We are so alike, yet so different. Unlike you, Bez, when I left my family I did not find friends in the LGBTQ+ family. What I found was resentment, anger, that I could, did, pass for straight. It was not a "priveledge" that I wanted, yet it was one that I had and that had been my survival strategy for a cool decade before I finally worked up enough nerve to "come out." When I "came out" ... when I came out, no one seemed interested in what had kept me "in". When I came out, no one thanked me or hit on me or even so much as spoke to me. I was on my own, with neither "Church" nor "State" to console me. Let's be clear about something. Being judgemental and holier than thou is not the special providence of religious Christians. And LGBTQ+ is a relatively recent reframing of what we used to call simply homosexuality. At the end of the day, what you have are people who are all not perfect and lez b honest not understanding of themselves and their purpose in the world, let alone others'. And being honest about who you are is rarely rewarded, nor is it its own reward. It is simply the only option you have if you want to take a shot at being rewarded. And your shot is just that, happiness is not guaranteed. Whoever said finding bliss was the reward of the faithful was lying through their teeth. The truth is painful. The truth is hard. The truth is very much discouraging. Yet we go on. We persist in existing, led on by a longing, a "need" to make sense of it all. To make a game of it. To make it something you could possibly win. Thank you for giving me the space to clarify myself, Bez. I really needed a space where my voice could potentially reach others.
How To Survive Religious Trauma
Sequel to Queer In Public: A Brief Essay.
A little guide to surviving after you decide to leave the church. How do you access how religion has scarred you? Follow these handy steps!
In all seriousness, I hope this is helpful to somebody out there. This was made sincerely, and I thank you for reading it.
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I'm sorry you experienced all of those things--you deserved to be supported, not resented. And I agree: the truth is hard, but we persist. And we find meaning.
I'm glad I could give you the space for your voice to be heard. <3
Wow, this is really powerful! It reminds me of a similar game I made (it's privated now) when I hit a rough patch processing my own religious trauma; it's heartening to see some of the same thoughts and worries that I thought I was alone in dealing with. Thank you for making this!
Yo thank you for sharing this! I've been struggling with the same for years but haven't read much from other people going through it, and oo this is also just a cool format for an essay - hope you're doing well!
(RIP pretend I commented with this account lol; accidentally signed into my old one skdjcdjkn)
Hey, Norbez! You are SO AMAZING. You remind me that there is a lot of love in the world, and there are a lot of good people. Your voice in this piece is wise, warm, encouraging, and most of all honest... Thank you for creating this heartfelt and sincere resource.
Good luck to you on your journey, from another person who left not one but two Christian sects. ^_^;; (It took me a while to figure out I didn't have to "settle" for a religion that hated me, my gender, and my friends, even if some things seemed better than the other one at first...) Thanks for writing this from your experiences to help others.
(Tiny quibble: there's no "of course" about joining in praying when family are. I remain quiet and respectful but I'm not interested in bowing my head and joining hands with people who don't respect me. That's just me though! I'm still bitter lol.)
Many many +1s to finding friends and support while someone is processing their trauma, and taking time to breathe. Nice work!
Thank you! Good for you for realizing that you don't have to "settle"! & I understand still being bitter.
Thanks for reading and for the compliments!
I don't think that anyone who renounces the Traditions of his Ancestors will either find relief nor entitlement to it. There is no "Religious Trauma", but rather the Trauma of a Life devoid of Meaning or Purpose. I cannot overstate my envy for those who were cultivated in a Spiritual Faith, for I was not. However, I am sure we all agree that, if there is a God, He blessed those who have Faith we want, for no one Church has ever known the Evils of Our Time, undoubtedly a Godless one abounding in the very Idols which both Christ and Antichrist alike insisted that we bury. Pardon my poor choice of words; the hour is late, nearing dawn, and I am partly drunk. I meant this to dissuade those who were blessed with privilege which I did not enjoy: to always know that they'd lay down their lives and loves for something Greater.
"It is not living, but living rightly, that matters." Can you claim you have Survived, then? To what End? To what End shall we Die, nonetheless?
I'm still not quite sure what to make of this comment. It's pretty rude to comment "there is no religious trauma" on a project specifically about religious trauma. It also feels like you're trying to convert me, which I specifically asked people *not* to do in the essay you're commenting on.
From a fellow survivor of religious trauma, I wish you a safe transition out of Christianity. It's been 14 years for me, and it's never totally left me. I still have some trauma responses. But it gets better.