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How Do You Know The Wind Is Real?


Randi
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I grew up believing that there was a higher power, but it was of no real consequence. I was raised with the belief that if we're good people we go to heaven or whatever afterlife there might be. In 1997, I met god. In the hallways of my high school, in the 9th grade a friend of mine tried to witness the gospel of Christ to me. She went on and on about how we need his salvation and we’re all inherent sinners and nothing we could do under our own power could save us from hell. I couldn't fathom the concept of this invisible being that followed us around. I asked: "How do you know there's really a god if you can't see him?" Without missing a beat my friend said: "How do you know there's wind." My response: "You feel it." She said: "Exactly." Somehow, that seemed a sufficient argument for my 14 year old mind. I went to church with her that Wednesday, marking the beginning of a 14 year long journey of growth, despair, guilt, judgment, self-righteousness, good times, bad times and a whole lot of prayers in between it all.

 

Looking back, it was the first time in my life I felt I had purpose. It was the first time I felt accepted and that there was a group I could belong to. Honestly, I don't regret ever believing, it made me cross paths with some amazing people without whom my life would be totally different. Some might argue that that was God sending those people in my life to influence me to follow him. Some might say that was God chasing after me to save me from the snare of sin. I believe these to be meetings of chance. These people weren't predestined to be in my life by some omnipotent god who pre-arranges all of our life circumstance. It doesn't make me any less grateful for the influence they've had on me. I am who I am today because of them.

 

Shortly after I turned 15 I was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, or AIS for short. As an AIS woman I'm genetically male, but physically female. There's a dichotomy between the two. I have a 46XY karyotype, as any man does. However, because my body doesn't respond to androgens, in the womb because of the lack of androgen influence on the body, the wolffian ducts didn't form, the penis didn't form, the testicles didn't drop, etc. Also, because of my Y chromosome I didn't form a uterus or cervix. So, at 15 I was told I had a birth defect and was born without a cervix or uterus. I didn't care what they called it, I felt like a freak of nature. I was told that because of my lack of a cervix I had a blind ending vagina that would need to be lengthened with surgery or painful long term dilation if I ever wanted to be capable of having a normal sex life as a female. I identified strongly as a female and had always desired to get married and have a family. I had no reason to believe I was male. I didn't find out about the XY condition until I stumbled upon some old medical files of my mother's at the age of 21. I still have no reason to identify as male. I'm a woman, as I've always been. I'm fine with my condition now, but I wasn't for a lot of years.

 

As a young Christian girl I had it drilled into my head that I was to wait until marriage to have sex. I was petrified of the idea of having to have surgery and liked the idea of putting it off until that right man came along. Sadly, I allowed my chaste lifestyle to my shield from the reality of my condition. After I had my "gonads" removed I chose not to think of it again and I lived a lie for the next 12 years. Over the years a few potential suitors came and went, but nothing ever really went beyond close friendships. Often, I pushed them away subconsciously because I didn't feel like I was good enough for them. I didn't feel like I was capable of functioning in a normal male/female relationship. This went on for most of my twenties.

 

At 26 I was friends with the most wonderful man, whom I had a huge crush on. We were friends and I had so longed for the day he would ask me out. One night after a friend's birthday dinner, he came to my end of the table and sat down. We talked for a while and he mentioned how he hadn't seen me much lately and that we should get together. I said that would be great, and a few days later we went out on a date. At 26, I was on my first ever actual date. I was ecstatic. We had a great time talking over dinner, walking along the canal and talking about life, our upbringings, our desires, our reasons for choosing the careers we chose, etc. We were comfortable enough with one another that we could talk for hours. We were a perfect match in my eyes, and it was the most I had ever felt like a woman. Finally someone was looking at me as a girl they could love. At the end of the night there was no time for a goodnight kiss. He dropped me off next to my car, which was parked on the street. There were cars behind us, so it was a quick but sweet goodbye. After that, things never really progressed. I found out later that one of my so called friends had told him that he shouldn't be seeing me because I was all wrong for him and that I wasn't ready for a relationship anyway. Our relationship never moved beyond friends and slowly faded into history. That was my lowest point. I felt like I would never be good enough for any man. I focused my eyes on my long term goal of buying a house. I bought my first home at 26, all by myself. It was cathartic at the time. I needed something else to focus on. However, once the newness of homeownership wore off and the reality of how alone I was sank in, I became more and more depressed. This was the beginning of the end of my Christian walk.

