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This is my story, this is my song

By an Ex-Evangelical ~

I have waited for a long time to share this with someone. For some time, the anger and rage that I hold can be let go of. I am a human being, ready to free her mind of religious lies and brainwash. A wild bird, finally free of her cage. This is my story, this is my song.

Both of my parents were born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. In the deep south, church is a fundamental part of life. My family lives, sleeps, and breathes church. It's a way of life. My mother is the most dedicated person to "faith" that I know. I would never try to show her she's wrong because, well, I don't think she'd survive it. She is a wonderful mother and I love her for that. My father, however, is a joke of a man, that about sums him up.

When my family moved to Baltimore, we continued "church life" but it was different than southern baptist churches. We started going to non-denominational churches, evangelical churches, and the DC Del Marva region "Church of God" churches. The perception of God had always fascinated me, I was a very curious child. By senior year of high school, I was a bible thumping, church living, brainwashed teenager. I was dating the pastors son and was convinced we'd be married and soon run our 2000+ member church. I was the poster child for Christianity. Believing I had special gifts and the ability to talk with God in my mind. I'm a singer, which the church took advantage of. Telling me if I didn't use it for god, he would take it away. I learned to pity the non-believer, when in actuality all we did was judge non-believers because we were jealous, not because we really cared. I quit my "secular" job and began working for the church I had attended since eight years old. I was there seven days a week, usually all day, without being payed for most lunch breaks(illegal much?). I was told anything that did not glorify god did not deserve our attention and could allow the devil into our hearts. I cut off long friendships, music that didn't worship god, and TV among other things. I spent hours studying the Illuminati and the Occult, convinced that our government, artists, and actors were devil worshipers. I lived in a bubble. A bubble in my church. I was in charge of the youth praise team, was a youth leader, the summer camp supervisor, and gave extra tithe money every Sunday.

Even in all of this my life was no better than before I became a christian. If anything, I worried more, judged more, and spoke more negatively. I realized how little I truly mattered in that church, since every time I tried to leave, or could not attend an event, or help out with one, I was scorned or looked down on. Anytime I tried to ask for help or needed support for personal issues, I was told to "die to self, pick up your cross, and just pray!" So I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more. I prayed for healing from sicknesses, that never got answered. I never once saw a miracle. This upset me because, I genuinely, truly, yearned for gods love. All I wanted was his love, so I was obedient, yet he never answered my prayers. Something was up...and quickly I became bitter. The pastors son was the most immature man I had ever met, much less been in a relationship with. He judged me and treated me like an object, not a person. He broke up with me because I wouldn't kiss him! I laugh about it now, but at the time, everyone knew, and our friends made it a huge deal. He was arrogant, shallow, and stereotypical to "the bad guy". All of this because his father was the celebrity and he had been sheltered.

Soon I left, slowly, I stopped attending services, I quit a youth pastor internship where the rules were: no dating, passwords to Facebook and phone must be given if asked for, text messages could be read, and permission must be granted before planning any event outside of church (i.e. movies, dinner with friends, vacation). The person who led this was my "mentor". Ever since childhood I've struggled with authority from men, because of a horrible relationship with my own father. Whatever a man said, I did. He told me college was useless in ministry. There was no point in going. So I graduated high school with no intention for a degree.

I feel free and alive, not having to wonder if some deity is watching me and judging me.Thankfully after leaving, I now work and attend college, I have a loving home with my amazing boyfriend who is the most supportive person I have. He was not raised in any religion, and his family has been extremely accepting of me. They are quite the opposite of my southern religious family. He along with his friends and family are happy, life loving atheists, and I am so glad I have them.

Some days are better than others, some days I am thrilled with my new beginning. I feel free and alive, not having to wonder if some deity is watching me and judging me. I can relax and slow down, not thinking that this is the "end times". I feel at peace because I control my future, not a contradictory god. Other days, I feel guilty and ashamed for leaving the church, and some where there is a god planning my fate. Some days I cannot fathom how there is no god. It's all I've ever known(I've been out only for 6 months now) there are days when I want to do nothing, I am depressed because I feel like my whole life was a lie. I can't even enjoy time with my mother, who was my best friend, because she is so religious. I've considered therapy to help cleanse my mind of this bullshit.

One of my favorite quotes, I think describes me perfectly at this point in life(I have a way to go, I'm only 19!)
"But you're not naturally austere anymore than I am not naturally vicious. I can see in you the glance of a curious sort of bird, through the close-set bars of a cage. A vivid, restless captive. Were it but free, it would soar cloud-high." -Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester from the movie Jane Eyre.

So this is my story, and my song, I cant wait for life after all of this suffering. I am the one who is born again, born into reality, after putting to death my fairy tale.