Dichotomized

by Emily Joy

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1.
2.
02:14
I run a lot. When I'm not pretending to stand still, I'm running. But somehow you God have seen it fit to let me hasten in my race to see how far I can get before you care. Sure - it's a cheap way to test your love, but I just don't believe it when you say you wanna use me. It's easier to flee the scene than it is to let your love spread all over me and leave me broken and finally free - it just hurts. too. much. so. I run. Because you are unattainable and the unknown is so painful and your presence is a force I can't escape, but. I try. And though I feel you look away from me you are not blind, and though I feel you cannot hear me you are not deaf. So tell me why: before I was ever thought of or desired you saw every moment of every day of my life and as my sins passed before your eyes you sighed and said, "Yes! I will use this!" ...God that's cruel. At least, that's the way it seems to me from where I'm running and it seems to be that you're content to just let me get swallowed by the sea. God, deliver me! God, intervene, cause I clearly can't stop running and even my prayers are self-absorbed attempts to save myself with my most holy words. But, despite my most elegant expressions of extollment you will go on doing just what you plan to do, and I cannot change that, I cannot change you! And I'm angry at you for your very nature, gracious and merciful and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love - and in the most forgiving tones, you cry out to me, "Do you do well to be angry?" And all I can do is clench my fists and scream back, "Yes! Yes I do well to be angry! Angry enough to die!" ...But. I guess I'm still here. Right? Just a speck and I'll take it by your silence and your neglect to acquiesce to my request that you still have something planned that requires the perpetuation of my breath. ...I run a lot. I need some rest.
3.
I want you to love me. No really, I want each and every one of you to love me. I want you to buy what I’m selling. I want everyone around me to see what I want them to see And I simultaneously want them to see me and not see me. I want you to see how great I am but I don’t want you to see me weak. I want vulnerability. But I want it on my own terms, Administered in small doses not big enough to scare me or make me feel exposed. I want control. And I want you to love me. I want the truth to be sexy. I want people to listen to me when I speak Even though I know most will walk away and reject me. I want you to buy what I’m selling. I want everyone to believe that their words don’t hurt me. That I have an umbrella for unkind remarks And they just drip down to the ground around me And I don’t lay awake at night thinking about how Some guy told me “no one will ever love you because of what you believe.” I want vulnerability—God, I need it! But every time I’ve tried it I’ve been betrayed by it And I’m starting to wonder if it’s a good idea after all. But I still want you to love me. No really, I want each and every one of you to love me. I don’t even really want you to know me, I just want you to know the me that I show you And I want to show you the me that’s brave enough To get behind this microphone and show you myself. But sometimes I don’t even know myself And you can’t show someone something you don’t know. And I want to show you how strong I am! And how thick my skin is and how I don’t lay awake at night thinking about how Some guy told me he wished I was pretty, cause then he would be with me. I forgot all about that. But I want you to love me. I want you to prove wrong every person that’s ever left me And I know that’s a lot of pressure to put on you and I’m sorry. But you are all gods to me and I need you to come through for me. I’ll worship you if you worship me, Cause if somebody doesn’t approve of me Then I don’t know who I am, And half the time I don’t know who I am. But I still want you to love me. And I want vulnerability. And I want you to buy what I’m selling. But I am selling nothing dressed up as something. I am selling an empty shell of who I really am Because who I really am is too scared to show you myself. And sometimes I don’t even know myself And I start to believe all the lies I’ve been telling everyone else About how strong I am And how I don’t lay awake at night thinking about How I don’t lay awake at night thinking about How many different times I have been made to feel that Who I really am is not enough or too much. But I know if you don’t know me then it’s not really love. And I want you to love me. No really, I want each and every one of you to love me And I want you to know me for who God made me to be. And he made me to be something I’m still learning to be ok with And I hope that’s ok with you. I hope the back and forth I put you through isn’t too much for you And I hope you stick it out with me if I stick it out with you. Cause I want vulnerability. I want you to know me and I want to know myself Enough to get behind this microphone and show you myself. And sometimes I still don’t know myself But I am myself because you are yourself and God is himself And we are all connected to everybody else— We are images of God trapped in these shells Trying so hard to show ourselves to somebody else And hoping it doesn’t backfire. And every time it backfires we do it again and again and again Because that is what it means to be human: To trust that showing you who I am is worth the risk. And I hope it is.
4.
Sometimes it feels like I’m testing The depth of my own depravity. Dipping my toes in, And then my knees and my chest And my neck and my head Until I’m immersed in my own hypocrisy, And yours, Because there’s really no difference anymore. It was a slow sinking, at first, so slow we didn't notice it. We thought it was a shallow puddle, a bit messy of course, but mud feels nice between your toes, and we didn't stop there, we slung it at each other's faces, then wrestled and rolled until the two of us became one with the mud. Our laughter turned to gasps for air as we grew tired, and it was no longer enjoyable to push and pull one another. And the same things I hated you for I did with haste and secrecy, Running back to the vomit of our love To chew it up one more time Cause I apparently hadn’t had enough Of that vile taste. ....And how deep this evil goes, I don’t know. We sunk deeper. Neither of us could believe how we had filthied ourselves, how we had filthied each other. We just wanted out, but when we went to stand we realized our playground was made of quicksand. We reached and crawled in opposite directions, but were sucked back into the filth that kept us together. We sunk deeper. We flailed and grabbed frantically, hoping to catch hold of something strong enough to pull us out. But we only kept catching and clawing each other. We sunk deeper. And with each desperate scratch, we cut deeper. Blood mixed with dirt, love mixed with hurt. We mixed with earth and we sunk deeper. But felt much higher Once the love got cheaper. When it no longer cost us to love Then it cost us a lot. Like looters we stole armfuls of each other Thinking we could get away without paying, Only to find our own hearts had been plundered. Then we tumbled from desperate To hopeless, hitting rock bottom, believing we’d fallen too far from grace to waste time with repentance. But no one can ever fall from grace, only deeper into it. Rock bottom is grace, The one thing able to keep us from sinking deeper. Rock bottom is grace, And we sunk right into our Savior.
