24 years old. Queer. New York. BA in Gender Studies. Counseling student. Germanophile, writer, reader (see my books here), feminist, runner, writer, lover, Nerdfighter. More about me :) In recovery from an eating disorder & PTSD, living with depression. Trigger warnings always apply, please take gentle care. What's up, babycakes?
Oceans by Hillsong United. Literally never, ever, ever gets old.
Okay can we just stop for a second & talk about the fact that this girl is in HIGH SCHOOL what even
when your boss squints and shakes his head, he is not who you were made for. when your paycheck comes and it is so much or so little, it is not what you were made for. when your mother wants to know why you spend so much time alone, she is not who you were made for. when the sun is hot and it makes you faint/when the cold chaps your lungs and you feel so weak: it is not what you were made for. when you put on a dress and it pinches meanly: neither the clothes nor the body is what you were made for. when memories are cruel or people are shaming, when you aim for standards and flail and fail— they are not who you were made for. intent and becoming. grace. this is what you were made for.
"You shall love the stranger first of all because you know what it is to be a stranger yourself. Second of all, you shall love the stranger because the stranger shows you God."
Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, p.96 (via revnaomiking)
Today David and I went to our GFM’s first faculty dinner of the semester and heard from a member of the English faculty about spiritual disciplines for graduate students and academics. She brought several books and one of her favorites was An Altar in the World, which I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. Now I have it on recommendation from a real world human being and not an Amazon account, I am definitely adding it to my to-read list.
“There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” - JK Rowling
Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia? The ones where she wears nylons and elegant blouses when she wants to, and short skirts and bright lipstick when she wants to, and hiking boots and tough jeans and big men’s plaid shirts when she feels like backpacking out into the mountains and remembering what it was to be lost in a world full of terrific beauty— I know her siblings say she stops talking about it, that Susan walks away from the memories of Narnia, but I don’t think she ever really forgot.
I want to read about Susan finishing out boarding school as a grown queen reigning from a teenaged girl’s body. School bullies and peer pressure from children and teachers who treat you like you’re less than sentient wouldn’t have the same impact. C’mon, Susan of the Horn, Susan who bested the DLF at archery, and rode a lion, and won wars, sitting in a school uniform with her eyebrows rising higher and higher as some old goon at the front of the room slams his fist on the lectern.
Susan living through WW2, huddling with her siblings, a young adult (again), a fighting queen and champion marksman kept from the action, until she finally storms out against screaming parents’ wishes and volunteers as a nurse on the front. She keeps a knife or two hidden under her clothes because when it comes down to it, they called her Gentle, but sometimes loving means fighting for what you care for.
She’ll apply to a women’s college on the East Coast, because she fell in love with America when her parents took her there before the war. She goes in majoring in Literature (her ability to decipher High Diction in historical texts is uncanny), but checks out every book she can on history, philosophy, political science. She sneaks into the boys’ school across town and borrows their books too. She was once responsible for a kingdom, roads and taxes and widows and crops and war. She grew from child to woman with that mantle of duty wrapped around her shoulders. Now, tossed here on this mundane land, forever forbidden from her true kingdom, Susan finds that she can give up Narnia but she cannot give up that responsibility. She looks around and thinks I could do this better.
I want Susan sneaking out to drink at pubs with the girls, her friends giggling at the boys checking them out from across the way, until Susan walks over (with her nylons, with her lipstick, with her sovereignty written out in whatever language she damn well pleases) and beats them all at pool. Susan studying for tests and bemoaning Aristotle and trading a boy with freckles all over his nose shooting lessons so that he will teach her calculus. Susan kissing boys and writing home to Lucy and kissing girls and helping smuggle birth control to the ladies in her dorm because Susan Pevensie is a queen and she understands the right of a woman to rule over her own body.
Susan losing them all to a train crash, Edmund and Peter and Lucy, Jill and Eustace, and Lucy and Lucy and Lucy, who Susan’s always felt the most responsible for. Because this is a girl who breathes responsibility, the little mother to her three siblings until a wardrobe whisked them away and she became High Queen to a whole land, ruled it for more than a decade, then came back centuries later as a legend. What it must do to you, to be a legend in the body of a young girl, to have that weight on your shoulders and have a lion tell you that you have to let it go. What is must do to you, to be left alone to decide whether to bury your family in separate ceremonies, or all at once, the same way they died, all at once and without you. What it must do to you, to stand there in black, with your nylons, and your lipstick, and feel responsible for these people who you will never be able to explain yourself to and who you can never save.
