Nourishing the Whole Self

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to nourish myself. I’ve been finding myself exhausted after work and getting into cycles of boredom, depression, and apathy. But I want to be awake to live my life outside of work. There is a whole lot to appreciate and not a whole lot of a time to live. I don’t believe in god, a supernatural, a collective human soul….or anything like that, but I’m still a person with emotions and mental health to take care of. It’s like I hit some type of disconnect with my atheism.  I forgot that even though I’m not partaking in nourishment through religion, I still need to take care of my whole self.  When I was a Christian, I believed I had to work to improve my relationship with god. I would pray more, read my bible, go to bible studies, go to church and all that stuff.  It never satisfied me, because none of that was real. But I was spending time thinking, reflecting, and even laughing. Now I’m trying to take some of those aspects and aggressively make them apart of my life. 

One key element I’ve found to nourishing myself is staying mentally active. Sometimes it’s so easy for me to just park on the couch after work and watch a Castle marathon for several days in a row, but the easy way is not always the best way. It’s been surprising what I’ve found when by tuning into my mental activity levels. I find that even if I’m exhausted, it helps me feel relaxed. It helps me channel my stress, let go of worries that don’t serve me, and connect better with those I’m close to. I’ve also realized it doesn’t have to be a daunting task to keep me mentally active. Reading comic books, having a good conversation, and playing certain video games are all good for keeping my mind moving. I’ve also realized pretty much everything I had on my iPhone (games, apps, Facebook) were poison for me and added nothing of value to my life (except Google maps, I’m always lost). 

I’m also trying to take care of my body. Getting sleep, eating right, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly are all helping me nourish myself. I am a very moderate person. I don’t diet, I don’t restrict myself foods, and I don’t stick to a strict gym routine. I try to go to the park a few times a week, eat my fruits and veggies, but I still like to enjoy a doughnut now and again 🙂

As far as nourishing the spirit goes, I’m just trying to take some deep breaths, be kind to myself, and let go of stressing about things I don’t need to. I’m leaving work at work, and taking time to enjoy me and those I love.

m.c.

Advertisements

Death

I usually manage to fall asleep at 3 am,  preceded by an hour or so of mind wanderings. The mind wanderings tend to be thoughts that I’ve thought 100 times before.  Occasionally though, I come across a raw, untouched thought that hasn’t been combed over, thought over, talked about, or processed. The other night, it was death.   Truthfully, I haven’t given death itself much thought. I didn’t either as a Christian. As a person, I have always avoided the thought of death.

I have been to exactly 3 funerals. The first was my grandmothers when I was 5. I didn’t understand why I didn’t have one of those “fun” bags with coloring books and snacks I got in church.  The second funeral I went to was for my late guinea pig Fluffy. The third was the funeral of my moms best friend Maureen, who I had only met a handful of times. She was a single woman, the same age as my mom, who had adopted a daughter from China.  Her adopted daughter was probably 12 years old when her mom died. And at the funeral I sobbed. I mean, I totally lost it. And I do not like to cry in front of other people, especially my family. I did not understand why everyone else at the funeral managed to keep it together. And an open casket?!?! I wanted to throw up.  I was surprised by my strong reaction to the death of someone I hardly knew, so I just tried to block everything from the funeral out.

About a year later, a close friend asked if I was afraid of death to which I answered with an unhesitating “No”. She was shocked by that. She wanted to know how I couldn’t be afraid of death. I said because I knew I was going to heaven, and once I got to heaven I wouldn’t miss anything on earth and everything would be amazing.  But my friend wasn’t asking about life after death. She was talking about dying itself. The process in which the human body stops living and breathing. And after I thought about it some more, I realized, shit, dying is scary.  Then I did my best to not think about it again.

As I lay in bed at 3 am, I realized that I have to accept that I am going to die. That it might hurt. That it might be sad. That (hopefully) other people will be sad and miss me. One day I will cease  to exist and so will all of my family and all of my friends and all of the people I don’t like.  There will be a time in my life when I have to go without someone that is very close to me everyday.

Overall, the whole idea of death is much more peaceful as an atheist than as a Christian.  Heaven and hell cause so much grief in families and relationships. You’re told life in heaven will be better than you could ever imagine, and you won’t miss your friends or parents or even your spouse. You don’t get to be married in heaven. You don’t get to have you dog in heaven. Everything you know to be wonderful and happy in your life is diminished by saying that really, in comparison, it’s nothing. What’s even the point? As an atheist, I don’t worry about what will happen to me when I die. That’s peace. Peace isn’t knowing that I’ll be floating around not missing everything that I have that is wonderful while at the same time someone I know and possibly love is eternally suffering for not pleasing a jealous god.

I am content with the life I have. I seek to fill it with as much happiness and love as I can, and then one day I’ll die.  The End.

