Why My Siblings are My Favorite People

So, I’ve got two siblings, one of which I’ve had pretty much as long as I can remember. My brother Casey’s birth in 1998 was one of the first things I can remember at all. My sister, Lissie, came much later, in 2007, so I remember that a lot better. However, despite my rocky relationship with my brother when we were kids, and my sister sometimes annoying me now, they’re still my favorite people. Here’s why.

  1. They both share my DNA. I know this is small, but they’re basically me biologically, just younger. And I’m awesome and worthy of being protected and loved, right? Why not them too?
  2. They’re nonjudgmental. They know me and have known me their whole lives. They know that if I do something wrong, I don’t intend to hurt anyone. They don’t judge me. My brother was the first person I told I was an atheist and he just told me that he disagreed with me but respected my opinion, and I loved him even more for that.
  3. They show they love me in special ways. I can’t even tell you the last time Casey told me he loves me. But I know he does. He just tells me without telling me. Lissie does too. When I broke my ankle last month, she bought a bear at Walmart for me and brought it to my apartment to give me something to cheer me up. I got a card and everything.
  4. They shape my personality. Casey is the main reason I like a lot of the music I like and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Lissie got me binging a show I forgot I liked when she played the theme song at Casey’s birthday lunch last year. I just watched Indiana Jones for the first time in a decade today because Lissie wanted to watch it while I was watching her today.
  5. They’re family, and they’ll likely be around for awhile. As my parents get older, my siblings and I will have to help each other out and help them out. If I’m gonna have to spend the next 5-8 decades with someone, might as well be them, right?

There are five reasons. If I ever think of more, I’ll add them.

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Why I’m Not Making Any New Year’s Resolutions in 2018

A couple of days ago, I asked my boyfriend what his New Year’s Resolutions were. He just responded, “I don’t have any and don’t intend to make any,” and went back to whatever he was doing. I’ve been thinking and I decided I’m not going to either. Here’s why.

  1. I have no reason to believe I’ll keep them. I’ve made resolutions pretty much every year I’ve been alive and have never kept them. Even when I made a poster with them on it to hang on my bedroom door I didn’t keep them. I said that year I’d read 20 books. I only read 19. I lowered that to 15 the following year and still didn’t succeed. Didn’t even come close that year.
  2. I don’t want to lower my self esteem when I undoubtedly break one. As I said above, I don’t see myself being able to keep many, if any, of my hypothetical resolutions. I get really hard on myself when I fail at anything, even something small. Earlier today I was helping my boyfriend assemble a shelf and had a meltdown when a couple things popped off. Something on a bigger scale would be a lot worse.
  3. I need to better myself for myself, not for the sake of saying ‘I kept all my resolutions this year.’ My motivations need to run deeper than that. If I’m only doing it just for bragging rights, that’s not going to be enough. If I want to lose some weight, I need to do it because I need to be healthier, not because I want to be able to say ‘I kept my resolutions so I’m better than you.’
  4. It puts undue pressure and stress on myself. I tend to not do well when I’m being timed at something. Having 365 days to lose 70 pounds (yes, I need to lose about that much believe it or not), even though that’s a lot of time, makes me feel stressed out.
  5. I feel such freedom when I’m NOT under pressure to succeed. It’s so freeing to not have to be under a time limit for something, especially when you’ve got anxiety. Honestly, I might actually be happier in 2018 for that very reason. I guess we will see.

There you go. 5 reasons I will not be making any resolutions for the next year. What about you? Are you planning to? If so, what are they? If not, why?

Why I Became an Atheist

After my last few blog posts publicly outed me as an atheist, I’ve had a lot of people ask me why. I was always a pretty devout Christian (well, maybe a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10 anyway) and it took a lot of people by surprise. So, I’ll go ahead and explain and then I won’t have to again.

Before

Before I began to go astray, I was pretty devout. I was raised religious and knew my Bible pretty well. I had been known to get into some religious discussions/debates and I could even hold my own pretty well. I was always the type of person who kept an open mind. I wasn’t going to tell someone they were wrong because I disagreed with them. The only times I wouldn’t be as likely to listen to someone was if they either seemed very ignorant in what they said (or how they said it) or they were being arrogant assholes. I had and still do have lots of Christian friends, though I don’t talk to them as much usually. More on that later….

