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"I'm Not Worried About You" - Prepping for the Big Step

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In 2011, I experienced a brutal and horrible drug withdrawal. While travelling through southeast Asia, I went without SSRI and benzodiasepenes, which I was taking together in order to alleviate crippling anxiety. The process mentally was indescribable - in no small part because I don't fully remember it all. I remember a decent amount sure, which honestly felt pretty close to dying - whatever these drugs do leads to a very destructive feeling during withdrawal, but I wasn't conscious for all of it - it came to a head with me waking up in a hospital, being told of a fit that I had absolutely zero memory of.

When I woke up, I woke up to a Chamorro nurse telling me my "brother" was there. My brother of course was Erving, who had helped me survive hell by keeping me with him. He brought McDonald's, which I will admit has led to a habit that I have yet to kick. Most impactful though, as him and his girlfriend left, was a priest.

I don't know the priest's name as I wasn't really in top notch mental condition at that point. I was a bit freaked out by his presence as I think you can imagine. He was just sitting there on a chair as I woke up. Guam Memorial Hospital's decor is all white - given what I had just been through I genuinely did wonder if I was dead for a few seconds upon waking up.

I saw him go over to a man on the other side of the room who looked in dire straits, with his wife and son with him. He had had a heart attack. I said I initially thought he was there for me. "Oh no," he said. "I am here for him. I'm not worried about you. I know that you believe in God." I've kept those words going on in the years since whenever I have had any sort of drama or difficulty - I just remember that young Filipino priest saying, as I was damn near naked in a hospital bed with a catheter and everything, "I'm not worried about you."

I journeyed through a good deal of religious sects since that experience. After initially coming back to Seattle, I attended a Mormon church as their outreach was the biggest in the Seattle area (and I'm a decent fan of Glenn Beck, a famous Mormon). I then attended a synagogue with the hope of channeling my heritage - while I found ancient Jewish wisdom very illuminating, it really felt like being Jewish is almost completely a Middle East ethnicity thing. It wasn't really the place to go if you wanted to ask bold, new questions or help people. The Catholic Church kept looming as the place - the presence there when I came back from the abyss, the voice of reason on the world stage and the source of the ideas behind Radical Second Things, a blog and magazine I have been running for over three years.

I attended Saint Columba Catholic Church's service this past week and am open to really taking the bold step toward making Catholicism my identity, with baptism and everything. Saint Columba has fully embraced liberation theology (as you can see by the photos I took and posted here) and related it to the African American community in Oakland. I took well on a year of research on before I wrote about Oscar Romero or liberation theology for the Hampton Institute - I have jumped in to things before and this is one that I don't want to step in without caution. I plan to attend services regularly, every single week, for the next 3-6 months before I decide. I cannot deny the pull that an increasingly radical Catholic church has had on me for the past few years - it has been close to the only source of solace I've found.

This doesn't come with ignorance about some of the very foul elements of Catholic history and current events - in many ways, the struggle of humanity itself is represented within this faith. If I do take the step, you'd better believe you'll hear about it at RST.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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