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Misery and Unbelonging

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Rival, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    This is a journal thread so feel free to turn back.

    Starting too many sentences with 'I' makes me feel self-absorbed, but here it is. I'm feeling so lonely lately. My friends on here have already felt the brunt on this, but no, I really do. Even on RF it seems most of my British and continental European peers are atheists or some form of 'spiritual but not religious' in a way with which I can't identify. It seems even talking about religion is taboo and causes folks' anger to rise, as for a lot of folks their dislike of religion seems to stem not from the ideology but the religious people and institutions themselves, and it just seems really hard to make people see beyond their hostile feelings and have an in-depth look at the religion itself on its own merits. This is an issue for me because my religion is my life; so I feel isolated and unheard; or worse, mocked and scorned. They say the best thing for religion is to 'keep it at home' - except this just isn't feasible for most seriously religious folks. It also seems to betray a hostile attitude towards religion in general; one of 'we don't want to hear or see it'. It's just too tiring for me to try to help people move past this a lot of the time.

    This has also led to trouble finding a partner. I do like women, but to have one for a life partner seems wrong to me. It goes against my religious sensibilities, ultimately, and it feels incomplete. I need a bloke. Yet more women tend to be religious than men and there's no way I'm going for an atheist. I feel like I've lived up to my own expectations most of the time; I've not slept around, I've not strung people along (or if I have, I never meant to), I've not lied to folks about where I stand. It's no secret I talk about sex openly and have an appetite for it, but despite this I've kept myself in check out in the real world.

    It's really depressing to me that I live on one of the most secular places (western Europe) on Earth. It means wherever I go 'locally' I'll face the same issues. I don't know what I'm meant to do at this point. Sometimes I wish I could just give up and join the ranks of atheists and be a part of my society, but I can't do that. I dislike the likes of the Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins cultists, too.

    I don't know, maybe it is time to think of converting. It's better than jumping off a bridge.

    The issue I have with it is that it makes me feel kicked out of my own culture; that my own people have said I'm not part of them. And Judaism makes conversion hard since it's a no-turning-back avenue. So it feels like I'm between a rock and hard place.

    :disappointed::brokenheart:

     
    #1 Rival, Sep 16, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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  2. Amanaki

    Amanaki Veteran Member

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    Thank you for sharing this @Rival
    I can relate to all you say in your OP ( except for the sex part :p, i dont have a sex life)
    But when it comes to feeling the world falling apart around us, i share your worries, especially in the spiritual or religioues sense.
    I have gone through the same prosess as you know, and my choice did led me to convertion,i do not say you should do the same as me :) a conversion is a serioues matter.

    All i can give you is my support to what you in the end chose to do.
    You have always been n8ce to me. So i will always be nice to you too
     
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  3. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I'm not much on religious advice so i wont go there. What i can do is talk about atheists.

    For the most part they are not really concerned about someone elses faith just so long as it's not forced on them. So why not give one or few a try. No sex at this stage but a date to see how it goes won't do any harm. Sure there are a few hard liners but hey, that's what a date will sort out.

    Or guys of religious faith, if you want. Do they need to be noahide/jewish?
     
  4. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    I couldn't be with an atheist because I wouldn't want that influence on any children; so yeah, this person needs to be a Noahide and my issue is there are like....5 in this country. I don't want any rituals or festivals from other religions in my household. I understand to some folks that sounds pretty terrible, but my house, my rules.

    I'm not allowed to marry a Jew as I'm not Jewish.
     
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  5. KAT-KAT

    KAT-KAT Well-Known Member

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    I think I may have things just as bad. With the disclaimer that I may not experience quite everything in the same way. The United States is a loudly Protestant, somewhat Catholic, nation. I couldn't openly worship without not only people giving me speeches that Hinduism is a "religion of idols", but also telling me about what they think the latest TV personality, whether preacher or Dr. Phil (who isn't a real doctor) might think. The same applies to me being out as trans minus the idols part. When Obama was Pres, it wasn't perfect, but there were certain protections in place for if other people got too discriminating, I felt. Now, we've taken a step backward another 5 years, and a lot of clear protections got removed.

    I'm kind of past wanting to fit in and socialize much myself, though. I don't get much energy from socializing with other people, nor do I think I'd make a great friend, I'm just not down for that level of commitment right now. I'm a bit critical, I analyze people's motives.

