Sunday, 27 March 2016

Religion on Easter Sunday.

I feel the need to pray sometimes, or go to church. I'm not religious and I haven't been since I was around 6 years old. I don't believe in a god and yet often I am tempted to go to church and pray; a forced silence and a type of meditation. I really need to meditate.

I don't really like religion itself, not organised religion, and I haven't gauged quite yet why people completely follow it. At this time of year I'm not really into the whole "He is risen" thing, and at Christmas I don't celebrate Christ's birthday. But, as I begin to face troubling thoughts and worries with an adult mind I can see more and more why God is so appealing, why the church is a sort of safe haven, and why churchgoers become a very close-knit community. This is what I have understood from my local church, anyway.

I am lucky; my local church is friendly and open and inclusive. It is a community in itself, and a part of the community outside. It's a beautiful, old, spacious building. The graveyard has a beautiful view over our village and the trees and the hills. It's a good place to think. It's comforting, when you need that.

It is probably specifically from this church that I have begun to see why religion can be extraordinarily helpful to some people. I don't understand obedience to a god, or a bible, when it limits your freedom of choice, or suppresses your desires. I don't get the God part, but I can see why the concept might provide pacifying answers to questions that are bigger than yourself. What I have certainly come to understand is the calm, quiet, contemplative headspace that the church can provide when you're in desperate need of time to reflect. I really do get that now.

Of course, meditation can happen in any place of worship. Or in any quiet room, or on a walk, or by closing your eyes. But the church, or a place for a community, is a comforting thing and I see much more now why it becomes a daily, weekly, yearly routine for those who need the time to think. When I drive past the pretty little churches in the pretty little places I live near to I feel the solidity and the tranquility of its oldness, perhaps my interest stems from the history of these types of churches too. Perhaps others may feel rejected and unwanted by these religious houses, which for many must be true, but in sitting down at the pew and holding your hands together and closing your eyes and thinking deeply about something there must be some calm in it.

Maybe one day I'll walk into one of these places and do just that. Try to find the calm. And maybe I'll walk right out. It's very possible it's just not for me. But, on this Easter Sunday I think I am beginning to see why and that, in itself, is a fascinating thing.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Giving up.

Giving up is one of the worst things you can do. I think. Perhaps not for every situation, but in my life giving up on things would prove disastrous. I have a few things to give up on. My school work, my writing, my friendships, my part-time job, anything that I love. Like most people, I suppose. I could give up on the things I have to do today. I could give up on writing this post. I won’t, because I can get on with things and tick off lists and achieve small but useful goals, but I definitely could.

The feeling of giving up is awful; total disappointment in yourself. The taste is vile. It’s just energy wasted. You don’t get anywhere by giving up, obviously, but it just seems such a sad and silly thing to do. It’s like driving somewhere but halfway through the journey you stop the car and get out and abandon the car and walk away. It’s a bit weird. You’d always ask yourself why you did that.

I probably wanted to share a miniature thought about giving up to remind myself not to do it. It’s so easy to do it, it’s so tiring keeping going. But I must and I always will. And through my life as I achieve cool things because I didn’t give up I’ll always, always be glad that I didn’t.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Not judging other women.

It is hard not to judge other people. I think it is particularly valuable for women to make an effort to not judge other women. I think that women openly judging other women is harmful and unhelpful. No one benefits from internalised misogyny.

Throughout my life at secondary school I have judged other girls for their promiscuity. I have judged other girls for the clothes they wear. I have judged the rumours about their sex lives. I have thought that they were doing something wrong for not thinking like me.

I am getting over that stage of my life now, I try not to judge women in that way anymore. They don't need me to make their lives harder. Something darker has already made them uncomfortable in their own skin, they don't need me to tell them to change something else.

I know that being judged by other women is awful and unhealthy. I know that women do it because they can't work out what is good about themselves so they desperately seek out the bad in others. They look for flaws in faces, bodies, and lifestyles to make up for the problems in their own. I know because I do it sometimes. It doesn't make me feel very wonderful.

Women need other women to support them much more than they need to build walls around themselves to protect them from each other. How extremely lovely it is to give a woman the freedom to live and look how she would like right from the beginning.

It is hard not to judge other people, but we really should try harder.