M.C.

Advice to a Younger Me

As a disclaimer, as I write this blog post to myself about some wisdom I’ve gained over the years, I have a stomach full of macaroni and cheese I asked my parents to mail. So I’ve grown up some, but not enough to abandon the disgustingly artificial delight of mac and cheese. That just seemed like a relevant fact. But I write on.

Someone recently asked me, if I could give a piece of advice to my 15 or 16 year old self, what would it be?

Now, there were not nearly enough rules assigned to this hypothetical. I am going to assume my 15 year old self finds her 20 year old self giving her advice to be perfectly normal. I wasn’t sure how much time I had either. If it’s like, a drop a line in her sub-conscious type thing, the one liner is:

 Don’t believe everything people tell you, even if they seem really smart, convincing, and convicted.  

Now, if I get to ya know, take her out to a nice dinner and have a good conversation, I would say something  more along the lines of this:

Don’t believe that your faith makes you any more moral than someone without faith or with faith in another god.  Don’t think that it makes you better and don’t think that it makes you happier. Just because it seems like all the good people you know are good god loving Christians, don’t assume there aren’t plenty of amazing non-Christians out there. Take time to really really put yourself in the shoes of other people and other perspectives.  When you are searching and searching for the right answer, instead of trying to forget about it, settle, push it away, or tell yourself that having unanswered questions is part of your relationship with god, just try to think of life from the atheists perspective. Not from the biased perspective your church and friends and media are telling you about atheists, but as objectively as you can. And even if it’s uncomfortable keep trying. You are not better than anyone because of your faith. And I know you know that, but take a second look at your actions and beliefs. Just because someone says what you’re doing is selfless and good doesn’t mean it is.  Be more objective, seek more answers outside of Christianity, and always wear your seat-belt.

What would you say to a younger you?

stay adorable,

M.C. 

visit me on twitter 🙂

Open Up Your Own Door

Today, while perusing Instagram, I came across this:

Image

My thoughts were pretty well summed up in this comment.  “Or you can just open the door yourself and not wait around for “supernatural” beings to determine your life for you.”

If you don’t like how life is going, do what you can to change it. Trust yourself and your decisions. Don’t sit in the hallway until you hear some “divine” voice telling you what to do. It’s your life, live it.

that’s all, stay adorable,

M.C.

Relationship Ramble

Hi Friends,

I cannot believe it has been nearly a month since I last posted! Getting ready to study abroad and then getting settled in Ireland really took up my time. I’m adequately settled now though, and ready to resume the blogging life.  So, greetings from Ireland!

It’s fucking windy

What I want to write about today is not particularly related atheism, but it’s related to my life.  As I’ve mentioned before, back at home in the states I have a wonderful fiance named Patrick. (He’s an atheist). I’ve known him a little over 4 years now, and I couldn’t be happier that I’m marrying him. But being with him has opened my eyes to my relationship with relationships. And I’m not talking just romantic relationships, I’m talking any personal relationship.

Let me tell you, my children will NOT be getting dating/relationship advice from the public school system, and certainly not the church. Because they seriously fucked me up.  Between school, church, my parents, and random other adults who had influence in my life, the message I was constantly berated with was, “Don’t spend too much time with a boyfriend. Don’t ditch all your friends to have a boyfriend. Go on fun and exciting group dates! Really, never be alone with a boy.” I even read this Christian book Dateable. Here’s a nice quote

“It will not last. You heard me. Whatever relationship you are in right now, whether you are 14, 15, 16, or even 18 years old, know this: It will not last! Period. The end….You will break up. It will end. It will hurt. It will get in the way of your purpose in life, and it will complicate things and distract you from your passion and destiny.”

It was a long time ago that I read it, but I’m fairly certain the book also mentioned that girls should never ask guys out because they will take the rejection too personally, and if a guy says anything nice it’s because he has used it on so many other girls and is a player (You asshole Patrick, you must have proposed to so many different girls),  and of course, the typical “the only reason a man looks at you is so he can hopefully put his penis in you”.

And that’s just dating advice. The friendship advice always seemed to be, don’t just do something because your friends are doing it. Do things alone or independently. Always be making new friends. And as I got older, if I ever spent a lot of time with one or two  friends, my parents would tell me that maybe I should spend time with some of my other friends. Still to this day my mom points out to me that I’m probably hurting old friends feelings blah blah blah.

And when I went off to college, everyone starts to talk about this NY Times article titled “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” I’m not going to go into too much detail about it, but just because someone printed it in the NY Times doesn’t make it fucking gold.

Now, 2.5 years into a happy relationship, I still struggle to act fully committed. Patrick and I spend WAY fucking less time together that I think we should or want to.  I have been SO manipulated throughout my life to be both the  socialite and totally independent. I have been so scared that being in a close relationship would mean not being fulfilled and internally miserable.

