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ag_NO_stic last won the day on January 14

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About ag_NO_stic

  • Birthday June 6

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    Food. Life. People. Laughter.
  • More About Me
    I am Jess. My name's a good start.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Damn good sandwiches elicit "hallelujahs" from me.

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  1. Hello, dearest Ex-C friends! I logged in the other day and responded to a few posts, I was so happy to see some familiar names and received a few messages of greeting from some old friends. For those of you I have not met or interacted with, this post will hopefully bring you some hope, peace, and encouragement. Here is my original post, so long ago. I have had years now to really sift through my upbringing and some of the lasting scars I will carry with me because of the brand of Christianity that was imposed on me. Everyone here was right, it gets so much better! If you are where I was so long ago, take comfort that it does get better if you stick with it. It is completely normal to face all kinds of stress and physiologically anxious symptoms over the bizarre things you might have been taught and "time heals all wounds." I KNOW how much you might want to rush things, but you just can't force it and that's completely okay. Just breathe. Here are some thoughts and advice from my experience that you are welcome to take, if interested. So. I'll give y'all an update from the post above and then I'll share some things I've learned along the way. Sorry in advance if this is long, I've always been wordy and I'm not about to stop now, HA! You don't have to read it! Now that I am on the other side of some serious shit, I am SO GRATEFUL that I was raised by that well-to-do lawyer. Since starting my deconversion, I have owned my beliefs wherever they may lead, held to being myself, and insisted on my own right to my life long enough that my parents have just accepted that "my faith walk is my own." I told them that they were welcome to pray for me, but that it was not Christian of them to try to speak for God or tell me what was or was not God's plan for me, I used their language and assumptions against them, my mama taught me that. My mom has even started to change now, she will make disparaging comments about how women are treated in the church and I think she might be in a place I was four years ago but with so much more to lose. It almost seems as though she believes she has made her bed and now must lie in it, but I have no way of knowing that. Either way, suffice it to say, I bet my mama did NOT think that pairing heavy Christian indoctrination with homeschooling and learning to think for myself and argue like an attorney would bite her in the ass so hard. I haven't feared hell in years, but I have known "hell" on this earth and I have also known "heaven." Make heaven for yourselves, y'all, no need to wait for another life after this one for which you aren't guaranteed. I am reminded of the parable of the talents....the person who was given the least amount of talents buried them in the ground and was punished. Same goes for Christians. For those of you who remember that I wanted to make my parents proud, I continued to work at my main 9-5 job and started decorated cookies on the side, opened a little business for a couple years and everything. My parents voiced how proud they were of me many times, I think they had their own growth to do and recognizing my right to my life was part of it for them too. For those of you who remember that I was very worried about my marriage, Mr. ag_NO_stic has renounced Christianity for some time now and we are both in a very good place and happily married. We celebrated 5 years this past year and are finally in a good place to begin discussing children and how we want to raise them. My terror over child-rearing is almost gone, I have gotten to a point where I realized how controlling it was to strongly fear "how a child would end up," we just need to provide love, safety, encouragement, and discipline.....my future children will make their own mistakes. Mr. ag_NO_stic and I have had battles of control over the years, both of us being taught that wifey needs to submit was NOT an easy thing to take on....long fights, unkind words slung, tears....we never brought up divorce though, we love each other and fought all the bullshit through it....we've battled unemployment, death of a friend our age, political perspective changes, debt, financial hardships, only one car in the middle of COVID (particularly shitty), I'm getting ready to close my little decorated cookie business I started......what a crazy journey it has been. We never gave up, though I have cried myself to sleep many nights now, and I have grown exponentially as a person, I feel like a truly gritty motherfucker. Y'all watch me take over the world now, mwaahahaaa. What's more, I respect myself and own my failures. Mr. ag_NO-stic and I both "died to ourselves" and our egos (funny, right?) and have learned how to put each other before ourselves of our own volition, making it a truly beautiful relationship. I found love, y'all. I will be sure to keep you in the loop with children, they are certainly on the horizon and it's a crazy thing to behold. I know there are many atheists on this site; all of you have my respect and I celebrate that you have made a life for yourselves and foraged your