A Three Step Process to Disbelief

Damn… I have attempted this blog post from multiple angles but for whatever reason none of them have “sparked joy.” So, I deleted them and started again, not looking back. But with each new iteration more personal story came bubbling up to the surface and I felt compelled to continue on.

I was inspired to write because I had read an article about the lead singer of a christian band revealing that he no longer believed in god. It was inspiring and very touching, and some of his words mirrored my own thoughts. Except the journey to how each of us arrived at our conclusion was very different.

His was a lingering sense of the bible not being true, whereas mine was revealed to me step by step until I arrived at the peak of this new way of thinking.

When I met my husband I had lived a very religious life. Up until that point I had even still believed in god, even though I was gay. It was just me carrying the bonds of my former imprisonment. (Brainwashing is hard to undo.)

My husband was the one who shook my faith. He asked me questions, and the one thing Christianity hates is inquiries into the validity of belief. And the answers that are typically offered in response to most are nonsensical and unending self-prophecy. Where the one giving the answer has this overwhelming sense of accomplishment for these “spiritual attacks” and doesn’t see their own bullshit. Except, most people who ask such probing thoughts are not my husband. He is the most antagonistic person I have ever met and has a way of driving you crazy with his interrogations. And to say he made me angry in those early days is an understatement. I truly do not understand how I stuck around or didn’t murder him. Yet it was these mental exercises that put deep cracks in my religious foundation.

The next big step was silly and kind of pathetic looking back…

I was a biblical literalist. I believed that everything that was mentioned in the bible factually and literally happened. It wasn’t meant for interpretation or was used as allegory. It occurred. And so, when I realized that if you could see a man sunbathing on the roof of a building with Google earth, you’d most certainly find a flaming sword guarding the entrance to a mythical garden from whence all life sprung forth. That revelation truly made me doubt everything. Dumb… I know.

The thing that inevitably killed every ounce of lingering faith within me was my mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t understand why a woman who had devoted her life to this mystical entity, acted as a “true christian” should, was just given the worst death sentence. My brain tried to comprehend it, like was this a punishment for letting me be faggot? And if that’s so, why would he use my mother as a device to torture me? One of his most faithful. These thoughts led me to my ultimate conclusion that there couldn’t be a god and if there was one he was the biggest asshole, one who didn’t give a shit if you tried or not. He just wanted to know that he could, much like the one in the book of Job.

The last thing I ever told my father, before he died, was that I didn’t believe in god anymore. I outlined the reasons above and he just looked at me silently, with his appraising eyes. He didn’t respond. I wonder now if he started to question it also. At the time, he was in the thick of my mother “losing her mind,” before getting leveled out by medication. I can’t imagine what he felt. (Sidenote, I really do miss him.)

Now I am a staunch atheist. Life to me is just one big accident filled with a lot of cruelty, lacking any reason. It just is what it is.

The lingering religious thoughts come to the surface and said “well that doesn’t seem like a good way to think of life.” And my response to my own ridiculous thoughts is, yes it is. It removes this belief that I have to have my life mean something, or that it’s some sort of test to get to enlightenment, acting all on “faith” that it even exists. So why would I waste the time I have now chasing some figment of imagination. I’d rather just live my days trying to be a good person because it’s the right thing to do, and not because I will receive some awards in the afterlife.

P.S. I also don’t believe in an after life.

Bleak Outlook

It’s a bit surreal to go from my mildly optimistic post from yesterday to the one I am about to write now. It’s quite the emotional swing but I can’t take it anymore. Truly. I am over this world and the selfish ways of everyone else. It’s always about “me, me, me, me, me.” (And at times, I am just as guilty. I did a rant video about not getting my refund for a hotel I had booked pre-covid. I have since received it.) But the way others are responding over this virus is insane.

The constant barrage of horrific news, coupled with a brief conversation with my boss’s wife (who breezed through the conspiracy theory bullshit) just put me over the edge. I’m done caring. Why care about other people who don’t give a fuck about themselves? It’s pointless. We step up to the plate to limit the human cost of this virus and all these infants do is bitch and moan and groan that they can’t get a fucking haircut. Or that they have to wear a mask. What was it for?! They obviously don’t care. Nope. It was just a “political ploy” to make some orange fuck face look bad. Even though he does that quite well on his own. The only one who doesn’t see it are the people lapping up the kool-aid he passes out.

