Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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Jonah

Why do people leave behind everything they ever knew, people they love, security, their entire life? What makes you take such radical steps? Are you not afraid of whatever will happen next?

Of course I was afraid – more than that. I was terrified. Making the decision to leave an entire system of beliefs, relationships and home, without an idea of how life could possibly work, that’s not easy. No one said it was. The question that remains is what could possibly scare you so much that jumping off that cliff into the unknown – without knowing if there was a net to catch you, with the very real possibility that this might end really, really badly – was better than staying and trying to change things slowly.

For me, that was god. It sounds counter-intuitive, but my fear of god made me leave.

When god calls Jonah to be his prophet, Jonah reacts very differently than all the other prophets before him. He doesn’t obey. He doesn’t stay. Instead, Jonah leaves everything behind and boards a ship, with strangers, to a place he doesn’t know. Why did Jonah leave?

Sometimes I think that Jonah and I have a lot in common. Staying meant obeying for both of us. The fear of what god would do to us if we stayed made both of us get on that ship. The fear of what god would do to us. Not the belief that there is no god, the pain caused by relationships, the sad memories. No. The knowledge that god wasn’t done with us yet, and that whatever he had in store for us would not be any good.

Jonah was haunted by god, and god did terrible things to make Jonah return. So Jonah does, and he obeys the lord, and subjects himself to things he doesn’t want to do, things he doesn’t feel are necessary or right. And finally, it turns out that everything Jonah did was just a big game. Nineveh wasn’t destroyed (which is a good thing), but Jonah can’t help but ask why god would do such terrible things to him. God, Jonah says, is compassionate and loving. Jonah knew that God wouldn’t destroy Nineveh. Why was all this necessary? We never find out (yes, you could argue that without Jonah, Nineveh would have been destroyed – but why Jonah? Why not pick a person who would want to do it?). After all things are done and over, Jonah sits outside the city and wishes he was dead. Jonah is empty, angry and has lost all hope. But God isn’t done with him just yet. God let a plant grow for Jonah, so that he could sit in its shadow. And Jonah is happy about that. But then God destroys that plant just to lecture him some more. And Jonah? Well, he is angry, and he still wishes he was dead. We never find out how Jonah’s story continues, but me, I never expected Jonah to jump up and praise the lord. I don’t think he did.

Unlike Jonah, I didn’t return. And god didn’t haunt me (of course, I’m not a prophet). Unlike Jonah, I managed to escape god’s grasp on me. I think that returning would have resulted in similar feelings for me. I believe I would be like Jonah, sitting in my small hut, asking god why I of all people have to be in a situation I really don’t want to be in, why my prayers aren’t being fulfilled (but my husband’s are). I think I too would wish I was dead, angry at god.

Jonah’s life after returning was bleak. Unbearable. Jonah had a choice, though: He could have decided to die that night on the ship, or in the fish. He decided not to. On that night on my ship, I made a different decision: I would rather die than return to whatever god had in store for me.

It’s not about a lack of belief, or about things in the bible that just don’t add up. It’s about a genuine fear of what he would do to me if I obeyed his every word.

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The Ludys: An introduction

Can I get a B-U-S-Y to describe my summer? Phew. I’ve been feeling inspired for a long time but I simply could not find enough time to actually write a full post. Today’s the day! So let’s get started.

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I know most of my readers follow a large number of similar blogs (I follow the same ones!). Now, a ‘trend’ on these other blogs is (and has been for months and months) a focus on certain teachers from the P/QF movements, often closely linked to book reviews and the likes. One blog may be very strongly involved in the Godhard-side of things, another may be more focused on Vision forum. I really really enjoy reading these condensed views, reviews and collections. I personally never felt compelled to focus on any specific leader in my writings, simply because I don’t know that much about them (e.g. their personal histories, affiliations etc.). Another factor is that I never got deep into reading their materials, so I can’t really speak in such a knowledgable way about Godhard & co. What I’m trying to say is that I always thought that I never followed a specific leader religiously in my past life, and that means to me that I should not be spreading pseudo-knowledge when there are so many good (and knowledgable) resources.

