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Update: Christmas January 4, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, teen angst.
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7 comments

I’m not sure why I haven’t updated recently. I don’t think it’s because I’ve run out of things to say, but because I’m starting to worry that my parents might find this blog and ream me. I really should work on finding a job and moving out. My mother (we’re on speaking terms now, more on that later) is sending me job advertisments now; can’t decide if that’s an un-subtle way to say “Get off your lazy ass” (because she’s made that quite clear already), or if she’s actually trying to be helpful. In any case, I’ll take it.

I didn’t want to write about Christmas, because while it was better than I’d expected — having my cousins over cushioned the blow a little bit — I still think I would’ve had more fun by myself in a hotel, getting wasted and stuffing myself with chips. After a week of the cold shoulder, Mother Dearest started talking to me again. I played along, but this certainly doesn’t make everything okay. I hate it when people expect a free pass for the shitty things they’ve done “just because it’s Christmas.” A holiday should not be enough to excuse a person for hurting someone else. So, yeah, still hate her very much, but I guess I’ll try to hide it until I can get out of this place.

On Christmas Eve, I accidentally outed myself to my cousin, John*. He was on my laptop, logging on to Radio Blog Club and for some reason, the username form said “teenatheist.” I don’t know how it happened, since I’ve never visited Radio Blog Club before. In any case, he was like, “Are you an atheist?” And I’m like “Yeah, but you weren’t supposed to know.” He asked me a few questions about it, but he was pretty okay with it.

I wish I could say more, but I’m feeling particularly numb at the moment. I’ll leave the comments section of this entry as a “Q and A with Teen Atheist” kind of thing, so if you have anything at all that you want to know about me (favorite color? actor? movie? Do you really think that ECW’s John Morrison is hot?), fire away.

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12 Things I’m Thankful For December 25, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, friends, issues.
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19 comments

So, it’s Christmas, and despite all the shit I’ve been put through recently, I still think that it’s a time to be happy and to reflect on the things that made 2007 a spectacular year for me. I figured that 12 was a Christmassy enough number, so here are the top 12 things I’m thankful for this year:

 

12. My 18th birthday celebration (best birthday ever)
It was the first birthday I got to spend with just me and my friends, because in previous years I’d tried to ask but would invariably have my father try to guilt-trip me, all “she doesn’t want to spend it with us.” This year, I guess I’d finally earned it. I had an amazing time, being with people I loved who treated me like a queen. I was smiling the whole time.

 

11. Scrubs
For a sitcom, this one sure makes me cry an awful lot (damn you, John C. McGinley and your out-of-this-world acting skills!). I’m especially thankful for this line by Dr. Kelso:

“Nothing in this world that is worth having comes easy.”

It’s become my personal motto, and it’s helped me through a lot of the challenges I’ve faced this year.

 

10. Clothes shopping and spa trips
Shallow as it may sound, shopping and getting my hands and feet pampered never fails to brighten my day no matter how down in the dumps I’m feeling. They’re my favorite vices.

 

9. Fred
I still refuse to apologize for standing up for gay people, but it’s not like Fred was a horrible friend otherwise. I do owe him for being one of the few friends who could truly empathize with me and be there for me whenever I was in a bad place emotionally. We’re still on bad terms with each other (and I still think he’s a little off his rocker), but I am still thankful for what he’s done for me over the years.

 

8. The LGBT Pride March
Special thanks to everyone who encouraged me and gave me the testicular fortitude to go through with it. Through the march, I met a lot of amazing LGBT people, like Justin and Emmett, who truly inspire me. I felt so proud of myself for standing up for others’ rights, and I would gladly do it again next year. In fact, I’ve already signed up for a couple of local gay-straight alliances, and I plan to be an even louder voice in support of LGBT rights in college.

 

7. Greg Berlanti
This TV wunderkind, the creator of Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone, is exactly the kind of person I aspire to be like when I’m older. It’s my personal ambition to become a television screenwriter (and clearly, I’m siding with the WGA on the writer’s strike), and if I ever achieve the dream of creating my own drama series, I hope mine could be as significant as his shows, which are not only well-written and entertaining, but are a huge step forward in terms of LGBT visibility on television. (more…)

Anger management: Sporkage December 22, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, rants, teen angst.
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24 comments

I haven’t talked to that judgmental, self-absorbed bitch Mother Dearest since last Monday’s argument, and with every day that passes, I just get more and more upset about what a total asshole she’s been.

