Being on the other side of the continent from my family – both close and extended – these past two years has afforded me a lot of freedom. I’ve been able to do a lot of soul searching and self-analysis without the family pressures of “maintaining status quo” or just going with established norms. This time has allowed me to come to terms with who I really am, what I believe, and solidify my core beliefs about what is right. Raised conservative, I’m now about as far left politically as a person can go, and close-minded people who spend their lives lobbying against the personal interests, private matters, and basic freedoms of other people are, in my opinion, not worth my time. I’ve also always been outspoken, but I’m now that way more than ever, and all of this leads up to what happened a few weeks ago.
I have two aunts, which I will refer to in this post as The Sisters, who are “perfect Christians.” I say that because that is the image they are desperate to portray to the world. They go to church on Sunday mornings, spend Sunday afternoons talking about the pastor’s sermon as if he just cured cancer with his words (he didn’t), volunteer with the women’s groups, and do all those other churchy activities that make them appear angelic. They (and their husbands) also thrive on a neo-conservative outlook on life, racist and homophobic comments, denial of evolution and global warming and anything else that would allow science to disprove a literal interpretation of the bible, praise of people like Sarah Palin, judgment of anyone and anything that doesn’t meet their established “standards,” and they’d fill my Facebook feed with their anti-LGBTQ posts. Recently, my mother landed in their sights due to a unique family situation. Rather than speaking directly to my mom about their concerns, The Sisters dragged her name through the proverbial mud, made up lies about her when they couldn’t easily connect the dots to make an invalid point valid, and started an internal family kerfuffle that made its way back to my mom, who, to quote my dad, “wouldn’t say crap if she had a mouth full.” She doesn’t defend herself against detractors; she never has.
After about the sixth phone call where my mom was upset by their crap and was literally standing outside and burning gifts The Sisters had given her over the years, I’d had enough. After four days and just as many drafts (mainly to remove the excessive swearing), I finally shot off an email to let both of them know what I thought of their treatment of my mom and their general hateful outlook on life. The email, of course, caused quite the family scandal, but considering I blocked them from being able to email, call, text, or contact me on Facebook, I haven’t heard anything from them directly. It forced them to have to talk to my mom and she got to confront them and call them on their general BS. I’m happy Mom had hat opportunity, but I let The Sisters know that my relationships with the both of them are done. They can keep their Sunday dinner discussions about how dinosaur bones were put on Earth by God to test our faith or their belief that gay people should be put on an island “so they can kill each other with their AIDS.”
I do not have time for homophobia, racism, fear-mongering, and hate.
Sloughing off poison from your life can be liberating. I do not need such judgmental, hateful people in my life. There’s no chance of them showing up at my doorstep since there are 2,340 miles between us, and that’s fine with me. I’m too old to live my life keeping my mouth shut. I’m not going to allow someone to stand there and say terrible things about gays or Muslims or anyone when some of the best people I know are either gay or Muslim or black or Mexican or some form of immigrant or even an atheist. I’m going to defend my mother and I’m going to defend humanity because people deserve to live freely.
Word came back to me this week that the older Sister is hoping that I’m “going to be a Messianic Jew and not the other kind.” (Prior to booting her off my Facebook friends list, she saw some of my posts about Judaism.) As much as I want to contact her to let her know what I think of Messianic Judaism, her Messiah, and Christianity in general, I’m keeping my mouth shut. It’s hard, but I’ve said my piece. There’s nothing else to say that’s constructive, and I’m not about to defend my choice to leave Christianity for Judaism to anyone.
So maybe the next family gathering I attend where they’re in attendance will be supremely awkward, but whatever. I’ve had enough.