I will do my best to attempt to tie together these tenuous threads on which I've been noodling the past week. I've spent a lot of time in these last few days thinking of the ways I abandon myself and look for external resources or solutions for perceived problems in my inner world. It's been a particularly turbulent time of introspection—right on time for my annual introspective deep dive.
Like clockwork, I spend the months of November and December contemplating another trip around the sun and the close of another calendar year, as well as deciphering the direction and new decisions I want to make for the year to come. Add finishing a grad degree, and I feel like this has been the reflective equivalent of a Molotov cocktail. I kind of love it.
One of the important themes I've been contemplating is the residual effect of Evangelical beliefs and experience, which no longer serve me. I came across the idea on Instagram a few days ago, thanks to Laura Anderson, but it validated the introspection already in progress over the past weeks. I know that I relied heavily on the Enneagram, for instance, as I've pursued personal growth these past few years.
I know that I began this journey looking outside to tell me what to do and where to go. Growing up Evangelical in a strict household, I was primed and groomed to think I needed external guidance or authority. I don't despise any of this, though I'm working through the complex emotions it presents. Instead, I'm attempting to notice it and decide where and how I want to continue from here.
I am still in the throes of what I want my faith and spirituality to look like since I am generally tired of deconstructing—realizing that deconstruction and reconstruction are not linear or discrete processes. I can admit that I'm really struggling here. I feel like I want to believe in God, but I wonder how much of this is the residue of my former way of being?
I won't reiterate the content from my last post, but I realize that I have not made much progress here since then. There's a part of me that is incredibly frustrated. However, I recognize that this dark night of the soul has lasted for more than three years and another few days, weeks, or months is a drop in the bucket. That doesn't change the fact that I believe that I should be further along in the process.
Simultaneously, I find myself asking that if God were real, why don't they do something about this year's dumpster fire? I find this perceived silence and inaction antithetical to any concept or idea of God that I could accept. And yet.
The concept of chaos and unpredictability has been on my mind for some time now. I'm not sure how long. Honestly, I have been contemplating the idea of Leviathan for at least three years now. Something finally dawned on me today.
Chaos is a powerful and daunting concept. It represents the essence of what our brains reject. Chaos rejects the very certainty—categorizing as either black or white—that our animalistic brains crave.
Chaos is perhaps the ultimate refute of dualism and the pathway toward both humanity and transcendence. The time it takes us to pause and accept nuance is a crucial ability that separates us from other animals. Accepting chaos or uncertainty is, therefore, the pathway to accepting what we are truly.
I thought that when I was getting my Leviathan tattoo and the time that I'd spent contemplating the mythical beast's lengthy appearance in the story of Job that I was reminding myself of life's inevitable unpredictability.
Today, I finally wondered into my journal page if I wasn't attempting to confront my own embodiment of chaos? It was a loaded question, of course. I've recognized this in me but decorated it with the label of intensity.
Finishing my grad degree last week on the cusp of the final eclipse of the year has been a doozy, to say the least. The last week has felt ludicrously chaotic, and I've felt a bit unhinged. It struck me today that while I embrace external chaos, I have a very different approach to my internal chaos.
I learned growing up to identify my internal chaos with unlovability. I am quite emotionally versatile, even volatile at times, and I grew up understanding that this tendency was simply unacceptable. The external circumstances and working on starting a new career butted up against this implicit belief.
Honestly, it's been a little hell of sorts, and then I dared to wonder if I wasn't the embodiment of chaos myself? What if I were? Is embracing and radically accepting unpredictability unlovable? I reject the very premise of the question.
Chaos is built into the very fibers of this Universe and, indeed, my experience. I will not reject it. Thus I am confronted with how I will embrace it. How will I embrace chaos?
I can be chaos—accepting what is naturally unacceptable to my dualistic mind and rejecting that unpredictability is unlovable. There is value in steadfastness and loyalty, I do not deny either, but I see adaptability and openness as invaluable traits in a Universe and society that are both ever-changing.
Furthermore, chaos is one of the deepest truths of existence. Without change, what do we have? Surely love is appreciating the changes happening in the other and resonating with them on some level—I see the crux of any relationship as a mutual and ongoing set of decisions to continue renegotiating the relationship. Thus, if we take this renegotiation as fact, is not change and commitment to said change the most enduring commitments we can make?
If this is true, then accepting oneself as the embodiment of change or chaos feels like the ultimate embrace of humanity. Perhaps this is the truest embrace of humanity. I wonder if this isn't the most profound contemplation of God—the weighty, crushing, paradoxical examination of the coexistence of chaos and absolute love?
Deeper still, does this not better define love than the campy, rose-colored-glasses view I learned in Evangelicalism espouse? For today, I assert that love outside of chaos cannot exist; love without chaos is merely surface infatuation. Chaos is not unlovable.