On Religion

There are not many things I can think of that upset me more than religion. And here, I draw a distinction between a person’s spirituality, which doesn’t bother me at all, and the institutionalization of faith. The former is something everyone is entitled to, the latter is, historically, the greatest force of control, division, and the subversion of free thinking in the world. I don’t know much about other religions than Christianity, so I won’t speak to practices of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.

Second big distinction here, I consider Catholicism and Protestantism to be denominations of Christianity, not separate religions. Lets think about it a bit. The Protestant Bible has 66 books, whereas the Catholic Bible has these 66 plus 7 additional. The Catholic Church recognizes the Pope as its leading authority, and views the forgiveness of sins as within the purview of priests through the Sacrament of Penance (confession). Furthermore, Mary, mother of Jesus, is viewed as without sin and worshipped accordingly (as are many of the Saints, though not sinless). There ya go, those are the major differences. Both Catholics and Protestants believe in Jesus as the immaculately conceived Son of God, who was crucified and resurrected to pay for the sins of humanity. Both celebrate Communion (though for whatever reason in my experience Catholic parishes always use wine whereas Protestant churches always use grape juice – not sure if that’s actually a thing or just what I’ve seen). There are some minor theological differences, ie baptism, transubstantiation, Purgatory, etc., but when you look at the salvation of your soul, (which is supposed to be the main goal anyways), the beliefs of both Catholics and Protestants are identical. And yet, that hasn’t stopped both Christian factions from killing each other since the Protestant Reformation. It hasn’t stopped the political turmoil and warfare that has dominated Ireland’s relationship with the UK. It hasn’t stopped Catholics from telling me that Protestants are going to Hell, or Protestants from telling me that Catholics are going to Hell. The root of institutionalized religion is, in fact, hypocrisy of the highest order.

I always thought it was interesting that the Protestant denomination of Christianity, (tracing its origins to the publishing of the 95 Theses in 1517), has split so many times we now have Anglicans and Baptists and Calvinists and Episcopalians and Lutherans and Mormons and Presbyterians and probably hundreds of other sub-denominations depending how you define Protestantism, while the Catholic Church (recognizing its origins to its first Pope, Peter) has been around for approx. three times longer with only two major schisms, Greek Orthodoxy and Protestantism. But that is indeed Catholicism’s greatest flaw: control. You could go back in the history books and talk about indulgences and Crusades and political maneuvers like coronations and excommunications. You could examine the Catholic Church’s primary role in the Dark Ages, exploiting the old maxim that knowledge is power, (particularly when most non-clergy couldn’t read) and the suppression of scientists who dared disprove the Church’s teachings. But you don’t have to, because the ongoing tragedy of sexual abuse within the Church, and the indefensibly heinous cover-ups perpetrated to protect its reputation, tell you all you need to know.

There are many problems with the Protestant side of things too. Two words: Prosperity Theology. If you dislike the constant cycle of stand up, sit down, kneel repeat and saying the same prayers so many times you don’t even think about the meanings of the words in a Catholic Mass, try sitting down for an hour listening to people ask you for money. “Ask” isn’t the right word. Spiritually manipulate? Is there anything that could be lower than that? Basically, your health and welfare are influenced by how much money you give your church. Wanna hear some traveling pastor tell you about planning a mission trip without having the money to be able to do so, then miraculously (after soliciting donations in service for weeks) a stranger walked into his office last minute and wrote him a check for $5,000, and a month later that stranger’s wife’s cancer went into remission? Imagine if the stranger had given $10,000 instead? Would he have won the Powerball too? The real danger in this is that it preys on the most vulnerable, people who don’t have the money to be giving it away but now feel that their lives will improve if they give to their church anyways. By no means am I saying that you shouldn’t give money to your church (or any charity, for that matter) if you want to, many churches (and charities) do a lot of good things in their communities and around the world. But you should never, ever feel pressured to do so. And you shouldn’t be doing so to get something in return at any rate either. The sight of multi-millionaire preachers (running profitable organizations that don’t pay taxes) with private jets makes me sick. Here’s a thought: do you think God, omniscient and omnipotent, really cares about the opulence of the houses of worship his people gather in or the personal luxury of the pastors who preside over those gatherings? Or, like the Beatitudes and Indiana Jones’ Holy Grail, would He prefer humility and earnestness? Wasn’t it Jesus Himself who said “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”? I think the speaking of the tongues stuff is super weird too, probably a mechanism to exert spiritual superiority in the speaker over his/her audience for the most part, and feel like pastors would be better served preaching words everyone listening could understand, but I feel like this is more of a fringe thing within Protestantism.

