Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Maybe it's a...Female Thing?

...but I think the icy fingers of society have somehow found their way around my throat (please excuse the really bad use of personification).

Okay, pause for a second. I know this is a blog and I am supposed to be entertaining you with food for thought or something interesting to read, but just for today give me a break. I'm going to be the one asking you the questions. I know, totally defying conventions. You'll live. Unpause.

Why is it so easy for me to express my beliefs to complete strangers but not my closest friends? One could argue it's because complete strangers don't know me, so I don't really care what these people think of me. But then why is it that when I have to give a speech in front of the class or my French teacher puts me on the spot, I completely panic and my voice starts to shake? I obviously care, at least to some degree.

Okay, that's kind of a vague example. Let's try something more specific.

In the mornings during first period, after morning announcements, everyone stands up and says the Pledge of Allegiance. I never stand up. Ever. I don't think I've ever stood up during first period, except to turn in papers or leave. When Dr. Clarke gets mad at me and asks me why I won't say the Pledge, I simply say " 'Cause I would never want to live in 'one nation under God'. You can't make me pledge my allegiance to anything."

Meticulous? Paranoid? Maybe even a little (or a lot) stupid? Okay, I'll admit it. I do get a little out of hand sometimes. But my point is that I'm not afraid to blatantly say (or, in some cases, shout) things to people who sometimes have a very direct impact on my immediate future (i.e. teachers). Actually, I kind of enjoy it.

However, when it comes to friends, I find it almost impossible to tell them what I think; even when they are making faulty arguments and kind of messed up progressions of logic. I especially like it when I'm trying to eat lunch and one of my best friends leans over while I'm mid-chew and says:

How can you possibly be atheist? I mean, you're just a teenager. I think people
should live life more before just deciding 'Hey! There is no God.' Did you ever
stop and think you could be wrong? Do you even think about things before
declaring yourself this that and the other? God pulls through in hard times,
people live life, and they find God in hard times.

Okay, so in my mind I want to scream so many things. In my mind I tell her something along the lines of

You just completely contradicted yourself! How old are you again? Fifteen,
right? Hmm, last time I checked, you were a freaking teenager too! Why don't you
take your own advice and get some personal experience under your belt before you
make claims that seem pretty outrageous. A supreme being created the entire
world in seven days and then sent his son down to Earth? Through a virgin? And then this son somehow died and came back to life? You seem to be under the impression that just because I changed my mind about my beliefs, I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about. I've probably read more of the Bible than you have. Have you ever actually opened the pages of the damn thing and seen what kind of insane things are in there? At least I'm thinking about things, instead of blindly accepting whatever anyone tells me is true.

But I don't actually say any of those things. Not one of them, in fact. For some reason I just sit there, right in front of my entire lunch table, and let her say whatever bullshit comes to her mind about agnostic and atheist people in general as well as personally attacking me.

I can't for the life of me figure out why I do things like that. It's not like arguing with her over something like religion would endanger my friendship with her. We've been friends for two years and we've had arguments that were pretty extreme, but we've always stayed together for some reason. Just meant to be friends, I suppose.

It's probably, as much as I hate to admit it, because I am completely held back by the contraints society puts on me. In social situations, it's taboo to look someone in the eye and say "The entire basis of your religion is crazy." Yet for some reason (at least, as far as I can tell from the experience I've gathered in this small, southern town), it's totally okay to look someone in the eye and say "The entire basis of your total lack of religion is crazy."

Okay, so I probably shouldn't be blaming society for my problems; if I really wanted to, I could have said whatever I had wanted and the society police wouldn't have necessarily beaten down my door and proceeded to severly maul me.

...or would they?

Just a' kiddin'.

Anyway, I don't think it's because of any inferiority complex on my part. In fact, many if not all of my friends would tell you that I have the exact opposite problem.

Maybe it's just a simple case of l'esprit d'escalier.

But somehow I don't think so.

If anything it seems more productive to speak my piece to friends instead of strangers, because friends will welcome me back with open arms no matter what crazy things I say. Strangers most definitely won't.

