Getting older March 9, 2013Posted by Teen Atheist in Ask Teen Atheist, family, friends, issues.
All throughout my youth, I dreamed of becoming a writer. I wrote all the time, about everything. I watched TV shows and ranted along with the curmudgeons on Television Without Pity about what each show did wrong, convincing myself that I could do a better job. I flew to America with a dream in my pocket: I’d study Dramatic Writing at NYU (because Philip Seymour Hoffman went there!) and become a television writer. I knew I could do it; all I had to do was want it badly enough.
Then I got to America, and found that there were millions of other people who were better writers than me. I realized I wasn’t a great writer after all, just an OK one. So I stopped writing.
It sounds a little sad — I’m sure it’d break the heart and hubris of my 17-year-old self — but I’m okay with it. It’s part of getting older. I’m thankful to be able to both recognize my limitations and accept them. Sure, it’s a little scary to suddenly not have a clear idea of what I want to do anymore, but part of growing up is learning about myself through experience.
I reread old blog entries on occasion, and I cringe a little (so much anger and drama and rambling in my teenage heart!), but I’m still proud of it. I’m glad I managed to capture the emotions in the eye of the storm, to document every moment of rejection from my parents. I’m only sorry I ran out of things to say, and sorry that I still have letters from teenage atheists out there that I haven’t responded to. When I stopped writing, I also stopped writing back.
So, teens and teens-at-heart who still check this dead blog, I’d like to tell you a bit of I learned in the process of getting older. I’m not much older, at 23, but I’m old enough to finally understand that there’s not really a point in life where I will be right about everything. (Don’t tell my 17-year-old self that.)
Things I Know Now:
- I can’t tell you if you should come out to your parents or not. But if you suspect your parents will lose their shit, there’s no shame in waiting until you’ve moved out to tell them. You’re not a coward, you’re their child and you shouldn’t have to deal with that conflict and potential abuse if you don’t feel prepared to handle it. Besides, it’s not like you were honest with them about your discovery of porn.
- If you’ve already told them, or if they found out, and they’re not handling it well, stay calm. If they try to throw every argument in the book at you, keep this response handy and repeat as necessary: “I’ve made my decision, and I am happy with it.” If they object right away, say, “That is your opinion. But I’ve made my decision, and I’m happy with it.” The calmer you are when you say this, the more effective it’ll be.
- Google is a useful tool. Read more about atheism. Look up forums and discussion groups where you can talk with and befriend fellow atheists, and laugh with them about how shitty your parents are being. Sometimes it helps just knowing you’re not alone.
- Being part of the atheist online community is a great way to befriend people of all age groups, which is an experience I recommend for all teens. Now, a lot of older people will either insist or imply that they know better than you. They’re not all right, but they’re not all wrong either.
- Telling your friends can be nerve-wracking, but that first time you find a friend who reacts with just, “OK” — it’s a pretty awesome moment. (And “Me too!” is even better!)
- Sometimes you’ll have friends who don’t agree with you. That’s fine — it’s pretty hard to make friends if you refuse to talk to anyone who isn’t an atheist. Just appreciate what you have in common with them, and accept that even if they’re wrong, they will never let you convince them that they’re wrong. I had a Republican roommate for a year, and the reason we got along well is because we never talked about politics. (Also, she owned the apartment, and cut me a HUGE break on rent. Good people.)
- That said, you can be a little choosier when it comes to who you date. I’ve found OKCupid to be a great way to meet fellow atheists, but don’t make an account if you’re not 18 yet!
- If you really have to, here are some questions you can ask a believer if you feel like being a smartass.
- In your teens it feels like your atheism is the biggest part of your identity because you have to defend it so often, but there will come a day where it’s just another part of your life. It gets better.
- You don’t know everything. You will never know everything. But keep learning anyway.
Chapter II December 5, 2009Posted by Teen Atheist in family, friends, school.
Hello, world! Wow, it’s almost been a year since I closed this blog. I’m writing this partly to see who would still notice anything new on a blog that’s been dead for a year (reveal yourselves, lurkers!), and partly because hey, I’m in a whole new chapter of my life now, and I actually have things to say about it this time.
Property on the internets
The teenatheist.com address is dead now, so we’re back to teenatheist.wordpress.com. I had a falling-out with the dude who paid for the domain, plus there’s no point in paying for a dead blog.
I used to say that I wouldn’t mind if people figured out where I’m from and what my real name is, but honestly? It annoys the fuck out of me. Like, a couple of guys found me on a social networking site within a month of this blog’s inception, and there was this dude who made really irritating “I know who you are” comments on this blog several months ago, and emailed me asking for my real name and shit. Guys, sometimes people want to stay anonymous for a reason.
