I’m an Atheist.
I work in a church.
An no one knows the first two.
I began working at the church years ago. It’s been more than a job; it’s been a goal. I wanted to see the church be what was best about it while becoming something more; a community center for the sake of community rather than just self serving religious fervor. In that time I’ve been successful as it’s become central for the whole city community as a beacon of openness and real, authentic, caring without the disgusting tinge of “we’ll be nice to you because we think it might get you to join us”.
During that time though I changed. I slowly stopped believing in God as I ceased being able to reconcile the idea of a christian god with everything I’ve come to know of the world, and even on a logical basis I’ve found the most amorphous understandings of a christian god inconsistent and lacking. At the same time I’ve come to realize that I was ignoring my attraction to men; writing it off in numerous ways. Mostly because my attraction to women has never changed. So I’ve come to accept that I’m bisexual.
Neither of these characteristics have been made known in my work, social, or family environment.
I’ve kept them hidden not because I’m afraid of reaction, but more just not wanting to deal with the reaction. I’m not the pastor (though I’ll refrain from what position) so I don’t have to deal with theological matters directly, but still, pronouncing your an atheist needless to say would make my work more difficult.
Letting out I’m bisexual is less an issue really. I don’t think there’s anyone that would cause me problems over it, whose opinion I care about at least. Yet I know an have seen what people think of bisexuals because, really, that’s what culture has taught them an I’m just disinterested in dealing with all the questions and commentary.
So while the church became more open, I became less open. Hiding a good portion of myself from everyone. I think it might be doing something to me on a subconscious level though.
You see I used to be very empathetic with everyone. Able to almost feel another persons pain when they were sad or troubled. In the last few years though I’ve felt myself become more jaded to others. It’s to the point now that when someone next to me is sad or mourning I have to almost restrain myself from sighing out loud. There’s even been times where I’ll analyze the situation and give a blunt answer to it without even realizing it would make the other person angry (not everyone wants honesty in such situations). An then it takes a moment for me to even understand why they would be angry.
I used to be more intuitive to another persons emotions. An it has not escaped my notice that this turn from empathy to traits of a sociopath has corresponded in timing to my revelations of Atheism and bisexuality and the increased hiding thereof.
Could it be that hiding so much of myself from everyone has caused me to shut down parts of my personality, namely empathy, towards others to better protect my “secrets”? I would be curious what others’ take would be on this?