she is not tame
“So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here”
A common thread amongst the women I know who have come out of patriarchal fundamentalism is that they revisted their teen rebel stage in one degree or another as they fled. This was certainly true for me. I suppose that’s because I willingly gave away my adventurous youth as I entered Christianity when I was 19.
Some of the things I did as I clawed my way to freedom were rather silly, others were more lastingly meaningful. While my ex- and I were still separated under the one roof, I remember going in to a music store and feeling very daring purchasing a Queen album. Playing Bohemian Rhapsody LOUD while I did the vacuuming was a little bit empowering. And I admit I liked the shock value it provided for the X-man. And, if I’m honest, I just enjoyed pissing him off with my ‘racket’.
Shortly after that in a fit of giggles my friend L and I had our noses pierced. I’ve taken mine out now but at the time that little diamante stud was a little symbol of my personhood, a glimmer of the me that 25 years of patriarchal fundamentalism had not been able to tame. I also reinserted the 7 earrings I had worn during my punk days. I’ve taken most of them out but still wear my helix ring. I haven’t gone and got a tattoo but it’s feels nice to know that I could if I wanted to.
I gave up so much to become a Christian – much of which was absolutely harmless and did not need to go. I remember burning my Eagles records on a huge bonfire in the grounds of the charismatic church I first attended. One girl ‘manifested a demon’ as her Madonna LPs went up in smoke further fueling our anti-satanic zeal. Later I gave up all ‘secular’ music, television and movies and some years later threw away my jeans, jewellery and makeup. It might sound silly but a small part of me died as I relinquished each of those seemingly unimportant preferences.
My 17 year old daughter K tells me that in her darkest hours she found a catharsis in screaming cuss words. That may seem strange to some but I can understand how a girl who felt herself without a voice and full of suppressed rage might discover empowerment in making a lot of angry noise. She wouldn’t be the first to have discovered the powerful therapeutic effect of a well-timed expletive.
Christianity, if it is worth anything at all, is surely not about what believers *don’t* do but what they *do*. It is not found in what they turn away from but what they turn towards and pursue with all their hearts. Either Jesus Christ is so intrinsically wonderful that knowing him becomes the foundation and joy of our lives or none of it is worth a tinker’s cuss. Whether I drink a glass of wine and whether my kids play with Barbies matters not one jot. When it is all boiled down, integrity – who you are and know yourself to be – is all we’ve got.
I now cannot imagine that a man of any worth would want a tame woman running his errands and sharing his bed. The wildness and power of women allowed to be truly themselves is surely a much more exciting prospect.