The thing that happened, was called a deliverance service. What it should be called is “We make you go up in front of people after naming sin, which will embarrass you and demean you. Then, we will lay hands forcibly on you and yell at you until you cry. We will then assume this is a demon and yell at you some more. You will either fall down or be pushed down and you will cry really hard. Then, you’ll go to your seat and feel like crap and want to either run or hide.”
Basically what I said in the quotes is what happened. What I didn’t say is that apparently that I had so much sin in my virgin life(yes, was still one of those) that I apparently had the most demaning things. It was like what the military used to be able to do to you before making you into a soldier. They’d tear you down to the point where you’d break.
And well, I’ve been breaking bit by bit all day. But that night, I really think I had what one would call a “psyhotic break”. There was time I couldn’t make up for, I babbled incoherently, and my persona was different. I’d say the same for the most of the kids there with me.
But we wanted to be part of the group, so we did it. And after it was all said and done, the rules and conditioning continued.
Three days after the whole encounter, I started having panic attacks and just freaking out. Of course, I was told this would happen by a leader there because the devil takes three days to formulate an attack against you and try to make you think what happened wasn’t real. And that you aren’t saved or he would just try to screw up your mind. And well, those things happened. Of Course, someone intelligent would call it “Confirmation Bias” or even “self-fufilling prophesey”. But yeah..one could say that .
The rest of my second year comprised of church, school, and yearning for the men at my church to notice me as the Godly woman I was.
I ended up going on my first date ever during this time, and let me tell you, it was awful. The guy(Jason Goodson) asked me as a last ditch effort to have a girl, any girl to make his ex jealous. No, he never told me that, I found that out when I got there. I loathed him for ages.
My second date was with Lorenzo, a guy I’m still friends with. Two things about him, I thought he was older than he was, and I thought he was military. But when I met him, it was nothing at first sight. I knew he liked me, and I told him so(got tired of being a lady in waiting at this point). He asked me a date via email.
And that date was a disaster. Folks from Chi Alpha saw him with me and began calculating how to get us to the altar. I lost my chaperone because I was dragged down the street to the Chimes resturaunt. And to add insult to injury, I was told by my date that he was a virgin, and intended to stay that way, so don’t even try. Given the fact that I was a lady, and not some hoodrat from Compton, I kept my mouth shut. But my internal dialogue went like this:
“What?! Did it not ocur to you, idiot, that I might be a virgin too? Do you really think that ALL black women are just sluts? Jeez!”
But despite that rocky start, I was convinced that he was who God had for me to marry. Mostly because the men at Bethany did not even look at me or talk to me. Basically I did not fit the mold: skinny, white, blonde and really hot. I was black, fat, dark featured, and ugly. At least, that is how it came off…alot. Heck, even the brothers stayed FAR from me. So I should be happy that anyone is paying attention to me.
Well, I chased him and chased him(well, interally). I fought with bouts of trying to be lady-in-waiting and wanting to actually be in a realtionship. Both caused me pain, and both were from deep seated insecurity/desperation. I wanted to know that I wasn’t the runt of the litter. That I was of worth.
That bled into my faithwalk as well. Tried as I might, the message of unconditional acceptance did not take with me. But that’s alright, because the Bethany message was a mix of this and formulaism: do this and we will love you more and Jesus will love you. By this time, I was involved in the leadership school, level one. I knew about Consolidate, Disciple, Send. I tried to do that in my every day life. I told so many folks about how great Bethany was and how Jesus loves them so very much that folks probally thought my name was Bethany.
Meanwhile, desires for a life apart from church and a relationship with a guy pulled at me. I felt awful. I would be at the church, just singing my heart out…only to be at home chatting up guys and feeling very much like a whore(still a virgin).
I became a Sunday School Teacher during this time, and loved what I did. Working with the kids gave my life some meaning. That, and I didn’t have to be in church(ooo, bad monica). I went on wedsdays, so that was enough for me. I tried to be as much of a lady as possible, and I guess it showed.
So I did the cell thing, the Sunday School Teacher thing, and trying to be a good christian thing. The later I was failing on horribly, I felt. I didn’t think I had enough passion. That I had too much pride(oh boy did I). That maybe I was mistaken in m faith.
So I had bouts of lack of faith in my standing with Christ. I never really told anyone, except my mom. Also, I was having bouts of depression. It wasn’t too bad at first, but by the time I hit my fourth year at Bethany, I became intolerable.
I would go give these wonderful sermonettes at free speech valley at LSU against the Consuming Fire Fellowship, only to hear voices and be convinced it was demons tormenting me. I started weight watchers to be a better vessel for Christ(good idea) and would go moments without eating(bad idea). Mom would have to literally force me to eat at times. I was self-harming in a number of ways, and tried to kill myself. I reached out for help, and all I got was a “I’ll pray for you” from church friends and a forced exorcism from my mother. Life was literally hell on earth for me.
And then I met Ronald. He was an atheist, but seemed like a good guy. And what I wanted was a good guy, because by this time I was convinced that I’d never find a good Christian man who would deal with my crazy ass(something that has been festering in my heart for a long while..combined with things that just confirmed that thought for me). He would take me out, and just talk to me.
Amy warned me against him, told me he was no good. Heck, Lorenzo stopped talking to me because of him.
But what really tipped the scales in Ronald’s favor was not how nice he was, but of the one unforgivable thing(okay, two) that large amounts of Chi Alpha and Bethany members did.
It was a weeknight, and I was hanging out with Ronald. I get a phone call from Amy telling me that she is coming to get me and to come downstairs. And for the first time in my life, I think to say no.
I get another phone call, this time to come downstairs immediately. And in their unabashed(read: prideful and quite rude) glory, I see Amy, Tollie, Zech, Lorenzo, Kielly, and other folks who I think came just to see the drama. Well they got it. I got an earfull about how I was better than that, and that all Ronald wanted was to get into my pants and cast me aside. That infuriated me that someone would use that type of arguement to get at me. It worked, for all of half a night.
So I started dating Ronald. I still went to cell, but then when I began questioning even more things(combined with the Ronald thing) I was kicked out of cell group. Which is akin to being kicked out of the church family. Why do I say this? I say this because those who were cell-less were thought of as “not serious Christians” and other assumptions on their spiritual walk were made without any regard of time or what they are going though.
Meanwhile, at Chi Alpha, the rumors began to spread. I was a satanist. I was an atheist(not yet). I was knocked up and on my way to have a kid(nope, not at all). I slept with a number of people while dating Ronald(still, no). Those who were my friends, or so I thought, began to pull away from me. And the guys I wanted to date? Now they are coming out of the wood work and declaring their love. How disgusting.
But by Christmastime of that year, driven by the junk with Chi Alpha, Bethany, my own insecurties, a dash of depression, and an arguement with Ronald…I hung myself.
Let me modify that, TRIED to hang myself. I had the item around my neck enough to cut off air, but I wasn’t high enough to break my neck.
The next year I spent a week in the mental health section of Our Lady of the Lake.