Are you there God? It’s me, Jeanette.

I am not religious, I’m spiritual. That’s my copout for not going to church. I’m one of the most faithful members of Bedside Baptist. The real truth of the matter is while I do “get” parts of the Bible, I don’t “get” other parts. I have no desire to sit in a church for hours while someone yells at me about how much of a sinner I am and how to be redeemed. Honestly, I know all of that, thanks to the years of unwilling participation in the church system. It would be terribly unfair for me to dis all organized religions, but I have to say that I am not a big fan of most.

I’ve been to a lot of different religious services. When I was younger, my mother wasn’t exactly clear about which sect she wanted to belong to, so we went to both Baptist and Methodist churches. Sunday school @ 9, Service @ 11 (and quite possibly another service at 3 if it’s the Pastor’s Anniversary or some other such occasion). Bible Study every Wednesday night. Youth Group on Friday nights. *rolls eyes* While I loved going to Sunday School and Youth Group because it meant time spent with non-school friends, I dreaded having to sit through the pastor’s sermon on Sunday mornings. For some inexplicable reason, no matter what church I went to, it seemed that the pastor believed in the LOUD REPEAT system. Meaning, the more he wanted you to anchor onto his point, the more times he repeated himself and got increasingly louder. It got to the point where, I’d have to plug my ears. A bit ridiculous. The only part I loved was the singing. Whenever the choir got ready to sing a selection, I’d perk up instantly. There’s no denying that Gospel music will get you moving!

So, I got a little older and decided to try out the other half of my religious heritage. My father’s family is Catholic. I decided to try parochial school instead of entering my local public junior high. Yeah…I lasted there a good month before I wanted to transfer. I love God as much as the next person, but we prayed entirely too much, for too long. There’s no such thing as too much prayer, you may say? Well you weren’t in those hallowed halls of St. Simeon with me. Believe me when I say, sometimes it can be overkill. LOL Also, something about reciting a prayer rubs me the wrong way. Color me sacrilegious, but saying the Hail Mary three times in a row or however many was horror in my eyes. Then there was Mass. While I loved it for clocking in at 60 minutes consistently every week, it bored me to tears. I couldn’t understand most of it because it was in Latin. Also, no CWAIAH…there was a choir that sang hymns, but I needed a CWAIAH that was SANGIN’ songs that resonated.

For a few years after that I was a wanderer. I didn’t commit to any one religion. I went to church with folks because they asked me to or it was expected of me, not because I had any deep desire to become closer to God. Then, when I was 15, I met one of my best friends. I probably would have met her sooner had I not avoided her every Saturday morning of my youth, haha! She and her family are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t know how much you know about the faith, but before meeting them my impression was that they were weirdoes who knocked on doors and didn’t celebrate Christmas. Nothing I wanted to get mixed up in, certainly! The more time I spent with them though, I got to see another side. I had been taught to shun them for so long that I thought they were religious freaks.

I won’t lie. I learned the most about Christ and the Bible through my time spent studying with Witnesses. A lot of people think that they don’t believe in Christ (false), are freakazoids (mostly false), and punish their members too harshly for the most minor infractions (mostly true). I can honestly say that while I was aligned with them, I never felt so much love, acceptance, and general fuzziness that comes from being surrounded by people who genuinely care about your wellbeing. They gave me a lot of the things that I was seeking from everyone in my life at the time. They helped me build my character, learn who Jeanette really was, and most importantly, allowed me to really take a look at my spiritual state and decide just how I wanted to go about this whole getting closer to God thing.

Honestly, if I didn’t love my family and fornication so much, I’d probably still be a Jehovah’s Witness. Actually, I probably wouldn’t be in such a tizzy about the fornication issue as I’d probably be married and birthing somebody’s bebes right about . . . now. The major part that kept me from committing to them fully was my family. Witnesses do not associate with people who are non-Witnesses, family included. Anyone who knows me knows that as crazy as they make me, my family is my world. Needless to say once I learned about that little caveat, my journey in Jehovahland ceased.

So now we get to where I am now. Which is . . . I really don’t know. I’m not really into organized religion. I don’t have the best relationship with God, in my eyes, but I’m working on it. Most of our conversations usually begin with me beseeching Him and end with me berating Him. Also, there are lots of tears. On my end, naturally. Although He may be crying on His end as well. I do some things that are tear inducing at times.

I’m working on it though. I’m trying to have better conversations with God. I’m trying to live a life that is more in accord with how He wants me to live. I’m learning to not blame Him so much for MY shortcomings. I’ve even been thinking about going to church, but then I get hives when I think about stepping foot in a church. Mainly because I’m afraid I’ll be transported back to my youth when I sat in church for hours, not feeling like I had gained anything.

I’ve asked a few people about the churches they belong to, but I’ve just been too damned lazy to get up and check out one of them. My senior at work is VERY religious, but I think I’m scared to ask her anything about church, lol. She’s one of those uber-zealot Christian folks. The last thing I need is for her to begin working her ministry on me. Mi amiga cheetah, C-squared, gave me some info about her church before, but like I said before, I was just too lazy to actually check it out. I think I will soon though.

A stray thought. . .