    As for the possibility of changing faiths.... though others say otherwise, I myself haven't found peace by changing faiths or beliefs... doing so just changes slightly your frame of mind and perspective, in my opinion.

    As for the subject of relationships, they simply don't exist for me. I know the channels to meet people, but the people are all very much into gender and relationship stereotypes. If you are a man, or look like a man, you are generally expected to be a provider, while the woman stays home. In the past, I did talk to other people about this concern in my dating life, and they told me in the coming years people would get more open minded. But due to the highly political nature of everything and de-information campaigns, we've kind of entered an age here where things are very much going into pre-21st century.

    I don't talk about my feelings much these days though. I'm worried people will misinterpret me as being depressed, and even if I was diagnosed as depressed, the medical community here will mess up the treatment program so badly that I'd probably have to get counseling to deal with the terrors the doctors and treatment program caused me. And I honestly know that I'd end up worse off than just talking to a non medical expert, maybe someone who's been through similar. Or just keeping to myself and learning to deal. I guess I'm still pretty happy and optimistic, but in my own way.
     
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  6. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Ok, i was considering the fun aspect to get you out of your funk. Marriage and children are in the distance, you are still young, have fun first
     
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  7. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    This is the thing I don't want to do. I'm a sex-after-marriage person. To me, a relationship is leading to marriage or I'm single.
     
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  8. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    You don't need sex to have fun.
     
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  9. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member It's My Birthday!

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    If I may ...

    You seem to be saying that you feel othered.
    You say that religion is your life.
    You self-identify as Noahide - a religion the could legitimately be defined as "the minimally acceptable other."​

    It seems to me that you might wish to give more thought to having religion as your life (as opposed to in your life).

    Is there a Unitarian congregation nearby? They might be the answer or, at least, a bridge to a solution -- and I'd much rather see you cross the bridge than watch you jump off it. :greenheart:
     
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  10. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    Unfortunately not. I live in a small village in a deprived area. To go anywhere meaningful you need to take a train and that costs money I just don't have right now. I'd never even heard of UU until someone on RF mentioned it.
     
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  11. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I'm the same - which is why I've had very few of those kinds of relationships (most of... well, all of which were mistakes, frankly).

    There's something to be said for how societal expectations play into all this. Growing up, I had the good fortune of not having parents who expected me to do the apparent cultural default of "find opposite-sex spouse, get married, be a breeder." Even so, I hear this narrative in my culture constantly, so I'm influenced by it even if I don't want to be. Yet there are counter-narratives. And in those counter-narratives, it's possible to find contentment and happiness in other ways.

    I don't think I can find it, but there was an opinion piece in the NYT that spoke of one of these narratives. The writer observed that the expectation of having a partner is uneven between the two typically recognized sexes. While males have enjoyed no expectations about partnership, the same is not true of females. In historical eras past, females could not have lived single and independent. Today, they can. We actually have the option. We actually have the option to live meaningful lives that aren't inexorably bound up in some male. We can be our own persons, contribute to the world and our own lives in other ways, and have that work. That's a gift.

    Maybe none of this resonates, but it resonated with me as I found myself battling pits of loneliness over the last year. To remind myself that I don't need that sort of thing in my life to have a good one. And at... how old am I? Mid thirty-something? I'm probably not ever going to have that at this point. I've got to be content with that and find other ways to make life meaningful. Maybe something like that can carry you through too? I dunno.
     
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  12. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    When I met my wife, she was a devoted Christian (having been raised that way) and I something along the lines of agnostic/atheist. She said all the things she was expected to say and tried to react in all the ways she was expected to react as a Christian. This included having issues with "homosexuality", attending church and Bible studies and even once telling me vehemently that, in our relationship, "God came first and always would." It was intriguing to me, because in my assessment of her character and the "good" about her, her religion didn't even play into it. It wasn't even a consideration. And I had initially assumed the same of her perspective toward me, but that wasn't the case for a while. One might wonder why she stayed with me, and her mind was actually consistently working on that one. For you see - I was the most decent guy she had ever run into. Every other guy she had dated or even befriended (all of whom professed to be Christian) had all these hidden foibles, misogynistic hang-ups, or ultimately placed physical expectations on her that she wasn't ready to fulfill at which point their "true colors" would show, and they would become cross, threaten to beak-up-with or simply dump her outright.

    Her mind was working on it because it was exactly the opposite situation she thought she should expect to find herself in. How could I, an atheist, seem to be a better person in her opinion than all of these Christians? How could she have more in common with me, a better time with me, feel more comfortable around me?

