Taboo ::: Session Two
The sun was beating through the window.
Ahead, the light was red. The intersection was mine. The same large expanse of lanes and cars, with the interstate just over there, that I sit at every day, multiple times.
My entire body was erupting in a fiery clusterfuck, like years of ignored emotions were clanging and clamoring for expression.
I want to fucking scream.
I dare not.
The impulse to scream was as real as it gets. All the anger, terror, and every drifting moment of feeling misunderstood, unseen, abused, forgotten, and discarded in my entire life was boiling up … and needed ME to grab it, see it, and let it release..
I sat, feeling it all, looking at the cars queuing at Jack in the Box, noticing how relieved I felt to be tapping into this mostly numb place and at the same time being terrified to express it.
What if someone hears me?
You are in your car. Alone.
I went back and forth like this for several seconds. Feeling the extreme discomfort of my body clamping down on an impulse.
This wasn’t just any impulse.
You see, I had just finally released a torrent of actual truth in a text message to someone who has hurt me, repeatedly.
Who I have allowed to hurt me because I never, ever spoke up. Who I repeatedly engage in relationship with because I’m supposed to be a good girl, a woman who chooses the ‘high road’, a woman who is self-responsible and doesn’t blame others EVER but always does my internal work, a woman who doesn’t react but contemplates and never, ever says what I feel in any given moment.
A woman who unconsciously perpetrates upon herself using tenets of psychology and spirituality as her quiet, insidious abuser.
But, things are changing around here.
That deep buried underbelly of self-abuse has been rising, like a corpse buried deep on a slowly eroding river bank slowly being washed free from the dark mud.
Drifting while being massaged by waters is life.
Resurrected by truth and voice and tears of tangled bullshit teaching me how to love myself.
I’m getting there.
Back to the intersection. The light is still red. My body still feeling the surges of adrenaline from sending a series of rapid fire text messages to a person who once held the very root of my heartbeat. Unedited, lots of f-bombs, not trying to see ‘all sides’ or name ‘my part’ .... just loads of MY TRUTH.
All the words.
In a fury.
Let it out.
Three whole texts in a row.
It is done.
Now, my body needs the release to set free the ricocheting emotional cacophony.
I was terrified to scream.
Like, how dare I?
It felt so wrong.
An angry, screaming woman is utterly taboo.
I was so fricking afraid to let all those feelings out, at that red light, in my car, alone.
But I did. Connecting my good girl body and all of its surges with the clamped down awkwardness in my throat needs to happen. Like 4 decades ago. Like every day ‘til I’m all screamed out. If such a thing is possible.
As I screamed that holy hellfire right out of my throat, the light turned to green.
In that moment, I thought of Eve.
Our Mother, EVE
If you would like to read the actual account of Adam and Eve iin the Christian bible, you can find it HERE.
I think we all know the basic story, right? Adam, Eve, serpent, tree, fruit, a bite, banishment, woman is the cause of sin and badness, and man got screwed, and now we all suck.
I’ve done a lot of research and reading about the cultural backstories, the religious movements, and the men who developed this story way past what the bible actually says. I’ve done enough reading to come to the conclusion that this myth is not absolute fact … like, at all.
I’m also kinda over tippy-toeing about the blatant character assassination of women we are all drowning under, and I’m pretty certain that so much of the shame we live under, so much of the fear around being ourselves, can be traced back to the development of this religious myth.
I won’t bore you with all of the nuances, timelines, religious in-fighting, and creation myth thievery … but it’s all real.
I am not going to give you a massive breakdown of all the ways this creation myth has been utterly hijacked.
What I will share below is a very oversimplified nutshell of hours and hours - two decades in fact! - of reading. There are so many fascinating rabbit holes, but I’ll summarize here.
Ladies, we’ve been duped. (Believe me, men suffer as much as women in this one - we are all victims of a big, fat ruse).
There are other, older, creation myths almost identical to this one.
This story is a ripoff.. A cultural ‘borrow’ used to suit the needs of the newly emerging Hebrew uni-god situation.
There was no apple (just fruit).
There was no Satan (just a serpent).
(These were just two of the pieces riffed from the mythological explanation of human origins from older civilizations).
Pastor after Pope after Priest developed this story to suit his perversion, power strategy, and ego.
The story of Eve involving the theme of ‘original sin’ (the continuously evolving, misogynistic story) was used as the foundation for the Inquisition. Millions of women burned and tortured - all because of the ways the men contorted the story of Eve.
St Augustine (or Augustine of Hippo, who lived around 400 AD) decided Eve was an evil temptress, that sex and sexual desire are sinful no matter what, and that woman is at fault for that. He was the author of ‘original sin’.
Before him, scholars spent painstaking hours trying to make sense of the cryptic story of Adam and Eve.
In his personal world, Augustine was besieged with what he perceived as perversion and carnal desire. It drove him crazy. So he demonized woman to remove the blame from himself. Yep. That’s real. He developed elaborate writings detailing all the reasons why women were sin, spread sin, and created another sinful human every time they gave birth. He taught that because we are all born from a woman who cannot help but be sin personified, we are all sin.
Bet you didn’t know that.