(I’m sorry, Mom. I know I shouldn’t talk this way since you pay for all my shit, but I’m angry, and when I’m angry I get irrational.)

‘Cause, really. She’s actually talking about me behind my back now. I don’t usually eat dinner, so at one of these dinners I’m within hearing range (but not in anyone’s line of sight) and I hear her whine “She’s so disrespectful and ungrateful” to my father, who’s all “I don’t want to hear it”/ “This is between you and her, keep me out of it.” Classy, Mother Dearest. Really classy.

So I figure, if she’s doing it, I might as well continue the Mom sporkage on this blog, which by the way, is the only venue where I talk about her. My friends, save for Tyler, have no idea that I hate my family this much.

The nearer Christmas Eve looms, the more upset and restless I get about the shitty Christmas that she’s forced me into. What’s worse, spending Christmas alone or spending it with a bunch of people you hate, two of whom you’re not on speaking terms with? This has “Worst Christmas Ever” written all over it.

Sure, I could take the easy way out and offer an empty apology to her so we can at least have a Christmas that looks okay, but I’m sick of getting bent over and fucked in the ass here. I’ll tell you why I won’t apologize: BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR. What do I say, “Sorry for being myself? Sorry for sticking to my convictions?”

Mother Dearest is so self-absorbed that she thinks all of the major decisions I’ve made are centered on her. She told me that she thought I became an atheist just to piss her off, and she thought that I chose Dream College over Smarty-Pants College because it would directly disobey her wishes. And now she thinks that I wanted to spend Christmas away from the family just to spite her. Not only is that theory incredibly narcissistic, but it’s also a huge insult to my intelligence and character. So, no, Mother Dearest, I’m not doing it to spite you, because you’re hardly ever a factor in my personal decisions. I wanted to spend Christmas at a hotel because a) I assumed that you were kicking me out of Christmas, and b) I’d rather be happy alone than miserable with my family, especially on Christmas Eve.

During the argument, she explained that she wasn’t kicking me out of Christmas, she was just trying to tell me that they weren’t going to give me any gift. (And let’s face it, she’s only doing this so she can buy that motherfucking digital camera.)

Mother: “I just feel that gift-giving isn’t a tradition that atheists follow.”
TA (snickering): “Why, because it’s written in the Bible somewhere that Baby Jesus wants you to buy each other Nintendo Wiis to celebrate his birthday?”
Mother: “No, but giving each other presents is a way to celebrate our Savior’s birth, and clearly you don’t believe in Him, so you’re not getting one.”

It’s not that I’m bitter about not getting a gift, since I got a good amount of money for my birthday, but who wants to spend Christmas with someone like her?

I apologize if it’s been nothing but ranty-ness so far, but I’m extremely resentful and I’m venting here. Moving on, here are the various arguments for Christianity that she made in her argument, which I will proceed to spork: (more…)

Vulnerable December 17, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, rants, school, teen angst.
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19 comments

In tears once again. Fresh from a particularly acrimonious fight with Mother Dearest, where she let a lot of bitterness come to the surface.

Apparently, I have no right to feel offended by anything they say or do, just because I’m still living under their roof. Because they’re paying my tuition. She actually stooped to guilt-tripping:

“We spent thousands of dollars for your 18th birthday! It was a huge sacrifice for me — I opted not to buy that digital camera I’d wanted for myself because we were saving up to make you happy.”

Fucking seriously.

And she said that since they are still making these huge fucking sacrifices for me, disrespectful, ungrateful, spiteful old me (her words), I’d have to be at peace with the fact that she would always be disappointed with herself for letting me become this way. My choices — to be an atheist, to enroll in my Dream College instead of Smarty-Pants College like her — are her failures.

How could a speech like that not make any child want to kill themselves (hey, at least they’d be making a lot less “sacrifices!”)? How could she expect me to understand that I will always be a reminder of her shortcomings, and be okay with it?

She also wanted to criticize my choice to remain closeted in Dream College:

“You have to fight for what you believe in.”

You know what? Fuck you. Who are you to judge? Am I supposed to settle for a limited number of choices (the only non-sectarian institution is Smarty-Pants College, where she wanted me to go to), just because I’m an atheist? The world isn’t fucking fair, okay, and I’m going to take what I can, even if that means taking on a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in college. If I’m facing this much discrimination at home, imagine how much worse it would be in a Catholic college!

