Stuff I’ll want to remember

It’s kind of unsettling how shallow my bellybutton is getting.  I’m guessing there’s no way it won’t pop out at some point in the next 15ish weeks.  I have gained plenty of weight, but I still tend to look down at my belly and think…eh, not so big.  Looking at my profile in the mirror leaves me with a completely different impression, though.  It’s more like, WHOA.  I really should take more pictures.

Still feeling lots of movement – which can now also be seen from the outside.  Every time I feel him moving around and kicking I sort of want to drop everything and just stare at my belly.  I don’t know how to describe it.  It’s…yes, Alien-esque, but also…pretty much the best thing ever.  
Had a doctor’s appointment this morning – everything seems to be going well.  My blood pressure was up a bit, though not in any kind of warning or danger zone.  Will check it again this evening when I go to the pharmacy to pick up heparin and vitamins.  Had to admit that I have been feeling what I’m pretty sure are contractions, sometimes a few a day.  Nothing consistent or progressive, so I haven’t panicked or worried too much about it, but I was sure to mention it this morning.  I have nothing to compare them to, so I figure they’re Braxton-Hicks.    Was enough to get a cervical length check – still at 2.5 cm, which she says is “within normal range,” but…damn Dr. Google.  Seems short to me.   Kind of scary, but I’m not freaking out, since there was no funneling.  I guess I will just pay close attention to the contractions (funny, haven’t felt any today since I brought it up) and make sure to drink a lot of water and try to de-stress.  Work has been supremely annoying, and I skipped yoga last week.  I think I’m going to try a different studio for a few weeks…if they return my email.  The class is a bit earlier in the evening, so I’ll get home sooner.  
Sadly, though not unexpectedly I guess, she did not seem to have gotten more information for me about the birth center  and whether being on blood thinners disqualifies me.  I did call, and left a message, and they called me back and left me a message, but I haven’t called again yet.  It took a ridiculous amount of convincing myself to just dial the number the first time.  I’m afraid they’re going to say no way, not gonna happen, too bad so sad.  Still, I am leaning toward that hospital rather than the one my current OB would have me go to…so I may be switching OBs regardless.  Seems petty, to a point, but when I compare the tours, one was so much more encouraging of going the natural route, even in L&D and not in the birth center.  The other seemed to assume I’d want the epidural and the monitor and everything else and dammit, I don’t want to assume that.  I realize I may get into it and change my mind in a hurry, but I at least want to really give myself  a chance.
To that end, I may have found a doula.  Her experience is very impressive and she’s not too expensive, so I should probably just go for it.  My hesitation here is mainly what I find on her Facebook page.  First…it’s one of those weird me-and-my-hubby-share-EVERYTHING deals – seriously?  Second, it says she has “conservative” politics and religious beliefs.  Meh…I’m assuming she’d be respectful of my heathen liberalism, but it’s hard to say.  I may keep looking a bit, but I’m starting to feel like these things need to start falling into place soon.  Eek.



Non-Icky Thumps

I am finally convinced that these little thumps are definitely movement.  It is weeeeeird, but very cool.  He seems to like sugar (duh), spicy food, and wine (shut up), among other things (unless of course he hates them, but let’s go with likes).  Good tastes, little man!  Thankfully I haven’t suffered heartburn (yet?  oh please no), so we’ll keep that spicy food experiment going as long as I can stand it.  Eventually this charming jabbing should morph into OMFG KID GET YOUR FEET OUTTA MY RIBS AND QUIT JUMPING ON MY BLADDER, but until then….awwwww.

So I pretty much screwed up and ruined the “surprise” for my dad.  He’d said that he didn’t want to know the sex…which I figured would be pretty impossible to keep up for the next five months, but he does have great powers of not paying attention, so…I tried.  And then quickly failed.  Oops.  We were talking about the tests and stuff they do right after birth (Vitamin K, eye ointment, heel stick, etc.) and my mouth was way ahead of my brain and the word circumcision slipped out (without even going into how I rolled my eyes when saying it because I may or may not think it’s barbaric and unnecessary and a really weird meaningless religious ritual to whack off parts of genitals and no I don’t think the purported health benefits completely justify it but no I don’t have a penis myself so maybe it’s not fully my decision?  Gah.  ANYWAY….)  Maybe his powers of forgetting will prevail, but I doubt it.  I feel bad, but…seriously?  How was that really going to work anyhow?  Maybe we’ll be really lucky again and can stay ignorant ourselves a second time around (I know, what a terribly greedy thought).