 

The Beginning of the End

In mid 2014, I was bored in my room one day and stumbled across some videos from Hemant Mehta from The Atheist Voice. I don’t recall which, but it was definitely one of them pointing out flaws in the supposedly infallible Bible. I thought about turning a blind eye and pretending I didn’t hear it but then I decided that I shouldn’t pretend that Christianity is the only possible answer.

 

Questions

Soon, I began drafting a document with questions I had about God. I asked several pastors I knew and not a single one answered. They were either too busy, forgot, or told me they didn’t want to tell me what to believe. I was heartbroken, so I went to my dad. He answered them, or at least tried to. He was unsure on several of them, but at least he tried.

 

Discovery

It took me quite a bit of time to decide. I continued going to church, hoping someone could help. Nobody ever did. Eventually I slowly began to give up. Finally, in November of 2016, I decided I couldn’t accept the existence of a god anymore. I had been watching other atheists on YouTube and I felt their answers were more logical than any I’d ever gotten from Christians. And I didn’t see how any other religion could give better answers. I told a few people, including my brother and my then-boyfriend, but kept it a secret from the rest of my family for awhile. I was unsure how my parents would react and since I lived with them I didn’t want to upset them and make the household tense. I also didn’t (and still haven’t) told my sister. She’s young and I didn’t want her to get confused.

Finally, in February 2017, I moved out into my own apartment. I told them about a week and a half later. To their credit, they took it pretty well. I don’t know how they felt behind the scenes, but they did accept it and didn’t force me to continue attending church.

I wasn’t so lucky with my grandmother. She yelled at me, made it clear that she didn’t know how atheism works, and still refuses to respect or even accept it and keeps telling me I need to pray over petty things (for example, I’m supposed to pray before going shopping that I won’t buy anything I don’t need).

 

Now

Now, I have a lot of people trying to reconvert me. They even sometimes have friends who back them up and don’t stop. However, there are also people who respect my beliefs whether they agree or not. I’ve had friends tell me that despite me being religious from the age of 5, I was never a believer if I’m not now. That’s probably the most upsetting thing believers tell me. They don’t know my story but they assume to. I will admit, I was that kind of person once (the type to say things like that) and I am so sorry for that. My good friends are accepting, though the Christian ones might pray for me, but if they do, they haven’t pushed it on me, which I’m grateful for.

So….yeah. This is how I came to this conclusion. At this point I don’t see anything reconverting me.

Why I Bow My Head During Prayer

I struggled with my faith for 2 years before I became an atheist last November. And yet, despite not believing that anyone is listening, I still bow my head during prayer.

Before I explain why, let me just say that if you believe in God, that’s your decision. I’m not going to stop you or judge you. It’s not my place to tell you what to believe.

Which brings me to the why. I don’t bow my head because I believe someone is listening. I do it out of respect for those around me. I don’t want to be a distraction for anyone.

If you want to pray, pray. I’ll bow my head and let you do that if I’m there. But please, don’t get upset if I don’t join in. It’s not in my nature to pretend to be something I’m not.

STORYTIME: Catfished by my bestie

I’m doing something a tad different today, similar to the story I told about ‘Tyler’ awhile back. This is super cringey, so once again I’ve changed the main character’s name. This is the time my bestie catfished me for a summer.

I had formed a friendship with someone at my elementary school in 2006. Let’s call her Sally. Sally was a grade behind me in school, so she was about to start middle school when I was going into 8th grade (our middle school only did 7th/8th grade; 6th was in elementary). That should’ve been the first clue she was lying about what came later,  but I’ll get to that.

In 2008, I was, as a lot of girls my age were, obsessed with the Disney Channel. I had developed a crush on a Jonas Brother (Joe, if you’re wondering), and of course I had gone through a short phase of wanting to be a pop star like Miley Cyrus. Cringey, I know. I was a bit immature though, since I was about to start 8th grade and most girls have outgrown it at that point.

This was what came up when Sally came over for a sleepover one day early that summer. She and I were swimming and she mentioned her dad was pretty high in music and that she had met a certain group of celebrities from the aforementioned Disney Channel. I won’t say who, but it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out based on the info I’ve provided.

