If you’ve known or watched me for some time, then I am sure you’ve noticed the drastic change that took place within my beliefs this past couple of years. This past year and a half specifically, I went from Christian to Atheist, to Christian and now…what am I?
I struggled for a while trying to find what I should identify myself as. I felt like it was critical that I subscribe to a belief or non belief system. I was feeling embarrassed about the radical changes I had gone through, especially being that I was so verbal and present on social media during the process. I believed that everyone was looking at me go back and forth, and going “This girl is a fraud.”
For example, just last summer, this very blog was dedicated to posting about my journey as a young Christian woman. And the struggles that came with trying to be “saved” while living a college student’s lifestyle. I was truly dedicated to that lifestyle, too. (as I usually am with anything I believe in, I don’t half step. Period.) I was in church every Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I was participating in whatever extra curriculum activities my church offered me, and I was reading my bible twice, sometimes three times a day. I was doing everything I was taught would help me grow closer to the God I was worshiping, and of course, Jesus Christ.
I was trying my very best to be happy.
And don’t get me wrong, it worked. Through the discipline and teachings that came with my religion, I mended my relationship with my mom. She was so proud of my involvement in the church, and it made things run a lot smoother with us. I was home more. I was staying clear of partying, drugs, alcohol, and anything that would taint the image I was expected to uphold as a Christian Woman. My grades were excellent. I felt like everyone was proud of me, happy for me, sending me love and speaking well about. I felt like everyone was rooting for the good girl, Markesia.
But then, around November I began to feel unfulfilled.
I began to feel like I was living for God, Jesus, my church, my pastor, my friends, and my family. But the most important person was missing from that list: me. Immediately I tried to push those thoughts away. I blamed it on the devil trying to distract me and separate me from Christ. (As any Christian would.) I began to pray more. I read even more. I tried even harder. I pushed even further.
But everything continued to feel inauthentic and forced. And it started to show through me.
I became depressed, reclusive, and bitter. Those feelings I had worked so hard to overcome and move past were back full force, and I was pissed. I had worked so hard to be a good Christian, everything was going great. Friends, school, family = great.
So why was I ruining everything by being angry? And what was I even angry AT?
I battled for a while and everyone around me, not only myself, suffered from it. I was mean and rude to every single person I had worked so hard to build a healthy relationship with. I even began to slack in school (thankfully I had worked so hard at the beginning of the semester that my F’s and lack of attendance didn’t hurt anything). I felt alone, and like I had no one to talk to because all I would ever hear in response was “pray about it” or “God will get you through” And that simply wasn’t enough for me.
Then one day after talking to a friend of mine, I realized that I wasn’t living my truth. I was at war inside of myself; at war with my truth and the truth, everyone else wanted me to live and believe. I took a step back and started to examine the way I truly felt about things. The way I felt about life, religion, and love. I examined the morals that were sacred to me, and the image I wanted to portray and concluded that I didn’t want to PORTRAY anything.
I just wanted to be myself.
Whoever she was, whatever she believed, and whatever “sin” she engaged in… I wanted to be her.
I wanted to be free.
I could go on and on about that journey and the steps I took to conclude that I would no longer recognize myself as a Christian, or as any religion. I could go on and on about the transition from an active church member, to an absent one. About the concerned looks and opinions, I received (and still receive) from people who meant well but didn’t understand. I could even talk about friendships that faded, and the intense loneliness that came with my decision.
But none of that matters. What matters is where I am today.
Today, a little over a year later from when I first got back home and started my journey into being a serious Christian (because I was born and raised in Christianity, I was just never necessarily serious about it) I am not only happy, still doing well in school, taking good care of my body, and enjoying life; but I am also being true to myself and living for ME.
The last part is the toughest because people have tried to guilt me into believing that I am selfish for living for myself or try to tell me that I am living the wrong way. That God is displeased, etc etc. But I find comfort and confidence in knowing that NO ONE has this thing figured out.
NO ONE truly knows anything about anything.
No one has died and seen exactly what happens after this lifetime. No one in any religion; Christianity, Judaism, Muslim or Hinduism knows for sure if the path they’ve chosen to take is the “right” path or just one of the many “right” paths. Everyone is just taking a leap of faith. And that’s perfectly okay. I don’t knock anyone for following what they believe in, because I know some people need that extra help to strive to be better people on this earth, and some people just need a reason to live. But, because I am blessed to be able to find these things within myself, I personally don’t care about religion.
I don’t care to worry myself about religion, or what happens after death.
Death is going to happen. Period. We’re all going to die.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in God or a higher power or source. But it doesn’t mean that I do either. I am not an atheist, agnostic, or any other label. I find truth in everything, and I find truth in nothing. I no longer feel the need to identify with anything in order to prove my beliefs. Because what I’ve realized is that
maybe it’s not even our place to worry about what goes on after this life, maybe it is only our place to live.
So, my focus is on living. My focus is on becoming a better me. My focus is on growing, learning, and loving this life I’ve been given a chance to experience.
My focus is on now.
I do realize this may sound foreign or crazy to some people, especially since we live in a society where religion plays a gigantic part in peoples every day lives. And hopefully, this post doesn’t make anyone question my sincerity or goodness as a person but regardless,
I know who I am and what I am about.
Hopefully, if there is someone up in the sky judging us for our choices on Earth, they can understand my position.
But if not, I am willing to suffer whatever consequences there might be.
(although I truly believe what happens on Earth stays on Earth, shout out to Kendrick Lamar.)