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Aiyana

Religion, Anxiety, and LARPing

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I'm spending a lot of thought lately on WHY I was attracted to religion in the first place. I was raised Catholic, but only in a "meh" kind of way. I quit going to Mass around 14 and no one really cared too much. It wasn't until my mid-teens when I learned of evangelical Christianity, and my early 20's when I dove in. My own choice. Not parents, not spouse, not friends. 

 

Deconversion came in my mid-30's, and it was full and complete. Or so I thought. I really struggled to stay atheist. I gradually made my way back into the circle... first via personal "searching", then via Episcopalianism, then via a return to Catholicism, and finally a full revert to evangelicalism. Now I'm in my late 30's and while I know none of it is real, I find myself at the point of "if you can't beat em, join em." Husband is Christian, that has a lot to do with it. If only he could deconvert... sigh...

 

I've learned two things about myself just in the last six months or so. One is a deeper insight into my anxiety issues. The other is that I LARP all day long. LARP, if you don't know, originally meant "live-action role playing" and was used to refer to dressing up and playing Medieval battles or whatever shit you like. Now the term is sometimes used online to refer in a derogative manner to someone who is what we used to call a "poser" i.e. "quit LARPing as a ______, you know you ain't no ______"

 

I've come to realize that all of my phases I've gone through (my Catholic phase, complete with veiling at Mass; my skirts-only phase; my submissive wife phase) were nothing but LARPing. I was never actually any of those people. I was skirts-only for seven months but dropped it as soon as the summer hit and I wanted to wear tank tops and capris. I dropped Catholicism when I realized I'm not ACTUALLY going to go to Mass every week. I dropped the submissive wife shit the first time my husband wanted me to do something I, well, didn't want to do.

 

I spent a long time in the years just prior to deconversion getting really into fundamentalist blogs. I absolutely loved the Duggar family and things like Vision Forum. You know, the most conservative of the conservative. In 2016 I got super into right-wing politics and started identifying as "alt-right". Another LARP. What is it about these hyper-conservative mentalities combined with anxiety disorder that creates these perfect storm recipes? 

 

Well, I'm just glad I'm finally figuring it out. Because even as I type this, I feel a desire to rejoin one or more of these types of groups. It's like a fucking drug man. Thanks for listening and please add any comments or ability to relate.

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I'm LARPing as an old retired fart.

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Hi Aiyana! 

 

Great observations.  Because anxiety is intolerance to uncertainty, it makes us attracted to worldviews that seem certain - like evangelicalism.  

 

Any system than answers all of the nagging, anxiety-provoking questions will tempt us because that CERTAINTY looks really good...  But then we realize in our quest for certainty, we have settled for answers that don't satisfy...  So we become anxious again!

 

I also have an anxiety disorder and I think this process I just described is what drew me into a pretty rigid fundamentalism....

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Anxiety drove me fully into religion as well, not to mention conservative opinions.  My therapist at the time told me most people with my disorder lean toward conservatism.  I guess it's a "law and order" mentality that makes us feel safe.  Of course, religion didn't help, it just amplified my psychosis and paranoia.  Fortunately there exist powerful psychiatric medicines that brought me back to Earth, such as it is.

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Thanks everyone. I love the phrase "anxiety is intolerance to uncertainly". Super good definition.

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