A manual on how to hurt

Navigate the silence and strangling of imminent gray, a gray that shades the colors of life to a muted fade

The inability to understand and rationalize the heaving chest and heavy eyes

The pressure to push it all away

A manual on how to hurt pt II



Sit quietly





A highway into glimpses of the good times of the past and how they mirrored good things yet to come




Dare to cry

Dare to laugh

A manual on how to laugh

A guide on how to heal.

W.H. Auden – First to love

Let the more loving one be me.

The first to say hi. The first to say sorry. The first to ask for forgiveness. The first to smile. The first to sit quietly with. The first to acknowledge I don’t know the answers. The first to notice. The first to reach out after a long period of silence. The first to laugh. The first to hold back tears and let them roll if necessary. The first to love.

Brené Brown – courage

I feel sick.

That’s what courage feels like.

But it feels so uncomfortable.

That’s what brave feels like.

But do you feel alive?

Embracing the brave and afraid

Not allowing the pull into fear to win

over but standing between and looking ahead at the hope

of an aliveness that frees and allows all of your worth to be set out before the valiant seas

Courage is our call in life

for it brings us out of harm and strife with a sense of gentleness and compassion for others

Courage is the tip of the berg and under the water is the rooted wilderness of vulnerability

Ability to stand in the risk, uncertainty and exposure of emotions

Ability to stand tall and know yet still your worth is secure

and even if I disappoint, even if I fail, even if I am marred and kicked, I can stand up again and say

I was in the arena–

George Saunders – Failures of kindness

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

It’s hard to put kindness in a box, yet when you’re in the presence of it, you feel it. Some people are naturally kind — what is it? This generosity of spirit? The authenticity of presence? This lack of sauntering their own ego? Their insistence on others’ well-being? All that is part of it. It’s hard to define kindness, yet when you experience it, it transforms you. You too want to be kinder. You feel a little lighter. You feel more capable of being you, nothing more. Being open to kindness is hard because it breaks your insecurities and propensity for evil down. Being open to kindness begins a journey of our own lack towards our true worth. I want to open to kindness. I am open to kindness. It’s my first openness to it that can lead me to my own kindness to others. We love because God first loved us. I am loved. I am love. I can love. I choose to love. I am kind. I choose to be kind. Let us experience heaven here.

Ross Gay – The joining of sorrow as joy

Is sorrow the true wild? What if we joined our sorrows? What if, what if…What if that is joy?

Why do we go into the wild? Because deep down we believe that there is something in the wild that will make us more alive, help us see greatness and put us in our rightful place. In the wild you may get hurt, you may get lost, you may cry and long for home. You will doubt why you took the journey in the first place. You might not even have a destination so it’s by faith to know when the adventure stops. But each thing you encounter might be the complete reason for why you came out into the wild. Each step could be it. Each look. Each feel. Each moment could be that moment.

The wilderness of sorrow is full of thorns, of ungardened weeds that have crowded my soul. I now take my sword, my boots and my everything and go into the places that will break my heart, and lead me to the pool of wholeness I was made to swim in.

Sorrows I’m afraid to deal with: abandonment by my family, my fear of intimacy, my body conscious mind, my propensity to exchange joys for comparison

Sh*t Christians Don’t Say: Dis-honor Ma & Pa

Honor your mother and father. One of the 10 commandments. Growing up hearing this over and over again, against the backdrop of a father who tried to kill me with a chair and a mother who shamed me for how dark my skin is, was difficult. Honor your mother and father. I would look up passages and search and ask to see if there was any way around this commandment. How could I honor people who harmed me? How could I continue to honor those that made me feel invisible and small?

When I tell people I’m not close to my family, people say I get that, me too. Then those same people proceed to share how they’re going on vacay with their family or how their dad sent them an article to read. I am not close to my family. They don’t ask me questions. They don’t know when I’m sad. We sit quietly at home, like true strangers in the facade of relatedness.

When I tell people, I don’t like my family. I often get, they’re doing the best they can. If you want to, you can. They’re parents etc. I’m a grown woman and my drunk dad told me I’m a disappointment and he’s been tolerating me. I’m a grown woman and as I leave to go back to LA, my dad doesn’t make eye contact with me, but instead as I’m leaving, says I’m a liar. I have no integrity. Yeah. I had written him a card saying when I was in New York I would take him out to eat. I forgot and I didn’t follow through. That’s my fault. But instead of bringing it up, he aggressively calls me a liar and shamed me as I leave. And the only reason why I know it has something to do with this meal promise is because my mom later sends me 15 voice mails about how I failed there. Yes. I didn’t follow through and fine, I lied. I made a promise and I failed. But is the way to deal with me to shame me, yell at me and make me truly never want to take him out for a meal? Also why does he want that when he doesn’t even talk to me when I’m home? He does nothing but mutter under his breath how I suck and then drink. It’s not even 9am.

