I don’t normally remember what I did in high school, but today I did. I guess I remembered it because I was doing what I used to do: Sundays were the days I spent to myself listening to music. I’d listen to music in my library and just be quiet and listen to it, skipping songs I couldn’t care less about at the time.
And I don’t really remember much else, at least not like others my age do. I don’t mind, though.
On the farm, I’d watch TV shows and listen to music and take walks down the driveway and snap pictures and drive the Gator around in the pasture and on the street when I could, and I just enjoyed it.
I’d also go to church. And I felt like I had to go, so not going made me feel guilty.
But I don’t really go anymore. And I don’t really feel guilty.
I feel more free when I don’t go — free to think, free to believe what I choose to believe about my religion and religion in general, free to make my own assumptions regarding what is the “right” way, etc. I don’t feel like not going to church is something horrid that should be fixed. I feel better when I don’t go. I don’t really even enjoy going very much, either. Oddly, G’mama seems somewhat okay with that. Earlier this year, she told me, “You have the ability to choose to believe in what you want to believe in. No one can make you believe in something you don’t believe in, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to do something you don’t want to do. You’re free to believe in what you want.”
My best friend from high school, Alice1, and I were at church one Wednesday night for The Mix, the thing they called the young adults’2 Wednesday night service. The youth pastor was talking about how same-sex relationships were a disgrace to society and all these other cruel things. Before he started talking, he said, “If you dislike what I’m about to say, just get up and walk out.” Alice ended up walking out about ten minutes in. That night, I text messaged her something along the lines of, “I hate it, too, but you just have to be quiet and listen sometimes.”
Basically, I used to be this huge religious brat. Now, I like to think that I’m not. I grew up. I realized that sometimes religion takes over those who are religious and creates these horribly ridiculous and hateful, judgmental people out of them. I realized that I don’t have to be like that, and I realized that life is much easier if I’m not.
I’m not really interested in finding another church that I like. The fact that I can’t drive doesn’t really have anything to do with that. I just hate being told what I should believe, and I hate being preached to. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t even want to be religious at all, but then I realize that I just don’t want to go to church. I realized that I just don’t want to go when I had the epiphany that I went to church not for me, but to please other people.