The Burden of Eden

The concept of original sin nearly killed me. This female body I was born in carried within it an incredible weight—the weight of wrongness, of shame and the pain of a nameless wound. The Burden of Eden was quiet, ethereal. As a little girl my father told me how Jesus made him a better daddy, and with the help of Veggie Tales I decided I needed him too. Obviously, I wasn’t enough as I was. Christ was the sacrifice I had been told I needed, and I found joy in my salvation, simultaneously learning the lesson of my need for saving by a masculine lifeline to a masculine god. I learned to quiet my questioning, to accept without wonder, to parrot without analysis. I learned my father was the head of our household, closely followed by my younger brother, and the opinions and feelings of my mother and I were less than nothing—annoyances with no meaning. I found unnamed anger mixed into my shame; I found rebellion mixed with self-destruction was the only way to satisfy the needs I could not name. This dirty body I lived in had no value, no wisdom, no use beyond the sexual satisfaction of the men in my life (as our lovely consumer culture pointed out) and the production of children. With no desire for motherhood, and a need to prove my own worth, I set out upon a campaign to kill off my femininity. I would swear like the men swore, drink like the men drank, fuck like the men fucked. I would objectify and degrade other women, refuse their friendships and only value them as tools to increase my desirability. I would sell my body with a smile as I felt less and less in control, less and less strong, less and less of a person. I became a wisp of my former self, drowned in whiskey and promiscuity, angrily proclaiming my worth as a masculinized woman! I would be delicate, beautiful and wasted; a gossamer veil forgotten in the mud. I stumbled about in a haze of intoxicants, allowing nearly every man who wanted to take a taste of what no one had taught me to prize. The only thing worth protecting, my original virginity, had been stolen from me at 15—each man after the thief had the same question, “If you’ve already lost it, why does it matter?”

I didn’t know. I couldn’t answer the question, so I decided they were correct, and I gave my sexuality no value beyond what I could make them do for me in exchange. I paid my bar tabs, my rent, my coke dealer and anyone else I could with my pussy. I drowned myself in barely functional alcoholism and dismissive logic. If men could fuck with no consequences, so could I. I had no idea that as I delved deeper into the world’s proclamation of masculinity I was destroying myself, piece by piece. I had no idea that patriarchy’s rules were as destructive to men as they were to me, because I couldn’t see they were destructive to me. I just expected to be used and abused and thought I should just get as much as I could out of the pain I wore. Only when my looks began to fail me did I begin searching for something, again without knowing its name. I began searching for a way to get the perfect ass, to slim the fat I carried from my alcohol consumption.

I met a woman, in the midst of my physical renaissance, who gave me real love for the first time in my life. I was as frightened of her as I was in love, and I seemed to sense that she would be the one to give me the tools to heal that nameless pain I carried. She gave me the kind of love that allowed me peace that surpassed all understanding, the kind I had been promised but never found in Christ, and in the midst of that haze of love I stumbled into yoga. What yoga helped me find is incalculable. I started by healing my body—left broken and aching from years of abuse. As my body healed, I noticed my sense of calm growing. From a place of calm, I found strength. From that strength I found a deeper understanding of my own power. I now understand the wisdom my body holds, because I now know how to listen. I now know I am capable of creating a human being from next to nothing, and birthing him with only my partner’s assistance. I now know I am connected to source in a way that is indescribable. I found a connection to the goddess that I didn’t know was possible, because I finally learned I was deserving of love. I’ve even found enough love to forgive my father for the version of Christ he had been sold.

Excerpt from The Girl God Anthology Jesus, Muhammad & the Goddess, written by Daphne Moon (formerly Rachael Patterson)

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