The Do-Right Family

One of the big themes of the book, which I am working hard at exploring while trying not to beat readers over the head with it is how, because a minister’s family becomes a living testament to the truthfulness of his ministry, it isolates the family and keeps them from being able to reach out in ways that are available to other members of the church community (even if those available ways are not always so great themselves) when they’re having troubles. I don’t really get too much into what it means for the minister when he’s having troubles or doubts, precisely because that set-up is so minister-focused and I want the book to deal with what happens in the aftermath of that, when you’re trying to establish yourself as your own person and not as an extension of your dad’s ministry.

And note, I use “Dad” in this post because I knew very few female ministers when I was growing up. In my memory, which is the era of the past in the book, it just basically wasn’t an option.

But the central action of the fourth and fifth chapters–the retrieval of the Devil’s baby and the subsequent effort to sacrifice the main character to Satan–is kind of the last hurrah of “How much will you do to ensure your father’s successful ministry?” on the main character’s life, kind of the last time, though she doesn’t know it, in which she acts contrary to her own best interest for the sake of her father.

And then, what I’m trying to get at with the last chapter is how she sets off to see if there’s some relationship she can have with the church, some way of being a part of this thing that was so fundamental to her understanding of herself and her place in the universe, if she is herself and not her father’s daughter, and how she finds, instead, that she can’t not be assumed to be always picking a side. And, if she’s not clearly identified with the pastor, she is assumed to be obviously against, in this case, her. Or at least open to being against her.

And that’s really what I want to get at at the end, that she’s not just staying away any more, but obviously leaving and not coming back, because the whole situation is just so fucked. If you’re not the ones being complained about, it’s assumed you’d be open to complaining.

Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that I read this post and reading the comments from ministers’ kids and ministers’ spouses made me feel… I don’t know… like it’s a hard, weird life, even still. And it reminded me that, even if, for instance, I had known some spiritual truth about myself that I wanted to tell at that time (and I didn’t, in all honesty), I would never have felt like I could risk my dad’s job to do so.

“I Think I Lost It. Let Me Know When You Come Across It.”

I have to tell you, I’ve been burned out on politics before, but nothing like what I’m feeling lately. I think the thing is that I’ve lost the one belief that used to keep me going. I used to believe, about a lot of vile stuff, that the people promoting it just truly didn’t know or hadn’t thought things through. Especially because I know lots of thoughtful people who disagree with me about a lot of stuff and, whew dog, they have thought things through, mulled it over, wrestled with it.

But blogging at Pith and just existing on the internet has lead me to believe that a lot of “ignorance” is just a rhetorical stance designed to wear you down.  You can’t see the same people, for months, or years, even, just steadfastly refusing to understand what you’re saying and believe that it’s a.) just because you’re a shitty writer or b.) just because they’re stupid or c.) some combination of the two. They know exactly what you’re saying. They just pretend like they don’t, hoping you’ll burn out spinning your wheels.

And, frankly, it works.

The amount of stuff going on in this country right now, with this ignorant “forcible rape” crap and “go ahead and kill abortion providers” stuff and “if she didn’t want to be gang raped, why was she even in Egypt?” It’s just too much stupidity for me to feel like it’s not on purpose. It’s not a matter of “Oh, they’re just not thinking through what they’re saying.” They know what they’re saying. They liked it better when women’s lives were harder and more circumspect.


I just can’t always bang my head against that wall, you know?

It’s funny. I know people advise that, if you want to have a successful blog, you should pick a topic and just write about that–feminism, sci-fi, dogs, whatever. And I guess that’s true.

But if I had to write about all the ways I’ve been reminded by the people in my own country, this land that I love, that I don’t get final say over what happens to my own body, that by virtue of having a vagina, I’m not a whole person, I would break in two.

I can tell the stove is hot from here, you know? I can’t bring myself to put my hand on the burner.

I admire women who can. But I just can’t. It’s not even that I don’t give a shit. I just find the prospect of changing anyone’s mind so futile it’s like, what’s the point?

I’d rather be writing or gardening or eating good meals with my friends or watching bad TV with the Butcher.

I don’t know. Part of the problem is just that it’s February. I’ve been lucky. Usually November through February is a brutal slog for me and this year I was fortunate that it didn’t really become even bad until just this month. But part of it is that I want things to change, on a lot of levels, but I hate the feeling of things sliding beneath my feet.

Damn it. Usually when I write a post like this, I feel better at the end, clearer on what’s bothering me and why. Not today, though.

I did just watch the orange cat open the front door and let himself out, which is an argument for making sure it’s always deadbolted.