Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for...

"I Want to Conquer the World" by Bad Religion

Before I said that Against Me! was my favorite band, but that wasn't always the case.  In high school, I was in a much different mental space than I am now, and Bad Religion was my favorite band.  The album No Control came out the year I was born, and "I Want to Conquer the World" was by far my favorite track.

I was raised in a Christian household, and attended a small Christian school K-12.  Belief was a given.  However, as I got older, my anxiety problems really started to show themselves, and my environment didn't give much of a way to talk about them or deal with them.  "Have some kind of pain in you life?  Pray it out.  God has a plan for you, and every bad thing that happens has a reason behind it that we aren't able to understand."  Psychological problems were largely ignored or attributed to your own bad attitude.  "If you feel depressed, you just need to get back into the Word.  Get back into God."

But what I am supposed to do when I've prayed as hard as I can and I still feel horrible?  What if I just can't be happy like everyone else and there's no reason why or anything I can do about it?  What if everyone's "help" just makes me feel even more alone and afraid and all this anger and fear are building up so much that sometimes I just want to...

I couldn't finish that sentence.  I didn't know how, and honestly, I'm not sure I wanted to.  Those years were spent feeling like some kind of defect, and it made me angry.  Music became my outlet, specifically punk music, and specifically Bad Religion.  I was mad at God for making me this way and not doing anything to fix it.  Growing up in a conservative environment, I never heard much questioning or challenging of Christianity, but then I found these guys.  They were saying all kinds of subversive things, and I really needed the chance to ask those difficult questions.  Is God even real?  Does anyone around me know what they're talking about?  It was time to find answers for myself, and stop letting other people tell me what my problems were and how to handle them.

I eventually outgrew that anger, and Bad Religion fell further down on the list of bands I love.  Religion is still a big gray area for me.  In college I studied religion from a secular perspective for the first time, and I think that did a lot to cool down my distaste for the whole operation.  It gave me distance.  I wouldn't consider myself a Christian, or a follower of any organized faith, but I'm not an atheist either.  The fact of the matter is that no outside force is going to help me cope with my problems, and I no longer expect it to.  I do what I can.  The rest doesn't matter.

No comments: