So I was doing a photo shoot of my sister’s kids this morning and my 6 year old niece waits until we’re alone to ask me, “ZZ, why did you cut your hair so short?” To which I responded, “I guess just because I wanted to. I feel beautiful too!” She then says, “Well, my mommy made me promise her that I would never ever EVER cut my hair like that.”
(Cue the explosions going off inside of my brain)
I told my niece that her mother was being a shallow cunt and that she should never feel like her beauty is solely defined by what she looks like, much less the length of her hair.
Okay, so I didn’t really say that. I didn’t say that because I’m not a giant dickhead.
Thankfully, I possess the ability to recognize when it’s not my place to open a can of worms. Maybe one day when she’s older, I’ll be able to explain to my niece what I think beauty is. Maybe one day she’ll be able to understand that those silly “promises” to her mother really don’t mean a thing and that she can do whatever the hell she wants to do with her hair…. WITH HER LIFE.
My heart hurt the whole way home. It didn’t hurt because I was personally offended… it hurt because my 6 year old niece is learning this bullshit from her mother. I suppose if I had cancer and was forced to shave my head, maybe then her mother would tell her how beautiful I was…. it’s fucked up that I know that to be a fact with the way my sister thinks. But because this is something I chose for myself and it’s different from what her personal taste is, it must be wrong. I could give zero fucks if my sister likes my hair or not, but I cannot stand the fact that she is using my choice as some sort of twisted way to teach her daughter what she feels a woman should be.
This is all the more reason for me to be a kick-ass role model for my niece. I cannot tolerate her being brought up in such a narrow-minded world. It’s not my place to say anything about my sister’s parenting, but you bet your sweet ass that I’m going to show my niece as much as I can that all women are beautiful not matter what they look like.
So… it happened. Those five little words many atheists dread finally came from my father: “Do you believe in god?” I’ve been expecting it. Preparing for it. But I was still sad when he asked. Because I knew the answer would hurt him… and the answer would destroy my mother.
I was honest and told him my full deconversion story. He was accepting, but holds onto the belief that I will “recognize the error of my ways” and “accept Christ as my savior” on my death bed, so that I will join him and my mom in heaven. He sees this as a phase. And… that’s okay. It gives him comfort and that’s more important to me than brutal honesty.
I haven’t spoken to my mom on the topic yet, but I know my father shared what I told him. She’s incredibly hurt and is taking it personally. And honestly… I get it. She truly believes that I will be going to hell because I am an atheist. She’s not being intentionally cruel or hurtful… she’s terrified. And she feels that she’s failed as a mother. God is the most important thing in her life and her daughter is “rejecting Him.” I get it. I really do.
I suspect my name will be added to prayer lists and I’m prepared for people from my old church to come to the house. I imagine I will be hearing many “God did this” stories and conversion stories and be given apologetic books for holidays and birthdays. And, again, it’s okay. I’ll be kind, but honest. Gracious, but firm.
Anyway, the point of this post is simply to say, try to be kind to your religious loved ones. Yes, they are indoctrinated. Yes, they say very hurtful things. Yes, they believe nonsense. But… they BELIEVE IT. And most truly do want the best for you. I think about how I would feel if my 7-year-old grew up to be a far right religious conservative that fights against gay rights. I would feel like I failed. I would. And my parents feel the same way about me.
It’s sad. It hurts. But… it just is. So, I’ll be the best I can be. Good without God. And hopefully, in my parents eyes, that will still count for something. ~JJ
as much as I miss her, I’m glad I don’t have to have this conversation with my mother…
w o w you are all so cool with your “I hate politics” statuses you rebels
feeling pretty much the same way about my facebook feeds
I’m so sick of people just completely ignoring the fact that race very often does make a huge fucking difference in everything just because it disturbs their deluded envision that racism has died out or that if it isn’t vividly in your face, it isn’t real racism and just an innocent sentiment taken the wrong way. Racism isn’t just accidental, it has just become sooo culturally embedded and engraved that disgustingly racist things often get played off as just how things are because of how they’ve been socially normalized.
And just because some people think that race isn’t a big deal anymore or that they don’t see colour is just erasing the legitimacy of the serious issues, struggles and the inequality gap that other people face.
I agree with you fully. There are many reasons why people think it doesn’t exist anymore and I think two of the main reasons is that (1) people aren’t doing stuff like they were in the 40s etc! anymore with the riots and civil disobedience and such. I give too much credit to humanity, that that’s what they need for change to be powered forward. Constantly disgusted. (2) Most people are just brushing this stuff off. It’s like no one cares anymore. There are apparently bigger things to worry about. I’m not saying the economy isn’t important since the infrastructure is collapsing on itself and thus no progress there means a halt in a lot of other areas, but I fight all the way. I don’t draw back. I fight for every single right because I have the strength to. A darker shade of skin based on pigmentation, nature, an uncontrollable factor, and other specific, defining features doesn’t make someone inferior. We’re not gods of our own creation and to punish us for an archaic makeup is egotistical. It’s a mental thing. It’s been over 40 years and half of these issues we’re still fighting for/about is just inexplicably confounding considering where we were and where we hope to be.
Most of these generations have become so lax with rights and eventually we forget our histories and repeat them, shaming forefathers and mothers on every continent. America is supposed to be the melting pot of this great understanding and sometimes it’s the most backwards. Parents need to pressure a cosmopolitan outlook instead of this “ME” and “I” viewpoint that’s become the new “thing”. No one is saying ignore yourself but compassion and understanding is a way to become a better person for yourself. You share this world with billions of others. It was never given to you. You do not sit on a throne with your name embedded in that very throne in sunshine gold with everyone kissing your feet as they are with no complaints. And individuals need to take a stand, too. You’re aware now. You can’t keep saying your parents raised you such and such a way. Are you not now your own person surfing the internet independently without your/a parental thinking machine? Okay. Don’t be indolent. Fight for every right… color/race, gender, sexuality, whatever. If you stand for nothing, trust me when I say that you will fall for anything.