    Eventually, she began to wonder about a lot of things. Such as, what is so wrong about homosexuality? She had gay friends and family, and they were genuinely nice people. But how could this be when all of her Christian informers were dead-set on the idea that homosexuality was evil and corrupt? So she dropped that idea entirely. Not ready to give up Christianity entirely at that point, we attended churches that were "open and affirming" - churches that welcomed anyone, and within which you would never hear a sermon on the "evils" of homosexuality. Yes - I attended church. I did so entirely for my wife, and I played nice, mostly only speaking when spoken to, and never got into a single philosophical tussle with anyone during that initial time of several years.

    Well then one time, at a Bible study with many of our then-current church's most prominent families, the talk was specifically on homosexuality. My wife almost couldn't contain herself. I could see her writhing in her seat as all manner of denunciation and inflammatory remarks were made about homosexuality and negative implications cast left and right toward homosexuals. It was in that moment that I decided to have a go at them all. And let me tell you - such fun is most certainly a sin in someone's religion. Haha. I worked them up one side and down the other, even at one point responding to a man who started out with "Well, if you believe the Bible..." with "Well, I simply don't." Anyway... the point being that my wife then also felt empowered in that conversation, and, to my surprise, she backed me up and interjected her own opinions against theirs at every turn.

    She then began a thorough, years long examination of the religion itself, the basis for it, why people believe what they believe, and how the texts and other manner of belief-based artifacts compel people the way that they do. I honestly stayed silent on all of it unless she approached me with questions - as I had in previous years within which I did not want to belittle her beliefs or cross her in any way related to her religion. Why else do you think I attended church? It was all to make sure she felt comfortable making whichever decision she was apt to make. I even steered clear of telling my own children too much about my beliefs (or lack thereof). I never wanted her to be able to hold it against me if they rejected any sort of spiritual teaching she wanted to put in front of them. Coincidentally enough, even with their mother's guidance as the only directed learning in that arena, both of my eldest are basically nonbelievers, my son being atheist and my daughter simply not believing, even as she studies various pagan systems and ideas which interest her. My daughter even went to catholic school - which I honestly believe is much of the reason she decided to reject religion. The adherents of Catholicism associated with the school had proven themselves to her to be not good types of people, and examinations of the religion itself which they put in front of her only perplexed her, and had her asking questions - questions which very visibly perturbed her teachers. Simple questions! But I digress...

    Ultimately, my wife is now, at this time, unsure what she "is" in a spiritual sense. She's a skeptic at heart... and honestly always has been. But raised in a Christian household, that part of her was buried deep. It's seeing the light of day now... and the conversations we're able to have leave me with a mark of shame for the silence I kept in our previous years. As necessary as I felt it was then (and to an extent still do) it saddens me.

    I guess, in the end, I would offer the opinion that religion matters a lot less than you probably think it does. It may seem pretty important... but it doesn't have to be. That fact alone is very telling, and means that it doesn't hold the place that anything we actually need does. It doesn't even come close. Die in seconds without heat. Die in minutes without air. Die in days without water. Die in weeks without food or sleep. But religion? One can live an entire lifetime without religion. And I feel that its importance should be tempered by that very idea.
     
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  13. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    It is hard. I had to move states just to have a shot at fitting in and not being in a place where that was so unsuited for me that the locals every now and then would tell me to leave.
    It really does sound like you really need a drastic change in your life or things never will get better. Like getting away from a certain man-child individual and sorting out your own questions of identity and attractions (we can talk more privately, if you wish, as I am concerned for you regarding some things).

    Turning back is always up to you. Jesus says people can't be plucked from his flock, but I did remove myself from it. New Age practices that forever change you that no longer apply to me. Its only no turning back if you don't want to.
     
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  14. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I think that is the most profound post i have read. Love conquers all
     
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  15. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    My issue is kind of your opposite? I'm very sexually driven, so I feel that certain frustration acutely at times; yet my sensibilities tell me I need to wait for marriage, otherwise I just feel used. That alone makes this hard :(
     
  16. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    Total ignorance here, but are you resident in Blighty?
     
  17. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    Yes.
     
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  18. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    Always up for talking :)
     
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  19. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    Thanks for all the answers, folks. I wasn't foreseeing this :)
     
  20. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    I'm interested why you want to know now. You can't just ask that without a followup :p

    Small Yorkshire village.
     
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