And why is it important, anyway? I always wanted the focus to be on what went on in my life, not what my name is, where I live or what I look like.
Don’t try to force it out of me — I actually just give it away if I like/trust you enough. For instance, I still stay in touch with Holy Prepuce via chat and email, and I ask him for advice about my real-world issues. And a dude I went to high school with started reading and commenting, and I talked to him on chat with my IRL handle and I was like, “You know Teen Atheist? You’re talking to her.” Haha.
Commercial: Kris Allen
If you like me, you’ll check out Kris Allen‘s album! He’s the dude that won American Idol this year, but he is way fucking cool, makes awesome, mellow, acoustic pop-rock stuff, and he did this kick-ass mash-up of “Falling Slowly” from Once and U2’s “With or Without You,” that I have been listening to for days on end. His album is my favorite album of any Idol alum, ever. My favorite song on the album is “Bring It Back.”
Should I get a Twitter? I could, if there are enough of you out there whom I could talk to. Give me your Twitter links!
[Obligatory fundie rant goes here]
One time, I Googled myself and found this Christian site where they featured my blog and were like, “Everybody, please pray for this girl so that she becomes enlighted by God” or some shit. Haha. Keep praying, dudes. The only god I worship is Bjork.
I quit my job in February of 2009. I got sick of it — I was one of the best salespeople on the team, but apparently our manager has never heard of that story about how you’re not supposed to fucking kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, you moron, that’s not how it works. (Read: I was overworked and underpaid, and double-overworked because they knew I was good.)
There are two more characters I have stories about, though. First is Eddie, this guy who joined the company a little after I ended the blog. We hit it off and since we lived near each other, he would drive me to and from work. I always thought of him as a really good friend, but we did have weird moments of sexual tension sometimes. But he was engaged, and I kind of lost interest in him early on, anyway.
Two weird stories involving Eddie:
1) One time, he asked if I wanted to “hang out” (intentionally vague). I said yes, he picked me up and it turned out he and his best friend were taking me to a bar. He paid for my drinks, at least. He kept offering me more booze, but I gave a firm no after the second pina colada, and then they whispered to each other and decided to take me home instead. No idea what that was about. Upon consulting with a high school friend, I was informed: “Dude, he was trying to get you drunk and fuck you.” I am quite clueless, sometimes.
2) A few months after I quit, Eddie started texting me, first asking if I was single, and then asking if he could take me out to dinner. I didn’t understand, because I’m pretty sure he knew that I knew he was engaged. But I was too much of a pussy to say no, so for two weeks straight I just kept saying that I was sick. I felt bad about it, because I really, really like him as a friend, and I still miss him to this day. But I don’t want it to be one of those things where I show up hoping for some nice conversation and by the end of the night I’m trying to figure out how to politely say “please stop putting your hand up my skirt.”
(Side note: I haven’t gotten any in a while, and if I don’t soon I might actually take him up on his offer. But he’s engaaaaged, TA. Control!)
The other guy I’ll tell you about is Lyle. Lyle isn’t a knockout at first glance, but he’s pretty cute if you look really really hard, and is kind of a paragon of perfection for me: 23, never had a girlfriend (read: not a chauvinistic horndog like 96% of the dudes in my country, and it’s not like he didn’t have opportunities — I wasn’t the only girl who dug him, but his friends say he’s cripplingly shy around women), well-off, nerdy (I’m a sucker for scrawny, effete, dorktastic types), humble, sweet, very fluent in English, can sing and play guitar, mmm.
Hilariously, though, I have never even been formally introduced to this dude, and have only talked to him a few times, so I was stuck with the conundrum of “Can you like someone for his inner beauty when you’ve never really met?” Because it’s not like I fell for him because of his looks.
But, ever heard of this thing called mamihlapinatapai? It’s when two people look at each other and want the same thing, but they’re both too afraid to make a move. Yeah, I think Lyle and I had that? Because I’d stare at him but end up catching him staring at me first, and I’d look away immediately because I’m a wimp of failcat proportions. But I can safely say that I’ve never had anyone look at me like that before.
Another funny thing is that we always talked about each other rather than to each other. I learned of this really late in the game — literally a week before I left the company — but my supervisor said he would ask her about me sometimes. EEEEEE.
But I just waved off all of these signs because I was going through a huge He’s Just Not That Into You phase, and I’m typically dense about men, anyway. Like, I didn’t figure this shit out until six months after I quit, when I told this to a new friend, Gloria, and she was like, “You moron, you should’ve jumped him while you had the chance” and I was like, “OH, FUUUUUU—.”
In the end, I think Lyle really wasn’t that into me. I’ve been told that if the guy doesn’t have the balls to ask you out, he’s not worth it, anyway. It just sucks that it’s been almost a year since I last saw Lyle and I still get heartclenchy when I think about him. Gah. Go away, feelings.
