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intrusive religiosity

For about a year in the late 2000s, I became intensely devoted to crossing myself whenever I passed a cross.


 
This started with a steeple cross that was visible to me from the freeway on the drive home from my college. I often sat in a little clutch of traffic near it and it was lit at night, so I noticed it frequently, hovering over the wall that separated the speeding 210 from the neighborhood beyond.
 
I’m not religious. I’ve been to church less than a dozen times in my entire life. I’m unbaptized, un-saved, uncircumsised. I’ve been to Catholic mass once and I spent the entire thing staring at how super naked Jesus seemed on the cross, hanging morbidly above the Filipino priest’s head. I’m religiously curious, so I know a lot about rites and rituals. Plus I’m a writer and I like characters of faith, so I’ve done a lot of research over the years. I’m an atheist though. No waffling here: I don’t believe in god and I have no interest in church.
 
But this cross, it haunted me. I could feel the pull of compulsion each time I passed it, the little tug at me, like there was something my body, my hindbrain NEEDED to do, but I wasn’t getting the message. It probably took a month of this drive, two or three times a week, for me to figure out what it was. My right arm wanted to make the sign of the cross.
 
This is 1. hysterical because with all that lack of religious upbringing, I had no idea how to accurately make the sign of the cross, and 2. disturbing, because it was a compulsion with an intensity I had not yet experienced. I’ve had intensely intrusive thoughts my entire life (flashes of sudden injury, the desire to drive into oncoming traffic, having to back up from a rail because I wanted to jump – all the regulars!) but this was not that. And it wasn’t like the compulsive need to touch and smell things that I inherited from my mother. (Thanks, Mom!) It wasn’t going all the way back to my apartment or dorm door to make sure I locked it. Twice. I knew there were consequences if I left my front door unlocked. I didn’t have any identifiable fear or consequence of NOT crossing myself, I just realized that I had to do it and I had to do it real, real bad.
 
So I did.
 
It became a thing. I drove by this steeple, I crossed myself. Probably incorrectly, but it got the job done. I felt compelled first in my upper arm, then my elbow, then my fingers as I neared the cross. I’d cross myself and I’d feel the minor flood of elation at having satisfied the compulsion. I only crossed myself when I was traveling on the westbound side of the freeway because, I don’t know, these things just happen and the universe in which I live has all kinds of rules I just obey because that’s how it is. I also always did it with my fore and middle fingers extended, which had no reasoning either. It just felt right.
 
It was weird, but it wasn’t dangerous and it was only once a day, twice a week!
 
But then it started happening when I was eastbound as well.
 
And then it started happening any time I passed a large cross. Then any time I passed a church. Then any cross. Then cemeteries.
 
I was living in a Los Angeles suburb and commuting into the Inland Empire. I spent a lot of time in the car and I saw a lot of crosses and churches and cemeteries.
 
I knew it had become a problem when I had to come up with a way to cross myself SECRETLY.

I had started crossing myself so frequently (There are more than 40 churches just in the town of 40,000 where I lived.) that doing it with other people had become unavoidable.

I have been an outspoken atheist since I was thirteen years old, I couldn’t let my friends and family think I had suddenly become weirdly and confusingly Catholic. Also, I still – despite having access to the entire internet at my fingertips – had no idea if I was crossing myself correctly and being seen doing it incorrectly would have been HUMILIATING, obviously. I think I didn’t look it up because the compulsion didn’t want me to. My crossing was organic and it wanted to stay that way.
 
I had learned in like, the third grade, that crossing your fingers for luck came from persecuted Christians giving each other the what’s up, so I tried that. I didn’t like it. First of all, it’s not really an action, it’s an adjustment. Second of all, it didn’t satisfy my elbow or my shoulder. My fingers were okay-ish with the deal, but the rest of my right arm was Not Having It.
 
So I started drawing a cross on my thigh. It allowed for the motion of my entire arm, it seemed semi-holy, and it was pretty easy to do inconspicuously. And I did it A Lot.

The best way to end this story would be to tell you that someone busted me and I had an embarrassing breakdown about how I was an adult woman who couldn’t control my own weird, compulsive, faux-religiosity. Or maybe that the compulsion started to make me feel too out of control and so I forced myself to break it. But, sadly, this story just ends the way most idiot problems I have do: it just went away on its own.

adulthood is a menace

I am TERRIBLE at making time for the things I want to do and, to be fair, am only marginally better at both making the time and expending the energy to do the things I have to do, but I am very tired of myself for not making time to blog which is something I desperately want to do.

How do you make time for all the things you have to do and all the things you need to do and all the things you want to do? I have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce and Lin-Manuel Miranda, but they don’t really have to sit in an office for 8-11 hours every day doing things that have no relation to what they want to be doing. You have the same number of hours in a day, but the allocation of those hours is incomparable.

My point, though, is not to whine because I got mad at a motivational image on Facebook (I actually didn’t even recently see it, I just got mad after the fact while writing this post. The human mind is a Thing.) – my point was to show up here and write something down for the sake of having done it and because I like doing it. I am thirty-one and can no longer make super meaningful promises about how I want to spend my time because my time is largely not my own. I am married. I have a full-time job. I am trying to buy a house. I have living creatures to take care of and keep alive, including myself.

Adulthood is a menace.

