My religious upbringing gave me one very valuable tool for life. It taught me to have a somewhat tough skin and not be so quick to follow the crowd. I still have moments where it hurts to feel alone…I am still human after all and we all have this desire to fit in and be part of a group of our peers. But I know deep down I have this deeply ingrained thing in me to be okay with going it alone if need be. To go against popular belief and to question it. Being in a borderline cult teaches you to be a stubborn little..ah hem..basically. Then there is what you are born with. I was born with this need in me to understand everything. To question everything. This need to understand the root of things before I make a decision if this is what I will carry a flag for. This doesn’t mix well with blind faith. This also doesn’t mix well when I can not help but see the corruption or the potential for corruption within a group after learning from my experience with a holier than thou religion that all is not what they claim it to be. So I learned by default to question things that sound to good to be true and to really question those who claim their way is the only way. I learned to never be so into anything that I miss the warning signs that something within a group is being twisted or corrupted. It’s probably why I naturally gravitated towards Buddhism and their teaching of a middle way and acceptance that all faiths have some value. (Although they too have a history of mucking up the message and again proof that…every single group of humans on earth has the potential for corruption.) What I learned from the way I was raised has helped me greatly on my journey. It is just another example of how I took the bad parts of what I was taught and found the good in it and threw it into my bag of survival tools. It is just another explanation of why I so often find I clash with my peers when I recognize the signs of blind faith and hypocrisy. I will admit…there have been many moments when I wish I did not recognize it. How nice and drama free it would be to not. It can be very lonely at times. It makes you wonder if you truly belong anywhere..even with people you mostly agree with..in any group. I have had to accept that I can not unlearn what I know..doesn’t work like that and so if I can not then I must move forward and take whatever hits come with knowing your truth and being vocal about it. Very often that means you will be the only one in the room questioning things. That’s just how it goes.