 

I sank deeper and deeper, fighting each day with myself over the notion of suicide. My fear of hell is honestly all that kept me from doing it. After praying for months on end with the naïve assumption that god was going to reveal some great truth to me through my suffering, I checked myself into a hospital. I stayed there for 2 days. They put me on antidepressants and anti anxiety meds. I began seeing a counselor weekly. It was only through my amazing counselor that I began to see the damage my beliefs had caused me. She encouraged me to face my medical issues. I did, and I got nothing but good news. I’m fully normal and functional downstairs. They’ve also discovered that I have ovaries that contain immature eggs that can potentially be harvested for future fertilization and implantation in a surrogate. I never knew any of this. It instantly changed how I viewed myself. My religion kept me from that knowledge.

 

This past week I attended my Wednesday night bible study that I’ve attended for the last five years. I sat through the whole thing, listening to all the god talk, even participating and offering up a verse or two. At the end of the night it hit me that I truly no longer believed the words coming from my mouth. Six months after reaching my lowest point I’ve finally gotten over the guilt of abandoning my “savior” and realized that I can’t fear a hell that doesn’t exist. I’ve never felt more free. I’ve still got a lot of de-converting to do in regards to my views on sex and such, but my mind is opening up and I’ve really started to embrace my own sexuality as a woman. Not only that, but now I’ve started to see the beauty in people who I would have condemned before. For example, my gay neighbor who used to disgust me, turned out to be super awesome. I just had to get past my brainwashing to see the truth.

 

As of right now I’m not sure what I believe. I know I no longer believe in the god of the bible. I don’t believe in Jesus, Satan, eternal hell, etc. I can’t definitively say I’ve given up on the idea that we got here somehow, by some creative hand. I’m choosing to not put a label on myself any longer. I’ve made a conscious decision to live my life from here on out as I see fit. If there is a god, or creator or deity or whatever, I’m just not certain that he/she/it mandates that we worship blindly. I’m learning that there is morality outside of god. I don’t need some taskmaster in the sky sitting ready at his smite button, awaiting the moment I have a wrong thought or speak a wrong word or condone homosexuality or non-specific deity forbid… cast a vote for a democrat. My only real source of anxiety in this is the potential backlash of my friends. I hope that as the shit hits the proverbial fan, people will have enough respect for me to stay in my life. I’m sure there will be the ones who won’t give up on trying to bring me back into the fold, but their arguments won’t work on me. I’m done with the guilt, fear mongering, judgment and general misery that my life had become.

 

 

 

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Hi, Randi, and welcome to ExC.

 

Yours is an extremely interesting and moving story. You have been through some real difficulties in your life but they seem to have strengthened you. Until I read your testimonial, I had never heard of AIS. No matter what the genes say, you are obviously a woman. It sounds very encouraging that you have ovaries with eggs. I see the real possibility of a child in your future. :grin:

 

Again, a very moving and well written story. Thank-you very much for sharing it.

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Welcome, very good post! Often our lowest points show who we really are! I'm very glad you posted this it has been very illuminating and inspirational!

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You know, after reading this in the AM after some sleep, I'm realizing how much I left out! I think I could write a book! Thanks for the kind comments folks! I truly have felt more welcome and accepted here than in any church.

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Welcome! Freedom comes AFTER xtianity, not IN xtianity! As you are sure to discover.

Very good story, and I'm glad it has a happy ending!

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Welcome to the forums! We are the gods!

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Welcome to the forums! I am touched by your journey and glad that you are able to see life beyond the walls of Christianity!

 

freedom

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Your post was very interesting and moving. It was so touching to see how you have grown and developed in your journey. If you do post more about yourself, I will be most interested in reading more about you.

 

Welcome to the Ex-C website!

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Thank you for posting your interesting and moving story. I am glad you are in a good place now and have discarded the tyrannical doctrines of Christianity. Welcome to Ex-C!

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Hi Randi!

I also had a group of "friends" that did their best to discourage my fiancée from becoming my wife, they slimed her as a "Jezebel" and told her she'd break my heart, and other such crap. They told me that she had "baggage" and wasn't ready for a relationship, and that God said so. The marriage counselor said we were one of the best fits he'd ever seen, and we thankfully had other real friends that fully supported us. We are doing fine over 11 years later, but it demonstrates the absurdity of the church relationships where people destroy one another in the name of God, all the while adamant that they are doing good.

 

And I would love to see you write a book! I'm doing so, and I think that more of us need to get the word out about our experiences with church. Not all of us reach the same conclusions either. Some are adamant atheists, others deist, others pagan, Buddhist, New Age, and probably others. The common denominator is our realization of something terribly wrong with the church, with the Bible, with the alleged god it represents, and the freedom we have on deconverting (or at least distancing ourselves from the whole thing).

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A very inspiring and well told story. It had me rooting for you and I'm glad there was a happy ending. I'd love to hear more and read your book if you choose to write one. Welcome!

