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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Change

Keeping the world at bay takes it toll. In the end, you eventually wither and die, or live lonely, miserable and forced to wear a smile every day so no one knows the difference. I've come to think I don't like either of those outcomes.

I'm giving up some of the things I find comfort in. That's the tricky part. I have to sacrifice the audience...and the hate filled rhetoric and venting. I'm just now realizing those things were/are temporal. The hate filled venting can continue for only so long before it begins to sound like an irritating broken record...before it turns into the pit of misery I have allowed myself to wallow in. The audience...most of them will humor you for a period of time, but then they grow sick of listening to the rhetoric and watching you wallow in your own misery. They will grow weary of listening to you while you effectively continue to drop a quarter in the soda machine but never receive the soda. Eventually the audience will quietly put their bags of popcorn down, lift up their seats and exit the theater. And then...you're left alone.

It felt good for a while...it was therapeutic in some weird way...the ranting...the open expressions of hate and anger...reliving the past day after day after day. It continues to "feel" therapeutic. But the reality is that by continuing this behavior I'm taking one step forward and two steps back, I think.

It's time to lower the sword. It's not going to turn everything "OK." I realize that. It won't erase the hurt. It won't make my anger magically disappear. But it's a start. A start to, hopefully, a better way of dealing with all the baggage because, obviously, the sword is not advancing my position. It's time to try a different tactic. I'm smart enough to know when I'm running around in circles. And I'm humble enough to know when to say, I've been going about this the wrong way.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light...

When does it stop? The anger. The feelings of betrayal. When will the 8 year old little boy that lives inside me stop hurting? When will that 8 year old stop needing people to validate his sense of helplessness? When will the little boy inside me feel like the people who hurt him most, his parents, have suffered enough. When will I wake up and feel "OK,"...like I imagine “normal” human beings feel? WHEN WILL I BE “OK?”

I may never be “ok,” in the sense most people think of. It’s a grisly truth, but it IS truth. I suspect I will never forget my childhood. I don’t think I will ever forget how I’ve felt betrayed and abused by my parents. Time can not be rewound. Life isn’t like typing this blog, where if I don’t like the way something goes I can delete it and make it different. As much as I sometimes wish I could change my childhood, I can’t. Perhaps it’s a foolish wish. 

Recently I’ve found myself coming to the realization that it’s approaching time for me to consider a different direction in life; to consider recognizing the past is the past, and as painful as it has been, life must go on. By continuing to subject myself to reliving the past, I’m effectively preventing a happy and meaningful future. A very dear friend said to me today:

“...just to find a way to be happy with yourself in the world the way that it is. When we die, that’s it. If we’ve spent the time fighting, we’ll just die tired, angry, and surrounded by chaos. I’d rather die happy, loved, and at peace.”

I’ve enjoyed wallowing in my own misery for far too long, and...misery loves company. I’ve aligned myself in the company of others who have similar pasts as mine, others who have suffered from years and years of brutal indoctrination. At one point it was therapeutic to be in the company of people who truly understood me, who understood the pain I was dealing with. But now it’s different. To remain in their company only fuels the fire. 

I have a wife and a son. I think my wife has suffered with me. My unhappiness and misery has most surely spilled over into her life, even if it’s not readily apparent. The ripples may be subtle, but they exist. That’s not fair to her, and my 6 year old son certainly doesn’t need to grow up in the same muck as I did. It’s time for change. 

I fervently believe religious indoctrination destroys minds. I remain adamantly opposed to fairy tale beliefs. This is a cause I continue to support, atheism. But at some point I have to take responsibility for my future and stop turning everything into a personal battle. It just doesn’t make sense anymore. My happiness and that of my wife and son must take priority. To put it simply, it’s time for me to have happy in my life. I’ve gone without it long enough.

This is when things change. I know there will be good days and bad days, but it’s time for a change. Where do I start? I don’t know. How about a positive memory? It’s been so long since I recognized that my childhood actually did have pleasant moments; I've spent every waking moment for years focused on the negatives that. When I was young, maybe 7 or 8, I was terrified at night time...lying in bed. Scared of the demons and monsters that might be lurking in the shadows ( I still fault my parents for these ridiculous and unnecessary fears, but no sense to relive it day after day after day) . There were times my mom let me sleep in her room...to help me feel more comfortable. I remember how safe I felt during those times. She made me feel safe. As much evil as she was capable of, I remember the times she smiled. To this day I think she had one of the most genuine and beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen.