Maybe she dreams sometimes they made it back to Narnia after all. Peter is a king again. Lucy walks with Aslan and all the dryads dance. Maybe Susan dreams that she went with them— the train jerks, a bright light, a roar calling you home.
Maybe she doesn’t.
Susan grows older and grows up. Sometimes she hears Lucy’s horrified voice in her head, “Nylons? Lipstick, Susan? Who wants to grow up?” and Susan thinks, “Well you never did, Luce.” Susan finishes her degree, stays in America (England looks too much like Narnia, too much like her siblings, and too little, all at once). She starts writing for the local paper under the pseudonym Frank Tumnus, because she wants to write about politics and social policy and be listened to, because the name would have made Edmund laugh.
She writes as Susan Pevensie, too, about nylons and lipstick, how to give a winning smiles and throw parties, because she knows there is a kind of power there and she respects it. She won wars with war sometimes, in Narnia, but sometimes she stopped them before they began.
Peter had always looked disapprovingly on the care with which Susan applied her makeup back home in England, called it vanity. And even then, Susan would smile at him, say “I use what weapons I have at hand,” and not explain any more than that. The boy ruled at her side for more than a decade. He should know better.
Vain is not the proper word. This is about power. But maybe Peter wouldn’t have liked the word “ambition” any more than “vanity.”
Susan is a young woman in the 50s and 60s. Frank Tumnus has quite the following now. He’s written a few books, controversial, incendiary. Susan gets wrapped up in the civil rights movement, because of course she would. It’s not her first war. All the same, she almost misses the White Witch. Greed is a cleaner villain than senseless hate. She gets on the Freedom Rider bus, mails Mr. Tumnus articles back home whenever there’s a chance, those rare occasions they’re not locked up or immediately threatened. She is older now than she ever was in Narnia. Susan dreams about Telemarines killing fauns.
Time rolls on. Maybe she falls in love with a young activist or an old cynic. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe Frank Tumnus, controversial in the moment, brilliant in retrospect, gets offered an honorary title from a prestigious university. She declines and publishes an editorial revealing her identity. Her paper fires her. Three others mail her job offers.
When Vietnam rolls around, she protests in the streets. Susan understands the costs of war. She has lived through not just through the brutal wars of one life, but two.
Maybe she has children now. Maybe she tells them stories about a magical place and a magical lion, the stories Lucy and Edmund brought home about how if you sail long enough you reach the place where the seas fall off the edge of the world. But maybe she tells them about Cinderella instead, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, except Rapunzel cuts off her own hair and uses it to climb down the tower and escape. The damsel uses what tools she has at hand.
A lion told her to walk away, and she did. He forbade her magic, he forbade her her own kingdom, so she made her own.
Susan Pevensie did not lose faith. She found it.
This made me cry. <3 <3 <3 Susan.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38 NLT)
Not of recovery…but of actually getting there, being recovered and not having the safety net of my eating disorder anymore. Not having the cold arms to hold me back and keep me from harm. Not having the coping mechanism I suppose. But mostly I am just so scared of living without my disorder. Of getting up and eating because that’s just what I do, without questioning it. Without thinking about it. I am so scared of that. So mind-numbingly afraid.
I’m (very, very, very) afraid too! But today I’m trying to put my faith in those who love me and in the universe that recovery is the right choice. Someone in Group told me that often we can’t feel the difference between flying and falling, and that’s scary. But I choose to believe that I’m flying, and if I fall I’ll deal with that when it happens. <3
Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
that’s me in the corner
that’s me in the spotlight
losing my religion
& trying to keep up with you
& I don’t know if I can do it
oh, now I’ve said too much - I haven’t said enough
This was one of my dad’s favorite songs towards the end of his life, in the midst of his illness. He bought this CD and listened to it on his iPod during chemotherapy sessions. As it turned out, we both had an obsession with that song, and after we discovered this, I went and listened to it again, fully, and actually heard the words. I cried for over an hour. My daddy. My daddy. He knew he was dying.