This is one of many things that I handled better when I was younger. When I was in high school, I didn't give a rat's ass what anyone thought of me. After a lot of teasing in grammar school and junior high, I started fighting back--literally fighting back--and the bullies left me alone. Fighting back is not an option now that I'm an adult. 

I went to chorus and once again met with some unpleasantness. There are a few people in the chorus who have taken a violent dislike to me. Even though I've put a lot of thought into it, I am not entirely sure why. It could be because they don't like my personality. It could be because they dislike anyone who is smarter or more talented than they are. (Just keeping it real: I have a high IQ and some small talent as a singer.) It could be because I'm an atheist and I don't hide it.

I supply the occasional one-liner for comic relief. In the past, some people didn't like this, but it was OK with the director. I'm not so disruptive that I interfere with learning the music and I've been extra careful not to push the "one-liner" button too often with the new director. 85-90% of the chorus used to laugh at my jokes, including the director. So, I just adopted a "too bad so sad" attitude when the haters treated me with contempt. With the new director, I am not sure where I stand.

When I "came out" as an atheist, a lot of people developed a rabid dislike of me. That has made it harder to figure out if others are being bigots or if I need to learn some important lesson about getting along. Maybe both? I'm so confused. I really need some friends and I don't know what, if anything, I'm doing wrong. I feel like a complete fuck-up. If something needs to be changed, I don't know what it is or how to change it.

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Someone finally told me I seemed like I was on the warpath and reminded me that I had a total abdominal hysterectomy two months ago and that my hormones could be completely out-of-whack. Sturm und drang may be nothing but sturm und drang. I feel like apologizing to everyone who has come into contact with me in the past week or so.

I'll call the doctor tomorrow.

Wow that is rough, hormones are definitely a challenge! As I've posted before, I have to constantly sort our my hormonal thoughts from the rational ones. I once joked to my friends, when we were discussing PMS, "Never make important decisions around that time of month!"

It seems like you really enjoy chorus, and if you've got approximately 85% of people there who like/tolerate you, that's excellent! Just remember, you are there to bond with people over a shared enjoyment of singing and music. They happen to love this Jesus character, and feel compelled to defend his name if needed.

Keep in mind that they've never questioned their beliefs before, so any negativity will be interpreted more harshly than it really is. They have no idea what your struggles with religion have been like. To them, religion is the default normal, and they've been brainwashed to believe that atheism = evil. They simply never had any exposure to atheists that they're aware of.

Their love for hay-zeus is benign, as long as they don't start praying AT you, casting harsh judgment against you, or anything like that. You can joke that, as an atheist, you're weary of all the Jesus music and simply wish there could be more secular choices that celebrate life itself.

By all means, make it clear that your mood is off-kilter lately. People will likely be understanding. Write a song about it! We recently saw an improv session with Kevin MacDonald (from Kids In The Hall) where he sang a song that devolved into angry lyrics repeating "F*(# YOU!!" or something like that. 'course I wouldn't recommend THAT, but it would be fun to do something different and even comical!

I worry for myself, how much my job has drained me to the point where I'm exhausted and anti-social. If people hate me, I'm not aware of it, though I have alienated some people due to simply not wanting to chitchat anymore. Family, a few friends, doubt people are frustrated with me. Being a solitary person by nature doesn't help.

I had the same monthly fight with my hormones, and I've felt so happy and stable after menopause. You've got something to look forward to! Yes, a good idea to let people know the hormones do this to you.

I agree with everything you have said here, and in reading it, I see myself and people not liking me. It's a fact! Most people do not like me, and this has gotten worse since I became atheist. Reasons for not liking me would be that I talk a lot and I try to have a plan. Most people I know do not have a clue. Now add the fact that you are an open atheist and you are upsetting everyone's apple cart. They want to believe in a man in the sky. If he was real and was there, this would over ride the fact that most people do not have a clue. It makes everybody else an OK person and an afterlife really was their plan after all. You become an oddball who was disturbing everybody, so it doesn't have to be hormones.