On the preparation/home improvement front, we finally said goodbye to our nasty old carpet.  Wheeeeeee!  There’s still plenty of finishing to be done, but the carpet is gone and has been replaced with some nice enough laminate.  I’m so over-the-moon happy to have an easy-to-clean, hard surface, even if it’s not the natural, sustainable bamboo or cork of my dreams.  Next up, hopefully soonish – registries and hospital tours.  YIKES.

Here, have some tunage (yep, that’s a word now, because I said so.  Or do you think it should be tuneage?) for your Tuesday:


Ain’t dead yet. Sleep might be smart, though.

Random roadtrip flashbacks.  Sing along, loudly.

A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they�d be happy for a while.

But february made me shiver
With every paper I�d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn�t take one more step.

I can�t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin� whiskey and rye
Singin�, “this�ll be the day that I die.
“this�ll be the day that I die.”

Did you write the book of love,
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so? 
Do you believe in rock �n roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow? 

Well, I know that you�re in love with him
`cause I saw you dancin� in the gym.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.

I was a lonely teenage broncin� buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.

I started singin�,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin� whiskey and rye
And singin�, “this�ll be the day that I die.
“this�ll be the day that I die.”

Now for ten years we�ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin� stone,
But that�s not how it used to be.
When the jester sang for the king and queen,
In a coat he borrowed from james dean
And a voice that came from you and me,

Oh, and while the king was looking down,
The jester stole his thorny crown.
The courtroom was adjourned;
No verdict was returned.
And while lennon read a book of marx,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.

We were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin� whiskey and rye
And singin�, “this�ll be the day that I die.
“this�ll be the day that I die.”

Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
Eight miles high and falling fast.
It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune.
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance!
`cause the players tried to take the field;
The marching band refused to yield.
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died? 

We started singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin� whiskey and rye
And singin�, “this�ll be the day that I die.
“this�ll be the day that I die.”

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again.
So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil�s only friend.

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan�s spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin� whiskey and rye
And singin�, “this�ll be the day that I die.
“this�ll be the day that I die.”

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I�d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn�t play.

And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

And they were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin� whiskey and rye
Singin�, “this�ll be the day that I die.
“this�ll be the day that I die.”

They were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin� whiskey and rye
Singin�, “this�ll be the day that I die.” 

(lyrics via)

Oh hell yes. I knew it had to be good.

“Italian Horn”  (what we call it)
I’ve always wanted to look this up but never just did it.  So yes, today, in the middle of a stupidly busy work day…here I go.  
My grandma gave each of us granddaughters a golden version.  I generally stay away from yellow tones unless they’re holding a really purty something else; this silver one came from my sister’s ventures to Italy.  I want to say Venice or Milan?  Not for sure at this point.  Anyhow, as much as I’ve let go of most of my superstitions in the past few years, I find myself wanting to wear it when I know I’m going to need ancestral strength or something along those lines.  So here are a couple things that tickled my funny bone (from here):

