To the person who sent me anonymous mail this week:
It arrived in my mailbox on Tuesday: a small, thin envelope addressed to “A. J. Hanson”. Inside the envelope was an index card, filled front and back with bible verses.
You didn’t list your name or address anywhere on the envelope or card, and I don’t recognize your handwriting, but I have a few guesses about who you are. The fact that you addressed the card to “A.J.” offered a pretty big hint, because literally no one else in my life outside of my family has a problem calling me by my name. The card was postmarked from Minneapolis, which further narrows down the possibilities.
On the one hand, I’d like to believe that this was a well-intentioned gesture.
On the other hand, the fact that you neglected to attach your name to this note in any way makes me think that you had at least some inkling that I might not take it well.
For future reference: that’s an inkling you should listen to. Your gut tells you someone might find something you’re thinking about sending offensive? Maybe don’t send it.
Here’s the thing: I get that you take comfort in the scriptures of your religion, and that you want to share that comfort with everyone. I get that you probably feel personally responsible for the eternal destination of the souls of the people you know. I respect that this is a belief system that works for you.
But it doesn’t work for me, and hasn’t for a long time now. So when you send anonymous collections of verses about how Jesus loves me and is trying to win me back, I don’t feel comforted. I feel disrespected. I feel like my space is being invaded. I feel like the reality of how I move through the world is being invalidated. And I feel like I will never fucking escape from the disrespectful, invasive, and invalidating behavior of my family unless I move to a new home and don’t pass along a forwarding address.
Five months ago, I wrote to my family and asked for space. The only person to respond was my father, who said he would respect my request. That hasn’t happened. I find a note in my mailbox from him every couple of weeks, talking about how much he thinks of me and wants to come back to a place of greater communication. I recognize that he (and probably a lot of other people) believe this to be coming from a place of love.
I don’t feel loved. I feel harassed.
Unsurprisingly, I feel similarly harassed by anonymous messages trying to get me to come back to a faith that neither makes sense to me nor makes me feel welcome.
So next time you think you’re going to be a good Christian and anonymously send bible verses to the queer-as-fuck, transgender pagan of the family, please: just don’t. I respect that your faith works for you. Please let my soul be my own responsibility, and save us both a great deal of headache and frustration.
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“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”….Billy Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice