personal testament

Advent 2015: Day 19

Family

Open letter to the Bible Belt South

I am from Mississippi. I was born in Florida. Raised all over the country but Mississippi was always the place I came back to. It was my mother’s birthplace. It was the consistent home that I knew had welcoming arms and delicious gumbo. It was the place where I first fell in love and first felt grief. It is my home. 

My mother was very southern. She had a Confederate flag hanging in her car to prove her pride. But one day, one of her black friends turned to her and explained to her what the flag meant to the black people in this country. My mom immediately took it down. That day, my mother chose love over pride. 

I am confused as to why the South that I love so much cannot make that same decision. Over and over again, I see people argue that the Confederate flag stands for “values.” I don’t know what values you are referring to but you better not be insinuating that those values reflect on my Jesus. 

A few years ago, I took the time to read the entire Bible, cover to cover. Throughout that journey, I discovered that one of the most consistent messages in the Bible is God’s stance on pride versus love. Throughout the New and Old Testament, God actively condemns the proud who refuse to recognize the needs of those different than them, those who, by the harsh blows of this world and our societies, were dealt a hard hand. In the Old Testament, God levels the Israelites time and time again for this sin of pride over love. He adamantly calls His people to break their hardened hearts and help others.  In the New Testament, Jesus calls the Pharisees snakes. 

Okay, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Jesus is a really nice guy. So if He’s going to come out and tell someone who chooses pride over loving their neighbor pretty nasty names, I’m gonna listen and probably take notes. 

By choosing to remain prideful behind a flag that for so many people causes so much pain and inequity in this country, you are not choosing the simple act of love. So don’t say that your flag represents my Jesus. Don’t even say that your flag represents my South. My South is place of friendly neighbors and sweet tea. It is a place of real gentlemen, a good story and a hearty welcome. It is not a place that holds onto symbols of hatred. Keep your flag. The only emblem I will stand behind is the cross. 

Yovr kvlt-favorite is a fvcking poser

Varg?

He decided to write dark-ambient mvsic. Fvcking poser abandoned black metal.

Darkthrone?

Made dad black metal a thing. They stopped playing black metal for crvst pvnk-inflvenced heavy metal becavse Fenriz can’t get off his trve metal high horse. False metal since 2006 that only yovr dad can like.

Emperor?

Ihsahn went solo and Samoth played “blackened death metal.” Fvcking poser-ass cvmstains. Everything after Wrath ov the Tyrant is shit, anyways.

Mayhem?

Dead is easily the worst fvcking vocalist ov all time and the only thing worth a shit they did was the Pvre Fvcking Armageddon demo in ‘86. Fvck the rest, everything they’ve done is why I’m pro-choice.

Then who is trve black metal?

LIVING FVCKING COLOR

“Kvlt ov Personality” remains a testament to black metal in its pvrest form. The pvrest black ov blackest black void.

Thank yov.

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them . Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

—  Matthew 7:1-5, 7-12 MSG
A Sappy Thank You

I would like to offer this note as a deeply felt thank you, and as a personal testament that small deeds of kindness matter in ways that we are often don’t realize.

For many reasons, I do not share what I write with my face-to-face acquaintances. In my world, professors of Shakespeare do not write sexy fan fiction – certainly not professors of Shakespeare in small, conservative mid-western towns, at small, conservative schools. 

I am fairly certain that the 60-something-year-old Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences would not approve of my hobby. Nor would my many conservative Christian students. Nor would my conservative Catholic colleagues and friends.

In this sense, my writing, which has become an enormous part of my life, is also something that I cannot talk about. Even my husband thinks it’s a waste of time, and I will not ask him to read anything I write ever again (I did that once, and it was a mistake).

I tell you this because I hope it explains in some small measure what it means to me when I log in to Tumblr, and someone has liked or re-blogged something I have written –how it makes my heart press up against the sides of my chest when someone sends me a note to tell me they liked what they read. These notes are small gestures on your part. They take next to no time at all, and I am sure you do them without really thinking at all about the impact they have.

To me, however, they have made an enormous difference.

So I want to say thank you to all of my Tumblr friends for your notes and kind messages, but I also want to do more than that.

I want to somehow convey to you how valuable it is for you to keep doing all of those tiny – seemingly inconsequential – things that make existence more bearable for those around you.

Being kind takes so little effort.

Yet little kindnesses sometimes are the only lights in what can be a very dark room.

Thank you for being kind.

Keep reading

Wicdiv 30 day Challenge day 30

My ultimate question for the Wicdiv team :

Did you need to create this or did you want to ?

It’s a question I tend to ask all creative folks, but it’s especially fitting for Wicdiv. Wicdiv is not a pleasant read. It’s not one of those comics you can pick up and put back. In many regards, it’s a comic that asks a lot of you, maybe more than what it actually gives you.

But most of all, Wicdiv is a bridge. Between two generations, the one of the authors and the one of the majority of readers. It takes the pain, the trauma and the existential questioning of the former and miraculously manages to touch the later in its own paradigm. It is something out of both worlds. It feels as much as a message as it does one’s personal testament of their own path. I sometimes feel like a voyeur reading Wicdiv, as if I’ve peaked in the author’s diary. Other times, it feels like the writer got himself through an unecessary suffering just to impart the right message to a generation he’s not a part of anymore, about issues that don’t affect him anymore, or not in the same way. It was given to me by someone who had no reason to have it ; it wasn’t for me, but i get to read it anyway. Both statements feel true. It’s too early to know which of the authors or the readers will get the most out of Wicdiv, but at every page turn it looks more and more like a miracle suspended mid-air, an impossible marriage between what needed to be said and what needed to be heard.

So did you need to create this ? Or did you want to ?

The fact that all time low’s title for one of their most well known albums comes from the lyric “you were fake I was great nothing personal” is a true testament to 2009 scene/emo culture. That sounds like the Facebook status of a 12 year old who got burned by their week long bf/gf and I love it