One year on...

Sent in by Candace

School of Art, Media and DesignImage by teddy-rised via Flickr

Hi guys, about a year ago (possibly longer, I can't really remember) I was on the verge of leaving Christianity, but still struggling a bit because of how involved I was with my ex-church (it wasn't even my church, it was my friend's church and she dragged me into it) and my lack of anything else in my life that was even vaguely fulfilling.

I posted a testimonial here titled "Looking for Answers." Well, it's been a year and I just thought I'd update you guys on what I've been up to. It's not really a testimonial as such but I didn't know where else to put it (moderator: feel free to do with this post as you wish).

Anyway, as I said, a large part of the reason I joined my friend's church, and Christianity, in the first place, was because of a lack of anything fulfilling in my life at that point. I had just left a long-term relationship that had been going nowhere and I was still trying to get over my ex. Plus, I was in the middle of a combined law degree that seemed to stretch on interminably with no end in sight. So I was in a bit of a rut and Christianity just filled the void, if only temporarily. I always knew it was only a band-aid solution and I'd have to get out and find whatever it was that fulfilled me, eventually, when I found the courage to live for myself rather than other people.

As a bit of a background, I've always been a creative person but that creative side of me has never been encouraged by my parents - in fact you could say they actively discouraged it. Once, my dad tore up a picture I drew for school because he thought I was wasting time. I didn't mention before, but I'm Asian, and my parents have this mentality that if you pursue anything creative you will starve. Hence why I did law combined with Media Arts and Production at university (I'd wanted to make films since I saw Lord of the Rings back in 2001). I hated Law but it was a trade-off so I could do Media Arts, which my parents were absolutely against me doing by itself. Law was the back-up plan. So here I was, stuck in this degree and feeling like my life had no purpose. I was absolutely sick of law and it seemed like there was light at the end of the tunnel - I was wallowing in a miserable, meaningless existence. The sad thing is, even though I was doing Media Arts, I hadn't put much effort that side of my degree because, after being discouraged from doing anything creative all these years, I didn't feel like I was talented or passionate enough to pursue a career in anything creative.

So here I was, languishing, and Christianity came along. I thought I'd give it a try since I had nothing else in my life at that point, but luckily, I was smart enough to realise that this just wasn't right for me and to get out. I still haven't told my friends yet. I hardly talk to them anymore. But it doesn't matter what they think. I think losing their friendship is worth what I gain from being free to think for myself.

So, to cut a long story short, shortly after I "quit" Christianity, I tried acting, on a whim. I was in a theatre production and I loved it. In high school I never had the confidence to even give a speech let alone act in front of an audience, but after the trauma of realising God either doesn't exist, or he doesn't give a shit, what was there to be afraid of? Death? Death was sweet mercy compared to the what the Bible promised to those who turned away from God, but since I didn't believe in the Bible anymore, what did it matter? I was relieved.

So to really cut to the chase (sorry for ranting), what am I doing now? Well, I am...
  • In my last semester of my degree and as far as I know I'm doing great (I worked my butt off this semester and it better pay off!)
  • Doing work experience for a TV production company and apparently they love me (also because I work my butt off),
  • I will be directing a short play next month, which will be performed at the beginning of next year as part of a theatre festival, and...
  • Next year I'm going to film school! (Well it's really just a postgrad degree specialising in film at my current university, but film school sounds cooler.)

So all in all, I'm very proud of myself and how far I've come. I've finally found something meaningful in my life that I wish to pursue (be it film, TV, theatre, whatever). Now that all the poisons have been leached out of my life - abusive parents (not abusive anymore, except to each other on the odd occasion but thankfully I'm out of their control now), loser ex-boyfriends and GOD - that angry, callous, neglectful tyrannical being who demands perfection from us and punishes us for NEVER BEING GOOD ENOUGH (notice a pattern here? - they are all manifestations of the same thing - the shroud of darkness that had covered my life and that had stopped me from gaining the confidence in myself to develop my full potential.)

So there you go. I don't regret the time I spent as a Christian because I think I learned something very valuable: Don't expect anything from other people and always rely on yourself. You are the most important person in your life (I don't mean that in a selfish way, I just mean you can't keep looking to others for approval and you really have to love yourself and accept yourself for who you are) and you NEED to have faith in yourself and your own abilities if you want to accomplish anything meaningful or fulfilling in your life, and to be happy.

I still sometimes question my faith in myself (who doesn't?) - every time I do something new, something I've never done before, I think, "Wow, I didn't know I was capable of that. How is it even possible?" And it scares me sometimes. But hey, as long as I'm alive, I can keep renewing my faith in myself, right? I can keep proving myself to myself. And if you fail, you simply forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes. There's nothing to be afraid of. We all know how it ends - it's how you get there that matters. Life is like walking a tight-rope - you know you can fall at any time, but you keep going. There's no safety net. That's the deal. You look Death/suffering/pain right in the face and you keep walking.

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