I can’t think of a good reason to be here.
These were the words that went through my head for the first part of Mass this morning. I said the words and the prayers and made the hand gestures and listened to the priest talk about “understanding the artist,” but I couldn’t tell you if I believed any of it, and I wondered what it was I was even doing there.
So much of this whole thing, me going back to Church, me trying hard to believe in something I can’t ever understand, so much of it is just so ridiculous.
I sat there during the first part of Mass and I hated every second I was there. I hated saying the prayers and pretending to listen so much that I started to remember why I left Church in the first place.
More so than any crisis of faith I had during my work or my experiences of the world, I left Church because I felt like God wasn’t there for me.
I spend so much of my life, so much of the time in my head thinking about why I’m not like everyone else. Why I was thrust into a life I don’t want any part of. Why I’m constantly burdened by thoughts of “I’m just not smart enough,” or “I’m just not committed enough,” or “I’m too different from everyone else,” or “I don’t deserve to live.”
The last one, in particular, is what went through my mind a lot as I was about to leave Church. Roughly two and a half years ago, I was in the midst of my last big failure. A failure that was all I could think about, all I could talk about. I was angry. I was angry at everything and everyone. Why is it that I spend so much of my life trying to be better every day, and yet my ceiling is everyone else’s floor? I had come so far from the troublemaking, angry, violent, and dumb kid I was in early high school, and yet none of my acheivements seemed to matter. I was still dumb. I was still angry. I was still just not good enough, and all of my progress was just me trying to avoid the one, simple, all-encompassing truth: I don’t deserve to live.
Even today, I’m still angry at everything. I’m jealous of the people who have been able to make this place a home, whereas I still struggle to make friends or just be at peace here. I’m angry at my friends who seem to have such an easier time doing everything that I struggle to do, like study or make friends or talk to girls or give back to the community. I hear about others being so happy with life and friends and I spend my Friday nights drinking alone because I don’t know what else to do with my time.
I’m still that teenager. I’m still angry and dumb and I can’t figure out how to just be at peace. I hate that I’m 25 years old and still dealing with such adolescent and immature problems. I’ve accepted that I’m always going to be different, and I hate that I am. I hate that I can’t just be like everyone else, I hate that I’ve accepted being different. I hate myself and I hate you. I hate God and I hate life. I hate that I hate and I hate it when I don’t hate.
Which, ultimately, is why I don’t belong here, in Church. Church is a place of love, and it’s hypocritical for me to be here since I hate so much. The one thing that separates me from everyone around me in the pews and by the altar is they all have love flowing through them. Love of God, love of families, love of others, or just love of themselves. Whereas I hate.
I’m struggling. I’m struggling just to live, just to keep it all together while I watch others flourish in life and love and friends and careers. I’m down in the dirt, trying to crawl through it while everyone else is basking in the sunlight.
I left Church because coming here I am surrounded by people who could see the light, whereas I’m struggling to keep myself from choking on dirt.