She accused me of taking advantage of Catholic education, which, again: IT’S A CATHOLIC MOTHERFUCKING COUNTRY, WHERE THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GO?

Also, I’ve now been forced to stay home on Christmas Eve, because she said that going out and partying and staying at a hotel would be “too unsafe.” I agree, it is a risk, but I don’t want to be miserable on Christmas Eve. I want to enjoy myself and have a special night, with or without you.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to free myself from all this fucking drama. I wish I could run away, but no, I’m too financially dependent. I’ll probably just stay at home and do whatever she tells me to do, like the daughter she wants me to be. Maybe I should lie and say I believe in God again. After all, she sacrificed her longing to have that digital camera, just so I could have a nice 18th birthday! Because really, wasn’t it enough to see the smile on my face after I came home from the best birthday ever? I was so happy! You had to hold it over my head that it took a huge toll on you, just to prove a point? Well, thanks! You win, asshole! Now when I look back on that wonderful night, all I’m going to remember is THE FUCKING DIGITAL CAMERA YOU NEVER HAD.

What are you doing [Christmas] Eve? December 16, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, issues.
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6 comments

Mom,

Okay. Fine. I’ll leave you all alone on Christmas; I’ve picked out a nice enough hotel and a dance club where I’ll spend the evening. When you and Dad and Pete have your Christmas dinner, though, and you’re looking at the one empty chair at the table, I hope you know that you did that. Not me, not my atheism. You.

Love (…not),

Me

 

Okay, moving on. Had this exchange with gay cutie pie Justin:

TA: “Yeah, they’re kicking me out on Christmas because I’m an atheist. I’m not sure what to do yet. I’m either going to be partying the night away at [well-known club] or doing volunteer work, although I haven’t found a proper organization yet.”

Justin (grinning wickedly): “Well, I certainly know what I would pick.”

By the way, I got the awesome idea to do volunteer work from Sexy Secularist. Again, though, I really can’t find an org that needs help on Christmas Eve. I contacted the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and I got nada, the other orgs are too religion-centric and probably wouldn’t welcome someone like me. And Justin has a good point, partying my heart out would be a lot more fun.

Suggestions for good international charity organizations (or other activities I could do) are welcome. Or you could buy me a one-way plane ticket to New York. I’d love you forever.

Anyway, I’m asking you all: What should TA do on Christmas Eve?

Survey: Christmas and religion November 22, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, interviews, issues.
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11 comments

A journalism student in London recently sent me a group of questions through my Contact page that he would like answered for an article that he is writing. I hope you don’t mind that I answered them here instead of replying via email!

Please let me know when you’ve read them, Marc!

 

1) Figures show that on Christmas the attendance in church is much higher than at other times of the year which shows that for many Christmas is the only occasion they will go to church for. Therefore, do you think – if Christmas was “cancelled” – the people’s “last link” to religion be taken away?

Not necessarily. My family is an example of the kind of people who only attend church on Christmas, but that doesn’t make them any less Catholic than the people who attend mass regularly — they’re just lazier. They still live by the other doctrines and principles of the church, one of which, unfortunately, is “atheists are OMG TEH EVILZ.”

2) There’s also a debate going on whether it actually is okay to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” who doesn’t celebrate it. Because of that some stores (especially in the US) already changed their display and advertising slogans from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” or something similar. What is your opinion on that? Do you think the religious origin of Christmas gets pushed into the background too much and it’s more or less all about consumerism?

Hell, I hope it becomes all about consumerism. I can see the point of “Happy Holidays,” but I don’t like being told what I can and can’t say, and frankly, this “politically correct” bullshit bores me to tears. I’ll say “Christmas” if I want to, damn it!

I would be sensitive enough, though, to change that to “Hanukkah” or “Kwanzaa” when speaking to someone of a different religion. There’s no Hanukkah or Kwanzaa where I live, however, so I just say “Christmas.”

3) Then of course there are the atheists like you, who don’t celebrate Christmas at all or – if they do – for who it has nothing to do with Jesus’s birth or anything else religious, but is just a holiday. Do you think religion is necessary to celebrate Christmas?

