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Currently struggling to believe much of anything, hoping for community


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Hello all. Please, call me Jonielle. I'm a 22yo queer person who currently still lives with their fundamentalist Pentecostal parents in the Midwest US. My dad is a multifaceted believer but has always had a Republican conspiracy theorist bent against modern social justice, and my mom still thinks Exodus International was right.

I would call myself a Christ-follower, with some vague notion of Buddhism as of yet not studied deeply enough. I've dabbled in various occult spiritualities, and felt they didn't add anything really helpful to my life, not only because it is not easy to try and defend 'spirit & ancestor work' when living in a place where that just means you're demon possessed, but because what I am ultimately looking for is a relationship with God that leads me into good relationships with other people in life. 

Ima get into my backstory some, and it's mildly heavy, so bear with me.

I grew up very isolated, even from my parents' own church (long story but basically my dad stepped away from my mom's church due to a disagreement with leadership and became jilted, but not less conservative, just remained as he was; willing to understand syncretism and depression and even for a time, to try to understand queerness, in his own yet non-accepting way).

I've been in, admittedly, toxic queer relationships online; throwing my hopes of escape with someone I loved into thin air and spending countless hours maintaining others' emotions strictly over text. Not ever consistently in school. Watching people grow up and get away and get into communities and movements, processing their traumas in real time and having real impacts, for the past 10ish years of my being online. Despite having so much of advanced perspective content freely accessible to me, due to still being in the situation, I feel beyond stuck and alone. The thing that keeps me going is that my heart won't stop believing in the Love of God or the Divine, and in grace beyond measure. 

For all my struggles, I was diagnosed Bipolar in the psych system  and hospitalized repeatedly since the age of 17. My parents have a very simple understanding of Psychology that has done me more harm than good. I know that the delusions I developed can be traced directly back to warped religious claims they gave me as a child that stemmed from their own fears within society; things I learned in online communities that were wildly removed from reality; legitimately false things I no longer believe when not in any altered state of consciousness; or just "mood swings" that make total sense in the context of the bare-minimum level of functioning, not to speak anything of fulfillment, that I get in my daily life.

It's so hard for me to try to claim I love God or know things about him when every point I know to be true from other people's experience, my own experience, study others have done and shared, etc. would all turn into steamrolling discussions, same we've had for years, while they harden on their conservative thought-terminating clichés. "You can't have it both ways." "God loves the sinner, but hates the sin." "It's tight but it's right." Tiresome, I would hate to have to grow old and have that be the extent of my understanding of God, to the point where someone saying something vague would be automatically a "wow, convicting" moment, like that's all the Spirit has to say. Literally just morality cliches repeated ad nauseum comprising the entire preaching segment?

Yet I also find it hard now to form confidence in an idea that I just hear about on social media or some book, even though I trust people to be sharing their understanding of truth, but I can't feel it into practice of my own either because there's no space for it here. You can only read so many alternative coping strategies and alternative theologies when you can't put them into practice before it all seems like just pointless and tiring words.

In some ways I think of my bent towards appeasing my parents as a way to try to extend grace to them, but that's not really right either, because real loving relationships don't involve the other person hanging on to an understanding of you that is not true until you give up your whole self to become acceptable in their eyes, which they equate with God's.

Either way, I've nearly given up on my own religious/spiritual studies, hope of getting out of here, I despair even of my own future a lot because I don't believe I'm able to function sufficiently to work while remaining within an environment as dysfunctional as this house. Catch 22, because in this world you need money to go places. I've had so many failed plans to leave, and my parents, particularly now my dad, use God to beat me down as though it's my queerness that is causing God to restrict me "for my own good." 

The main thing that keeps me fearful of leaving is the fear of abandoning my family and being adrift with no connections otherwise anywhere.

But! I'm currently trying to muster up hope and take action to create an online stationary business to accrue the funding I need to leave for good. 

This is a lot, yeah.

Please be patient with me, and thank you for witnessing me.

I hope to build some good connections in this community.

Blessings, Jo.

Edited by wanderinglover
Clarity
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3 hours ago, wanderinglover said:

Hello all. Please, call me Jonielle.

Welcome to the Forum, Jonielle.

You certainly have a bit going on in your life and I feel for you.  I hope our little community here can provide you some support in whatever way you need it.

Again welcome, and I hope your being here works well for you.