It has to start somewhere...





Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Religious Asylum for Medical Malpractice

I don't understand why the religious community is granted asylum from taking responsibility when practicing medicine without a license. This needs to stop, NOW.

I don't care what sort of mind-numbing foolish beliefs you cling to. If you want to believe your God wants you to wake up every morning and lather yourself with your own feces while standing on your head doing one arm pushups in order to achieve His protection for the day, so be it. If you want to believe in talking snakes and donkey's, demon possessed swine and zombies who resurrect after being dead for 3 days, fine, so be it, but...

When you tell someone they don't have to depend on their PTSD medicine because God has already provided them healing and all they must do is ask, you're practicing medicine. When that person flips out and guns down half the post office because they are no longer taking their meds, YOU are responsible. If you tell someone to pray for their child believing God for a healing, and that child has medical complications because of delay in care, or worse, they DIE...YOU are responsible.

When your beliefs require that innocent children pay with their LIFE, your batshit crazy beliefs are not fine anymore. When your beliefs cost the public lives in shooting sprees because of unmedicated mental illness due to YOUR "God advice," your childish fairy tale beliefs are not fine anymore.

If YOUR "God advice" leads to medical complications or loss of life, YOU SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH PRACTICING MEDICINE WITHOUT A LICENSE and subsequent charges of MEDICAL MALPRACTICE. Then you should stand trial on civil charges and be required to take full responsibility. If you are going to dole out advice that results in harm to another individual, YOU should be accountable. If you don't want to take responsibility, then stop trying to insert your God in the spot reserved for physicians and science.

Simple as that.


http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/faith-healing-religious-freedom-vs-child-protection/

Chris
The Atheist Nurse on Facebook

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad...(Holiday Greetings)

Dear Mom and Dad,

As the holiday season approaches, I can't help but feel a certain amount of sadness. Once again, I will gather with my wife and son, in-laws, and friends, but you will not be there. Many of these people, in fact ALL of these people, are of no blood relation; yet I share stronger bonds with them than with you. Do you find that peculiar?

One year ago I sat in my kitchen with my head buried in clasped hands. Tears ran down my face. I felt nothing but despair. My wife felt lost and helpless; she hadn't the words or ability to comfort me. You didn't call and you refused to respond to my calls. You would not acknowledge your grandson because, as best as I can figure, he is "guilty by association."

You have allowed your religious dogma to rob you of a relationship with your offspring. THAT, is unnatural. The thing that is most telling is your choice to be absent from your 6 year old grandson's life, this is what I find most bothersome. You will miss watching him grow through childhood. You will miss his beautiful smile, his innocent laughter, his amusement at the simple things in life. You will not be there when he hits his first home run or loses his first bit of skin in a bicycle crash. You will never again experience the way it feels when he wraps his little arms around the neck of someone he cares about, and whispers, "I love you."

You have allowed your religious dogma to undermine what could have been the best years of your life. You have broken my heart. You have broke your grandsons's heart too. It's ME that has to answer him when he asks, "why doesn't grandma and grandpa call me or come see me anymore. I don't' think they love me." A confused 6 year old who doesn't understand why his grandparents acknowledge the rest of their grandchildren, but not him. You don't know how this rips my heart out of me. But make no mistake about it, I will survive, and so will he.

There will probably be days where I will shed tears. As much as I wish I could turn off the pain, I can't. I doubt I ever will. But it's better this year, and I suspect it will get better as the years go by, or at least I will become numb to the pain.

Know this, and know it well. I will not pretend to be something I'm not, I will not pretend to believe something I don't, I will not pretend for you, or anyone else, in order to make you feel more comfortable about believing a lie. It's just that simple.

So...with as much enthusiasm as I can muster, happy holidays...and fuck you.

Your ATHEIST son.
The Atheist Nurse on Facebook

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Devils, Demons and Damnation: The Stuff Dreams Are Made From

The imaginations of children are interesting; they can literally be a devil’s playground. My childhood imagination was exactly that.

Perhaps you remember your own imagination as a child. Pretending to be a soldier in the midst of battle, tree limbs become weapons of war. Maybe you lived the life of an L.A. fashion model as you pranced your Barbie around and whisked her off on dates with Ken. Tea time for your teddy bears and other various stuffed animals made for an afternoon’s delight. Slabs of pressed mud (yes, literally dirt and water from the ground) became the most delicious cakes and pies imaginable (though most of us never actually tasted one). It’s amazing how realistic one’s imagination can make what is otherwise unrealistic. A child’s imagination can and usually does bring much joy and happiness; but it can also bring about quite the opposite reaction, at the most inopportune times.

I have a 6 year old son. He’s quite a happy-go-lucky sort of little guy. He’s never been exposed to religion or the fairy tale stories of heaven and hell, talking donkey’s, men that live for 3 days inside giant fish or boats large enough to house the entire planet’s animal kingdom. In fact, only recently did he hear the term “hell” from one of the next door neighbor’s children. He was perplexed. She tried to explain it to him (at the time it was unbeknownst to me), but her explanation resulted in a quirky looking raised eyebrow and an expression of disbelief. My wife later told me his amusing expression was followed by him exclaiming “that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. It makes absolutely no sense!” He’s not mentioned it since. Despite never having been exposed to religion and all of it’s larger than life tales, my son’s imagination still runs rampant. There is a certain fear that abounds at night time. Scary creatures behind closet doors. Things that go bump in the night. A brief creaking from a wooden rafter as the house settles is enough to cause real alarm. Pure imagination. In our house, we even decided to forego Santa Claus, opting instead for honesty about Christmas and where presents come from. Still, my son’s imagination is a thing of beauty...and at times the penultimate fear factory.


Add the teachings and beliefs of charismatic fundamentalist Pentecostalism during a child’s early and formative years and the results can be disastrous. Such was the case for me. 

My childhood was like a scene out of Nightmare on Elm Street. Strangely enough we weren’t allowed to watch horror movies. That sort of movie was poison for the mind, a portal through which Satan could enter and his demon minions could literally take possession of one’s soul. It was ok that I was never exposed to such movies and secularism, there was more than enough scary stuff at church and in my daily listenings to my parents. I was lucky enough to spend years and years hearing my dad tell stories of literally seeing Satan one night perched sitting atop the footboard of his bed. I heard stories of casting out demons, stories of demons and ghoulish minions from hell who were somehow able to manifest in the physical realm and torment human beings. I watched men and women, and sad as this might be, children, being “possessed” by the Holy Spirit and speaking in unknown languages. Twice weekly on Sunday, every Wednesday night, and frequent random weeknights (wherever/whenever the trendy revival was taking place) I was witness to people being “slain in the spirit,” falling out on the floor and sometimes lurching and writhing as if they had no control over their own bodies. This is the stuff my dreams were made of.

I spent many years lying in bed literally terrified. It is difficult to explain the intensity and very real nature of the fear I was overcome with as bedtime approached. Scared and alone I lied in bed wondering when an evil demon would jump from behind the closet to drag me to another dimension; where I would spend eternity alone and helpless never seeing my mommy and daddy again. I was afraid to go to sleep, but equally as afraid of staying awake. My dreams were filled with scenes from the rapture --- Jesus would return to rescue his saints but I...I was always left behind to suffer in hell because I wasn’t prepared. Yes, at the age of 7 or 8 years old, this is what filled my mind. My dreams were often times replays of something I’d seen at church but magnified in that strange way that only a dream can exaggerate. When my eyes closed and my breathing slowed, I slipped off to dreamland...my mind assembled dreams that were more torturous than anything I've experienced since.

