The Guilt… my god… the guilt!
During my high school years, and even early college, I hung on to my religion and church tightly. I did everything they asked of me and more. I was the poster child for what a person should do to gain entry into heaven, and more importantly, gain acceptance by church going peers. I could not be in the building too much, couldn’t be singing loud enough or evangelizing enough. As I went off to college, I found a group very quickly. Then, as years passed and I became more aware of my true feelings, I came to the realization that much, if not all, of my deeds were to keep me going. To not allow one single moment of actual introspection. To not allow myself to think what I really thought. For if I did, even for a second, I would be overcome with so much guilt it would practically suffocate me.
Guilt is perhaps one of the worst feelings I’ve had. I put it right up there with grief, and believe me, I’ve felt both as strongly as a person can feel them. Guilt will ruin your body and your mind faster than any nonsensical diet. It will mess with emotions you never knew you had, and will cling to you like the darkness clings to other side of the moon. It will not let go. It will not stop at anything. It has taken me 13 years to get to where I am, able to think and feel things without feeling paralyzed by guilt. Fear of hell, fear that I will never fit in or be loved. My husband plays a very large part in this recovery, and I owe him my life for it. While I had been letting go of my belief structure years before I met him… it wasn’t until I met someone I trusted deeply, that I was able to let myself truly separate from my religious beliefs completely. Let myself feel the guilt, deal with the guilt and let go of the guilt.
Now, I am not completely cured (I really do compare having this type of guilt to that of being an addict… guilt is addicting and plays a significant role in religion). I may never be completely cured. But, I am now at a place where I recognize it, deal with it head on when it strikes, and I beat it instead of it beating me. It is a great place to be, and I feel lighter than I ever have. It is a strange feeling to just… not… believe. Not… have… guilt… all… the… time. And by strange, I mean great!