Recently, however, I have noticed that I did follow a specific group religiously. I did soak up materials like a sponge. I did listen to sermons and talks and all that, took notes, marked their books, etc. And that group is – Eric and Leslie Ludy. Funny I never noticed how obsessed I used to be (and still am, avid reader of Leslie’s magazine here!). Additionally, I find that the Ludys take very much a backseat in the discussion of hurtful theologies and ideologies. Seriously, it’s very hard to find a critique of the Ludys on the webs. Why is that? Here are some thoughts:

As opposed to many other leaders in the evangelical community, the Ludys are a couple. Now, obviously Mr Phillips is also married, but his wife never played a major role in his projects. When she did appear, she very much seemed in the role of a supporter. Godhard was never married, so there’s that.

Finally, we got the Pearls. Now, the Pearls are also a couple, but the constellation is very different from the Eric-Leslie Ludy constellation. The Pearls enforce the exact same values and ideas, the only difference being that Debbie’s books are labelled “For women” whereas Michael’s books are labelled “For men”. At the end of the day, they talk about the exact same stuff, the exact same ideas. Michael and Debbie Pearl are not so much a couple as they are the same person (at least concerning the books they produced) in male and female respectively. This is a huge difference to the Ludys, and I think it is this difference that sets the Ludys apart from the majority of ideological leaders in the evangelical world.

Eric and Leslie Ludy populate vastly different spheres. Their books are very different: Their styles of writing differ greatly, so it’s actually possible to guess very easily who of the two wrote a text (as opposed to Debbie and Michael, you would probably not be able to tell who wrote a piece of text in a blind test). Most importantly, however, their topics differ greatly. Leslie Ludy has a strong focus on clothing, style, make up, family life, children, housekeeping and all things “feminine” (eg. gossip, texting, Internet, etc). Eric Ludy, on the other hand, has not published as many books as his wife to begin with (possibly due to the fact that Leslie’s books have a different target audience which happens to simply consume more books of this sort), and those that he did publish are on topics such as missioning, theology, religion in daily life, etc.

I think this short list gives you a pretty good idea that there is very little chance of the two getting in each other’s way, meaning, they will never repeat what the other one has stated before because they do not intrude each other’s spheres. This also means that the Ludys come across not only as very complementarian (“perfect match” anyone?), it also gives them a quality of respecting each other and each other’s roles in life without reflecting a pattern of “submission” of the wife. In fact, Eric never talks about submission at all – that is entirely Leslie’s job (though she does not like to use the term “submission” at all; Leslie has developed a whole array of terms to cover for it). That may make Eric look like the perfect husband, but whether this reflects his actually state of mind or if this is simply a relatively smart way to solve the problem of a man telling a woman about her place in life is a completely different story.

The very few hints Eric’s writings and sermons give us is his usage of terms like the anecdotal “warrior-poet” (I’m serious, direct quote). This is something I will go into in more detail in a follow-up post, for short a warrior-poet is a man like King David: A brave warrior as well as the shepard who write poems and plays on the flute. Now, warrior-poets are leaders by definition, and, because they are not just brave but also incredibly romantic (the poet part), women are to trust the warrior poets to lead the relationship. I think this very short description gives a good glimpse into the idea of “letting a man lead”. The whole point of this is, though, that the idea represented by the Ludyesque warrior-poet differs in no way from the man in the good old purity/courtship culture. Not one bit.

Eric Ludy hardly ever talks about relationships outside of this warrior-poet-symbolism, and that is, in my opinion, what distinguishes the Ludys from everybody else and ultimately makes them seem extremely liberal while extremely complementarian – this sounds like a contradiction in itself, but it is not, as I hope to show a bit clearer in the next few posts.

