This Light of Mine.


This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

You cannot kill it. You cannot steal it. You cannot brand it with a scarlet letter. You cannot push it down on its knees and tell it to beg for forgiveness for shining so bright. It has nothing to be forgiven for.

I am 16.

I should know better.

He barely sees me over the walls of rules and what people may think. He says the Holy Spirit flew out of my open vagina. Those two times I spread my legs for a man 10 years older.

“So sorry,” he looks at me with deep pity.

“So sorry you’ve done this. If it was anyone else, you would be welcome here. But you robbed us of our hero, our beloved youth leader.”

He speaks to the onlookers: “Yes, the salacious woman-child was in on it, but we have to pretend she’s innocent!”

He is truly concerned for me, he swears.

“You really should know better than to be 16 and beautiful. Tsk tsk.”

That is what the Holy Spirit does: it despises deep craving of another human being.

I should know that the curve of my breast is a trap to enslave all men, and my banishment is of my own choosing.

Pretty girls don’t get to sit on thrones. They do not get a crowd cheering their name or even one person knocking on their door, unless they bleed themselves dry of impropriety.

But I know better. I know that no matter how much flesh I cut from my body, they still will write the youth pastor’s name in the sky while I am a forgotten memory.

He leads me to a mirror and asks me to cut away any place the youth pastor touched. To scratch from my skin the fingerprints of sin. Then I will be whole and clean again.

“It is so simple, my dear: deny the truth and take on the blame.”

Pretend I chose for this to happen. That my teenage brain could consent with an adult man of power.  Pretend that my beauty was the knife that cut the youth pastor out of the lives of hundreds.

Pretend that my beauty is a disease that the youth pastor caught. That I am a little slut who thinks love is an excuse.

Pretend that I deserve to want to die.

Pretend that you cannot see the darkness suffocating me, and instead clean up the pieces of your broken church.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

It is not extinguishable. It cannot be held captive by your distorted view of the Divine. Its ownership cannot be assigned to you.

It is now running from this room. It is fleeing this church, and it is coming home to the Church of My Body.

It has lived through thousands of years of sinking, raping, hanging, burning. Of hating, fearing, loathing, desiring, stoning. Of all the things that people like to do to other people with an inner power that shines through their skin.

They like to confuse it as a toy for their pleasure. They like to make it the excuse for making out during prayer.

They like to envy it so much that they forget to love its owner.

The women hate me too. That I could get so close to him. How dare I?

My light cannot be written on by your scripture. It cannot be plagiarized, as if somehow you got me to where I am today.

I am here despite you.

You, the patriarchy, the worship of man. You, the pharisaic singing in front of a blind congregation.

I owe not one breath of my life to you, but despite of you, I live.

I can feel it when I hold my vulva. I can feel the pulse of my spirit beating there. I can feel it when I reclaim the sacredness of my woman flesh.

I can feel it when I feed my body food that it desires.

I can feel it when I work on the suicide hotline, and I speak the words to the ones on the edge, calling them back. The words you could never speak to me.

I can feel it when I look into the eyes of the women I serve, and I see their shame transform into power. I can feel it when they walk taller.

I can feel it when I make love to my husband and I gently invite my soul to be there too.

I can feel it when I sing with my eight-year-old niece in the back of the car, take ridiculous selfies, and laugh at how good it all can be. How good it truly is.

I can feel it when I decide that my breasts are my right to have and to do with as I please.

I can feel it when I can look into the eyes of a man and not fear that he wants me, but simply enjoy his company.

I can feel it when I let myself want, need, desire, play, when I let myself enjoy what it is like to be alive.

I can feel it when I hunger for touch. When I just need to be left alone. When I smile at someone and respond to a stranger’s inquiry. When I ignore it and tell him to fuck off.

I can feel it when I look at the moon. I know God has never left me. I can hear her whispering how she needs me.

I almost became one of you. I almost lived my life as half a person while paying allegiance to a god that does not feel. A god with an awesome budget plan and well-ironed-out procedures for things like this, yet one who cannot look a woman in her eyes.

I almost became one of the many who are enslaved to their fear, and cannot see what their ignorance has created.

I almost gave it all up to try to be one of you, a club that I just could never quite fit into. I never knew the appropriate pious handshake.

But I was not meant to be queen of a castle made of sand.

I was meant to leave the stars in my hair and make lots of noise. Creating holy ruckus with my truth and letting my laughter pierce the darkness.

And this is what I do.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.


MariaPalumbo03Maria Palumbo’s ‘soul mission’ is to awaken women to their innate power. Beginning in community mental health, Maria served as a psychotherapist with a specialization in healing trauma wounds. Maria integrated holistic therapies of Yoga, aromatherapy, meditation, and dance therapy with the discipline of psychotherapy. She expanded on her education and experience in psychotherapy by becoming certified in Yoga and Reiki II. Recently she burst through the box of psychotherapy to create her own model of self-discovery which stokes the holy fire in every woman she meets. Acutely aware of the innate genius in all, Maria works with women to help them remember who they are. She is the creator and dream-maker of BodyLove Goddess photo shoot, an event that is the impetus for a body-love revolution. She is also a mentor for brilliant women all around the world through her Awaken To Your Magic mentorship program. You can contact her via email.


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