It happened one day. Years of fighting with disbelief and suddenly one day, the looming, looking, ever-present, know-it-all god disappeared from above my head.
Growing up, I never had doubt that there was a god, always hovering around. But the rituals that made little sense, made me question its authority. For the sacrifices it demanded and for its selective biases. Standing outside the kitchen on a particularly festive night, I wondered what kind of god would get angry that I tried to get food from the kitchen while I was menstruating.
Slowly, I began modifying it in my head. My god, didn’t do biases. My god, didn’t sit up there and throw ridiculous tantrums. My god, was there but may be, wasn’t. My god, was fair and square. When no one was looking, I went where I wanted to go. I ate what I wanted to eat. No matter what I did, my god, was ever smiling and chilled out. My god, was educated and practical. My god, no matter how much I tried, couldn’t be a female who bled. So I settled for it to be gender less.
When I was little, my mother taught me a prayer for whenever I got scared at night. The prayer got me through countless nights of restlessness and diverted my mind from the monster under my bed. When the monster became the least of my fears, I stopped saying that prayer. I believe that religion had done its part – it had gotten me through childhood without letting fear scar me. It guided me, till I believed that the world was small and prayers could fix everything.
As I grew up, rituals that had never mattered but were part of my life, stopped existing. Religion became insignificant, yet continued to be a part of my identity. Until I made a choice; instead of believing everything that had been instilled in me, I decided to question everything and find my own answers.
As I did, my world grew bigger. Somehow, God remained just that, a three-letter word. And then one day, it went away. Leaving behind, a significant existential crisis for me to deal with. Without a god of particular gender or form, I could no longer identify with a single religion. I struggled – still do – with the concept of having one less identity. Religion is, after all, tied to who we are from the moment we are born.
I do not identify as an atheist. My fight, has never been about whether or not God exists. If my god was gender less, yours could be a three-eyed unicorn, I couldn’t care less! It is the travesty of religion, in the name of God, that I do not wish to be a part of.