a lost zillennial

I cried in a TJ Maxx dressing room today (On religion)

Ok, folks. Buckle up. I was sad about a boy today.

Vital background: I met a boy. We went on a few dates, and we both had a lot in common and ended up hanging out for hours. We both admitted we really liked each other, but he brought up that he was concerned about my faith (or lack thereof). Today, he texted me that he decided that was a dealbreaker.

Alright, now that's over with.

I'm not mad at him at all. I don't empathize with him, but I understand why a difference in where we draw our values from could be a problem. We only went on a few dates, whatever.

But when he texted me that I became really upset. I figured that was the case because he had been acting differently, so it wasn't unexpected. I absconded to a TJ Maxx dressing room with an armful of work-appropriate clothes and cried for about 15 minutes.

I wasn't mourning him. I didn't even know that much about him. Rather, I was in mourning over the fact that there is now another part of me that I know is a dealbreaker for potential partners. That adds to an already non-zero list that my very rude brain has put together based on former relationships: I am too weird, too fat, too queer, too modest, too much. Now, I'm too athiest.

Agnostic? Humanist? Unitarian? That's a quandary for another time.

The topic of religion has confounded me for most of my life. I grew up going to church, and it was fine. I had some friends through it, and I went to Sunday school sometimes, but we were mostly an Easter and Christmas family. I didn't like going that much because I didn't want to sit still for that long.

When I reached middle school, I was expected to take confirmation classes to basically say I was cool with the fact that I was baptized when I was a baby. This is when I really started considering my religious beliefs, and I realized that I never really... felt anything about it. I didn't feel the presence of some higher power during prayer or church. When reflecting on my previous religious experiences, I realized I always assumed everyone around me was pretending to believe in something and that everyone implicitly agreed to say nothing about it.

That wasn't for lack of trying. I yearned for the structure and community of Christianity. I tried to read Bible stories and practice mindful prayer and truly listen during my confirmation lessons. The closest I could get to belief was a very strong conviction to believe in something.

I got confirmed in the end, but mostly because it was a social obligation. It would look pretty bad if I dropped out of Jesus class.

I won't pretend that the political climate that has existed throughout my entire life hasn't influenced my religious beliefs at all. I don't like the idea of being part of something that many (many!) people have used to justify horrible actions. I know most (I hope?) Christians condemn that behavior, and I agree that those people who committed the horrible actions aren't "real Christians."

Since then, I haven't paid much mind to my faith aside from the occasional fleeting thought. I had to take a religion class to graduate in college, and I learned more about some major religions of the world. That class wasn't meant to proselytize and was by and large a history class, but it was interesting. We learned that most of the major religions have similar origin stories, which I believe can't be a coincidence.

I learned around that time that my beliefs on religion as a whole are somewhat aligned with the Bahá'i faith:

The Baháʼí teachings state that there is but one religion which is progressively revealed by God, through prophets/messengers, as humanity matures and its capacity to understand also grows. The outward differences in the religions, the Baháʼí writings state, are due to the exigencies of the time and place the religion was revealed. [Wikipedia]

Even so, I still feel I view that from a historical context. There's no way of us knowing how [gesticulates wildly] all of this came to be. And honestly? I don't really care. It's not going to change how we live or die.

I feel like I'm missing some sort of "belief in a higher authority" gene. There are people who very truly believe something is out there, and that is awesome for them. But it hasn't ever clicked for me. I feel guilt for not feeling whatever I'm supposed to feel.

I'm tired, and my head hurts, so I'm going to wrap this up soon, but I guess my point is that I wish more people would more openly and honestly contemplate their faith. I think that would have made all of this a lot easier for some people to figure out in their own lives. Perhaps it would have allowed more folks to give themselves grace if they also don't think they have the God gene.



Shoot me a comment or start a conversation with me by emailing davstri4077@gmail.com.