Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Essays | 5 comments

Name: Kristina Hansen (twitter @WoolyBumblebee)

Born: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Location: Montreal, QC

Organization affiliation: None

Label: Atheist, Humanist

Former Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic


My Story

I became an Atheist about 3 years ago. I came out to all my family and friends as an Atheist about a year ago. I won’t lie and say it was easy. My mother, who I had grown up really close to as a child, is Roman Catholic, and she resents me for rejecting the religion in which she raised me. She is afraid I will go to hell because I refuse to believe in her God. But I cannot pretend to be something I am not just to make her happy. I have come to realize that my life is precious and short, and I refuse to live it for others while I suppress who I am. I have wasted enough time trying to make everyone else happy, and at the same time, make myself completely miserably hiding who I am. In my opinion, if you cannot be who you truly are in life, then you really are not living life to it’s fullest potential. And time is short. So wasting one more moment, for me, was unacceptable.

I also lost a few friends who could not accept my Atheism. They saw it as something that I should just keep in the closet and shut-up about. Some became quite nasty about it, and so I had no choice but to just cut them out of my life. I realized that they really had never been friends to begin with if all that mattered was what I “believed” in. So for me it was no big loss. It’s amazing how something like coming out as an Atheist can expose who your real friends are. And it has made me appreciate my real friends so much more. They are amazing people who I would not trade for the world. They respect me, and they do not judge me based on what I do or don’t believe. They are the people I am proud to associate myself with.

Another amazing part of my coming out as an Atheist was the sense of pride, empowerment, and self-esteem that came along with it. I was no longer living a lie. I was no longer living only to please others. I was able to finally appreciate who I truly was, and not feel ashamed about my Atheism. I found myself smiling a lot more, feeling less depressed, and more positive about my future. I began to realize that a lot of my unhappiness, depression, and anxiety stemmed from the fact that I was constantly hiding who I was. Coming out liberated me in so many ways. It was probably the best thing I had ever chosen to do in my life.

I know that coming out as an Atheist is a journey. A very personal one. For some, especially in the USA, it may not be possible, or even safe, to come out as an Atheist. I can completely understand that, and I do not condemn anyone for being scared of it. It is quite understandable, and no one can know what another person may face should they come out. But one thing I can say is that it is never impossible. There are many ways to express your Atheism without announcing it to those who you live close to. The internet community is huge, and there are many Atheists in places like Twitter, on-line forums, etc… There are many local groups in various communities as well that one could join. Many ways exist to enable Atheists to communicate with one another, and not feel isolated. Most of my Atheist friends are on-line, and I even met my Fiancee on-line while chatting about Atheism. You never know what can happen when you start to connect with others who know what being an Atheist is like. And you’d be surprised how wonderful the Atheist community really is. I have never met a bunch of more rational, funny, and positive people as I have in the Atheist community. They are wonderful and make me feel proud to be an Atheist.

So even if you can’t come out publicly, you can still do it in many other ways. You can even support causes that help the Atheist community. Even the tiniest step forward is a positive step in your journey.

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