Across all corners of institutionalized Christianity, there are other issues of course. Hard to reconcile stuff like the Golden Rule with stuff like commanding the deaths of gays and lesbians. I’m sure the whole ‘wives should submit to their husbands’ line of theology has been internalized and used as justification for the suppression of women by every Western patriarchal society. I wonder how many books of the Bible were written by women? Zero? Even the ones named after and chronicling the lives of women? Same Book that puts literally the creation of sin at womankind’s doorstep? Then there’s God’s apparent propensity for vengeance repeated throughout the Old Testament and Pulp Fiction but nowhere better illustrated than the slaughter of all Egyptian first-born sons to allow the Jews to escape slavery. Would there still be Christianity in America if God had done that to the sons of American slave owners so black people could escape slavery? How can anyone, without any compromise, believe in every single word of every line of the Bible and not commit themselves to some element of irreconcilable hypocrisy? In my opinion, that’s the foundation of how you get to incompatible contradictions like: “I’m a God-fearing man/woman and thus proudly support President Trump.” Lastly (that I’ll mention here), is the air of superiority Christianity espouses, where it is each Christian’s duty to convert others to their faith and in the process save their souls. This might be a hallmark of other major religions, wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. But its astounding, just the arrogance of assuming all of your beliefs are correct and all the beliefs of someone of a different religion are wrong, when there’s not really any discernible evidence pointing in any religion’s correctness. The whole idea is faith, right? And as ridiculous as some other religion sounds to you, that’s how ridiculous your religion probably seems to them. What’s a lot more important, imo, is that no matter what you believe in, or even if you don’t believe in anything at all, that you do your best to be a good person.

So is Christianity a bad thing? I don’t think so. Believing in something more than yourself, being grateful for what you have been given and seizing on core tenets like peace and understanding, loving your family, and treating others with respect regardless of any way in which they might be different to you, these are ideas that should be universally accepted (and from my understanding are largely supported by most major religions). My biggest issue is that something as personal as one’s own spirituality and connection to God should be exactly that, personal. Your relationship to God is yours and yours alone.


we met in january. you seemed godsent to me. you told me you loved me in april. i could say it back until may, even though i knew i did in march.

in june, i found that you had been lying to me about literally everything. having a gf of three years + messaging random people on dating apps, having fake profiles on FB where you’d scam older women for their money with sex.

i forgave you like a fucking idiot, because i still saw you as a hurt person who needed the love i had to give.

it’s august. you moved in with me earlier this month. last night, i took all of your things to your moms while you were at work bc i decided i can’t be with someone who doesn’t even realize they lie.

i found all your new fake profiles and seen how you have me and my family and coworkers blocked…how you even found my coworkers, is beyond me. you’ve been using my car while i sleep to go to hotels and meet up with random women, then you come home and touch me without even washing your fucking hands. i hate you. i hate what you’ve made me.

