Grace

(A continuation on a previous post).


When I was a girl I was taught that my boundaries were constructs that would inevitably be infringed upon. This was a fact I was forced to accept, because to be a woman is to be pliant, soft, and accommodating. When we are not these things we are not considered women.


This is an issue that was exacerbated by my sudden transplantation from the United States to Indonesia, a country in which gender norms are ingrained, in which boundaries are readily distorted and encroached upon. So, then, because I am a woman, and because I am trapped in an "Eastern" culture, my struggle is twofold.


The concept of boundaries is one that many people here do not understand; I believed this to be limited to the generation before mine, but quickly I have come to understand that this idea is mistaken. Which is to say, I have recently discovered that there are actually many people in my age cohort who are, like their parents, also nosy, disrespectful busybodies.


Here is some advice for you to carry forward on your journey through life:


If you are discussing a sensitive topic with someone who does not want to respond to your questions, stop asking. Stop. Because there is a word which perfectly describes that sort of behavior, and it is: rude. You are being rude, coarse, impolite, and at that point you have a very serious boundary issue. And perhaps this is a concept too difficult for some to understand, but people have names and it is considered polite to refer to them with those names. That is considered a sign that one understands the basic concept of respect for other humans. A person with autonomous will is not just "someone's girl" or "someone's boy toy": humans are not others' belongings.


Here are some questions that are considered sensitive:


Are you pregnant? Did you knock someone up? How did (s)he die? How far have you gone with them?


One is not entitled to an answer to any of these questions, or really any question at all.
Anyways, continuing on: as a girl with a sun in Aries and ascendant in Aries and Mars in Aries and Mercury in Aries and Saturn in Aries and The Chariot as my soul card, expressions of tenderness remain rather rare for me. I have documented in previous posts my struggle to be "a woman" according to the unwritten laws of gender norms. And, you see, it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Because I am not often soft, pliant, sweet, or patient.


If anything, I am fire, and when angry, irascible, eager to burn. I do not like to lose. I have said this again and again and yet it seems someone is always complaining, because I am not kind enough, or demure enough--because I am always getting into fights and picking at small details. Because I am a woman, but I know how to get angry, and I know how to wound.


And yet--I am trying, I really, truly am, I swear it. Because the Lord would not want me to be inviting His other children to fight me, to aim for OHKOs, to toss vitriol at people who have done nothing wrong except been a little too nosy. I have tried so very hard to be patient and understanding of others, and yet when I come across something that is so irreconcilable with my principles that my rage comes bursting forth, again, again, like some overeager hellfire that has no place to go--I falter, again.


I daresay that the nature of all humans can be summed up in a single word: failure. Our destiny is to come up short.


This post, somehow, has become yet another plea for grace from a God who is too good for me.
On occasion I find myself looking in the mirror at my forlorn expression and wondering, how could a God so lovely love a person so broken? And I ask the same of Erik. How could a person so kind, so patient, so generous, so--everything that I am not?--have found something in me worth fighting for? Worth cherishing? Because too often when I look at myself, when I stare at my hands, when I look into these eyes which once held so much hope and are fervently trying to find it again--why, I simply feel ashamed. Because what light have I contributed to the small corners of the world which I visited for such short moments? What hope have I offered to the people I love the most?


Who am I, really?


There have been a number of protests at my unabashed disclosure of my life, stretching all the way back to 2013 or so when I first began populating my small space on the Internet with prose, poetry, and overly honest stories about myself. They have not stopped, and usually demand some modicum of humility and privacy, because "some matters are not meant for others to know," and, "do not open the closets where we have hidden the family skeletons," and, "if you are hoping to become a success, do you really believe anyone will believe in you who hold such a peppered, vile past?". But I have not stopped, have I?


I suppose in some way this is also my apology to you, love. I wonder if you know how much weight the words I love you carry. They ground me deep into this earth and into you. My gratitude, eternally, for everything you have given to me, selflessly.