The words “Dear Lord” use to roll off my tongue like breath in and out of my lungs. There was no effort associated with my faith. My family attended church daily not weekly. The energy of my hope in the world was unwavering even bad days saw a thick silver lining. I went to private school so my weekdays were filled with the good book too. This was until my family stopped attending church and my private school life shifted in to a public school one. When our car radio was tuned to hits 1 instead of christian radio. When I’d fall asleep at night without requiring a prayer. When religion was stripped out of my life I felt lost, with no ability to gain my bearings. The straw that broke the camel's back in us attending church was an incident with my sister. One day at church my sister fell into a fit of distress during service. She asked for my parents while the pastor's wife told her it was just the holy spirit speaking through her. When my parents found out about this they were furious. They yelled and like a shield their words protected my sister. We all left that day me a confused child who longed for the understanding that comes with age. Now when I think back I see that the church had a toxicity, they didn’t care to give my sister what she needed. So the thought of going back to return to an old identity feels off. Why go back to something when I've moved so far forward? Regression doesn't feel like the right course of action.
Throughout the film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, the characters discuss the universe and how it affects them. Hushpuppy a young girl expresses in the film, “If one piece [of the universe] bust, only one piece, the whole thing busts” Hushpuppy acknowledges her understanding of the position she occupies in the universe as a whole. She believes that on some level she serves a purpose. With religion the ideal of serving a purpose is an easily obtained. Removing the consistency of enforced organized religion in my life made the idea of serving a purpose a dissolvable concept. It was hard for me to understand why anything I did, or anything I would come to do would matter.
In a TED Talk detailing the feeling of losing one’s identity, Jeannie Woller says this about her struggle ending her soccer career, “I lost the institutions, the external platforms for which this identity, could be validated by others.” In public religious rituals, going to church, youth group, and attending christian school I had something reinforcing my religion. I felt lost without them. I felt as though I wasn’t enough without constant validation of God; I began questioning everything from my sexuality to the basic instinct of praying every night before I went to bed. COnfusion towards identity was normal for someone of my age, but losing a complete sense of self was like a plant being ripped from the ground, like living without my roots. I had to figure out how all the pieces fit together. It was like putting a two separate puzzles together trying to make them create a cohesive image.
With the loss of religion in my day to day life, I lost a sense of self and purpose. Regaining that sense of self was something I struggled with. To this day I miss the oneness and faith I have lost with the loss of religion but there is a part of me that associates that feeling of faith with my juvenile self. Children believe deeper , they see colors brighter, so maybe the my physical growth has something to do with the loss. I miss feeling always protected as I did before. Now I have to find a new place where I can feel that shield. Looking for a new environment to nourish and help me grow as a person. Realizing that when a plant is taken from the ground and planted somewhere else it still keeps some of its original root when being planted in a new place. Seeing myself as a plant that will be replanted gives me more optimism toward the future.