Can you imagine if every situation in life where you have to cast off someone was like the America’s Next Top Model elimination?

Firing someone from a job: “Joe, you must immediately return to your cubicle, pack your belongings, and go home. You are no longer in the running for becoming America’s Next Top Office Worker.”

Breaking up eith a boyfriend: “Justin, you must immediately return to my apartment, pack your belongings, and LEAVE. You are no longer in the running for becoming America’s Next Top Boyfriend.”

I can’t think of any others and these were kind of lame, but you get the gist. IT WOULD BE AWESOME! I want to start sending people off with a grand speech at every juncture now. Thank you Tyra!

Friends, how many of us have them?

I went to the Universoul Circus last weekend with Dani, Nec, Sheena, & Sheena’s lil cousin. Mike’s dad got Dani free tickets and we benefitted. YAY! 🙂 It was SUCH a fun time. I hadn’t been in so long, I’d forgotten how fun it could be. Fugg a Barnum & Bailey! Where else can you see Casper (aka the ChaCha slide man) act out Lenny Williams’ “‘Cause I Love You” and his lady follow up with Jennifer Holiday’s “And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going)”?! Only in Chicago, LOL! I lost track of where I was going with this just that fast. Let’s move it on back now. . .to the title. A Whodini song that speaks the truth. I actually heard this song at the circus, it sparked an idea, and I had to make a blog draft so that I could remember to come back here and share my epiphany.

I am truly blessed to have some of the most amazing friends in the world. I know that I can call any of them day or night and they’ll be there for me. Hell, I have called some of them at the oddest times sniffling and souping snot; and they listened to my crazy ass, calmed me down, & made me feel 100% better.

There are some people, however, who are not friends that I still continue to let hang around. These people are leeches, sucking the air from me. I just can’t let them go though because of the history and many other factors. I wonder though, how does one go about telling someone “You know what? We can’t be friends. . .” and I don’t mean in that Deborah Cox & R.L. way either. ( Well aware that this is the second time in a week that I’ve used this reference. What can I say? I like that song! LOL) These relationships are not symbiotic (see definition #4) either. It’s me giving myself over and over to recieve nothing but heartache and irritation in return.

Why do I a) allow this to go on and 2) refuse to let things go? Like Jazmine Sullivan said, “I’m scared to move on, so I live in the past. . .” Every time I think I have the strength to let these people go, I get to reminscing on times long gone when things were different and talk myself into believing that I am not trying hard enough. I can’t let go. But I must. So I have begun.

I am loyal to a fault. I think this goes hand in hand with my inability to trust, as backwards as that may sound. It takes a lot for a person to gain my trust fully and once they do, they’re cemented in my circle. I will go to the wire for someone whom I consider friend. There are those, however, who slip through the cracks and later turn out to be unworthy of my trust, but I just cannot let go. It gets to the point where they’re such an intrinsic part of my life, then the true colors come shining through.

Recently I did a phone book purge. I deleted every number that I haven’t called (or recieved a call from) recently. Some people were exceptions to the rule (Kiki, Ally, Cheryl, etc—mis amigas cheetas with whom I communicate in other ways), but most were repeat offenders. Those who wronged me in some way, but based upon past performance were allowed to stay in my circle. I have to say after this purge I feel MUCH lighter. 🙂

An open letter.

Dear [name deleted to preserve anonymity],

We can’t be friends. It has nothing to do with that Deborah Cox & R.L. song either. We just. . .can’t. It doesn’t work for us at all. At first I thought the tension was because I wanted more than friendship and you were unwilling to give it, but no. That is not the case at all. All I want from you is your friendship and you act like it’s a burden or something.

The fact of the matter is that I am not the same girl I was when we first met. I was 19, naive, insecure, and desperately seeking someone. I wanted to be loved by everyone and at any cost. I neglected my own feelings in order to make others feel good. I was also painfully shy and delighted at receiving some male attention after going through a horrible break-up (again, the K story is another for another day). I feel like you knew this, had a sixth sense of sorts, and keyed in on me. You told me what I wanted to hear and I lapped it up anxiously. I was so swayed by the things that you said that I never really paid attention to the glaring signs.

You were a liar. I do not know if you sought to deliberately decieve me, but you did on numerous occasions. Scratch that, you probably were deliberate in your deception only because you thought that I would never find out that these things were lies. Nevertheless, you did it too often for my liking, but I swept it under the rug. Chalked it up to you trying to impress me. Let it slide. Thinking back though, I wonder why you ever felt the need to lie at all. Furthermore, even when I caught you in the lies, you never fessed up. You perpetuated the lie even further. I have been nothing but honest with you from the jump. Painfully honest, if you want to take it there. You knew how much I detested liars, but you persevered.

Now here we are. I am 26 and a lot wiser. Lookng back on it, I can see that our friendship was one-sided. I gave and gave, only to have you give a little and draw right back. I constantly kept fighting for you to give me more. You constantly kept fighting to hold back. Well, I can’t take this any more. I’m tired of it. I’m done.

Jeanette Nicole

Yes I realize that this is highly passive aggressive, but I had to get it out. I don’t even know if the intended will read this and I don’t even care. It’s a burden lifted and I now feel much better.