The Evil Eye (Malocchio)
Concepts of the Evil Eye are some of the most ancient and prevalent superstitions of the entire Mediterranean. Every culture seems to have their own version of the Evil Eye and their own ways to combat it. One thing they all have in common is that the Evil Eye is caused by jealousy and envy. By coveting somebody’s possessions or more importantly admiring another family’s newborn baby can cause a curse, even if envious person did not mean it. My grandmother tells the story of how my aunt was the victim of the Evil Eye as an infant and got some type of “sleeping sickness” where she could hardly stay awake.
She took her baby to a local woman who could perform a test by dropping olive oil in a plate of water. The oil formed one large drop in the middle of the plate- a sure sign of the Evil Eye, but after chanting the right prayers that only women are allowed to know, the oil broke up into tiny droplets and spread out. This ritual broke the curse of the Evil Eye and my aunt was said to have gotten better immediately.
The Devil’s Horn (Corno)
An offshoot of the Evil Eye curse is the use of the Corno, or Devil’s Horn amulet. These twisted red coral, gold or silver amulets are often worn as necklaces by men to ward off curses on their “manliness” – very similar to a Mojo. They can often be seen sold in Italian jewelry stores and especially during Italian American festivals. Although most men who wear one will say it represents one of the horns of the devil, the Corno (also known as Cornuto or Cornicello) predates Christianity by thousands of years. Related to the Corno is the hand gesture known as the mano cornuta, which also wards off the Evil Eye by extending only the pinkie and index finger like a pair of horns and pointing it down. When this gesture is made pointing upward (similar to the heavy metal salute to the Devil) it is as an insult to somebody, meaning their husband or wife is unfaithful. 

I find this extra hilarious because the men in my family are not jewelry-wearers.  So…yeah.  Hilarious.  To me, anyway.

Teaser Tuesday!

Yes, it’s Thursday.  Wut of it?  Been meaning to do this for much too long.  Via Amelia Witherspoon via MizB, or maybe the other way around.  I’m all hopped up on goofballs due to the Man Cold!  Good times.  I empathize, Poor Little Bunny.  Suffice it to say, I’m not a real champ about being sick.  Yeah.  That was a long time ago.

Let’s try this again.  One more time, with feeeeeling.  And…the book.  Yes, I bet it will help to have the book handy for this.  Give me just one…second.  This thing made it to and from Germany with me, I better still be able to find it in my own bedroom!  Ahhh….HA!
Okay.  The rules (via Amelia @ 1,000 Dog Eared Pages):  
  1. Grab your current read.*
  2. Let the book fall open to a random page.
  3. Share with us two (2)** “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  4. Share the title and author of the book, so we can investigate on our own if we like the teaser you’ve given!
  5. Please avoid spoilers!

*To keep this feature periodic, I will be using both teasers from current reads, and from books I’ve read before, but haven’t discussed on this blog.

**Quantity of sentences may vary, depending on how long it takes to finish the thought within those line parameters. Teasers should still make sense!

And now, how I will break the rules (shocking, I know):  the only way I can ensure a non-spoiler with this one is to limit “random” to the pages I’ve already read.  Because I haven’t gotten very far.  Apparently, (SPOILER ALERT, or so I hear) there’s a murder.  But I still haven’t gotten there yet.  STILL.  I KNOW.  Given how long this book is, two sentences likely won’t do it.  Oh wait, Amelia already asterisked this for me.  D’oh.  Onward!
Oh, sweet.  I swear I didn’t fix this purposely, but it’s a good one.  Close to the section that made me want to tease this book on a Tuesday to begin with!  Drumroll, please….
From page 26 of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (The NYT Book Review says, “One finally gets the musical whole of Dostoevsky’s original.”):

In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith.  Once the realist comes to believe, then, precisely because of his realism, he must also allow for miracles.  The Apostle Thomas declared that he would not believe until he saw, and when he saw, he said:  “My Lord and my God!”  Was it the miracle that made him believe?  Most likely not, but he believed first and foremost because he wished to believe, and maybe already fully believed in his secret heart even as he was saying:  “I will not believe until I see.”

Yummy, huh?  I’ll spare you the footnote endnote on Thomas, I bet you can google him for yourself if need be, but I can’t resist also giving you the blurb on the back, perhaps more so to entice myself to read further, faster.  It’s definitely not boring, but there are a lot of endnotes to get sucked into and I get sleepy when I hold a book.  Shhhhh.  Old habits die hard.

The Brothers Karamazov is a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and an exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs involving the “wicked and sentimental” Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons – the impulsive and sensual Dmitri; the coldly rational Ivan; and the healthy, red-cheeked young novice Alyosha.  Through the gripping events of their story, Dostoevsky portrays the whole of Russian life, its social and spiritual strivings, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turning point in Russian culture.  [paragraph break.  Blogger (even in draft!), you confound me.]  This award-winning translation by RP and LV remains true to the verbal inventiveness of Dostoevsky’s prose, preserving the multiple voices, the humor, and the surprising modernity of the original.  It is an achievement worthy of Dostoevsky’s last and greatest novel. 