I have his number (it was in a company directory). I’d never use it, but I sometimes wish he would text out of the blue. Hi, you don’t know me but —
“Pass out at three, wake up at ten, go out to eat, then do it again…”
Unfortunately for me, my college life is NOTHING like that. Well, not unfortunately, because even though life right now is completely boring to the outside eye, I’m actually genuinely happy. I have party girl friends, and through conversations with them, I’ve realized that while partying is fun sometimes, I’m just not that kind of girl, and it’s okay. I think it just means that I’m too smart to get shitfaced. I don’t really like the taste of alcohol, and I have way too many secrets to allow myself to get hammered. And my friends have dudes try to rape them while they’re drunk on a weekly basis, so yeah, I don’t think I’m missing out on much.
My boring life? Consists of me studying a lot and having boring (awesome) friends and chatting with Holy Prepuce in English class. Hee, that was fun. They forced us to watch The 6th Day (that Schwarzenegger flick about cloning), which was like pulling teeth, although this Rod Rowland dude is hot. After the movie, we discussed cloning, and since I go to a Catholic university (not the one I wanted, not the one my parents wanted — the other one), the debate ended with my professor concluding, “Clones have no souls, therefore cloning is bad, the end.” Bah.
I’m also forced to take four Theology classes, FML. Last week, my professor expressed shock and disgust that OMG, there are actually places in the world where they treat those dang homosexuals like human beings! I wanted to cry. I hate my country, sometimes.
Moving on: You’d think that studying in a uni with such a high Hot Guy Ratio would mean that I’ve found someone new to help me forget about Lyle, but no luck so far. They’re hot, just…not my type. Nobody’s half as witty or endearingly nerdtastic. Sigh.
Religion and boy drought aside, I actually love this place, and I’m glad I ended up here serendipitously. I think my studying is paying off, too! I never expected to be the topnotcher in my Math class. Awesomeee.
“A new world calls across the ocean…”
It’s official: I’m moving to the States next year! I want Seattle, my parents are considering New York or Maryland, but I’m happy either way. Yay!
The holidays are here again! And if there’s anybody reading this at all, I’m in a Christmassy mood, so if you want a handwritten greeting card from me, just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your mailing address and I’ll send you one! And I would also appreciate some e-cards, too. 😀
How do you greet someone on Kwanzaa? Because if it were me, I’d wave my arms wildly in the air and just yell “KWANZAAAAAAAAA!” It’s such an awesome holiday name, why waste it?
So, that wraps up the new, dorky, boring, awesome chapter of my life! See you all around, maybe here or on Twitter if I decide to make one. And until next time: KWANZAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
I’m sorry. I love you. December 11, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in friends, issues, teen angst.
Heh, leave it to me to end a blog with a Shawn Michaels (a.k.a. HBK, uber-religious WWE Superstar) quote.
You have to know where the song ends. When you’re done telling your story. I think that time has come for me. I’ve written everything that needed sharing, and I believe it’s actually a good thing that I no longer have anything to whine or complain about in my usual, teenagery way.
Sometimes we just run out of things to say, and I think it’s okay to admit that.
I am completely grateful for having gotten to know all of you. Even if the interactions were limited to a keyboard and a screen, you have helped me so much through my darkest hours. And I feel wonderful that somehow, writing this has helped in the lives of some fellow teenage atheists, even if it is just to a very minor extent.
Do remember that just because I’ve stopped writing here doesn’t mean that Teenage Atheist has ceased to exist. You can always use the Contact page or e-mail me. Ask me about my life, tell me about yours. Ask me questions, recommend places to visit or books to read. I will write back. Whether it takes me five hours or five weeks, I’ll always go out of my way to respond to each and every one of you. It’s the least I could do.
So, in closing: Thank you, with all of my heart. Thank you, to the young freethinkers who wrote in to share their stories and ask for counsel; to the mature ones (I’ve maintained that older does not always mean wiser, but many of you are brilliant) who offered their advice and knowledge; to the witty ones who made me laugh; to the sympathetic and the empathetic ones who made me feel that I wasn’t hopeless. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
“So, if this does end up being my last letter, please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough. And I will believe the same about you.” – The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
“Atheist” =/= “Alien” October 10, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, friends, issues.
Tags: atheism, atheist discrimination, Bern, Gary, George, Mr. McKenzie, religion, workplace
The workplace gives me a good bird’s eye view of how people in my country see atheists. There’s the weird “I was gonna tell you something but now I’m not because you might get offended” reaction, for one. And lately I’ve been more open about religion to more people. Luckily, the reaction’s not Bible Belt bad, it’s just an amusing sort of cluelessness. “What is this strange creature they call ‘atheist’?”
