grieving my loss of faith

May 29, 2013 | 114 Comments

flowering tree

I need space to be angry.

I’ve been told my blog comes off angry. Intense.

When I hear this I get defensive and feel hurt.

It took time to realize it’s true: I am angry.

Anger is one of those frowned-upon emotions. I have anger-shame.

But—I’m angry and that’s okay! Anger doesn’t make me a horrible human being. I can be angry AND wonderful. You probably already know this, but I can be slower to realize these simple truths.

I’m angry because I dedicated years of my life to Jesus and the church. Years tied up in that mindset believing that, as a card-carrying member, I held a secret key to life and that I was a keeper of the capital-T Truth.

I was full of fear and judgement.

And now, years after leaving my faith behind, I’m still weeding out fear and judgement. Picking it off me like those stupid sticky tree pods on your shorts after a picnic. I have ugly feelings about others and myself. Mean and judgemental. Out of nowhere and without warning.

Like woah—what asshole just had that thought? Oh, me? Huh.

Insecurity combined with indoctrination makes it tricky for someone like me to shake shit off. Everything feels personal.

Then there’s someone like Steve who, in general, feels great about his person and doesn’t have shame for taking up space. So, while shaking off years of one paradigm (Christianity) is super sad for him, it’s not balls-out traumatic.

This business of saying goodbye to Jesus has fucked me right over. Right. Over.

I feel brainwashed. Tricked. Manipulated. Controlled.

By a system. Not people. Not you. But I can’t see or touch or yell at a system, so sometimes my anger hits people when I mean to aim for an idea.

It’s spilled milk: I’m pissed off, but it’s no one’s fault.

I was uncomfortable in my Christian skin from the get-go. Always fidgeting and readjusting. Which likely contributed to my jerkface ways. I was self-righteous and mean, not because I was trying to convince those around me of The Truth, but because I was trying to convince me. Always me.

And then I found out someone I love is gay. I was instructed to love the sinner and hate his sin. I couldn’t deal anymore. My fidgeting became loud and urgent.

How could I be part of a community that knowingly marginalized? And while I understood why the shift was required, it upset me that because of this belief system, I had to watch the people I love grapple with another human being’s sexuality.

That was so fucked up to me. I saw them make the transition from being hurt and shocked by his sexual orientation to, today, being comfortable enough to talk about people he’s dating.

I mean, thankfully there has been a transition—but the need for one pissed me right off. It still does. The system framed our world in a way that created this need for a period of mourning over something that should be sacred.

Because we have this person in our lives whom we deeply love, we had to rewire our brains. Our other option was to outright reject him. So thank fuck that didn’t happen.

But what other shitty shit did I believe, and maybe still do, because it’s an intangible idea or belief not yet occupying the backyard of my heart? What else isn’t personal enough to show up on my radar?

There’s residual fear and judginess present in me that I address daily. Hourly. It’s the cunning thought patterns that terrify me. What hidden, hurtful, alienating beliefs take up residence in my psyche and won’t shake out until something rattles their nest? I’m playing host to who-the-hell-knows-how-many sting-y asshole hornet-y ways of thinking!

So yeah. When I sound angry—it’s because I am angry. Capital-A Angry. And if there’s no safe space for my anger, I’ll be too occupied smothering it in shame to notice where it grows. Likely in a bed of sadness and loss.

I’ll be angry until I’m not.

In the meantime, I need you to just love me. Love me anyway.


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