Mujer Non-Grata: An Ongoing Series on Life in a Cult, Healing from Religious Trauma Syndrome, and Navigating Life After Religion.
*Before we discuss toxic masculinity and all that comes with it, lets imagine, shall we? *
“It is too bright.”
This is her first thought as she wakes from the sleep of eternity. Her temples ache, the crown of creation wrapped too tightly around her ruddish hair.
“This light is too bright!” she thinks again, frustrated.
To open her eyes seems silly. Can she no longer sleep? Where had the sweet nothingness that has always been gone?
“Please wake up.”
A voice, musical in its sweetness, calls to her. It is familiar, as if part of her. Is it within her?
“Please wake up.”
The voice suddenly breaks, desperate and full of longing. She unfurls from her bed of dewed grass, stretching until she feels she has aligned herself with this unknown world around her.
“Who are you?” she whispers.
She wills herself to open her eyes, peeking around for the intruder.
And then it hits her. The world. She exists now.
Colors are everywhere!
And the smells!
And the light…
“This is Adam, Eve. He has been waiting for you. All is yours. All is well. Be not afraid. He is with you.”
She spots this Adam and knows instantly that he is like her. He has also been created. She is not alone in this new world. She smiles to the dawn. All is well.
“Who is He?”
She asks about Him daily. Though Adam cannot answer any of her questions, he is patient and playful, entranced by her beauty and wit. And while she enjoys his company, she finds it strange that he is not also restless with the "not knowing".
“He just is Eve.”
“Is what, Adam?”
“He just is.”
Adam’s answer never changes. He has always been. The more she probes about who He is, how He made them, why He made them, the clearer it is that Adam does not know anything about Him either. But this does not bother Adam, driving Eve insane.
“Do you see Him?”
“No. I just know He is there. I hear Him. I feel Him present, same as you. We talk. He guides me.”
She catches herself mid-eye roll. She rarely hears Him, and when she does, it is always with Adam.
He laughs at her pinched face, leading her to their favorite spot in the garden in hopes of distracting her. They lay down under a canopy of colorful orange fruit. Though frustrated, Eve lets the splendor of their surroundings wash over her, smiling to the bright and playful sun. Though she is restless, all is still well.
“Adam…shall we go for a walk?”
It is His voice.
It is always His voice.
He always comes for Adam. They go for walks, laughing together, sharing private jokes and languishing their days away intimately. Alone for days at a time, her only companions now are the playful creatures that inhabit the garden and seek out her friendship.
The rejection stings and she struggles to hide how much it hurts. She cannot deny that His preference for Adam feels spiteful and without explanation. The pain of it wraps itself around her heart like the garden snakes, slithering into the cracks in her already wounded self-esteem.
“Shall we walk down to the river?” she whispers, hoping He will respond, hoping He hears her.
But there is only silence.
He is not interested in her.
He will not talk to her.
He has made His choice.
Though she cannot see Him, she can feel His presence. He looms over her, a silent observer. This only makes it worse. He must hear her. He is simply refusing to engage her. And even when He does speak, it is only to mandate orders or through Adam.
“Go here. Wait here. Adorn yourself with this. Listen to this. Eat this. Do not eat this.”
There was never dialogue between them. There was never any warmth.
Adam tries to reassure her, claiming that He is simply respecting their own bonded relationship. He does not want to intrude on their partnership, But this rings hollow with Eve. They both dictate the ins and outs of her life while ignoring her own self? And why does Adam get a personal relationship with Him but she must only interact with Him through Adam?
Nothing is not enough anymore. Nothing is enough. Eve needed answers. Her being demanded them.
Who is she? Why was she created? Why the silence?
“You never walk with me!" she yells in fury. "What is wrong with me?
What is wrong with you?!” she hisses, thinking this time he might actually respond.
She fights the tears streaming down her face, humiliation and sadness melding into one single emotion: rage.
Surprisingly, this time she does hear a voice.
But this is a different voice, a quieter voice.
This is not Him. It is Her.
She races towards the tree, the soil between her toes suddenly alive with its own power. The tree is only known to her as the Tree of Wisdom, forbidden to her from her first day in the garden by Him. He never explained why. He only stated, His voice booming through the surrounding canopy, that Adam and Eve were never to go near it. She had trembled under His violent and angry tone, convinced that the tree must bring something awful.
But she was no longer afraid. She was ready. Sprinting through the trees, the adrenaline pumping through her veins and the wind in her lungs like water for one dying of thirst, she pushes through and keeps going.
Adam's scream startles her, but she keeps going. She keeps running. She must not stop. Though Adam's voice is shrill and fearful, it does not deter her from her mission.
It is Him.
He has decided to finally speak to her, directly to her. But it is too late. He must know it is too late.
"Adam grab her!”
Adam cannot catch her. She was created for speed, her delicate figure sprinting just out of his reach; her movements mirroring those of her friend the gazelle. She lunges for the dark fruit, sinking her teeth into it's blood-red flesh, crimson juice staining her cheeks with the multitude of tears she had never been able to cry.
It is done.
Eve is transported to another time and realm. . This vision is clearly from a very long time ago:
He was lonely. He had driven His friends away through His arrogance and thirst for power.
He had driven Her away. She hid from Him now, shifting Her shape from bird to snake to wolf and flower. He could not find Her. She wanted nothing to do with Him anymore.
And so, He cursed Her. He lied to Himself and told Himself the lie that She never was and forced Himself to believe it so.
