Choosing a Religion, a life story

Before the age of 14, I cannot remember what my thoughts on religion really were. I do not know what I believed. I probably at least thought that I believed in god–there’s a good chance of that. I went to a Southern Baptist private school when I was 14. They insisted that I believe in god. Since there was a boy I liked that believed in god–so did I. When I left that school, my father had been dead for 4 months. I was no longer dating that boy that found god. I met another boy, he said he was atheist. Guess what? I was too! What a coincidence. This went on until I was 20. When I was 20, I went to rehab.

Through the first few years in recovery, it became very apparent that although I may have believed in god, I wanted nothing to do with that business. When I finally got unhappy enough, I accepted someone else’s beliefs and it worked for a couple of years. Then it again became apparent that I did not know what I believed and I was no longer willing to bend to those around me.

I really wanted to believe in god. I really wanted to be Christian. Maybe I wanted to want to be Christian. It would be so much easier, so much more comforting, if I believed that a god had a specific plan and purpose for my life, and that I would live eternally after I died. I just could not get behind this. I tried mixing beliefs. Buddhist beliefs about an afterlife and Christian god. There may be a god, I obviously don’t know for certain. I have been floundering around, becoming fearful of thinking too hard on spiritual beliefs because this always led to death and what happens. I am a controlling person, I like to know what is going to happen to me.

Recently, someone introduced me to Taoism through a recommended book. Next, I heard a women tell her story and she said something about god taking her defects of character away. My mind snapped shut and the levy broke. I went outside with my best friend after and I began talking about how action brings consequence. I cannot ask a divine being to remove a character trait I have and not try to remove it with my actions. Furthermore, if I want to not be a liar anymore, so I stop lying, I feel this was me, not a higher power, changing this. I believe that I am the chess master of my life. I do not believe that there is a being in the sky with a plan for me and I am just fulfilling his desire for my life. That does not make sense to me.

So I admitted this. I admitted that I do not hold with the idea of a divine being. I also admitted that I have been internally struggling with my beliefs for years. I did not realize that I was experiencing so much guilt and shame about not believing, so I just kept trying to talk myself into believing.

I was scared to tell my fiance, he is Christian, as is his family. I told social media first. I remained fearful of the conversation with him.

I told him, he said we need a 4 foot statue of Buddha in the house and also stated that he wants to know more about Buddhism because he doesn’t know much about it.

So now I am in a place where I get to pursue the spiritual path that I want. The more I learn, the more I love the ideas. I can’t not eat meat, that will never happen. That is okay, though. I get to believe whatever I want.


When Change Attacks

I am terrible at change.

This is not an exaggeration, it’s very literal for me. When someone tells me that a small change in plans is happening, I come close to panicking. I think of every possible way this new plan could blow up in my face, or I get angry that I’m not getting my way-even if the original plan was not my idea.

When it’s put like that, I sound like a child. I can clearly see that but it changes nothing. I stomp my feet, whine and pout, sometimes mope if I don’t get what I expected to happen. I’d like to say that maybe one day I’ll grow out of this behavior but those prospects are not looking good for me. I’m in my early 30s and the only thing that has changed is there aren’t usually loud, angry outbursts and attempts at redirecting things in the direction I want (otherwise known as manipulation), but that doesn’t even hold true one hundred percent of the time.

Here’s what’s going on: I have set plans for some aspects of my life. I have a decent idea of where my career path is taking me. I know who I will marry, and I know when. I know when we plan to buy a house together, I know when we plan to attempt a child. I mean, I have this all planned out to the month. I know when I need to have surgery so that pregnancy is most likely to be easy to accomplish. I know when we need to get married if we want to do that before conceiving a child (as funny as the idea of being knocked up for my wedding sounds, I don’t actually want those pictures). So what I’m saying is that these are the big pieces of my life that I have planned. Obviously, they won’t be exactly as planned, but it seems reasonable to me to know what’s going to happen soon, barring emergency or tragedy.

Over the weekend, for unforeseen reasons, my boyfriend found out that he needs to buy a house much sooner than anticipated, by January or so to be exact. This is much sooner than we planned, we don’t even live together yet (which makes the whole idea of me knowing who I will marry and when sound like an obsessive fantasy but allow me to explain: we have been together for 2 years and are waiting until almost 3 years to move in together, for personal reasons). It is at least 3 years sooner than we planned. I had it in my head that we would be picking out a house together, but now he will be picking it out and I have to hope for the best. I will say that he and I have very similar ideas of what we want in a house, at least the most important parts. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me, it is. I panicked and obsessed about this for hours. I eventually calmed down and now I’m a little disappointed but I’m okay.

Back to the knowing my general career path. I am a counselor. I am recently licensed, and just started counseling last month. I got thrown into the position to fill in for a woman that got really sick. I was told that in about one more month, I would be changing positions, slightly. I would still have a caseload, but a small one, and I would be the admissions counselor. Admissions would be my primary position. Fine, that’s cool. This morning, everything was right on track. New building opening up in a few weeks, and a slow, graceful transition into my new position that still had some old qualities.

Guess what happened?

I wasn’t fired BUT I did find out that due to, again, unforeseen circumstances, I will be thrown into a entirely new position. On top of that, I cannot say anything at work until my boss approaches me and talks to me about it. I have to go to work and act like everything is normal. I have to continue counseling my clients like I will be counseling them next week; because when I say “thrown in,” I mean that I start this new position Friday, 3 days from now, possibly Monday, 6 days from now if you count the weekends, which I don’t work.

Guess what I did?

I panicked. I got angry, I called my boyfriend and told him about it, sounding like a run together, never-ending run on sentence. I have to act normal.

Then I start to try to find the positives in this (if you notice, I didn’t do this with the situation over the weekend; that’s because I see no positive in that one).

I’m going into the position I wanted to be in earlier than I planned, which is good. I’m going to be more thoroughly trained for my position before I have to start it, also good.

And the best part is that I’m now likely to have all holidays off.

So I shouldn’t be complaining, but I will. It’s just who I am. I realize I could have a lot worse problems. I’m grateful I don’t. This has been therapeutic for me, even if no one else cares.