When I tell people, I hate my family, I feel judged. I believe people think I’m being dramatic and callous. My parents are immigrants who sacrificed so much for me. And now there is never room for me to hate them. At what point am I no longer held to this filial obligation for something I had no control over? How much shame, fear and anger must I endure for me to have enough reason to draw my boundaries.

Honor your mother and father. I feel shame around that commandment. I feel that I will never do that enough. Is me coming home every time even after such horrific times, good enough? That’s my version of forgiveness but I can’t forget. It’s in my body. I’m miserable when I’m home. I want to cry but there’s no where to cry and as I’m writing this on the subway, I have to be careful that the floodgates don’t suddenly open.

How do I DIStance myself and not DisHonor? Does that make you more comfortable? If I never see my parents again, I really would not be sad. They haven’t been part of my life. When I think of my blood family, I am filled with grief, hurt, sadness and fear. I don’t like who I become. I don’t like how trapped I feel. Am I allowed to DISHonor my parents? Truth is, they probably already see me as a dishonorable dishonest daughter.

Sh*t Christians Don’t Say: Egos

We all LOVE preaching at the pulpit pride is bad. Pride comes before the fall. Those who are proud will be humbled. We will preach our lungs out about being humble and to set aside yourself, for Jesus… and maybe for others.

Yet do we do that when we engage with someone who challenges our theology, our thought process, our framework? Do we really hold an openness to engage humbly with those who present a different way of thinking?

I am very guilty of wanting immediately to write someone off if they love Trump or say something so overtly racist that my heart aches and I fume. And for many people, they would find no error in my ways. But I really don’t want to be that person. Jesus hung out with people who disdained him, who believed and said very contrary things to him. Yet he managed to hold space. I am not Jesus and I probably could not withhold the pain and harm as well as he did, (well I guess he didn’t either — he died.) But I really want to try. I don’t want my circles to be of people who all think like me. Diversity is so buzzy nowadays, and to that, how broad is our landscape of diversity. Do we have diversity in color, gender, socioeconomics, faith, career, thought and so forth? Look around, do the people you hang with all look, think and act like you?

This is not to say that you should let ANYONE into your inner temple. Nah people need to earn your trust for those inner courts. What does trust entail? Love and safety. Commitment and faithfulness. Forgive the and humility. Vulnerability and an ability to listen. Hopefully a sense of humor and no judgy eyes when I kill a bag of Hot Fries. The last few I added for my specific courts.

But I really do try and it is hard and ever increasingly impossible. It requires breaths and filters and thinking the best of another. It’s hard but thus is life. I’m friends with Christians and heathens alike. But why is it that so many of my Christian friends can not handle conversations where their frameworks are being challenged? It’s as if their faith is in their framework, not in their God. God is rooted. God is unchangeable, but our frameworks can. How does Jesus talk to people? Differently depending on who he is talking to? He’s the same. He has integrity. When I challenge especially white Christians on race, gentrification, and god, white male Christians, on being a woman, I honestly am often met with skepticism and defensiveness. They meet me as if I’m an anomaly and I must prove every point I make. Again that feeds into the fact that YOU ARE IN THE DOMINANCE AND REVERSE RACISM & SEXISM DO NOT EXIST.

Please for the love of God trust that I am not demolishing your worth and your God when we have uncomfortable complicated complex conversations. I am trying to bring us closer, to find a common ground. Stop equating your worth with your mind and thoughts and your life here. That’s your ego. Your EGO should be killed because then you will all the more know your worth and God are still immovable.

Sh*t Christians Don’t Say: Singles vs marrieds

Just kidding. The church LOVES talking about singles and marrieds. It’s both adored at the pulpit and anticipated in the audience. There’s this rush of hope every time that maybe this sermon would unlock and unravel the pain of waiting for singles, and root and make sense the never talked about pain of staying for marrieds. Yet no one really talks about the pain of waiting because we love focusing on how singleness is a gift and that the Lord can really use you specifically in this season. So we have a bunch of singles hurting inside lashing themselves with this holy waiting and trust. And no one talks about the real pain of marriage. Ya we talk about how it’s ultimate sanctification and how’s that’s the hardest BUT MOST BEAUTIFUL thing on earth, blah blah blah. But can we cut the glamorized version of difficult sanctification and get into the nitty ugly cave. Do we talk about falling out of love with your spouse? Do we talk about low grade amounts, and I dare you, overt abuse? Do we talk about how monogamy is not natural and how sometimes this fight seems too uphill? We don’t. We wrap obstacles in, we’re being sanctified.

