Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

picture is the property of funnyfacejess
I love Easter. I looked forward to it as a child and I still look forward to it now. Easter has always represented hope, rebirth, happiness, and life. In the past I tied those things to the Christian narrative of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Now that I'm no longer a Christian, how do I observe Easter?

This year I attended church for an Easter service - probably my first Easter service in three years. Since leaving Christianity I've had no desire to hear the gruesome details of a crucified Christ, nor have I had any desire to hear how the blood of Jesus is responsible for securing my place in heaven. At the Unitarian Universalist church I now attend with my family, none of those things came up. Jesus was mentioned, but in a way that was beautiful and healing to me. Everyone at church was excited about all the new beginnings occurring this Easter - new members were welcomed (including me!), a new baby and his parents were blessed, and Spring finally decided to show up. I was reminded of the cycle of life and found myself touched by this season of birth. The way my pregnancy coincides with the change of the seasons has helped me feel even more keenly the power of changing seasons (literally and symbolically).

Easter is Spring, the season of birth and new life. People have been celebrating this season for a very, very long time. Even the word Easter originates from ancient pre-Christian times,

Friday, April 18, 2014

(Real) Love Conquers All

I suppose there a lot of other things I could be blogging about right now - like Doug Phillips being sued for molesting his children's nanny, or my current perspective on Easter - but tonight I write about love.

I've written some about my first marriage and how IFB shaped my view of love here, here, and here. My first marriage tanked pretty quickly. I had no prior experience with an actual relationship, thought you were supposed to marry your first love, and believed that there would never be another person who would tell me he loved me and wanted to take care of me. I went into the relationship with a very low level of self-worth, which turned into me letting my then-boyfriend-and-eventually-husband push me into things I wasn't comfortable with as well as letting him run me down and treat me like a child (not that children should be treated that way). I had gotten myself into an abusive relationship with a racist, misogynistic, mentally ill guy who believed the world was run by lizard aliens called the Illuminati. Yeah.... He was an expert liar and I was blinded by love, only to be blindsided by the craziness after we were married. After a few months of abuse, an opportunity to get out came, and I chose to leave. As hard as it was at the time, I've never regretted my decision and am so thankful to have my life back. Other ex-fundies have talked about experiences like this and refer to marriages like mine as "starter marriages," because so many ex-fundies lack the real-world knowledge and experience to start in healthy relationships.

When I left my first marriage I was terrified of my ex, had even lower self-esteem than before, and was struggling with depression. Love had betrayed me. Marriage was supposed to be an ultimate goal that, once obtained, meant you were safe for life, but my marriage had dissolved due to things I had never dreamed possible. I lost a lot of things in that relationship, but the experience I gained changed my life for the better. I knew I would never marry someone without living with them first - no more prudish views about what I once considered a pretend marriage. No more promises made about abstaining from sex before marriage - sex was great and even sacred, and it didn't make sense for me to hold back that part of a relationship until after I had married someone. The legality of marriage was huge and scary - something I didn't fully grasp until my name was legally bound with the name of someone else whom I needed to divorce. For awhile I toyed with the idea of never entering into a legally-binding marriage again. A couple's commitment to each other was sufficient for me, so why add the hassle of getting married? What was so important about this marriage thing anyway? Was it outdated and unnecessary?