Four and a half months ago I realized I didn’t believe in God anymore.
That statement is both accurate and completely inaccurate. It’s true that there was a moment of realization, and that that moment was one of the most terrifying that I have ever had. It was more like free-fall, and more like freedom, than anything else I’ve ever experienced. It’s also true that it wasn’t a moment at all, that the process of getting to that moment was months or years or maybe my entire life. It wasn’t exactly that I realized I didn’t believe in God, so much as that I realized it didn’t matter to me. I realized that I didn’t believe what I had been taught and that I had no idea if what I had been taught was God at all. I found out I had been lied to about a large number of things and maybe God was one of them. Maybe he/she wasn’t but faith was so tightly bound to everything else that I didn’t see a way to separate them out. I didn’t want to. I felt like someone had been holding a gun to my head for my entire life and that I had just realized it had never been loaded. I was shaken and frightened and I felt betrayed and worried. What happens when you revamp your whole life? What happens when you just walk away?
I still don’t know the answers to those questions. I’m not sure they’re questions that get definitive answers but I think it’s been enough time that I am ready to start digging. I am going to start a series about this. I don’t know how long it will be (spoiler: probably kind-of long). I have a list of points I’d like to cover. I’m not arguing theology and I’m not trying to disprove the existence of God or talk about why religion sucks. That’s never been my goal and I’m not interested in being that person. What I’d like to do is try to untangle some of this for myself, take a look at some of this ridiculously huge thing that somehow was all about faith and family and the Church and politics and how all of those things were inseparable in ways that managed to hurt most of the time. I am also not interested in retconning my past. Sometimes I will talk about how I found something, something that seemed real, something that seemed true. I am going to try really hard to be honest about what that felt like in the moment and not just tear it apart from how I see it now. That’s hard for me but I’m really going to try.
I’m also going to be talking a lot about my family. There’s pretty much no way to avoid this and I wouldn’t want to – it’s a huge part of the story. I want to say up front that I love my family. Despite the fact that I’ve had to cut off contact with my parents, I love them a great deal and I do miss them. I’ll be running my entries by people to check and make sure I’m not making anyone sound like the bad guy. The truth is that, for the most part, everyone was just very screwed up people, trying as hard as they knew how. That didn’t excuse it but it does make me very concerned about not turning anyone into a monster.
Look, I think it’s totally probable this is going to be really messy and that makes me nervous. I dislike being messy in public, even when it’s on a blog I’m running under a pretend name and with only a handful of my friends knowing the address. Strangers could (and in fact do) see this blog. But this is a big deal, this is a huge ball of yarn that I need to start untangling. I still stumble across unexpected triggers every couple of weeks it seems like. It’s so disorienting to have to reframe your life, it’s so complicated to have to realize that you believe you’ve been lied to and that people benefited from that lie. Bad things have come of that but also weirdly amazing things. The thing is that I know I’m not the only person who has been through this. Who knows, maybe my story will matter to someone else. On the other hand, maybe it won’t matter at all and it’ll just help things make more sense to me. It’s a very strange road and I think I’ll do better with the map if I spend a bit of time finding out how I got here. Currently my plan is to do one post from this series per week and do the other post about something else that’s going on, whether it’s in school or a movie or whatever comes to mind. I will play it by ear. So… here we go. I hope it’s worth it?
Note: Thank you to my favorite Superhero for the series title. ❤