Little Schmutzie Had A Christ Complex

There was an extended period of my childhood during which I was certain I was a prophet — at least a prophet — if not the son of God returned.

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That I was a girl was of little consequence to me. My male body would arrive on time as assuredly as my female friends had started to get their periods. The beloved prophet or son of God could not be forgotten.

No matter how much I tried, though, I simply had no confidence in a higher, conscious god. I believed in belief, sure enough, having been taught that my existence would be deprived of meaning without it. I believed in the power of it enough to know that my lack of it contained the possiblity of my condemnation for all eternity, but I had no sense, no feeling whatsoever, no matter how much I read or tried to wrap myself in the wonder of His supposed creation, that a conscious entity responsible for the existence of all things was out there. To me, it was an impossible prospect. In my heart, I felt nothing.

I made a ritual of keeping my prayers in little boxes next to the bed, because I was afraid that my whispered conversations into the ether lacked enough substance to last the night. My empty heart meant they might never reach the ears of God. I pinned my hopes on the written word to have the power my spirit couldn't muster.

It was during one of these fits of desperation that I concluded it was my lack of faith that meant I was to be a chosen prophet. I would be saved, and I might even ascend if I were to believe the biblical reports, and that possibility was harboured within the deficiency of my spiritual commitment. God was using me like some kind of divine covert operative, you see. I was simply in a sleeper state waiting for my awakening.

I decided that my future role as a beacon of God's light must be so great, so global and stunning in its outreach, that even I could not have it revealed to me until the appointed time. What I potentially held within me could have the influence to topple the very structures that underpinned our governments and economies, and they would very likely be perceived as dangerous by the powers that be. It was because of my import that my true purpose needed to remain hidden, even from myself, until the time was right. God would know me, and then I would know God.

That all fell apart, of course. I grew out of my earlier childhood into a female puberty that wouldn't give me back. My male body never came, and God never reclaimed his son or even bothered to reveal me as a lesser prophet. I never took this as a rejection, though. I resigned myself to the fact that I really had no more belief in belief than I did in the religion that started it all.

I feel so much sympathy now when I look back and see that little kid who pinned her entire understanding of her place in the universe not on belief but on the idea that she would one day believe. It was all I had known, though. The world had been described to me through church services and Sunday school classes, during supper devotionals and family gatherings, and I didn't know how to tell the story of a universe without a conscious progenitor. To me, a lack of a godhead intimated that I lived in a universe without a story, a universe with no compelling narrative.

In a world without a maker, and I without anything in place to guide me, all of human existence felt futile and rudderless, so I called upon a God I wanted to believe in, and I became a soon-to-be prophet, His divine child in waiting, praying under full moons and over smouldering altars built in secret, pleading for salvation from a universe whose story gave up nothing for an eleven-year-old girl.