I’ve started a handful of posts for this blog, but can’t seem to find the inspiration to write. I feel like I’m getting nowhere with this deconstructing, but neither have I actually put any effort into it. Thinking about religion triggers anxiety and anger and I don’t want to be driven by my emotions. Somewhere in my long, storied religious history, I learned that emotions were bad. They always led to sin somehow. My love, anxieties, frustrations were evils I had to control. Any excess emotion had to be quelled. This education started with my parents labeling me “sensitive” in response to any expressed emotion and continued with my religious education. Now I feel like I have to face everything on a cool, intellectual level, and I’ve equated this coolness with religious correctness.
So here I am trying to face something that is intellectually and emotionally turbulent with a coolness that I simply don’t possess (because my parents were right, I am sensitive). However, when I feel like I can’t maintain an academic aloofness, I avoid. I have stockpiled a small collection of books to help me process my deconstruction, but I can barely make it through three pages at a time. I begin to feel suffocated.
How the hell am I supposed to sort this out? I want to be practical and measured, but my mind revolts; I can’t divorce my emotions from this and frankly, I need to stop trying. It’s okay to feel emotional about this. I’ve spent a lot of emotional energy in my pursuit of Christianity. The mental patterns I built within evangelicalism can’t simply be shrugged off. Most of these patterns were unhealthy and reinforced by an unhealthy approach to religion. A large chunk of it is that I fall into the trap of almost every cognitive distortion covered in therapy, and that’s me without religion. I think and process poorly in all areas of my life. It was through therapy and seeing my cognitive distortions that I first realized that my religious thought patterns were harmful to myself. I had incorporated countless sermons straight into an arsenal of distortions that I daily used to convince myself I was overall lacking.
It’s one thing to know that you’re brain is twisting every thought into an attack. The hard work is re-wiring your brain to stop those thought processes before they even start. If I hope to reconstruct anything from this, it will be a lot of hard, emotional work. I have to stop avoiding the hard, painful things.