Cheers

Paul

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

I hope our little community here can provide you some support in whatever way you need it.

Again welcome, and I hope your being here works well for you.

Thank you Paul! I hope so too and I think it will 

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Welcome wandering ... Sounds like your path has had its twists and turns.

If you require any thoughts from a straight old atheistically inclined agnostic, just let me know; I'll be all too happy to oblige ;) 
Have fun with your stay here 

 

rom

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4 hours ago, romansh said:

Welcome wandering ... Sounds like your path has had its twists and turns.

If you require any thoughts from a straight old atheistically inclined agnostic, just let me know; I'll be all too happy to oblige ;) 
Have fun with your stay here 

 

rom

That's definitely a discussion I'd like to have at some point! I like the quote in your signature. 😄 At times I've felt like I lean more towards agnostic than anything else, tho I can't seem to put aside at least some belief in supernatural phenomena and some sort of divine state we can access, even if it's just 'potential for behavior/action more powerful than what humans go through, within humans' and not 'something/someone out there existing separately.'

Thank you
Jo

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Hello

Basically I'm here talking to myself, which is not the best of starts as far as seeking "community" is concerned. But life is full of surprises. Plotting a course has less and less appeal.

Your personal situation seems very oppressive to me, I would not be strong enough to think my own thoughts in such a home. 

 "Belief" I have no trouble with, as I see beliefs as the polar opposite of Faith/Trust......in Pure Land Buddhist parlance, shinjin. In faith/trust you let go, not seek to find the belief structure that "suits". What self, in becoming, are we trying to suit?

Sorry, sunday is not my best day. Hopefully you can find a home, here or elsewhere. 

Welcome. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, tariki said:

Basically I'm here talking to myself, which is not the best of starts as far as seeking "community" is concerned. But life is full of surprises. Plotting a course has less and less appeal.

Your personal situation seems very oppressive to me, I would not be strong enough to think my own thoughts in such a home. 

 "Belief" I have no trouble with, as I see beliefs as the polar opposite of Faith/Trust......in Pure Land Buddhist parlance, shinjin. In faith/trust you let go, not seek to find the belief structure that "suits". What self, in becoming, are we trying to suit?

Sometimes the best courses one could go through are the ones that aren’t planned, in my opinion. 

Thank you for the sympathy on my situation, it is very hard to maintain my own thoughts straight a lot of the time. Journaling helps, as well as I’m hoping talking to myself out loud with others will help me here and other places online that are conducive to support and not just literally getting more dysfunctional. 
 

And see that’s why I like the sound of Buddhism so much. Every time I hear about something like this, which I’ll unprofessionally refer to as ‘relaxing into no-self’, it’s just such a relief from other types of beliefs where you feel like you have to be the right kind of person to present those beliefs in the right way. As one is the process of becoming, perpetually, what is it we arrive to, at which point do we make that distinction? 
 

Thanks for your thoughts. 

Jo

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20 minutes ago, wanderinglover said:

As one is the process of becoming, perpetually, what is it we arrive to, at which point do we make that distinction? 

Ask me another. Is there a final culmination, one destination for all?

There is a fine dialogue between Thomas Merton (Catholic) and D T Suzuki (Buddhism, zen, even Pure Land) and the only point of real disagreement was on the subject of eschatology, the "last things". Suzuki only spoke of the eschatology of the present moment, or as others have said, the "only extension to the present is intensity"; poetically, "the journey is home". Dogen, another zen guy, speaks of a deepening intimacy, this despite nothing in the whole world is hidden, of the primacy of the present moment, yet there is "a movement toward Buddha". 

Merton though, speaks of a final consummation when the Son hands over all things to the Father, all "beyond our ken" as it were - but all shall be revealed! Or not!

I'm with Suzuki.

 

Is it true that after this life of ours we shall one day be awakened
by a terrifying clamour of trumpets?
Forgive me God, but I console myself
that the beginning and resurrection of all of us dead
will simply be announced by the crowing of the cock.

 

After that we’ll remain lying down a while…
The first to get up
will be Mother…We’ll hear her
quietly laying the fire,
quietly putting the kettle on the stove
and cosily taking the teapot out of the cupboard.
We’ll be home once more.

(Resurrection" by Vladimir Holan"

Anyway, I could rabbit on but Sunday Dinner is about to be served!

 

 

 

 

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