People are most happy when they feel that they have a heavenly bank account and that if they are good, then god is making a daily deposit for them. They can spend this with the Easter Bunny in an afterlife somewhere.

There are a few people in the chorus who have taken a violent dislike to me. Even though I've put a lot of thought into it, I am not entirely sure why.

Maybe because you don't conform to the female gender role.  I don't, and I get bashed on for that. 

Women bash on other women for not conforming to the female role.  Women are actually a huge part of the pressure on women to conform. 

Anyway, be really cautious about taking it as a valid judgement on how you're acting.  A huge amount of hostility among people is undeserved. 

My born again cube neighbor (the one who equated atheism and criminals) has been saying lately how her perceptions of things have been changing, and how she's been reflecting on her own thoughts and such. She admitted that sometimes she reacts hastily and regrets it.

Despite her outdated and misguided religiousness, I already know she's a considerate and thoughtful person in general, but am relieved to hear her say these things. I'm taking it as an implied apology, and hope she can see that I'm not judging HER but her religion, and what it has done to her mind.

So I do believe there's hope, even when immersed in Fundie-ness. All it takes is some gentle exposure to the other viewpoint before people realize that christianity and belief in general isn't the default position.

I think the internet tends to open people's minds because there are so many viewpoints easily available.

Hormone issues aside, you have probably hit on something. I have never fit into the mold of a "normal" female in the U.S. of A. I don't wear what I'm supposed to wear. I don't do the things I'm supposed to do. I don't say the things I'm supposed to say. Lay on a dollop of atheism and a sprinkle of liberal tendencies and the deck is a bit stacked against me.

An example of doing things I'm not supposed to do: I collect dinosaur figurines--not the blobby, unattractive ones you might give to your five-year-old, but detailed models that are at least fairly accurate like this lovely Tyrannosaurus rex:

I buy them because I love paleontology. I also use them as models for artwork. Regardless of why I like them, my IHSS worker thinks I'm crazy. Other women look at me as if I were an eight-year-old boy who never grew up. XD Maybe I am.

That's OK, Fundyland. I'm 68 and inside is a boy who never grew up. I like and do many of the same things today that I did when I was 15. I don't give a damn who's grandkid can beat up who's grandkid, and I don't do anything with grandkids. I'm still too busy trying to live my own life. An old woman told me once that I had better change or my children would end up putting me in a home in my old age. Imagine that. You do what you think is expected of you because you live in fear of your own children putting you away and not taking care of you in old age.

Isn't that sort of how religion works? Do what is expected or no heaven now.

Im used to people not liking me. Its hard to imagine it any other way.

that's too bad :( 

People who expect rejection sometimes create it for themselves by how they act.  They somehow come to need rejection. 

Maybe it would be tough and difficult for you to be liked.  

I don't think you're at all obnoxious, so far :)

People who expect rejection sometimes create it for themselves by how they act.  They somehow come to need rejection. 

This is a very astute observation, fellow Luara / Laura / Laura / Lora (whatever). It's precisely this I'm worried about. 

I've had a lot of time to think about why I think and behave the way I do. When I was a child, my family didn't teach conflict resolution and neither did my school. Basically, I was told to manage life through a celestial life coach. 

Feel guilty? Pray.

Can't find friends? Pray.

People picking on you? Pray.

Don't know what to do with your life? Pray.

Now that I know there's no celestial life coach, I must admit to feeling lost. I don't trust the advice of the people I'm close to because they approach life through the celestial life coach. I figure if they're wrong about something as huge as that, they're probably wrong about a lot of things. I don't know whose advice to value, so I'm muddling through life without a strong sense of how to handle conflicts when they inevitably arise.

I'm learning how to apologize. My family almost never apologized for anything and neither did my Christian friends. Their ability to make things right with the non-existent celestial life coach means they can feel good about themselves without ever admitting they made a mistake. I wish I didn't have to apologize so often. Stopping screw-ups before they happen is still a major issue for me. Making the imaginary life coach a panacea stunts emotional growth.


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