I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a lot about my first year at College.
|Nice legs, shame about the face.|
There are pictures, of course: that’s one of them, a self-made costume that I remember being particularly proud of (Christmas Tree Fairy, before you ask ^^) I can recall watching ‘Moonlighting’ on a battered black and white TV owned by my roomate, falling off a barstool after too many cheap Pimms in a Student Bar promotion. Everything else though, not so much memory really remains. I lost a lot of it, I now know deliberately. I was arrogant and stupid and really not a good person to know back then. I don’t remember how I felt at the time either, but there were moments that I think, actually, I did the right thing.
It was also the point in my life that I can look back on now and grasp were the first days I realised something wasn’t right in my mind, but it took me a very long time to even grasp this was something I could deal with, or that it was actually a problem. In amongst those pictures and moments there was a point, probably the later part of that first year, when someone decided they knew what was wrong with my life, and tried to help me change.
They attempted to convert me to religion.
I attended a Church of England College: not because of God, but because of the course I wanted. I can remember a few details about the girl who latched onto me, because that was what it was: persistent, unending and slowing soul-destroying. The girl with sandy blonde hair, the round face and the glasses. Her politeness and friendliness, a counterpoint to my unhappiness, inability to make friends, the issues I’d have sometimes getting cross and introverted. All of this was because I could not accept God into my life.
One day, the persistent pushing came to a head: she followed me to my room, and wouldn’t leave. I got angry at her and she used it all against me: accept God into my heart and I’d feel better, everything would change, and my hatred would leave me. I got progressively more irritated: I didn’t want God, and she needed to leave. With no phone to use to call anyone, alone and now actually frightened, something altered inside me, and I found myself with a choice. How did I get her to leave without attacking her physically and making myself in my mind no better than she was by simply refusing to believe that I believed that God was a metaphor. Nobody could help you with your problems. The only person who you could rely on was yourself.
In desperation I started hitting my head against the wooden window frame, over and over, screaming at her that God wasn’t my problem but she was. She didn’t try and stop me: when presented with my anger she froze. Her God didn’t help her deal with the reaction, her assertions that she cared when in reality she was like everybody else.
When I eventually drew blood, she panicked and ran.
The following morning I couldn’t see and fell over as I got out of bed. My room-mate saw the gash to my head and took me to the Doctor, who called an ambulance. When they asked me what had happened, I lied because I was afraid of what might transpire if I told the truth. One session in A&E later I was back in my room, diagnosed with a concussion.
The round faced girl with the glasses never spoke to me again.
There is a ridge on the front of my head, close to the hairline, the mark worn into my skull self-inflicted, so I didn’t turn and attack her that day. It was easier to hurt myself than try and get her to understand. Her desire to do what she thought was right was a passion I’d never encountered in anyone before… yet at the crucial moment, she was as frightened as I was. If she’d have the strength to stop me, to actually show she could help, then maybe things would have been different. What I do remember, with a clarity that now surprises me, is that I challenged her to explain how a God would allow people to hurt themselves if his love was so encompassing. If he cared about everyone, he’d save those who needed him most.
Let me be very clear: if God is important to you, I will ALWAYS respect this. All I ask of people is the decency and understanding that they do the same regarding ethics and ideas that matter to me. Except, as I discover, this doesn’t happen with everybody. In fact, sometimes, people decide that the easiest thing to do in difficult situations is just to run away. This happened to me yesterday, and although unrelated I find myself wondering what has to change in some people’s minds to understand that the World is bigger than themselves.
Maybe some people never do, that’s the problem, and I should really stop worrying about the things I can do nothing about. On reflection, this is probably a good idea.
Personally, I’m glad I finally found my own way to be comfortable with what I really am.
I'm sorry you had to go through that, but also thankful it's in the past. Can't say I'm unfamiliar with the urge to make a point via self-harm. Not that that is consciously what happens, but subconsciously.
It does relate, though, you're right. Some people think that they can solve problems their way, and when it's proven not to work, they can't deal with that. I've never liked “pushers”. I'm cool with opinions, thoughts, and beliefs different to my own. But share them, agree to disagree, move on. And never make it personal..
I think yesterday was more a case of somebody getting frustrated about something they didn't understand, and then flinging poo at the fan, and when that backfires, rather than accept that perhaps that wasn't the right course.. leg it and leave everyone else to deal with it.
The problem is, in going against people with this issues with the mind.. we struggle to just “let it go” like many say.. If I don't vent some how, it circulates in my head until I end up in the fetal position and nobody wants that so I tried to make light of it and then suddenly there were “sides”.. That kinda hurt. I'm not sure entirely why. Either way, covered in poo with the urge to bash my head against the window frame and leg it.
Moral of the story: Brains suck and I love you. ❤
This is why I enjoy you AC; anything you write, be it tweet or blog post, you send my brain flying in a thousands directions. This topic is definitely no different.
Passion is something I study in people; whatever the passion, be it passion for gaming, passion for art, passion for God. It is fascinating to me that a person can have so much raw emotion and fire for one subject; because it is something I've never been able to acquire. Because it is something I want.
However, over the years I've sometimes seen passion turn into something very wrong. Passion can blind a person. It can put up walls where it was meant to come down. It can lead to close minded thoughts rather than open. Sometimes when passion of a person is challenged, they will do whatever necessary to ensure they protect it.
What people sometimes don't understand- is that while voicing your passion does a lot, it is your actions that convince people to try out your passion. This is what happened to the round faced girl; the church teaches us that we need to convert people, that as the devout it is our job. However, they don't teach us how. And when you are dealing with such raw material as the eternal soul- you really do more harm than good if you aren't ready.
Because what she should have done-what we all should do- is strive to be kind. To keep our minds open, to show we care. She should have been honest and said – no, I can't promise the pain and anger and fear will subside over night. But I an promise we will work on it, you will not be alone, and then maybe you will find God in your own way. But as humans, we fail. A lot.
On a side note, I would like to answer the question she failed to answer. I like to think of God's love like I do the love for my child. I would give my life to keep him from harm. But I know there will be a time I won't be there, or can not. In those times, I can only hope he knows he is loved completely, and I have prepared him to handle life.
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