She mentioned she was dating one of the boys from this group, and for some reason I believed her, even though he was likely graduated by then and she wasn’t even in middle school yet. I had a huge crush on the brother of one of the girls, so she ‘hooked me up’ with him.

The details on this are a bit blurry, so I don’t remember dates or details as well with this as I did with my Tyler story, but I know later in the summer, somehow my parents found out about what was going on and told me to A. Stop spreading it around and B. Stop talking to Sally if that’s how things were going to be. They read my emails and found out I was talking about it to a friend I’d almost lost contact with when I moved and spied on me for awhile before grounding me when I didn’t shut up about it.

Despite this, I didn’t stop, and it dragged on for awhile. My ‘boyfriend’ cheated on me and I ended up with someone else, someone directly in the group. That dragged on for awhile. By ‘a while’ I mean it kind of lasted until that Christmas, though I still haven’t figured out if that was wishful thinking or if I really did think it was true for that long.

In the end, it died down on its own and just went away. I moved on to crushing on a boy at school and we never talked about it again. I alluded to it once, but other than that, not another word from either of us to anyone. I never did find out why she did it. I went on for pages and pages in my journal about it, chronicling it start to finish, but never did figure that out. One of those forever unanswered questions I guess.

What I Learned from a 40-day Facebook fast

A couple days ago I decided to stop using Facebook for the rest of the semester to focus on the outside world and my studies. Today, Monday, October 17, 2016, I deactivated my Facebook for the next two months while I’m in school. Here I’ll chronicle my journey.

Day 1 (October 17th): I deactivated it before class this morning and so far I’m doing okay. I still can use Messenger and I’m still active on my other SM platforms.
November 10th: Now that I’ve been off FB for almost a month, I realize that I really don’t miss it. I’ll still reactivate it after the semester is over, but I probably won’t be as addicted to it.

November 29th: I caved and reactivated it a little early. I have two more assignments and a final, and my second-to-last assignment, an oral report, I’m completely ready for and am doing tomorrow. The last one isn’t due til December 11th.

So, what have I learned?

  1. Life is much less stressful without it. Being on it all the time meant I saw everyone’s drama and things I didn’t agree with but knew speaking up about it would lead to conflict.
  2. It’s a big distraction. Sure, I still have distractions, but it’s one less.
  3. Facebook really wasn’t as hard to detach from as I was expecting it to be.

Now I will admit, I did cheat a little bit. I have a second account for online friends and while I forgot about it for the first month, I did use it (very sparingly, and mainly for chat purposes) a few times before officially rejoining Facebook. Otherwise, pretty clean break, and I survived. The world didn’t end. I think I’ll be okay.

5 Things We Should Stop Saying

There are a lot of things that are off-limits to say. There are a lot of things that are frowned upon to say. And then there are the things that aren’t frowned upon but should be. Here are a few things we need to stop saying.

  1. “I’m feeling triggered.” (in a feminist aspect). No, you’re not. You’re pissed off because something happened that you don’t like. You’re causing people like me, who feel triggered to cut, into getting laughed at if we don’t provide context because we’re mistaken for SJWs.
  2. “___ porn” (food porn, poems porn, etc). Stop making porn a casual thing. Porn is sexual. Food is not. Unless you’re using it in a sexual way (I’ll leave that to your imagination), it’s not. And when people refer to food porn, they’re referring to stuff that looks really delicious to eat, not sexually titillating.
  3. “I literally died of laughter.” Saying literally before anything that doesn’t actually happen is stupid. Saying “I literally started crying” is a lot better than the above sentence (assuming you did actually cry).
  4. “You’re retarded.” This is frowned upon anyway for insulting the person it’s directed at, but what about people who are actually mentally retarded? It’s an insult to casualize what they go through.
  5. “I hate ___!” I doubt you really HATE it. Hate is an extremely strong word. Strongly dislike is better. Hate is more like when you wish horrible things on it. You don’t hate your parents if you’re just upset that they grounded you. You hate them when you wish they would die or think about killing them yourself.

I’m sure there’s more and if you can think of any, leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading.