Right now my life is in a bit of a transitional phase. I’m working on trying to leave my life in my hometown behind and move towards a larger city. Part of that process is a goodbye to my family. I know I’ll see them in the future. And while I know that this is a solid step in the right direction, it’s a bit more of a goodbye rather than a “see you later.”
It’s become increasingly apparent that my family has no intention of ever respecting my boundaries around my children. They’ve continued to try and push their beliefs onto my children. And I really desire for my children to grow up in an environment that they can have the freedom to make their own decisions around religion and faith.
One of the things that sparked this off was my daughter stating that she needed to ask god for forgiveness for her sin. What was her transgression? Running up the slide with shoes on and not listening to her teacher.
This teaching came directly from instruction and teaching from her Aunts and Grandparents. Despite the fact that they’ve been repeatedly and explicitly asked not to have conversations around sin, the afterlife, and salvation with my children. But they’ve made it extremely clear that they have no interest in respecting those requests. My children’s eternal souls are in the balance (in their eyes) and that trumps any interpersonal boundary requested.
Looking back at my own childhood, I never really had an opportunity to look beyond what I had been told about religion growing up. And I feel that had an overall negative impact on my life and childhood. When I was my daughter’s age, I vividly remember having times where my anxiety over what I perceived as sin kept me up late into the night.
Whether it was intended or not I perceived god as a judgmental all seeing being that watched my every move. I worried constantly (as a child) about my actions being seen as sinful and wicked. And I adopted that mentality into my views about how I saw myself. I saw myself as wicked / wretched and sinful. This belief about myself and my actions led to a lot of anxiety, and into my teen years this belief fueled my depression. I believed fully that God hated me and my actions. I would pray for forgiveness and strength to refrain from this “sin” in the future. But I had extreme trouble letting go of the guilt and shame around it.
And while all of this isn’t the only reason we are moving it certainly has played a part in the choice to move. I desire a life away from fundamentalism for my children. And I hope this move also brings more opportunities for new life experiences. And hopefully some more variety than our current small rural town offers.
I truly wanted to make life in my small-town work for me and my family. And it has been a good place to start my adult life. But it’s clear that our time here as a family has come to a close.