I made my account almost a year ago, but social anxiety is real even on the internet. It's been comforting for me to even just know that this community is out here, and that I can come and read testimonies of other people who've left Christianity and feel less alone. I've started to realize recently how very damaging religion was and how much my mental health has suffered because of something directly related to religion; late's better than never, right? It seems like the right time to try to join a community of people who understand and have been through similar traumas.
The first time I went to church was when I was two weeks old, and missing a Sunday between then and when I left for college was extremely rare. I was raised General Baptist in a very small town, and I'm not sure exactly when I was pushed to start singing for the church but I was doing it before I really have any solid, conscious memories--one of my first is my mother asking me if I was going to sing "Jesus Loves Me" or "Whisper a Prayer" that week. By the time I was ten I was leading the singing. By the time I was twelve I was the church piano player. My father is a deacon and my mother is the church secretary. Church was my entire life until I got old enough to start asking questions that no one could give me a good enough answer to. Obviously I was punished for asking them in the first place and I learned to keep my mouth shut, but I never learned to stop wondering.
My issues with Christianity and the ways that I still struggle because of it could probably fill a whole novel, so I won't get into it here. I've been happily free for over a decade at this point, but it still impacts me every time I look down and keep my mouth closed when someone starts talking about church instead of being unashamed of the fact that I don't believe. Then, of course, there's the fact that church is still my parents' entire life... it's amazing how hard it is to actually escape.