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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Other Way, or What to Do if You Think Your Mate Might be the Anti-Christ

Happy Halloween everyone!

Hope everyone is enjoying the season, even with all the change! This fall has been more intense than most, for me at least. As I wrote in a previous post, The Januariez is on indefinite hiatus. And so I've been using the extra time to experiment. I have a website for J-kNee January now, thanks to Accelerated Web Studios. Hit them up should you need a great site!

Gotta couple other things on the burner, but I gotta see how they turn out before I speak.

However, there is one thing I can speak about right now!

As most of you know, last year I hooked up with Alice Bag, and we played some cool shows together to promote her memoir Violence Girl. As we've gotten to know each other, she has encouraged me to write my own story. My life has been, well, my life, and I don't have any tight adjectives to sum up the richness of my existential train. But it is and has been unbelievable. When I wake up, I find myself awed by the fact that either "I'm alive" or that "I'm not dead". Though these phrases may seem identical, I promise you both carry very discrete values for me.

So I wrote something. Lisa Lunney, who writes for Punk Globe, contacted me last month about writing a Halloween feature for her blog. I accepted and wrote one of the darkest things I could summon. And what I have written provides a glimpse into my religious upbringing and how it has shaped the perspective of who I am now. Which who I am now, is who I have always been, but somehow I became tangled in a telephone cord and misunderstood my own messages.

So here it is... a piece about embracing "hell"!

1369010_568370919877326_270296044_nThe Other Way, or What to Do When Your Mate Might Be the Anti-Christ
Told By J-kNee January of The Januariez
When I first began sleeping with the man who is now my husband, he whimsically asked, “What would you do if I told you I was the Anti-Christ?” I stopped, thought for a second, and laughed, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to go to “hell” with you then!”
This exchange happened years ago, and I can attest that our “hell” together has been most rewarding! You see, the irony for me is and always has been that as a young girl growing up in central Arkansas someone somewhere at any given point in time for no discernible reason at all sought to “save” me. Sure my life sucked when I was a kid, but really, whose didn’t to some extent? I’m not looking for sympathy. Truly, if you don’t experience pain, you probably aren’t a carbon based life form to begin with. Life on earth is not always rainbows and cupcakes, and consider how dull and inane existence would be if that were the case. I didn’t require their “saving”.
Clearly I remember the first endeavor to drive me into the flock. My mom took me to one of those ever infamous back masking sermons of the 1980s. Anyone remember those? The Seventh Day Adventists hosted the one we attended. Check out the link below and listen to the track. Then imagine sitting next to your mom, young and impressionable, as the pastor preaches the explicit damnation of your favorite bands.
That was probably one of the most demoralizing experiences for me! Ever! Music is my life! And to have some imperious adults promise that you were “going to go to hell and would never see your mommy again” if you listened to Led Zeppelin, KISS, The Who, The Eagles, or even ABBA for fuck’s sake was more than traumatizing. The intention wasn’t to “save” me, unless scaring a seven year old girl into submission is some perverse form of salvation.
It took me a few years to override the programming. But sure enough, once I had, some strange pastor guy randomly appeared at my house to talk to ME specifically about accepting Jesus Christ as mypersonal savior, so that I would not “die and go to hell“. I told him that I was ten years old and completely incapable of making such a life-altering decision. In retrospect, I think that guy just wanted to get his fleshy white fingers of judgement on my dark personal bits.
The proselytizing followed me into middle school and junior high. Everyone I knew attended church regularly (Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday), or at the very least, they brandished strong convictions in Christ and feigned their church-going. I hated church. I hated everything about it. As far back as I can remember, church was the most insidious place you could send me. Everyone was so awkward, concealing their hearts and intentions, speaking from a bromidic mind, and ever anxious about hell. So many restrictions. I couldn’t understand why it was so popular. It was full of posturing and deceit, and the music was downright dreadful.
Over the course of secondary school, I think I was “saved” at least five times by five different churches/pastors. Maybe it was three. Nevertheless, my suspicions of the church crystallized into the principles I hold today. And it’s not that I am specifically anti-Christian; I am more anti-authority. I have a good handful of friends who identify as Christian, and that’s their path, their Will, and I respect that. But it is not mine. ‘Cause for me, no sooner were I to submit to an organization that demands the eternal sacrifice of my spiritual Will to some spurious authority, well, in my estimation, my Will would no longer be mine. Then to adhere to the standard classifications and teachings as posited by the church, only the word of “God” matters. Anyone else can go to hell. Assimilation complete.
So there I was. I’ll pass, thank you. I experience no binary existence between light and dark. I only recognize parts of a cycle, one and the same. And I am, have always been, and will always be part of this infinite cycle.
And here I am, Now, with you entering the darkest part of the year-the part of the year that appears to frighten such followers. All the hullaballoo about ghosts and demons and witches really raises the hackles. For me, the things that live in the dark have every right to exist as much as the things that live in the light. As humans, we occupy the entire spectrum. The interplay of light, shadow, and color shape experience and perspective. We are literally blind within the extreme polarities of light and dark, so there is no empirical way for any human to know what is IN the dark OR the light, much less what the dark or the light actually IS! We don’t fucking know! All I see is potential.
So much time is spent glorifying the light, and the darkness gets cursed, labeled as evil, and dragged behind a truck. The darkness should be equally revered. Darkness provides universal balance. The emotional values attached to light and dark are human constructions promulgated by and through socio-religious hegemony, and we have been duped into believing that darkness is, has been, and always will be bad, and consequently, light is, has been, and always will be good. Without darkness, there is no rest. Darkness provides us an opportunity to slow down, turn inward, and observe. In darkness, our personal demons and ghosts and witches or whatever images you contain rise to surface of our awareness, allowing us the opportunity to fully grasp and embrace the very core of our being. Working at a dark level enables us to shine at the light level. You gotta work the soil in order to grow the crops.
I’ve never been afraid of the dark. Surprisingly, I’ve always feared attention, though I sure go out looking for it! I’ve always been self-conscious, because I know how intense I am, and I know I have frightened and intimidated people unwittingly. (Though there has been some intention at times, but that’s another story.) Plus I’m a little weird. From my perspective, the church community’s solution was to badger me into servility, so I would no longer go around grating on Christian sensibilities and offending the general populace of small town Arkansas with my innate eccentricity. Or there was theother way, celebrate my darkness and go to “hell” with my music, my ideas, and my man. And I gotta say, going to “hell” was the best decision I ever made!
Happy Halloween y’all! Give your demon a squeeze! Happy-Halloween