My dance of faith and feminism began when my mother-in-law suggested I read Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter. This book ripped my heart wide open and threw a freaking hand grenade in. My faith and my identity blew up. Everything I was so sure of was ripped from me. I was left with fragmented pieces of faith, sorting through what I wanted to keep and lighting on fire that which I no longer needed. At times, I longed for the security of ignorance.
I participated in my first true act of patriotism on November 12, 2016. I marched through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, from MacArthur Park to the Federal Building. I marched with 8,000 other women and men. I attended the march on my own–I didn’t go with a group of friends, I didn’t meet anyone there, I didn’t bring my husband along. Months before I flew to DC for The Women’s March, I knew that this was something I needed to do on my own. It was and is a solemn exercise for me, a private act of public defiance
I started this journey over 10 years ago. In that time I have fought for a faith I can claim as my own. I wrestled with God and misogyny, and often I couldn’t tell the two apart. And I have the deep wounds to prove it. I have clawed my way through patronizing institutional patriarchy. I’ve lost friends, lost my mind, and lost my way more than once. This dance- it’s hard, and brutal, and beautiful, and exhausting.
I’ve been in church for as long as I can remember. Sunday School, Missionettes, youth group, summer camp, bible study, and even tent revivals (if you are unfamiliar with tent revivals it is exactly what you are picturing in your head)- I’ve been to it all. I grew up in a small evangelical church, in a small town where women raised small kids while their husbands worked in the larger (but still pretty small) city. A minivans and bake sales kind of town.
And for the most part, I liked being a part of that community. I have beautiful memories of my home.I can look back and say that I loved my church, loved my community. Loved the people there, loved the pastor.