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Author Topic: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"  (Read 2388 times)

Faemon

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Well, I'd like to stick to the facet of religion being imprinted, since this is the Interfaith Discussion Board.

From Michael Guillen's interview with Guillermo Del Toro, director of Pan's Labyrinth, who would also have been the director of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe but turned it down on the basis of that "I'm a lapsed Catholic and I didn't want the fucking lion to resurrect."

http://twitchfilm.com/interviews/2006/12/pans-labyrinthinterview-with-guillermo-del-toro.php


Del Toro: I didn't want to avoid it, but I did not seek Catholic imagery. Nevertheless, I understand that redemption by blood and the rebirth by sacrifice is a Catholic conceit. So I accept it without any problems because I think that sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age. Whatever arouses your spirit or arouses your body at an early age, that's what is going to arouse it the rest of your life. Everything will be subordinate to that. It's a personal choice and it's a personal experience. I don't shame myself about being a lapsed Catholic and so if that cosmology appears in my movies, I'm fine with it.

MG: When I was a student of the mythologist Joseph Campbell, he taught me that it was—in some ways—inappropriate the way kids in the '60s went gaga over Eastern mysticism. They could learn from it. They could enjoy it. But it wasn't really their path no matter how much they wanted it to be and they would always deep down at heart be Christians needing to resolve spiritual issues in a Christian way. Their template—or as you say imprint—had been set.

Del Toro: They will always be a Western man looking at the East. Where your feet stand does not limit your gaze but it does limit what perspective you judge it from.

MG: Your orientation.

Del Toro: I can read all the fucking books about Taoism I want; I'll still be a Catholic boy reading them. There's no way of avoiding that.




You can see me raise my hackles when it becomes a cultural-political thing here, but what reminded me of the Del Toro interview and moved me to start a thread is here. To sum up, a ceremonial mage wants in on Asatru magic, and I think that RandallS was right to point out that the original poster's approach to seeking aspects of Norse magic remained heavyhandedly and evidently rooted in a ceremonial magic paradigm. While Heathenry does not typically include Western ceremonial magic, as Juniperberry went on to point out-- I just personally did not get a xenophobic vibe, so it is not that ceremonial magicians aren't allowed to explore Heathenry at all or even just personally syncretize (right? I ain't a Heathen-- yet, so probably shouldn't be speaking for Heathens about this,) it's just--

How totally can an individual expect to adjust from a previous belief system? How quickly? Can an individual even do so, or is it impossible as in the case of Del Toro?

(I've got my own experiences about it-- but, you go first. gtg for now.)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 12:38:59 am by Faemon »
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Juniperberry

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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2012, 01:08:27 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67316
Well, I'd like to stick to the facet of religion being imprinted, since this is the Interfaith Discussion Board.

How totally can an individual expect to adjust from a previous belief system? How quickly? Can an individual even do so, or is it impossible as in the case of Del Toro?

(I've got my own experiences about it-- but, you go first. gtg for now.)

Saying a person is stuck with the first religion that arouses them is like saying a person will only be aroused by the first person they were attracted to.

In recon the Big Thing is changing your worldview. But I don't think any of us expect--or want-- to be the same as a first century Germanic. We have new information, new influences, a different society. You can't escape from that and you shouldn't want to. This is our human story, no reset. But that doesn't mean that you can't understand the underlying philosophy of the worldview and begin to interact with the world based on that. We don't sacrifice people to the gods (the past), but we can still give in the spirit of sacrifice (the present). The question is why was it done and how can I find that why here?

Everyone can learn and imagine. But it takes time.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 01:09:35 am by Juniperberry »
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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 02:59:05 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67316

How totally can an individual expect to adjust from a previous belief system? How quickly? Can an individual even do so, or is it impossible as in the case of Del Toro?

(I've got my own experiences about it-- but, you go first. gtg for now.)


Interesting!

I don't know if a person who remains within the structure of the old belief system can ever fully adjust to a new one without having to recheck to the point of futility. For example, Del Toro was raised in the "you only live once" structure and stays in it, so even if he did go full immersion into something like reincarnation he'd have to reject that YOLO mindset pretty much every day. Taking the time to do that, IMO, would slow the process of change and maybe even halt it. I think it can be done, but not if a person is coming from a place of admitted defeat.

