Pressure can do a lot to keep doubts under the surface.
But when that pressure releases… the result looks a lot like an explosion.
The relationship with D ended. Fights with us were nothing new at all, but the very first time that I was the one who was upset first proved to be the final round.
Abruptly, I found myself free. I suddenly realized exactly how much of my life had revolved around D and the church, and now?
Well, now I was free to really feel what had been stuffed under the rug.
The result was a pile of messy, bitter resentment pretty much exploding out of hiding.
A few months earlier, I’d sat in an endocrinologists office for something completely unrelated, and been told that my chemical levels were so messed up that I would likely never have children without medical intervention.
In theory, with the quiverful movement sorts of thinking, this should be a blessing on remaining childless… accepting it as God’s plan. In reality, those keeping that view generally expect large families, and expect others keeping it to have large families as well. D’s church was very much in the camp of expecting large numbers of kids.
D and I had both tried to accept it.. but the unexpressed hurt feelings had grown into a bitterness with both of us… spewing out in the final fight… that I think had a good amount to do with the decision on his side to end things for good.
I’d always had the feeling like I was totally messed up and would never be good enough.
But now I felt set up physically to be unable to measure up.
The inability to be anything but a mess mentally I could always blame myself for.. and I always did.
But physical is harder to write off as my fault… especially when I’d been trying to live up to D’s standards and was at the lowest weight of my adult life and about killing myself to try and get lower.
But the physical element that caused the most bitterness… was actually just a tiny pill.
It had been prescribed for the anxiety attacks, at the time being considered panic attacks.
I’d been told it would take up to 2 weeks to have any effect… and had been started at half of the lowest available dose.
And yet, midway through the first day, I abruptly realized that I’d had no problems the entire day.
No problems with attacks, but beyond that, also no problems with being nervous around people, and no stress.
It was like a sudden switch…. that had abruptly changed everything that I’d struggled with for so long.
In the following months, I would come out of my shell almost to the point of becoming more an extrovert than an introvert. I’d gained more friendships, pretty much effortlessly.
This would seem like a massive blessing that should have provoked nothing but pure thankfulness, and it did for quite a while.
But now… now I was able to admit that I felt like I’d been screwed up from the get-go.
How many years had I cried out of loneliness? How many nights spent wishing and praying for close friendships or relationships, to be more able to connect with people, more able to be loved? How much time had been spent, and how much heartache?
How many times had I prayed and begged for things to change… both in my fears and in the attacks… and gotten no response?
And here, mere humans with all of their stupidity could make a tiny pill and manage to fix everything for me, just like that, when for all of these years god easily could have but refused to?
I was hurt.
I made a list of all of the things I was resentful about myself… and it was a very long list. From personality things, to weight struggles, to hair color and type, to even more minor things like having too poor of vision to be able to wear contacts.
I didn’t doubt god existed at this point… but I doubted that he was on my side of things.
Maybe like the villain in a play, I was just written for the unhappy role in his storyline.
I decided I was done with that script.
If I was going to be miserable in my life within the script, then I didn’t have much to lose outside of it.
And so, I deliberately made the decision to turn away and see what the world had to offer.
Drinking seemed like a good place to start, as the bar flies always seemed to be having fun… but it took getting drunk a total of once to realize that I do not enjoy the experience at all.
But running into relationships worked very well.
To a kid who had always felt like an outsider… now having her guard dropped by medication… it was a happy new world.
When I was in 7th grade, I dropped down to the regular math class, and suddenly found that instead of being the stupidest of the smart kids, I was now the smartest of the regular kids…. and that was an awesome thing, to suddenly realize that as much as I felt like I was behind, I was actually still ahead.
That’s the best way that I can explain the effect this had. Suddenly, I’d gone from being the one who didn’t have it together from the church’s perspective, to someone that from the world’s perspective was doing pretty good.
I felt like the playing field was finally one that I at least had a fighting chance… if not even a good shot at doing well.
I went from the girl who had about 2 dates in high school and had never been kissed at 22, to dating at least one person (and sometimes more) for all but about 6 months of the next 5 years or so.
The nudges had stopped entirely, as had my prayer life. All seemed silent.
I came to start feeling like it had all been in my head, an imaginary friend that had made me feel better but hadn’t had any reality behind it.
I never went so far as to feel like god didn’t exist… but my views slid well into the agnostic realm… that humans could never know for sure either way… and felt like it didn’t matter anyway.
Christianity started to feel like a homeowners association… something that was annoyance that made your life harder personally, but that benefited you by doing to same thing to your neighbors to keep them in line. Being a Christian meant you couldn’t lie, cheat, or steal… which didn’t help you much, but the benefit came in others being Christians also not being able to lie, cheat, or steal from you.
And so life went on…