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deferred notes on faith deconstruction (a poem in five parts)

"there's a freedom in just entering a space without my body" ~ Ada Limón

By Erin SheaPublished 27 days ago Updated 25 days ago 2 min read
Top Story - May 2024
deferred notes on faith deconstruction (a poem in five parts)
Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

1) air hunger that heralds May limping into

June, waiting for a baptism not unlike the

one I had at 15 when I knew nothing of self-love

except the axiom of surrender. “Until the end,"

I heard (my voice) rattling behind my eyes as

the water warmed me. I emerged vacuum-sealed in

a middle school field trip t-shirt wishing I didn't have

breasts.

//

2) the youth group girls who witnessed and whistled

at my shaky confession of sin innate and erring still

circle me on social media, flaunting their travels abroad,

their sturdy summer arms like sunning vultures, surely

regarding my disabled body as a tragic byproduct of my

atheism. What do they know of the weight of my limbs?

My new denial of the flesh.

//

3) I've always longed to crawl out of my skin, even

before the wasting muscles and tremors. There remains

a spiritual tonic of escapism - to depart, turning a burial

into a planting. Still, no longer can I buy into the

gimmick of the Church veiling humanity with simplicity

and shame. The last time I felt 'God' was in the ocean and

that was only because I felt small and weightless.

//

4) At the baptism reception with dripping hair, I was

(even then) deeply lonely in my own way, as all

young girls are. Playing at piety. I did not enter this

world with the belief that I deserved hell. In naked

rebellion, I arrived on a snowy Sunday in February.

2/25 at 2:25 a.m. I cried until I learned to walk, pensive

and punctured by the sharpness of life. I learned to

count the seconds between lightning and thunder

without envisioning a man in the sky. In first grade,

I felt bad for the Seventh-day Adventist boy at school who

couldn’t celebrate Halloween. His name was Moises and

he seldom spoke.

//

5) Inevitably drawn to the violent poetry of the pulpit

but too green to examine its underbelly of contempt

and self-loathing, the ubiquitous adolescent feeling of

displacement had me close my eyes to humanity -

increasingly terrified of sexuality. Truly, my mistrust of

this body began long before I internalized the mental strain

of chronic disease. It was the core of every sermon. Ironically,

in being 'born again,' I betrayed the constant evolution

of being, of loving, of me.

Stream of ConsciousnessMental Healthexcerpts

About the Creator

Erin Shea

New Englander

Grad Student

Living with Lupus and POTS

Instagram: @somebookishrambles

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Comments (17)

  • shanmuga priya22 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉

  • Sweileh 88823 days ago

    Interesting and delicious content. Keep posting more

  • The Dani Writer24 days ago

    This is extraordinary! And by extraordinary, I mean superb excellence! A 'power-pack-punch' of a poem that takes no prisoners and leaves contenders down for the count. Absolutely brilliant and a well-deserved top story!

  • Congratulations on your top story.

  • angela hepworth24 days ago

    So, so beautifully written, Erin. This is going to resonate with a lot of people.

  • Carol Townend24 days ago

    This is a very emotional piece that uncovers all of the thoughts and feelings that describe how you feel. Remember, you are always you. Disability is hard to live with, but you are allowed to shine with the rest of us. Congratulations on your Top Story.

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Belle24 days ago

    Such an emotional relaying of trauma... beautifully done ❤️

  • I subscribed and hearted. The utter brilliance and emotional connection you have in such a deep spiritual way, to God, yet the religious subjugation you had to go through—-i am feeling sore in my heart from your words. Especially the part of feeling God in the ocean

  • Shaun Walters25 days ago

    Simply extraordinary

  • Gerard DiLeo25 days ago

    Resonates so much with me. They say this. But who says they say?

  • You perfectly described my problem with religious zealots. Not with any religion, but with the extreme interpretations. The focus on the metaphysical and the disdain for pleasures of the flesh and all things that amount to being a human—an animal—is eerily similar to a trauma response. Like small children are being raised to feel the same as someone who has been assaulted, or suffered physical injury, or lives with chronic pain. They’re being programmed to dissociate from their bodies. This is a thought provoking work of art.

  • Alexander McEvoy25 days ago

    This was a fascinating poem 🧐 I hope you have a good week :) thank you for taking the time share your story, thoughts, and pains with us

  • Beth Sarah25 days ago

    Oh my. This resonated with me more than you could know. This is why poetry matters ❤️🙏

  • D. J. Reddall25 days ago

    This tension between the intensely concrete and the abstract, dogma and ordinary daily indignities, is sustained throughout. Well done!

  • Gosh this made me so emotional! Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

Erin SheaWritten by Erin Shea

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