Believing in something involves a certain amount of risk. Believing in something is placing your faith in that thing and positioning yourself behind it. Believing in something is jumping, and trusting that there is water at the bottom instead of rocks. There is a certain amount of vulnerability in believing in something. It becomes a part of who you are and how you live your life. People believe in higher powers, ghosts, other worlds, magic, monsters, love, fate, other people, and themselves. Me? I recently realized that I don’t believe in anything. This newfound realization is shaking my world a little as I search for something to clasp onto. I have found nothing and continue to descend without a foothold or a safety net. I am not a believer.
I don’t believe that there is life after death; I don’t believe in fate taking me where I belong; I don’t believe in other people being there for me or being able to understand me. This realization has shaken me because our society is one of believers. From a young age we are fed images and stories of magic, fairytales, true love, and destiny. We believe our parents when they tell us we can be anything we want, our teachers when they state that Christopher Columbus was heroic, and our classmates when they feed us elaborate playground gossip.
Society has made it so that my immediate reaction is to feel as though there is something wrong with me for not believing in anything, as if there is something missing. Each time I recount my disbelief to someone they respond with skepticism and try to find something that I might believe in. Society does not accept the notion of living as a non-believer. While saying that you don’t believe in Santa Claus as an adult is accepted and even expected by society, not believing in love or in yourself is generally seen as fairly outrageous.
Society has programmed us to believe. In a world of believing, where does that leave those of us who don’t? Are we pessimists or maybe just realists? Have we just not found the right thing to believe in or is it simply a characteristic we lack?
It takes a lot to leap into the unknown and trust that there is something there to catch you whether it’s a higher power, a magical fate, or a friend who somehow believes in you. Whatever it takes, it is something that I don’t have and I commend all of you believers—regardless of what you believe in—for taking that risk. However,the things that I don’t believe in make me who I am just as much as the things you believe in do the same for you. I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on anything or as though I need to grab hold of something to believe in. Knowing the literal and living in complete reality is enough to entertain my interests and fulfill my mind. For me, this is the difference between believing and knowing. I don’t believe in love, but I know that two people can make a relationship work. I don’t believe in destiny, but I know that life is a culmination of my successes and my failures. I don’t believe in myself, but I know that if I work hard I can accomplish wonderful things.
About the Author (Author Profile)Mackenzie is a cake connoisseur, junior, and co-Editor-in-Cheif of Culture Shock. She hails from a small snow globe of a town deep in the mountains of Colorado and is ridiculously proud of the fact that she's half Australian. She's working towards molding young minds as she studies History Education and American Studies with a minor in Political Science, but she would also like to be a princess (or maybe a lawyer). Her weaknesses and greatest enemies include mornings, ketchup, and mascots. Mostly Mackenzie likes to eat soup, look at the moon, and work towards being Hermione Granger.
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- When I Grow Up… | Culture Shock | September 20, 2013