When someone mentions “Christmas,” I think of a day when you can sit down at the table and eat really good food with your family, exchange presents, and generally be cheery as you feel the chilly Christmas wind blow past. Jesus is the last thing that comes to mind. There are some people (ahem, mom) who insist that only Christians should celebrate Christmas, but I don’t see why the rest of us should be denied our presents just because we believe in one less god than they do. Maybe I can’t celebrate with them, but I’ll certainly find a way to actually have a good time, with or without the family.

(more…)

This Christmas, part 2 October 16, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, issues, rants, teen angst.
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21 comments

[This Christmas, Part 1 is here.]

Just when I thought I was running out of things to blog about, Mother Dearest proves herself to be a goldmine of material. Thanks, Mom!

For a while now, I was under the assumption that my parents and I had reached a detente, since they hadn’t brought up the subject of my non-belief with me, and they were even nice enough to buy me lots of pretty, shiny things the past couple of weeks. As it turns out, Mom was just waiting to spring it upon me.

I was having a Sunday buffet lunch with the ‘rents, and as Dad left the table to get some sushi, Mom brought up Christmas once again.

“So, what are your plans for Christmas? You know, since you’re an atheist and all?”

I think I’ve now mastered the look of concealed contempt and exasperation. You know the way Ryan the (Former) Temp from The Office looks at the camera when Michael Scott is being his usual moronic self? Where Ryan’s face is almost blank, but you can see the “Oh, Jesus,” in his eyes alone? Not like Jim Halpert, though, because the way Jim looks at the camera is far too obnoxious. Ryan is much more subtle. Anyway, that’s probably what my face looked like the moment my mother mentioned Christmas.

Remembering what some of you had told me, I explained to my mother that some atheists still celebrate Christmas. “It actually started as a pagan holiday that the Christians appropriated for themselves.”

Mom gave me this incredulous look, like, Is she serious? These heathens are STEALING our Christian holiday!

“Yeah,” she retorted, “but you know where CHRISTmas comes from!”

(Well, yeah, Mom, I just explained it to you. Here’s your sign.)

As tempted as I was to shove my lasagna into her face to shut her up, I just dropped the subject. There’s really no point in arguing with these people. Like I said, you can’t explain logic to a believer. (Is Mother Dearest considered a fundamentalist even if she doesn’t go to Church anymore, and has gay friends? She makes fun of her gay friends behind their back, though. As they do with a lot of other groups.)

Dad had returned to the table as I resignedly mumbled, “I’ll just hang out with some friends for Christmas.”

“But all your friends are Christian.”

“I have some atheist friends.” This is a loose reference to Martin and Gab, a couple of dudes I’ve never met outside of the internets. (Although they now know what I look like, gee thanks for stalking, Gab. :P) I’m not even sure how serious you two are about meeting me for Christmas, but either way, I’m not wasting it at home when my own family doesn’t even want me there.

Mom finally shut up, but the luncheon was already kind of ruined and I’d lost my appetite. I absent-mindedly poked at my fruit salad while they finished their uni sushi (good God, uni sushi looks like sushi that’s been puked on).

We spent the rest of the day at the bookstore, where I bought a couple of Rolling Stone issues; the clothing store, where they got me some boxers (I have a Miller Lite one that says “Beer Delivery Guy” on the ass. I don’t know why I find this amusing, but I do); and finally, the supermarket, where I stocked up on baking goods and saw this hot thirtysomething Indian guy who looked like Hemant Mehta (who is also a very fine specimen, and pretty please pose nakey for that Skepdudes calendar kthnx ilu). I don’t know why, but most of my hot guy sightings only happen at supermarkets. Not that I’m complaining, but I really should go shopping more.

In the car, Mother Dearest continued to prod me on my non-belief. I have no idea why she always chooses the car for these irritating conversations. Probably because there’s no way of escaping.

“Did these atheist friends of yours come from that secular high school we sent you to?” she asked, already sort of hinting that she regretted sending me there if that’s where I got my beliefs from.

“No, they’re from [Dream College], actually.”

“Then where did you meet them?”

I had to maneuver my way out of answering “I met them online,” because that sounds kind of seedy, somehow, what with all the child molester stories floating around. “Um, friend of a friend,” I replied. Which is sort of true. They have a friend who hit on my friend who had a thing with my other friend. Yeah.

That silenced her for a moment, but desperate for more ways to bash my atheism and scare me back to Christianity, she asked, “Don’t they require a baptismal certificate at [Dream College]?”