At least my dog is cute.

here she comes

I’ve been a bad blogger this year and I do apologize for not being around and oversharing about every minute of my life with you, especially after I set such lofty goals at the start of the year! I mean, to be fair, I regularly overshare on Twitter, so I am still around, I just haven’t made the effort to be present here which is insane because I love my blog, duh.

I would be more apologetic if I’d been gone for bad or depressing reasons, but mostly I was gone because I was working a whole bunch of hours at a job that I only occasionally hate and planning a wedding that turned out so much better than I could have possibly expected. Those are honestly pretty good reasons to let my internet home languish a bit.

2016 might be better! Let’s find out together!


HEY, GURL, HEEEEEEEEEEY

In the meantime, it’s almost time to talk about stuff I really loved this year. I know, I know, I hardcore dropped the ball on my monthly favorites, but! I still bought/read/watched/listened to enough stuff to have some favorites to throw your way.

To ease both the number of posts I need to write and you have to read, I reduced my categories earlier this year as I was prepping to write a catch-up faves post (first in like… June, then August, then November…) so now we’re down to: Reading, Listening, Watching, and Stuff & Things.

I can’t guarantee a TOTALLY TOP FIVE in all of those categories, mostly because I was atrocious about seeking out new media this year, but I also bought a ton of make-up and skincare that I feel desperate to talk about, so I’m just letting it all ~flow.

And, of course, there’ll be a giveaway at the end! A good one! Because it’s the holidays! And I’m financially stable for the first time in my life!

This is not a post with any actual content! Just a warning that I will likely be more present and you should gird your loins. And that I turn 31 next year so as I attempt to be more present, I’ll probably start talking about, like, orthopedic shoes and other things that old people like. I’m pretty amped about it, to be honest!

To add to the no content of this post, here are other places on the internet where you can follow me where I have varying degrees of activity: Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat: ashrocketship. I sort of understand snapchat! I’m obsessed with watching people’s stories! Let me watch yours!

movie monday: the avengers

Let’s talk about how I’m a crazy, excellent, obsessed fan of stuff, yeah?! And it will also serve as a LONG OVERDUE Movie Monday!

Obviously this is going to be about The Avengers because, duh, are there even any other movies IN theaters right now? SPOILERS! Probably! Because I’ve seen it four times! And I can recite a lot of it! And HAVEN’T YOU SEEN IT BY NOW?!

» more: movie monday: the avengers

scott disick or how i learned to stop bitching and love a kardashian?!

Do you know how hard it is to write about something when you can’t talk about it?

Do you? I mean do you really understand what it’s like to try to put FEELINGS and STUFF into WORDS when you can’t actually talk about the things that are causing the FEELINGS and the STUFF?! Because it sucks. IT SUCKS A LOT. And it turns the thing that you do to feel better (ie: writing) into a thing you never ever want to do because it’s TOO HARD.

(This is why there was no Movie Monday this week. SORRY.)

I am waiting on some things right now. Two pretty big things that are sort of complicated to talk about. Things that I and other people involved aren’t particularly ready to articulate. For good reasons and stuff! But those things are DEEPLY impacting the life I’m leading right now because they’re trapping me and they’re making me unstable and they’re causing all this FLUX.

And because I have anxiety and a variety of other issues, they are REALLY stressing me out. And I’m caving to my anxiety. And I’m keeping terrible hours. And I’m doing all this while trying to freelance (and find freelance) and blog and twitter and tumblr and keep up with my 366 projects and look for a full-time job and not be a terrible girlfriend/daughter/friend/sister/housewife. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but HO BOY. It is.

It is also deeply impacting my ability to be funny/insightful/creative/awesome. And, like, do you understand what that means? It means I’m BORING. It means I feel broken. My humor is SUCH an important part of who I am and what I think of myself and the only laughing I’ve been causing lately has been because I have a tendency to fart at really delightful/inopportune moments. JOKES WHAT ARE JOKES?!

Like, I spent ten minutes with my girlfriend tonight RELIVING DUMB JOKES I TOLD A YEAR AGO because I haven’t said anything funny in MONTHS, it feels like. She would argue otherwise (because she’s a good girlfriend) but she would also be HARD FUCKING PRESSED to remember something hilarious I’ve said recently.

I’m not the kind of person that’s hilarious on my own. Like, I am never going to be a stand-up. I am never going to stand somewhere and just BE FUNNY. I don’t tell jokes. I’m funny when I’m responding to things around me. I’m hilarious in conversation. And the reason it’s not happening is because I haven’t SEEN anyone since basically December 10th.

December 10th! One outing aside, I’ve been devoid of non-girlfriend or familial companionship and I think it’s finally starting to destroy me. I feed off of my friends. And they’re not around for me to feed on! And that’s not all my fault and it’s certainly not all their fault. I mean, I don’t get out of my pajamas. Do you know what that’s like? (No… probably because you’re, like, a functional human being with a job.) It’s gross. And it’s weird. And sometimes the thought of even TRYING to get dressed and leave the house is so daunting it’s embarrassing.

But I’ve gotten comfortable in my pajama cocoon. I feel safe. And neither my parents nor m girlfriend judges me. And so I let it feed itself. And the other day I found myself stretched out in bed, petting a dog, and watching one of those Kardashian shows.

» more: scott disick or how i learned to stop bitching and love a kardashian?!