own happiness. You will not find me trying to discourage you in your individual pursuits of truth. That being said, I have always been up front about thinking "something" is out there and I still do, I just don't try to label it, speak for it, or force it on others. This has worked well for me, most people don't care too much as long as you do you and don't try to force yourself on them. One can forsake a brand of Christianity or a particular religion and still be very content with the spiritual aspect of our lives, if you choose to see it that way. The reason I say this: it can be easy to leave Christianity and try to force yourself into the opposite camp and feel just as out of place by those who don't believe in anything. Don't force yourself, there is no pressure here! Whatever you're inclined to believe, you have perfectly valid reasons, just seek after truth and challenge your own beliefs, if you want to. People all over the world and all throughout history have given the mystery of "something out there," various names. You're not weird for sensing something and you're not weird if you don't. We're all different. If anyone wants to talk with me more about this and is not comfortable on the public forum, DM me, please. Here's my advice: 1) Get comfortable in your skin, with who you really are, and start taking care of yourself the way you need to. I had NO awareness of myself, as in who I am, in the way others could see me, because I was just a sinner in my own view. I had "died to my flesh," and thought that almost everything about me was sin, I spent so much time seeking after God that I NEVER FULLY REALIZED that I am the only one who has to deal with my body, my choices, beliefs, etc for the rest of the time I'm alive. I never got to know WHO I AM or really realized that some of my quirks, preferences, and thoughts were ME, as silly as that sounds. You, the one who wakes up in the morning, are in control. I like to refer to it is as your soul, others prefer consciousness, it's whatever you're comfortable with. In a job you hate? Quit! Or OWN that you are choosing to stay for the reasons you see fit. Don't like your appearance? Get a hair cut you like, lose or gain the weight if you want to, buy clothes you like, create a routine you like, choose things you like. You choose what to do with the life you have, you choose how to respond to irritating or hurtful things, you have the say in if someone is going to hurt your feelings or not, and some of your painful sufferings in life are due to some decisions you've made. Own that, grieve the injustices committed against you (however long that takes,) and move forward not taking other people's shit anymore. Look around you, at others, and YOU DECIDE whose advice you take or what to believe. Who gives a RAT'S ASS what some other human thinks, they've got all their own issues and are just as clueless as you! We're all winging it, own your voice and your life! 2) No one is going to take care of everything for you or make you feel whole except you. Sure, people can try to help. They might hug you, say it's going to be okay, buy you dinner. The religious try to say ______ has a plan and to just obey or to find identity in a certain deity, others throw themselves into work and think money will fix it, others say it's family that will take care of you so live for them, others say the government as long as you give up whatever freedoms, others say a spouse or friend as long as you make them happy...... NO. You can be spiritually alive, yes. You can have a wonderful family or spouse, yes. You can have whatever opinions about politics, yes. You can seek after money or work and be rich, yes, you can find identity in whatever label you want, but there will be both rewards and consequences for your choices, no matter what you choose. You will have to sacrifice something, whether it's yourself or others, a dream, a current habit, etc. Weigh these decisions carefully. With your newfound freedom comes a heavy responsibility and the will to do right by what's important to you. You're also free to choose to stay trapped and "safe," but will your life be wasted by the end of it? 3) Go out and live, y'all, we have AMAZING SIGHTS to see on this earth and there are all kinds of things to do. I can't afford to go travel and see the all of the world just yet, but it's free to take a walk around a neighborhood or in a park and look at all there is to see. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy being alive for every minute you have it, and go look at beautiful things, listen to beautiful sounds, taste amazing foods, smell amazing smells, experience this life fully. The bad gives meaning to the good, the colors around you only have meaning because of the other colors. Go out and meet amazing people, learn to knit or bake or write fancy calligraphy or make furniture, give someone a compliment, smoke a joint, drop the F bomb, have amazing sex, get a little tipsy, cook an amazing meal or go and camp on the beach, laugh a lot, cry a lot, get good and mad, allow yourself to be disgusted by the things that disgust you, embrace feeling scared or safe. If someone judges you for that, fuck 'em. You don't want to be on your deathbed, whenever that may be, and wish you had done these things when you no longer have that opportunity. Live. Laugh. Love. (I have never seen that movie, but now I want to......) Love y'all, thanks for everything, it's going to be okay! Just breathe and take this life one step at a time towards your goals.