Gary (whom I now find really annoying and creepy): “Did you hear about the — oh wait, you’re an atheist…”
TA: “Dude, we’re not hateful misanthropes who can’t take a joke. I like Altar Boyz and the occasional Lifehouse song, and Judd Apatow anti-Semitism references. People act so weird around you once they know you’re an atheist.”
George (nebbish guy that I’m sort of crushing on): “You’re an atheist, TA?”
TA: “Er, yeah. You scared?”
George: “No, I just didn’t know.”
Anne: “Ah, your religion is atheist?” (to others) “Hey, TA’s religion is atheist!”
Like bald is a hair color, as many would say.
TA: “Just tell the damn joke already. I’m not easily offended.”
Gary: “So, there’s this very smart, atheist professor, who would challenge his class with arguments about how God does not exist…”
TA: (tries hard not to groan) “Does this involve a piece of chalk and whether or not it breaks?”
Gary: “Well, it’s an egg…”
Again, I’m not easily offended, but he had to pick the one joke that specifically targeted my beliefs and claimed that some stupid coincidence disproves everything I believe in? Somebody hand this guy the Idiot’s Guide to Interacting with People.
Bern: “Yeah, my girl and I are having some issues, especially when it comes to religion.” (note: he’s Catholic, she’s…some smaller sect of Christianity)
TA: “Heh, you said it. It’s doubly hard for people like me.”
Bern: “Why, what religion are you?”
TA: “I’m an atheist, actually.”
Bern: “Oh! Where’s your church located?”
So yeah, sometimes it’s easier to just not bother bringing it up, because it gets fairly tedious to have to spell everything out for everybody.
It still beats the Bible Belt, though. Better cluelessness than bigotry and hatred.
By the way, did I mention that Gary is really annoying and creepy? Have you ever experienced having a friend of the opposite sex, who you really want to tell to stop fucking touching you, but you can’t because you don’t wanna make it weird? I mean, it’s not like they’re caressing your tits or anything, but the constant touches on the shoulder or forearm, or high-fives are beginning to seriously piss you off because you’re just not a touchy-feely kind of person, except when it’s a serious, crying-your-eyes-out issue, or if it’s from someone you dig (like when George touches my hair, I totally don’t mind).
Luckily, Gary’s quitting next month, so I just have to keep my distance for a little longer.
Wordy ruminations July 9, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in career, family, friends, issues, teen angst.
Tags: atheism, Carl, death, introspection, Lance Armstrong, life, philosophy, prejudice, religion
T.A. – sleep + unlimited internet access + 1 week paid leave = tedious, lengthy diatribe on “my thoughts, let me show you them.”
Taken from an e-mail exchange with Holy Prepuce:
If at some point in your upbringing you bought into the Catholic idea of a heaven or resurrection (i.e. that our conscious selves survive death and perhaps even live forever), was it difficult to come to terms with the loss of this belief?
It wasn’t difficult for me, I found it to be a breath of fresh air. I’ve always been a very inquisitive and imaginative child, so even at a very young age, I’d read the Bible (Revelations was my favorite part; I’m weird that way) and think, “What if this is just really tedious fiction?” The more I thought about it over the years, the more absurd I found the whole concept. Virgin births, talking bushes, life after death? Really?
I remember going through a very difficult time when nobody in the house would even speak to me, and I thought, “Well, at least God’s there for me. If I just keep praying, He’ll help me through this.” I realized much, much later on that God wasn’t doing shit, because what help did he provide, other than maybe sitting there, hearing my prayer and going “Mm-hmm”? I pray, and nothing happens. Nothing’s ever happened my whole life that was a result of a strong faith. It wasn’t God that helped me through that time, it was my own imagination.
Religious leaders scare people into remaining faithful with talk of eternal damnation and other horrific consequences. And the more you devote to the religion, the more you want it to be real, because you grow increasingly reliant on it, and it does seem like such a nice concept. So, despite a lack of evidence that what they believe in is real, religious people don’t want to question it because they don’t want to open up another can of worms when the alternative, turning a blind eye, is so much easier, especially when everyone around you is just as blind as you are.
As for my Predominantly Catholic Country in general, most atheists here come to that realization in college (I have yet to meet anyone who was raised atheist over here!). For instance, Carl became an atheist in the middle of a college course dissecting creation versus evolution. I think this trend exists because in college, the power of influence shifts from the parents to the peers and teachers, so people start to consider all sorts of options — beliefs, orientations, what-have-you.
The whole “college self-discovery” thing is a transition I never experienced or had to experience, probably as a result of my poor relationship with my parents, my natural inquisitiveness, my rebellious nature, and a hefty dose of introspection.
In short, I’m really weird.