Honestly, let’s just go back to the way it was before. Fuck any precautions. Let’s just throw caution to the fuckin wind! I’m ready to watch all of it burn down. I’m done fighting. Just done. People are fucking idiots. And death is inevitable. So I might as well have fun while I can and pray this virus takes out a few of these fuckfaces. Nothing would please me more.

I’m done caring. Done.

PS my mind will probably return to its regularly schedule optimism at a later date…

Calming the rage machine

I feel like a broken record when I say “lately I’ve been filled with so much rage.” And that would be because I am and I have. For whatever reason it has been more than I can handle where I fly off the handle over the littlest things. It’s scary for just my mental health and my overall health. It’s interesting to look at my heart rate spiking during the day when I have crazy blow ups.

For the life of me I can’t find what’s fueling it, either because I can’t or I don’t want to. I have yet to ascertain which of the two. All I know for sure is it isn’t good and I need to work on it. Someone always in a blind rage isn’t fun to be around. And I can’t leave myself behind.

One day it came to me that I was angry because I wasn’t doing what I know I should be. And that is editing my book. So far whenever I leave my thoughts behind and delve into story structure and prose it takes me away and leaves me with a calming peace. It’s really quite extraordinary. However even that could be gasoline at times too.

The problem of being an artistic soul is that art doesn’t like criticism. And to edit is to critique and say “this isn’t good.” But over these ten years, I have learned that I have to immediately follow up that negative thought with “but I can fix it.” Then I dive right in and surprise myself by fixing what was wrong. (At least for that moment until I come back and go “why the fuck did I do that?”)

I will finish editing my book. At this point it is the thing that will get me through these moments of anger. Because it is there that I have some control, even while I have none in my mundane life.

Rage Reduction

As usual I am consumed with rage. I don’t like it but there is nothing I can do to stop it from happening. All I can do is sit with it until it dissipates back into normalcy. Whatever that may look like.

My anger stems is fueled by my inability to control things that are happening in this world. By my very nature I am a control freak. I want to be the one who pulls the levers and as it is, I am just a tiny cog in this massive machine. And even that illustration is being to kind. I’m more of like a tiny speck of paint on the exterior of this mechanical behemoth.

Trying to accept the reality that it is 1,000% out of my control, and that this is what it is, is extremely difficult. It feels like I’m giving up and giving in. That I am turning into one of the mindless zombies who are obedient to the necromancer. And I refuse. But then I remind myself that accepting this overall reality is not giving in. It isn’t until it’s right in front of me that it will matter about my “obedience” and I’ve already decided that I won’t go quietly. Whatever that may look like.

All of this just sounds like the rambling of a mad man and at times I truly feel that I am losing myself to these obsessive thoughts. And as a way to not be swallowed whole by them, I have taken a step back from the news and social media. The constant barrage of information reminding me that I have zero control over my overall reality is exhausting, and adds more fuel to that rage. In addition the negativity I see in my own comrades about political bullshit, directed at our own side, really angers me more than the other. Because it just shows that people are petty and dumb and there really is no side that is “better” than the other.

Well, it appears that my exercise was a success. I began this blog as a way to decompress, to relieve myself of my thoughts, and I feel so much better than before. Thank, Albus, for tiny vices.

An Author, Alone, Ruminating

It still boggles my mind that it has been 10 years since I finished my first novel length work of fiction.  I completed it while “competing” in NaNoWriMo of November 2009, wherein I discovered that this was the way of writing that truly worked for me.

If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it is a challenge writer’s partake in where each day they write a minimum of 1,667 words. By the end of the month of November the participant will have a novel length work of fiction that accumulates to approximately 50,000 words. When I did my research I had read (somewhere) that you’re not supposed to re-read what you’d written, nor were you supposed to think about where the story will go next. The writer is just supposed to sit down and write. It was these two guidelines that tapped into my own creative energy and fed my abilities.

Since I wrapped up that initial story, I have since written two sequels to it. The first was such a piece of garbage that I printed it out, bound it, and shoved it in a drawer, never to be seen again. I made the big mistake of trying to “undo the past” in the narrative. What it taught me is you can’t do that. But, what that ultimately achieved was to get the shit writing out so I could focus on the actual sequel that I subsequently wrote immediately after.

The only problem is, since 2009 I have been trying to edit the first one to no success. I begin with all the good intentions and I get sidetracked doing one thing or another. Or my inner-critic begins to beat myself up, and having zero self-esteem (when it comes to writing) I inevitably give in and stop. It has been this pattern for most of this time.