However, if the new belief system doesn't require rejection of the social structure a person lives in every single day several times, and has a support system of others with like mind, like many pagan paths, I think the adjustment can happen. But it would still take walking the walk and that takes time. I hope to one day come to a path I'd like to follow, but am aware that I am going to have to learn to walk again when I do.

But for an individual to change a belief system that is personally spiritual (not precisely religious - but can involve that) and not tied to external societal structures, like changing a belief that one is unworthy to having self worth, could have greater success. But it still takes much time. That's not only rewiring, it's building new foundations so that everyday doesn't involve having to reject the old belief. Of course it would depend on the individual but years is my guess for most people. I had to work hard to undo 34 years, I'm 10 into it and I still have to recheck now and again.

That being said, I hear that there are some life changing events that can happen to a person that can change beliefs and worldviews in a snap. Epiphanies. I think those very rare. I could be wrong. Most epiphany stories I've read actually do have a lead up to the change, so many of those aren't the overnight successes they are sometimes made out to be.


Quote from: Juniperberry;67319
Saying a person is stuck with the first religion that arouses them is like saying a person will only be aroused by the first person they were attracted to.

 
Love this.

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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 08:42:32 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67316

How totally can an individual expect to adjust from a previous belief system? How quickly? Can an individual even do so, or is it impossible as in the case of Del Toro?

(I've got my own experiences about it-- but, you go first. gtg for now.)

 
Heavy stuff. Let's see.

I actually do think that one's early experiences imprint themselves, of course. But that's actually why I think I sought an earth-based religion and ditched the Christianity of my childhood. I knew many wonderful, non-judgmental "real" Christians, and I still left it, because my earliest memories are those which taught me that Sanctity and Divinity are to be found in Nature.

However, if certain things are "beat" into you over and over, they are hard to break away from, even if your intellectual mind knows better. Many Christians, and I've heard more Catholics say this, have serious problems with shame and guilt which seem to well up from nowhere. Robert Anton Wilson actually went to a number of different therapies, including hypnotherapy, to remove this automatic-guilt trigger that his brain had been trained to do. I don't think that's the same as being "stuck in a Religion", but I can see how if could feel like that.

I also think a person can break away without therapy, per se, just using "self therapy" if you want to call it that. That's basically what I've done. It's a process. I realized I there was someone else I wanted to be, and then decided to start making myself into that person.

As for Del Toro, he's clearly got leftover issues. If he had a problem with the Christian imagery in the Wardrobe books, he could have just said he wasn't comfortable with propagating Christian messages. Boom. (Frankly, I absolutely adored the books as a child and they have stuck with me as an important part of my world-view...because I don't think honorable self-sacrifice, etc., need to be purely Christian. But that's a whole 'nother Thread.)

In therms of the Norse Magic versus Ceremonial Magic, it again brings me back to one of Wilson's favorite concepts - which itself is amusingly relevant. He uses the term "Reality Tunnel". Every individual's experience is shaped by their own Reality Tunnel. That is not a "bad" thing, it is just part of existence, that when we perceive something, we do some through the limitations of our physical senses and synapse-patterns in our brains.

I obviously still see things through a Discordian-skewed Reality Tunnel, (gold-colored glasses?) because everything everybody does "reminds me" of something related to it. Your Ceremonial Magic person probably saw everything through a Crowley-esque or possibly Wicca-ish Reality Tunnel, so to him, Magick works the same all over the world whether you call it Seid or Ishkabibble. He was probably shocked to discover that not everyone was on the same "trip" as he was.

The continuation of the Reality Tunnel theories, is, of course, that we are "meta-programmers" and can choose to directly change our brains. The two most typical methods which most people here will recognize as something are very "sudden" (ie trauma, major life event, drugs), or repetition (ie meditation, ritual, memorization) - both of these methods literally wire new pathways in your brain and will change your perspective.

(Did I go too far off topic?)

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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 08:55:42 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;67319
Saying a person is stuck with the first religion that arouses them is like saying a person will only be aroused by the first person they were attracted to.


I don't think that's what Del Toro is saying. I think he's saying that even if you change religions, you'll always--*always*--have a perspective, a mindset, that's not indigenous to that religion. That's not necessarily a bad thing; a different perspective can deliver new insights, both to the practitioner him/herself and, if shared, to "native" practitioners. But it is a thing, to be recognized and acknowledged.
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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 08:56:14 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67316
How totally can an individual expect to adjust from a previous belief system? How quickly? Can an individual even do so, or is it impossible as in the case of Del Toro?

