I remember reluctantly stepping out of faith into atheism feeling as if everything I cared about had been erased against my will. My community support structure was gone; my family now felt like strangers; and I had no direction in life or understanding of my place in the world. Who was I? Weren’t all atheists lone wolves without a pack? Was I going to be alone and floundering forever? I picture myself back then as a child standing alone in a dark, empty room with no Exit sign or clues about how to find my way back to safety. I felt lost in so many ways.
And yet I still knew I’d made the right decision following the truth where I saw it. So I lived in discomfort for a long time, and sought out all of you. Twitter, GG.com, and a local Meetup.com group pretty much saved my bacon. I searched for community anywhere I could find it outside of a ritual setting.
So thank you, friends. Thank you for reaching me and showing me I could still know friendship, connection, and common values even without a guide or set of rules. Thank you in those little ways you showed me I was okay in the closet and out of it. Thank you for showing examples of what it means to be confident and skeptical, kind and daring, driven and open to change. Because of the examples of others, I discovered I wasn’t alone in that dark room. I had people all around me. I just needed someone to turn on the light and show me what was available to me in this new life. Because of the examples of others, I now have a real community online and off, I am out of the closet everywhere in my life, and I’ve tried in my little ways to show others it’s okay. You’re not alone.