“No, Mom,” I replied, now bored and annoyed. Since this was going to be a long car ride, I busied myself by thinking about how this whole conversation would sound on my blog, heh-heh, and leafing through a Rolling Stone article on Judd Apatow. (I can’t believe they didn’t feature that on the cover! I almost didn’t buy the issue because it had Amy fucking Winehouse as the cover girl!)

“Well, I can’t encourage your atheism because I don’t know much about it, but I think it is very important to have a belief. It is religion that teaches us moral values, like humility [says my elitist mother who doesn’t even approve of me going to Dream College because the people there aren’t smart enough], generosity [says my mother who hates beggars, won’t even make eye contact with them and God forbid one of them even touches the hem of her garment, she’d go apeshit. I would give them money myself, but my parents actually scolded me. “Don’t encourage them,” they’d said] and kindness [says my mother who’s taking Christmas away from me because I’m a heathen atheist]. I don’t know what values you learn from atheism, and it makes me very sad that you’ll be growing up without a moral compass.”

At this point, I was more interested in the life story of Judd Apatow than in my mother’s bone-headed arguments. I could have gone into a long-winded rebuttal about the golden rule, and Maher’s classic “I won’t slaughter you, and don’t take my shit,” but again, not saying anything is the fastest way to get her to shut her piehole. I know this from experience.

It’s sad, though, how we atheists are always written off as being soulless and unethical. But whenever I treat the taxi driver to lunch, or spare some money for a fellow pedestrian who just needs some bus fare to make his way home, or defend homosexuals even though I don’t really have any gay friends, or spend my entire evening helping a friend through his heartache instead of studying, I don’t do it because I want brownie points from The Big Daddy, or safety from the sea of fire below, or seventy-seven virgins, or because it’s my dharma. I don’t even do it in the name of atheism or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I do it because seeing the way their faces light up really warms my heart, and it makes me feel like I’m not the monster that people say I am. If theists need the promise of a reward to motivate them into doing these things…well, that’s really, really sad, and maybe I have more faith in the goodness of people than they do. And I didn’t even learn this from what they taught me in Church or in my Catholic school, I learned it from the people who were nice to me.

In any case, I have a feeling this is only going to be the second of many one-sided conversations I’ll be having with my mother. Honestly, it’s like being gay (though she’d probably like me better if I were a Catholic lesbian rather than an atheist breeder) and having your mother occasionally say something at lunch like, “You know, there are success stories of people who have recovered from their homosexuality” or “God doesn’t really like gay people, and I think it’s time we researched more on how to fix you.” She’s not an out-and-out atheist basher, otherwise I would have been kicked out long ago, but the intolerance is definitely there. She sees my atheism as a defect that she’s desperate to correct. Since she knows she can’t, she’ll settle for the occasional backhanded remark.

There’s a fitting Grey’s Anatomy quote for this, actually. Dear Mom: As Dr. McDreamy once said, before he turned into Dr. McDouchebag (though he was well on his way), “There is a land called Passive-Aggresiva, and you are their queen.”

And this Christmas will be a very special Christmas for me September 19, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, issues, rants.
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52 comments

“Do your friends know that you’re an atheist?” Mother asked on a ride home from the mall. (Answer: Only three. Not sure if I want to tell the rest.) “Because atheists can’t celebrate Christmas, you know. These are things you have to think about. Because you know what Christmas celebrates.”

No shit, Sherlock. I knew what she was up to, because if there’s any adjective that defines my mother (aside from the obvious “elitist” and “self-absorbed”), it’s “manipulative.” She knew how much I loved Christmas. And I do! It’s my favorite time of the year next to my birthday, because I love the cold weather and the lights and the gifts and the music. Basically everything tangible about Christmas; I could care less about what it celebrates. Of course, Mother Dearest would call me out for being shallow if I told her about how I really felt about Christmas, so I just rolled my eyes and kept to myself.

Using Christmas as a weapon to tempt me into returning to the Catholic fold? Bitch move, Mother Dearest.

I have a feeling I won’t be getting anything for Christmas this year, which sucks because they’ve already taken away my allowance (long story) and Christmas is the only time of the year when I get a substantial amount of money from relatives.

To console myself, I’ve come up with an alternate plan: On Christmas Eve, I’m going to put on my sluttiest outfit and head to the swankiest club to get completely trashed. (I might even get laid!) Because damn it, I’ll be LEGAL by Christmas! Fuck, yeah!