The funny thing about loss is it never happens just once. You lose it again and again and again. With every memory of it, every trigger, you’re taken right back to that first moment or the first moment you realized it had happened. It’s never easy to admit that you’re alone in the world. Left to carve out your piece of it. Fresh, from the start.

You’re offered a place, but it’s a specific place without a shadow of you in it. You can take it, or you can leave. You can be true to yourself, or you can give it all up for the illusion of intimacy, the illusion that someone cares. That someone cares just for you and not for the role you carry out. But it’s that – an illusion – and it’ll never be real.

So you leave, and in leaving, you give up your old reality to make a new one. And your past will tell you this isn’t real either. But you have to fight every day to remind yourself that what you have is fully authentically you, the best way you know how to be.

But the pain is still there. the fear, the anxiety, the knowledge that you’ll never be good enough. But being good enough isn’t you, so that wouldn’t matter anyway. They wouldn’t be loving you. They’d be loving what you represent, what you are for them, their fantasy. And that life isn’t worth living. It isn’t living.

So day by day, piece by piece, I will build my own life. And I hope it gets easier. It’s all I have.

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Feel the Silence

You’re always thinkingNever stopping 
Always wondering

Always worrying
I’m struggling to keep up
With every passing day

It’s more complicated more intense

What can I say?
Which way do I look?

How do I keep track?

Of a target ever moving,

A threat I can’t make out
It’s there, it’s beating 

Down on my head again tonight

I just want peace,

A moment of silence in the night.
Why can’t I feel it?

It’s gone all gone for good.

My humanity, my peace

Traded for a thorny bed
I’m numb, I cry, why?

What’s lost is lost, I’m lost

Where do I go from here?

How do I mourn what was never mine?
Just a moment in this evening

I sit in silence years removed

But my thoughts wander again 

Just what if, what for, what happened?
I’m still lost,

Floating through space

My soul anchored to the sun

Watching the earth spin round 
But you don’t know,

I’ll never tell, 

I’ve lived a life you can’t understand

You couldn’t try
I’ve loved what couldn’t be loved

Been loved by what wasn’t love

Lost what wasn’t real

Found what I didn’t know 
So I sit and watch the trees against the sky

I ponder the peace in my puppy’s eyes

And I think this is all I’ll ever want

A chance to breathe, to let my mind rest

I feel the silence.

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The Way a Mother Loves Her Son

I write about religion as the object of my spite,

The enemy of my childhood, 

The source of every sleepless night.
But I overlook the obvious, 

The thing I loathe to see.

That without people there’s no suffering,

Religion then is dead.
So maybe blame it in on a pastor, 

The leader of a cult,

That seems obvious, they’re leaders

The guardians of the lies.
But then I was just a child, 

How was I to know,

The difference between god and santa,

Without my parents telling me so?
I didn’t choose to follow god,

or listen to his friends.

But I had no choice at 7 years old,

My parents chose for me. 
Am I really evil?

“Of course you are,” you said. 

If it wasn’t for the grace of god,

You know you’re good as dead. 
I suffered silently each night, 

As I prayed myself to sleep.

Slip into slumber I didn’t dare,

Without first endless repentant prayer. 
I didn’t know how to navigate,

A world I didn’t know. 

So you handed me a roadmap,

To help me as I go. 
A bible, a book, the words of Bill,

You told me that’s all I need,

To find a path to a fuller – safer – life,

In this one and the next. 
I did the best I could,

I was as enthusiastic as the best,

But I couldn’t find this peace you say,

Can only come from God.
Instead I slipped away,

Into the labyrinth of my mind,

Only there could I find safety,

God couldn’t get me there. 
My friends, my world, my only hope,

Came from that dreamy world,

God knows there was no way in hell,

I’d get them in the waking one. 
You told me pain is sinful,

The result of what I’d done,

To displease an angry god above,

For all he’d done for – to – me. 
So I kept my feelings bottled up,

I denied they’re even there. 

If I pretend I don’t have sin, I feel nothing,

God has nothing there to find. 
If I let it slip, it goes too far, 

I drive my nails into my head,

My one choice is to repent to him,

Before he strikes me down. 
You knew all this, you were my teacher, 

You said that they knew best.