5.
02:46
Well I am barely holding on to the fragments of who I once thought I was. And I’ve been searching for comfort like buried treasure Hidden under mountains of sin where I’ll have to keep digging forever And “X” never marks the spot. Cause there’s no rest when all I’m doing is moving from fix to fix To keep from thinking about how scared I am that it seems like There is nothing between me and going crazy. I was following a light but that light is fading And now it’s just this tiny imperceptible point And I don’t see the point of running after it. I am one flame in a lot of dark rooms And I don’t always know how to stay lit. And I’m afraid that everyone expects me to be a fire That never flickers and never fades and most certainly never goes out But more often than not these days I’m just trying not to get swallowed by the darkness and failing. And I keep asking God to tell me who I am But I can’t hear Him over all the profanity and the lies I’m believing As if my words are a trumpet I’m sounding to drown Him out Even while I cry for help. And in a moment of clarity I say my life feels “dichotomized” but nobody knows what that means. “You are worth so much more!” I want so badly to scream but the train’s coming And we can’t hear anything above the roar of the wheels on the tracks Like our hearts speeding toward the next station only to loop right back. And I wanna draw a map, and sing: “He restoreth my soul, and leadeth me in righteous paths, Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” As if I believe it. And I used to believe it, and someday I will again. But right now I’m barely holding on to the love that saved me from sin And I don’t know who I am, the whore or the virgin, Or just a girl with a heart as dark as death itself and a whitewashed tomb for skin. And I need a resurrection, and Jesus, I know you’re risen But I don’t know how to die to self so I can live again. So crucify me right up there with you, Jesus, Stick those nails through my hands. Stretch my arms apart so my heart is open wide enough to cut it out. Put that crown of thorns on my head till I have bled enough to need you. And when they pierce your side can I die with you? Can I rise with you? Can I put to death the flesh and give it all to you? Cause I am barely holding on to you, Jesus, And I need you to hold on to me. I need you to heal the halves of this dichotomy and make me a whole person, And make me free. Make me unashamed to speak and make my life worthy! And Jesus. When I lose my grip. Reach your bleeding hands over the edge of that cliff, Fold me up inside the crevices and be my sin who knew no sin. Jesus, be my resurrection.
6.
So this is what it is to be beloved of God. Forgive me if I'm less than impressed, But I don't remember signing up for this, God. I was told this God cared when I wept But if you haven't noticed yet, He's conspicuously absent. I was told this God would meet my needs But they're still feeling pretty unmet. I was told this God was sovereign over every event But I fail to see how sovereignty Is supposed to be any sort of comfort at all, When an unchangeable being can't respond to my pleading And I've heard too many appeals to mystery To believe them anymore. "God loves you," But he would never do anything for you That he wasn't already gonna do— And God if you love me, It must be in a language that I don't speak! Cause I don't know what else "You heal all my diseases" means If it doesn't mean "You heal all my diseases." And I am still sick to my soul From wondering when you are going to cure me. When you are going to take my bitterness And turn it into beauty. And in the mean time they keep telling me That your ways are not our ways And your thoughts are not our thoughts As if that explains something, As if that makes it easier to be a cog in the machine of your glory. And what if for some reason I can't comprehend, I'm expendable towards that end? What if I'm a vessel of wrath prepared for destruction And God is most glorified in me when I am most rejected by him? And on and on until I can't remember what it felt like To be cradled in the arms of my Savior On the day you rescued my soul from death, And my life has no meaning without that. And my words have no meaning anymore, They're all just answers to questions no one asked. And this is not a crash course in epistemology, But while we're on the subject, God, How am I even supposed to know what love is? Cause as near as I can tell, Love means crucifying your son. And surely you can't see why that would be so terrifying To an insignificant human like me. Surely a transcendent God can't understand— God, you have no idea what it's like to be man! But, wait, you do. You know what it is to be trapped in a body of flesh— To feel unable to escape your own fate— To cry and pray and hope and wait And yet be led to your death— To be lied to and betrayed and spit in your face, The offer of love pushed away by rejection and hate— To be stretched out in agony Crying the refrain MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME? Forgive me, For I have been less than impressed with your suffering. For I have hid from you behind empty dogma, And useless talk. You know what it is to be beloved of God.

about

A dichotomy is a sharp division or contrast between opposing, often mutually exclusive things. It’s confusing, counter-intuitive, a bit of a paradox—and artistically, emotionally, even theologically, this describes Dichotomized, Emily Joy’s debut spoken word project, perfectly. As the title implies, it’s a schismatic work. Dichotomized chronicles Emily’s struggle to come to terms with the truth about God, her past and her future, giving a window into the abject despair and guttural anger that often accompanies the process of wading through the lies to find the truth.

It’s is a story of pain, change, call, response, and worship.

It’s a devotional...

It’s a lament....

It’s an invective...

It’s a prayer....

It’s Dichotomized.

credits

released February 1, 2013

All pieces written and performed by Emily Joy Allison

Produced, Recorded, Mixed, & Mastered by:

Emery M. Jackson
Alter-boy Productions
www.alt-boy.com

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Emily Joy Nashville, Tennessee

Emily Joy is a spoken word poet and Midwest native currently residing in Nashville, TN. She makes her living as a freelance writer and traveling poet. Emily is passionate about challenging the status quo of the universe through art and empowering people, especially women, to pursue justice, speak their truths and ask hard questions. ... more

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