(This is taken from my podcast episode...if you would rather listen, you can do that HERE) This amount of vulnerability in these words keeps overwhelming me in waves and I have to keep breathing through it. Recording it right now feels like the Fool card in the tarot. I’m on the edge of a cliff and a dog is nipping at my heels but I know there is only one direction to go. My guides have made it clear over and over again that my stories are important to share and some of those stories are easier to share than others. But here we go.
I’m not here by surprise. I knew when I left my husband 4 years ago that this was the life that I was choosing. I knew that I had no marketable work force skills and that even my computer skills weren’t up to date because technology has changed so fast. It takes me forever to put together a powerpoint presentation and I still can’t figure out how to make a fucking excel spreadsheet. When I read job descriptions for basic jobs that pay barely enough for someone with a family to survive, the list of requirements includes words that I have never even heard of. As a younger person, I swore I would always stay relevant and current. When my parents resisted getting a debit card in the place of writing checks, I swore I would not be like that. I would do ALL THE THINGS that the young people were doing. But is is overwhelming how fast tech culture changes these days and I lost my footing in that world a long time ago. But back to the divorce, I knew that I was looking at a life that was unsure and I honestly had no idea how I would survive at the time. But the situation had become so dire that I knew that this life of uncertainty was preferable to that one.
And just for the record, I did not leave my husband because I was gay. I wasn’t even out to myself when I left him. I was still on the fence about whether or not I believed that my attraction to women was a sin and a curse. I was still assuming maybe I would meet “a nice guy” and maybe co-habitate and I could pull my financial weight and he would pull his and at least we could make it work together. I did know, though, that I would never do what I had been doing for most of my life though...depending on someone else financially.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s in fundamental Christianity. In the 6th grade I took a “Charm” course which taught me how to be a godly woman so that I could attract a godly man, or become a teacher, nurse or missionary (if I was “called” to singleness.) No joke, I walked with a book on my head, learned about proper hairstyles for godly women, modesty to avoid luring others into sin and was taught how to be submissive to authority and to be politely understated – never calling attention to myself. In a very subversive way I was taught the importance of saving myself for that one person.....and that if I did that I would be highly rewarded.
But then I fucked that up at 15 years old and “lost my virginity” – don’t even get me started on virginity. That’s yet another podcast.
The point is, I was taught from a very young age not to have great career aspirations and not to focus on any other type of success except that which supported the godly man I would be with. Careers and outside interests would take away from my role as a wife and mother(which was expected), therefore, money spent on education for such things was wasted unless, like I said, I wanted to be a teacher or some other proper female profession that could be used in the mission field.... and even then...only until I had kids. This mindset put down roots very powerfully in my brain and I believed it. Even when I got older and started aspiring to different careers....psychologist, writer/journalist, maybe even doctor – none of that was encouraged. In fact, it was highly discouraged in the church I was in for women to work.
I have a vivid memory of being at the home of one of the pastors of my church – my parents were friends – and another man being there to help do work in the pastors yard and he had a sticker on the back of his truck that said, “ERA- YES – Let ‘Em Work!” It was meant to be sarcastic and cutting and all the men stood around the truck and laughed about it. In fact, that same pastor told that story from the pulpit of our large church that Sunday and it was met with roaring laughter from the congregation. I was around 10 or 11 at that time and no one had to decipher the meaning of that for me. The Equal Rights Amendment was being voted on at that time and my church made their stance very clear as this was before the time when laws were passed about churches involvement in politics.
James Dobson talked about female submission to male authority. He was the pillar of truth for evangelical Christianity at that time and his teachings were considered the standard. As I was putting together notes for this podcast, I checked to see if there was any current info on where he stood on this issue and his stance is the same as it always was....to him it is right next to child abuse to put your children in childcare and pursue a career. He cites a study done by the NIH in 2003 that shows that kids who spend time in day care have significantly more behavioral issues than those who are raised in homes by their mothers. This was indoctrinated into my psyche from a very young age and I dare say into many women’s psyches and it’s the reason that now, in a day and age where two incomes are necessary to live most of the time, women have extreme guilt and shame around their time at work. (That’s also another whole issue and podcast for another time.)
The thing is, I was raised and indoctrinated to believe that aspiring to work and make good money was wrong. And I believed this up until my very late 30s and somewhat into my forties. Though I’ve been married and divorced three times (and yet another podcast to come about trying to marry the gay away) this belief has stuck with me and has directed my actions in either choosing not to work or to get minimal “alternative” education to get skills for a profession that was enough to “survive on” until I could find a suitable partner. I was never offered a 4 year college experience – only community college experiences that taught me how to be a secretary or assistant of some sort. Hear me out...there is NOTHING wrong with being an administrative assistant, but most of those jobs do not pay enough for a single parent to support a family. They are devalued and seen as low wage positions worthy of a salary that barely gets you by - CAPITALISM)
So when I left my last marriage, once again, I did not have skills to attract an income that would support a family. Because of the way the system works, I have shared custody and no child support. I have been able to work part time and be self employed full time to support us but entrepreneurship is not an easy road and isn’t as flexible as many paint a picture of it to be. But my individual financial situation is just a symptom of a greater problem that exists right now.
