I sometimes wonder what would happen if I met the religious me from over 10 years ago, would I recognise her? And would we be friends? The funny thing is, yes I think we would be friends. The religious me would befriend the nonreligious me, thinking that she could convert this wayward, lost and unhappy soul. The old me would not see how happy I am now. But would guess that I was unhappy underneath “the veneer of happiness”, as after all, nonreligious people can’t possibly be happy without God! Religious me would feel an obligation to spend time with the worldly, to find out how they work, to better infiltrate their world with godliness.
Religious me would have struggled to be my friend, because I will burn in hell for eternity. Religious me would have cried on a regular basis for her friends that would be lost, it would upset her so much that she would distance herself from people she liked to be with, because they wouldn’t be with her in heaven.
Some say that people don’t change. But I see a huge difference in myself. Others may not see the difference as much as I do, I internalised so many of the thoughts I had about God and kept my beliefs as private as I could, not wishing to lose friends or converts. Whether I have changed much outwardly in how I act is not too important, what I do know is my mind feels different now, I feel freer and I have less guilt than before.
I am sad for that girl who destroyed her self esteem on a daily basis because she didn’t want god to hate her for being happy about herself and feeling proud of her accomplishments.
I barely recognise the old me who used to base her decisions on what she thought god wanted her to do, like taking a gap year in Mexico, attempting to break up with her partner multiple times because he was an atheist and studying a degree that would enable her to evangelise all over the world in multiple languages.
It is like I am describing another person. Another person that I feel deeply sorry for.