Now, Leslie, as opposed to Eric, is very much into the strong representation of female qualities in her writings. Leslie has published a number of books on beauty, style, love, relationships and the like. In her writings, Leslie often takes a very critical approach towards women who fall out of the line of what she deems “godly behavior”. In fact, without ever stating this specifically, she often implies that a woman truly saved will look just the way she expects you to. Everyone who does not meet this ideal of the perfectly made up and styled woman fails to do so because they lack faith. In a sense, Leslie differs very little from other leaders in this field, except for the lack of involvement of her husband in these issues. This lack gives her an authority on these issues that is unmet in the evangelical circles: She speaks truth without her husband being involved in this at all. She speaks truth because she herself does not need her husband’s input on it. This makes her believable and uniquely authentic. She undermines this seemingly god-given perfection of the feminine sphere of Christianity with her magazine “Set Apart Girl” (available for free online, just google set apart girl), in which she uses beautiful layout, beautiful photos and beautifully arranged texts. You may say I’m overinterpreting here, but as a matter of fact, Leslie manages to publish and honestly beautiful magazine, while looking beautiful herself, sitting in her beautiful house, with her perfectly clean kids (rosy cheeks and all) – this is what attracts the young female reader. Leslie turns into the perfect role model because she has it together (or so it seems), because her husband is so immensely proud to have a perfect wife (and he didn’t even have to publish a book on how to be a perfect wife because his wife already is perfect).

These things are exactly what drew me towards the Ludys (and still does), so bear with me while I go into more detail on a number of the things I mentioned (and some others). I think it’s going to be interesting, and I also think it’s going to be a nice addition to the rest of the “evangelical leader” publishing field.

By the way, since book reviews are so popular, I went through the small stack of christian living books I still own (They are all Ludy books). I came across “Meet Mr Smith”, which is a book on sexual and emotional purity in relationships, written by Eric and Leslie together. I thought I’d offer this up for a review because it’s one of the least-known Ludy books and it’s actually a very interesting read. Thoughts?


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Public education culture

It’s funny how different school experiences can be. As I’m a movie lover, I watch pretty much every movie I can get my hands on. Most movies we watch over here are American movies (though there are plenty of great European movies as well). Sometimes, these movies show “high school life” and “college life” in the US.

The funny thing is: Everything I believe to know about American schools is from movies. Like, that there are different groups: The drama club and the footballers and the cheerleaders. And then, everybody eats in a cafeteria, but who sits with whom is a big deal. And students wear specific clothing that outs them as a member of a specific group. This is also true for college, but there’s more: Some people are there because they are good footballers (what?!). Also, you have to take a lot of classes that have nothing to do with your major. People live in dorms and throw parties every other day.

Sounds grotesque? Well, that’s actually what I believe. Sometimes I wonder if it’s true because my school experience in Europe has been vastly different.

First off, there weren’t any “groups”. You generally were a group with the people in your year. You hang out with different people and it’s rare that someone is labelled in a specific way (except extreme nerds – but they’re generally still accepted). You have a group of friends, obviously, but these people aren’t necessarily your friends because you share extracurricular activities with them. In fact, there are next to none extracurricular activities. School is school, and free time is your own business. Of course we still have clubs over here, like a football club or something, but they are independent of the school you’re attending, so you might not meet a single person in your football group who also goes to your school.

Cafeterias are also different because schools here generally don’t have cafeterias. Schools out at 1 PM so nobody really needs lunch. The entire cafeteria deal is literally non-existent. This may change (or may have already changed) for some school forms but not for the one I attended. After school, you go home, eat lunch, do your homework, and then meet friends or go to your private clubs. It appears that school has a much more central spot in American teen’s lives because it takes up so much time of the day.

Overall, I had a very positive school experience. It wasn’t that peer-pressure thing homeschooling circles make it out to be. Actually, school here is much less central, and therefore much less influential in how teens design their lives and activities. Not that schools are bad here – remember that we actually go to school one year longer here than kids in the US (that is, 13 years instead of 12). Either way, all in all I can say that I’m happy I attended a public school once in my life. It was a great experience and thoroughly changed my views of public school education. School is always what you make out of it.