And yet, even in light of this knowledge, if the whole lunch period episode happened again tomorrow I would probably do the exact same thing as I did today and I can't for the life of me figure out why.

What do you think?

By the way (P.S.?):

Hi, my name is Cynthia! I guess I'm new here. Please don't hurt me. Please, for the love of all things good in this world.

Also, I totally lifted the title of this post from that RENT song, Over the Moon. "...'cause who'd wanna leave Cyberland anyway? Walls ain't so bad..."


At 5/11/2006 5:37 AM, Blogger Enil Edam said...

I caught the title reference! *random RENT blahness here*

I think a lot of us can relate to your problem, even if we're from the North. I personally don't feel as though I can always talk to my super theist Christian or super theist Jewish friends either. It's just one of those things. The weird part is, my group of friends enjoys having deep intellectual discussions about politics (I have a rampant Repbulican friend versus my much more liberal views...), so why not God?

Theism in my mind is something that people hold sacred, so anybody who challenges it isn't just challenging the belief in God, but they're challenging the very reason & purpose of their existance. So what it all boils down to is, people need a reason to exist, so they look to God, and if God's not there, there's nothing to look at but the big wide empty universe.

But try bringing up the subject, even if you friends seem opposed to it. Even if they're really stubborn, some of the most interesting conversations are bound to happen.

BTW: Welcome to the dungeon, it's you and I against the guys... (well not really, but you get my point)

At 5/11/2006 4:28 PM, Blogger Cynthia Ruth said...

So normally I try to stay as composed as possible in situations like this but let me just take a second to slip back into my native tongue of fangirl and say "OMG I LOVE RENT, GREATEST MOVIE/PLAY EVER WTF AWESOME. *freak out*"

Okay. I swear I'm done now.

For me there's definitely two different groups of people I have to convince: the small, loyal population of Jews that I am forced to go to synagogue with and the Christians that inhabit my school and pretty much everywhere else I go. It's pretty confusing for the Christians, 'cause they barely know what a Jew looks like, much less a Jew-turned-atheist.

I think it's great that you have friends that enjoy deep conversations about politics and such. My friends think that they enjoy having deep conversations, when really they just enjoy trying to sound smart and worldly and they have no idea what the hell they're talking about. It's kind of sad, actually.

Yea, I think my friends and most people in this area (/world? I don't know too much about life outside the Bible belt, unfortunatly) are afraid of what they don't know. God's a pretty stable concept for them, so they hang on to that.

It's also sort of a sheep mentality thing, too. Like today at lunch (why do all my examples come from lunch?) someone started clapping, and soon our entire half of the cafeteria was applauding and we didn't even know why. The people around us were clapping, so we just started doing it, too. Same with a lot of religious things, I think.

Maybe I'll try again in a week or two with this lunch friend. See how she likes it when she's trying to eat and I start challenging the very core of her beliefs, hehe. Naw, I'm not into revenge, but I'll try to talk to her about it and see if I can't make any progress.

Great, now that song is going to be stuck in my head. Coincidentally, my brother was playing that CD in the car this morning on the way to school. "You can taste the bright lights, but you won't get them for free..." Oh, wait. That's "jungle", not "dungeon". My bad. Still a good song though. I like to do some pretty intense headbanging during the "shun-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n" part.

Cynthia Ruth = a master of getting sidetracked

ANYWAY, yes, girl power! Hehehe. Wow, I don't think I've said that since the second grade. I used to like the Spice Girls. I was a pretty cool cat. But yea, BASICALLY, nice to meet you, heh heh. It took me WAY too long to get to that sentence.

I'm going to stop abusing the comment box thing now.

At 5/11/2006 7:01 PM, Blogger Aeger said...

Good post.

Seth and Me used to start that lunch clapping thing all the time, for a while our assistant principle thought he was pretty popular.

Oh, and there are ways to alleviate that side track-ness. It's called Ritalin...

Yay Ritalin.


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