I Am Thrashing - So I Cut

TO CELEBRATE THE OCTOBER RELEASE OF MY BOOK THRASHING ABOUT WITH GOD, AND TO EXPAND THE CONVERSATION BEYOND MYSELF, I HAVE ASKED 31 BRAVE PEOPLE TO SHARE A GUEST POST WITH THE THEME OF #IAMTHRASHING. THESE ARE PEOPLE I HAVE PERSONALLY DIALOGUED WITH, PEOPLE WHO I KNOW HAVE RISKED A LOT TO WRESTLE WITH THE HARD STUFF THAT COMES WITH SPIRITUALITY. OUR FAITH MAY NOT LOOK LIKE YOURS, BUT WE WELCOME YOU TO THE DISCUSSION.


set my soul on fire
fill the void inside
there’s nothing left in me but night
loudly I’m begging, please
something come back to me
come back to me
— Gustafemanuel, Come Back
you’re running out of faith
you’re running out of efforts anyhow
the feeling that you had of freedom
just seems to mock you now
seems to mock you now
— Two Birds, The Sky
and in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat
I tried to find the sound
but then it stopped and I was in the darkness
so darkness I became
— Florence And The Machine, Cosmic Love
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My face is all pink, burning, and I don't know why. I take out the scissors and next thing I know there's hair on my floor. Pieces of what used to be me. I don't know what I need to clear out, or why, but I know I need to.

So I cut,

and cut,

and cut.

Somehow this feels sacred. Like it's a metaphor for my internal shedding of skin. You can't really see any noticable difference when I'm done, but I can feel it. I have buried something that needed to be buried. 

Weeks after this I am walking around the graveyard next to my building. I am crying and asking God questions and making accusations I can't even remember afterwards. The only thing I'll remember is the feeling of dying, and how safe all this dark seems. I attend a communion service but sneak out during the actual communion, when nobody's watching. The presence in the room before the service started was all I needed and could handle.

 
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This week is intense. I wrestle with this God thing like my life is depending on it. I wrestle because I no longer belong in the conservative christian circles I used to be part of and because I haven't found any place new, and the loneliness is crushing. I wrestle because my school assignments prompt wrestling. I wrestle because I am stressed out, lonely and I don't know what the hell I'm doing with my life. I wrestle because I have to write this post about my wrestling and it's making me think about it, and thinking about it intensifies the wrestling further. I wrestle because it is what I do these days. What I have left. 

A few days after crying in the graveyard I pass through that same graveyard, like I do almost daily. This time I am smiling. I am feeling a connection to the dead that I haven't felt to the living for quite some time now. I share my thoughts on instagram. "Maybe it's because I'm dying." Maybe my faith as I have known it has been dying for a long time, and I am finally letting it go.

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Because the miraculous mystery of death is that it brings forth life. I can see this now. This is the truth we find in all spiritual traditions worth our time. As I've been roaming the wilderness, with all its cold and dark and lonely, I've been loving every second of it even as it has driven me insane. The times I have cried so hard I could not breathe are my most sacred. The scars I have acquired are my most treasured adornments. Because I am learning the perks of dying. 

This is why I smile as I look down on that pile of cut off hairs, and keep dancing on my own grave.

the lights go out
but dark is light
in your eyes
— Gustafemanuel, Come Back
I took the stars from my eyes and then I made a map
and knew that somehow I could find my way back
then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
so I stayed in the darkness with you
— Florence And The Machine, Cosmic Love

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Emelie is a very swedish weirdo, who spends half the time running away from what she wants and the other half running back to it. She's currently studying religion at Uppsala University, but she doesn't really know what for. She's paradoxical and confused, and a bit addicted to Plants vs. Zombies.