He even had fellow scholars who contested his views locked up, tortured, and banished from the church.
And this man is sainted. Sainted. Sainted! Let that sink in. He’s singlehandedly responsible for the fact that you have to cover up or are considered risqué, speak ‘appropriately’, worry about offending or or whatever the heck else we carry. He, and the centuries of people who have supported his cause, are the reason you feel you don’t have the right to your voice. The reason I feel I can’t scream in my car, or tell people what I really feel. ‘Original sin’ is the reason that you and me, and the generations before us, have struggled for equality. This theory is responsible for our mothers and grandmothers feeling stifled, trapped, unrealized, unsatisfied, and unseen - and for passing this for the millions of women burned.
‘Original sin’ has taken our own bodies away from us. Shamed our sensuality and sexuality. Made our body parts pornographic. Made our expressions of our beauty, pleasure, and carnality extremely shameful.
This was the brain child of one man.
And he’s Saint Augustine.
And here I sit, feeling my stomach in knots as I write this. I sound so angry. I shouldn’t write in this tone. It isn’t appropriate. Also, maybe I shouldn’t say this. The men who wrote the books I’ve read are the real scholars.
I think I’ll take a risk.
Mister Augustine, eff you. Eff effing you for every moment of my life that I have burned in shame over my desire to express myself. For every moment that my skin has felt ugly, vulnerable, sinful. For every time I have been hurt by men who carry deep wounding because of the far reaching vampiric tendrils of your damn sin theory. For every time I lock up in fear about my deepest passions, desires and longings to occupy space in the world.
This is a man who took a ‘borrowed’ myth from ancient cultures, who felt he had twisted or unclean sexuality, and warped his present world and all of the coming history, to remove blame from himself.
This is a man who personified the image of Adam above. Being a bit of a douche and passing the buck to Eve.
Yep. I called Saint Augustine a douche. Adam too. It’s a new persona I’m trying on, where I actually say what I actually feel. I will likely do more research, and may settle on to a more well-rounded less douche-y description of these guys. I like to change my mind and points of view, it’s my hobby. But for now … douche.
It’s kinda this simple:
The actual creation story? It’s not what we’ve been taught, you read it and strip off all the things you’ve been told. It’s us humans who have infused it with shame, judgment, ego, dominance, prejudice, power.
But that’s what humans do.
It is a little dizzying to consider that in our Western world, we are utterly dominated by this theory, and have been for centuries. It is insidious, it is everywhere, it is inescapable. When you start to really think about it, let it sink in, and let yourself feel it? It is maddening. Our culture has been undeniably shaped around a myth formed from ancient cultures with a self-serving twist as all myths have (the Hebrew uni-god theory), and ensuing years of layers of male religious scholars. We all pay the price.
So let’s talk about Eve:
What is your perception of her?
When did you first learn of her?
What do you feel about her now?
What do you feel after reading the above explanation of our understanding of Eve?
What are the implications of the ‘first woman’, our cultural mother, being sold to us as a liar, temptor, and cause of all suffering?
What does Eve feel like to you?
Whether she was real or mythological does not matter, does it? Because the Western collective has become so infused with her, that she has been given life. Just like the creation story says, but not necessarily as it intends us to believe: Eve really has been born of man; or men, plural. Like St Augustine and St Paul, and all the preachers who wave their hands from the pulpit. All the women who have been complicit in this thought, throwing their sister under the bus. All the people who buy it all without stopping to ponder the consequence - or ask important questions about the story they have swallowed.
Man really has subjugated Eve through the endless streams of dogma and culture that have been attached to all of us the moment we were born.
Take time to write or imagine or create your own story, your own mythology, your own creation. Fluff out her character. What did she look like, sound like, feel like? What really went down in that garden? Was it a garden? What was the deal with Adam? The serpent?
What in the world does all of that actually mean?
And that, my friends, is the most important question of all. What is YOUR interpretation of the story of Eve?
Using ephemera, items like the apple or a figurine, and anything else that feels like Eve, create an assemblage, or altar. While you are putting these pieces together, feel into all the places in yourself that have unconsciously / consciously swallowed the centuries of propaganda about the first woman - at the same time, feel into all the places in your body, psyche, and soul that want to scream and reject the dogma. Perhaps you will see differently than before, and the waves of realization will continue. Allow them. Thank Eve. Thank her deeply for this time you are spending with her in reflection of the embedded, encrusted garbage that has quietly shaped your life. Acknowledge her. Let her be seen for the TRUTH of who she is. For as you see her, you will see yourself. As you acknowledge her, you acknowledge yourself.
Super Extra Mega-wattage Optional:
Write a letter to St Augustine, the Pope, who the heck ever, about how you feel about being turned into a sin. Detail this as much as you can: the various ways you’ve suffered, lived on lockdown, or felt unheard or unequal. Write it alllllllll down. Then, take it to your altar, your kitchen sink, the full moon, or the five extra seconds you have in the day. Burn it. Watch it burrrrrrrrrrn and let it all go. You are fully embodying the truth of this insidious heritage, you are embodying your power through recognizing this mythological lie.
Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Elaine Pagels
Walking the Bible: Bruce Feiler
The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, the Story That Created Us: Stephen Greenblatt