But it’s always seemed to me that denial of mortality was one of the primary motivators for religious belief, even in the face of strong contrary evidence for the claims made–so finally accepting that we are not immortal has to be one of the defining moments of a a theist’s “conversion” to atheism.
That’s definitely true for a lot of Catholics. My philosophy about it has always been, I want to live in the now, and live the way I want to. Why would I be banished to hell or thought of as an evil person or a bad follower if I decided to eat a cheeseburger in Lent? It’s my life, and that cheeseburger looks pretty damn tasty!
I find it to be a terrible waste of life not to enjoy yourself because you’re waiting for the next life, which God promises will be much better. I see my life the same way I see my job, I suppose: I don’t ever want to fall out of love with it. I don’t want to settle just because there’s going to be something better later on, because I don’t want to be looking for something better in the first place.
I found this wonderful quote from Lance Armstrong that sums it up pretty nicely: “Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn’t a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whther I believed in a certain book, or whether I’d been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn’t say, ‘But you were never a Christian, so you’re going the other way from heaven.’ If so, I was going to reply, ‘You know what? You’re right. Fine.'”
Also, tell me about life as a teenage atheist in your country…
I’m getting more comfortable with it now, as compared to back in September when I started the blog. 🙂 I don’t proclaim my godlessness to everyone, but I can reply honestly to anyone who asks without even batting an eyelash. Reactions vary (it’s usually a polite smile, followed by a change of topic), though thankfully none as violent as my parents’ reaction. It’ll always be the pink elephant in the room with them. I wonder what it’ll be like when my brother goes to college… 😉
The importance of being earnest May 26, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, friends.
Tags: aesthetics, atheism, beauty, honesty, religion, tact
I have this grotesquely ugly friend who, for some reason, finds himself totally hot (which makes him like…a lot of other people I know). Don’t ask me why. He’s the kind of dude who is baffled why he can’t seem to make it with women, and he thinks that a mere glance his way from a chick means that she’s checking him out. It irritates the hell out of me, but I try not to let it register on my face.
One day, this friend puts me on the spot: “Am I ugly?”
I was so caught off-guard that it literally took me ten seconds to answer. And the only B.S. I could come up with was, “Don’t ask me that question. I have weird taste when it comes to aesthetics.”
It’s one of those things where I’m damn sure I could have come up with a better response if I’d had the chance to concoct one beforehand. So anyway, this weird little exchange has prompted me to ask you guys, since I am completely curious (and would like a better response for the next time somebody asks me that question):
What is the meanest/smartest/wittiest/most hurtful/most evasive response you’ve given when an ugly friend had asked you if s/he was ugly?
Or, if you haven’t been asked that before (consider yourself lucky), what would you say? Would you pick tact or honesty?
Ask Teen Atheist, #2 May 15, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, Ask Teen Atheist, friends, issues, teen angst.
Tags: advice, atheism, friends, Martha, peer pressure, religion
Hi. My name’s Emily and I’m 14. I’ve been athiest for about a year. I haven’t told my parents, and I still go to church with them. I don’t have the heart to tell them. Anyway, I’ve found one other atheist, my best friend. All of my other friends are very religious. I’m afraid to tell them, because a few will probably dump me right off, but I really want to keep them as friends. I want to tell them, but it will get spread around school, and I see what happens to others. I always stay out of religous discussions. What should I do?
Well, Emily, you might be asking the wrong person about this, because I’m not one of those very vocal, “I’m an atheist and everyone knows it!” types. But since you asked, I’ll give you my perspective.
As I’ve mentioned before, I follow a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to my atheism, except when the person is very close to me and I can feel that he or she wouldn’t turn on me upon finding out. I’m not ashamed of my atheism, mind you, it’s just very annoying to have to be armed with counters to various inane arguments all the time (“Then where did the universe come from?” “That’s just a phase, right?” “Why is this world that we live in so beautiful?” and other fun crap). There’s also the risk of making your relationship awkward with whoever it is you’re talking to. Even with people you’ve just met, like what happened with me a week ago at a movie premiere:
TA: “I think this movie would appeal to all denominations. I mean, I’m an atheist and I’m totally interested in seeing this.”
Elderly Woman: “Ah.”
TA: “And what did you say your job was again?”
Elderly Woman: “I’m an organizer at our local parish.”
TA: “I see. Cool.”
[awkward silence ensues; TA and Elderly Woman eventually excuse themselves to go talk to other people]
Let me tell you, though, it’s very liberating to be open about your beliefs, which is why I’m slowly becoming more confident in discussing my atheism with others. I think that’s what you could do, too. You don’t have to have a big “Coming Out” party or anything, just try to work your way into becoming more comfortable about your beliefs.
