July 23, 2012

I’m an atheist, as you’re all sometimes painfully aware, and lately, I’ve been struggling with something based on my lack of belief. Well, two things actually, but they tie together.

I haven’t told my father I’m an atheist. He knows I haven’t attended church in a long time (like 12 years, aside from the occasional wedding and funeral), but think he’s under the impression that I’m having a “crisis of faith,” one similar to what he went through when I was a kid.

I vaguely recall my dad telling me one day when I asked him why he didn’t go to church with the rest of the family that he was angry with God and he didn’t want to believe in someone who makes bad things happen. Being a child, I really didn’t understand him, so just went along with it. After all, my was the smartest man alive and if he had a reason not to believe in God, I’m sure it’s a good one.

He eventually returned to the fold and began attending with us again. We even started having family devotion time where we’d read from the bible and whatnot; you know, stereotypical Midwest Lutheran behavior. Very Normal Rockwell.

I’m scared to tell my father about my atheism. Knowing my dad, I have a sick feeling in my stomach that he would end up disowning me, since as of the past few years, he’s become extremely religious. He makes little jabs at me, asking me if I’ve found a church to go to, that he’s praying for me and hopes I return to the Lord soon. I awkwardly shift from foot to foot, averting my eyes from his and mumble some response.

I don’t like this feeling that my father would possibly cast me aside because my beliefs don’t match his own. I hate to equate being a gay/lesbian child coming out to their parents to being an atheist admitting to their family their lack of religious stance, but in a weird way, it is. You are either going to have understanding parents who will be fine with your decision, or those that blame themselves for this abomination.

I read something recently that struck a chord with me, and it’s something like this:

“I don’t understand why people think having a gay child means they failed as a parent. Disowning your child means you failed as a parent.”

I don’t want my father to fail me, but in his eyes, I’ve failed him, How can either of us live with this notion?

I choose to stay quiet and try to artfully dodge the topic when it comes up. So far, 12 years later, I’ve done a fairly decent job.

Now, on to the second topic that’s been bothering me.

I’ve been trying to date again. It’s a tedious thing to do and I’m finding myself to be to quirky for most men around these parts, which is fine. I’m not serious about yet, so it’s all just a matter of me branching out and socializing.

However…I do realize that hopefully, some day, I’ll meet someone, do the whole song and dance again, and with any luck, and believe you me, I need luck here, have a child.

(Recap: long story short: I have growths on my internal lady parts that may severely limit and/or prevent me from conceiving kids.)

This child is pretty much already doomed.

Dear Possible Future Baby, I’m terribly sorry to put you through this. You’re just a baby. The most important thing you should be worrying about is diaper rash and teething, not what I’m about to talk about…

I don’t want my children baptized.

I don’t want them subjected to what I view as a senseless ritual. I was taught that we are not children of God until we are blessed by the Sacrament of baptism. We are just rotten, horrible, filthy, adorable, tiny sinners in God’s eyes until some scary priest doused our heads with a cup of water.

Now hear me out; if, when these kids grow up and are able to form solid opinions of their own and they decide of their own volition that they want to be good Christian followers of Christ and be baptized, that’s great. Good for you, offspring. If that’s what you want for yourself, by all means, please do so.

I will not criticize my child for wanting to believe. I will not be like my father in that regard. I refuse. I will graciously and willingly accept whatever this kid wants to do in terms of his faith because it’s his right, his choice, and his life.

This is the point I want to make with my dad. He hasn’t failed as a parent because I’m no longer a Christian. The only thing he’s failing at right now is that he’s not seeing what a well-rounded, intelligent person he helped raise. My parents taught me to be my own person, do explore things that make me happy, but because atheism is so despised in our culture still, he think he let me down, or didn’t do something right, or didn’t try hard enough, when the exact opposite is true. He and my mom did everything right, they tried their best, and the only time I’ve been let down by them is I never had a tree house growing up, but that’s an entirely different blog post.

Don’t look at me as a failure or as a lost sheep.

Look at me as a woman who has found a way more suitable for myself.






Acts of Senseless Insensitivity

Good morning, friends.

This post isn’t what you think. Yes, it’s about the Colorado shooting; but no, it’s not about how the people on various online social networking sites making light of the situation and cracking jokes in what we feel is “too soon.”

This is about the shooting itself and how we are sensationalizing it. That’s the true act of insensitivity, in my opinion.

Yes, the crime is abhorrent. Innocent people were killed for no good reason. We Americans seem to forget, or choose to forget, that things like this happen on a daily basis around the world. We are not the only ones who suffers needless tragedies, but because we view ourselves differently then the rest of the world, we make ourselves martyrs and suggest we are.

