I don’t just pay this lip service, but I actually live it. Without trying to be or sound judgemental, lots of people make the same claim, but not many actually live it.
Undoubtedly my non-conformity is the reason I’ve never been pigeon-holed or labelled. It’s probably also the reason why the circle of people I consider true friends (those who would drop everything and drive to Winnipeg in the middle of winter if I called them and said I was there and needed them) is fairly small.
When I was growing up my family moved a lot...and I really mean a whole lot! Sometimes I’d have two or three schools within one academic year – my personal record being four high schools within the first three months. As a result, I was always the new kid. When this is the kind of life you lead, a couple of things happen...at least they happened to me: (1) I became extremely self-sufficient and singular; and (2) I came to realize people were not necessarily permanent in my life and that I didn’t really need many of them. Now don’t get me wrong, I was not lonely, but rather I was quite comfortable in being alone. There’s a huge difference.
This meant that peer pressure was pretty much non-existent to me. There was no way that anyone could influence me into doing something I didn’t want to do simply because I didn’t care enough about their opinions of me if I didn’t do it. After all, the odds were good that I’d be going to a new school in a few months or so anyway, so what did I care whether they liked me or not. Truth be told, it’s actually quite a liberating thing because having this kind of outlook from a young age enabled me to look at things and question them because I wanted the answers. I didn’t care what others thought.
The greatest compliment I ever received was one my stepmother told me that my dad had said about me. She’d been talking about me to someone and in describing me, said that I marched to the beat of a different drummer. My father, on overhearing this conversation, said, “No, she beats her own drum.” I have to say it’s a moment of rare insight that I wouldn’t have believed my dad would have come up with except that I believe my stepmother.
Although my family was Catholic, we were largely non-practicing. I’d been christened as a baby, made my first communion as a kid and had been confirmed as a young teen, but always I had the questions. The older I got, the more interesting the questions. What finally made me realize that religion is a bunch of bull and really nothing more than a way of controlling the mindless masses, was when I wanted to get married the first time. My ex-husband had been married before in an Anglican ceremony and had been divorced for years. In order for him to be permitted to marry me (Catholic) in a church ceremony, he had to do a few things. The first was to agree to have any children raised as Catholics. Now here’s the weird, man-made rules part. His first wedding was considered a pagan ceremony due to the fact that it was an Anglican service, and therefore not ‘recognized’ by the Catholic church. That being said, they wanted him to write to the Pope (really!) for his first marriage to be annulled and to obtain permission to marry a Catholic.
That’s where I put my foot down. I asked, rightly so I believe, “If his first marriage is not recognized by the church, why does it have to be annulled?” No one, at any level of church management could or would answer that. This is just one example of the hypocrisy that resulted in my giving up the Catholic religion, indeed any real belief in any kind of “god”.
This type of opinion, however, sends spears of rage through any religious church-goer.
People are all for “freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion” so long as it conforms to their own beliefs.
I don’t judge others for their beliefs, so I’m often left shaking my head and wondering why I’m judged for mine. If you really believe there is a god, then just satisfy yourself that I’ll be judged by that god at some point. If you think that nothing I could say would convince you to change your beliefs, your faith if you will, then why do you think that anything you could say would change mine? There are a lot of truly evil people out there in the world who think that because they go to church every week, all their transgressions against others are forgiven.
I live my life attempting to do no harm to others. If someone has faith such that they believe in a higher being, then so be it. Good for them. I try not to judge based on religion, beliefs or race. After all, we are all part of the human race. I believe that we should be kind to whomsoever we meet and in return they may be kind to us. A lot of people preach without living their beliefs. Some of us just live our beliefs without feeling the need to preach about it.