I’ve been thinking about religion a lot since Monday night, when I woke up at 3 a.m. to a piercing and insistent chirp. I figured it was a low battery alert from the fire alarm, so I blearily stood on a chair and stared at the round plastic disk on my ceiling, but it appeared to contain no buttons or words. I considered ripping the entire thing off the ceiling, but once I was underneath it, it sounded like the beep was coming from the other side of the room. My heart jumped: the carbon monoxide detector.
Once I realized it was the carbon monoxide detector beeping, I immediately started searching for Finch, knowing that if there was indeed a carbon monoxide leak, I needed to get her outside as soon as possible. Once I found her alert and looking at me curiously from under the bed, I pulled the carbon monoxide detector out of the wall socket and attempted to decipher the minuscule directions printed on the back of it through my middle of the night delirium. A certain cadence of beeps meant a leak and a different cadence meant a low battery and one solid beep meant that the whole thing was busted and needed to be thrown out. Eventually, with my hand pressed over the speaker, I determined that it was simply a low battery. Of course,for some reason I still don’t understand, the battery compartment was screwed shut so I piled all my pillows on top of it to muffle the sound and went to search for our lone screwdriver, which I found, logically, in a crate of old books in the living room. Once I got the battery compartment open and dug through the kitchen junk/battery drawer, I realized I didn’t have any 9 volt replacement batteries. This meant that although I got the beeping to stop, I would be without a carbon monoxide detector for the rest of the night. The thought of even a few hours without a properly working detector was enough to keep me up until I remembered that we have another in the guest room.
Everyone in my family is obsessed with carbon monoxide detectors. You should be, too. We didn’t know we needed one until we did -- in 1997 my beloved uncle, his family, and pets were found dead in their home after a carbon monoxide leak right after Christmas. I was seven, and even as a kid, my uncle was one of the most truly alive people I knew. He was one of the few adults who was almost never too busy to play and frequently would scoop me into his arms and jokingly threaten to toss me into the shallow creek that runs through the family farm until I shrieked to put me down. He built boats for barbies and G.I. joes and, along with my dad, put on a great and mildly dangerous driveway fireworks show every Fourth of July. When I picture him, it is behind the blue smoke of fireworks or laying on the couch with any one of of the various cats that populated our childhood curled up on his chest. And then he was gone and I had my first taste of the irrevocable sorrow of losing family. His death was also the first time I remember considering “god” as something other the reason for church, which was something I wore dresses and tights to. In my mind, church was like school -- just something that was and didn’t warrant much consideration.
When my uncle died, in a dramatic move I’m sure I’d seen on TV or something, I pulled out the pretty blue bible I had been given at church when I began first grade and tossed it onto the wood floor of the room I shared with my brother. And that, essentially, was that.
As I grew up, I flirted with religion, and remained perpetually fascinated with the more obscure sects and denominations. In junior high, I saved up to buy a thick, academic compendium entitled “Amish Life” that I read cover to cover. After my dad died when I was in high school, I again considered religion, but it never felt right, and I instead found myself most solaced by nature, where my father had so often found himself.
This is all to say that on Tuesday, after much rumination about the carbon monoxide detector fiasco and memories of my uncle, I became aware that almost every blog I read is written by someone super religious. Usually Mormon, or just evangelical. And as I marvel at their very white, wholesome lives, I wonder why it is that blogging is just about creating a world in which white people live very bright lives in white rooms and are always very fashionable and pregnant and maybe they adopt non-white babies if that is what God calls them to do. Blogging, it seems, should be just about as democratic as it gets -- a chance for the untold stories to be told and heard, for free. But I just keep reading the same things over and over again: white lady with baby likes certain pair of yoga pants. White lady with baby likes God. White lady with baby does promotional post about a delightful new bougie baby product.
The piece of me that has always been anthropologically fascinated with all types of religions is delighted by religious blogs. They allow me an intimate view into the world of people whose lives are very unlike my own, and governed by a slightly or drastically different set of rules. It becomes slightly less interesting and more annoying when I look in their archives and see blog hop chains about “the sanctity of marriage.” And then I wonder where are the blogs by people like me, people who are living brilliant bright queer lives? And more importantly, where are the blogs by people who are as different from me as you can get? Where do I find the stories of those who are told by society that their stories aren’t valuable? I’m looking and looking, but all I see are moms in yoga pants.
In the meantime, I'm happy to have this space to write snapshots of my own weird queer story, but I hope that I can find a broader swath of stories to follow and love.
Anyone know of some blogs with new points of view I should check out?