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Greetings! Sorry to hear about what you've gone through, but at least things seem to be on the rebound.

 

Good luck in your future endeavors and with finding Mr. Right.

 

Enjoy the journey ahead of you....

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Hey Randi .. don't hold your breath about your christian friends staying by your side in support and friendship. Sadly, it is a very rare occurrence - esp with evangelical/fundamentalist christians. Any of my former christian friends have pretty much dropped off or avoided me as they learn of my apostasy. I'm still not very vocal about it but have found some really great, supportive friends who are not tethered by the shackles of the christian religion. Chin up, be true to yourself - live, learn, love and be truly FREE!

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Hey Randi .. don't hold your breath about your christian friends staying by your side in support and friendship. Sadly, it is a very rare occurrence - esp with evangelical/fundamentalist christians. Any of my former christian friends have pretty much dropped off or avoided me as they learn of my apostasy. I'm still not very vocal about it but have found some really great, supportive friends who are not tethered by the shackles of the christian religion. Chin up, be true to yourself - live, learn, love and be truly FREE!

 

I'm very fortunate that my best friend of 14 years is in the same boat as me at the moment. She's questioning god because she feels as though she's talking to the ceiling. Although, she is still holding onto her beliefs. She says she understands why I came to the conclusions I did, but she NEEDS there to be a god. She can't face life without the possibility. I think that as time progresses she'll come around. Until then, I'm not pushing. Everyone else I've talked to so far has been pretty disturbed by it and they all say something to the effect of "you'll come back around." there are some I know for certain will disown me, Obviously they're not real friends, but for now I'm avoiding the war it will cause. I'm not advertising my apostacy. Is that a word? :)

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Hi Randi!

I also had a group of "friends" that did their best to discourage my fiancée from becoming my wife, they slimed her as a "Jezebel" and told her she'd break my heart, and other such crap. They told me that she had "baggage" and wasn't ready for a relationship, and that God said so. The marriage counselor said we were one of the best fits he'd ever seen, and we thankfully had other real friends that fully supported us. We are doing fine over 11 years later, but it demonstrates the absurdity of the church relationships where people destroy one another in the name of God, all the while adamant that they are doing good.

 

And I would love to see you write a book! I'm doing so, and I think that more of us need to get the word out about our experiences with church. Not all of us reach the same conclusions either. Some are adamant atheists, others deist, others pagan, Buddhist, New Age, and probably others. The common denominator is our realization of something terribly wrong with the church, with the Bible, with the alleged god it represents, and the freedom we have on deconverting (or at least distancing ourselves from the whole thing).

 

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me! I'm so glad someone can relate, but still had a happy outcome. Unfortunately, my "friend" not only sabotaged my relationship with him, but with the previous guy as well, whom she ultimately married. The fucked up part about that was that I was one of her bridesmaids! I thought i was living out an example of Christian forgiveness. what i was living was the life of a doormat.

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Thanks for sharing this! Welcome to ex-c. I was "led to the lord" by a friend as a teenager as well. Also, my best friend of 30 years, is a very liberal christian and totally supports my deconversion, although she sounds like yours - just needs to believe in a god and doesn't want to think too hard about it.

 

Good luck on your journey out of the big fat lie, and I hope ex-c is as big a help to you as it is to me. Life is so much better on the outside!

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Welcome and thanks for sharing your testimony! :)

 

I know what it is like to just go through the motions and it suddenly hit you that you don't believe anything you're saying. I remember being in Bible college handing in papers, praying before the start of classes and participating in class discussions and I didn't believe whatever I said. It was when I had to sit down and think of a Sunday School lesson to teach for the adults that it really hit me that I don't believe any of this and I couldn't teach it with any conviction. Even in the discussion afterwards I felt so seedy talking about how unique Christianity was and that it was obviously a revelation from God.

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I posted the news on my blog today, which has been neglected since January when I went on a social media hiatus. I posted the link on my twitter and FaceBook pages. The shit hasn't hit the fan nearly as bad as I thought it would. I think everyone knows me well enough to know I'm not the kind of person to do something so drastic with flippancy. There are a few people who are doing the whole inderect but totally obvious prayer status updates. I've had a few people invite me to come discuss it with them and really only a couple of people who reacted negatively so far, but thankfully, their reactions have been limited to my email inbox rather than being praded around in a public forum. I'm very fortunate to have super supportive parents (struggling Chrisitian father and atheist mother) and a few other pretty supportive atheist friends who are also former Chsirtians. This has been a good day indeed. :)

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Yes, having supportive family can make a great deal of difference. I'm glad for you that you have that.

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