Men are God’s objects. I’m Eve, the reason we die. I shift under the weight of a million agonies resting upon my puny shoulders. I am 13 years old, in my room, doing my bible study. My hand is busy highlighting words that put me in my place. I have heard these words over and over and over already in countless hours of church, study, and life. But a girl can never learn this lesson enough.
"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also said the law." - 1 Corinthians 14:34
I bite my tongue, hard. Silence. This is how I should sound. There is not a single thing in my head worth communicating. A man can’t learn anything from a woman. That is just the way it is with God.
"Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel" - 1 Peter 3:7
I look at my small hands, fingernails bitten down to raw nubs. These hands can’t hold the heaviness of life. I think of all the things I need to be protected from. It is just the way I am made, hollowed out like a ceramic doll. I am weak, delicate. So delicate, in fact, that everything inside of me is already broken.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. - 1 Corinthians 11:3
This hierarchy is embedded in my living tissues; it is soaked into the ventricles of my heart. I have swallowed it whole. I have seen it, while I held my own silence in my clasped hands, fragile as an egg. When the men pray, the women say "Amen". When the men say, "This is where you are to go", the women go there. And it feels safe to be there, in that place where your only job is to nod your head and answer, “Yes, of course, whatever you say.” Whatever you say. You’re the boss. You decide. I don’t know. What should I do? What do you think? Can I go?
“You don’t need to ask my permission.” Todd is incredulous, exasperated. But what he doesn't say is that he likes it too.
I lay my head in the crook of his arm and breathe the sweat of his scent. I sigh heavily and then I cast out my line, "Why do you even love me?
"That's a really good question." And he sort of laughs in the way that men do when they really don't want to be having this conversation.
"I'm serious. I really want to know." I wrap a tendril of his chest hair around my finger and tug it slightly. I really want to know.
"Well...One of the reasons I fell in love with you is because you've always given me my space."
And it's weird because I don't look at his space as something that is mine to give. He owns what he owns and there is a wall around those privates places. And sometimes he will come home at 2 am, with that beer and cigarette smell I love so much saturating his clothes and his skin and his mind, and I don't ask. I don't even think to ask. He gets to have those spaces, separate from me. He is entitled to have those spaces in a way I could never feel entitled to have spaces of my own.
"I just love you, OK? Always will." He kisses the top of my head and that's the end of that. He says the prayer and I say, "Amen".
I don't need to ask permission. But what he doesn’t get is that I do. It’s like something inside of me won’t let go of the hierarchy. The way it always is with God. I learned my lessons early and they don't just go away when you're not looking at them anymore.
In bed at night, he sings a different song. There is nothing I can do but surrender. It is the most natural thing in the whole wide world. He tells me "This is where you are to go" and I go there. And the next day, when I remember pinned arms, firm commands, helpless sounds falling from my mouth, the insistence and ardor of something stronger than me, I feel a peace. Amen. It is always that way with me.
7 hours ago