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A Letter to my Deconversion


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I realized recently that even though my deconversion process happened 14 years ago, there are aspects I'm still grieving. I've learned in therapy that if I ignore the parts of myself that are sad, it will eventually come back and bite me. 

 

So, I decided to write a letter to my deconversion process, as if it were a person. I was really surprised at what I wrote:

 

I want to thank you for coming into my life at a time when I needed you but didn't want you.

 

I was clinging to poison. Dysfunction felt like home to me. I was not grateful when you showed up. I was sad and scared. I thought you just came to take away everything I loved. I was angry and I felt alone. I was mad that you ruined my carefully planned future, my sense of purpose, my safety, my community, my friends.

 

There were a lot of days I wondered if it would ever get easier.

 

And there was so much to learn! You dropped me in the middle of the unsheltered real world and I had to play catch up. But I had courage and grit and I could learn! You gave me new friends, a new purpose. You gave me professors who cared and a library full of books. You gave me Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, a new online community. You revealed who my real friends were.

 

You gave me space. Silence. Emptiness. Choices. So much room to run and question and demolish and create. Opportunities without judgment.

 

You gave me new music! Bowling for Soup, Augustana, Gavin Degraw, remember the monthly CD club?

 

You gave me rejection and pain and it hurt like a bitch. But afterward, there was hope.

 

You gave me Fight Club. Rent. Marjoe. The God Who Wasn't There. Prple Fox videos.

 

You gave me panic attacks and friends who supported me through the panic attacks. You gave me stress and the means to deal with stress. You gave me everything I love about my life.  I didn't know how strong I was until I had no other choice but to be strong. I didn't know what I could do until I lost my support system and had to do things myself.

 

I just assumed I couldn't swim until you dropped me in the deep end and somehow, miraculously, I kept my head above water.

 

All this time I thought you were the villain in my life story. Now I see you were the hero. You saved me.

 

As I wrote this letter, it dawned on me that my deconversion wasn't a tragedy that I somehow survived. It was the actual mechanism that saved me from a life of judgment, fear, dependence, and black and white thinking. 

 

If you wanted, you could even call it a blessing.

 

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That was great @decafaholic!   It captures how a lot of people here feel when they look back, I think, but you’ve expressed it so well.  

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