That by denying me, denying I,

God could spare my fate. 
But it didn’t, it didn’t work, 

God didn’t spare my fate, 

Your fantasies have rendered me, 

Just broken, loveless, lost. 
Now I have to start from the beginning, 

From the day you took from me,

My life, my child, my identity, 

And gave me a role to play instead. 
I’ve had to start from the beginning, 

I’m married at nine years old. 

I’m stuck trying to raise myself,

Long since you first gave up. 
You’ll never know the pain I feel, 

The confusion in my mind. 

As I struggle to be a human, me, I,

In a world I never knew. 
Now people scare me, 

And I blame it all on you. 

You raised me to fear the lord, 

But all I got was fear. 
I hope that you’re happy, 

You know I’ll never tell, 

The real story about a boy who cried alone,

And never dared rely on you. 
You say that god still loves me, 

And you tell me I should pray.

But fuck you and fuck your sadist god,

Are things I’ll think but never say. 
I wish that you could love me, 

Just for me and me alone. 

But I know you’re broken, too,

And I’ve lost the will to hope. 
I hope you know I love you,

If for no reason then you’re mom, 

And maybe someday you’ll love me, too,

The way a mother loves her son. 

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Why can’t I say what it is? Why is it so hard to feel those things, to admit it to myself. I doubt my own mind, my own feelings. Is that how it trained me to be? I don’t allow myself to feel. I never have. And now I’m scared of feelings and emotions. Like they would overwhelm me. Like I couldn’t control it. But I’ve never been in control, have I? My life dictated by the “revelations” and principles of another man. I want my life back, but it was never mine. I don’t know what to do with it now that it’s in my hands. This was something I wasn’t trained for. If you only have time in your life for Jesus, then others, and then you, you never really get to you. 90% to Jesus, 10% to others. Sometimes you can take from one or the other for yourself, but then you feel guilty for doing so. But it’s my turn. Nobody ever had me in their “others” category. It was us and it was them. We were all supposed to be fine, to be the ones who had our shit together. But I didn’t. I didn’t have anything. My mind was lost, my will was lost, my spirituality was lost. All stolen by a religious system and those who ran it. I hate them.

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Living Life Alone

When I was young,
I had a personality.
I had friends and acquaintances,
people who laughed at my jokes and sarcasm

At 7 years old, that was taken from me.
I was left with myself, my brother, sister and parents.
In the name of God,
I would be destined to be alone.

I would go through the rest of my childhood,
without my circle of friends.
No one to laugh with me,
No one to be by my side when I was alone. I was alone.

So I made my own world,
and I filled it with friends.
It wasn’t real and it wasn’t much,
but it was all I had.

My social interaction was church,
and the annual conference.
Even then I couldn’t build relationships,
because my time was so tightly controlled.

I had no security in the relationships I did have,
So I built it it my dreams.
If someone wasn’t trying to hurt me,
They were distant and controlling.

I fantasized about slavery, bondage, and service.
The security I lacked, the attention that I needed.
I dreamed I was surrounded by friends,
I even had a dog.

I went on grand adventures,
that I knew I’d never have.
Cloistered in my world
of God and nobody. Nobody and nobody.

Eventually I broke free.
I broke out of the dungeon, left the void.
But then how do you cope,
in a world you never knew?

I never made friends,
They were chosen for me.
I never interacted in normal social settings,
Looks like I’ll still be the awkward one. The one who’s fucking different.

I met new people,
I made new friends.
Even then I found it hard,
To build on those relationships. But I tried.

I went on an adventure,
The one I would never have.
It was great, and lonely,
Fun, and lonely.

I was destined to it.
Addicted to it.
Wanting people.
Afraid of people.

So I make friends,
I fantasize and daydream.
Dissociation is my friend.

I met new people.
It gets a little easier,
but it’s still hard.

I met someone who loves me,
For me, fucking me.
We’ll live together.
I’ll never be alone.

No, no, you’ll still be alone.
It happens.
You work, you go places,
You’re together, but not always.

And why, dammit, does it have to be so hard?
1 hour, 2 days. It doesn’t fucking matter.
I’ll go there, I’ll leave,
I can’t be alone

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It’s Not Your Fault

When I wake up in the morning,
I still can’t hear your voice.
I know you’re somewhere out there,
But I’m all alone today.

I hear that you’re trying,
To get to know me and to speak,
But I’m not ready for you,
I don’t even want to think.

You see someone once told me,
All about your character.
Guilty, manipulating, angry,
That’s who I know you to be.