I realize since the shooting also took place in Colorado, this opened up old wounds suffered from Columbine. It seems too soon to everyone, but in reality, again, this happens more frequently than we know.

I don’t mean to detract from the grief and sorrow of the family members who lost their daughters or sons, because I feel sympathy for them, I do. Losing someone is never easy, no matter how prematurely they are taken from our lives.

Also, this is not an issue of gun control, either. No matter how stringent the laws, how thorough the security is, there is always going to be someone crazy enough out there to get by all them and do the same thing.

By all means–mourn for lives lost in Colorado, but also take the time to grieve for other lives lost due to random acts of violence, for innocents taken in war, for those who suffer extreme poverty, for those dying of starvation, for lives taken due to acts of terrorism. Don’t be of the mindset “I can’t believe this happened here…” be of the mindset “I can’t believe this happens anywhere…”

Again, don’t misunderstand me–I may be coming off as insensitive myself, and this probably angers you, and that’s fine. But it angers me we ignore 90% of what happens around us until something occurs close to home. We aren’t alone on this planet, friends.

My condolences to lives lost in Colorado…and around the world.

Ok, Cupid…

Against my better judgement, I, Erin Elizabeth Hoffmeyer Zulkoski (for a few more months), have joined a dating website.

You read that right.

My best friend sent me a text the other day saying I should give it shot to, and I quote, “flirt with guys and then make fun of them behind their backs.”

Never one to ignore the chance to ridicule someone, I signed up and right away, I felt a piece of my soul die.

Okay, it isn’t that bad, or so I thought until today.

Let me describe the site to you real quick for those that don’t know what it’s all about.

Based on the description from the iTunes App page, this particular site is “the fastest growing dating site! We use math to get you dates.”

If by math they mean asking me asinine questions about whether I would date a man who prefers Star Trek over Star Wars, then yes, the algorithm is highly and explosively mathematical. (And for the record, Star Wars all the way.)

I joined and basically, as I mentioned above, you’re asked a series of tedious questions and they match your answers compared to those on the site and give you a percentage of compatibility based on if you’re a better romantic match, better as friends, or, and this made me chuckle, enemies.

So far, my highest ranking match is at a whopping 93%. This scares me a bit because holy shit, y’all, there’s someone out there who’s that closely similar to me? YIKES. The Mayans were right…

Moving on. Whenever the site finds a good match for you, or when someone has read your profile bio and rates you based on that, they send you an email letting you know this information.

I went to the app on my phone and was browsing around the matches they found for me when I came upon one in particular and I was instantaneously horrified and wholly amused. I knew this person personally and have for many, many years and we are on non-speaking terms due to a ridiculous argument held about three years ago.

I was tickled by this find because I cannot see this fellow using any sort of dating site, but I didn’t ever think I’d be using one either, so touche, sir. But the most humorous thing was our percentage of compatibility: 90%. Ninety. Ninety freaking percent. I’m stunned by this.

Now, this guy and I don’t get along anymore, but the sick, twisted, sadistic side of me wants to be completely oblivious and totally send him a personal message saying “Hi! We seem to have a lot in common! We should meet up sometime!” because shit like that is hilarious to me.

But I won’t. I really want to, but I won’t because I don’t think he’d find this nearly as comical as I do.

And I”m not really serious about using this site for anything much more than entertainment value. Watch, I say that now and I’ll totally be married next year at this time to a guy I met on the site.

Stranger things have happened.

For now, I’ll just continue answering dumb questions, flirting with a few guys I think are cute, and then make fun of the poor bastards, just as God intended for me to do.

Biker Messiah

Motorcycles give me seizures.

Most people have visual triggers to set them off, like flashing strobe lights, but for me, it’s auditory. The sound of the engine revving reverberates through my ears and shakes my brain inside my skull and I zone out while my grey matter buzzes with over-activity.

You should have seen me the time I went to Sturgis, South Dakota with friends. I was there for five minutes and had a series of petit mal episodes. The only thing I remember as I was falling down to the ground, was looking up into the face of a giant, burly, bushy-bearded biker. I vaguely recall thinking this man was my Messiah and I was at the Pearly Gates of Heaven and I somehow didn’t question the fact The Son of Man was wearing leather chaps and a Harley Davidson skull-cap.

I fell and knocked my cranium on his steel-toed boots.

After the spell passed, I was taken to the hotel room so I could seize in peace instead of at the foot of a biker Jesus.