But guess fucking what?  I am capable of determining what amounts of time to devote to whatever and whomever I want in order to  create my optimal happiness without this stupid advice.

I am so sick of hearing this advice given to people. I am so sick of the church promoting this culture of never getting too close to someone of the opposite sex. What is the point of telling people to spend less time with people they care about and enjoy being with?  Stop being so afraid. Stop telling people they won’t enjoy life or “find” themselves if they don’t backpack around Europe by themselves meeting strangers. The one thing I wish I would have done is spend more time with the people I care about and not be so concerned about chasing this magical and mythical idea of the perfect young adulthood filled with adventure and fulfillment.

I wish people hadn’t spent so much time scaring me about close relationships and instead showed me their value and taught me that they take effort. I’m so sick of living a life where as soon as a relationship starts to require effort I move on.  It’s not fulfilling.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Stay adorable,

M.C.

Cleaning Up & Moving On

Hi friends,

I am leaving to study abroad on Sunday.  (mini freak out here). I’m going to Ireland!!  When I come home, I am officially moving into my new apartment with my fiance Patrick. This means my mom wants me to clear out my room and get rid of all the junk I’ve been storing in here since 2nd grade.  I started with the bookshelf.

Most of my bookshelf was Christian literature. It was a weird feeling to see all of these. To be honest, I was super surprised at just how many I had.  I haven’t read all of them, but most. They brought back a lot of emotions for me.   I remember hating memorizing passages from Luther’s catechism for my confirmation.  I remember really enjoying Mean Girls, Sexy Girls, and Idol Girls and the retreats I read them on with my youth group. I remember being angered and frustrated by A Call to Die because it made me feel like an awful person.

My friend got me 10 Lies the Church Tells women for my birthday after I had a heartbreaking conversation with a youth leader who I admired. He shared his messed up ideas about women and their “role” in society. I remember breaking down and sobbing, being angry, and then just deciding that he was stupid. It was a defining moment in my teen years, and what shaped my desire to be a rational Christian for the following years.

These books were my efforts to make sense of religion. To make me feel fulfilled and happy. The topics range from building faith to seeking logic and truth. I read all those words looking for answers, and now I know I only needed one thing: atheism. Some of the books I have good memories associated with, others not so much. But the ones I have the most positive memories with were the ones I read with other people, in bible studies, youth groups, church, small groups, or whatever other settings bible things are read.  Which only supports my theory that I liked religion for the community it provided me.

My bible especially still holds some value that I have a hard time letting go of.  I was in a women’s bible study at my university. Sure, some I thought were a little loony, but I still liked it. We would read passages of the bible and pray. It was an hour a week to escape from work and school.  Patrick would always ask me what I got out of it, and sometimes I had an answer, sometimes I didn’t. But looking back I think I mostly enjoyed having a break that I could look forward to every week where I knew I would be surrounded by women with positive attitudes.

But I know when I go back to school my relationship with every single one of those girls will be non-existent. They don’t really know anything about me, and we no longer have the commonality of Christianity.  So I suppose my atheism opens the door for me to cultivate new and meaningful friendships and find a new weekly break to look forward to. As far as my bible goes,  I’m still opening it up and reading, but it seems a whole lot crazier, weirder, and less good-promoting than I remember. And it’s a little sad. Something I put so much trust in, so much thought in, and so much hope in is really just a crazy book of  a vein god.  It’ll be less sad overtime, and new things will become important and sentimental.

I also feel less guilty about consulting my stuffed penguin chewy after a bad day instead of the bible, so that’s a plus.

I know this was a long one, but thanks for letting me share.  Please share something about your story.

stay adorable,

M.C.

“Somebody is Looking Out For Me”

Today I watched this video of Adam Savage speaking at the Reason Rally. It  inspired me. It made me happy. I listened to it a few times, because he says so many great and meaningful  things in such a short time.  I thought about every Christian speaker I’ve ever heard (which is a lot) and  wondered what their speech would sound like. My analysis is as follows, “We have a god who loves us” (cheering from the crowd), “We need to win back our schools for god” (cheering from the crowd), “God has a plan for you” (Cheering from the crowd), “Gods mercy rains down on us” (Cheering from the crowd).  Probably some music playing, some time to think quietly about all your transgressions, emotion filled testimonies, more singing, and a whole lotta crying.

I was that a part of that crowd several times. Now I long to be a part of a crowd like the one at the Reason Rally. I want to cheer for and celebrate human reason. Adam Savage states a lot of facts.  I want to celebrate facts. Facts don’t make me agonize over the lack of clarity they offer.  Reasonable thought doesn’t leave me with a million what if’s and no way to get to the answer. It means so much more to me to cheer for reason, truth, facts, ideas, and a fellow human’s story than cheering for abstract, questionable, emotion based empty phrases. I am excited to think of my morality as truly mine, not bestowed upon me or demanded of me to receive “life”.  Failing as a faithful person led to a road of wonder, frustration, sadness, questioning, self-loathing and a variety of other emotions. Failing as an atheist means determination, problem solving, wonder, and education.  Truth has changed my life for the better.