You say that those are lies,
That’s not who you really are.
Loving, hearing, compassionate,
That’s what you really are to me.

This isn’t fair to you,
I know it’s not your fault.
That people lied about you,
And made you something else.

But now I’m out of faith,
I wonder where you were.
When I laid scared in bed,
And hurt myself for you.

Everything I worked for,
The whole purpose of my life,
Turned out to be an illusion.
I lived my life in vain.

My life was something special,
I was destined for great things.
Because I knew your secrets,
That were hidden to the world.

Just keep working, keep believing,
Never stop to doubt.
More commitments, more self-loathing,
God will love you soon.

Why couldn’t you just tell me,
They were lying the whole time?
Why did you let them tell me,
I was nothing without them?

But I know it’s not your fault,
That people screwed with me.
You didn’t want to be the bully,
The object of my fear.

Now I can’t let you in my life again,
I can’t let them win.
They want to tell me how I should talk to you,
How I should act when you’re around.

I don’t want to listen to them,
But I can’t make them go away.
They sit inside my mind
And taunt me when I’m alone.

I’m so cynical now of Christians,
I’m nervous when they’re around.
They can’t make me do a thing,
I won’t listen to them now!

You say that you’re not like that,
Well then, why are they?
Pricks, dicks, bastards, and bitches,
Those are the ones I’ve known.

But I know that’s not fair to you,
You didn’t make them act like that.
But if those are the people who claim your name,
How can I go back there?

I want to hang out with you,
Just have my own relationship.
But right now I’m scared, so fucking scared.

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You Are Not Alone

I looked around and I saw you,
Standing in a corner all alone
You seemed scared and uncertain,
Not sure which way to go

You left a world behind you,
That tried hard to halt your path
And there’s blood on your fingers, the marks of claws around your ankles
Your freedom came with a steep price

As you stare into the crowd,
I recognize the look on your face.
You think we all have it together,
And we’ll never understand.

But I want to tell you a story,
And maybe you’ll relate.
Because I share the scars you bear
I went through the lion’s den

And you are not alone.

I was raised to respect authority,
That the fear of God was good,
In a Baptist church, I “came to Christ.”
The way I was told I should.

The pastor gave many sermons,
That always pointed at me,
You’re Wicked and you’re Worthless, God’s love is Wasted on you.
Now let’s sing a hymn of God’s amazing grace.

Are you following what I’m saying?
Please wait, I’ve just begun.
That dagger buried in your soul
Lies also deep in mine

And you are not alone.

Authorities are always right, you know
And you should just concede,
It’s better not to have any rights
God has no boundaries, you see.

Jesus, others, you, that’s joy,
At least that’s what I’d heard,
And if you don’t get time for you today, well that’s okay.
After all, Jesus died for you.

And the guilt you feel for walking out
Few others will admit
It’s a dangerous world of God and men,
And I know all too well

Believe me, you are not alone

I chanted with the rest of them, I surrender all,
All of my identity, even my own mind,
There are things to sacrifice,
When you choose to follow God.

Follow steps and points and formulas,
Respect your pastor, son.
You’ve got to get right with God,
If you want blessings from above.

You know that you’ll go to hell,
Bad things are sure to come
There’s a whole world crashing down on you
Trust me now when I say,

You are not alone.

That music is evil, how could you dare!
Now there’s a demon in your soul.
What did you read, the NIV?
Your pure perverted mind.

What’s that, you’re wearing pants?
How could you speak in church?
Don’t you know a woman’s place,
Is at home at the stove?

You think we’re created equal,
Now you’re scared you’ve gone too far
When will God stop loving you,
And send your car into a tree?

You’re scared? You are not alone.

And now here we are again,
I could go on and on,
Please come out of that corner,
And breathe the air with me.

There’s so much more to see,
When you come to realizations –
God isn’t staring down at you,
Waiting for your fall

It’s not an easy journey,
To leave religion far behind
Please believe me that it’s worth it
And even sometimes I doubt it,

But you are not alone.

I know, I know!
There’s pain inside your heart tonight.
You lost friends and family,
One life you’d always known.

You panic at the sound of hymns,
You cry when you’re alone.
A church is where you’ll never be,
The Bible screams at you.

Why can’t you leave this stuff behind?
Why does it follow you?
Always questions, never answers,
At least that’s what I’ve found.

