Hola mi Gente,
Some of you might not know, but after a lot of thinking and with even more humility, I put up a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe (here). The prospect of losing my belongings (in storage) and my cell service was what prompted this move. Mostly, my living situation has changed. Technically, I am homeless. I have been fortunate in that my sister has put me up, but I’ve been here much too long and I have absolutely no income.
So, it was with a much trepidation (and embarrassment) that I put up the page and posted it on social media. The response was immediately affirming. I mean, it wasn’t so much the financial support (some from people who hardly know me), thought that was important. What got me was people who gave so freely even when their own situations were tenuous. As an example, one person who contributed, sent me the following note:
I know you don’t know me, but I have been reading your blog for many years. I can’t tell you the times your words have had an impact on my life. Your stories and how you freely share about your life have made me think and sometimes you were the difference. I wish I could give you more…
Then there was this:
Eddie, I don't have much. I am on unpaid sick leave from work currently. But you have called me “sweetie” so many times, makes an old girl feel good!! Love you and pray your breakthrough is sooner than later!
In short, there were many messages of support like these. More than the financial support, these sentiments mean so much more to me. If you can give, it would be greatly appreciated. If you can’t, that’s OK too. You are loved…
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Virgins & Whores
Do you really have to be the ice queen intellectual or the slut whore? Isn't there some way to be both?
-- Susan Sarandon
What men desire is a virgin who is a whore.
-- Edward Dahlbert
Early Christian leaders were forced to establish the absolute purity of the mother of Christ because of their attitudes toward women. Eve had tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden and therefore women were view as vessels of sin, which was passed on to their wombs at conception. The pains of childbirth and menstruation were the curse of Eve (fuck!), and according to influential Christian saints, the closeness of women to all that is vile could be seen in the “feces and urine” of childbirth.
In comparison, Mary, who had not conceived like other women, was the second coming of Eve, put here to redeem the mistakes of the first. In many ways, Eve was the incarnate mother of humanity (whore!), Mary its spiritual mother (good girl!).
Mary would quickly become an object of worship in her own right. The first recorded prayer to the Virgin Mary dates from about 390 b.c.e.; her cult reached its height around the 16th century. In popular worship, however, Mary may have lost her virginal status. She has often been given the attributes of pagan mother goddesses, all who came before Mary. Mary’s most striking pagan metamorphosis, however, occurs within the orthodox doctrine, because she is identified with the Church, and the Church is the bride of Christ. There, like many other goddesses that preceded her, Mary becomes the bride in an incestuous marriage with her own son. She is regarded as an ideal of perfection but the church has never used Mary to represent women, but to slut-shame them in comparison.
As the patroness of priests and guardian of their celibacy, some seminarians may still be urged to think of Mary if they have lustful thoughts, continuing a centuries-old tradition of sublimating desire in an unattainable fantasy.
Christianity has always had a love/ hate relationship with whores. At the beginning of the 16th century Pope Julius II was said to have established a Church brothel in Rome (based on an earlier model) where the inhabitants spent their time at religious duties when they were not “working.”
To the medieval Church, unmarried women were either virgins or whores, and the cult of that other Mary, Mary Magdalene, grew alongside that of the Virgin Mary. As a prostitute (bad girl!) who was redeemed, and who eventually became a saint (good girl!), the figure of Mary Magdalene served to emphasize the equation of women to sin, while at the same time holding out the promise of salvation to those who did penance.
Magdalene is actually a conflation of at least three different biblical figures, who in the Orthodox Greek Church still have their respective feast days: Mary Magdalene herself, a woman from whom seven demons were exorcised by Jesus, and to whom he first appeared after his resurrection; Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus, who bathes Christ’s feet in ointment; and an unspecified “sinner” – not explicitly a prostitute – who bathes Christ’s feet or head in ointment in three gospels.
The image of Magdalene also became confused with that of a Mary of Egypt, who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the 4th century by working her passage as a ship’s prostitute. In Jerusalem, she repented and became a hermit. Throughout Christian history, many similar figures have entered the canon as, one historian wrote, “beauty consuming itself like incense burned before God in solitude far from the eyes of men became the most stirring image of penance conceivable.” I guess at the heart of all this madness is that patriarchy and religion makes for oppressive bedfellows.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…