kaberett: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
[personal profile] kaberett
(No, really, incredibly grumpy insomnia. I was in bed by midnight. I spent nearly 90 minutes failing to get to sleep via trying several of the usual tricks. I have to be up to teach stats in a little over five hours. I was up at 7.30 today and spent nearly 6 hours on my feet teaching. And then After Gadget - the blog - updated, and now I'm bitter and resentful about people ~getting better~, because yeah, that'd be LOVELY, but the knee that used to only start complaining after most of a week of serious hiking now grumbles like anything after too much time spent walking or standing - I used to do shit like the Tongariro Crossing and now 1km/day is too much for me to manage sustainably, and none of the physio I've done has worked, and... it's 2.22 and I need to be up in five hours and it's too late to drug myself to sleep without making a mess of tomorrow and I'm a bit hyperbolically despairing, basically, within the bounds of mostly-normative rather than pathological emotion, thank you Lewis Wolpert.)

I think I begin to understand one of the routes to ending up ordained.

The summary to date: I was brought up Catholic, and specifically Austrian Catholic, so my cultural identity is tied up in my religion. Around 12-13 I realised I was queer; around 15-16 I started to realise I was trans, though I didn't have those words for it, quite, at that point; and somewhere in between I decided that the way the Vatican and my Church as a whole behaved was ethically indefensible and I left the faith, still believing. It hurt. Around 17-18 I stopped feeling guilty for not believing; then two or three years ago I started building some observance back in: I attend Mass on All Souls', though I pointedly disengage from celebrations of Christmas and Easter, because why on Earth would I want to participate in festivals of a religion I left.

And yet over the past six months or so I've begun to understand religion as a means of transmitting knowledge about not just "eat this and die" but also... ways of understanding how brains & minds work; ways of interpreting the self. I noticed last week that "count your blessings" isn't inherently as snide and dismissive as I often hear it: it's the essence of my ten-good-things, a directive towards gratitude, with the why stripped out: worn smooth through being passed mouth-to-hand. I'm simultaneously surprised & not that I didn't notice sooner.

I thrive on why. But I begin to see how this, messy and confused and abbreviated and pared down as it is, has value. I start to see why one might dedicate one's life to teasing out meaning, to teaching it, and to know all the while that one is helping over and above the comfort-of-ritual.

This, too, feels like growing up.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-28 01:58 am (UTC)
quirkytizzy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quirkytizzy
This is beautiful. Truly, it is poetry. THe lines "a directive towards gratitude, with the why stripped out: worn smooth through being passed mouth-to-hand." That's so evocative. I hope you know that - that your writing alone radiates sentiment and emotion.

I can't imagine what it must be like to struggle with religion and identity. My family was never very religious or anti-religious, so I've never experienced that. I imagine it is hard, but here you said in a way, it's not wasted?

That's beautiful.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-28 02:52 am (UTC)
ghoti: fish jumping out of bowl (Default)
From: [personal profile] ghoti
Despite being grumpy!alex you are also being thoughtful-and-insightful!alex and <3

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-28 04:38 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: quill, ink bottle, and calligraphy (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
+1

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-28 04:54 am (UTC)
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
From: [personal profile] vass
I've begun to understand religion as a means of [...] understanding how brains & minds work;

Someone else on my flist who's an atheist and Jewish, and raising her son as Jewish, said that that religious context makes a really important framework for her when she has to talk with him about the hard issues, like injustice and death. Not a pat answer, but a starting point for how to talk about those things, one that will grow with him as he keeps thinking about them.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-28 09:18 am (UTC)
carthaginians: ([ac] hidden blade)
From: [personal profile] carthaginians
hugs tight. and much love.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-28 10:35 am (UTC)
sebastienne: (notebook)
From: [personal profile] sebastienne
It's not for nothing that I've had "join a pacifist army, an atheist nunnery" on the life-goals list for quite some time.

(It's such a nice balance if one has fluctuating mood; using unthinking obedience to dogma to get through the low days, yet interpreting and exploring and celebrating the complexities of received wisdom on the good days.)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-28 02:55 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
If more people took the kind of care and thought that you are taking when thinking about ritual and religious belief, I suspect the would be much less of evils done in the name of religion, and more tolerance overall of all religious faiths.