When I first became an Atheist, it was such a relief, I cannot describe it adequately. To finally realize that there is no psychotic and voyeuristic being in the sky watching you and judging you and, eventually, coming for you, is a huge weight off your shoulders. You can now do whatever it is you’ve wanted.
No, I’m just kidding. You can’t, because there is now no psychotic and voyeuristic being who will forgive you for everything. It’s all on you. Whatever you do, that’s you and only you. No one made you do it (to a certain extent, I’m not a complete free-will person, determinism definitely comes into play).
But, I did do what I always wanted to do…I went back to school to study science.
And, because I was still about 17 or 18 mentally in my development (abuse stunts your maturation, trust me) I thought that was all there was to it. I would study and get a degree and get a job and, hooray, everything would finally come together.
In hindsight, I thought that way because I was still religious in my thinking. It’s not surprising that most Atheists who came from religion hang on to bits of it, even if they don’t notice it at first. It takes a few years of living, or so I’m beginning to see, to realize that there are still those bits in your brain deceiving you into thinking in an unhealthy way.
One way religion has continued to manifest itself in my mind is this whole idea of “now things will all work out.” I’m doing the right things, I’m working hard, I’m learning, ergo, things will come together now. That is, unfortunately, a religious mindset and it has absolutely no basis in reality.
In the middle of my first term at school, my entire idea of the future was shattered by one singular event that I had absolutely no control over. I have spent the past months trying to figure out how to work this into my plans. So far, I’ve come up with nothing.
If the first term was bad, the second term was a living hell. Every. Single. Effing. Week. Sometimes every single day, something big and bad happened. It was all bad and it was all out of my control. I wasn’t sure what to even do with all these bad things. Mostly I just panicked and cried.
Fast forward to summer…
To say I learned a lot in summer school would be an understatement. And, obviously, we’re not just talking about Chemistry here. In fact, everything changed. The most important thing was that I realized that life never comes together.
This is part of the learning that goes into growing up and growing out of false beliefs. It really doesn’t matter what I do, life will always suck. There will be good, to be sure, but when things are good, it’s just because they are, not because I’ve made some sort of great decision or discovery.
The reason life was so difficult to deal with as a Christian was this teaching that if I only jumped through all the hoops correctly it would cause everything to fall into place. This teaching is found in other sources as well. It is particularly popular among white men who lead or follow the prosperity movements of people like Tony Robbins.
It turns out reality is far more complex than a set of rules you can follow to make life good. Life will never actually be good. It will have some good, it will have some bad. At times the good might outweigh the bad…though I have yet to experience that and I think I’ll have to be a few days drive away from my abusive past for several years before I get to that point.
Reality is better than the lie of works, however. Yes, I work hard in my schoolwork because it’s the only way to get an A. I work hard in my schoolwork because it truly is the only way I and my kids will ever get out of poverty. I work hard in my schoolwork because it’s the only way I will ever be truly free from the abuse and the abusers.
But working hard in my schoolwork is no guarantee that life itself will be good. I have no guarantee that I will be successful in my future career (which I’ve had to modify lately due to my age…but that’s actually not a bad thing). I have no guarantee that the decisions I make will benefit any or all of my children. I have no guarantee of anything, really.
That’s reality. That’s where we have to live. There is no god coming to save us. We have to save ourselves. And, I believe, that if we could start to collectively understand that there is no god coming to save us, we’d start helping to save each other. It’s far easier to believe that my prayer for you in your suffering is helping than it is to do something about your suffering. Easier for me, at any rate.
And so, I am here, in reality, in this shit hole that was created by people who have nothing to do with my future. But I have to wallow through it anyway.
As I’ve mentioned before (somewhere, I’m sure) it is still easier to do this without a deity than with one. Yes, it sucks. But I don’t have to sit here trying to pick apart my life to figure out how I pissed off god this time.
Life is shit, that’s the way it is. I can choose to go on and try to navigate a path, or I can sit and wallow forever and get nowhere. I’m the type of stubborn bitch that goes on in spite of it all. In fact, going on is the only thing I’ve probably ever been consistent at in my whole life.