My friend, you are not alone.

Somehow I feel there’s hope for me,
That if God’s really real,
He cares more about my pain,
Than that church ever did.

I’d like to think he smiles at me,
And doesn’t really care,
When I talk to him and swear a bit,
He loves me either way.

So please believe me when I say,
I know what you’ve been through.
There’s no need to sit alone,
I’ll stand and walk with you.

You’ll never be alone.

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Shades of Gray

I remember when I was young,
When the world was mine to learn.
A child with wide eyes and a vivid imagination,
Looking for adventure in the expanse of my own backyard.

The universe was a big place then,
But I was content with my own slice.
I was preoccupied with cowboys and Indians,
Of riding my bike down hills and making swords of sticks.

Yes, my dad taught me of God,
And my mom said I should pray.
But God was just another color,
In my technicolor world.

Back when I was young,
Before the world started changing,
Before I learned that I should trade,
What I had for something more.

Before I was told that color’s dangerous,
That God was much more pleased,
In a world that’s much more simple,
With different shades of gray.

Around the time that I was 7,
My world was turned around.
The curtains dropped on color and diversity,
On the stage a single person dressed in simply blue and white.

This is the new you, I was told,
And eagerly I obeyed.
For the great god of the universe decreed,
Simplicity was better and variety a vice I should avoid.

And my dad handed me a Bible,
And my mom gave me a list.
They said that it would help me,
Navigate my world of gray.

That was when I was young,
When the world was starting to change.
When I learned that I should trade,
What I had for something more.

I was told that color’s dangerous,
That God was much more pleased,
In a world that’s much more simple,
With different shades of gray.

So I wrapped up all the color,
And I put it in a box,
I said, “I guess I won’t need that,
In this new world I have found.”

I did my best to thrive,
Doing what I knew was best.
Each new day a new list was made,
Something more for me to do, something else to prove.

And dad said, “keep trying”
And mom said, “you should do more.”
And God said, “I hate you.
You don’t fit in my world of gray.”

And I was getting older,
And my world had changed so much.
I traded everything,
That I had for something more.

But I knew color’s dangerous,
That God was much more pleased,
In a world that’s much more simple,
With different shades of gray.

Each new morning I would pray,
“God get me through this day,
In the end, I know you won’t be happy,
But don’t hurt me while I sleep.”

And so I tried harder,
“Forgive me” was the chant in my mind,
I couldn’t seem to shake the guilt,
My world was so much simpler, but I couldn’t seem to cope.

So dad told me I should pray more,
Mom asked if I had sinned.
God didn’t say a thing to me,
I had slipped out of his world of gray.

I was nearly an adult now,
And my world never changed.
I forgot what I had traded,
To get something more.

All I knew was color’s dangerous,
That God was much more pleased,
In a world that’s much more simple,
With different shades of gray.

Finally I realized,
I couldn’t measure up,
My world was destroying,
The life that I had left.

I said, “fuck this gray abyss,”
And then I knew I’d go to hell,
I couldn’t find God anyway, no matter how I tried,
So would he really care now, if I left it all behind?

And the pastor said I was lost,
And my friends forgot my name,
And God was far too busy,
Cleaning up the mess I’d made.

I had grown past my childhood,
And my world was falling apart.
I was trying to find what I had traded,
For the promise of so much more.

Maybe color wasn’t dangerous,
Even if God was much more pleased,
In a world that’s much more simple,
With different shades of gray.

I put it all behind me,
I tried hard not to think,
Of what my life had been,
If the stage had not been changed.

I was lost and so confused,
But my eyes dazzled in delight,
I was surrounded by color and life,
And I felt someday, my world was going to be alright.

And my dad said he was sorry,
My mom said she didn’t know,
God said people are liars.
Well that shit doesn’t help me now.

I’m an adult now,
In a world that’s full of color.
I’m trying to find what I traded,
For the lie of something more.

Now I know color wasn’t dangerous,
And maybe God’s more pleased,
In a world that’s not so simple,
With different shades of gray.

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Losing My Religion – A Commentary

Life is bigger
It’s bigger than you, and you are not me

There’s a whole world out there beyond you. One I never knew existed. I don’t have to listen to you; there’s a life outside of you. You’re not me, and I’m not you.

