A brief history of Escape Artist...
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14-12-2012, 10:16 AM (This post was last modified: 14-12-2012 10:21 AM by Escape Artist.)
A brief history of Escape Artist...
Just thought I'd give a little background on myself.

I was born and raised in Texas (and still live in Texas, btw) as a Southern Baptist. The type of preaching I grew up under was the strong, hellfire and brimstone type preaching, and my parents didn't believe in sending my brother or I to nursery, so I was exposed to the concept of hell at a very young age.

Naturally, it frightened me, so I accepted Jesus into my heart in 1990, when I was six years old. I remember my mom telling me later on how happy I was after I got saved - singing hymns, excitedly awaiting baptism - and why wouldn't I have been? I'd just gotten my ticket out of hell.

So I grew up Christian and was a good little girl for many, many years, though I often felt burdened by the weight of my sins and sinful desires. Hitting puberty was very difficult as my natural instincts warred with the church's teachings.

And it wasn't only that. Due to my mother's isolating my brother and I from our "worldly" peers during our formative years (those horrible, horrible kids! they'll be a bad influence on you!) both he and I had much difficulty fitting in. I was teased and bullied all through elementary, and junior high and high school weren't much better. I'd been taught to "turn the other cheek" and that Jesus would help me through and so I did nothing, said nothing to them. I wanted to kill myself, wished I'd never been born, but I kept praying and kept believing that things would get better. They didn't. Things only changed when I stood up for myself.

Years passed, hormones raged (lol) and I met my future husband. Having had little to no education on sex other than the religiously-watered-down version (where you can only get pregnant if you're married Dodgy ) I very quickly got pregnant. He was 19 at the time, I was 16, and I still debate on whether he shouldn't have known better, but I digress. I took it as a merciful form of chastisement from the Lord that I'd just gotten pregnant instead of having contracted some sort of disease. After all, I'd gone astray, I'd given in to my sinful desires. I had it coming.

You can guess that the father didn't run off based on the whole "future husband" comment earlier. I thought it was God's will that we'd met and been put together, and again I took it as merciful chastisement that God had allowed me to make this mistake with this man - because he knew my future husband wouldn't just dump me as soon as the pregnancy test showed positive. He seemed to love me for who I was and not for what I did (I never felt I measured up to my mother's expectations as she was impossible to please, and I felt much the same way about God - nothing I ever did would truly be good enough. I was still filth, still dust.) so I was very happy when he asked me to marry him. We got married when I was 18.

Approximately 8 years later, I hit a wall. Married life was not all it was chalked up to be, and I couldn't bury my head under the sand anymore like I'd done all up until that point. My husband's spending habits were out of control, his work ethic left much to be desired, he was incredibly lazy, and though I plead with him that my needs weren't being met, he turned a deaf ear. I'd done everything for him - I'd given up on my hopes of being a stay-at-home-mom, I'd worked and worked while he jumped from job to job to job, I'd spoiled him rotten in so many ways, and he just spent all my money and wasn't a spiritual leader and then had the nerve to try and control me!!! Censored

And it was like high school all over again - despite all of my praying and going to church in the hopes it'd draw him there and get him under some good preaching that would convict him and make him treat me better, nothing was working. I'd rediscovered my love of writing by then and that brought me joy, but the first book I wrote detailed the type of marriage I'd so hoped for, and it was a stark contrast to reality.

I hit a point of feeling like there was nothing left for me here, nothing left to accomplish (on earth, that is - in this life). After all, I'd been married, had two wonderful children, figured out what I was here for (writing), and my dreams of having a passionate and fulfilling marriage based on mutual respect had been quite thoroughly dashed, so what was left than to just pass on to heaven?

Again I wished I'd never been born. I started "acting out" if you will - flirting with his friends because I was so desperate to get his attention, to make him see how bad off I was. And it was during this time that I started questioning my faith. All those old curiosities I'd had as a child, i.e., "If God knew everything was going to go bad, why didn't he just start over?" came bubbling to the surface. And now, as an adult, there were a slew of new ones, i.e., "Why does the church condemn homosexuality above all other sins when the Bible says all sin is the same in God's eyes?" or "Why do Baptists speak so cruelly of Catholics?" and the biggest one I'd ever contemplated at that time, "What if we (Baptists) don't have it right?" I never even entertained the thought that Christianity might be completely and totally wrong and, you know, bunk, but that question was a huge start. Because if I was willing to question my denomination, it opened the door to further research, further knowledge.

So I entered this period of waffling between despair for my personal life (because, let's face it, I'd made my husband a god in my eyes, so it was so much more to me than just a struggling marriage) and this new hunger for truth. After all, I was in my twenties and that's what people do when they're in their twenties - figure out who they are and what they're about. And the drinking/flirting I occasionally engaged in? Well, that's just something I'd missed since I got pregnant, since I got married so early, so I justified it. Plus, alcohol helped to dull the pain I was going through.

I'm sure the next part is familiar to many of you, so I won't go into too much detail (though as you can tell from the length of this post, brevity is not my strong-suit), but I will say that it was pretty much just me expanding the questions further and further out. What started out as, "What if the Baptist denomination isn't right?" became "What if the Christian faith isn't right?" and finally metamorphosed into, "What if God just isn't there?"

I really hit a low at that point because it was like the ultimate dupe. Not only had I gotten myself into a marriage with a man who was a bit controlling and mooched off me, and on and on, but I was serving a supreme being who might be just as fictional as the characters whose stories I wrote.

I never fully allowed myself to answer that last question - at least, not for a while - and just drowned my sorrows in beer and music and writing. Of course, I came around to answering the question, and the answer was quite obviously that God just wasn't there. I felt purposeless for all of two days and then was overcome with this feeling of freedom and joy, and I was just so proud of myself for having discovered the truth and faced up to it. I felt courageous, I guess. Blush And I loved myself. For the first time, I really and truly loved myself for who I am. Because let's face it, I'd rather be an ape than a spare rib.

The answering of that final question took place a little earlier this year. I stayed quiet about being an atheist for a few months, but felt I needed to tell my husband. It was sort of a last-ditch effort to clear the air and maybe start with a fresh slate, but he didn't take it well. In fact, I was recently outed to my family via my husband even though I asked him to not tell anyone. He threatened to have a pastor come out and talk with me. He said that I hadn't looked at the "right" websites. He said I hadn't asked the right questions. You know, the usual crap. Oh, and he even said that I was just doing this to give myself permission to life a sinful lifestyle.

Yep, that's me. Whore of Babylon. Rolleyes

Anyway, I'm going through a rough time right now - oddly enough not so much with being outed because my mom has spoken not a word to me about it - most especially in regards to my marriage. We are looking to be on the brink of divorce. But maybe, just maybe, that's the brink of something new for me. A new life. Which excites me.

Apologies for such a long post and in closing, I wanted to explain my username. Since writing is an art, I consider myself an artiste (a very amateur artiste, but still) and since books are often an escape, I dubbed myself "Escape Artist"

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A brief history of Escape Artist... - Escape Artist - 14-12-2012 10:16 AM
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