A friend from college and I hung out yesterday. He’s a fellow deconvert like me. We talked about some of the frustrations of living in Alabama and being non-religious. The common theme was that it’s the behavior of people that can really make things frustrating.
Conversations like this remind me that I still haven’t gotten rid of my own baggage concerning belief. I get frustrated when things that were important in my youth are explained away as not a big deal nowadays. At the time, they were important enough to hit, threaten, and scream at me over. The only thing that’s changed is my size, if the timelessness of deities is treated as constant.
Anyways, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. I was threatened with violence if I wanted to wear comfortable jeans to church. FFS, who does that? But because I was small and young, and there was this immortal bully who commanded it to be so, I had no recourse.
I don’t want to be angry about it. It needs to be enough that I recognize how wrong it is. There’s nothing I can do to change the past. But what happens when people tell me that their views govern my reality? I get brought back to being small again.
The minimizer in me says that all of this is no big deal, that I’m being unreasonable. After all, why stay angry about something like this? All I can come up with is that it’s an ongoing, conditioned behavior. For years I had been taught to get nervous around all of this stuff. It should be surprised that the stimuli provokes the same response it used to.
That explanation has to be good enough for now. It’s a big deal because I had learned a fear response. It happened long enough for me to develop one.