I never found any religion to embrace. Sometimes I feel sad that spirituality is not something that I have had the opportunity to incorporate into my life. I often wonder why I have been unable to find any real connection with God and organized religion. But when I really stop to think about this deeply, I realize one very important fact: I have experienced religion in my life. I worshipped at your alter for more years than I would like to admit. I devoted my life to you in ebbs and flows, as I recovered and relapsed. Each recovery felt like I was trying to outrun my own shadow. Each relapse was more severe than the last. This seemingly illogical cycle makes sense when I dissect it. If I think about you as my religion, the difficulty I had in running away is not hard to understand. After all, cutting ties with one’s own religion is no easy task. Our religions seep into our lives in uniquely multifaceted ways. Religion affects lifestyle choices, weekly routine, yes, but it also affects our conscience, inner monologue, and the way we view the world around us. Every relapse occurred with increasing intensity because I was renewing my vows to you every time. I suppose in this sense, you were my husband as well. My violent, controlling, terrifying husband. My mind-numbing, night-stealing religion. Either way you prefer to think about it, one thing is for certain: I bowed down to you and obeyed you without question for a good part of my life.
But somehow, I disentagled myself from your black claws. Against the odds, I found a way out of your dark rabbit hole. How did I do this, you ask? By standing up to the cloaked monster that you truly are. I told you I was divorcing you. I said that I would not be attending your services anymore. You won’t catch me kneeling with my head bowed, confessing all of my so-called-sins to you, and begging for repentance. I no longer need you to be my whipping master because I no longer believe that I need to be punished.
Walking away was excruciating. I have never had a more difficult experience than when I had to extricate myself from your arms completely and leave you in the dust like a bad memory. “Why can’t it be simple” I thought to myself? “Why can’t I slip out quietly in the night, never to look back?” For so many years, I struggled to leave you, but continued to feel your breath on the nape of my neck. I could still hear your whispers from time to time, and imagine your sneer as I tried my damnest to outrun you. Like I told you, sometimes it felt like trying to outrun my own shadow.
I guess, looking back, the trick really was repeated effort, repeated kicking you back when you kicked me down. Dogged effort to bring you down and expose you for the monster that you truly are. We struggled and fought one other for so many years, and at one point you even tried to call a truce. You said, “Look. You put in the work. Your body is no longer weak. Your family is no longer worried. I promise I won’t infiltrate your entire life again. Just let me hang out with you from time to time. Just visit me at night. Just come to the alter on weekends.” Thank goodness I didn’t listen. Because I knew, I know, that there is no halfway with you. We are an all or nothing deal ED, and though it felt a bit unnerving to finally stand up, un-cup your hands from my ear, walk away from the alter, and close the door on you completely, I know that it absolutely and 100% must be this way. No hang out sessions. Not alter visits on weekends. Nothing. You added nothing to my life. You only stole from it. So from here on out, you are no longer allowed anywhere in it. Hear me. Listen to me. Because I’m the captain now ED, not you.
So ED, My ex-husband. My lost religion. My white flag is down. My black flag with skull and bones is up. Don’t even consider coming any closer. We are done. And I win.
Your ex-devotee- C