between two people transcends skin tone. I also want to marry someone because I love them and I feel attracted to them, not just because society tells me I should only date someone who looks the same as me. With all that said, my counselor reminded me that, with whomever I may have children with, my children will have some dark complexion. But, why not? I would consider myself an agent of change if I am lucky enough to maintain a healthy Christian interracial marriage.
The second problem with my want is that it has often been misguided because of my chronic loneliness and body image discomfort in my adolescence. So, my way of coping has been obsessing and trying to force myself into a woman’s life. This has never yielded my desired outcome. My counselor has said that I have been trying to make things happen on my own and not allowing God to work or to guide me to whomever I’m best suited to take care of.
Although I have this big want for a relationship with a woman, I do keep telling myself how lucky I am that I am still single for several reasons. One is that taking care of a woman or any other person will take money. With this crappy year I have had with my car and my dreadful career path right now, money is something I have little to offer. Another reason is that I still haven’t left my parents’ nest because of the money issue. So, if I can’t take care of myself financially at this point, taking care of a woman and being financially responsible for her looks unrealistic (God, I hope this changes real soon.). Thirdly, I’m happy I still have free time to pay on my college loans and, hopefully, go back to school in my early 30s (hopefully late 20s) so I can get another degree and enter a better career that will allow me to take care of a woman and a family. Finally, I’m happy I still have time to work on me. I’ll humbly deny that I am mature. I think there’s always room for me to mature and gain wisdom from my new experience in my post-college years. I still have social skills I could improve on as well because I didn’t have playmates when I was young or friends during my teen years.
Now that I’ve ranted enough about my dry and sorry social life, I can share a little bit other things going on in my life:
♥ Forget about BG
I have made the decision to only visit Bowling Green if I am invited. I only have two friends / colleagues from college who I can talk to. At this point, I no longer feel that BG or the college church I once was affiliated with is a welcoming environment for me. Part of it is my own doing by constantly spouting off my frustration with that church on Facebook. The other part is by how certain people have treated or perceived me. For example, there was that girl who disrespected me over an innocent card and her frustration that I was so afraid to talk to her. (Today, I still get pissed thinking about the words she texted me while I bit my talk and restrained my rage.) Then, there was a girl who was friendly to me at the Colorado retreat two years ago but then gave me a long scornful glare when I visited a church service in January. It is also tough for me to drive three hours just see two people but refuse to be involved in a church I hold in contempt.
♥ Silent Treatment
Because of my ambivalence with the Church, I have refused to speak to God over the past two months. I have not journalled, prayed, or read any Scripture just because I have been upset with God. It seems like I keep getting hurt, other people around me are enjoying their successes, and God has done nothing to bring justice or joy to my life. It’s kind of hard to talk to someone whom you feel is allowing you to get bad breaks.
At this point, I have delayed my story writing so I can develop my characters first. I want to give, mainly, the supporting characters depth and purpose so that the story won’t be solely focused on the relationship between two main characters. This has been challenging. I also want to work on the plot so it isn’t messy, or sloppy.