Breaking Free


“Got a call from an old friend we’d used to be real close
Said he couldn’t go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house, bought a ticket to the west coast
Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.

I don’t need you to worry for me cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
I still belong
Don’t get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time

They will tell you you can’t sleep alone in a strange place
Then they’ll tell you can’t sleep with somebody else
Ah but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it’s O.K. you wake up with yourself”

– My Life by Billy Joel

Ha.  May I should write a song about this too.  Something along the lines of…

I don’t need to be told what I should believe, who our creator is, who I should be, who I should shun, what I’m going to do, or where I’m going to go once I shuck these earthly raiments.

The fact that I don’t believe as you do doesn’t mean that I’m broken.  I’m just being myself. 

I’ve set my mind free of the constraint that others tried to force on me, the ideas I couldn’t swallow, the impossible things I couldn’t convince myself of, much less anyone else; all that negativity they tried to tell me was somehow good, all those imagined fears I just didn’t feel…

You can live with that fear if you want to. I have enough to deal with just in this life and I much prefer just confronting them to forever running away.

I’ve left religion behind me. I’ve broken free. And no, I will NOT get back in that cage.

Meh.  I’m not much of a song writer though and I haven’t picked out tunes on my piano or written sheet music for years now; not since my children were very young in point of fact.  Couldn’t focus enough anymore.  I’ll spare you all my attempt to sing because, focused or not, it might hurt your ears.  Anyway…

The question of a young Muslimah posed on Yahoo, “Why are young people leaving Islam instead of defending it?” made me roll my eyes and sigh but it was more about the responses than the question itself.  According to them, people like me (apostates from Islam) don’t really exist.  We’re only trolls sent from the enemy masquerading as ex-Muslims so to shake their deen.  Uh-huh.  Whatever helps them sleep at night. 

The Muslimah lamented that she’d been told by her friends leaving Islam that it was all about terrorism.  They naturally didn’t like being associated with that.  Who would?  But that wasn’t Islam, according her.  That was against Islam.  They just didn’t know enough about Islam and that’s why they made these “wrong assumptions” and left it.

Several allegedly “non-existent” former Muslim came on to say that maybe people left Islam because it wasn’t true.

The Muslimah didn’t want to hear it of course.  This was impossible in her estimation and the whole thing just made her feel sad so I refrained from contributing to this discussion.

Instead, I read elsewhere many an article about people who were leaving religion… many other religions, not just Islam.  Islam and Christianity appeared to be feeling it the most however.  I found a mullah, for instance, complaining of so many young Muslims and Muslim “reverts” quietly appostasizing… and some not so quietly.  He thought it was because all they were taught rules, not deen, so didn’t really understand the “beauty” of Islam.  His Christian peer, a pastor, thought that people were leaving Christianity and other Abrahamic religions because it had only taught them who to hate and what to fear and they didn’t really hate those people (other religionists or atheists or pagans or gays, etc.) or fear those things (eternal damnation, devils, witches, pagan ways, etc.).  Both of them and many other religious leaders were of the general opinion that they would not be losing followers if only their peers had taught their religions better and the once-followers had really understood the “beauty of faith.”

Personally, I don’t think so.  Yes, those are excuses for leaving religion – surface rationales if you will, but the truth is it just doesn’t make sense to those of us who have stopped to think about it objectively, putting faith on hold.   We just had to stop and think about it when so many things little and large stopped making sense to us.

One thing I’ve heard so often from former co-religionists, both Christian and Muslim, was that I couldn’t really have belonged to their religion at all if I could leave it.  This isn’t true. 

Like many other apostates, I once tried very hard to fit into the religious framework.  I tried to believe.  I looked for answers in teacher as well as the “holy” books and all I really found were more questions.  Disturbing ones that religion had no answers for, but my heart already knew: something wasn’t right.  To make things right some things, like religion/philosophy/politics/morality, have to be thought of outside the box and well beyond Group Think. 