The ending quote was my favorite and sums up so much of how I feel.

I have concluded through careful empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me, keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less than I ought. Giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I’m capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think, and they still love me, and I’ve concluded, after careful consideration, that this person keeping score is me.

Stay Adorable,

M.C.

Prayer for an Atheist

Hi Adorable People!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Mine was fun..but bittersweet. It was my last weekend with my fiance Patrick until January. (I’m leaving to do a semester abroad in Ireland). We stayed up late playing a lot of Minecraft, watching movies, and drinking wine from the bottle. It really is good to be in a relationship with your best friend.

On to today’s topic, Prayer! As a Christian, I generally enjoyed praying. Not the kind where you read pre-written prayers in church though, or where they make you stand forever and all you can think about is sitting down. I enjoyed just falling asleep saying my prayers. I never really believed in the power of prayer, it was more of a reflection for me. I never asked god to help me get an A on a test or anything, but I would pray about having patience and remembering to take it slow. And eventually in praying to God, I realized I was just reminding myself and focusing on something important. And that’s what I liked about praying—just a quite time to sort through emotions and think serious things, the ups and downs of life, what I need to work on, what is going well, etc.

So, now as an atheist, I don’t pray. But I do find myself missing that quiet serious time. Reflecting to myself with no sort of direction is harder to make time for and not as rewarding. I do enjoy talking to Patrick about what we are thankful for, and the best and worst part of the day (from the part of me that was a camp counselor…). I also enjoy listening to some comedy before falling asleep, because laughing is important.

I love the rawness of trying to create something like a new routine for reflecting. Sometimes you try something and it just sticks, sometimes ideas just fails. It’s a process and somewhere along the way you learn about yourself by figuring out how you like to reflect, not from the actual reflecting.  I feel that atheist “prayer” is ultimately more fulfilling because it’s about me taking responsibility of my decisions, happiness, and life instead of making that out of my control.

How do you reflect? I’d love to hear about it!

Have an adorable day,

M.C.

Coffee and tea are excellent beverages to drink while reflecting.

 

Rights for Women, Hooray!

I care deeply about women’s health.  I love and support Planned Parenthood and all the great things they do for women. At the Planned Parenthood I go to, there are protesters every single day. They hold up graphic signs and hand out brochures with mis-information.  The Catholic Diocese  pays someone to protest all day long.  I hate that I’m forced to drive through a judging, scary mob just to get birth control pills.  I hate that women who are having one of the worst days of their lives have to go through a bunch of holier than thou judgmental Christians who think their belief should create a universal standard for all people.  And, a bunch of the protesters are men! What is your business worrying about what is or is not inside my reproductive organs?

I attend a Catholic University, and we are required to take three theology courses.   I took my first course with a priest, and during the semester the university decided to pull all funding for contraceptives from their health care for employees.  That’s fine–it’s a private institution and they can do that.  But anyway, the priest wanted to have a class discussion about it. He told me to my face that the legislation regarding contraceptives wasn’t a women’s issue. It was a theology issue.  I haven’t been so mad in a very very long time.  And I have never been so proud to give such an obviously disgusted look at an authority figure.

I watched this video and perused Planned Parenthood’s Action Center for some information on how the health care plan will effect women.  I keep reading over and over from different sources that women will be able to get birth control for no co-pay.  That just hasn’t sunk in for me yet. Like, I can have it, for free? All I have to do is have a prescription and an annual check-up? That must only apply to some women…It just seems to good to be true….

I’m just a firm, firm believer that I can have sex with whoever I want! And no one should decide if I take contraception (or any other kind of medication or treatment for that matter) besides me and my doctor.  And if these conservative Christians have such a problem with abortion, why don’t the spend more time on addressing the root issue of unwanted pregnancies, or offer to pay for the damn child to be born, or to improve the foster care system in this country?

Stay Adorable, and Safe.  M.C.

Atheist Book Monday

Happy Monday Adorable People!!

I hope you all had a good weekend.  Some highlights of mine were visiting the apartment Patrick and I will be sharing come January, going to a baseball game with some friends, and of course, my new atheist books!  I got God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens and Irreligion by John Allen Paulos.  I love to read–and as a young teen I read a lot of Christian devotionals and books, so it feels right to read a little bit about atheism.  Hopefully I’ll get a lot of reading done this week, I’m really looking forward to learning more and thinking more about something important to me!

What books have you read that impacted you?

Stay Adorable, M.C.