I grew up an atheist. My father taught me that all religious people were dumb, especially Catholics. Also, all religious people were awful human beings. They were the ones causing all the wars. He would get in fights with neighbors about abortions and the absurdity of their religion. He repeatedly stated that religion was for suckers. It was for those that were too weak to handle the reality of life. In fact, my dad was quite religious about being an atheist.
“There’s no such thing as faith. Either it is or it isn’t. I’m going to say that an invisible turtle holds the Earth then. That’s not absurd. It’s faith!”
My dad had the same fanatical closed-mindedness as those he was ridiculing. I’m right. You’re wrong. If you don’t believe the same as me, you’re a nitwit. Go fuck yourself and go to hell. And as children do, I took on his opinions.
In high school, I was jealous of this one particular Christian friend. She would pray and give thanks to Jesus before she ate a Snickers bar. I had never seen that before. Sure I would go to a friend’s house for dinner, and their family would say grace before eating. But I never imagined they would say a prayer before eating Corn Nuts from a vending machine. I wasn’t jealous of my Christian friend about that. I was jealous about her confidence. She was counting on making it big because that was God’s plan for her. She just knew. She had faith.
For me, there was no such thing as faith. How could I know that things would turn out well for me? I wasn’t taught to have a belief system. That was never ingrained in me. I was envious of her ability to have a strong certainty in herself. Even though she said God was the one that was going to make it happen. I also never understood that part. But I wanted to have somebody on my side like her God. That sounded really nice.
As I got older and perhaps more disappointed with my life, instead of exploring outward and risking more shame and embarrassment, I shifted inward to try and understand my whole purpose here in the world. Why was I born into my fucked up family? Why did my mother have to get murdered when I was a baby? How come I’m not like my dad and my brother? Also, why was I gifted the most amazing grandmother who saved me as much as she could? Why was I lucky enough to have the best aunt and uncle who cared for me, fed me, and housed me? Why was I given such clear cut desires and goals?
With this newfound introspection, I decided that I did have a soul. We all have souls. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to hold a newborn baby, you know that they are never born with an empty slate. Each newborn baby is different. Every baby has it’s own individual personality and charm. Sure, as that baby gets older, it gets told to shut up, behave, think like other people, act like other people, look like other people, and we do because we don’t want to lose the love or validation from our parents and from our peers. So we get fucked over unknowingly, conforming to what society tells us how to be, all the while, losing sight of who we actually are. But underneath all that shit, and I mean a lot of shit because there are generations of shit that have been piled on us, there was and still is… a soul.
Souls are, by definition, spiritual. We were given a unique soul. Each one of us. Now is there a God or a power that controls these souls? Who the fuck knows. I’d like to think that we all have someone or something on our side, rooting for us, believing in us, wanting us to live the life that we are suppose to live and perhaps helping us along the way. Sure. Why not think that? Life is hard. I could take the help. Am I sucker for wanting help? At this point, I really don’t care.
I’ve been connecting to that energy recently. Whatever that is. It’s weird and elusive yet crystal clear all at the same time. But that energy, my soul, my spiritual side has been with me this entire time… through all my pain and grief and various body developments. Right now, I’m trying hard not to throw the spiritual baby out with the religious bathwater.
I do think that our souls have a common purpose…and it’s to evolve. I finally feel like I’m exactly where I need to be because I know I’m evolving.