I could continue on and give a lecture on some of the psychology of dreams, childrens' imaginations and how they are affected by religion versus that of their non-religious counterparts. I’m afraid this blog entry has already passed the length that most people are willing to actually read. But let me end with this rhetorical question. If you were told of a mother and father who repeatedly tells their son at any minute they might decide to beat them with such force that it nearly kills them, causing the child to live in a constant state of intense fear of being beaten to death, would you consider this child abuse? I think most of us would, including the average Christian. Even the sort of Christians I was raised among. Why are religious parents given a free pass to tell their children of places where you burn forever, suffering for eternity if they tell a lie or don’t ask an invisible man for forgiveness? Why do we given parents a free pass to fill their children’s heads with stories of Satan and demons and possession?

I've since learned to “enjoy” the fear that accompanies nightmares, much like someone who enjoys the fear that goes along with a fast twisty roller coaster or a haunted house. It was a coping mechanism I developed after suffering for years. My nightmares are rarely of a religious nature since achieving full deconversion from Christianity. But when I recall my childhood, my teenage years and those years that constitute the early portion of adulthood, I can still feel the deep sense of despair and intense fear I felt then. I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Chris,
The Atheist Nurse
The Atheist Nurse on Facebook

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Where It All Begins

I've struggled with where to begin. Do I introduce myself? Do I tell you where I was born and follow it with a synopsis of my childhood? Do I tell you about my parents and the manner in which I was raised? Do I outline my current state of affairs, marital status, children, career details, etc.? There is so much information and I've become a bit overwhelmed with how to go about my introduction. All of the preceding questions will be answered in due time. I don't think any of them are overly pertinent at the moment, and that leads me to where I think I should begin. Here goes...

This blog is about me. It's for me. It's for my healing. I so desperately need to heal. I'm 37 years old. I've officially been an atheist for 6 years. I spent the better part of 8 years on a journey which eventually lead to my deconversion. I was raised in a pentecostal home. Pentecostals are the sort of folks who believe in speaking in tongues, lurching on the floor, faith healing, literal hell, demon possession, and a host of other nutty things. The 8 year peregrination to my deconversion was lengthy and arduous, filled with ups and downs, sleepless nights, and a lot of time spent wondering if I was going to burn forever for questioning the Almighty. 

At 31 years old, the birth of my son would be the catalyst that would seal the deal, officially branding me an atheist. At some point in my blogging future, I'll tell that story. Up to this point in life, things had been rocky for me with my parents and immediate family (excluding my wife who was a non-believer). Once I came out as an official atheist, things rapidly worsened. Over the course of the next several years, an already rocky relationship with my mother and father ceased altogether. Family members refused to speak to me. Friends and co-workers suddenly refused to talk to me. I became that guy.

Now, at 37 years old, I'm dealing with the aftermath of deconversion. No one told me what that would be like. Reading the bible, putting the pieces together, and figuring out how ridiculous Christianity's claims are...well that's easy. Coming to terms with the aftermath of it all...that's the difficult part.

After years of a very rocky and strained relationship, the loss of my parents dealt a blow that has finally taken it's toll. They refuse to acknowledge an atheist son. This has eaten away at me...slowly...day by day. The sense of loss accompanied by a deep sense of sadness was overwhelming. Initially I was able to compartmentalize all of it. But as time went by it became more difficult to contain the onslaught of emotions. At some point the sadness and emotional pain turned to anger and hate and rage to the point that I became consumed by these emotions. For some number of years now I have lived a life fueled by anger and hate. There is a problem though. My anger and hate are of such magnitude that I fear it will soon, if not already, begin to spill over to my son, my wife, and the very few close friends and family members I have left. I have seen the writing on the wall. I'm not willing to continue this perpetuating self-destruct, and my family doesn't deserve to have to deal with the fallout.

So this blog is for me. It's a part of my healing process. It's my way of reaching out to others, those that have gone before me and those who understand what I am going through. I have also decided (arbitrarily) that I can not be the only person facing this sort of crisis. I am convinced there are others who find themselves in a similar situation, and perhaps this blog will offer them hope, a place to talk, and reassurance that they are not alone.

Chris,
The Atheist Nurse
The Atheist Nurse on Facebook



Monday, October 28, 2013

Just getting started...

Just getting started with blogging. In the days to come I will be getting my blogspot organized and starting to post.

In the meantime, you can visit my community page on Facebook. Click "like" and you can keep up with my posts at  The Atheist Nurse Facebook Page