Likewise,  university is not what I thought it would be. I think this is something many people experience, but still. For one, there’s again the lack of extracurricular activities. Universities offer education, not hobbies. People are very particular when it comes to separating this. I think this may be because the German mindset is generally one of “keeping work and privacy separate”. I don’t think this is intrinsically bad, it’s just different from the US where it appears that privacy and public life (education-wise) are mixed a lot more. Either way, university is strictly about education and not much beyond that.

I read that some colleges or universities in the US require students to live on-campus for some time. There’s nothing like that here. I think people would be angry if they had to move due to university rules (again, job and privacy). Where you live, what you do, is your business – or your problem. This, of course, may be the reason why there are very few “college type parties”. I mean, I think if you live in a dorm it’s easier to throw a big party because you’re all in the clean-up together. When students live in their own apartments, they are often hesitant about inviting lots of people because they know they will have to clean up the mess themselves. It’s not that there aren’t any parties, but I’ve never seen an “American-sized” college party like in the movies. Or maybe they just really don’t exist in the US.

I think, on a more general level, life and culture differs vastly. I sometimes wish I could go to an American University for a semester to see what it’s really like. But then again, that’s not a financial option because I couldn’t afford tuition fees. I guess I will have to rely on movies and on the few lucky friends I have who get stipends for being super-smart (I don’t mean to sound jealous, by the way, these people work very hard for what they get!).

My personal University experience, again, is a very positive one. Cultural differences aside, I doubt that the home school circles really tell the truth about whatever they say about public education. It might not be for everyone, sure, but it’s certainly not a bad choice for most.


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Recollection of the day I learned something about love.

My heart beats faster and my palm gets slightly tacky. I hope nobody thinks it’s a good idea to shake hands today. I sit in my car, driving and singing, and I can’t take my mind off you. I remember that one night a few weeks ago, where we snuck away from the party crowd and made out in front of a desolated house. I wonder if you remember, you were so tipsy. I wonder whether you think of it, too.

I remember how I laughed and whispered “We can’t stay”, and you said “why not?” I laughed again and said that the others will wonder, and they will think stuff. You look at me with such strange eyes and say “I don’t care” and you smile like I have never seen you smile before. I remember pulling you through thick ivy on the ground, stumbling in the dark, laughing. “Let’s go back!” I tell you, and you pull me towards you, both of us stumbling over the ivy, laughing, kissing me again.

I remember that one time when we were sitting in my car, and there was this tension between us. At least I felt did. Did you, too? I remember you were quiet and I was chewing your ear off. And when we had reached your house, and you wanted to get out of the car, you hesitated, and you wanted to say something. And then you said “You know, it could have been great…” but you didn’t finish, you said nevermind, smiled and said “see you on Tuesday” instead.

I wonder what it was that you were going to say. Were you going to say that we would be great if either one of us had the guts to say it out loud? I like to imagine that this was what it was.

I remember that other night, were we happened to be at the same bar. We sat outside and there were too many people to really talk, so we just chit-chatted. My friends wanted to leave, and I had to leave with them, I just couldn’t stay here with you. I would have loved to, but it was my friend’s birthday. Before I left, I leaned over and whispered something into your ear. What I said was the truth. You looked at me with a sparkle in your eyes, and you tried to pull me towards you, but I wiggled my hand free and laughed. “I have to go” I said, and you said “I have to tell you something, too”, and I smiled and said “next time!” I still wonder what it was that you were going to say. I like to think that you would have told me something true, too.

