Tearing Down Facades

They drew a picture of me
But it looked all so wrong
My nose was far too round
And my hair was far too long
They drew a picture of me
But it wasn’t me at all
My face looked round and fat
And I was much too tall
They drew a picture of me
And it was very strange
My skin was very pale
My freckles out of range
Why did they draw that picture?
Was it really what they saw?
They haven’t looked too hard
For that isn’t me at all

I read this poem to my class in high-school. What they didn’t realise is that I was screaming for attention. I was trying to tell them: “I’m not who you think I am.” I put on a façade of being happy, but I was spiralling into depression. I was well behaved and moral on the surface, but on the inside I felt guilty and dirty all the time. I used to criticise people for swearing, but by 17 I was the biggest swearing hypocrite of all. I was interviewed for a magazine about abstaining from sex before marriage and later became addicted to masturbation and felt I had no one to talk to about it.

We all wear facades. But some facades, if not most/all, become oppressive. Trying to be a perfect (self-righteous) Christian as a teenager and young adult, drove me to depression, anxiety, shame, secrets, facades, lies.

In the future (which begins now) I want to write authentically about who I am and who I have been. I want to bleed out my guilt and learn how to truly accept myself. I want to speak to the church about why facades are unhealthy.

We need to start having healthy conversations about sex, masturbation, pornography, homosexuality. If we can’t be honest within the church – where can we be honest? If we can’t be accepted by our Christian peers – where can we be accepted?

Jesus was called a drunkard because he partied with drunkards.
Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath because he didn’t follow the rules the way people wanted him to.
Jesus’ mother was called a slut, yet Jesus cherished her and told John to look after his mum when he died.
Jesus talked about eunuchs being “born that way” and who’s to say he wasn’t talking about gay people?
Jesus forgave adulterers and hung out with prostitutes. Did you know that when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with oil she was following a common ritual of prostitutes when they seduce a man? Jesus called it an act of worship and said she would be remembered forever. He wasn’t ashamed of her lack of understanding that this could “look” pornographic to the other people in the room.
Jesus accepted people.
Jesus called the self-righteous “white-washed tombs” because they were clean on the outside and filthy on the inside.

I was like that white-washed tomb in high-school. I’m probably still like that. I still wish I was perfect. I still want you to think that I’m a nice person, I have morals, I’m polite. I try to be these things.

But my desire to admit that I’m not perfect is starting to win out. I want to talk about depression and anxiety. I want to talk about my sexuality. I want to break my facades down piece by piece. And even when I am criticised, I want to rest in the love and acceptance that God has for me. I want to emanate that love and acceptance to everyone, as much as I can – I’m pretty shit at it though. For that I apologise.

I dare you to join me in becoming naked and vulnerable, and to change the way we do “church” and “Christianity.”

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