I love to write. But for some reason I have not been able to put these words on paper until now. It has been a writer's block of the most magnificent (and frustrating) kind because I always knew a day would come when I can articulate my journey from devout Christian, to anti-theist. I just didn't know when it would happen.

Becoming an atheist for me happened so quickly, what seemed like overnight. Realistically it took about 3 months of reading and pondering the atheist stance and perspective. It was really very simple. If evolution was true (it is) and we have evolved (we have) then the Bible is not true.

If A then not B...

Or something like that...I vaguely paid attention in philosophy class.

The implications of what this meant for me in my life, when the rubber hits the road has been Earth shattering, and life changing, to the point where I do not even recognize myself!

So If not A then B, but also...if B then not A....what did this mean for me?

Well...if there is no God, then how do I handle my abusive husband?

I leave him...and I did.

If I am not created to be "man's helper" as a "submissive wife" then what the hell am I?

After all my entire identity was wrapped up in what my ex-husband wanted. After slaving away to fight for him and make him happy, and failing to do so, What now?

I'm just starting to figure that out.

If it's not "sinful" to have sex with without being married, how do I do this safely in a healthy way? And how do I let go of the guilt of my own unhealthy ideas of what it means to be in a sexual relationship as a servant, not an equal?

If my "calling" in life is not just to raise babies and be a wife, then how do I begin to find myself?

If it is not "ungodly" to be bold, assertive, and strong, how do I become that, when all I know is the shame of being a dirty rotten sinner?

If this is my only life, how do I live to the fullest?

These questions have been answered, and some of them are still in progress, but what it has meant for me has been a total transformation. I am fortunate to have wonderful girlfriends who have been there for me since childhood and they love me no matter what. I am fortunate that my family has always been secular, so they could care less one way or the other what I believe. So it hasn't been difficult to reconcile my new approach to life. What has been difficult is learning and understanding what a healthy, whole woman really is and how I should act without using the word "should." Because an atheist woman doesn't have to answer protocol nor does she have to care what others think of her...but I've ALWAYS cared what people think of me!!! And that's the real problem isn't it? I gained my self-worth through the validation of other people, and those who I thought were supposed to build me up have tried to tear me down. And my "faith" in God and my belief that I am so unworthy (insert Wayne's world bow here) only added insult to injury.

I have had to make some very hard choices lately. I've chosen to forgive and forget the wrongs that have been done to me. I forgave my ex-husband's back child support in full, and I decided not to press charges and go after a man that has put me in grave danger. Instead I'm moving forward and moving on. The past really doesn't matter, and analyzing it all to death isn't necessary. So it's just me, and my son against the world. I am excited that this Friday, I am moving, and my stalker will not be able to find me (I hope!!!!)...so I can finally breath a huge sigh of relief!!!!!!.....and forget this horrible nightmare I've been living in.

Once I am safe, I am going to continue....after all, I am always work in progress. So I will continue to learn about myself without the indoctrination of preset expectations, and I will continue to live my live, striving for happiness. I do wonder if we're ever really meant to be happy. I really hope so.

Happiness to me means giving my son a good, safe, healthy life. Happiness means being treated with respect, not tolerating abuse. Happiness means enjoying the good things in life. And happiness means loving people well, without expecting something in particular in return. I want a simple life. That is what it means to me to be happy. So instead of living to please a God, I live to give back, and be a good friend, mother....and to enjoy the wonders of the universe. I am excited to be free from abuse once and for all!!!!! I am excited to turn a new chapter in this beautiful life.

Views: 211

Comment by Doug Reardon on February 25, 2014 at 10:51am

I hope things continue to work out for you Bella!

Comment by RobertPiano on February 25, 2014 at 7:05pm

Yeah, me too Belle, you are a very powerful writer !

Comment by Simon Paynton on February 26, 2014 at 4:46am

This sounds like what the Buddhists call "ego death", in that identity and knowledge are part of the ego.  In many ways it's a very fortunate position to be in, a radical clearing of the decks, to be replaced by peace, joy and compassion instead of an uncomfortable grasping after unnecessary and obscuring mental constructions.  The necessary condition for a "spiritual awakening".  Religious people can have this too when they say "God takes charge of me", depending, of course, on their definition of what this means.  An old hippy like Richard Foster, and our very own Barry Adamson and Professor Robert would be good examples of this. 

Comment by Simon Paynton on February 26, 2014 at 4:46am

Comment by Noel on February 26, 2014 at 6:23am

I did a stint in rehab, 25 years ago April 10th. While there I was despondent and one of my room mates, older gentlemen from Harlem, walked into our room looked at me and said, "what's eating you?". I told him how fucked up my life was and how the thought of not having anything to go home to, my ex wife had kicked me out and I had no where to go, and i had a sad about that.  

He sat down, put his arm around me, and said, "Man, you got the world by the balls. You don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of but you can start over."

You can start over Belle!

Starting over for me meant meeting someone new, marrying miss someone new, having a baby, buying a house, raising my son from my first marriage, being clean, being sober, being happy.

Scary shit huh? This whole starting over thing. Exciting though... Enjoy the ride.

Comment by Simon Paynton on February 26, 2014 at 9:15am

I hope you can see that video.  Otherwise I've got a transcript of the first 10 minutes. 

In an unawakened state, we also grasp after thoughts, emotions, objects, people, things of the ego; leading to mental turmoil. 

It seems though that you've been having the shit kicked out of you all your life.

Comment by Simon Paynton on February 26, 2014 at 9:15am

Starting over is great.  You're never too old or beat up. 

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on February 27, 2014 at 12:50am

No one asked me 85 years and 11 months (which includes those 9 months) ago if I wanted to start the ride and no one will ask me if I want to end it. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Comment by James Cox on February 27, 2014 at 7:13pm

After a 9 year marriage, 12 year relationship, I am starting over at 59. I can't seem to find enough work to support myself, and it appears that my ex. has about trashed everything I had tried to build with her over that time. My business died in 2012, the land I had planned on retiring on is gone, my beautiful dog has been given away, and my very old cat is ready for retirement. Just about sounds like a very bad county music song, but I am very much a nerd with a capital 'N'.  

Positives: my FB page concerning 'Microbial Fuel Cell Design' has now 129 international contributors; I still have most of my very useful brain cells; I still have my truck; I still have my tools, lab equipment, and ideas, but no work space; I have a rather loving new significant, that has a good soul, but sadly barely understands me; my computers are still functional, but I have not sat down to write code for over 15 months; I still have most of my nerdy and activist friends that are a pleasure to visit with and practice my writing/conversation skills with; I have part-time work that hardly pays my bills, and allows me to pursue a few of my pleasant distractions; I have outlets that allow me to act on my basic humanist/atheist principles and I think I am mostly a positive contributor to culture; I have done a rather fearless evaluation of my character over these last 12 months, to see if I might find grounds for intellectual and 'spiritual' improvement in the light of my marriage and experiences.

A few months ago I fell upon the line 'at the precipice we change', but 'change to what?'

I thought that I had 'arrived' at some degree enlightenment. Was I mistaken, or did my ex just disagree? Was it even about 'me'?  I can not really return to the moment when my 'romance died', but must just continue in the presence of incomplete knowledge, and my own suppositions.

So here I am. It appears that to maintain the kind relationship with my present significant, I must learn the best lesson, but not jade the future with my personal 'wounding'.

 

Comment by Belle Rose on February 28, 2014 at 12:15am
Thanks for sharing James, that's a powerful story!

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