I remember that one night, were I came to your house. I was so drunk, for no reason really, other than having the guts to ask for that true thing you were going to tell me. All of the Tequila and the Vodka made me feel like I can finally do it. I staggered up the stairs and giggle like a silly girl. You laughed and waited at your door. I came in, you closed the door behind me. I looked at you and wanted to say something, but all that came out was more giggling and the realization that the vodka obviously doesn’t help much. All I could say is “How are you… on this… wonderful night… morning?” and you came close and started to kiss me. And still I did not ask you.

I remember that time where I texted you that I would come and stood you up. There wasn’t any particular reason. I just didn’t come. I wonder whether that hurt you. I wonder whether you even cared.

Another song comes on and it goes “oh but that one night”. I flash back to the desolated house. Darkness, laughter and kisses. I think of texting you, but I don’t. I don’t want to feel silly. I don’t want to feel rejected. I get angry at your for not texting me first. Will you ever? I want you so much, but I can’t get myself to admit that. I can’t stop thinking of you, and it bothers me.


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THE HEAT!

So it’s been really really really hot for the past… 6 weeks or so. Like desert heat I’m-not-a-cake-so-please-turn-off-the-oven hot. You rarely find ACs around here so… yeah… everything, literally everything is hot.

Obviously people love to go for (iced) coffees and ice cream and whatnot in this heat, so being a waitress is a pain. The cafe I work at is right at a very central square, and on top of it there are five more cafes right next to us. The entire square is full of chairs and tables (it’s a really old square, no driving allowed!). Obviously each cafe has slightly different decorations on their tables but that doesn’t change that it’s almost impossible for guests to tell which cafe their table belongs to. I will frequently have guests who ask me for Pizza: “I’m sorry, we don’t serve Pizza, that’s two tables to your left!”. Or roast beef: “I’m sorry, we don’t serve roast beef. That’s three tables to your right!”. Or people standing confused, stopping me: “I’m sorry, what do you serve?” “Ice cream and coffee, sir! Pizza is over there, on the right you’ll find traditional German menus, and over there is cake!” It’s a funny, summery mess. And the heat? Unbearable!

There are tons of tourists around and an incredible number of festivals, fairs and concerts is coming up. I constantly find myself pointing people to the tourist information (which is IMPOSSIBLE to find if you don’t know where to find it – oh the irony!). “I’m sorry, do you speak English?” – “Yes ma’am, I do, how can I help you?” “Oh, your English is so good! Where did you learn English so well?!” “Ah, I’m from *my home state*!” “NO WAY! I have a friend who has family there, is BEAUTIFUL!”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to meet people from all parts of the world, but sometimes I really don’t want to discuss whether I really have to visit Alaska or how beautiful New York is when literally all of my tables are full! Also I’m surprised that people react to my English in the first place. Germans typically speak English fairly well. I guess it’s because Germans are weird people: They are so afraid of saying something wrong or misunderstanding that they will say no if you ask them whether they speak English, no matter how good their English really is.

School hasn’t been much better, either. While my school has ACs all over the place, I think they don’t know how they’re supposed to work. The seminar rooms are freezing cold. Spending two hours in one of the seminar rooms is the equivalent of spending two hours in your fridge. Everybody brings a jacket because it really is too cold, and it feels awfully strange walking around with your jacket over your arm. Especially if you want to go shopping after class and your bag is too small to hold your jacket… ah well hehe

Now, I have some nice ideas for the blog that I want to do in the next few weeks but right now, I’ll excuse myself. I have one hour left before I have to work, and I will go sit outside with my book and a big glass of iced tea. I hope you’ll get to do the same some time!


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Me and the great punisher

I don’t remember when I wrote my last post on believing in God and Jesus. It must have been over a year now. This post has been on my mind for so long, but somehow I never found the words. I feel some sort of inner pressure to write this, yet I don’t know how. I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t find words to say things. That should say something.

You know, I really want to be an atheist. Sometimes I believe that’s what I am. There are days when I have that summery, beachy way of freedom. Those days where you think that your entire life is in your hands. That you’re not just some sort of marionette in the hands of an all-knowing, universal punisher. Those days can be so reassuring that you’re on the right track, that your life is going well and that your decisions really matter.