If you feel like your friends will reject you for being an atheist, you don’t have to tell them just yet. You can approach the friends you feel closer to and try to get a feel of how they might react; for example, you could start by asking them about their thoughts on religion and atheism. This is actually what I did with my religious friend, Martha (“How do you feel about atheists?”), and that went pretty well. I also told my friends from school about my atheism after a long discussion on religion (I had a post here, around November 2007, but I deleted it by accident. *cries*).
I don’t want to resort to cliches here, but I do believe you’ll know the right time when it comes. It’s when you feel like there are a million things you’d rather do with your sixty minutes than go to Mass with your parents. It’s when your upper lip starts to twitch when your friends all agree that “all fags should go to hell.”
It’s all a matter of priorities, Emily. If you feel like preserving your friendships at the expense of keeping your beliefs hidden is the better idea, no one’s stopping you. If you can’t stand it anymore and you feel like you need to speak up, that’s okay, too. There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s completely dependent on what you feel would be better for you.
Let me know how it turns out! And if you feel like my advice isn’t enough, feel free to browse through the comments section, because my readers usually have better ideas than I do. 🙂
Ask Teen Atheist, #1 April 13, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in Ask Teen Atheist, friends, issues, school, teen angst.
Tags: atheism, friends, peer pressure, religion, school, teenage
Hooray, somebody finally wrote in to ask me for advice!
I would have answered this sooner, but my PC frickin’ ate my thousand-word response. Spurred on by the promise of a love letter (yay!), I finally got my lazy ass around to writing a new one. Feel free to give your own input to help Luke out.
Hello, My name is Luke(Kinda obvious). I’m 17, and I currently live in the USA. I guess this fits under personal problems. I’ve been an atheist for awhile now…about 4 months I believe. Before I became an atheist I was a Lutheran, and basically attended church every Sunday. One day I realized that “God” is hurting this world, people fight wars over Religion ect. I finally came out to my mom about a month ago, funny thing is, she said as she grows older she’s been having some atheistic thoughts as well. She basically agrees with most of my ideas and beleifs on religion. I don’t care to tell my dad, since he’s a Lutheran yet he never attends church. I guess my family life is ok, it’s school that is a bitch.
My school is basically very stereotypical. Almost every student in my high school is either a “Red neck” or an extremely religious teenager. Since I don’t care much for trucks or country music I tend to befriend the religious types. I’ve came out about my atheistism to my best friend, he accepted it, didn’t think less of me, told my other two close friends, and they accept it just fine. It’s everyone else that I tend to care about that is a problem. A few days ago I was talking on AIM in a buddy chat room with a few other friends. We were all talking for awhile, and some how Gay Marriage and Religion came up. Of course, all the people were against it, I for one, am for it. I gave them my reason which mainly came out something like this. “You’re against gay marriage because the bible says it’s a sin? Well, the Bible also says a parent is allowed to stone their child if he disobeys, maybe the bible doesn’t have all the answers”.Not sure if that whole stoning thing is actually in the bible, my mom told me, so eh. After a few more statements, they asked if I was an atheist. And being the honest bastard that I am, said I was. Every since then, they’ve all been ignoring me, seeming to look down on me. One ever said I was going to hell, to bad it doesn’t exist eh? They all seem to think I’m a bastard who has no morals what so ever.
So, I’m kinda stuck, basically the whole group of people who I used to consider friends (Besides the 3 I mentioned earlier) Think I’m “evil” or a “satanist” of some sorts. Funny thing is I used to respect a lot of these people and thought they were more intelligent then this. The one person who doesn’t think this way is this one girl, who says she doesn’t hate me or anything for me being an atheist, but she acts like it so the rest of her friends don’t ignore her. I guess I can’t blame her . So I guess this is my real problem, do you think I should just fake being religious again. It would probably be a lot easier on myself if my school didn’t look down upon me. And my best friend’s girlfriend lumps in this crowd, so it’d probably be easier on him since he’s whipped as hell. Or do you think I should just stand up to beliefs, and fuck them all. Funny thing is, I don’t hate or look down upon them for their beliefs. I don’t try to shove my atheistic ways down their throats. I don’t talk behind their back either. Even if I did become their friends again, I’d probably wouldn’t ever respect them the same way again. Damn, looks I’ve rambled. Well, thanks for reading.
First of all, Luke, I admire you for being so honest about your beliefs, even when faced with consequences like that. It definitely takes balls. Hell, you’re more forthcoming than I am — I wouldn’t lie to people and say I’m still Catholic, and I do sign the “Religion” portion of application forms with “Atheist” (that might be technically inaccurate because atheism is not a religion, but whatever), but I practice a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and I tend to avoid joining in discussions when they turn to religion. So, good on you for being out and proud.
