Over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to a few podcasts on my way to and from work. Life After God, Everyone’s Agnostic, and Humanize Me. The first two are the ones that I’ve really gotten into because they mainly focus on people’s stores, more so with Everyone’s Agnostic.
I think I’ve always been drawn to other people’s stories. I’m the type of person who wants to understand and feel what it was like being in your shoes. I’m weird in a way. I remember when I was in high school and I went to visit my elementary school and found out that one of my elementary school teachers had died. I was in a little bit of shock. I was also drawn to asking one of the other teachers how she was doing and how it affected her. It was in the middle of the school day so she didn’t have time to talk about it, but I also sense she was uncomfortable with the question.
Part of my curiosity stemmed from having only ever lost a cat to death. I hadn’t lost anyone close to me before. The teacher who died was the old style type of teacher. Stern, but her sternness was kind of comforting. I remember she had a vice grip when she’d move you when you might be at the front of the line. I don’t know if she ever knew she was so strong in her grip. It’s an odd memory. 🙂 One other memory of her was when she played 20 questions with us when we were on field trips. She was a good person.
The stories I’ve been hearing on the podcasts have been encouraging. Some people have been out of religion for over a decade. Others had only been out for less than a year. Right now, I’ve been out for 5 years. So far I think all the people I’ve heard are married or had been married, and in most cases they all married before leaving the faith, with a few exceptions. I didn’t find someone until I left religion. Most of the people were not in ministry, but a few were. All seemed to either have found what they wanted professionally or they were in the process of making it happen. For me…
I feel like I’ve found something I like. I sometimes feel like I’m not challenged enough with my job, though. Not making enough money in what I do also adds unneeded anxiety in my life. I know that anxiety can be good, but for someone like me who is already highly anxious, it’s a bad combination. I mean, it was money (student loans) that brought me to the point of wanting to end my life 4 years ago (Thank you Clarence Oddbody for really making the point of life really land not long after those dark days). Because of this lack of stimulus in my job and the lack of money I’ve begun to look at what else I might be able to do. I bring this part up in relation to the podcasts because I sort of feel like I’m kind of an odd story to share with people because there are some glaring parts of my story currently that aren’t resolved.
But whose life is truly resolved? I’ve finally begun to accept myself for who I am. There was a lot of shit I dealt with growing up that caused me to learn some poor coping skills. One big one is where I poorly handle my anxiety and how that impacts the people around me. But now I know. Now I get to learn how to handle my anxiety. I get to learn to grow. I’m only in my late 30s. It’s not like I’m on my death bed learning this about myself. New moment. Learn. Grow. That’s all I can really ask of myself. Oh, and to not be so damn hard on myself when I screw up. I’m doing the best I know how in that moment.