You'd be surprised at the power of words. Or maybe you already know. Words can hurt because of the ideas conveyed in them. And sometimes we can use it to our own advantage.
My Becoming Episcopalian: My Journey post was shared on a couple of blogs. Being new to the idea of, "hey, people actually read my stuff??" I decided to see if there were any comments. Now. I don't know if reading what other people say about your stuff is a good thing or a bad thing. It's a good thing in some ways. For example, the warm welcome from fellow Catholics-turned-Episcopalians.
It's a bad thing in some ways. A comment on the reblog of my post--someone said that it was a good thing I'm becoming Episcopalian. It wasn't intended as a compliment--but you know what? I did take it as a compliment anyway. Yes. It is a good thing I'm becoming Episcopalian, why thankyouverymuch.
It reminded me of when, during my disowning, my dad called me a "radical liberal feminist" in cahoots with a "radical liberal feminist priest." At first it hurt. What the hell? He doesn't know me at all. Seriously. Back then, I was still very conservative. I've moved slightly to the left since then (more of a moderate now), but then, I was conservative, and I was going to a quite conservative parish. But because it didn't fit his idea of Catholicism, it was radical. And because I wanted to walk down the aisle side by side with my husband, entering the marriage as an equal-decision maker, that was a liberal feminist thing. (Ha. It's actually an old Catholic tradition.)
I told Jeff's Presbyterian pastor about the email, as he knew about my disowning and struggle with my dad's abuse. He laughed and said, "Well, what's wrong with that?" Something clicked in my mind, and the hurt lessened. Really. What was wrong with being a radical liberal feminist? Laura Ingalls was a radical liberal feminist by refusing to include the words "obey" in her wedding vows. I was a radical liberal feminist for believing in entering a marriage on an equal footing. I refused to obey my husband, too. I didn't want him to obey me either. (Actually, the word "obey" doesn't exist at all in Catholic vows.)
I then became proud to say that I'm a radical liberal feminist. I still am.
And now that I'm becoming Episcopalian, I must admit that the second part of my dad's accusation is finally true. I'm actually hanging out with radical liberal feminist priests. Seriously. The dean of my parish is female. Yes. A female priest. How's that for feminism? And Bishop Jeffrey Lee is definitely more liberal than me. In fact, after being characterized as a liberal Catholic, I'm now adjusting to the fact that I'm actually a conservative Episcopalian. LOL. Seriously. I love that.
As a minor note, my journey from Catholicism to Episcopalianism has nothing to do with my dad's abuse, nor his words, nor did I have an innate desire to say, "fuck your shit, I'm not Catholic anymore." No. I continued to practice my Catholic faith in spite of the fact that my dad twisted it around to suit his purposes, and I continued to delve into the Church's teachings on various issues, to see what the Church really thinks, as opposed to what my dad thinks. That was very eye-opening. (You mean, the Church doesn't really want us to "fry all the prisoners?")
My journey across the Thames is entirely between me and my disagreement with the way the Church handled and is handling some issues. I still love the Catholic beliefs, but I also love that Episcopalians believe in very much of the same things. It's more like a breakup due to mutual disagreements, or "incompatibility."