Remember a few weeks ago when I shared my first “Journey to The Moth Stage” post, where I shared my dreams of telling a story on a Moth stage, and I wouldn’t give up until I did it. Well, I went back to a Moth StorySlam two weeks after my first Moth Slam and was called to the stage.
I thought it would take longer
My master goal is to get to The Moth GrandSlam stage, and that only happens when you win a StorySlam. I knew the story I was going to share wasn’t a winner, but I still wanted to put my name in the hat. Also, I want to say that my admission of my stories strength isn’t self-deprecating. I’m quickly learning what makes for a winning story and I’m sure I have one in me, just the one I shared on November 21 was not going to be a winner. However, it did land me somewhere in the middle of the story-tellers pack. So, I’m happy it was at least entertaining.
The topic this slam was REVELATIONS, and I desired to share my spiritual journey and revelation about religion and my decision to become a confirmed Catholic. I wrote out my story, revised it, rehearsed it in the shower, and had a nervous breakdown in my bed in the midst of reciting it to Dan the night before. But despite the tears and anxiety, I was determined just to put myself out there, to put my name in the hat. Basically, there is no glory or growth staying in a familiar place, and damn it I want to get a story on the Moth Radio Hour (someday).
I ended up going to The Moth StorySlam by myself because Dan was working, and I have a complex about asking people to attend things with me. I hate the feeling of asking if someone can go and they say no, and then having to find someone else. I would rather do something by myself more than feeling like I can’t find anyone to go with me. This complex of mine was challenged and irritated during the entire wedding planning – in this case, exposure therapy did not cure me. ANYWAYS, so I went to Los Globos again by myself and found a friendly pillar to lean on while listening to the other stories, and from the first storyteller, I was terrified my name would be called.
The storytellers this night were on fire, their anecdotes heartwarming, well composed, excellently performed. After intermission, when there were only 5 names left to be pulled from the proverbial hat, which is actually a canvas tote, I started counting down. Each name that wasn’t mine was a weight being lifted off my shoulders; I was terrified to share my story. Religion is touchy fucking subject, and I thought it was a good idea to talk about it in a public forum, talk about lamb for the slaughter.
So when there was only one storyteller left, and I heard my name called, I let out an audible “Oh God!” that caused the people around me to turn and look at me. When I went on stage, the lights are so blinding that fortunately, you can’t see anyone, it’s like looking into a black abyss, but friendly. At first, I stood too far from the microphone and was gently pushed closer. Then I told my story. At the Moth, you can’t bring any notes on stage, and the story isn’t supposed to go over 5 minutes. I knew my 7-minute long story would end up being adlibbed because I’d forget parts or jumble up the flow. Only once did the story go a little off the rails, but I brought it back around. I got laughs in the right places, and a few awws of endearment. When I went off stage, the people that were seated next to my trusty pillar said they really connected with my story, I guess I wasn’t a slaughtered lamb after all.
My REVELATION story below is NOT what I said on the Moth Stage, because of what I said above. But basically I got most of the story out, and it’s really only the last paragraph that had to be condensed because I heard the time whistle blow.
Enjoy & Thank you!
REVELATION – MOTH 11/21/2017
I’ve heard the voice of God twice in my life, and one time instead of appearing as a burning bush, it was a very small Jack Sparrow. The thing about saying you’ve heard the voice of God, especially to those who don’t believe in god, is I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable and I accept the fact my sanity will be questioned. Now I’ll admit the first time I heard god, in the form of a tiny Jack Sparrow, I was coming down off of drugs. The second time I heard the voice of God, I was sober at a strangers funeral and really wasn’t expecting to receive a message from the big energetic entity we’ve all named GOD.
See I was raised Catholic, and by my teen years, I knew this whole church and system was bullshit. Priests molesting kids. Evil done in the name of the Church. I was an intelligent free-thinker, and I wasn’t going to follow the heard and become confirmed in a faith I didn’t even believe in. I questioned the big guy in the sky theory of God and asked how if there was a God how could it inflict such pain on the world, especially my angst-ridden teenaged self who dealt with suicidal thoughts and basked in the glory of self-destruction. If there was a god, surely that entity wouldn’t allow me to feel this way. So I denounced organized religion and went about my depressive brooding way. Then through a series of events, the idea of God outside of organized religion came to be.
