I went back to church. I went for several reasons, one of which was the need to revisit the place of so many appalling and recurring nightmares. I had joined the Independent Methodists when I was a fresh-faced babe of about eight years old and I stayed through to my mid-teens. I left when I worked out that I was being scared into trying to feel emotions that I didn't understand. I left because I felt frightened. The fears and oppression that I felt there have followed me ever since, rearing up at unexpected moments, stopping me in my tracks, terrifying me. So anyway, yesterday I faced my demons and I devoured them; I am no longer in fear of that building or the people who worship within it.
It was, in truth, somewhat of an anti-climax. I had anticipated an internal battle, a panic attack, a purple breathless struggle for self-control. In fact I felt confident, tall and proud and grounded. I sniffed round the building, looking in rooms that had previously seemed large, dark and unwelcoming. I looked up at the impossibly high windows and saw just winter sunshine. No vengeful, homophobic God peering in at me. I read through some of the tracts that lay on the tables and I felt sorry that I had ever been trapped in such a miserable woman-loathing religion. I felt gloriously radical and feminist and human! And I slept like a baby last night.