If somebody were to ask a friend or family member about you, how would they describe you? What would be your identifier? Nice, funny, entertaining, cool, shy? 

Something I find very interesting about Utah compared to other states, is that most everyone here automatically assumes you're Mormon. For the longest time, I started introducing myself as "Adri the Atheist" (well, not in those exact words, but you get the picture) because I wanted to be upfront with people and let them know I wasn't going to be their church buddy. In any other state, nobody gives a rat's ass what religion you are. But here, if you don't give somebody a reason to think you're not Mormon, they assume you are. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just a bit too predictable. 

Honestly though, I'm so past the point of having "Atheist" being my identifier. It's like, once you spend enough time giving yourself one single characteristic, you start to forget everything else about you. You get so consumed in one idea that your life becomes a rerun. My rerun happens to be basically all of 2012, when I was coming to complete terms with my atheism. I felt as though I had to have that identifier. Otherwise I'd get too far into a relationship or friendship, they'd realize I didn't share the same beliefs, and I'd be kicked to the curb. So that honesty came out right from the beginning. 

But I just don't mind anymore. I've been taking a new route. My journey through leaving religion will always be a big part of my life, which is nice. It's my story to share. When I meet people now, I'm just Adri, and it doesn't matter what my religious status is. Being an Atheist isn't my main identifier anymore. Why should it be?

My name is Adri.
I'm a writer, wannabe globetrotter, student, friend, daughter, sister.
I have values.
I love so many people.
And art. I love art.
I respect the ones who understand respect.
I'm weird, okay?
I have an open mind.
(Sometimes it's too open)
I have goals.
I believe in service.
And I also happen to be an Atheist.
Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. 

Deceive: Give a mistaken impression.

Confusion: A situation of panic; a breakdown of order. Uncertainty. Lack of understanding.

Brainwash: Make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure.

These are four words I never really understood until a few years ago. Sure, I knew the Webster definitions. But that doesn't mean much. There's a difference between intelligence and cleverness, in my opinion. I believe that intelligence is knowing something. Cleverness is knowing something, but also being able to adapt those concepts to your own life either through personal experience or sharing. 

I don't want any of my posts to come across as me having a miserable life, just because I write about difficult things. That is far from the truth. I had a wonderful childhood, with the best family and friends I could ever ask for. I was just born a skeptic, I guess. I think a lot. Sometimes that causes me to have very strong opinions. But by all means, I do not have anything close to a horrible life. So even though I left religion and went through fear and deceiving moments and confusion and brainwashing, I mostly just feel human. I also feel happy. It's been so beautiful getting comments and messages from people who have dealt with the same hardships of not agreeing with the "norm". 

I don't believe anybody should live their life in fear. One of the saddest things is seeing somebody throw their happiness away because they believe God won't accept them for who they are. I've said it before and I'll say it again:

If there is a God, I would hope he would be as loving and kind as people make him out to be. 

If he's not, I wouldn't want to worship him anyway. So be yourself. Honestly, as cliche as it is, be yourself. You hear it all the time, but do you really listen to it? Don't trade in your happiness for fear. If religion is your happiness, stick with it. If you find yourself feeling guilty and sad, change something. Not out of fear. Change something for your happiness.

Happiness: state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

That comes first.

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