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Hi, I'm Franziska, And I'm A Recovering Catholic


Guest Franziska_VonKarma
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Guest Franziska_VonKarma

I was born to Italian Catholic parents in New York City. Granted, my grandparents were spiritually incredibly liberal (Grandma on Abortion: If you make a mistake, there is no reason not to correct it, but there are ways to ensure such mistakes are not made a second time) and the city itself is filled with such diversity one is hard-pressed not to be at least slightly accepting, but it still was not a great environment for growing up. Everything I did that was "not a good thing" was labled as a "sin". In pre-school I was told that not wanting to sit next to a girl I barely knew (making her cry) and wanting to sit next to my best friend was a sin. I was told not cleaning my room was a sin, annoying my brother was a sin, and so on. Religious classes turned "sin" into "guilt". I quickly learned not to try to rectify things I had done wrong, instead feeling guilty and saying ten hail marys as if it was supposed to make anything better.

Church attendance was sporadic. My mother hated going, though often felt guilty about not taking us. She picked the shortest mass of the week- Saturday nights, when the organist had the day off. She'd appease my brother and I afterwards by taking us to Roy Rodgers, and so I spent the entire mass thinking about chicken and biscuits.

I loved my family, and because they were so open, I saw nothing wrong with going through confirmation, even though religious classes left me a bit queasy. All this talk about not having sex seemed a little odd at thirteen. At the time, I was incredibly physically and socially awkward, and the thought of sex even within marriage left me with a sense of dread. When they talked about the life of a nun my interest was somewhat piqued- the major problem, though, was having to pray all day. I believed in God the same way a young child believes the earth is round: he is told so, he sees maps that are so, and without any actual logic on his part that is the conclusion he comes to. God was a natural thing like the earth being round to me- it was that way but to be honest had no real impact on my daily life.

I was confirmed, but at the same time, my friend gave me a computer game called Ultima VI. The game world has no gods or religion like many, but a set of eight Virtues (Valor, Honesty, Compassion, Honor, Sacrifice, Justice, Humility, and Spirituality) instead. Spirituality was taken in a very "know thyself" vein, much like some Eastern philosophies treat it. The "morality sans divinity" conflict never even entered my mind, and confirmation seemed like an easy way at the time to make a thousand bucks and keep my family happy in the process.

I went to a Catholic high school since the public ones in my area are absolutely terrible. It was run by Franciscans so it wasn't too bad, but I do remember they had speakers telling us not to have sex while the health classes taught the facts about STDs and birth control (including how condoms help prevent the spread of them!)- rebellion still occured. It wasn't just in having sex, no... to be REALLY cool, you had to pretend to be gay. Girls would "fight over" each other, boys would smack each other's butts. I, personally, realized I was bisexual, but I felt so inadequate at the time that I started experimenting in ways I probably shouldn't have. No one told me to wait until I had better self esteem, they told me to wait until marriage.

I also realized I was bisexual. I struggled over my gender identity. I hated the gender roles they were forcing down my throat. I just wanted to be ME, whoever that was. I grew depressed. I needed a rock. I turned to Neopaganism.

Now, I realize there are pagans/wiccans on this board, so I won't talk so much about why, exactly, I turned away from that, but it was just like I was channeling what christianity I had to a more stomachable fantasy religion. A lot of pagans are pagans because they want to be their Dungeons and Dragons character- I was definately at that state.

I got to college, and I realized that in order to grow as a person I had to throw the lot of it away. I flirted with Buddhism and found it just as nuts as Christianity. I settled into Agnostic Atheism like OJ Simpson's hand into the glove. Problem? My brother is now seriously religious. He is thinking about becoming a priest. Being that he's already a boy scout leader, my father calls it "double dipping"... I love my family.

I am looking to having my name erased from the Catholic records and my middle name changed. This will complete, fully and completely, the awakening that started when I first loaded up Ultima VI, when I first realized I looked at girls, when I first felt disgust at what was expected of my future as a female in the Catholic Church.

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Benvenuti Franziska! :grin: I had no idea a game could be so profound! :eek: Perhaps you should email Richard Garriot and regale him with your tale (yeah, I'm a geek, I know :dumbo: )!

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