Being in an environment like that is definitely tough, and I hate that prejudice is still so prevalent, even among young Americans. You say that you like these people despite how they’ve treated you, and that’s all well and good, but…are they really worth keeping as friends? Because if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t bother trying to pander to people who don’t like me anyway. Why would I want to be friends with someone if it meant that I’d always be wondering in the back of my mind if he secretly hates me? Things would be great if you got to be friends with everybody, but real life doesn’t work that way (at least judging from my experience).
Faking being religious may seem like a good idea at first; I did consider it myself for when I go to college. But the more I thought about it, the worse it seemed. If you’ve read even a few entries on this blog, you’d know how little I think of my family, and how my atheism changed their perspective of me. I could have pretended to “find Jesus” again to get back in their good graces (or just get Mother Dearest to stop bitching). But I didn’t, because I realized it would have been pure torture for me, and it became clearer and clearer to me that it just wasn’t worth it. What I did instead was seek solace in my friends, who, no matter what their religions were, accepted me for who I am. I learned to stop caring about what my family thought of me, and once I did that, I finally felt happy with myself. That’s the key question, Luke: What is more important, that they like you, or that you like yourself?
Stop caring, I say, and find better friends. Even that chick who only pretends to hate you isn’t worth hanging around, because she clearly values her reputation over her friendship with you. How popular we were in high school doesn’t matter in the long run, anyway, at least from what I can tell. I’ve got co-workers who used to be high school cheerleaders, and are now just bitter, pizza-faced hags, having retained only their rancid personalities. The totally-out-of-it stoner dude who always zoned out in class and was made fun of by the other, “smarter” kids? He’s now my boss, Mr. McKenzie, well put-together, smart, and hella sexy, with ladies all falling over themselves just to get to talk to him. (Not me, though. I’d do him, but only when offered. :P)
If you really want to repair your friendships with these people, though, don’t lie to them. That shit will get tired, eventually. Instead, try to prove that despite your differences in beliefs, you are still a good and compassionate person. As they would say, “Turn the other cheek.” Hopefully, they’ll warm up to you and figure out that not all atheists are vicious, ill-intentioned demons.
I hope that despite everything that’s happened, you’re still doing well in school and in your personal life. Always keep in mind that what they say doesn’t dictate who you are. You’re still awesome!
An anonymous letter I would like to send February 19, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in career, friends, issues.
Tags: atheism, career, infidelity, marriage, moral conflict
Yeah, I don’t know if I’m actually going to send this, but I do want to. Only, I don’t really want to be responsible for fucking up other people’s relationships. I’m torn.
Dear Mrs. Carl,
You do not know who I am. In the interest of keeping my job and maintaining a good rapport with all my co-workers, I’d like for it to stay that way.
I have some information regarding your husband Carl that I would like you to know about. Bear in mind that this is not an attempt to get his goat; Carl is actually my friend, or at least was my sort-of-friend until he told me about what he’d been doing behind your back. I refuse to associate myself with men like him. I am telling you this because I think that you deserve better than a cheating scumbag of a husband, and a man like Carl does not deserve a faithful wife and loving kids. Karma will strike him sometime, and if I have to be the catalyst, then so be it.
After work, a group of co-workers, Carl and myself included, hung out at a nearby bar and had drinks. I’d always seen Carl as a kind-hearted family man, and thus was quick to befriend him, and apparently he trusted me enough to tell me that he has been cheating on you for the entire ten years that you two have been married.
Anonymous: “How many girls?”
Anonymous: “How many of these were serious relationships?”
Carl: “Err, all of them?”
Anonymous: “Absolutely no one-night stands?”
Carl: “What? One-night stands don’t count!”
Anonymous: “God damn it. How many one-night stands, then?”
Carl: “I’ve lost track.”
Carl told me that he loves you, and the kids, but it’s a “man” thing to have many mistresses, supposedly, and the sad truth is that in this country, being a philanderer even if you’re married is considered something to brag about. I certainly don’t approve of this, and I doubt you would either.
Your husband is also a horrible sexist.
Anonymous: “What if you found out that your wife was cheating on you?”
Carl: “I’d leave her. …Wait, maybe I’d ask her if she wanted to work things through, but it would definitely be a problem.”
Because cheating is a “man” thing to do.
A huge part of me wishes that he’d never told me about it in the first place, because now I am saddled with this huge burden, and I’d feel guilty if I didn’t tell you. Everyone I’ve asked, save for one, said that it was none of my business and that I shouldn’t stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, but the one person who disagreed with them insisted that by telling me all of this information, Carl had made it my business.
Frankly, I don’t have any advice for what you should do with this knowledge. Were this America, I’d advise you to sue the bastard for all he’s worth, but sadly, circumstances differ where you and I live. All I know is that you deserve much, much better, and I hope that no matter what happens, you are able to realize that. Please look for something better. Don’t settle for this piece of shit, because it’s this attitude among the women of our country that allows cheating husbands to be so prevalent and hailed here. It’s not right. Please don’t let him get away with this.
