"Arms wide open, I stand alone
I'm no hero, and I'm not made of stone
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell
I'm on the wrong side of Heaven, and the righteous side of Hell"
- Five Finger Death Punch, "Wrong Side of Heaven"
You ever get that feeling? That feeling that you just can't fit in anywhere? That you're too good to be bad, but too bad to be good?
Well, that's the feeling that I have. Not only am I the one of the only liberals in my immediate family, but at school, I just can't seem to fit in the circles that some feel are the "good" ones. Officially, I identify myself as a Christian. But because of the ugly things that we Christians have done not only over the past 30 or so years, but for centuries, and the impact that these ugly things have had on friends and family that Christians today identify as "the other" (i.e., LGBT, non-Christians, Middle Eastern people, etc.), it's rare that I find myself attending church unless I'm with family or on holidays. And even then, I get this sick feeling in my stomach, like I don't belong there. I have friends who the "goody-goods" I used to identify with in high school would say come from "the wrong side of the tracks." Hell, my boyfriend is neither a Christian nor does he make perfect grades, and yet we've been together for almost eight months (considering that I've never had a relationship that has lasted for more than six months without it becoming dangerously unhealthy, I regard this as an accomplishment). So, yeah, whenever I listen to the song "Wrong Side of Heaven" by Five Finger Death Punch, mixtures of empathy and guilt consume me.
For those of you who may not know, I am working on a new novel called Gears of Golgotha. In the distant future, humanity has been divided into Mages and Chemists, practitioners of magic and science, respectively. The main character, Erin, is training to be a Chemist, but she doesn't feel like she belongs in the perfect, cookie-cutter world of the Chemists. Top it off with the fact that she gains magical abilities a few chapters in, and she definitely feels like she's all alone. The Chemists have done ugly things to the Mages since the founding of the global nation of New Pangaea, and even before that, too. But when she tries to see things from the Mages' point of view, she realizes that the Mages are the same, too. She feels as though she can't belong anywhere.
The more I write of my new novel, the more I realize that Erin is basically my mirrored reflection. No matter what circle she finds herself in, she can never feel like she belongs. She's a Chemist with magical abilities; it's no wonder that neither the Chemists nor the Mages completely trust her. And that's exactly like me. At least, that's how I feel sometimes. I have a foot in both worlds, and because of that, it's no wonder that some people don't trust me. I'm a liberal in a family of conservatives. I'm a Christian who would rather only listen to the words in red. I'm a "goody-good" with a "bad boy" boyfriend. I don't know if it's normal or not, but sometimes I feel that I barely have any friends in the world because of it.
In the end, Erin's quest in Gears of Golgotha isn't to find love or save the world. It's to find a place where she, and people like her, can belong. I guess that's what makes Erin so relatable. I've learned over the years that a lot of people in the world feel like me. There's a Facebook page that I'm a part of called The Christian Left, which basically combined the feelings that I have for both politics and Christianity. I've managed to maintain a steady job as a tutor while keeping my relationship healthy.
So for those of you who are reading this, who feel exactly like Erin and I do, don't give up. You will find a place where you belong. You are a unique snowflake. Be proud of it.
Love and Coffee cups,
Love and Coffee cups,