  2. How interesting. I think what you're saying points to a larger, broader theme I've been thinking about lately of our choice in life to either take care of ourselves or expect/demand that someone else take care of us. Taking control of my life instead of living for others, which comes with sincere and sometimes exhausting effort, has been truly liberating and rewarding for me personally.
  3. I am ALWAYS down for these types of conversations, I don't always have the most popular opinion, but I don't care about that shit anymore really lol. It's like agree to disagree and give me something to think about. You should start it, I'd engage!
  4. You know, I never thought about it that way. I'm going to have to think about that for awhile, that thought never occurred to me.
  5. I've missed y'all too, didn't even realize how much until I logged in and saw some familiar names!! <3 Been a CRAZY ASS year, like it has been for everyone I'm sure, I have been mostly off social media which has done wonders for my mental health. 10/10 would recommend, lol! I'm doing really well actually, thinking of doing a post somewhere now that I'm 4-5 years in to the deconversion and in such a good place. How are you ll?! If I need to DM anyone instead of derailing OP, I can. :)
  6. This annoys me, personally, because "men" is plural and "woman" is singular. Always gotta be putting us women down. Patriarchy.
  7. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with you. I don't think anyone can make you feel a certain way unless you allow it, you don't have to stick to the "I missed out" belief if you don't want to. It can be really tempting to want throw everything out with the bad, and (at least with me) there was plenty of BAD. After a period of grief, for me it's been a solid 4 years since deconversion, 7 since I left my parents' home, I'm in a much better place to be thankful for what I did NOT go through. It has taken life perspective for me to see that there are pros and cons to almost everything, our attitude in how we handle the card we are dealt seems to be key. I had a lot of cons, yes, but they can blind you to the pros. Even though my parents are narcissists and there was serious emotional abuse and indoctrination in my home, none of that okay, when I treat them like I would want to be treated with an eye for understanding, I can see that they were scared, had no clue, and were trying to love me how they had been taught to love. Yes, what happened was fucked up. I still believe they tried their hardest and made a lot of sacrifices for me which has soothed some of the hurt. There are a lot of people who don't care enough to even try with their children and that was not my parental situation. I don't remember, as a homeschooled kid growing up, being jealous of their situation because I was so indoctrinated. Probably kept me from making some really stupid decisions.
  8. I can see and understand this, truly. Out of curiosity, how would you respond if someone said to you, "to my own perception, thinking, and understanding.... Human beings are proof there IS a god."