What the hell, I’ve come this far.

“[Dostoevsky] is at once the most literary and compulsively readable novelists we continue to regard as great…The Brothers Karamazov stands as the culmination of his art – his last, longest, richest, and most capacious book.  [This] scrupulous rendition can only  be welcomed.  It returns to us a work we thought we knew, subtly altered and so made new again.”  – Donald Fanger, The Washington Post Book World

“It may well be that Dostoevsky’s [world], with all its resourceful energies of lifele and language, is only now – and through the medium of [this] new translation – beginning to come home to the English-speaking reader.” – John Bayley, The New York Review of Books

Mkay, I think they said it well.  And without music videos!  Now.  Pedicure.  I can do this.  Hopefully.  I should probably eat first.  Fooood.   What’s for dinner?

Oh yes, that blog thing I do…did…do.

Finally got over the hump with that horrible disgustingness I suppose they call a sinus infection.  Pro tip:  if you’re miserable, go to the doctor.  Sooner than later.  Also, maybe stay home and lay on the couch for a day…or two.  Definitely don’t go on a four-day business trip driving through mountains (POP, EARDRUM, JUST POP…wait…OW) with basically zero down time and no hotel reservations and wow that was SO much fun, especially that night in the dry county with the 10% discount off dinner at the truck stop!  Otherwise you end up at an Urgent Care on a Saturday morning after two weeks on Sudafed with the doctor who pretty much thinks you’re crazy and no, it’s not H1N1 you big baby, here’s a Z-pack (I’ll leave it at your discretion whether you want to take it or not.  So helpful.) and some $60 nasal spray and wow, your blood pressure is pretty high.  I see you just turned thirty, don’t you want to live to see forty?  You know, blood pressure is the silent killer.  So that guy’s like my FAVORITE.  [But shit, note to self – have that checked again like the good doctor said, maybe once not wound tighter than a new spool of thread.  And maybe find a GP with an actual, you know, PRACTICE.]

So yeah, that happened.  The turning thirty thing.  I suppose if I were drinking wine rather than coffee I might write some mushy sentimental thing about what I want to do with my next thirty years and reflect back over the last thirty years, but…meh.  Who wants to read that?  The same people patient enough to read silly rants about sickness I promised myself I wasn’t going to write.  Oops.  I was still rather feverish, so there are parts I totally don’t remember at all, but we did go celebrate a bit – saw the eminent Jim Gaffigan, bacon and hotpocket encore and all:

Much funnier than the fact we missed probably the first 20 minutes because the parking garage next to the theater kept letting people in even though all the empty spaces were marked RESERVED 24 HOURS so we all just drove allllll the way to the top and then back down at a snails pace, everyone honking and WTFing.  Good times.  I didn’t hear about a riot, but I must admit it’s a pretty good racket – we still had to pay three or five bucks or something to exit the effing thing.  If there was an attendant at some point, he or she probably ran screaming into the hills.

Speaking of Jesus…what. the. fuck (via suntzusays), Pope ?  You disgust me.  Obviously I’ve a bit of an axe to grind with the church, but this shit never fails to blow my mind.  THREE DAYS AGO?  Okay, longer ago than that now…but seriously.  SERIOUSLY?  It’s as if this stuff has been falling out of the closet so long now people are just numb to it.  It’s background noise.  Or maybe I’m just a disloyal person – there’s NO WAY IN HELL I’d ever baptize my [future theoretical] children into that.  No matter what.  Other money quote from the NYT article:

But she also said it was time that the church stopped hiding abuse cases and questioned why priests seemed to be held to a less strict standard of morality than ordinary parishioners. “If you get divorced and remarry you can’t take communion, but someone convicted of molesting children can celebrate Mass for the rest of his life,” she said.