The danger of never talking about these things is that when someone is in that position, the response is guilt and shame. If we are ever in a space that is not publicly discussed as normal, we feel abnormal when we experience these human tendencies. Shame is hiding because of a fear of losing worthiness. Shame is hiding because of a fear of judgment. Shame is hiding because a facade keeps others distant from your mess. Isn’t that what happened at the garden? We assumed God would lash at us so we hid and lied instead. I wonder if those peeps in Eden were outright about what they did, would they have been able to stay in the garden? God might have let them stay? The transgression wasn’t the issue? The hiding was? But the reality is, we are no longer in Eden and people are not lovely like God. When we are vulnerable people do cover us in judgment, create distance and make us feel less Christian or unwise/blind/foolish when we talk about said topics above. It’s a fucking catch-22. If you talk, you might get shamed. If you don’t talk, you are imprisoned by shame. How do we change the culture to merely listening and holding space, suspending your judgment and quickness to scripture showering?

But I think the deepest issue with this whole thing is singles v marrieds. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP DIVIDING PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH IN TWO CATEGORIES. Why do you do that?!! Why do you delineate people by relationship status? Inherent in that boxing is our huge human-created difference, there’s a type of crossing over, there’s us v them and they wouldn’t understand the struggle. Don’t act like after marriage, spouses don’t want to sleep with a hot emotionally available dude that walks by. Don’t act like singles cannot get deeply sanctified by close friends and roommates, FO SHO. When you say singleness is a gift, then proceed to spend 15 minutes chatting about the beauty of waiting….take a nice exhale, smile and then get into your inclusive circle tone of voice to talk to those who are married, it is obvious and weird. Stop taking a few verses in the Bible and elevating them into central to our faith structure — don’t we Christians love doing that with whatever scripture seems perfect for such a time as this. Why don’t we talk about things we as humans struggle with that cross all boundaries? Greediness. Jealousy. Greediness. Racism. Sexism. Misogyny. Defensiveness. Ego. Gossip wrapped in we should pray for her. Ego. Fucking ego. Why do we need pastors specifically for singles and marrieds? What qualifies one to know people in these categories better? I’m really asking. Do I go to one pastor if I’m thinking about masturbation and another pastor when I want to hoard my money? Stop drawing out details of my identity like they’re my defining trait. Stop making such a big deal about my status like that’s the reason I sin. I don’t always put God first because I’m human and selfish. My relationship status is not how primarily relate to people. We have created a culture of such connection like that in church. It’s incomplete and often damaging.

Stop putting people in boxes so it’s easier for you to manage and control. Stop defining people so you can quickly go to your prescription box of scriptures. See me as a complicated human. Show me the wisdom and faith and trust I too have the Spirit.

Sh*t Christians Don’t Say: Masturbation

I was 17 when I grabbed Nick A’s crotch and asked him if he was having an orgasm. He wasn’t, I don’t think…could my innocent Christian hands coming in contact with his vulnerable gems make him cum..? Anyway, the point is, I had no idea what orgasms were. I probably heard it in passing and here I was drunkenly letting my suppressed curiosity bust out.

And of course innocent, save myself for marriage teenage self, won a sex basket my freshman year in college. It had lube and condoms and I think TWO vibrators. I never win raffles but God thought this was the surprise I needed in my life. Then I proceeded to have sex for many years, and I think I never had an orgasm. It’s no one’s fault. I didn’t know. They didn’t know. We all moaned along so no feelings were hurt and relationships were preserved. I didn’t know my body well enough and I didn’t know who to turn to to ask about how to feel my very best. We all want to come but we don’t know who to go to. At least I didn’t. I was already dealing with a low grade of Christian guilt having sex before marriage, so I wasn’t about to really welcome the devil by really accessing all the feels.

I got a purple vibrator in the mission after college, as most do when you’re free and in San Francisco. D. A. M. N. That was what I was missing this whole time. Why would God give me a sensual biological needy body and prevent me from enjoying it fully? Why would God create the opportunities for climax when we are taught to only walk through the valleys of shadow and death? Is our Christian obsession with suffering so evasive it’s blocked out access to peak human living and loving, may I say?

Then I really had a Jesus encounter when I moved to LA. I will never forget God’s full embrace of bitter, lonely, lost Nancy. I will never forget the feeling of someone having my back, always. I will never forget my response of, alright, I’m yours. Tell me what’s next. And thus led into my long beautiful journey with the Christian church. I met the bestest of people who are my dearest of friends. I’ve had ideas of family redeemed. I’ve learned the difference between forgiveness, reconciliation and forgetting. I’ve also tucked myself into a narrow hole of sexual repression in the name of boundaries for the name of said Christ. If I am to truly follow Jesus, I am to lay myself down, ignore my bodily impulses, not be selfish and wait to come with another. Masturbation required list and lust was sin. Masturbation is self indulgent and true Christians put others first. Sexual acts, regardless of the number of parties required, are reserved for covenants. Single, you WAIT and ENDURE till you get to the merry other side. And we all know the other side is equally fucked.

