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Artsy me - by Micha

The Long Awaited Proper Post

The hardest thing I've ever had to do was face my own mortality. I think it might be hardest thing anyone ever has to do, which is why many prefer to leave it for later on in life, when they're more mature and better prepared. I've never been very patient, though, not even with myself, so of course I had to do it much earlier, and suffer a lot more with it.

It took me months to get past the despair that I found myself in once I left my religion. I say that I left the religion, but in fact it was the church that kicked me out, not quite as obviously as with a slammed door on my face, but in a way the subtlety was worse. I kept going there only to feel completely isolated from the people I had once thought were my friends, the message coming through loud and clear: "you don't belong here". All because I had dared to fall in love with a boy that wasn't one of them. Too small, much too small a crime to make a girl feel so alone.

Even after I stopped going there, I held on to some of the beliefs for what seems now like a long time. It wasn't because I was lonely, even though I was, but it didn't help me with that. No the reason I still prayed was simply that I didn't want to die.

No, I don't have some terrible illness that's going to cut my life shorter than most. I'm not even the kind of morbid person that fantasizes about pain and death. Hell, I never even made a very good goth. But once the safety net of an afterlife was pulled out from under me, the thought of dying pretty much consumed my mind. Everything was pointless because someday I was going to die. And who could I turn to?

Oh, I looked for other belief systems to comfort me. But they all seemed like that's all they were, sweet lies we tell ourselves to not be scared of the monsters under the bed. But the alternative? Nothing? So I spent months between believing and not believing, wanting desperately not to die and trying very hard to not think about it, and only very occasionally thinking that, maybe, if I have to die anyway, it might be better to just get it over with. I tried not to linger on those.

I don't know what finally changed. Maybe all I needed was that time for the thoughts to adjust themselves. Somehow, after all that time, I found my mind following a different path -- yes, I will die someday, true, but that doesn't mean that life is pointless now, it just means I have to live harder. Take chances, make things better for now. Yeah, months of depression finally led me to the epiphany of plain old "carpe diem". How lame, huh?
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I could relate to all of what you wrote. I totally get what it means to face one's mortality after living, at least in my case, a whole life thinking you're never going to die. It is downright terrifying and it does cast a pall over one's present life. It's easy to think of life as being so transient, so brief, that what is the point?

I guess I'm also in the carpe diem camp. I believe in a Creator for sure but whether there is truly a belief system that works for me and makes sense is another matter altogether.

It is liberating to get off the JW merry-go-round of always living life like Armageddon's around the corner. Kids, education, insurance, a good job, hobbies, etc........who needs them? The world is about to end. I've concluded that's a really sick way to live one's life. I still do think about Armageddon and I'm reasonably sure I'll be killed off but at least the hypocrisy is over for me. Just on the hair issue alone - I wouldn't want to worship a God that would kill me just cause I want the long hair that he enabled me to grow and desire.

It sounds like you've come to a peace about your beliefs and that's really good to hear. I suspect it's going to take me a lot longer.
Don't worry, you'll probably get over the Armageddon thing soon enough. Yes, you are going to die someday. So will everyone. But maybe you will have actually lived before that happens.

You know what can help? Studying cosmology. Realizing that even stars die, and the whole universe will die eventually, really puts things in perspective.