Believing without question seems too much like making important life-changing decisions while drunk off ones ass and waking up the next morning with an embarrassing tattoo in a prominent place and no memory nor understanding of how the hell it got there.

Uhm…. not that I’ve ever been drunk or anything.  I don’t even drink.  Never have.  Don’t like the taste and I’m wary of its physical and mental effects.  I’ve witnessed such enough to know I definitely don’t want to partake.  Just making an analogy here though.  Not saying there’s anything wrong with drinking – just with making important decisions at the same time or immediately after.  You know what I mean.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

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About Ampbreia

I'm an ex-Pentacostal, ex-Muslim, ecclectic Agnostic with slightly Wiccan leanings. I am not affiliated with any organized religion or political platform, but I do believe in magic and all things wise and wonderful. I work as an admin in a calibration lab. I've published 2 books so far this year: Lost in Foreign Passions: Love and betrayal, passion and loss in the heart of an alien land (a memoir of my time as a Muslimah and living in Iran for a year), written under my previous married name, Debra Kamza, and Dream Lover (a paranormal romance, the tale of witch that summons her favorite character out of a Bewitched spin-off and the actor who plays him as well). I'm constantly writing stories and poems, thoughts and dreams, and quite a few opinions - many of which are not popular but oh well. Bite me. I'm interested in art, animals, the paranormal, and people. I love to dance, all sorts, but have been studying belly dance since 2006 and LOVE it! I love anime too and love dressing up and going to conventions. My writing runs the gummut of historical, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and erotica. Beware: I may not be safe reading for work. Just saying....
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4 Responses to Breaking Free

  1. theinfiniterally says:

    Love that song! It’s always on my playlists.

    Leaving religion? I think it helps if you get shaken up a bit. Did in my case. But that wasn’t all there was to it. Something about the true self coming forth. Or something. *shrug*

    Like

  2. Ampbreia says:

    Not Leaving. Left many years ago. It was a trip to discover who I was outside or beyond the shackles though. What do you mean about getting shaken up? I sense a story there. Do tell?

    And yep, That song really strikes a chord with me. Once upon a long time ago and even now, it makes me think of the moment when I realized I was letting others dictate to me what I was supposed to believe and knew I just didn’t believe any of it. You know?

    Like

  3. I was raised a Catholic. Went to CCD class, had my first communion and everything. I do like somethings about the church, I think the new Pope is great and I do pray to Saints. But I don’t consider myself a Catholic. I don’t consider myself any religion. I haven’t been to church in years.

    I think there are good things about religion, but the churches and some of the people just make it bad. Some religious people do bad things and say it is what God wants. It’s definitely not.

    And when you’re part of an organized religion, you’re just supposed to believe everything they say: Ghosts are demons, Halloween is evil, and so many other things. I’m an open minded person, some of the things I believe in I know religions would say it is evil.

    And I don’t want to deal with that. I just want to be able to believe what I want. I don’t need to be part of a religion to believe in the Great Spirit, or to pray to a Saint. I’m happy just believing what feels right to me.

    And you just continue on being you, believing whatever you want because I’ll be doing it right with you 🙂

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  4. Ampbreia says:

    It’s good to know I have really good company… which is, I think, a large part of what attracts people to religion. They want good company in their dearly held beliefs. What ends up happening though, is the leadership gets cozy with power and starts pressing it (unlike the current pope, but in general…) and the group itself putts a lot of effort into converting outside the group and homonginizing within. Individuals in the group place a lot of security on their successes there. Pretty soon, you end up with beliefs foisted on you that you’re not sure you belief in (or definitely don’t) and the others will look at you very badly – perhaps as a traitor – if you admit this to them. My mother, for instance, calls me “broken” for my lack of religion. She’s not trying to be insulting though. She really believes this. So I forgive her, but avoid talking beliefs with her since that always goes badly. Ah well.

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