I just had a revelation. While I have your average run-of-the-mill fear of failure, I also just realized I have an intense fear of success. Everything I’ve ever done in my life, I’ve done as well as I could without being “too good.” Even in things for which I’ve been passionate. I’ve ALWAYS stopped just short of achievement. Because of fear. Frantic fear.
Until now, this has been entirely subconscious.
Here’s an email I just sent my dad. He had expressed to me he thinks he’s a failure because of the way my brother and I have rejected his religious values. He often wonders where he “went wrong.” I’m posting this because we all sometimes think we’re failures, especially after we make a big mistake. We also all have a natural power within ourselves to get out from under that wet blanket.
I just want to say I don’t write poems. The last time I wrote a poem was in high school. But I’m grieving the loss of my God. And this is what came out.
I just watched a disturbing documentary on Netflix. It’s called “Jesus Camp,” and I had some rough reactions to it. I’m kind of late to the party;, apparently it was all the rage when it was released in 2006, and it even got an Oscar nod for best documentary.
Anyway, it basically showed how Evangelical children are
indoctrinated brainwashed taught ideas about how the world is basically pure evil, including other psychologically dysfunctional fundamentalist concepts. It’s nothing I haven’t read or learned about before, but seeing it was just disturbing. The scene that sucker-punched me in the kidneys was when this blond-hair 10 year old boy started crying because he knew he was a bad child for doubting God’s existence. For struggling with really difficult things.
I’ve never lost anyone particularly close to me. So when I read that people who leave their religion often go through the stages of grief, I thought it was interesting, but it wasn’t like I could relate. I don’t even think I know what grief is.
A couple Google search attempts (I definitely do this too much) led me to an article by Matt Oxley about the stages of grief, as applied to a loss of religion. It was the first time I realized I had already gone through some of the stages, and I was currently struggling with the rest. It felt wonderful to have someone almost perfectly describe some of the difficulties I’ve had in my recent life.
For those of you who are reading this thinking that it was fairly easy for you to accept that you no longer believe in the religion you grew up with, I ask that you understand that I wasn’t just a regular Jew who went to services on High Holidays or every once in a while on Saturday.
I’m on a quest to improve myself.
For about 6 months now, I’ve been struggling with my connection to my past. I was dating a girl, whom I am no longer seeing, and the nature of our relationship was forcing me to address many things about my religion that I’ve sealed off in a box in the corner of my mind. There were some painful memories hidden in that box for obvious reason, but plenty of happy ones were stored there as well.
Skip to the present, and I’m finding it much harder to deal with the issues of my past than I had expected. I’ve found that in the last 5 years or so, I’ve begun to disassociate from my religious upbringing, and for the longest time, I just assumed it was a phase. Now I’m beginning to understand that I no longer wish to live the life I was taught to live. This has brought me to try to understand my life, and I’ve found some marvelous tools to help me with this.