Today started out like any other day, until I did my normal routine of checking for reviews on my first novel. It would happen at the very moment that my second novel is to come out that I would receive a very negative review. I had to laugh at myself because my first reaction was “Huh?” I thought maybe the reviewer had placed the wrong review on my book’s page. Shocked by the review, I realized that it was real. I sent the link to the three people who mattered most with regards to my book; my editor, my #1 fan, and my partner. I decided in that moment that I was going to be okay and that this is something to be expected because everyone is not going to like everything. I had a good laugh about it and then asked myself “What are you going to do about it?” I told myself that I would press on and let it roll down my back just enough to keep me in check; to keep me motivated, to work harder, and to do better.
For the past two years, the Creator has been toughening my spirit so to speak. He has been preparing me for the trials that are going to come because I know that there will be many. He has been putting down in my spirit all of the necessary tools I’ll need to do my job. He has also been faithful to place the right people in my midst to help me to continue on. You see, I believe in my heart that I have a purpose as a messenger and I cannot let anything get in the way of doing that. There are going to be times that people may not agree with what I am doing or what I have to say but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I say it.
One of the toughest things in life is to do what you believe that you are called to do in the face of opposition. But the key is to not question yourself, but to move forward. There will be many obstacles but I know that I must remain calm, and know that life is coming to do exactly what it is supposed to do; challenge me.
“Grandma, I don’t want to go to church today.”
“Baby, what did I tell you before?” Not waiting for an answer because she said it almost every Sunday for the past six months. “Everyone who lives in grandma’s house goes to church.”
“Grandma, I’ve got to tell you something.”
“You know how I like to wear boy’s clothes?”
“Yeah baby, grandma knows you’re a tomboy. Some little girls start off that way but you’ll grow up to be a beautiful woman and let go of that tomboyish phase. I know it baby, cause grandma’s been praying about it.”
“Ahhh…No Grandma, I won’t.”
“What do you mean child?”
“Grandma I’m a lesbian. I like girls.”
“Not in my house you don’t. What you’re about to do young lady, is go upstairs put your dress and shoes on so we can go to church.”
I did what my grandma said but I knew that this would be my last day in church.
Half an hour later we were walking up to the church after saying nothing to each other the three block trip. The pastor for some reason began preaching on homosexuality and how it was a sin. I mumbled under my breathe while shaking my head, “here we go.” My grandma pinched the skin under my arm. If she wasn’t my grandma and I didn’t respect her like I did I would pinch her old ass back. After church she drags me by the hand to the preacher while he was saying Goodbye to Sister Johnson.
“Pastor Watkins can I have a moment of your time please sir?” Sister Johnson slowly walks around like she is looking for something. Her nosey butt is always in somebody’s business.
“Yes Sister Winters, you sure can.”
I began rolling my eyes because I knew where this was going. “Pastor, this morning my grandbaby told me that she’s a lesbian.” The Pastors eyes went wide and so did Sister Johnson’s. My grandma acted like she didn’t care who else was standing around. I did. These people don’t need to know my business. I only told her cause I thought she should know. The pastor says “I knew this was coming. I saw your grandbaby’s demeanor these past few months. How she’s been dressing when she comes to bible study and to choir rehearsals. Hold on Sister Winters, we’re going to pray for Jayla. Let me call my wife and some of the other sisters over so we can all be in agreement.”
“I’ll pray with you.” Sister Johnson says stepping from behind the pew that she was acting like she was looking for something on.
“I’m seventeen years old now and I think I should have a say if I want someone to pray over me or not.”My grandma pinched me again. “Grandma, please stop doing that” I wanted to yell but I didn’t cause she would’ve probably knocked me into the middle of next week. Meanwhile Pastor Watkins called over his wife and some of the other sisters. “Look, I don’t mind you all having your own opinion about me but what I don’t want is yall standing over me trying to pray for something that I don’t think is a sin.”
“Baby, the Bible speaks on it and it is a sin.” One of the sisters dressed in pink and white looking like she was wearing her daughter’s dress said while Sister Mosley who I knew was the pastor’s side piece began speaking in tongues.
“Look Sister Mosley, I believe you’re worried about the wrong thing.” I gave her this knowing look.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about little girl. Who you are is an abomination to the Lord. You don’t even deserve to breathe the same air we breathe.” I couldn’t believe what this woman just said to me. My grandma said nothing. She just let this woman talk to me like I was shit on somebody’s shoe. The pastor grabbed my hands and told everyone to get into a circle around me. I was disgusted by what these people were doing. These people who weren’t perfect were trying to pray who I was away while having their own issues. I yanked my hands away from the pastor and said “Okay, so Jesus was on the planet for thirty-three years right? And of those thirty-three years he preached for three right? You all do agree so far right?” they all shook their heads in unison. “Well, I believe that he knew all that was going to happen to him and that he had a small window in which to work with. If homosexuality was so bad why didn’t he heal people from homosexuality? Why didn’t he talk about it? I mean everything he said in the New Testament was in red right? I think yall Christians want to believe you know the Lord more than anyone else so you take the views that you believe and place them like shackles on the feet of those who don’t know any better. Don’t you think that if Jesus thought it was so important that he would’ve said a parable or something about it? I mean we black people love us some Jesus, me included, but if it was that important don’t you think he would’ve said something?” They all looked at me like I was crazy just like the Pharisees did Jesus when he had healed the man with blindness on the wrong day.~Jay Winters, Abandoned Property ©