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And where is this line I’m not supposed to cross? December 13, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family.
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21 comments

We were having lunch at a Chinese restaurant I really liked, and the waiter had just served the cold cuts and fried rice.

“Wait,” my mother said as she always did, “let’s pray first.”

The rest of them prayed while I immediately helped myself to the jellyfish. This scenario happened every time we ate out. Today, however, Mother Dearest couldn’t help herself.

“Next time, please just stop what you’re doing while we’re praying. Even though you don’t believe in this anymore, you should still show some respect for our beliefs.”

I rolled my eyes and continued to add jellyfish to my plate by the forkful as she yammered on about “respect for religion,” although I really wanted to voice a rebuttal. Why should I show respect for your beliefs when you haven’t shown any respect for mine? Besides, I’m showing enough respect by not talking shit about your Catholicism (only your bigotry) the way you’ve been talking shit about my atheism.

Besides, how is this any different from the forced moment of silence being imposed upon American schools? Then again, I probably shouldn’t expect much. We’re not a secular family, after all.

Still, it’s an imposition on me to have to wait until you finish praying, and it in itself is showing disrespect to what I believe in. Is it really so hard to just mind your own fucking business while you’re praying? Just close your eyes and ignore me, damn it.

I realize that I’m being a total brat about something this tiny, but I’m already out to the family. It’d be a step backwards for me to bend over any further for their bigotry, even if it is just for a meager fifteen seconds before a meal. I’m not ashamed of my atheism, and I’m sick of taking any more bullshit from these people.

If they don’t let me eat in peace the next time we’re at a restaurant, I’m getting the fuck out of there. Enough is enough.

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What I did for love (TA at the gay pride parade) December 9, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, friends, issues.
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7 comments

(Why yes, that post title is a reference to A Chorus Line. Man, I’m cheesy.)

It was the night before the parade, and I approached my mother in the kitchen to ask her again if I could attend the gay pride parade. She, again, refused.

“Please,” I whined, “my gay friends are counting on me to be there!”

After taking a while to think it over, she sighed, “Ask your father.”

So I did, and Dad was like, “It’s up to you,” and hey, a victory is still a victory, even if I didn’t get to use the “they’re being discriminated against, like meee!” speech I had prepared in my mind.

My parents have a certain way of showing their disapproval of my choices, and that’s by leaving me to fend for myself as much as possible. They pulled this little trick on me when I enrolled at Dream College; Mom went through all the red tape to procure an application form and even bargain for an extended deadline for me when it came to College That She Wanted for Me (also known as Smarty-Pants College), but when I insisted on applying for Dream College, they didn’t lift a finger to help. I had to take three-hour-long trips on public transportation (no walk in the park, especially not here) to and from the school for a number of days to complete my application. For the parade, I had to take the whole journey myself as well.

This trip was made significantly more difficult because of what I’d chosen to wear. I’d never been to a gay pride parade before, but I figured that what I wore to the parade made an important statement, so I gay-ed it up some, with a black mini-skirt and rainbow striped knee-high socks. It was a little discomforting to hear the catcalls and lewd remarks as I walked to the bus stop, as well as the odd stares from pedestrians, but hey, it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? Ah, the things I do for love.

I’d actually signed up as a volunteer with the organizers a week beforehand, so I got to be a marshal to the madness, which was really cool. People loved my outfit — some even stopped to take pictures of me! I’m always flattered to hear praise about my sartorial choices from gay men. I remember being at a high-end shoe shop once, where the gay manager approached me to tell me how much he loved my outfit. I happily recounted this to my mother later on.

“Yeah,” she snorted, “it’s no surprise that he liked your outfit — he’s a fag.”

Thanks a lot, Debbie Downer. I just brushed it off, because I love gay people, and my mother is a frumpy dresser, anyway.

(more…)

I don’t know any better, but you might! December 2, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, issues.
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33 comments

So I’d like to ask you all for your advice again.

There’s an LGBT Pride March in our country this month, and as an LGBT supporter, I of course want to go to show solidarity for the awesome gay/bi/transgender people of this ultra-conservative country. And my gay friends too, hee-hee.

I approached my mother and asked her if I could go. She gave me a firm “No,” explaining that I was too young to attend such an event.

“Why am I too young?”

“Well, there’s the whole thing about gay marriage, and gay rights…issues that even some adults can’t understand, let alone a child like you. Besides, if you’re only there for show, you’re going to look like an idiot.”

I smelled bullshit (come on, it’s kind of flimsy, don’t you think?), but I wasn’t surprised. Mom always underestimates me. Of course I understand gay rights, why the fuck do you think I’m going? To look fabulous, or scout for the perfect Gay BFF? This march is about anti-discrimination, which has always been my biggest cause. LGBT people deserve as much respect as everybody else.

Naturally, I’m bummed about it. My first-ever semi-political event, and I’m not allowed to go because I’m too young. Sure, there’s this other party that day that I’m going to attend in case I really can’t go to the march, but since when has my mother’s disapproval ever stopped me from doing anything? If I did everything my mother told me to, I’d be a timid, frumpy Catholic girl instead of the fabulous, go-getting atheist that I am today!

Readers, I have a couple of questions for you:

  1. Is my mother right? At 17 (going on 18 in less than a week), am I too young to attend this march?
  2. If not, how can I convince my mother to let me go?

This makes me want to punch right through my laptop screen. November 27, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, rants.
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41 comments

Pardon my French, but fuck this shit. I haven’t gotten this upset over an e-mail in, like, ever.

This dates back to that time when my parents asserted that atheists have no moral code:

 

TA’s mother: “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, generosity, and kindness. 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.”

The following day, I emailed them these two articles, written by Austin Cline of About.com, to illustrate how it is possible that not all atheists are heartless, amoral cannibals.

They never got back to me, and the issue hadn’t been brought up since. Until today.

My father just emailed me links to the following two (asinine, moronic) articles, “Could God Exist, Theoretically?” and “A Holiday for Atheists,” along with this little note:

“Here’s a Christian perspective.”

I could type up rebuttals for both articles here, but I’ll gloss over that part instead; I’m sure you guys could handle it yourselves. Go nuts.

I’m angry. No, I’m wildly upset over this. Don’t tell me that we’re even and he’s just doing to me what I did to him, because what I e-mailed to my parents wasn’t a dig at Christians, or an attempt to get them to de-convert, no, it was me defending myself and what I believe in. What my father sent to me was downright offensive. It’s an assertion that “Yes, you are a bad person because you are an atheist, now come and see the light.”

Time and time again, I’ve reiterated on this blog that I refuse to bash Catholicism or any other religion, and that all I want is a world where people don’t discriminate at all, be it based on religion, sexuality, gender, race, or any other label. I respect people’s beliefs; however, I have zero tolerance for bigotry. And this, my friends, is bigotry.

I already had a pretty good idea back then, but this email has now made me 100% sure that I deserve better. I deserve better than a family who treats me with begrudging tolerance, while making passive-aggressive remarks or attempts to convert me. As Genevieve had said:

“Build your own family one day. Build one that’s a hell of a lot nicer to you. You deserve it.”

One day, I’ll find (or build) a real family, one that accepts me for who I am, and loves all of me, not just the few parts that they choose to love.