I live in a small town in Idaho. Idaho is not known nationally for it's open-mindedness or acceptedness, but I'm in the middle of nature and I don't have to play well with others if I don't want to, so it's never bothered me. My husband is disabled so he stays home with our two daughters (and snowmobiles!), and I am a full-time nursing student. By full-time, I mean I have no life except nursing school. It's the toughest thing I've ever done.
I love my fellow students, who are compassionate, intelligent, and fun. And Christian. Every one of them. I'm the one with the heathenistic views and the tattoos. So, sometimes I feel like an outsider looking in, even when I'm just as compassionate, intelligent, and fun. I recently purchased an atheist necklace so I could "represent" amongst a tangle of little crosses. We'll see how that goes.
I chose nursing because I get bored easily. I also have a difficult time with employment where I am a tiny minnow lining some big shark's pockets while I make minimum wage and don't even believe in the message being preached. Hospitals and healthcare is an expensive and vast corporation. I understand that. Nurses have little to do with it. Our job is to care for each person as an individual. It seems as though we are just in there poking and prodding and causing grief, but in school I am learning to comfort and listen and nurture. I need a job where I make a difference every day, no matter how small. My life is brief, a blink. I want it to mean something, if only to me.
I don't hide my atheism. I am very respectful of others' beliefs. So respectful, in fact, that people are often surprised that I am an atheist. I believe very strongly in representing atheism with personal responsibility and action. I give a damn about my fellow man. I love this earth. I love science, art, literature, etc., too. I am moral. I live ethically. But I am human, a biological being, and it is more comfortable to me to accept that and work with it than deny it and wallow in guilt.
I grew up in a home where I got to "choose my own religion." (This is much like a choose your own adventure, no?) My dad is agnostic, which basically means he is humble enough not to know for sure, but he isn't down with organized religion. His girlfriend seconds this notion. My mother is "spiritual." I'm not sure what that means. I don't have enough interest to ask, I'm afraid. Her husband is a good southern Christian of military background. My lone (younger) sister's only real path to rebellion was to go hardcore born-again Christian at the age of eighteen. She is married to a police officer/youth pastor, they spend all their time diong the lord's work and going to church and hanging out with church people, and she homeschools her children. You would think we would have this horrible divide between us, but we are the best of friends. She also happens to be a spectacular human being. She is one of those rare Christians who really does try her darndest to love everyone without judgment, and I respct that quite a bit. When I told her I am an atheist she only said in wonder, "I don't know anyone who doesn't believe in the story of Adam and Eve." Apparently, she forgot about Dad or any of our childhood friends, who are also nonbelievers or self-proclaimed pagans.
I teach my little girls about evolution and what other people believe and why I don't agree with that. We have lots of fun books on evolution. My oldest, who is nearly seven, wants to be a paleontologist. My youngest, who is almost five, can't decide. Right now she would like to be a chef/artist/nurse. I tell her to go for all of them! I encourage lots of science, math, reading, learning, and asking questions. Last summer, one of my husband's aunts asked if the girls would like to go to Bible Camp with a little cousin so she would know someone there. My husband replied, "Oh, I don't think M will allow that. She doesn't believe in god." I can tell you, that caused an uproar! I still get looks of grand suspicion at family gatherings. The thing is, my husband doesn't believe, either. He just likes to put the blame on me. I don't mind.
I'm an "annoying optimist." If things are down, I always assume they will get better. I am perpetually hopeful. I have never been like anyone else I've ever met. I suppose we are all like that. It made high school pretty difficult, but adulthood has been blissful. And interesting. I have recently begun to truly embrace my not-so-inner nerd. I am also characteristically sarcastic.
I started running about a year ago, and it is very love/hate. I am, however, a junkie to my own endogenous opioids and so continue on. It's my stress release and my happy place.
I also read like other people breathe. I read all different kinds of things. I don't know how I manage to sneak in books amongst nursing texts, but manage I do.
I have been married for seven years. He is a big, loud, opinionated, true-to-self sort of person. At his worst, an asshole. At his best, an unbudging individual. People love him or hate him. There is no in between. He loves snow and nature and his little girls.
I am without theism. I started reading the Bible so I could start going to church and join a religious family. I was so appalled by the Bible and had such difficulty making it "work" with what I knew to be scientific fact... Let's face it, the Bible is ridiculous. It's bizarre, full of hypocrisy, ugly, vicious, rambling, erroneous... I was truly floored to think that people take it as fact. Or why, upon reading it, that they wanted to worship such a horrible, horrible god. I am an atheist/humanist. I have some agnostic tendencies. Perhaps there are powerful beings out there somewhere. I would, however, suppose that they are simply a different species as opposed to a "god." I don't think the classical version of a "god" exists. I think there are mysteries. Mysteries can generally eventually be explained. Have I mentioned that I LOVE science?
In conclusion, that is me and mine. I am ever so happy to be amongst others like me. I wish I had a group or a center near me to join, but alas, I do not.