Sabrina Reyes-Peters

A Pledge of Sorts

Last week, I finished a somewhat vulnerable piece. I’d been working on it for several days, because when I first started to write it, I had to stop to cry. Multiple times that happened. It’s probably the most vulnerable piece I’ve written in a while. Why? Well, I rarely write about emotions or with strong emotions, unless it’s anger or frustration. But this? This was sadness. Grief.

It was also vulnerable because I shared a bit of my life that feels like privileged information. I don’t like sharing about where the inner workings of myself intersect. I don’t like sharing about what my dreams are, because when I do, I think they might dissipate into thin air and I will have to grapple with more loss, confusion, grief, and reorientation. That’s painful. I’ve had a lot of that over the past few years and I don’t wish to repeat it.

I was sitting on the sofa just a few minutes ago, berating myself for mindlessly scrolling through Twitter on my phone, and feeling a void of ideas. To write, one must have an idea that has the potential to come to fruition over a series of paragraphs. Imposter syndrome also whispered in my ear: it doesn’t matter, because none of your ideas are good enough.

So I got up, and made a matcha bulletproof latte (ask me if you’re curious). As I observed the green liquid spinning around in my mug, courtesy of the milk frother, I thought about how much energy women have spent debating their own humanity. The milk frother whirred heartily, and then began to sputter, and whirred softly. It needs new batteries. I was beginning to feel similarly that I need to replenish my energy source and use it more wisely.

I think cis men don’t spend too much time contemplating their humanity. With that, I include what they can or cannot do, or are allowed to do. I’m guessing they don’t have to debate this constantly with people. They just go about and do things.

What if I adopted this attitude? What if I stopped wasting my energy, debating with people whether or not I am allowed to do something?

I decide then to sit down and start writing, and to set a timer for one hour. Write for one hour without doing anything else except sipping the tea, even if the writing reads like a pile of crap.

See, I have this mindset that I am not entirely sure is of nurture or nature. I resist doing some things unless I know they will result in near perfection. Writing is one of them. Pursuing my dreams is also one of them. I am really good at researching things and thinking about them over and over.

What if I applied this mindset to the pastoral work I think I can do? There’s always going to be a jerk parading Bible verses around in front of their misogyny. I’m tired of arguing complementarian v. egalitarian, even in my own mind. I need to reduce my exposure to people who go around subjugating women with scriptures (because it tempts me to argue with them).

I’m not going to argue about these things anymore. I need to use my energy for things I know I can do, like brushing up on Koine Greek, or writing. If someone has energy to waste on these arguments with me, they can go waste it somewhere else. If I have good work to do, sitting around and arguing about it could be sinful; a betrayal of myself, and people who could benefit from my work.

So, I pledge not to throw my pearls before swine, anymore. Will you hold me to it? Do you want to take this pledge with me?