Other days I find myself deeply wanting to pray. And on some of these days, I do. It’s not very often anymore. Most of the time I will delay myself somehow. Do some house work, go somewhere, read some blogs, whatever. I will pray before I fall asleep, I tell myself to calm my mind. God won’t strike me dead if I pray an hour later. These are the days where I usually fall asleep just before I remember praying. But on those other days, those on which I pray, I pray fervently. Please God, please forgive me, please forgive me for being blasphemic, for saying those terrible things about you. I was angry, you know that. Please look into my heart. Please do something, please change me so I can be good and right. Please forgive me forgive me forgive me I will do anything but please forgive, tell me what to do. I am so alone without you. And then I feel better for a while. I’m thinking it’s a bit like an alcoholic drinking his first beer in months. Desired, fulfilling, but somehow it feels wrong.

There’s one thing I never say, though I’d said it so many times before: “I surrender my life to you.” It’s the one thing I don’t want to say. I don’t want to “surrender” my life. It’s my life. It’s mine and I will not let anybody decide what I do with it. I think that’s what makes me feel so bad on the days I pray. My prayers are useless because I am selfish and despicable. I don’t trust God anymore. Nothing can fix that. It’s what will send me straight to hell.

Other days again I am angry. No, I am furious. I don’t know if you can understand just how furious I get. I hate God with all my being. I know he’s there, and I hate him, and I want to spit in his face for all the terrible things he does. He is not good, he is not just, he is an evil, evil and mean little child who steps on ants and burns them just for fun. I feel for satan – I wouldn’t want to deal with the evil big guy either. Maybe satan is actually trying to save us from God’s wicked ways. Maybe he’s the only one who understood everything that was wrong with the big punisher all along. I want to scream and yell at God that I’d rather spend eternity in hell than with him, because hell can’t be worse than an eternity at the feet of such a gruesome, evil being. I get so angry that I want to hurt everyone who believes in God. I want to tell them that hating people for being gay is awful and disgusting and terrible. I want to tell them that treating women as doormats is stupid and gross. I want to tell them that all they believe is a joke. So an extraterrestrial being snapped us all into existence? And you want to tell me that evolution doesn’t make sense? Please!

And then, I am sad. Because there is no God to save us, and nobody will be there when we’re dead. And I hope that the evil punisher is real, even if that means burning in hell for me. But I hate him and I want him gone, and I want him to be there so badly. Sometimes I hear those one minute ads by the catholic church on the radio. They make me want to be part of it. Somehow I always feel better when I heard them. A few days ago there was one on christians living normal lives. A girl talked about how she can go out at night, be a bartender, even drink. That’s not against her religion. Catholic doesn’t mean boring. Catholic is young, cool and hip. I can see behind the marketing here, but I still wish this was true. I wish I wouldn’t have to throw everything away to be religious. For me, there is no middle ground, no grey area. Faith in God still means complete and utter self-denial. I thought this might change at some point, but I’m losing hope. I want to be a part of christianity, but I don’t want to join the choir of hate speech and judgement that I see everywhere.

So yes, that is my update on my faith. I don’t think anything has changed.


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Es.

How it came down to this I do not remember. Standing on the balcony, I look across the roofs of the vast city, thoroughly blackened by night but still illuminated by what seems like an eternity of electrical lights shining out of windows. A cold wind blows a sporadic drop of rain on my forehead. I look up into the cloudy sky and realize that I cannot see a single star. Is it the clouds that obscure my view, or is it the fact that a few hundred feet down the street the blinking blue lights of an ambulance car draw my eye’s attention to themselves, flaunting their importance above everything else? The shrilling siren echos back from every house around me, almost drowning out the noise of the city that appears to be almost as wide awake as it is during day. As another blow of wind rearranges my clothes as it sees fit, I look down onto the bleak grey pavement (some blades of grass grow here and there, where it seems to have broken through what I believe must be six feet of stone and for a split second I wonder what this city would look like if nature were to reclaim it entirely – would the plants throw a “welcome back”-party?). As I stare down a picture hits my mind.

I am 14, 15 years old. I see myself dressed in frumpy, modest clothes, running down wooden stairs. It is a bright, warm day, but I am cold and devastated. I break through the backdoor into the garden, where life buzzes with bees and butterflies. I run, run through the grass, to that one place in our garden where I always run when I feel like this – a small patch of grass hidden behind dad’s shed for the garden tools. It is the only place in the garden that cannot be seen from the house. I sit down on the lush, moist grass in the shadow of the shed and pull my knees to my chin. The voices in my head yell awful things at me, and the evil lady looks at me with disgust.

The evil lady is me. It took me years to realize this. She is me. She lives in my head, and she is as evil as you can image. But she’s not alone up there. There is me, and then there is the evil lady, and then there is also the shadow girl. I didn’t know who she was on that day in the garden. In fact, I rarely saw her. She never talks much and rarely comes in when evil lady punishes me. I just knew she was there, and that the evil lady didn’t like her very much. The evil lady is me, but she is dressed all black, carrying a black stick. She also has black hair (unlike me), and evil, black eyes. Her lips form an edgy curve and her nose is much smaller and more pointed than my real nose. Nevertheless I recognize her, myself, and I know I’m up for trouble.

The evil lady is the lady who punishes me when nobody else does, or can. She scared me when I was a child, but at the same time I loved her. I feel like I need her. Without her, I would be just me. That other me in my head. The me that the evil lady always yells at. That me is sitting in the corner of my head, in the same position, crying. She knows what’s coming, I know what’s coming.

Evil lady is very angry. She stares at me and starts screaming. “You are NOTHING. You are STUPID! You are WORTHLESS and UGLY and I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU!” is what she yells at me today. She doesn’t stop. I sit with my eyes closed and let her scream, because it will get all worse if I don’t. “You never do anything right! You can’t do anything you worthless girl! Why can’t you do things right for ONCE, just FOR ONCE? Nobody likes you, nobody loves you, nobody wants you, why don’t you understand that? If you would just understand how despicable you are, you could finally disappear. It would be better for everyone, believe me.” She yells for about 5 minutes until she is so angry that she starts beating the me in my head with a stick. She lashes out in a rage, again and again, until I bleed all over. But she’s not satisfied. She tells me, the real world me, to do something. “I wish you were dead”, she yells as she beats me.

As I look at the house, making sure nobody is coming to look for me, I contemplate jumping off of the roof. Our house isn’t high enough to kill me. None of the houses around is high enough to kill me. I remember wishing that I could go to New York, and jump off one of the high buildings there. For some reason, that is the only way I can image killing myself. I so wish that one day I could find myself on the roof of a house high enough to kill me. I imagine what falling would feel like – I promise myself that if I ever got the chance to do it, I would.As I am standing on the balcony in the dark night, I remember the words of the evil lady. This house is high enough. This is my chance. As I look down on the pavement, several stories below me, a small scene unfolds in  front of my eyes. How I climb across the railings of the balcony. I how I stand there for a second, saying my goodbyes to the world. And then I let go. My body gets mangled in terrible ways as I hit the ground. Over and out. The evil lady giggles. I quickly snap back and take a look around me. The wind is blowing, but more gently now. Fresh. Lights twinkle like countless starts. The cars are rushing by, somewhere a horn sounds. The ambulance lights are still on. My very existence gets lost in the endless stream of life here, and for a second I feel too alive to jump. I take a sip from my cocktail and breath deeply. I realize that the evil lady was wrong all along. She never thought things through: If she did, she would have known that the day my chance to jump came would be a day on which all reasons to jump have disappeared. That’s how the cookie crumbles, I suppose. I smile and go back inside. My friends are waiting, ready to go out for the night.