My time in that place was not what I’d cal enjoyable. A nurse tried to lead me to Christ, convinced that my being there was because of my lack of Jesus. An orderly told me that I was going to hell because I told him why I did what I did: I really thought God told me to kill myself.
The only two people on the floor who were kind and intelligent enough to see into my problem was Dr. Sampson and an unnamed lady who worked as a psychologist. She was convinced that Bethany was a mental hazard for me, that I should never EVER go back. I told her that while that’s fine and good, my mother would not believe her. So, being good at what she did, she planned to tell my mother that if she wanted to have me back, that she had to agree not to have me at Bethany again. Mom agreed.
Mom had me back at Bethany in three months, convinced that it wasn’t the church itself that was the problem, but the youth group. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had told folks what happened. And the adults applogized.
I did not accept their applogy. It was not their need to. They did not do anything wrong to me. It was the leaders and members of the youth church and those in Chi Alpha who should be held responsible. Not them. That, and at the time I honestly felt as if they were trying to whitewash the whole insident. My mother included.
At this time, I formally came out as an atheist. Then a Jew. Then a Pagan. Only to be a Jew again.
Then Pagan. Then Christian. Then Atheist.
I really didn’t know what I believed, I just wanting to believe in SOMETHING. Anything that could make me feel better about myself.
I headed out to Grambling State University, and I was still atheist. Despite the fact I never felt totally accepted by White Christians in general, Grambling really drove home that I wasn’t accepted by Blacks of any religious standing. At least, not the ones that went THERE. According to them, I was trying to be white. Which never made sense to me. I just was me. Whatever that meant. It was the depression and the easy admission of it that made them dislike me. Even more so was my declaration that there was no God. I didn’t force it down their throats like they did their faith, comingled with their ghetto lifestyles. But even though I didn’t, they assumed that I was just stupid.
I didn’t last three months. I ended up back in the hospital for superficial scaring of the skin(aka I began cutting again).
This time, I was placed in a mental health facility in the middle of nowhere. The nurses were nice, the food was good, and to be honest..I never felt so cared for. The night I got in, they saw I was crying, and they fed me a sandwhich and a soda. To which I began to bawl into. After I calmed down, I put away all my things. Then went to bed.
My mother was angry at me, saying I was doing this for attention. My grandfather called me to inform me that “Smothers do not cut”. To which I wanted to say, “Screw you, because this Smothers does.”
The only person who visited me, like really tried to figure out where the hell I was, was my friend T. T is a friend I made a few years back at LSU, and despite my trying to turn him straight…loved me anyway. When he was there, with a gift in tow, I was so happy that I didn’t want him to go. But he had to, as that he was only visiting. Which I think is a good thing.
When I was getting ready to leave, I signed an agreement that I would go through partial hospitalization before I would be thought of as done with my treatment.
So with my diagnosis(Borderline Personality Disorder) in two, I walked into Partial. And found more people who either used to attend Bethany or who were going to start attending. I found it a bit funny/ironic.
When asked about my faith, I said “Atheist”. I got one gasp and possibly one visible sign of the cross. I was still new in my disbelief, but I was doing my best. And so I started going to the doctor, taking my meds and going to therapy.
And my mom pulled the plug on that because apparently they were wrong about my diagnosis.
Meanwhile, I re-entered into a friendship with Desmond Stevens. I knew him for a while, but actually cut him off because I thought he lead me on and was a spineless jerk.
After a year and some months later, complete with a shattered realtionship with my mother later, I find that I was right.
But during this time, I began to find myself interesting in Paganism again, not because I was studying it just be sure, but because of a dream.
The dream goes like this:
I walk into a large building with Greek columns. It’s dark except for the various oil lamps. I move aside, and a processional begins. It’s all of the deities from various cultures, one by one. I cannot see their faces, only their backs. Isis, Gaia, Thor, the list goes on. I end up falling behind the deity Isis, and I follow her until she dissappears. I then find myself drawn to a room which has been hewn from rock. It’s beautiful and simple at the same time. But in the middle is an old woman who is currently tending the fire. I sit down and look at her.
“Will you tend the fire?”
“I cannot, I’m a believer(Christian moment)”
“Will you tend the fire?”
“No, I can’t…although it is nice…”
“Will you tend the fire?”
“Yes, alright, I will.”
I woke up in a bit of spirits. I wanted to learn everything there was about the Goddess. I was still naive, mind you. I honestly believed that a person who was a pagan for much longer than me would just FALL into my lap.
-There was a married couple, both into BDSM(hobby of mine) ,Paganism(faith I had at the time), and polyamory(something I was learning about). Found out the wife was a control freak and husband was a sexual predator. I sure can pick them.
– Became friends with a guy who thought I could teach him sex magic. Didn’t really believe in sex magic. He was a shuckster.
-Found some folks, but started to wonder if I just wasn’t Pagan enough for them. So I left.
By this time, I move to Hammond to attend SLU. I’m still pagan at this time, and well, failing horribly. Or so I thought.
I didn’t have the room to do spells or anything. I didn’t have a place I could just go to either. So I felt like less of a pagan. At least in Christianity, you just kinda pray where you are and you’re okay. In Paganism, it’s a little bit more involved(I thought). Which was fun/awesome, but it just wasn’t fesible.
I moved in with an awesome woman who I just never should have been roommates with. Which is alright.
My second roommate was satan incarnate. Which is not okay.
I ended up moving back home, and doing the online thing. I had to renounce my being pagan because my mother does not tolerate witchcraft in the house.
So I fell back to Christianity, and just as soon I fell out of it.
I began to read books by Christopher Hitches, watch movies by Bill Mahr and Richard Dawkins.
I began asking questions and just thinking for myself instead of going all gaga on what seems good.
So where am I now?
I believe that if the Christian Story is true, that all of the other mythologies and such are true. But in that same vein, I’m quite happy as a nonbeliever. I’m not sure if it’s all true or if it is all wrong. But I am pretty sure of one thing:
Being good, for the sake of being good instead of the fear of hell or reprisal of an angry God, is the best life lived.