Thursday, March 24, 2016

You see me differently now

You see me differently now.

I'm not the same. You used to have such high expectations. You used to have hopes and dreams for me. I could do anything you thought. I was kind. I was faithful. I had a special purpose.

You used to look at me differently. Talk to me differently. Your voice was full of happiness when we spoke. You used to laugh. You were excited to see me. You wanted to share things with me.

Things are different now.

You don't see me the way you used to. I'm damaged. I'm afraid. I gave up a part of myself. I lost my way.

You pity me. You feel bad for me. You think I've made bad choices. You think I've fallen away. You believe I have no morals, that my life is something to be feared. That you should distance yourself from me because I am a bad example, or that I send the spirit away.

You don't share things with me that you consider important. You won't share things you consider sacred. You speak to me in limited conversations, about shopping or the weather. Nothing truly important. You lament about me to people you know.

You don't call me anymore. And you don't call me back either. You are ashamed. You wonder, what did you do wrong? Is this punishment? Were you more faithful, would I have been spared? You think of me as a sign of the times, proof that there is a God and that there is a devil. You think I have been seduced by the world. You don't take pride in the things I do anymore, not the way you used to, because I do them without god.

You worry about me. You think I'm in constant danger because I am godless. You think I will succumb to the smallest of worldly temptations. You think I am a bad influence.

You wonder what horrible thing happened in my life to send me down this path. You wonder why I gave in instead of turning to god. You pray for me. But you avoid me. I'm not the same. You see me so differently now.

Because I left the Mormon church. Because I am now an atheist.

You are right. I am different. But I'm still me. I still have brown hair and brown eyes. I still get goosebumps every time I listen to music by James Horner. I still love to read Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I still decorate my house with reindeer and garland at Christmas. I still love to take pictures of my kids. I still believe in being loyal to my husband. I still think smoking and illegal drugs are bad. I'm still me. You can still have hopes for me, you can still have expectations for my success. You can still take pride in my accomplishments, you can still think I'm a good person.

Don't push me away because I don't believe in your god anymore. And please don't pity me and wonder what went wrong. Because I don't see it that way. And it makes me so sad when I think you pity my life. I have a beautiful life. Its not perfect, but neither is yours. I live as authentically as I can. I don't hide my feelings, or my ideas. I don't suppress my questions anymore. I don't live a lie, which is what I was living before. I feel happy. I feel free. So don't feel sorry for me.

Please accept me, because I accept you. I don't agree with you, and I am sad when I see how religion is harmful to people I love, especially when it causes them to judge me for not living it anymore. But I don't want to push you away. I want to share my ideas the same way you want to share yours, and with just as much passion. And life is more valuable to me now because I don't think there is anything after we die. I want to make the most of the time I have with you now, rather than putting you aside until after death. Because I know that has crossed your mind. That I will know its all true when I'm dead and you can reconnect with me then. I know you've thought of it, because I once thought it too.

I am different. But I am still me. Love me for who I am, and I will love you for who you are. I don't love religion, but I love you. And that is more important to me than anyone who would tell me to keep my distance because we think differently.

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