I had witnessed enough, that I could acknowledge there was perhaps an energy or entity bigger than myself. It wasn’t a puppet master, just a grand director setting the stage. Humans merely actors with free will improving the next scene in their life. Eventually, I wanted to see what box I could put this God in cause I liked the idea of following teachings, and community. But I didn’t want a Christian oriented box, no – the Christian God bred judgmental assholes with yellow signs ruining a perfectly good fun events. I didn’t want to be associated with Christ, so I looked a Buddhism, a faith my mother grew up in. I looked at Santo Diami, a religion the blends multiple faiths together, but most of all drink Ayahuasca, DMT could be my religion. I looked at Bahá’í Faith, a religion Rainn Wilson aka Dwight from the Office practices that respects and see all religions as the same. And it was Bahá’í, that I started to feel most connected to, because I hated the fact that to align with one religion meant all the rest of them were wrong. I couldn’t sign off on that.
During this search for a religion, I had a strong desire to attend a ceremony or mass; I wanted to find a place for spiritual refuge because my job was beating down my soul and I felt myself slipping deeper into a darkness I didn’t want to revisit. So, even though I had discovered this new cool religion, Baha’i, I was still afraid of walking into a Bahai temple and not knowing what to do, just as I’m nervous to go to an exercise class for the first time alone. Since I knew what a Catholic mass was like and would be okay going through the motions – stand up, sit down, holy water – one two three. I opted for what was familiar and looked up a Catholic church near my agnostic boyfriend’s house in Eagle Rock. I had been spending every weekend there, and come Sunday I wanted to be able to go to church. The church I found was small and welcoming, but after the entrance hymn, the priest started speaking in a different language. I started freaking out; perhaps I got the Spanish and English speaking mass confused. I was uncomfortable fumbling through the mass, like I would at any hip-hop aerobics class I’d take. I looked around at the other perishers who were holding a large cream color menu before them, and found it in our pew – the mass wasn’t in Spanish. It was in Latin. This bad Catholic had found themselves in one of the more hardcore old school sects of Catholicism. And I sort of loved it. It was a novelty new to me, so we started attending more regularly – participating in the Latin mass, listening to the readings in English, and on the Sundays, I wanted to blow off going to Church, it was the agnostic boyfriend that asked if we would attend. My boyfriend is acting as the poking finger of God, pushing me to go to church.
That little church in Atwater was a gateway drug, and when my boyfriend and I drove across the country, I brought along a small rosary from the Vatican. We would be in different cities, Denver, New Orleans, Santa Fe and visit Catholic churches to appreciate the architecture and artistry. And every time we left a church I’d bless his unbaptized soul with a little holy water. Yet, I still didn’t want to be Catholic. I couldn’t be Catholic. God knew that. I carry crystals and burn sage. I read my horoscope. I don’t believe gay people are going to hell. And I had pre-marital sex and liked it. The Catholic church doesn’t want me, and I don’t really want it – except I really like the architecture and totally believe in demons, so at least they practice exorcisms.
But I was ready to explore more religions and didn’t feel compelled to commit to Catholicism. And then I was at a funeral for my agnostic boyfriend’s family friend. The deceased stranger to me was a fixture in his Orange County suburban Catholic parish. He lead weekly rosary masses, and on his first date with the woman who would be his wife for 50 plus years, they prayed at the end of it. I personally love funerals, probably a little bit more than weddings, because when someone dies, you have a chance to gain real knowledge and insight about what this thing called life is. So as I listened to the life of this man, and then bowed down to pray in reverence, this voice – clear, not mine, goes – stop searching for a home, you’re already here.
In the middle of this stranger’s funeral, God told me he wanted me to be Catholic. Told me I didn’t need to keep searching for that spiritual pot of gold. So I decided it was time to be confirmed in the Catholic faith and 6 months later, I started the 9-month process of becoming confirmed in the church. This May I finally did the thing I said I would never do, go through confirmation and proudly say I’m a Catholic – not a bad Catholic. And last month I married my agnostic boyfriend in the Catholic church and received the sacrament of marriage. And here’s the thing that my spiritual journey taught me, is that humans have really messed up religion with the inclusion of ego. Being a Catholic doesn’t mean that I have a free pass into the great beyond and that someone who is Jewish or Muslim or any religious belief other than Christianity are doomed for eternity. No, cause what I learned is that God is an energy force that is calling us all to be more loving, kind, understanding, compassionate, forgiving and whatever you want to use to remind you of those lessons so be it. If God really is an all-knowing being, then it would know we’re going to have some difference and wants as many different avenues to the same idea. Our human existence can be really difficult sometimes, and personally, I want some help understanding it. Some guidance on how to be a better person. Religion isn’t for the afterlife; it’s for the here and now. I don’t have to be ashamed that I’m Catholic, or feel embarrassed that some people will always think I’m crazy for having heard the voice of God. And if the unbaptized soul of my husband ever becomes possessed by a daemon, I at least know a good priest.