  9. Crove- This journey can be very painful, depending on how invested you were in your faith. My sympathies. If you're interested, you can search through older posts I've written, when I was a new ex-christian on this site, where I explore this pain more in depth. You can see my first posts where I'm angry or freaking out and you can read this one, most current, where I am literally at peace, SO grateful for the experience and people on this site. I can encourage you that (now that I'm on the other side of it) my life is infinitely better and more rewarding because I was willing to face it. I am still very spiritually alive, you don't have to become embittered (though grief has its place), it just has nothing to do with the catastrophe that was my previous faith. Some thoughts to help you along this journey, take them or leave them: - The best thing I did for myself in all this was to stop listening to other people and taking THEIR words as truth. I took what others said into account, sure, but after years of suspending my thoughts for "God's," I started listening to MY THOUGHTS about my research and that has been very rewarding for me. That includes this advice or the advice of others on this site. We're all winging it here, no need to ignore your own thoughts and feelings for some other dumb human's, even if they are "smart." - If it is "truth" you are pursuing, have you defined what that means to you? Is it a subjective, personal, relative "my truth" or an objective, universal, "truth" that you feel you have not yet grasped? Defining this could help you figure out what you're looking for. - Now that you are not hell-bent (heh) on trying to make your life and everything around you fit with with those beliefs, feel free to do the opposite and look around you for truths in life that make sense to you and affirm what you already believe to be true. I don't mean confirmation bias, I mean be willing to drop a belief if it doesn't make sense instead of trying to force it into a reality that is more comfortable to you. Let things speak for themselves and just be, your interpretation of what is around you is what will make or break your story.
  10. It's intellectually honest to acknowledge the human capacity for spirituality AND the phenomena that cannot be measured with the empirical senses. I find it fascinating that people seem to have these "spiritual experiences" with other people. The brain lights up similarly at church or at a football game.
  11. You just illustrated what I was trying to say so much better than me lol, thank you. In the interest of intellectual integrity oh shit are there any English majors in here? Was that normal alliteration or is there a word for TWO letters?! Wow total nerd moment, I did not do that on purpose and don't have the heart to delete it.), I know SO MANY Christians who are kind, compassionate, genuine people and who do not focus on the same aspects of Christianity that the abusive ones do. A lot of Christians I know have this sort of, "Yeah I mess up sometimes, that's what Jesus is for, and I sing to him on Sundays" and they are good people. So, @Joshpantera, do you believe it's the sincerity with which people take it literally that Christianity becomes the problem? One could argue that the message of "loving others" paired with the commandments on which the US were founded has caused more good than harm overall right? Is this even measurable, can we even know?
  12. So, the question becomes, is it "Christianity," that's abusive? Or the people interpreting things however way they want that gives them license to abuse. What's awful is enough time has passed now that the way these people parent is ENCOURAGED by others in the same mindset. Out of curiosity, does anyone know Christians like this who aren't well off? I've seen it so correlated with money and image that it seems causative.
  13. I'm sure you're not wrong here. Another element to all this that we might not be considering is just how helpful the internet has been in exposing the truth. Think for a minute, my parents did the "you don't get to ask why, it's because I said so," and they HAD NO IDEA how to teach us to make good decisions. They chose hell here on earth, that's what I think the bible is saying anyway. I really believe this. My parents weren't really religious until kids, when they suddenly realized they had no way to stop us from doing what THEY did. So they threw themselves into indoctrinating us with this concept of total depravity and our need for a savior. They had no idea what we know today in the field of human behavior, they were just trying to force an end result. The bible calls these image obsessed people Pharisees and the Jesus they worship abhorred it.
  14. You should PM me lol, I don't know your age but I bet you are STILL unpacking all the damage. I am a psych/counseling nerd and love unpacking that stuff. There are a lot of really interesting tidbits on this site and the internet in general about the overlap between Christianity and narcissism. Just think for a minute, you have to REALLY think you're special to think god separated you from the other animals and found you a special parking space close to the door so you don't have to walk far. It's actually unbelievable to me that these people believe they are on the pathway to an eternal heaven, so many act like such douches lol and then, behind closed doors, they are complete monsters.
  15. Oh I completely agree with you, people do SUCH harm with this verse. I'm just pointing out the difference between a good discipline and what many people do to their children, which is awful. My mother was a complete narcissistic tyrant, she had no emotional regulation, and took out her stress on her kids in the must verbally and emotionally abusive fashion. I am SO with you, usually knowing I'd disappointed them was enough. The spankings after were usually just driving home the point that they didn't understand my desire to make them proud.
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