The lengths that I will go to…trying to please you, trying to do right, I would do anything…
The distance in your eyes….but it’s never enough, I can’t earn your love. I keep trying.
Oh no, I’ve said too much…I shouldn’t speak out, I shouldn’t question, doubt.

I set it up…now it’s all falling apart.
That’s me in the corner…covered in shame, beaten down, afraid…
That’s me in the spotlight…under the constant scrutiny of watching eyes. I can’t measure up. it’s not enough.
Losing my religion…it’s slipping
Trying to keep up with you…I tried.
And I don’t know if I can do it…but I tried.

Oh no, I’ve said too much…I’m doubting, I’m scared. I feel.
I haven’t said enough…no, there’s so much more to say.
I thought that I heard you laughing…you think my doubt is silly, I’m immature, I need more of you.
I thought that I heard you sing…you try to bring me back, you make your siren’s cry.
I think I thought I saw you try…do you really want me?

Every whisper
Of every waking hour, I’m choosing my confessions…there’s so much, forgive me, please, it doesn’t stop, forgive, forgive, forgive, I can’t sleep.
Trying to keep an eye on you…but it’s not working, there’s still more to forgive, I keep trying.
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool…that’s it, I’m the fool, the revelation is cruel.
Oh no, I’ve said too much…but maybe it’s time.
I set it up…I’m ready for the fallout.

Consider this…think, if you can.
Consider this, the hint of the century…but you don’t seem to take notice.
Consider this...just try.
The slip that brought me to my knees failed….I’ve fallen, yes, but you failed, I gained perspective from the cold hard floor.
What if all these fantasies….life as you make it, who you think God is, religion….
Come flailing around…it’s cracking now…your castle of glass…what if?
Now I’ve said too much…can you handle it?

I thought that I heard you laughing…you seem happy.
I thought that I heard you sing…so assured of the truth.
I think I thought I saw you try…you seem like you mean well, you want what’s right.

That was just a dream…I’m waking up…I can’t fall asleep.
That was just a dream…I see you there…I run.

That’s me in the corner…it’s safe here, I hurt, I can face you here.
That’s me in the spotlight…I don’t want it, I want to be in the crowd. Just once, let me off stage.
Losing my religion…it’s almost gone now. I’ve lost it.
Trying to keep up with you…it’s too hard, I can’t keep up, I’m losing you.
And I don’t know if I can do it….you’re gone.
Oh no, I’ve said too much…I catch myself, I’m feeling.
I haven’t said enough…I’ll keep singing, I have a voice.

I thought that I heard you laughing…it sounds so different.
I thought that I heard you sing…but now the songs sound strange, so distant, unfriendly.
I think I thought I saw you try…but this time you fail. And I see it.

But that was just a dream…I wanted to believe.
Try, cry, why try…I did everything, I’m disillusioned. I give up.
That was just a dream…and I’m waking up. It seemed so real.
Just a dream, dream…I’m awake.

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Christian music…

I have a difficult time listening to most Christian music right now. It all feels way too sterile, packaged in a box of Christian clichés. The message I so often hear is, “God you are great, I am nothing, how amazing that you love me.” All possibly very true, but not what I need.

And then there is the message, “I have screwed up, but you are good and accept me.” Or, “Life is so wonderful in Jesus. I am in a crappy situation, but God gives me supernatural joy, and I am content. I am so happy because I have God, even when life sucks. What am I doing for God? Why am I not doing more? Why can’t I give everything like he did?”

Yes, yes, all possibly very true. But not what I need, it’s not where I am. Where are the songs that say yeah, I feel like shit, and right now it’s all about me. But God gets it. He still loves me and is okay with me feeling like this. And I don’t have to feel differently right now. Life is really damn hard sometimes, and I’m not always happy. And God gets it. He understands that I can’t look at Him sometimes. He understands that when I hear his name, I feel pain. It’s not a comfort to me. It doesn’t make me feel better. It doesn’t lift my spirits and make me feel like I’m flying.

God’s name makes me feel guilty, oppressed, never good enough…scared. And I think He gets it. It’s not my fault. I didn’t choose it. I don’t hate God. Religion did this to me. Fundamentalism, a Christian cult. So right now, I don’t get those songs. I’m in a different place. Life is real…life is tough, and always gritty. So who will write songs for me? Most people just don’t get it. Christianity is a miracle, it’s wonderful, a relief, the truest form of joy. Is it?

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