I think a lot depends on the individual and how well the original "imprint" took. Some people imprint lightly and therefore will have relatively see trouble changing worldview while some people imprint deeply and will have relatively more trouble changing worldviews.

Christianity never really "took" with me and my exposure to it was from Methodism which is tends to be lighter on the imprint than Catholicism or a fundamentalist Protestant variety.
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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 08:59:26 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67316

How totally can an individual expect to adjust from a previous belief system? How quickly? Can an individual even do so, or is it impossible as in the case of Del Toro?

 
I think it's possible. But I think it's like learning to be truly fluent - idiomatic language, metaphor, the whole nine yards - in a new language. It's not something that's instant, and it's not something that's just "Oh, hang out with some people who are also doing X." It's got to be at least partially a deliberate, focused, determined process.

Because part of the complication in any kind of major worldview shift is learning to see the places you're not seeing - the places that your previous point of view faded out, or just ignored, or took for granted. Generally, working through that requires some time, space, situations that encourage different view points, and so on. Those don't just happen on demand.

All of that said, people do. I've been doing this Pagan thing for 11 years, and I've been at the point (after a *lot* of very deliberate work) where I'm aware of the overlays of my original religion (I was raised Episcopalian and Catholic, long story), but where those things are no longer my automatic assumptions about how religion works, or what ritual looks like, or what the inherent most important things about [situation] might be.

The plus side is - like people who are fluent in more than one language - I can still access that approach when I want to, and look at things from that perspective. And sometimes that's given me problem-solving tools that work really well, for specific ritual needs (not so much "what we do", but stuff like "when you more than coven numbers of people, and you want a ritual that is effective and meaningful, what can you do to make people feel included in the community?" or patterns of use of language that engage people on multiple levels.
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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 10:00:05 am »
Quote from: RandallS;67352
I think a lot depends on the individual and how well the original "imprint" took. Some people imprint lightly and therefore will have relatively see trouble changing worldview while some people imprint deeply and will have relatively more trouble changing worldviews.

Christianity never really "took" with me and my exposure to it was from Methodism which is tends to be lighter on the imprint than Catholicism or a fundamentalist Protestant variety.

 
Yeah, this is similar to how I feel. I'm clearly way more Discordian than Lutheran, heh, although I can go back and look at things through a Christian perspective if need be....even though it was imprinted "later", it clearly impacted me more strongly.

Similarly, I can't walk down the street without pointing out every snail and bird and interesting tree I see, and going on to explain its biology or symbolism or its adorableness or something else I find facilitating about it. It took me a lot of years to learn that most people don't think this way, or even notice snails or trees. :56:

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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2012, 11:12:33 am »
Interesting! I see many different expressions and personal stories, in general agreement. Keep them coming.
Quote from: triple_entendre;67316
How totally can an individual expect to adjust from a previous belief system? How quickly? Can an individual even do so, or is it impossible as in the case of Del Toro?


There was a time that I badly wanted the Wiccan Goddess to be present in my life, but the sense of the Abrahamic God seemed to always displace Her. My Catholic imprint was strong. But other imprints were equally strong or stronger: science and materialism, folk superstition, divinity in Nature as wadjet said, when I was a teenager I lived abroad in a vastly different and markedly diverse religio-cultural landscape, and then there was my mother's vocal mistrust of men and masculinity (which had, I believe, kept her away from Christianity for a long time-- and seemed to remain a major point of contention for her when she returned to the fold.)

So, it was a fight, against something that I did resonate with, so I can easily imagine why people like Del Toro just don't bother. I felt like a fraud to be fighting it, but I felt like a coward not to be fighting it. I was fourteen when I finally got around to actually reading the Bible, and then I realized how what had felt like my default religion? Was actually alien to me. There's a gap here, where ordinary life happened, and an intersection of human issues put faith on the backburner. Recently when I attended a church service, I felt like a tourist in it. Nothing resonated at all. I even tried to remember when I was fighting it, what my psychological or divine "opponent" felt like, and determined not to fight anymore-- and just, nothing was there, Nobody was there.

So, I actually think that it can happen, it can happen fully, and it can even happen naturally and gradually with no will or effort. I agree, that how fast and to what end depends: on the comfort a person has with their past and would-be future paradigms, the strength of the initial impression, how well-reinforced that impression is by the surrounding influences every day... and how impressionable a person is. Very young people might be more likely to be more impressionable, but how impressed one is at that stage can be forgotten and/or overridden by remaining (or having crucial moments of being) receptive and impressionable at an older stage of life. The old paradigm can also be preserved, without interfering with the new paradigm. Or the two can become syncretized.

