When I was a kid I thought I was the antichrist. Odd how religion manifests itself in young, slightly off-kilter minds. In hindsight it was stupid. I mean I had no power, no charisma, and very few friends. How would I have been able to rise up and take over the world?
I also went through a phase where I thought that everyone else could read minds but me and they were all in on some sort of plot against me. This too: stupid. And a bit narcissistic eh? I mean why would the whole word be plotting against me? Well I suppose if I were the antichrist that might make sense…. Hmmm never thought of that until now.
I was adopted so there’s no way for me to know if insanity runs in my blood, but neither of these thoughts seems incredibly sane do they? I can say that my adopted family is crazy as fuck, so perhaps this is a nurture v nature sort of thing. Regardless, I guess I might be a little mentally unstable.
But who really is mentally stable? Have you ever met a truly sane person? Everyone has a little bit of crazy. So it’s really a matter of figuring out how much crazy makes one batshit crazy. I think once one reaches the batshit level is when things get concerning.
And while we’re on the topic of “batshit”. Is that a unit of measure? How do you quantify “batshit”? Why isn’t it used with anything else? Like nobody is batshit fat or batshit lazy.
Anyway, I grew up in an über religious family. My parents started out in the Nazarene church. I know nothing about this particular denomination, but according to Wikipedia (which everyone knows isn’t always completely accurate, yet it’s everyone’s go-to for instant information – why is that? Laziness. All of us: lazy assholes.) the Nazarene church is an “evangelical” Christian church. I don’t know about you, but to me “evangelical” is synonymous with “batshit crazy”. Though I guess if you belong to an evangelical church, you’d probably disagree and perhaps you’re now plotting how you’re going to protest my funeral hopefully with large “God hates fags!” picket signs. Those are the best! Especially since the one positive thing I was taught in my batshit crazy upbringing is that God is love. Though in my book, extreme religionism and hypocrisy tend to be synonymous.
So by the time I came around we had moved from the Nazarene church to the equally tolerant (and also evangelical) Southern Baptist church. Now, for those of you not in the know, there are two different groups of Southern Baptists. There are the Black Southern Baptists and then there are the non-black (aka: white) Southern Baptists. This of course makes sense since, you know, the south loves its segregation and all. Or at least they used to, and based on even current political events, it seems that they still do; well the white south does anyway. I’m guessing the black south isn’t as fond of it.
I will say that there was some crossover of races when I was growing up and I imagine (hope) that it’s gotten more so today. But, imagine if you will a young Asian kid being forced into a mostly white, somewhat racist church. Obviously I glommed onto the one or two black kids (and they on me) because the little white assholes wanted nothing to do with us. And so we would sit in our own little corner during Sunday school cookies and juice time and examine our differences. “Why is your skin so dark?” “Why are your eyes so squinty?” Oddly, we never compared ourselves to the white kids. We didn’t really ever talk to the white kids.
My parents were church jumpers. They’d find a minister they liked, but then if they became disillusioned or that minister left then they’d jump ship for a new church. What this meant for me and my adopted sister, who was also Asian, is that we’d get ripped out of one alienating church environment right around the time we were feeling less alienated and get jammed into another alienating church environment.
And so the hypocrisy of the teachings of love and forgiveness mixed with the contrary actions of its congregation made it incredibly difficult for a child to have faith in anything the church taught me. Obviously at the time I didn’t quite understand the concept of hypocrisy but I could certainly feel it.
As a teenager the congregations of the churches we jumped to seemed to get whiter and the kids got clique-ier and I became even more alienated from church and faith.
So if you’re unaware of the whole process of joining a Baptist church, it’s a huge ordeal. First, you must go to the front of the church during the benediction (think: closing ceremonies but with less fireworks and more singing) of a sermon and profess that the holy spirit has come into your heart and to seal the deal you wish to be baptized and inducted into the church. Then, your baptism is scheduled and completed and it’s off to the holy races.
Well, my parents expected each of us to do this on our own when the holy spirit called us, but unfortunately I never got that phone call, so by the time my senior year in high school came around, I was encouraged (i.e. forced) to do the little dog and pony show.
I struggled with religion and God a lot as a kid. I wanted to believe, but I just didn’t. I thought my life and my relationship with my family would be so much easier if I could find that faith that they all seemed to have, but I couldn’t. Never did. And as I was being baptized (in the Southern Baptist church there is a baptismal area just behind the pulpit in the center; it’s basically a huge bathtub with a cutout window so the entire church can watch you in your white robe as the minister dips you in the water) I never did feel the spirit of anything wash over me as I was somehow expecting it would/should. I will say that I remember the water being nice and warm. I should have brought some bubble bath and shampoo…
Ironically the one thing that did stick with me was the fear
of hell. When I was in grade school, my parents had taken our next door
neighbor Lisa under their wing. She was about 6 years older than I and she was
like a big sister to me and my sister. When I was in kindergarten she was in 6th
grade and she would walk me to school (my sister was adopted when I was in 1st
or 2nd grade). As a teenager, Lisa started having problems with her
parents, so she’d spend more time with my family. At some point, Lisa found
Jesus, thanks to my parents. And I recall one day when I was probably about 8
or 9, sitting with Lisa and her Bible and having her to explain to me the
eternal lake of fire that all non-Christian sinners would be
On some level even today there is that fear of hell in the back of my mind, but it’s been mostly replaced with a fear of nothingness. Like, if this really is the only life we get and the only shot we get, what’s the point of it all? Well, that’s a question for later.
I left home for college at 17 and other than a few summers, I never went back to live there. And during my time away I began to drift away from Christianity and God. Well, perhaps “drift” is an understatement. I motored the fuck away like a bat out of (or perhaps into…) hell and never looked back.
I did not; however, abandon my family. I just faked it. I am terrible at faking orgasms, but I was awesome at faking faith.
Until I wasn’t.
Batshit Crazy >