Though I am disappointed that it has taken so long, I am also glad. I for one have grown as a writer and just as a person. I have had mountains of emotional growth. One which I am able to take into my story. The other is, a lot of the main plot has transformed over the years from new ideas or techniques that I have learned during this time.

I took one class through “Writer’s Digest” that dramatically helped me. During which I learned a rookie mistake is having your main character alone, ruminating on the events of their life. It makes for a boring read. Readers want action and things to move the plot along. And while self-reflection is good character building it’s not very exciting to the overall story. So, since that was exactly what I had done to my MC, I introduced a character into the beginning who had not previously been there, but did pop up in the story later down the road. In doing that it created a ripple of effect of her having to be in the main plot, when originally she had not been. That caused me so much anxiety. How am I going to include her presence, when I had already written it without her. The simple answer is just re-write but that gives me pause because what if it “isn’t good enough?”

The part about editing, that I still suffer to this very second, is self-doubt. I question if my prose is any good, or if the words I am choosing are the right ones to convey my message, without them being repetitive and therefore annoying. In addition, I constantly second guess myself of “is this right?” or “would anyone even want to read this garbage?” Editing is such a hard line to walk. Because you have to be logical while still maintaining the bohemian spirit that fuels narrative. And “the artist” doesn’t like critiques.

To get my engine warmed up for the gauntlet I am about to run (again) I have gone through the entirety of my book and reviewed each chapter with Grammarly. As of last night I have completed that task, and now I have to work on prose and story structure. This is the moment where I stare down in the dark chasm wondering if I am making a big mistake.

Please, pray for me.

The magician

I really hate that I tend to read into things that truly have no meaning, other than the ones that are projected onto them. For instances, palmistry, tarot cards, psychic advice, fortune cookies. All of it is meaningless and has no real bearing on your actual life, but here I am buying up stock in this bullshit like it’s Apple. I attribute it to my need to find meaning in life due in part to my lack of faith. (Or that I am just human.) I want to know what I am, who I am, what role I play, and where I am going. Thus I look to the supernatural.

Instagram has this user created feature where it scans your face and then gives you different results like: what Harry Potter house you belong to or what character from Mean Girls you are. As they have been so ridiculous I have never felt any need to do them, also coupled with the fact that I am pretty sure it’s just another way to steal your identity.

For the most part I have held off participating in this fad. Yet today there was one that finally hooked me, and the result of which has now consumed my thoughts to a concerning level.

The one that finally got me was “what is your tarot card” which consists of an entire deck of tarot cards (right side up and upside down) and after it was done (stealing your identity) it gave you a single card.

What it doesn’t say is if this card is supposed to represent you specifically or if it’s a card for the future.

What I keep trying to tell myself is that in the end it is just a program that runs through its algorithm to arrive at the card that it does. It has absolutely no meaning, it’s just a fun little game to play. Yet even after I’ve repeated this multiple times I still cannot shake the dread that has consumed me.

The card I was given was “the magician” reversed. After I did a little research, what it is supposed to mean is that someone is trying to deceive me, or is pretending to care about me when they are just using me for personal gain.

The thing I am obsessing over is, is this supposed to mean I am a magician who is manipulating people for my personal gain or is it someone else? Who among those in my life is deceiving me?

In the end it means absolutely nothing. It’s just a fun feature to distract the masses as the world around us burns. But I don’t want to be a deceiver who uses others for my own desire, nor do I want someone to do that to me.

But maybe that’s what I am. The boyfriend got “the sun” card reversed which means that he should find his self worth. Maybe this is a sign.

Anyway.

Moral of the story is I should have maintained my Instagram ban.

Just Keep Going

Well, look at that. Only three days in and I have already missed a day. But seeing as how it isn’t a resolution to “write everyday” but a goal, it doesn’t matter. And if you do miss a day in achieving your goal, you pick yourself up and keep going. You don’t look back and you don’t hold regrets. You just keep moving.

Yesterday was miserable, mentally. The news had me fuming and work had me stressed so that it felt like I was wearing a blindfold of pain. In the end I chose to be with people who would make me feel at peace than allow myself to dwell on my misery.

I could claim all the excuses I want to why I failed at my goal, but it would do nothing. In the end I chose not to because I was tired. And that’s okay.

We have to be happy with our choices because it was the best one we could have made in the moment. (Plus, I didn’t want to make a post about the shit the world is going through. Because enough has already been and will be said.)

Most people dwell on the things they should have done as opposed to what they did. But if what they “should have done” was the right answer they would have done it in the moment. Be happy with your choices. They were the right ones.