Gun to my id, though? Deep down at heart, I feel that my template... the method by which I need, ultimately, to find resolution to an issue... is... well... for some reason, somehow... scientific.
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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2012, 08:40:03 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67374

There was a time that I badly wanted the Wiccan Goddess to be present in my life, but the sense of the Abrahamic God seemed to always displace Her. My Catholic imprint was strong.


I'm not sure if this is going too off-topic, but ...uhhhh how do I word this? A lot of us who first get into Wicca or Goddess-centered paths seem to me to be looking to replace on monotheistic religion with a different one. You know, we know Christianity isn't right, but we haven't broken far enough away from that imprinted worldview.  Do you think that was why you had trouble? (I think it's the same for a lot of the new Heathens who are saying they're polytheistic, but are looking for a "Patron God".)

Quote from: triple_entendre;67374
Gun to my id, though? Deep down at heart, I feel that my template... the method by which I need, ultimately, to find resolution to an issue... is... well... for some reason, somehow... scientific.

 
Oh, I'm like that too. Just a matter of personality/brain type. I always feel like I'm logic-ing myself when I come to new realizations...if that makes sense.

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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 08:57:44 am »
Quote from: wadjet;67476
I'm not sure if this is going too off-topic, but ...uhhhh how do I word this? A lot of us who first get into Wicca or Goddess-centered paths seem to me to be looking to replace one monotheistic religion with a different one. You know, we know Christianity isn't right, but we haven't broken far enough away from that imprinted worldview.  Do you think that was why you had trouble? (I think it's the same for a lot of the new Heathens who are saying they're polytheistic, but are looking for a "Patron God".)

Probably. I think of myself as an abstract thinker now, but, looking back? I could have amplified my non-monist pantheistic tendencies, took a swan dive into Buddhism (I had the foundations available, all around me,) but nooo, She had to come with a name and a face and a humanoid form and a set of rules and a creed and a logo, etc.

Quote
Oh, I'm like that too. Just a matter of personality/brain type. I always feel like I'm logic-ing myself when I come to new realizations...if that makes sense.

That makes perfect sense to me. ;) But then I go up to someone really into the hard sciences and suggest the velocity of a pendulum can be affected by ghosts and-- "woo-woo." So.
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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2012, 09:47:16 am »
Quote from: wadjet;67476
I'm not sure if this is going too off-topic, but ...uhhhh how do I word this? A lot of us who first get into Wicca or Goddess-centered paths seem to me to be looking to replace on monotheistic religion with a different one. You know, we know Christianity isn't right, but we haven't broken far enough away from that imprinted worldview.  Do you think that was why you had trouble? (I think it's the same for a lot of the new Heathens who are saying they're polytheistic, but are looking for a "Patron God".)


That's a very interesting idea. It doesn't explain my very sudden need for medium-to-hard polytheism (when I was seriously evangelically Christian in my childhood, and strongly monotheist until quite recently), but it certainly explains my draw to religion and organization, while many Pagans around me seem to be keen to reject those things. I'm unsure whether I should challenge these parts of myself, or whether they are where my 'bliss' lies and therefore where I will meet the gods.

I've been thinking about this for a while now, although from a slightly different perspective. I'm doing the OBOD Bardic grade. It's very 'spiritual but not religious' - I knew this going in, and thought it would be a good challenge to my religious, organized leanings. I'm still more drawn to ADF and its religious structure, and thinking of going that way next. I just don't know whether I should be moving towards or away from the things I'm drawn to at the moment. As a sociologist of religion, the idea that much of this is rooted in my early experiences makes sense. It doesn't really help with the decision, but it makes sense! :)

(This is a fascinating discussion that's making me think about this a bit differently.)
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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2012, 05:42:51 pm »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67316
Well, I'd like to stick to the facet of religion being imprinted, since this is the Interfaith Discussion Board.

Very interesting discussion.

I've been brought up catholic by my mother who grew up in a catholic orphanage. I've talked a lot to other people from my country who were brought up catholic or protestantic. I'm realizing more and more that there are different qualities in the way people can be influenced.

