Thursday, January 17, 2013
B is for Breaking Bonds
I mentioned in last week's post that I no longer felt I had to hide my altar; that I was happy that I knew no one would be entering my house who would judge me for it. There's a reason for this development. But first, some history.
I was raised very conservative Christian. I was the good little Christian girl. I was saving sex for marriage. I was homeschooled until eighth grade. I thought dinosaurs lived alongside humans in biblical times. (Hey, Job mentions leviathan and behemoth, those are obviously dinosaurs!)
It wasn't until a few years out of high school that I really started questioning those beliefs; Sascha helped a lot simply by asking me questions and encouraging me to think - really THINK - about why I believed certain things. Even so, while I was questioning things, I didn't really make up my mind until I moved away from my home state, away from my family's influence. Without the constant pressure to be the good daughter, without fear of family judgement, I was finally able to decide that no, I was not Christian. I don't believe in God and Jesus or hell.
Making this entire process slower was the way I'd been raised; women are subordinate in the household; you should be quiet and obedient. I mean, that wasn't said in so many words, but men were the heads of households. Men were pastors and elders of the church. Women don't get positions of authority. So mixed up in these religious beliefs were also beliefs about my place, and the lack of confidence in my own judgement and reasoning. (Trying to make a decision? Don't make it alone, look it up in the Bible and pray about it, because your reasoning is never good enough.)
That was five years ago. It's taken me this long to realize my judgement is sound; I can be logical and reasoning. I have a right to make my voice and opinions heard. And they are NOT the same opinions as my family. I've even somewhat repaired the damage to my history and science education.
So this last holiday season, my family, as usual, made a big deal on Facebook about "It's Merry Christmas, NOT Happy Holidays!" and "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." Being a pagan who celebrates the Solstice, and having pagan and Jewish friends who are also celebrating holidays other than Christmas, I couldn't let this go. To one of my mother's posts (the one with Ben Stein saying he's not offended by Merry Christmas, if you know it) I posted three very long, very thought-out comments refuting the speech, statement by statement. Including the Snopes link saying that most of that is not, actually, from Ben Stein. My mother deleted the post.
My favorite cousin re-posted the Ben Stein thing about a week later, which was when I discovered my mother had deleted hers. I told my cousin I would have linked her to my response, but I couldn't find it, so I just left the Snopes link. My mother FINALLY commented in reply, saying "I don't care who said it" but then continuing on to say "I'm sorry we failed you and I hope you see the truth someday." Saying she didn't care about the truth of a thing and they saying she hoped I found the truth pissed me off and made me laugh out loud at the same time.
There were other Facebook posts that I objected to, and either didn't get replies to my comments or they were to the same effect. I did not get mad in my comments, I simply pointed out there were other holidays being celebrated at the same time, and I'd rather be inclusive with my "Happy Holidays" then exclude everyone who wasn't Christian.
Well, last week I posted a picture I found that said "If in 2012 I have said anything that pissed you off, annoyed you, or offended you in any way, SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP because 2013 isn't going to be any different!"
My mother replied and said since I was comfortable saying the "F" word but offended by Merry Christmas, she was blocking me from her Facebook feed. I promptly removed her, my father, a very religious aunt, and another conservative uncle, leaving only my older brother, his wife, and two cousins. I'm guessing my brother and his wife will probably follow shortly.
And I feel FREE. Holy shit. The last several months I'd gradually stopped censoring myself on Facebook; my friends know who I am. To try to pretend to please my family was tiring. But I still had the "well, I'm gonna get flak for that statement!" stress when I posted things I knew my family wouldn't agree with. And it's GONE.
It's taken almost six years, but I finally feel free to be my complete self. My pagan, feminist, pro-choice, liberal, profane self. 2013: the year I finally broke free.