An anonymous co-worker of Carl’s
Okay, I’m probably not going to send it. I don’t think she’d be likely to believe some anonymous letter, anyway. The issue, however, and the information I have on my hands, is seriously making me feel guilty for not doing something to right the situation.
TA would hit it (she totally would) February 10, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, friends.
Tags: Annie, atheism, career, Carl, Dexter, friends, Joe, Judy, McKenzie, Mikey, Murray, Ray, religion
Just finished my first week of work, and it was hella fun. Yay, me!
I met all sorts of interesting people at work. There’s my semi-cute, early-30’s boss, Mr. McKenzie, who doesn’t really make my heart race when I see him (plus he kind of has a beer gut), although I’d still hit it. I’d totally hit it. I’ve never had that phrase repeated so often in my head in one week. Whenever he’s got his back turned and I’m checking out his butt, I’m like, “I’d hit it.” When my co-workers squeal about how gorgeous he is, I’d say, “He’s not that hot, but I’d hit it.” Haven’t you ever encountered that kind of person? You know s/he’s totally wrong for you, and maybe isn’t even your type, but you’d still tap that ass given the chance. I’ve only experienced that kind of thing with McKenzie and with a former teacher of mine, Mr. Dexter, who somehow managed to be a Catholic and a Wiccan at the same time. He was weird, pale and spindly, but still kind of hot. Don’t ask me why.
McKenzie picks on me a lot because I’m the Opie of the workplace, but I’m handling it pretty well. I think McKenzie and I would have been good friends under other circumstances, but since he’s my boss, I find him just a little bit intimidating.
Back to the co-workers: fat, condescending uber-bitch Judy. I took this job knowing that people would probably underestimate me because I’m at least a decade younger than everybody else, but Judy is in a class all her own. She’s twice the bitch on the outside that I am on the inside, and that’s saying a lot, because you all know I’m a total bitch inside. I tried to be friendly towards her, but she’d raise an eyebrow and then turn her back on me. Whatever, nobody else likes her, anyway. Maybe she’s just jealous because she’s a 29-year-old college grad who’s earning the same amount as a dumb teenager fresh out of high school? Hee.
We have Annie, 27, sweet but slightly clueless. I spend most of my time with her, I guess because she was the first to approach me when I was new to the workplace. I sort of have to dumb myself down when I talk to her, but I don’t mind too much. It’s nice to not have to be on my toes all the time.
Ray, 24, brings out the inner dork in me, which is why I love hanging out with him. In the middle of work, we’d jump out of our seats and sing showtunes to each other! He’s the Jim to my Pam, if you remove the underlying romantic tension from the equation.
If all goes well, then Mikey, 28, will soon be my Gay BFF. Tee-hee. We like all the same things, and we get along great. He’s the only guy in the office whom I feel is on my level, intellectually.
Then there’s Carl, a kind father of two in his mid-thirties who sits next to me at work. I don’t know how the discussion came to religion, but it did, and when he told me he was an atheist, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, told him I was an atheist too, and then high-fived him. (What? It’s hard to find fellow atheists here!) Unfortunately, Murray, the mid-50’s guy who sits behind us, overheard the conversation and wheeled his chair over to share his thoughts on God and faith. I know he meant well, but it was incredibly TL; DR, and I spent most of that monologue trying not to space out. To make things worse, it was an “I used to be an atheist, but…” story. “But then I decided that logic just wasn’t for me.” (Okay, it was “But then my mom got cancer.” At least it’s an interesting twist to the whole “My mom got cancer so I became an atheist” story.)
It’s another annoying habit that theists have. It happened to me before when I had dinner with Joe, a hugely irritating friend-of-a-friend. I was telling him about my rocky relationship with my family and how horrible they are to me just because I’m an atheist. From out of nowhere, he starts preaching to me about “it’s not really about God, it’s about love” and blah blah fishcakes, and I just nodded and smiled even though I was thinking, “Guh, what? Worst date ever.”
I don’t know what compels someone to do it, but whenever I say that I’m an atheist, a believer who happens to hear me will suddenly go into a looooong sermon on the tenets of Catholicism or whatever. I hate to break it to you guys, but theists? We usually don’t care. Well, I’m speaking for myself, anyway. You’re not going to convert me by saying something long and boring about a topic I don’t give a flying fuck about, when we could instead be talking about something interesting, like rock music.
Murray’s actually my friend, and I like the guy, but once he was out of earshot, I whispered to Carl, “This is exactly why I don’t tell everybody I meet that I’m an atheist.”