Bree's Story

(Via Bree)

I grew up in a small Catholic community. Back then, I was an only child, and my family and I went to church regularly. I was pretty good about it, always went without much fuss and sat quietly through the hour. As far as my little mind was concerned, it was just something everybody did and never questioned, like school and work and coming home at eight thirty every night.

When I started school, I also started religion classes. But so did most of my peers, and so I went along with that too. Most of it made little sense outside of 'Do this and go to heaven, do this and go to hell.' Soon enough though, I did take an interest. I learned more on my own, and took an interest in the different portrayals of heaven and hell and the entities within. I perceived it as more of a story than a faith then, and I enjoyed the remainder of my religious experiences for what they seemed to me; chapters of one big story.

When my younger brother was born, we stopped going to church. He wouldn't be quiet long enough to be in the church for very long, and even as he got older, he was a difficult child. He still is now. Religion eased out of my life and like any phase, I quickly grew out of it and took to something new. I became more of a tomboy, hanging out with boys and coming home covered in mud or swamp water with a snake or frog or bug to show for my efforts.

When my parents decided I needed to make my first confession, it was very awkward for me. As I'd grown and changed, so had my views, and my belief in god was fragmented and uncertain at best. I went through with it, of course, squirming and hoping whatever I made up was right.

In the following years, I changed from a doubting Catholic to a solid Atheist. It was a small, quiet transition, and it was a long time before I ever brought it up with my parents.

When I did, my mother was most surprised and disappointed. She told me I shouldn't talk like that, argued with me, and when I still stood by my choice, she blamed herself. I assured her no amount of force-feeding me religion would have changed my beliefs. At that time, she didn't want to talk about it.

Anything related to religion was tense after that. She would always make a comment, and the word Atheist was like a bitter taste in her mouth that she couldn't spit out fast enough. It was a long time later, over drinks, that she brought it up. It started with a genuine question. She asked how I could live thinking there was nothing out there for me. I started to talk to her about my views, and soon it was more of a debate than a discussion. Looking back, I could have presented things better, but under the influence, I suppose I didn't do too bad. By the time we were done, she quietly admitted to be having doubts, and the only thing I could tell her then was that it was okay. Okay to have doubts, okay to think differently, and okay to believe in whatever she wanted.

My mom still considers herself Catholic, and I have never budged in my belief, or lack thereof. But since that awkward discussion, she's been a little more accepting, and that works for me.

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