I’ve waffled a bit on the baptism thing in my own mind over time. Five years ago, I might have said, ehhh, let’s just keep Dad happy. Even a year ago, maybe, but now? No way. Never. It must be the CASA work. That’s the other thing that’s got me all wound up and nursing a broken heart for people I barely know. Living with your kids in your uncle’s house, who used to molest his own kids? Bad idea. Smoking crack? Bad idea. Sending your kids to visit with their father, your abusive ex-husband who indicated deception on a polygraph regarding molesting one of your kids? BAD IDEA. Your kids are beautiful and innocent, even filthy and lice-ridden and probably all stripped of their innocence long ago, by someone they were taught to trust, someone they should have been able to trust. I know on some level, you love them and would do anything for them. Find the level, I beg thee. They like to read. You know what might be really nice? TAKE THEM TO THE LIBRARY. IT’S FREE. I’m sorry – am I making this sound too easy? Maybe I have no clue because I’m not a parent, but I am SO frustrated by this one. Heartbroken. I gotta go buy some books. And crank this, because I have been far too sympathetic.

I don’t want to be hostile.
I don’t want to be dismal.
But I don’t want to rot in an apathetic existence either.
See I want to believe you,
and I want to trust
and I want to have faith to put away the dagger.

But you lie, cheat, and steal.
And yet I tolerate you.
Veil of virtue hung to hide your method
while I smile and laugh and dance
and sing your praise and glory.
Shroud of virtue hung to mask your stigma
as I smile and laugh and dance
and sing your glory
while you
lie, cheat, and steal.
How can I tolerate you.

Our guilt,our blame ,
I’ve been far too sympathetic.
Our blood, our fault.
I’ve been far too sympathetic.

I am not innocent.
You are not innocent.

Noone is innocent.

Floored and Free

I may have never laughed so hard as when showing pictures from the cruise and the island to my friend’s four year old son and we came across this one (please excuse the blurry):