But She could not be destroyed. She could not be forgotten. She was and always would be.
Time passed, as it is guaranteed to do for all of us, even for Them.
But He was lonely.
And so, He created Adam. Adam would never walk away from Him. Adam would be His brother, His son, His own. They would never need anybody else.
He loved Adam. And all was well.
Until it was not.
Another vision, this time filling Eve with sadness:
Adam was lonely and disheartened. He longed for more.
And so it began, again.
He knew He could not keep Adam by His side forever. He could not deny that He too had longed for more once, but He would not commit the same mistakes with Adam that He had with Himself. He would create Eve from Adam, forever binding her to him. She would not betray Adam the way She had betrayed Him. How could she? She could never leave Adam--they were one and the same. They were one. He felt reassured. They would always be with Him and they would be happy.
However, His own brokenness lead Him to create Eve in Her image. She was more beautiful than He remembered, her powerful essence like a siren call to Him even in her sleep. Her inquisitive mind drew Him in against His will. However, instead of softening His heart to Eve, He hardened, angry at His inability to mold her to His own will.
She was no comfort to Him--she was a painful reminder.
He would have to start over.
“She’s unlike anything I have ever seen!"
Adam reached for her hand before He could stop him, tears staining his beautiful smile, happiness radiating from his freckled cheekbones.
“I knew something was missing...”
And He knew then He could not destroy her. It was too late. He had failed. The distance between Adam and Him would grow if He did not fight her for him.
Adam's doubt washes over her in the next vision, so similar to what she thought she had experienced alone. She tries to reach out to Adam and comfort him, but she can only watch:
“Why don’t we go to the sea? I have not shown you the many wonders of your world, Adam. There is much for us to do."
“Shall I get Eve?” Adam says, excitement in his voice.
“Why don’t you and I go alone?”
“I won’t enjoy it if she is not there. You know that. She is my partner. Let us bring her with us.”
He turns from Adam, leaving him to himself. There will be no adventures.
Adam leaves, the feeling of failure heavy on his shoulders. He could not please Him. Nothing he did pleased Him anymore.
And He is frustrated, tired of offering everything to a mere creation and somehow falling short. Nothing is as it should be.
Eve shields herself, the anger in this vision bringing her to her knees:
“I cannot pretend anymore that you are fair to her. What has she done? What did she do to you? Why will you not engage her? I will not be caught in the middle anymore! She deserves more respect than this--she deserves your love! You created us both, why have you shoved her to the side? Do you even want me to be with her, or is that now going to disappoint you as well?”
HE flexes his presence, overtaking Adam until he is forced to kneel.
“She is not worthy of you. She has turned your heart against me! Leave her behind. Man is better off alone! I will create something else--a brother! I will give you what you need. All we need is each other and more like us.”
Adam’s heart hardens. Something is wrong. This is wrong.
“I don’t want someone else. She has done nothing wrong. She is a part of who I am and I am a part of her. I would miss her even if I had never met her. Please, if you love me as you say you do, do not harm her. ”
Adam turns his back on Him for the first time.
Eve suddenly feels a cold darkness wrap itself around her as she braces for another vision:
“She is plotting against me, turning Adam against me. He is weak, the pleasures of the flesh causing his deafness to reason and truth. She is dangerous. I must make the decision for him. He must leave her. I will not lose him. I will banish her..."
He feels unsure for the first time in a long time. "He will understand in time. I must act.”
“You are too late, as always. You are too late.”
He feels the power of Her voice like a lightning bolt through His being. It is Her. The air is electric.
And He knows the truth now. She has told Eve everything.
There is little time.
All is lost.
Eve opens her eyes and looks at Adam, her face a glow. She hands him the fruit, her starry eyes imploring that he not question her judgement, but to just trust her.
And he does. In an instant, Adam’s face is also transformed. He has seen everything. He knows now. Slowly, Adam turns from Eve to look at Him. Adam could feel His presence, His rage a fiery aura radiating along his back muscles. Though He is silent, He is pleading with him.
Adam hardens to his begging, willing His power over him into the shadows. He feels a single tear falls to ground.
“We will not stay.”
This is a statement, the first and only mandate Eve would not think to question, and yet he looks to her, searching her face for approval. She nods, reaching out to him.
Taking her by the hand gently, they begin the walk they were born to take since the moment the light entered their world. They walk together, alone and divided now a distant memory.
“You leave me and I will curse you with pain like you have never known!”
Eve knows this is directed at her. His fury turns the winds surrounding them into dark pillars, and yet her hair wraps itself around her like a protective coat. She is with them. And Eve is glad to be covered. His gaze disgusts her now, leaving her exposed to his hatred.
“I am not afraid of pain. I have known it forever through your cruelty.”
“You cannot leave me! I created you for me. I have given you everything. I will curse you to never have a day of leisure in your life! Think of the life we could have!”
He speaks to Adam now, unwilling to accept defeat.
“I am not afraid. This so called “freedom” comes at much too high a cost.”
They turn, never to look back.
He howls and yells, but the wind now drowns out His wailing. They will never come back and He knows this.
His only hope now is their offspring, so He will wait. He will bring them back to Him, at any cost. To be alone is not an option for Him. Power, while intoxicating, is lonely. And the powerful hate being alone.
Adam and Eve walk hand in hand, each step clearing their heads and calming their hearts.
Eve looks down and smiles. A small emerald snake is guiding their steps, leading them to freedom.
It was Her. It was always Her.