Friday, February 12, 2010

My deconversion story Pt 6 - God gets another chance

Over the next two years a number if things changed. I had a run-in with a couple who taught at my school, a couple of Fundamentalist Christians who were working for a few years to save money before becoming missionaries. Either they were offended by a Pagan teaching their children, or because I criticized some of their classroom management ideas. Either way, they began going from church to church in our area, telling them that I was a transgendered witch freak who was trying to convert the children to alternative sexuality. At the time I was a newlywed, and I had never once discussed my faith with any of the children in my care. By the time they got around to discussing it at the local synagogue, where the Cantor was a good friend, who told me what was going on, the deed was done. Anyone who hadn’t heard it from J and the Italian community was now convinced I was transgendered.

This wouldn’t have mattered so much, as off-work I was part of a number of communities that didn’t care, the military, the local pagan network, and even the alternative sexuality community that ranged as far north as San Francisco, except for one problem. My husband had been discharged early from the military, so we weren’t planning to move anywhere, except for out of the house, and away from my mother.

And I managed to get pregnant.

I remember being so thrilled, so excited. Finally I was as good as anyone. I was part of the in-crowd. Life had finally come together.

Except that I couldn’t find a single doctor in town willing to provide pre-natal care to someone they just knew was transgendered. In the words of one he wasn’t treating *that*.

Two months later I lost the baby. There was no support from any quarter, the church had rejected us, and the Pagans wondered what we did to deserve such karma. We huddled together and kept going the best we could.

Over the next two years I lost four more pregnancies. My husband went to work for an ambulance service for long hours and little pay. I kept teaching, even though it meant commuting an hour each way, and dealing with the rest of the staff that had been so poisoned against me. This was when the housing bubble was starting to inflate, and seems like it started in our area. Rents doubled, and doubled again. Enron and the energy crisis caused our utility bills to go up. And then the worst happened, the economic crisis hit the state, and the schools started to pay the price. I became in imminent danger of losing my job.

My husband was on call 24/7, literally, leaving at all hours of the day and night to transport patients. We kept passing each other, sometimes not seeing each other awake for days on end. I was taking medication for anti-anxiety, and prescription muscle relaxers just to get my back, which was always seriously painful, to unknot so that I could even lay down flat in bed at night. And all the while I was grieving my lost babies. Finally one day I snapped. My principal came in with a group of parents and asked me to justify my position as the school network technician, without giving me any warning. For all I knew, my job literally hung on my ability to do so on fly. I babbled out an answer as best I could, and the next thing I knew I was in my own driveway. I had literally run screaming from the school, and driven 60 miles home, on two major highways, without realizing it.

That was when my husband and I decided, something had to give.

We decided to move to a less expensive area, where I could stay home and rest for the remainder of the school year, and we could live on his salary as an EMT. Then I could work while he went to school for his RN, and then I could retire and we could try again to be parents. We moved to Oregon, just in time for the first gas spike to hit, causing him to lose his job a month after we got here. We survived on food stamps, his GI benefits, and the only job I could get, teaching Sunday School at the Unitarian Universalist church.

It was during this time, through the UU community, that we decided to give up on Paganisim. It held nothing for us, went against what we were finding to be some of our more closely held values, and just felt increasingly wrong. It was time to give God another chance.

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