The Pool

We met in January 2017 in gym class when you pulled me away from the chaos of my friends. We played catch from a small distance because I told you I wasn’t good at catching. You kept smiling at me, making me laugh and blush. It was that moment that you got your hooks in me. With every interaction this hooks only got deeper.
We began dating on March 24, 2017. You asked me to be your girlfriend just before midnight, even though you always said it was right after. The next day while I was at the musical, getting ready backstage, you said I was your princess. I felt like I was on cloud nine.
Almost everyday for the next two months we stayed after school so you could “help me with math”. We spent our afternoons in the girls locker room talking, laughing, kissing. Hours felt like minutes with you. You would walk me to the top of the lobby stairs, where we parted ways. The minute I got on the late bus I already missed you.
On the one year mark of my grandfather passing, you held me in your arms as I sobbed; not knowing how to deal with grief. That was the first time you saw me cry, and it certainly wasn’t the last.
In May 2017, you asked my mom to officially take me out. She said yes. We went to a little Italian restaurant nearby, got ice cream and went mini golfing. it was raining when we got done at mini golf, and you kissed me in the rain. You dragged me deeper into the never ending pool that was you.
We spent almost every waking moment of that summer together, the exception being when you left for an ROTC related bootcamp for a week. That week was the loneliest I had felt in a long time. Before you left, you had bought me a camouflage teddy bear you named Lieutenant, as he was your second in command to take care of me. I slept with him every night for two years. To this day he sits on the shelf at the end of my bed.
The next school year started with you picking me up and surprising me with my favorite drink from Starbucks. I got you to try it, but you insisted it was too sweet, and that explained why I liked it. Because I was sweet. I was drowning in you, it was like I’d forgotten how to swim.
You picked me up for school even morning that year, even when you had EMT. The car rides where always quiet, the only sounds being the hum of the car, and the songs on the radio. Those were the most serene moments of our relationship.
We went to an Imagine Dragons concert for your birthday with your mom and brother. I felt so out of place, even in the small moments we got alone. You refused to touch me with them there, not even holding my hand in large crowds. We both fell asleep in the backseat on the way home.
We spent Thanksgiving together, spending the afternoon cuddling on the loveseat in my family’s living room.
You came over on Christmas of that year. My mom and I had put together a self care gift for you, careful to get products without Shea Butter.
On Valentine’s Day of 2018, we went to the corporate park in town, where you gave me my gift. A stuffed animal, bath bomb you made, and a Jughead Jones comic book. We went to Panera and then went back to my house.
The next day you broke up with me, ending the happiest year of my life. And yet, I stayed trapped in the pool of you, unable to find a life preserver.
We still went to military ball “together”, though I spent most of the night with my friends, dancing and forgetting the pain momentarily. Until Perfect by Ed Sheeran came on, and you gave me the one dance you had promised me. I kept my face hidden against your shoulder, knowing my friends were watching me fall apart slowly. After the song ended, my friends pulled me away from you and into the bathroom where they calmed me down. The drive home was dead silent.
We stayed friends, we tried at least. However, we were more friends with benefits than anything.
That summer, we went on a trip to Virginia with my mom and siblings. We spent a few days there before my aunts baby shower. We slept on the couch together each night, stealing quick kisses where we could.
We took a day trip to Hammonasset, spending the afternoon with your aunt and uncle. We went to the camp ground you and your family went to, before going to your aunts and going to the beach. We got ice cream, before going back to her house and going to get pizza for dinner. The drive home we blasted music and talked about how I had never been to Duchess.
We went to Lake Compound twice. The first time we spent most of it just walking around, going on bumper cars, train, and the kiddie car coaster. It started raining when we went to the car for lunch. The second time you went on a rollercoaster and hated it. We spent the rest of the day on the train, waterpark, and walking around. You convinced me to go on a rollercoaster and have fun despite you not going with me. I finally caved and went on. That drive home was quiet.
We went to see Ed Sheeran in September for my 16th birthday. I thought that would be the best night of my life. I was sadly mistaken. We spent the ride to Massachusetts mostly silent, just listening to music. We checked into our hotel room and got ready. I did my makeup in the large mirror between the bedroom and bathroom while you sat on the bed and told me I was too pretty to need makeup. We got to the concert after having to turn back to go get the tickets from the hotel, and went to get something to eat. We went to our seats and watched the opening acts, Anne Marie and Snow Patrol. When Ed eventually came on, I couldn’t stop smiling. You pulled me out of the seats just after Galway Girl so we could get merch while there was nobody else there. As we were going back up the stairs to the stadium, a girl puked right next to us. As we went to our seats, it hit me that I was alone with you in a different state from my mom and it sent me into a full scale panic attack. You thought it was because of the girl throwing up. We got back to our seats, and Ed started playing Perfect. I had to sit down to keep my legs from collapsing under me, and started sobbing. You never asked why. I still can’t listen to that song. When we eventually got back to the hotel, we took a bubble bath, and later fell asleep to the sounds outside.
Halloween that year, we went out with my family and best friend. You refused to talk to me, rather talking to my mom’s boyfriend the whole time, and denied ignoring me when I asked you about it. That’s when I knew you were pulling away.
You left for Marine Bootcamp on December 14, 2018. We had our own mini Christmas beforehand, and spent the day together two days before you left. You called me right before you had to turn in your phone. You didn’t say I love you back.
I went through the next three months trying to keep myself afloat, so as to stop drowning. I only heard from you twice, and knew I was losing you. I wrote so many letters, but I couldn’t bring myself to send a single one, not wanting to sound needy, hurt you, or hold you back from focusing on yourself. I ended up burning the notebook those letters resided in.
You came home a week before the musical in March 2019. We spent three hours together, locked in my bedroom just talking, kissing and in silence. You decided we were going back to your house and making dinner, before going to a movie with our friend. We make chicken parm, and went to see Five Feet Apart. When Will left Stella I couldn’t help but start crying. “I don’t want to go. All I want is to be with you, I can’t…I don’t know what comes next, but I don’t regret any of this…I just don’t know of I can walk away if you’re still looking at me”. In that moment, I knew what that quote meant, especially when we got back to your house. You had our friend drive me home, barely touching me of hugging me before I went. You went in the house before I got in her car, crying all over again. She told me it would be okay, that it wasn’t forever. But it would be forever.
You left for combat training a few days later, telling me you’d talk to me soon. It was then that I had managed to begin to pull myself out of the pool.
A month later, you told me that you couldn’t handle being friends with me anymore. You left me. Tore yourself away from me from 1,161 miles away. I had no choice but to finish pulling myself from the pool.
That summer I participated in the Parks and Rec musical, and met someone who numbed the pain for a little bit. He made me laugh in moments where I got lost in my head, stuck in memories of you. We were never anything beyond friends, but he made me feel alive again.
I started at my job in September 2019, and met my work mom, best friend and big brother. They help numb the pain and help me forget how we went to the same restaurant on the day of your graduation and sat at 417.
I met my boyfriend in October. We spent afternoons cooped up in the library as we did homework, him helping me with my ap psychology class. We started dating in April. He understands the pain I’ve been through, and doesn’t criticize me for it. He was there when I would wake up from nightmares, and is willing to listen. He shows interest in the things I love, and adores my family. We started dating in April.
I’ve managed to pull myself almost entirely from the pool. I know what I lost, what I gained and how I’ve grown. I’ve started pushing myself to be better, to get better. He makes me want to be better for me, not mold myself to fit what he wants or expects. I went back to therapy, and realized that I have no reason to be afraid. I don’t have nightmares as often. I’m not scared to go to Target anymore. I don’t have to hold my breath when I drive by your house. I don’t fear speaking my mind. I’m not afraid of my own mind anymore. I’m not afraid of growing up and living my own life with what I want to do. I’m not afraid of you anymore. You can’t hurt me anymore. I’m no longer being dragged into the pool that is you. I’m ready to start living and it feels so damn good.
So thank you. Thank you for the experiences I had with you, but I don’t need them anymore.

If only you would tell to me the reason why screams and laughter dwell in the same space…


Needless to say, things did not exactly go as we planned. We’ve laughed — we’ve cried… we’ve had our fair share of adversity yet somehow we always found each other again. You were my first kiss; first love, first everything I cared about. You taught me so much about who I was and who I could be, and you helped make me excited for the otherwise intimidating journey of life. Your spirit was just so kind… so pure… so filled with love and joy that even now, it fills me with residual butterflies. Just… the way you looked at me; talked to me, it was like I was living my own fairy tale and had found my princess.

I’ve spent a great deal of time lately in deep contemplation, transporting my mind back to those days of high school/college/tech school, tormenting myself with “what if”s. Given everything that has happened since, I can only concede that you made the right choice. I am more like my father than I’d care to admit, and now that he’s gone, I’ve lost my only resource for handling it. And in the years that have followed our separation, I’ve continued to lose more and more of myself. I no longer read. I no longer write. My faith is better defined by Deism these days and I just really have no sense of purpose anymore.

I continue to allow myself to dwell on my past in the same masochistic way, and I just can’t let go of the awful decisions I’ve made that have landed me here. It’s been years since we’ve talked face to face, but I know you receive updates on me from our mutual contact, even though I have heard absolutely nothing about you, which is honestly the best case scenario. I just hope you’ve enough discernment to know that life is anything but the white picket fence picture that has been painted for you. I’m a damn wreck — going out of my damn mind. I keep hoping for a freak accident to remove me from this world so I don’t have to do it myself, but I’m running out of patience. I’ve fucked up a lot of things in my life, and I just don’t know how to be okay or move forward. And you were my greatest loss.

I loved you, B, and I still do. I don’t know how to stop loving a person once I start, and you have yet to truly leave my heart. I’m so sorry for hurting you the way I did. It was never my intention and I really was not in my right mind. If I could take it all back and cut it out of my life, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But what’s done is done and our paths are set. Reaching out to you personally would only be another mistake among many, and I’ve no further intentions of hurting you more than I have. All I can do is wish you well and hope that you are happy wherever you are.


Voyages Home

Shifted to a different universe where
He and I are in an altered state.
Slipped away from reality
By the beauty of a face
Pulling me into their galaxy.
Oh the danger of entering parallel worlds!
Oh the beauty of severing them!
I just need scissors!
Somewhere else, a new home
Is calling to me.

When Denial No Longer Feels Good

His eyes do not love mine.
They sift through doorways
and down rolling hills
through raging storms to scenic views.
I am the paint beneath the wallpaper
the eyesore to his taste.
Living in two different worlds
Where I savor the softness in
his eyes and he, he walks to
pick flowers for another dame.
Walking to find my inner soul screaming for an out
Tip toeing through the wet paint through the most recent mural made

The Forgotten Land

It feels as if it has been eternity

Peering outside at the forgotten land.

Similar to revolving doors,

People come and go.

Kisses are dispensed.

Stories are discussed in

Throes of passion,

And all the time

I just hate, hate, hate it.

I hate the stomping of their

Feet and the different music in our ears.

And somewhere in a parallel world

We are laughing

At all the hours we wasted

Giving deep kisses to eachother

In our forgotten paradise.