Monday, January 10, 2011

Becoming Myself

Oh, what a selfish atheistic thing to do--giving yourself a pat on the back for being true to yourself--but that's exactly what I'm about to do.

Some people never grow a spine, and as bitchy as it may sound, I have little to no respect for people like that. I have little to no respect for people who have the opportunity to be themselves and live their own lives, yet who are too afraid and instead choose to live life for others' opinions (Nota Bene: there are people who do not have a legitimate opportunity to be themselves, e.g. children or women in the Taliban; my disdain does not apply to them).

Because of my lifestyle and lack of religion, my family sees me as the devil incarnate, and we do not have a relationship to speak of; their decision. I offer to agree to disagree and still be a family, but they refuse. Oh, and by "lifestyle", I mean having a boyfriend, graduating college Magna Cum Laude while holding down a full-time professional day job, being an entrepreneur of two starting businesses, consistently maintaining an orderly household, maintaining finances (complete with an IRA, sizeable emergency fund, and all my debt [including 2 vehicles] being paid off in 2 years from now) I missing anything? Oh yeah, and I worked my way through college without taking out one cent of student loans. When I got divorced, the only thing I took were my personal things and a bed; I wanted none of his money--even though I found out he lied to me about how much he made (it was about triple what he said). Ok, I could do more charity work, but you get the idea--I'm basically a very together person! This is me at 26, and I have plans to do ever more.

I was divorced Oct. '07 and started dating my boyfriend in May. '08, but they consider me to have been cheating on my husband since at the time I did not have my annulment. Now that I've gotten it, it's still not good enough, because according to them the Catholic Church hands out annulments like candy. So I'm still guilty.

I am not trying to brag. I know many of my peers who have outshined me times a million and I feel pathetic in their presence. My point is, I have worked my ass off in my education, financial goals and future career; I'm just getting started, but I'm not a bad, lazy, stupid or incompetent person. Yet they see me as evil, selfish, hedonistic, etc. etc. All because of one thing--religion. If I did nothing different in all areas of my life but were still a faithful Catholic, they would all be beaming with joy. Their hypocrisy is oozing out their pores.

Sometime I may briefly explain why I got married and divorced, but suffice to say it was for truly legitimate reasons. I promise.

On Christmas Eve my brother decided it was a good time to tell me that I had mental problems, that my entire life is a lie, that I've ruined my life, and that he knows that I'm not happy no matter how much I claim I am. *facepalm* That's right, brother, because you're an expert on others' happiness. Interestingly enough, whenever I demanded that he give me a specific reason on how I have ruined my life, his only reason is that I got divorced. That's "ruin". I got news for you, dude. I'm happily divorced! His evidence for my so-called "mental problems" were that I am unstable (which he would not define though I requested it), and that neurotic people such as myself cannot see their own psychosis (his words). Again and again, I asked for specific examples of my own self-ruin but he could not deliver. Well, if this is me ruining my life at the ripe old age of 26, sign me up. I like the way my life is going and I'm excited about my future.

Truly, what kind of arrogance do you have to have in order to think it is ok to say to someone that they are ruining their lives, and that they have mental problems? Even while he was telling me all this I kept a very calm, collected demeanor. I even told him I loved him, and asked him to believe that I am following my conscience and that for me to live my life in a different way would be to live it dishonestly. He's the one who thinks his morals is so superior, yet who is the one who said unkind and judgmental things? Take a look in the mirror, brother! But to be so spiritually pompous as to believe it is ok to judge someone else so freely and be so arrogantly convinced that your way is the right way and ONLY think it is appropriate to say those things--I don't understand it.

Now, my brother, as well as the rest of my immediate family, is a good person. A great person. But his judgments of my morality are not only unfounded but based on emotion. If he could say, "You ruined your life because your cocaine habit has destroyed your relationships" or "Your life is over because you shot and killed three people and now you're on death row"--well, he would have a point.

Religion brainwashes people. It tells them what to think, what to believe, how to act. Not only does it try to explain away life's mysteries with the Invisible Man in the Sky theory, but an unintentional consequence (at least, in my family's case) is that they believe their beliefs are supremely superior to anything of mine, which gives them license to judge me, to spout malicious and blatantly untrue accusations against my character, to call me crazy and selfish and immoral--all in the name of righteousness, which apparently gives them a pass on "Judge not, lest ye be judged" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Their hearts and minds are completely closed to anything other than Their Ways or Their Beliefs or Their Opinions because Their Religion has told them What To Think. To think otherwise would be a sin. To think otherwise would be to question, examine, and weigh the evidence--scary stuff! Scary stuff it is to be wrong, to have unknowns. But scariest of all is to be knocked off your righteous pedestal and have to wallow around in the mud like the rest of us.

I think that's when you finally grow a backbone--when you think for yourself, know who you are, and refuse to compromise for anyone. If I compromised, or tried to please others in every way, I would be lying to myself. Not only would that make me very depressed and unhappy, but it's the wrong thing to do. Unfortunately many, many people are so afraid what other people think that they ruin their lives by living for others. There's a quote I like, "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing". This is what I believe. I will be myself no matter what anyone thinks.

Unfortunately in my case what happened is my family has rejected me. Do I regret anything? Absolutely, positively not. I am by no means perfect, and I do not have all the answers, and there are things that I may be wrong about; but I can honestly swear that I live my life with honesty, integrity, curiosity and a search for the truth. I do not search for Dogma, which is believing what others tell you to believe with no evidence. But I search for truth. If that makes me a horrible person, so be it. If tomorrow God came down from above and made himself known and told me to be a Catholic (or any other religion), I would do it, no questions asked. I don't care what the truth is, but I want what I believe to be the truth. What I mean is: no matter how unpleasant the truth is, if it is the truth and it can be proved to be so, I will believe it.

But I refuse to believe anything that someone, somewhere said so, just because.


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