Who is that guy?  Is that…Grimace?  He looks kind of…scary.  Is he scary?  –  Yes, buddy, he’s pretty scary. Don’t worry, though.  He can’t get to you.
(Disclaimer – I’m not 100% sure he said Grimace, as apparently I was still too high on blue skies, sunshine, warmth, and little-kid-cuteness to retain that now somewhat critical detail.  Anyway, whoever he thought it was was so far from Jesus it wasn’t even funny was hilarious.  I guess you had to be there.  In fact, I wish you had been there so you could have remembered the crucial part of this little anecdote for me.  Oh well, let’s go with it.)
I took pictures of all kinds of silliness in the seemingly never-ending booths in the straw markets.  
And again with the blurry:
Who buys this stuff?  Let’s see, I need something really PINK.  Should I get…Hello Kitty…or the Holy Bible?
I’ll admit to being tickled that my little buddy had no recognition of Jesus.  Even though I’ve never known her to have any religion to speak of (other than a general affirmation of belief if pressed), my friend has said for years, oh, I should really find a church and start taking the kids…but it’s never happened.  I wouldn’t encourage it, for one because I remember going to church being the cause of plenty of stomped feet and whiny voices when I was a kid (and what parent needs more of that?), and also because her kids question everything and I love that so much.  Most kids do.  Until they sometimes learn to not, because nobody else is questioning it and people don’t like it, so I’d better just play along.  That’s pretty much how I remember it.  Looking around during Mass thinking…really?  All of you people believe all of this stuff?  Really?  Umm…okay.  So I tried.  For a long time I tried pretty hard to believe.  At times I probably did really believe, at other times I was close to believing, but most of the time it seems I was just trying to convince myself I believed.  Fortunately social conditioning kept me from standing up and yelling ARE YOU ALL CRAZY?  THIS MAKES NO SENSE!!!  Though apparently one Sunday when I was really little my parents had gotten seats in a front pew and in a quiet period during the Mass I did shout MOMMY LOOK!  THAT MAN HAS NO HAIR!! referring to the bald priest.  So that had to be kind of funny.
Ahem.  But this is supposed to be serious.  I’ve started to write about this so many times, though until now it’s always ended with me not even bothering to save the draft, because I freeze…I can’t write about this.  But of course I can, and I don’t have to think very hard or google very much to find a myriad of reasons why I should.  I don’t even need to retrace the ancient abuses of power by the Catholic church (but see this for an excellent perspective on the religious side, via the always thought-provoking suntzusays on the secular side), there have been so, so many very recently, in my own lifetime.  Even if I were a believer, why would I want to associate with any of that?  I’m not and I don’t, though that’s never been something I’ve gone out of my way to share with those in my life that might be somehow offended or put off by that.  However, I’m lucky enough to have at least one of those kind of friends to whom you can say just about anything.  The kind of friend who will also in turn tell me what I need to hear, even if it means saying things that might not be well received or are not necessarily nice things to say, and I of course try to do the same for her.  You don’t stay friends for fifteen-plus years with people that only constantly blow smoke up your ass, right?  So at some point during the conversations we had in the three or more hours it took to drive down to get on the cruise ship last week, I came out, if you will, as an atheist to my best friend.  I was shocked that she was shocked.  It was funny and awesome and I really don’t know why I never just came out and said it to her sooner.  It seems to be the kind of thing that needs just the right set up, so if you’ve ever had anything even tangentially to do with religion, you can’t very well just out of nowhere say, hey, so…yeah….I’m an atheist, right.  Cool? to most people, anyway, and expect them to have a reserved reaction or not require some type of explanation for what they perceive as a rather extreme change.  But somehow she or we had set it up just perfectly…I can’t for the life of me recall what we were really talking about, most likely commenting upon the hypocrisy of some side of some issue (maybe abortion…the Tim Tebow Superbowl ad thing, I bet!) and she must have said something to the effect of “Even if you believe in God…” as a hypothetical from the devil’s-advocate side, allowing me to just throw out “Um, by the way, I don’t anymore.”  Too easy, how could I not?  I still find it funny that she was so surprised by this, but she of course didn’t challenge me on it or try to convince me to change my mind.  (And to be fair, I always refrain from telling her how much country music sucks and how she should really not ever listen to damn near all of it.)  She kept saying she was floored, and she was curious, so I talked about it some.  In fact, I couldn’t quite shut up about it for a little while.  In the middle of this we stopped to run into a drugstore for beverages but I didn’t stop rambling on – the cashier definitely looked at me a little oddly; that was fun.  I was on a roll, as she’s the first friend I’ve said this to who really knew me well even way back when I was a guilty-kind-of-recovering-Catholic-ish girl.
For me, it wasn’t a painful process, even though I thought it might be very hard to walk away from faith, or my nearly lifelong attempts at feeling like I had faith.  Turns out it wasn’t difficult at all.  I just had to give myself permission to acknowledge as perfectly valid the natural doubt and skepticism I’ve also had my whole life.  Agnosticism, I guess.  Then I went through a phase in which I truly just didn’t care at all one way or the other about it.  When I finally got back around to thinking about it again, I realized I’d crossed the line and probably wouldn’t be crossing back.  I just don’t need it, whatever you want to call it, be it faith, belief, religion, etc.  It’s not that I choose not to believe in your God, it’s that I don’t believe there is a god.  So simple and reasonable, yet strangely so hard to say, or to write.  To a certain extent, I can sincerely appreciate that it brings joy and peace and comfort to many people’s lives, and I’d never want to take that part away from them individually.  But looking at the big picture, and the overall balance of the good things the church may have done for people versus the horrible, awful, unimaginable things that have been done in the name of religion…I want to imagine no religion, too.  It would be better if there weren’t so many people in the world whose lives are lived in such awful circumstances that it really logically does sort of make sense that they’d better hope for a better life to be waiting for them after this one, otherwise what is the point of all their suffering, but that is of course not the case.  I have no answer for that question, I just know I’m incredibly fortunate to have my basic needs thoroughly met in order to even have the time and resources to consider the kind of questions that led me to atheism.  For me, there is more peace in just being free of it altogether.  I bet a lot more people could come the same conclusion too if they would just let themselves try to be free of it.  This will be mostly preaching to the choir (ha), but you should try it.  It’ll make you feeeeeel gooood.