I have MANY women in my circles who are in marriages that they detest with verbally and sometimes even physically abusive spouses who stay to avoid the very situation that I am in right now. Choosing your financial security over your mental health is a harmful rock and a hard place decision and many choose to stay and endure. Those who leave do so at great cost.
For me personally, it has been worth the financial and emotional cost. The struggle of figuring out the money, as hard as it has been, has been easier than the mental labor of staying. Most pastors would point out that I made my own bed and now have to lie in it so the struggle is my own doing.
But the reality that this particular religious system produces a financial codependence that, if a woman, especially a mother, is ever on her own without a partners financial support that she is left with very few options and none of them are ideal. And that’s the point of it. That’s the goal. That’s how they can keep their numbers of “godly marriages that have gone the distance” up...not because all of those marriages are happy or healthy, but because the reality that any other choice has great cost.
Couple this with the teaching of “the heart is deceitful above all things” and the constant messaging that you cannot trust yourself, your intuition or your desires – especially when it comes to work and career – and you have a recipe for financial codependence or financial struggle with the independence. And this is how the patriarchy keeps its hold. This is why so many white women vote for Donald Trump in an effort to “preserve the family” because it is taught as the platinum standard and anything else makes you trash before god.
I have a virtual friend right now in this situation and her fundamentalist ex keeps assaulting her with legal issues to try to wear her down and bring her to financial ruin(now THAT is a deceitful heart) as punishment for leaving him and thinking for herself. She’s not the first person I’ve seen this happen to. In situations with these dudes...your freedom to be you comes at a cost.
We will see more of this going forward. Churches, especially larger ones, won’t help these women as they judge their decisions most of the time. They see them as choosing this path and their punishment is to have to figure it out or go back and “reconcile” Choosing to go back to school is only accessible for those with strong support systems and financial backing – in other words – those with great privilege. And I’m not downplaying the universe having your back or the ability to get really fucking determined and pull yourself up. I know that there are stories of folks who have done that. But I think it’s a lot like having a baby, once you are a couple of years out from your labor, your story about it changes...it’s doesn’t seem as bad now that you are out of it. And it opens the door for spiritual bypassing and gaslighting, “If you really want
something bad enough you can achieve it” mentality – bypassing the reality of the work and mental effort it takes to actually do that. If this is you...if this is your situation...and you are still married or coupled...I see you. Start small. Start with forgiving yourself for all the things that haunt your mind and work on establishing some self trust in small ways...in the smallest of daily decisions. Develop it and strengthen it so that you can put some resilience in your energetic bank. For those who have left and are in the messy middle – I see you too. I recognize and hold space for the work and how hard it is...how it is hard to find friends and people who understand...how frustrating it is sometimes to listen to other’s “hard” financial situations that involve losing what you perceive as luxury and accessory issues. It’s easy to become resentful so work on forgiving yourself in that area...and them...and focus on building your self trust in small ways also. Develop it like a muscle and as it gets stronger you will find that decision clarity comes easier and you will learn to trust your gut feelings and intuition.
Here’s what I’m not going to do to you. I’m not going to say, “just learn to trust yourself and financial abundance will appear” because that is privileged and gaslighting. What I will say is that developing self trust and intuitive living makes the mental load easier and gives you more clarity in trusting yourself into the next steps and next right paths in your life. Deconstruction of the beliefs and the bullshit that you were taught will help remove a lot of the guilt and shame that weighs heavily on your mind. Lifting that weight does help us to be more aware and open to opportunities that present themselves to us.
Disclaimer: Do not DM me with your $997 course on financial independence or network marketing opportunity. I have no issue with these things existing but preying on those who have very limited funds and presenting that there is a 5 step solution or a formula that involves little work or “easy” adjustment or that there is an “easy solution” to this issue is patriarchal and capitalistic and I will not be part of that. So many of these things STILL assume that you have an adequate income that just needs to be re-allocated or child care for “extra work” or a partner whose efforts can be combined for a team effort. Miss me with that shit, ok? Thanks.
What I do is on my website. This message’s purpose isn’t advertising what I do. It’s an act of divine guidance knowing that someone out there is in this situation right now and feels like a failure and wonders if there is hope for their life to be full and abundant. And I am telling you that there is hope for that and that getting into a real community where you can be witnessed and seen rather than advised and surrounded by “saviors” is really helpful. (I do have a FREE Facebook group called The Radical Self Trust Reclamation if you want to start somewhere)
Keep deconstructing those toxic beliefs. Keep reconstructing your mind. Keep going. You are an amazing person, an amazing parent and an amazing intuitive badass. Start developing your self trust and making the decisions that are right for you that are not rooted in the influence of others. I send you so much love today. Feel free to DM me and let me know this touched your soul so that I can speak your name the next time I light a candle of love. Share with a friend who needs to see/hear this.