Church news - April


At Trinity Church on March 10 we honored International Women’s Day. This year’s theme of Inspire Inclusion could mean a variety of things, including building a greater tolerance for differences and giving equity – by giving opportunity to those left out of power structures and work/jobs because of old patterns and traditions. AmandaLyn Wayland wrote, read and inspired us to be inclusive – for those who missed her talks on March 10 and at Jazz Vespers on March 17, her text is included in this article.

As April welcomes us into Spring and mother nature’s glory, let’s continue being inspired, hoping that along the way we will want to build a longer table to include more. Let us continue to share our gifts, receive wisdom and gifts from others and welcome in the strangers, the outcasts, the outliers in our midst, respectfully and with care. Let us put to rest the old divisions and find new friends at this table. Remember Monday, April 22 is International Earth Day; love mom Earth and treat her well (better).

“Prefer the Water”

By AmandaLyn Wayland

“In-between. Not quite. Almost. Just a little more. Perhaps a fraction to the side? Sometimes this, sometimes that; sometimes a little bit of both. Sometimes none of the above.

What happens when there are firm lines drawn in the sand, but you prefer the water? When the teacher asks for those with pigtails to line up one side and those with bowlcuts to line up on the other, but you like wearing dresses over jeans and sturdy boots so you can get into trouble while still making a fashion statement? Mama calls you pretty and Papa calls you tough, and you like making your Barbies drive Tonka trucks? But above all else … you’re just you.

Boys are fun until they push too hard and girls are nice except when you’re pretty sure they’re hiding knives between compliments, and everyone has all these ideas about what they’re supposed to say and do and be depending on whether they stand or sit when they pee, and it’s all just too much. But then you meet a boy who likes pink as much as he likes Batman. And you pause.

Because you didn’t know that you could be different and unashamed. You didn’t know that you don’t have to tuck away one part before you bring out another.

You go to his house and play tea party with feather boas, and then you sit and watch the caped crusader and pretend to perch on top of couch cushions and watch over the city and talk as deep down in your chest as your voice can reach. And it’s all you.

A few years later, you change schools, and girlhood and boyhood have expanded. Your friend Claire likes long hair and khaki shorts, your friend Theo collects action figures and cries at Cirque de Solei and you angle yourself in front of him and glare down anyone who dares to look his way. Everyone stops their ridiculous insistence that the other groups have cooties, but they still divide neatly down the line when the bell rings for recess. Girls ask which one of the boys you have a crush on when you want to join them for handball, and boys ask if you’re “one of them” now that you sometimes square off against the girls for tetherball.

Sometimes, you want to run before you hit the ball, sometimes you want to jump. It’s really that simple.

Middle school is better and worse. Everyone’s asking you if so-and-so likes them, and you basically feel like a carrier pigeon, having to pass on hypothetical love notes, because everyone’s too terrified to talk to each other. You feel bilingual, but everyone acts like the other gender’s a different species, rather than a slightly different culture.

And then one of your friends says something one day, a word. An odd word. You go home, and you look it up. And it’s so silly, defined by its lack of belonging.

Do you feel like you don’t belong? Do you … want to belong?

The balance isn’t as obvious now. When you were little, your Papa and your uncle raised you to be the man of the house and taught you life lessons through the metaphor of sports. It balanced out the heapings of Pepto Bismol pink your mama had your room covered with, the explosion of frill and sparkles and baby dolls you liked playing auntie to.

But now that you’re older, people rush in and remind you you’re holding a t-shirt from the wrong department in your hand. They assure you that you won’t want to tag along with your friends to do something so immature and boyish. Girls are women now; boys are the only ones who get to be stuck in childhood.

You aren’t allowed to cross that bridge as effortlessly, anymore. Your passport’s been declined.

It was fine when you were just a visitor in each land. But now, everyone’s decided where you live. Permanently.

You start to resent your body for ripping your travel documents away from you. You pivot, rebellion taking the form of every button-down and high-collar you can find.

You don’t belong. You don’t want to belong. You want to scream it from the rooftops, hug every person who pauses when you travel with a big coat and calls you sir, just to be safe. And then you want to scream all over again. Because, you know, as hard as it is for you, how hard it is in an entirely different way for your friends whose souls are aligned with womanhood. Sir is safe because masculinity isn’t something to be embarrassed of. Girls can wear pants and be tomboys, and it isn’t ideal for them to resemble their brothers, but … at least it’s a conversation. But a boy wearing a skirt? For someone to degrade themselves in the name of femininity? That’s the real shame.

And what about emotions? Girls have to carry them and balance them and navigate them, for everyone. Assigned the title of manager and caregiver because that’s their domain.

Except for anger. Anger is reserved just for men, twisted and relabeled under Intense Logical Processing. Sadness and confusion and hurt, they’re all redirected through that acceptable pathway. Crying is for the weak; crying is for the women; aren’t they the same thing?

There’s a point when you’re sitting in a city that moves a million miles an hour, staring down a blazer and a dress, and you’re thinking, ‘When did it come down to this?’ When did we start letting these stereotypes, the cut of cloth, the vibrancy of color, the bartering of feeling, speak for us so absolutely?

And you let go. You put the blazer over the dress, straight broad shoulders that hold you up and long flowing material that brushes your ankles when you twirl. Strong and fluid, bold and soft. It doesn’t matter what they see. It matters how you feel.

Your heart soars.”


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