Monday, June 05, 2006

God/dess/less Part Two

This is Part Two of my religion posts. For part one please go here.

In the summer of 1999, I moved to Alamogordo, NM. There, my mom became a born-again, full of zeal for Christ. I joined up with the AP crowd, and, like a good scientist, decided to explore my faith, and the faiths of others.

I didn't like the churches we went to. First there was the one that asked me not to come back because I was a bad influence on other members of the youth group. Then there was the one where the pastor preached about women keeping their figures for their husbands or else they were not following their Biblical mandate. Then there was the pastor that told my mom she should stay with her abusive husband (my father) for "the kids". (Oh wow, is that a rant for another day).

I finally told my mother that I didn't believe in god. She broke down in front of me crying, saying that I she had failed me.

I couldn't stand to see her crying, so I went to church again.

Besides, there were real benefits for me to be a member of the church. I always had a group of "friends" to back me up, which was pleasant for someone with limited social graces. I had a place that I could go and sing, since my schedule didn't allow for me to take enough electives, and sing songs that I loved (and still love to this day). I was considered "moral" because I was a good Christian girl.

And, to my eternal shame, there was a boy.

He came in, with his three younger brothers, his weird mom and his stoic dad. He had a wry smile, tousled blonde hair, and a cross around his neck.

I pretended for him, and for my mom, and for the acceptance. I pretended to be a Christian. I went to church every Sunday, went Youth Group every Wednesday, and participated in all of the community service activities. I went to the youth group, swallowed most of my opinions. I stayed nice and chaste, even though it made me miserable, and even though I was horny as all hell. I didn't even masturbate.

Then we moved to Washington for my senior year of high school, and he went to college. We broke up, and later I found out that he was cheating on me (as if I didn't already know). I didn't really care about impressing anyone in Ferndale, and honestly, the push to be Christian wasn't as strong here. I feel into a group that one of my friends referred to as "the least, the lost, and the leftovers". We were the group that didn't fit very well into the other cliques. This group was religiously indifferent: we had a PK, a Muslim, and Wicca, and a bunch of atheists.

New city meant new church. Now, most everyone thinks that Washington is liberal central. This isn't true: Seattle and surrounding areas is liberal central, the rest of the state is Montana conservative. And the church that my mom picked out was the absolute WORST one I have ever been to in my life. The very first day I'm there, they are on me for wearing a halter top, because I'm wasn't "being very considerate of my Christian brothers".

Then there was the misrepresentation of evolution, which irritated me to no end. The focusing on the gospel of Paul, and how gays shouldn't marry and women should be subservient. So many times did I try to walk out of that church, with mom grabbing me and keeping me sitting down.

I tried to ignore him. I would bring a book to read, but that ended when my mother realized it wasn't the Bible. Then I would read the bible, highlighting quotes, but that ended when my mom realized I wasn't paying attention to the sermon, I was just finding contradictory and immoral quotes in the book.

Then came November, and the pastor telling us we had to vote Republican if we wanted someone Christian in office.

I told my mom that I wasn't Christian, and more to the point, I wasn't going to church anymore. She cried, and was frustrated, and told me that as long as I lived under HER roof, I would do as she said. Dad backed her up, even though he never went to church either.

One day, I was in my pajamas, and refused to get ready and go to church. Dad picked me up, uncombed hair and all, and threw me in the car. (I was 17 at the time). I spent the entire time glaring, daring anyone to ask me why I was in my spaghetti-strapped PJS.

That was the only time that I attempted to not go to church anymore, although I didn't keep my opinions to myself after that. I quit doing any of the extra things, and my mother (perhaps out of embarrassment) quit asking me to come.

I left WA for North Dakota as soon as I graduated. I went to college and have not stepped a foot back into a church. My parents, to this day, are confused as to why I have abandoned almost all of their values and beliefs. I'm just glad to be free of them.


At 5:43 PM, Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

Wow -- fascinating posts. I am always very interested in the experiences of people who grew up in religious or church-going families and somehow determined on their own that they didn't believe in it. I always find myself wondering why some people stay rooted in religion and others question it.

Good for you for realizing that you have a right to your own opinions and that you don't have to pretend just to please your parents (or a cute boy).


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