For my own upbringing the word 'indoctrinated' is more fitting. I have the impression that there are layers and layers of catholic imprints centering on guilt, shame, damnation, punishment and self-punishment, martyrdom, self-denunciation. I've struggled my whole life to get it out of my system, sometimes I feel like having the psychological equivalent of cancer. Everytime I think I've got rid of the old chorus of "you're evil, you don't deserve to be happy, God will punish you..." I struggle with another situation I didn't manage to stand my ground for my own interests, because it's 'my own fault' or 'I don't deserve it'. Everytime I do a step forward I get pretty nervous something bad would happen, because 'I don't deserve it and someone will punish me'.

When I started researching paganism the pentagram on witchvox made me so nervous, I had to scroll it away.

I'm digging myself out, step by step. Pentagrams don't make me nervous anymore, but there are still more subtle remnants of the old chorus. These days I've got so used to many pagan things that I don't think about how different they are any more. I think that's a good sign. For a long time I felt like a fugitive looking for a place to hide from the destructive kind of catholicism my mother abused to compel me into the direction she wanted me to take.

The subtle stuff, the unconscious messages are more difficult to dig out than the more vocal ones. I've started early to say that I don't believe in hell and ridicule the church, but believing that I don't deserve to go to hell, that I'm as sacred as any treeleaf, that I can talk to the gods on my own terms, and not just to say it theoretically because I've read it or think it's a logical conclusion, but really *feel* and believe something else, that's the more difficult stuff.

It's like if you rip out a weed, but don't see the root, which is still there impeding the growth of new things. And then there also needs to be a new seed and nourishment so something new can really grow. I find it's much more easy to confront religious upbringing on the level of spoken beliefs, the number of deities, the rituals etc., but there are deeper levels, thought patterns, images and symbols, emotional attitudes and intuition. Those are much harder to reach and change, but I believe that there are still many remnants of older times, images and symbols, helping to reconnect those deeper realms to pagan things.

I think it's a lot of work, for some more than for others, and it can take years, but every tiny step is completly worth it!!! :)

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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2012, 06:55:05 pm »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67481
...

Some random questions/thoughts:

If the imprint idea was true, then wouldn't anyone converted continue to hold onto the old religion, which would then influence subsequent generations? I mean, this happens anyway, but it's one more example of how nothing would be truly, purely Christian. Though I'm sure there's a nature vs nurture issue here.

This thread reminded me of when I was little (five-ish) and my dad had been stationed in the Azores. We went to this chapel and afterwards all the kids were standing in this grassy area with some guy. He took a stick, broke it in half, put it back together and said it was the miracle of Jesus. It stuck with me (not the Jesus part, the restoration) but it wasn't until I was reading about the Second Merseburg Charm and Odin healing the horse's leg that I had that "wow" feeling.

"Bone to bone, blood to blood, joints to joints, so may they be glued."

And then imagine my surprise to find out Germanic tribes had once invaded the area and been the rulers for awhile.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 06:55:56 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

wadjet

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Re: "sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age"
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2012, 11:27:19 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;67481
That makes perfect sense to me. ;) But then I go up to someone really into the hard sciences and suggest the velocity of a pendulum can be affected by ghosts and-- "woo-woo." So.

 
If you haven't read it, I suggest The Dancing Wu-Li Masters by Gary Zukav, which is (as Wikipedia says) "mysticist interpretations of quantum physics". If you're into physics you've probably already noted parallels yourself, and it's an interesting read because he makes it personal and not technical.

Quote from: Sophia Catherine;67487
That's a very interesting idea. It doesn't explain my very sudden need for medium-to-hard polytheism (when I was seriously evangelically Christian in my childhood, and strongly monotheist until quite recently), but it certainly explains my draw to religion and organization, while many Pagans around me seem to be keen to reject those things. I'm unsure whether I should challenge these parts of myself, or whether they are where my 'bliss' lies and therefore where I will meet the gods.


Heh, funny, I recently had a sudden shift towards hard-polytheism too after years of viewing Gods as mostly concepts. I went searching when I realized I was dissatisfied, and, well, that's what I found.

I too have repeatedly felt the "need" for "organized" religion, despite an intellectual disgust with it and a complete inability to function within it. (Maybe that's why I need the support of so many gods, haha?) But that's essentially why I have indeed been challenging that part of me. I've been "different" from the time I was born, so what stupid part of me is trying to convince myself that I'd be happy trying to be orthodox?

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