But I was a leader. I was a FOLLOWER. I loved Jesus. I spent days and months googling, is masturbation a sin? Can I masturbate without lust? Does masturbation really ruin my future marriage? And after my solo google research, I confessed my sin of self pleasure and tossed away my beautiful vibrator.

And I stopped masturbating. So I stopped lusting and felt complete in Christ alone in my singleness. The end. SAID NO ONE EVER.

I got myself a new sleek AF vibrator. I would vibrate with a blank mind, with nothing but presence, and still come. I would vibrate with pop music. Still came. Sometimes, yes, I did think about a dude I had the hots for and yes I still came. Is that really SO BAD? Am I really using the dude by making him the center of my affections and body exploration? I don’t know. I don’t feel guilt. I feel like a child with a lot to learn. I still feel really shy, but I’m also proud my body works and I get to be a woman who also has the right to come. Why would God make us with a clitoris and g-spot? To dangle them under us all day and night to tempt us, to test us, to see how much we can suppress and repress?

Are there dangers to masturbation? There were nights when I felt really shitty and lonely and dealt with it by vibing. Maybe I band-aided my pain with a little self-love? There was one night I made plans with a guy and before meeting him I had a little fun and actually didn’t want to see him anymore. Damn it, did I feel content without said guy who was actually not good for me?!

Why is the church so afraid of me getting to know my body when we so readily forgive a dude from jacking off because HE JUST CAN’T biologically help it?! What kind of patriarchal blatant bull shit is that? How is my exploration and owning of my body a threat to your family/marriage structure? Are you afraid that you can’t control me with your singleness is a gift sweet nothings? Are you afraid that if I masturbate, I might not see the beauty of marriage? Sweet audience, I can’t wait to get married and bone my hubby all day and night and you know what, me getting to know my body now, will be a gift to my marriage.


Sh*T Christians Don’t Say: Sex

I had sex a few weeks ago. And, I don’t feel guilty about it. I feel like I’m supposed to because as much as we preach in the church, don’t feel guilt and shame, I’m still supposed to feel that sort of guilt that proves that I actually love Jesus THE MOST which is best shown if I feel guilt for having sinned. I don’t.

I loved how close my body was to this incredibly attractive guy who I also respected. I loved the way he kissed me. When I think about the time, yep, I still smile and giggle.

But hey, after having sex with said cute gentleman, I do get WHY Christians preach the “save yourself for marriage.” The rigid, one-size-fits-all, headed by fear and tailed by guilt rule stems from a truly good heart of wise protection. What God intends as wisdom, Christians like to draw strict boundaries for control. God intends to protect us from harm. He has our best interest at hand. He does. He really does! After sleeping with cute gentleman, I thought about him, a lot. I fantasized about what we could become. I checked his social media. When he texted, my heart skipped a beat. And audience, I only met the guy. We hung out for maybe 48 hours and here I am about to plan a wedding. If I had not slept with him, I probably would not have wasted precious minutes, hours, whatever don’t judge, dreaming up a world where I very much felt like I was in love. (I’m a scorpio so I’m obsessive with everything.) I would have saved myself the disappointment because truth is, it’s probably not going to happen. It was a one night stand. The end. So the “save yourself for marriage” team, you’re still on the scoreboard.

BUT if I didn’t sleep with him, I would not have realized my engrained desire to perform and make sure my partner feels good, and not give 2 shits about myself. I experienced the deep insecurity I felt about my body. I was obsessed with him feeling good, again, could give 2 shits about myself. I felt that my worth was tied up in my performance. (Enneagram 3) Why did I feel a need to show hard, I was having a good time, instead of just being present with how I was feeling? I’m so needy. I also learned I really love intimacy, all of it. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. And I often neglect the physical because I’ve been told it’s slutty, tempting for others, desperate…I like to be told I”m beautiful. I like to feel another beating heart next to mine. So yes, I have spent precious minutes thinking about said cute gentleman, but I’ve also spent a lot of time reflecting on my own body and sexuality because of this experience.

Is the bit of obsession, slight heartbreak/disappointment that I know I will get over worth a lesson on myself? I’m probably not a one night stand kinda girl because this is my tendency. And now I know. I don’t need the attached guilt with the lesson. I don’t think Jesus is pissed at me. I think he might be like…well, what did you learn? how do we move forward? cool! still here with you baby girl.

Some of you Christians out there might be saying, oh just you wait. In 10 years the guilt will smack you hard in the face…when you’re married, it’s going to affect you in this way…you just don’t KNOW how it’s going to affect you? Well, look, do we ever? Get your guilt and shame away from me. Get your control away from my wisdom and faith. I love Jesus. I love being a woman. I want to explore my sexuality and sometimes it means talking about sex real explicitly and sometimes it means, well…let’s leave some things to the imagination.